The first month of the minor league season is over. Four more months to go. It’s important for all minor league players to have good monthly production because each month’s stats are listed for the year on their statistical page on MiLB.com. The last thing they want to do is have a slump the last few days of the month and see those stats plummet for all to see for the rest of the year. Let’s take a look at my Top Ten Players for April in the Phillies farm system.
1. Trevor May
It should come as no surprise that the No. 1 prospect did well in April but he did really well. No one could have predicted that he would get five starts and win them all and go 5-0 for the month. Two other pitchers also went 5-0 at AA, one each in the Southern and Texas Leagues but neither of them could match May’s 0.97 WHIP (walks, hits per innings pitched). Trevor May has live up to all the hype and then some.
2. Austin Wright
Wright has come out of nowhere to be the No. 1 left handed starter in the system. In his last two starts he has struck out 20 in only 12 innings. He leads the Florida State League in strikeouts with 33, while pitching only 23 innings. Wright went 3-0 in four starts for the Clearwater Threshers. I would not be surprised to see Austin in Reading soon.
3. Tyler Cloyd
Can you believe Tyler had a six inning opening day perfect game for Lehigh Valley and found himself send down the next day to AA? He was an emergency starter while scheduled starter Dave Bush was serving a suspension incurred from a spring training brush back incident. Cloyd has not let up for Reading. Combined in five starts at AAA and AA he has gone 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA. He should soon be pitching for Lehigh Valley on a permanent basis.
4. Tyson Gillies
Tyson proved how important it is to finish the month strong. On the final day of the month he went 3 for 4 and finished April raising his average to .287 and was key in May getting his fifth win. His center field defense has been just as important in Reading’s phenomenal 16-7 record for the month. What’s more important Gillies has made it through the month without injury. He played in only three games last season and 28 games in 2010 because of injuries.
5. Cody Overbeck
Cody showed how important it is to finish the last ten games of the month strong. During that time he hit .400 including a home run in Lehigh Valley’s last game of the month at Coca Cola Park . For the month Cody is crushing left handed pitching at .391 pace and deserves a call up to the Show soon!
6. Jake Diekman
I can’t believe Jake is not pitching out of the pen for the Phillies right now. The top left handed reliever in the organization has put up outstanding numbers for the IronPigs. Diekman has a 0.82 ERA in nine relief appearances during the month, striking out 17 over 11 innings. He is 3 for 3 in saves and has picked up two holds in set up roles.
7. Jordan Whatcott
This guy has been all but unhitable in April. Last Monday night we watched him pitch three shut out innings to pick up an extra inning win to go 2-0 for Clearwater. He then received the call up to Reading and in his second game with them tonight he picked up his first save of the season in Trevor May’s win. Combined in eight games of relief between the two teams, Jordan has pitched 16 scoreless innings giving up only seven hits while striking out 17. He has quickly emerged as the top right handed relief pitcher in the system. Don’t look for him to stay long in Reading on the way up to the top.
8. Brian Pointer
If you picked Brian Pointer as the player in the entire Phillies organization to lead them in home runs and RBIs then you know your Phillies baseball. With Lakewood this season Brian has hit five homers and has driven in 19 runs. No one in the system at any level can top those numbers for April. Just three games ago he came in off the bench for an injured player and hit a grand slam and then doubled to score the winning run in extra innings. The Phillies organization at all levels needs more bats like Pointer’s as the season progresses.
9. Adam Morgan
Adam is yet to pick up a win this season as a starter for Clearwater but if you are a left hander and you can throw 92-94 as he did on opening night in Dunedin you have a future in the big leagues. He is second in strike outs in the Florida State League only to Austin Wright.
10. Darin Ruf
Ruf finished April third in the Eastern League in hitting with a gaudy .378 batting average for the month. If I were calling the shots Jim Thome would be placed on the DL, Cody Overbeck would be called up to take his place on the Phillies roster and Darin Ruf would be the IronPigs starting first baseman to start the month of May. I am not so that won’t happen, but it should.
That’s my top ten Phillies minor league players for April. Baseball Betsey and I were able to see about half of the Thresher games in person and watched several IronPigs games on MiLB-TV. We also saw on MiLB-TV several of the Reading games in Harrisburg and one Lakewood game in Hagerstown. Without a doubt the Phillies organization is very deep in pitching but does not have many hitters who can help the big league team right now. Let’s hope Cody Overbeck and Jake Diekman get shots with the big league team soon. They are ready for the Show based on what we have seen so far in the minor league season.