Phils and Baseball 2013 Now In Session With Spring Training Play

Utley, Hamels come out sharp in Phils’ spring opener


Second baseman notches RBI in first at-bat; starter tosses two shutout innings


CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros opened their Grapefruit League schedules Saturday with a game at Bright House Field.


It was the Astros’ first game in the American League.


Spring training


It also was Phillies second baseman Chase Utley’s first Spring Training game since 2010 because of knee injuries. He ripped a single up the middle on the first pitch he saw from Astros right-hander Lucas Harrell in the first inning to score the Phillies’ first run in an 8-3 loss.


The Astros took a 3-2 lead in the fourth, when Nate Freiman — who had two RBIs — and Carlos Corporan each singled to knock in runs.


Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels threw two scoreless innings. Harrell allowed four hits, two runs and one walk in two innings.


“Physically, I feel really strong,” Hamels said.


Cole Hamels pitching a complete game shutout v...


“I was just mainly trying to locate,” said Harrell, who could be the Astros’ Opening Day starter. “I didn’t locate very well, and the results showed that. A couple of times I made good pitches and got a lot of ground balls, which was a plus. I was pulling off on my front side a little bit, and a few pitches were pretty flat. Then I started making [pitches in] the second inning when I went back out to make sure my front shoulder was closed. Just trying to work [at keeping] the ball down and work the sinker.”


Robbie Grossman notched his first of two RBIs with a single, and Freiman added his second RBI in a two-run Astros fifth before Brandon Barnes clubbed a solo home run in the seventh.


Second baseman Pete Orr mashed the Phillies’ first home run of the spring, a solo shot in the eighth.


The Phillies committed four errors.


Up next for Phillies: Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay will make his Grapefruit League debut Sunday against the Tigers in Lakeland at 1:05 p.m. ET, live on Gameday Audio. Halladay is trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2012 season and says a revamped offseason training program has him moving in the right direction. Sunday will be his first true test in finding out if that program worked.


Todd Zolecki is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.




Oswalt Back? Utley Rebound? Charlie Looking For Bats Crushing Balls

Oswalt remains unsigned; Philly return possible

By Todd Zolecki /

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Roy Oswalt remains a free agent, and his agent said Thursday that Oswalt might wait to sign until later in the season.

Don’t be surprised if the Phillies make a run at him, if they need him.

Roy Oswalt

While there are multiple reports Oswalt’s top two choices are the Cardinals and Rangers, a source told on Thursday that Oswalt also is very interested in returning to Philadelphia. It is not a stretch to think that if something happens to one of the Phils’ starters that Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would sign Oswalt as a replacement.

Hitting foremost on Manuel’s mind this spring

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Charlie Manuel is setting a clear tone for his hitters in Spring Training.

The Phillies manager talked with Jimmy Rollins for more than 15 minutes in his office Thursday, on the eve of the team’s first full-squad workout Friday.

“We talked about how we wanted to play, we talked some about hitting,” Manuel said. “It was good. Jimmy’s always been a good student as far as knowing how to play the game and all about the game, and I felt like before we got going here that I would want to sit down and talk to him.”

Manuel wants his team to take a better approach at the plate, and he wants his hitters to talk more about their hitting during the season. He hopes that will help the Phillies avoid the postseason offensive slumps that played a big role in ending their last two seasons.

“I want to talk to all of our guys,” Manuel said. “I want our guys to talk about hitting. I want guys like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins and [Ryan] Howard and [Shane] Victorino … I want to have more talk about hitting, talking about getting good balls to hit, not giving away at-bats, things like that.

“With our pitching and everything like that, we need to score the runs that we’re supposed to score. If we have a guy on third base with less than two outs early in the game, we need to score one run. If we have two guys on, we need to make sure we score one run, instead of a guy standing there maybe trying to bust the game open.”

Manuel also confirmed Rollins will be his leadoff hitter this season, which is not a surprise.

Utley has utmost confidence he’ll bounce back

By Todd Zolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies saved arguably the biggest storyline for last.

Almost every day since Spring Training started, the Phillies sent a different player to the media room at Bright House Field for a news conference. Jonathan Papelbon spoke last Friday about leaving the Red Sox and joining the Phillies. Cole Hamels talked Monday about his impending free agency. Roy Halladay spoke Tuesday about his continued pursuit of a World Series championship and his (embellished) encounter with an anaconda on the Amazon River. Ryan Howard talked Wednesday about his recovery from left Achilles surgery.

Chase Utley spoke Thursday.

Chase Utley rounding the bases after hitting a...

Utley could mean the most to the Phillies’ success in 2012. He certainly seems to be the most intriguing player to watch. While Howard’s recovery is important, he might not feel completely like himself until next season. And while Hamels’ future with the Phillies is key, Utley is trying to bounce back from the worst season of his career while playing with a chronic right knee condition.

If Utley bounces back this season, it would be a tremendous boost to the lineup and make the Phillies feel a little better about their future.

If he’s unable to bounce back, it could signal a premature end to one of the best second basemen of his generation.

Naturally, Utley likes his chances of turning around his career.

“I think I can overcome this without a doubt,” Utley said. “I have pride in how I play and the way I play and that’s not going to change.”

But pride can’t overcome an unhealthy body. Utley missed the first 46 games last season because of a chronic knee condition. Utley avoided surgery, which could have ended his career, but he could not keep his legs strong through the rest of the season. The result? He hit just .259 with 11 home runs, 44 RBIs and a .769 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 398 at-bats. Utley showed little of the power he had in the past. His .769 OPS was his worst since his rookie season in 2003.

It was a precipitous fall for Utley. He had a .915 OPS as a first-time everyday second baseman in 2005. It went to .906 in ’06, .976 in ’07, .915 in ’08, .905 in ’09 and .832 in ’10 before dipping under .800 last season.

Utley said he is confident he can return to his All-Star form.

“It feels significantly better,” he said. “Last year, it was very uncomfortable, especially the first week [of Spring Training]. Right now, I think I’m in a good place. The goal for me is to kind of stay in the same place and improve in small increments and not try to irritate it to the point where I’d have to slow down. So we’ll see how it goes.”

Utley changed his offseason workout routine, incorporating more stretching and manual therapy and not as much weightlifting. He tried to make his legs stronger without putting as much strain and pounding on his knees.

“This offseason, I was able to strengthen them, maybe not quite as much as in the past, but they’re definitely stronger than they were going into last year,” Utley said. “My goal now is to maintain that. Ideally, it would be nice to make them stronger, but at the same time, I have to keep them loose and take it easy.”

Utley will have a lighter workload this spring. Fewer hours on the field, maybe fewer games. The whole idea is keeping him as fresh and strong as possible for the season. And even then, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Utley won’t play more than 150 games this season.

“It’s something I’m always going to have to monitor, forever, to be honest,” Utley said of his knee. “But I think I have a game plan put together that I’m able to overcome it. But again, it’s something I’m going to have to deal with on a daily basis, and I’m willing to put the effort into making sure it’s OK.”

Utley struggled so much last season that Manuel finally pulled him from the No. 3 spot in the lineup. It’s likely Utley opens the season back in that spot, but Manuel might be forced to pull him again if he can’t knock in runs like he has in the past.

“It’s always frustrating when you’re not playing well,” Utley said. “Even when I am playing well, I’m still not satisfied. You still have to have that drive on a daily basis and try to figure out ways to help the team win.”

Utley had a chance to help his team in the ninth inning in Game 5 of the National League Division Series. He flied out to the warning track, momentarily giving Phillies fans in the ballpark hope that the team might tie the game.

Utley acknowledged there were a few balls last season that he thought he squared up, but couldn’t drive like he had in the past because of his weaker legs.

“I tried not to let it affect me mentally,” he said. “Once you think about it mentally, it’s going to change your approach and make you even more frustrated. And that’s something you don’t want to be. I tried to put it behind me. I tried to take every game the same way, try to find a way to win. Where that’s hitting a home run, getting on base, drawing a walk, getting hit by a pitch, those are the things I try to do on a daily basis.”

His ability to do all those things with regularity will play big in the Phillies’ success in 2012.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Time To Break Out The Bats and Balls!

Pitchers and catchers ready to get spring rolling

 By Doug Miller /

The Mariners already set up camp over the weekend. This week, everyone else joins them, with their tent stakes, sleeping bags and World Series dreams in tow.

On the sun-dappled diamonds of Arizona and Florida, Spring Training has arrived, with pitchers and catchers on their way to fill the complexes of the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues for the next six weeks prior to every baseball fan’s favorite two-word event: Opening Day.

Albert Pujols

For Seattle, this week’s jump on things was a necessity. The team will travel to Japan on March 22 for the regular-season Opening Series against the Oakland A’s on March 28-29, and with almost another week in between those games and their first regular-season game back in the U.S., it will give them the chance to start their ace, Felix Hernandez, in the first game on both continents, which means Games 1 and 3 of the 2012 campaign.

“Obviously that’s why we’re here early,” Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis said on Saturday from the team’s spring complex in Peoria, Ariz. “I don’t think it’s a secret we’re expecting Felix to start the first day, and I don’t want to leave here and have a game that counts on the 28th of March and not have him able to throw 75 pitches. We need to get him stretched out. So coming early kind of eliminates any pressure.”

As for the rest of the teams in the Major Leagues, the road to a championship starts this week, and there are plenty of questions to answer.

One of the big ones is whether last year’s World Series winners, the St. Louis Cardinals, can forge a new, victorious identity without their best player — Albert Pujols, who signed with the Angels in early December — and legendary manager, Tony La Russa.

The Redbirds will, however, see their staff ace, Adam Wainwright, return when pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter, Fla., on Saturday. Wainwright spent last year on the shelf thanks to Tommy John surgery. They’ll also have to see how they jell under the watch of new manager and former player Mike Matheny. Plus, veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran, fresh off a rejuvenated 2011 season, joins the effort to replace Pujols’ bat in what became a very potent lineup by last October.

The runners-up in last year’s big dance, the Texas Rangers, face a similar spring of change. Gone is C.J. Wilson, who, like Pujols, jumped ship to the loaded-on-paper Angels. Now with the club is Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish, a gamble for Texas of well over $100 million. When the Rangers’ pitchers and catchers show up in Surprise, Ariz., on Feb. 22, they’ll do so with Darvish and another new starter, who happens to be their former closer — Neftali Feliz. They’ll also have veteran Joe Nathan to pitch the ninth inning.

About an hour from Surprise, the Angels will carry that glittering new roster and some weighty expectations into their digs at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Pujols, Wilson, LaTroy Hawkins, Chris Iannetta and a core of younger players, including top prospect Mike Trout, plus an on-the-mend Kendrys Morales, will take the first steps, along with new general manager Jerry Dipoto, toward re-annexing the American League West for the first time 2009. Their pitchers and catchers will first filter in Sunday.

Spring training - A Cactus League game between...

Meanwhile, across the country, the annual high-intensity battle for the AL East will begin in earnest, with the Red Sox and Yankees doing their best to forget about how their 2011 seasons ended. The Red Sox will file into their new complex in Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday with a new manager (Bobby Valentine), a new general manager (Ben Cherington) and new players (Andrew Bailey, Mark Melancon, Cody Ross and others). The Yankees, meanwhile, will check into Tampa on Sunday with a beefed-up pitching staff, having added Hiroki Kuroda via free agency and Michael Pineda via trade.

The Tampa Bay Rays — playoff participants in each of the past two seasons and three of the past four — have seen some turnover, too. They’ll hit their spring camp Feb. 20 with Carlos Pena, Luke Scott and Jose Molina in the fold, and they’ll see what their top pitching prospect, Matt Moore, can do after stunning the world with his Game 1 gem in last year’s AL Division Series.

The Detroit Tigers won’t be far away, either. Reigning AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander will headline the defending AL Central champion Tigers’ pitchers and catchers, who will arrive in Lakeland, Fla., on Sunday, and the Tigers’ new $200 million man, Prince Fielder, will check in soon after to buoy an already-imposing lineup featuring Miguel Cabrera, who has slimmed down and will take on the challenge of switching back to third base.

In Clearwater, the Phillies will be back at it, boasting their fantastic rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels (plus Joe Blanton and Vance Worley) and their veteran lineup. They’ll be hoping for a quick recovery for first baseman Ryan Howard and a return to a full season of health for second baseman Chase Utley, and they’ll be hoping that an influx of new veterans — Ty Wigginton, Jim Thome and Laynce Nix on the offensive end, Chad Qualls in the bullpen — will make the puzzle pieces fit alongside the club’s huge offseason prize, closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Ryan Howard (left) and Albert Pujols

The Phillies, however, have an intriguing competitor right in their own division. The Miami Marlins have a new name, sort of, plus a new ballpark, new uniforms, and a new attitude, proven by their stunning winter haul of shortstop Jose Reyes, starter Mark Buehrle and closer Heath Bell to the tune of almost $200 million. They also traded for starter Carlos Zambrano, will be counting on a healthy season for ace Josh Johnson, and will hope that Hanley Ramirez’s transition to third base not only goes smoothly but results in a better season for their star infielder. It all begins Feb. 22 in Jupiter for the Marlins and their new skipper, Ozzie Guillen.

Out West, the D-backs will settle into their second spring at Salt River Fields (pitchers and catchers show up on Feb. 20) with an unexpected NL West crown under their belts and what they hope will be improvements in the form of starter Trevor Cahill, slugger Jason Kubel, and a full season of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

The Giants, winners of the World Series in 2010 and victims of injuries last year, hit Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday with the comforting knowledge that catcher Buster Posey should be ready to go soon, along with closer Brian Wilson, and that new additions in the outfield (Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan) provide offensive spark to a lineup that needs plenty of it.

Other stories waiting to be written abound. Which teams that came this close last year have the goods to turn it around this spring? Will it be the Atlanta Braves, who need better health and production from the youthful trio of Jason Heyward, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson? The Brewers, who lost Fielder but gained Aramis Ramirez? Or will it be the Dodgers, who added veteran tweaks (including Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, Mark Ellis, Jerry Hairston and Adam Kennedy) to a roster that played impressive baseball in the final month of 2011?

And which teams will the real shockers of the season, possibly poised for greatness on the back fields and in the hitting cages of the quiet spring mornings to come?

Will it be the Kansas City Royals, with Eric Hosmer leading a corps of young, exciting players? Will it be the Washington Nationals, who boast a pitching rotation led by phenom Stephen Strasburg and new acquisition Gio Gonzalez and also have Jayson Werth, Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman in their lineup? And how about the Cleveland Indians, who got off to such a hot start last year, fell victim to a lack of depth, but worked all winter — adding Casey Kotchman and Derek Lowe to a large group of newcomers — to shore up their deficiencies?

And what about the guys who haven’t signed yet or might be traded in the days to come? The names Roy Oswalt, Yoenis Cespedes, Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero, Magglio Ordonez, Kosuke Fukudome, Jon Garland, Mike Gonzalez, Michael Wuertz, Raul Ibanez, Hideki Matsui, Derrek Lee, Miguel Tejada, Jason Varitek, Javier Vazquez, and, yes, Manny Ramirez are still out there, waiting to figure out where they’ll spend the spring … or at least part of it. And they’re not the only ones still on the board.

But as the week kicks off and the Mariners pitchers run through their fielding drills and pop gloves in early bullpen sessions in Peoria, it’s clear that baseball has arrived once again.

The answers to all these questions should, too.

Doug Miller is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB and read his MLBlog,Youneverknow. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils Pitchers & Catchers Report For Spring Training 1 Week From Today


MLB announces Spring Training workout dates

Following are the first Spring Training workout dates, subject to change, both for pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs:

English: Baseball with clock to represent a &q...

American League
(Pitchers & catchers | full squad)

BALTIMORE: Sunday, Feb. 19 | Friday, Feb. 24
BOSTON: Tuesday, Feb. 21 | Saturday, Feb. 25
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: Thursday, Feb. 23 | Tuesday, Feb. 28
CLEVELAND: Wednesday, Feb. 22 | Saturday, Feb. 25
DETROIT: Monday, Feb. 20 | Friday, Feb. 24
KANSAS CITY: Tuesday, Feb. 21 | Saturday, Feb. 25
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: Monday, Feb. 20 | Monday, Feb. 27
MINNESOTA: Sunday, Feb. 19 | Friday, Feb. 24
NEW YORK YANKEES: Monday, Feb. 20 | Saturday, Feb. 25
OAKLAND: Sunday, Feb. 19 | Saturday, Feb. 25
SEATTLE: Sunday, Feb. 12 | Saturday, Feb. 18
TAMPA BAY: Tuesday, Feb. 21 | Sunday, Feb. 26
TEXAS: Thursday, Feb. 23 | Sunday, Feb. 26
TORONTO: Wednesday, Feb. 22 | Saturday, Feb. 25

The first pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training on Feb. 19. (Getty Images)

National League
(Pitchers & catchers | full squad)

ARIZONA: Tuesday, Feb. 20 | Sunday, Feb. 25
ATLANTA: Monday, Feb. 20 | Saturday, Feb. 25
CHICAGO CUBS: Sunday, Feb. 19 | Friday, Feb. 24
CINCINNATI: Sunday, Feb. 19 | Friday, Feb. 24
COLORADO: Monday, Feb. 20 | Monday, Feb. 27
HOUSTON: Monday, Feb. 20 | Sunday, Feb. 26
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: Wednesday, Feb. 22 | Tuesday, Feb. 28
MIAMI: Wednesday, Feb. 22 | Sunday, Feb. 26
MILWAUKEE: Monday, Feb. 20 | Saturday, Feb. 25
NEW YORK METS: Wednesday, Feb. 22 | Monday, Feb. 27
PHILADELPHIA: Sunday, Feb. 19 | Friday, Feb. 24
PITTSBURGH: Sunday, Feb. 19 | Friday, Feb. 24
ST. LOUIS: Sunday, Feb. 19 | Friday, Feb. 24
SAN DIEGO: Monday, Feb. 20 | Saturday, Feb. 25
SAN FRANCISCO: Sunday, Feb. 19 | Friday, Feb. 24
WASHINGTON: Monday, Feb. 20 | Saturday, Feb. 25

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Guess What?

Football season is officially over.

By Bloggo Schloggo (Charles Oliver)

It was a good Super Bowl game yesterday. Not a great one but a good one. Madonna put on a great half-time show. I was glad the 53 year old showed some good taste and judgement. She wasn’t scantily clad and kept the sexual gyrations to a minimum considering Super Bowls are supposed to be family friendly extravaganzas. There were no wardrobe malfunctions.


The Skipper (Charley Manuel) looking to the future.

Brady and Manning acquitted themselves well on the field of play I thought. Each playing well enough to win. The game could have gone either way. The clock deemed the Patriots as second best and the Giants champions in the end.

To think that during the regular season the Eagles whupped the G-men twice leaves one to wonder how the season may have played out had Vick not missed so much time due to injuries. Hell even the lowly Deadskins beat the New Yorkers.

The Giants got hot at the end of the season when it counts most. That being said I tip my hat to them achieving what a couple months ago looked unachievable <– I know that’s not a real word but it works here for these purposes.

Anyway now that football is over until next September it’s time to zone in on the national pastime. Although many would argue that the NFL has replaced the MLB with that description. For me it’s full speed ahead baseball mode. Time to focus on spring training only a month away (can you believe that?). Also it’s time to start considering fantasy baseball line-ups.

The sun gets a little higher in the sky and the hours of daylight are increasing with each passing day. Time to sharpen up the pencils and clean off the keyboard. Two months from today a voice shouts, “Play ball!”. With that we begin another journey of 162 games through spring, summer and fall. Dreams of the playoffs and world series. Will 2012 bring the Phillies back to the position of World Champions? Can they win 102 games again? With the improved Marlins and Nationals I seriously doubt they can win 102 again but, I feel they have a really good shot at going all the way. Like time decided the Super Bowl, time will tell what fortunes lie ahead for the Phils. 


Prospects and Spring Training On The Horizon

De Fratus, Colvin highlight Phils’ top prospects

By Spencer Fordin /

At the start of the 2011 season, unveiled Top 10 Prospect lists for all 30 Major League organizations on Prospect Watch. Over the course of the season, those lists changed due to graduations to the big leagues, trades and performances. With the season completed, will review how the prospects on those lists fared in 2011.


Clearwater, FLA by Ricardo y Marta

Justin De Fratus still can’t believe his timing. The right-handed reliever arrived in the big leagues on the same day that his Philadelphia teammates celebrated their National League East title, and he hopes to have learned enough in September that he can be a part of several stretch drives to come.

“Some people play their entire careers and never get a celebration, and I got to experience it on the first day,” he said. “It wasn’t exactly my celebration to be a part of, so I kind of just stood in the back. I want to experience that type of success forever, as long as I possibly can, and I know I have to work hard. I do feel more a part of the team now because I did help win an important game.”

De Fratus, a former 11th-round draftee, steadily rose through Philadelphia’s organization over the past few seasons and began last year at Double-A Reading. The 24-year-old went 4-0 with a 2.10 ERA and eight saves before a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he continued to thrive.

De Fratus made 28 appearances at Triple-A before he was summoned to Philadelphia, and he finished the year with five relief outings for the NL East champions. De Fratus even earned his first big league win before shutting it down for the season.

“Obviously, it was my first time in the big leagues,” he said. “And when I got home after spending time in Clearwater during the playoffs, I got to go home and really reflect on the whole experience with my family and good friends. It was a very cool experience. My family was actually there with me when I made my debut in Philadelphia, so they got to experience it, but as far as sitting down and getting a chance to reflect on the whole situation, I didn’t get to until I got home in California.”

De Fratus has controlled the strike zone in the Minor Leagues, notching 85 walks and 379 strikeouts in 160 appearances. He’s also managed to limit home runs — just 12 in 379 2/3 innings — and he said that he began preparing for the big leagues the moment he arrived in Spring Training.

Photograph taken by Googie Man 17:33, 23 March...

Phillies’ top 10 prospects

  A look at how the Phillies’ Top 10 Prospects list looked at the beginning and end of the 2011 season:                               
No. Preseason Postseason
1. Domonic Brown, OF Colvin
2. Jonathan Singleton, 1B Valle
3. Jarred Cosart, RHP Biddle
4. Brody Colvin, RHP May
5. Sebastian Valle, C Altherr
6. Jesse Biddle, LHP Hernandez
7. Trevor May, RHP De Fratus
8. Aaron Altherr, SS Jiwan James, OF
9. Cesar Hernandez, 2B Jonathan Pettibone, RHP
10. Justin De Fratus, RHP Phillippe Aumont, RHP

Players in bold were removed from the list after reaching the rookie eligibility threshold.

“The first taste that I got was actually in Spring Training because I got to go to big league camp,” he said of last year’s Grapefruit League. “I got the taste of what it was like to be part of that organization and what it takes to win, the attitude with the Phillies. So when I got to the big leagues in September for those 12 days, there wasn’t anything different. They go about their business in Spring Training just as hard as they do during the season. It was a really cool thing to see and experience.”

Top 10 review

The Phillies have had their prospect list altered by the trade that brought Hunter Pence to Philadelphia and sent Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart to Houston. Outfielder Domonic Brown was also lost from consideration, but this time due to his graduation to the big leagues.

Brody Colvin, a projectable right-hander who spent last season with Class A Clearwater, ranks as the best prospect remaining in the farm system. Colvin went 3-8 with a 4.71 ERA for Clearwater last season, and the Phillies have been careful not to let him log too many innings.

The team’s best remaining positional prospect is 21-year-old catcher Sebastian Valle, who played in the Futures Game last year. Valle batted .284 with five home runs and 40 RBIs for Clearwater last season, and the Phillies may elect to challenge him with a promotion to Double-A Reading.

Organizational Player of the Year:’s Preseason Picks:

Hitter of the Year — Jonathan Singleton Singleton, who turned 20 in September, is still a massive prospect. The left-handed hitter already has plate discipline beyond his years, and scouts remain convinced that his frame will bring more power as he matures. He’ll have to reach his potential in Houston’s organization.

Pitcher of the Year — Jarred Cosart Cosart went 9-8 with a 3.92 ERA for Class A Clearwater, and the Astros promoted him for a quick test at Double-A Corpus Christi after the Pence trade. The right-hander went 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA in his first exposure to upper-level bats, and he’ll likely go right back to Corpus Christi this season. Cosart will need to iron out his walk rate in order to be successful at the higher levels.’s Postseason Selections

Hitter of the Year —  Matt Rizzotti Rizzotti, a former sixth-round Draft pick, made a positive full-season showing at Double-A Reading one year after laying waste to the circuit’s pitchers. Rizzotti, a first baseman, had batted .361 with a .452 on-base percentage in 77 games at Reading in 2010, foreshadowing his star turn. The 26-year-old hit .292 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs in 139 games for Reading last season.

Pitcher of the Year — Trevor May May repeated the level at Class A Clearwater last year and had a breakout season that saw him lead the Florida State League in strikeouts (208). The 22-year-old right-hander posted a 10-8 record with a 3.63 ERA, and he allowed just eight home runs in 27 starts for Clearwater last season.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.