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Minors Notes: Lakewood clinches title, AAA affiliate finalized

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Update [2006-8-30 12:16:53 by dajafi]: The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons also clinched a playoff spot Tuesday night with their 9-8 win over Syracuse. What remains to be seen is how, if at all, the Barons' playoff push impacts the Phils' decisions as far as callups when rosters expand on Friday. The Inqy predicts that Carlos Ruiz, who hit his 16th HR of the season Tuesday night, and Brian Sanches, who notched his 18th save, will be recalled.

Two brief notes about the Phillies' minor-league affiliates:

  • The Lakewood BlueClaws of the A-level South Atlantic League clinched their first-ever playoff berth Sunday with an 8-3 victory that gave them the SAL's Northern Division second-half title. The BlueClaws are 44-19 since the mid-season break. As with every Phillies affiliate, Lakewood has few offensive standouts but an abundance of strong pitchers. Outfielders Jeremy Slayden and Mike Spidale are having solid years, but both are 24 and neither looks like more than a fringe major-league prospect. Infielder Wellinson Baez and catcher Lou Marson, who came into the season as prospects, both have hit under .240. Lakewood's top three starters, however, all project as possible major-league contributors. 19 year-old Carlos Carrasco (11-6, 2.19, 152 strikeouts in 152.1 IP) might be the organization's best prospect; Matt Maloney (16-8, 1.99, 172 K in 162.2 IP), a 22 year-old lefty, has been the team's best starter all year; and Josh Outman (14-6, 2.89, 153 K in 149.2 IP), a 21 year-old left-hander, had his 37-inning scoreless streak snapped in Sunday's division-clinching win.

  • The Phils' AAA affiliate will be on the move in each of the next two seasons. The club's agreement with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre expires at the end of the 2006 season, and two Allentown-based businessmen have won approval for their purchase of the Ottawa Lynx franchise. The problem is that there is no stadium in Allentown; construction on an 8,000 seat facility begins this week, and is expected to be finished in time for the 2008 season. For next year, unfortunately, the Phils' top affiliate will be based in Ottawa--about 463 miles (or 772 km) from Philadelphia.