Phillies Prospect Roundup: Breakthrough for Colvin?

I had this really strange dream last night -- no, not that one -- that I was on a flight with a bunch of Phillies prospects. We hit some turbulence, wound up crashing on a deserted island, and before I knew it, we were splintering off into groups -- one led by John "Locke" Mayberry, another by Matthew "Fox / Jack Shephard" Way. The next couple of years passed kind of quickly... something about a freighter, time traveling, flashbacks, flash forwards, a writer's strike, and some other crap... I can't remember exactly.

Some things I do remember: Drew Naylor saying, "See ya in another life, brotha!"; Phillippe Aumont recording and relaying a distress signal in French, in case anyone found the island; a raft of strange men pointing to Domingo Santana and saying, "We're gonna have to take the boy!"; and Scott Mathieson screaming, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" I'll tell you what: it was all very surreal. I felt like I had experienced it in a parallel universe or something. Hmmm, weird.....

Anyway, what say we jump into our prospect roundup?  As the prospects for this week, I present to you: 7, 16, 14, 24, 36, 27, 40, 39, 31, and 53.

Domonic Brown, OF-L, Reading: The big story here is Brown tightening up his control of the strike zone. Brown actually struggled to a 4-for-21 week to drop his season line to a more human-looking .311/.387/.582, but he walked 4 times and whiffed only 3.  He's at a solid 12.0% BB and 23.0% K -- with a more than solid .271 ISO -- in 142 plate appearances, so no real worries here.

Brody Colvin, RHP, Lakewood: The 2009 bonus baby had a rough go of it early on  -- he entered the past week with a 4.97 FIP -- but was excellent in starts on Tuesday and Sunday.  Tuesday saw the righthander go 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, and 5 K, but Sunday topped even that outing, with a final line of 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, and 7 K. The early season struggles had me wondering if the Phillies may have rushed Colvin to Low A, but that certainly doesn't appear to be the case at this point. Only time will tell if this is evidence of a real breakthrough, but things are looking up.

Jonathan Singleton, 1B-L, Lakewood: Taken one round behind Colvin in last year's draft, Singleton is doing everything in his power to surpass him (and plenty of others) in prospect status. An 8-for-20 week brought the 18-year old's triple slash line up to .378/.478/.703 (in 46 PA), with fantastic plate discipline -- 17.4% BB, 24.3% K -- to boot. He's going to cool off at some point, but the strike zone control is for real, and the power (3 HR, .325 ISO) is coming along earlier than might be expected, making Singleton a prospect with serious helium right now.

Anthony Gose, OF-L, Clearwater: Gose keeps chugging along, plate discipline be damned.  He had a hit in every game this week save for yesterday, with the 10-for-30 week boosting his May averages to a solid .283/.347/.424.  He's still struggling to control the strike zone -- with a 5.5% BB and 26.2% K thus far on the season -- but at least his May (8.0% BB, 26.0% K) has been a touch better than his April (3.1% BB, 26.3% K) in that regard.  Another area that could use some substantial improvement is his base stealing: 19 swipes in 31 attempts (a 61.3% success rate) is disappointing for a guy with Gose's speed.

Colby Shreve, RHP, Lakewood: Shreve took almost two full years to recover from Tommy John surgery, and the organization has tried to bring him along slowly by starting the 22-year old in the Lakewood bullpen.  Last Wednesday was just Shreve's second start of the season, and it was easily his best outing, as the strikeouts that had been missing (just 8 in 18 innings heading in) showed up as part of a 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 BB, 6 K overall line.  Patience is still key with Shreve, as we may need to wait a bit before his command and his raw stuff get all the way back.

Scott Mathieson, RHP, Lehigh Valley: Mathieson is officially at the "biding his time" stage.  After surrendering just 1 hit in 2 innings this week while inducing 3 whiffs, he's sporting a 2.47 FIP and 23-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 20.2 innings. I can't imagine he wouldn't be a help to the big league pen at this point, but the Phillies are content to wait for an opening; if I were Bill Conlin (aka king of the world), I'd explore a deal with the Angels to send David Herndon down to hone his slider, and haul Mathieson up so the oft-injured righthander isn't wasting any more bullets in the minors.

Matt Rizzotti, 1B-L, Reading: I wouldn't have included a 24-year old first baseman two weeks in a row if he didn't absolutely tear the cover off the ball the past week, and the Long Island native certainly did that. Rizzotti went 8-for-16 since last Monday, bumping his small (29 PA) Double-A sample size up to an impressive .423/.500/.692 line.  At the absolute best he's another Ross Gload, but with the amount of money the Phillies have tied up in their core over the next few years, every $1 million or so saved by developing role players from within can be important.

B.J. Rosenberg, RHP, Clearwater: Rosenberg made two rather disastrous appearances for Reading back in April before hitting the DL with a right lat strain.  Now healthy, the Louisville product has popped back up in Clearwater, pitching an eventful but scoreless inning on Thursday (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K) before tossing a more straightforward frame on Sunday (1.0 IP, 2 K).  Word was that Rosenberg had been pitching through injury in Reading, so it will be interesting to see if the organization leaves him in Clearwater for a bit to build confidence, or sends him back up to Reading as soon as he's adjudged to be fully healthy.

Brandon Duckworth, RHP, Lehigh Valley: First off, I know -- Duckworth isn't a prospect in any way, shape or form, nor has he been since mid-2001.  So consider this entry part of the "minor league roundup" instead of the "prospect roundup."  I'll admit that I always liked Duckworth, in large part because of his solid minor league track record.  After coming off the DL back in late April, all the 34-year old righthander has done is become the IronPigs' best starter, as demonstrated by his two starts this week: 11.0 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 13 K.  Why does this matter?  Well, I'm thinking that this moves Duckworth to the front of the queue for "best option as emergency spot starter" -- though 40-man roster concerns may ultimately point back to Andrew Carpenter instead.

Harold Garcia, 2B-S, Clearwater: Speaking of back from the DL, Garcia jumped into the fray in Clearwater late last week.  A 23-year old Venezuelan, Garcia was solid if unspectacular in the SAL last year, posting an encouraging .291/.350/.414 line tempered only by spotty plate discipline (5.8% BB, 22.5% K).  So far, so good for the pivotman in rectifying his greatest weakness, as he's walked as many times as he's struck out (4 apiece), albeit through just 33 plate appearances.  He's a switch-hitter with some speed (42 steals last year) and some defensive ability (+13 runs according to TotalZone last year), so if he can tighten up that plate discipline, he could be a nice sleeper.

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