"I really believe that talent-wise, he is further along at the same stage as Michael Bourn was," said a scout last month. "He kind of reminds me of Michael a little bit." The Phillies traded Bourn to the Astros in the Brad Lidge trade.
Although Villar was not named to Baseball America's top 50 list, the 19-year-old Dominican Republic native was considered the Phillies' top shortstop prospect. In his first two seasons, he played a combined 104 games. So far this year, he's played 100 games for Class A Lakewood.
This season, he has hit .272 while collecting two home runs, 36 RBI and 38 stolen bases. But one statistic that stands out as much is his 42 errors this season.
"He can run. He can throw. He's a switch hitter," said Chuck LaMar, director of professional scouting for the Phillies. "He's made some errors at shortstop this year in the South Atlantic League. But so did a lot of quality shortstops. It's a hard position for a young player to play in the South Atlantic League."
A 19-year-old Derek Jeter once committed 56 errors in his second season playing in the South Atlantic League.
Villar first signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent in May 2008.
The Astros were reportedly seeking Jonathan Singleton, but the Phillies did not part with the 18-year-old first baseman from single-A Lakewood on Thursday. In 70 games this season, Singleton is hitting .312 and has collected 12 home runs and 57 RBIs.
"We think he's one of the finer players in our minor- league system," LaMar said. "He's a player that we think has a chance to continue to progress."
Contact staff writer Mario Aguirre at 215-854-4550 or firstname.lastname@example.org