(Reading, Pa.)---The Philadelphia Phillies have announced the 2012 Opening Day roster for the Double-A Reading Phillies. Four of the organizations top 10 prospects ranked by Baseball America will begin the season in Reading. Twenty-one players on Readings squad were originally drafted or signed by the Phillies and 14 played with the R-Phils last season.
Leading the way for the R-Phils is right-handed pitcher Trevor May. May, who was the recipient of the 2011 Paul Owens Award as the best pitcher in the Phillies farm system, was 10-8 with a 3.63 ERA in 27 starts for Clearwater (A+) in 2011. The Washington native had the most strikeouts (208) by a Philadelphia minor league pitcher since at least 1980 (as far back as individual Philadelphia minor league records go). He also led the Florida State League in both strikeouts and shutouts (2).
Joining May are fellow Baby Aces Jonathan Pettibone and Julio Rodriguez. Pettibone led the FSL in innings pitched last season, going 10-11 with a 2.96 ERA over 161.0 innings for Clearwater. The 21-year old also allowed three earned runs or less in 24 of his 27 starts. He was named the fourth-best prospect in the Phillies minor league system by Baseball America. Rodriguez led the FSL in wins (16) last season with Clearwater, where he held opponents to a .186 batting average (102-for-548). He ended the season going 16-7 with a 2.76 ERA.
Tyler Cloyd and David Buchanan also will be starting pitchers alongside the Baby Aces. Cloyd split time between both Clearwater and Reading in 2011 and posted a 2.30 ERA over his final 10 starts of the season. Buchanan spent most of 2011 in Lakewood (A) before being called up to Clearwater for his last six starts of the season.
Third-ranked prospect Sebastian Valle will be behind the plate for Reading this season. The promising catcher hit .284 in 91 games for Clearwater in 2011 with five home runs and 40 RBI. Valle was also selected to the World Team roster for the MLB All-Star Futures Game in Phoenix. Also backing up home plate will be Steve Lerud, who spent 2011 with Bowie (AA). He recorded a .994 fielding percentage with the BaySox, committing just two errors over the course of the season.
2010 and 2011 Reading Phillies MVP Michael Spidale returns in 2012 for his sixth season with the team. Spidale became the R-Phils all-time leader in hits (554) and games played (502) in 2012, while finishing second in the Eastern League in hits (161) and third in average (.326). Fellow outfielder Stephen Susdorf also returns to Reading. The Fresno State product batted .414 with runners on base and .367 with runners in scoring position before having his season cut short at the end of July with a right knee sprain.
A trio of Clearwater standouts round out the outfield roster as Leandro Castro, Jiwan James, and Tyson Gillies will start the year in Reading. Gillies, who was one of three players originally traded to Philadelphia from Seattle for Cliff Lee in 2009, had his season end prematurely after suffering injuries to his left hamstring and left foot. He formerly played in Reading during the 2010 season. James, the ninth-best prospect according to Baseball America, led Clearwater in triples (6) last season and stole 31 bases. Playing all three outfield positions in 2011 for Clearwater, Castro had 21 multi-hit games prior to having his season cut short in June with a left shin inflammation.
Former major league player Tug Hulett leads the way for the Reading Phillies infield in 2012. Hulett formerly played with the Seattle Mariners (2008) and Kansas City Royals (2009) and spent last season with the Syracuse Chiefs (AAA). 21-year old Cesar Hernandez will see time at second base for Reading this year. Hernandez set professional highs in games (119, at-bats (421), runs (47), hits (113), home runs (4), and RBI (37) for Clearwater in 2011. First baseman Darin Ruf will also make his R-Phils debut in 2012. In Clearwater last season, Ruf led the FSL in doubles (43) and total bases (245). He also hit 17 home runs for the Threshers. Former Baltimore prospect Miguel Abreu will also be a member of the infield roster. Abreu stole 39 bases for Frederick (A+) in 2011, tying for fourth-place in the Carolina League.
Reading returnees Tim Kennelly and Troy Hanzawa will see infield time this season. Kennelly spent his off-season leading the Perth Heat to their second consecutive Australian Baseball League Championship. He played six positions for Reading last season, and also saw time with the Philadelphia roster during this seasons spring training. A Honolulu native, Hanzawa spent a majority of last season in Clearwater before being called up to Reading for the final eight games of the year. Former Reading infielder Harold Garcia will start the year on the disabled list after undergoing microfracture surgery in early March.
The Reading bullpen is bolstered by the return of six former R-Phils pitchers in 2011. Tyson
Brummett, Michael Cisco, Justin Friend, Chris Kissock, B.J. Rosenberg, and
newly-transitioned reliever J.C. Ramirez lead the way for the R-Phils. Juan
Morillo and Jay Johnson are the only new members of the staff.
Morillo has seen time in the majors with both Colorado and Minnesota and hasnt
played since 2010 after recovering from right elbow surgery in 2011. Johnson began his
professional career last season with Lakewood, where 28 of his 40 appearances were
scoreless. Jordan Ellis and Chance Chapman will start
the season on the disabled list for the team.
Former Reading Phillies catcher Dusty Wathan, who managed Clearwater
the past two seasons to a 140-135 record, will manage the R-Phils in 2012. Pitching coach Bob
Milacki and hitting coach Frank Cacciatore return to the team
for their third and fifth season, respectively. Athletic Trainer Jonathan May
and strength coach Justin Miloszewski round out the coaching staff.