Former pitcher off to a Savery start in Phillies minor leagues

Former pitcher Joe Savery is leading the Florida State League in hitting.
Former pitcher Joe Savery is leading the Florida State League in hitting.
Posted: April 12, 2011

ONE WEEKEND in the books and guess who's leading the Florida State League in hitting?

That would be Clearwater's Joe Savery.

Through yesterday, Savery was (and this is not a typo) 14-for-18 (.778) with a homer, three doubles and two RBI. He went 2-for-3 last night and his average actually fell.

Yes, it's early and he's doing it for the Class A Threshers. But still . . .

By now, Savery's attempt to become the next Babe Ruth or Rick Ankiel has been well-chronicled. Quick recap: Savery, a 6-3, 215-pound lefthander, was the Phillies' first-round draft choice back in 2007 out of Rice University. At first, he was pretty darn good. As recently as 2009, he was putting up quality minor league numbers, going a combined 16-6 at Double A Reading and Triple A Lehigh Valley (ERA was a tad high at 4.40).

Then came last season's 1-12 mushroom cloud at Lehigh Valley. And this was no hard-luck 1-12: He allowed 154 hits and 51 walks in 127 innings with a 4.66 ERA. Savery realized that if he planned to continue playing baseball for a living, he'd better become a baserunner instead of allowing them.

Now he's playing first base and designated hitter for the Threshers.

Success as a hitter wouldn't exactly qualify as a miracle for Savery. The year the Phillies drafted him, he hit .356 as a junior in 275 at-bats at Rice. And last season, as a DH for the IronPigs, he went 16-for-46 (.348) with a homer.

So is this a realistic dream for the big Texan?

"We'll see," offered Chuck LaMar, the Phillies' player development and scouting director. "Time will tell. He got off to good start."


The Phillies received three players when they dealt Cliff Lee to Seattle after the 2009 season. The big gem was supposed to be mammoth righty Phillippe Aumont, the Mariners' top pick in 2007 (11th overall).

He promptly went a combined 3-11 with a 5.68 ERA between Clearwater and Double A Reading.

The rub: Aumont was almost exclusively a reliever in the Mariners' organization. And he was quite successful in 2009, his first full pro season, picking up 16 saves between Class A and Double A. The Phils got him and tried to make him a starter. No more. He's now in the back end of Reading's bullpen, and the organization remains very high on him.

"We like his size, his stuff, we think he can be a major league pitcher," LaMar said of the 6-7, 255-pounder. "He struggled as a starter, but we have him back in the bullpen now. Also, he was one of the most improved players coming out of spring training."

So far, he's been impressive in two outings: 2 innings, no runs, four strikeouts, no hits, one walk.


* Clearwater righty Brody Colvin was placed on the disabled list yesterday after leaving Sunday's start in the third inning. He's a highly touted prospect and several news outlets are saying it's a back injury.

* The Phillies picked up veteran infielder Ronnie Belliard for second-base insurance after Chase Utley went down with a knee injury. He's playing third at Lehigh Valley and is 8-for-15 (.533) through last night. Josh Barfield is manager Ryne Sandberg's regular second baseman.

* Lefthander Ryan Sasaki, currently on the roster of the Phillies' Gulf Coast League affiliate, received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Sasaki, a Texas native, appeared in 11 GCL games last year after being selected in the 13th round of the 2009 draft.

* Lehigh Valley won its season opener last Thursday, a 7-2 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It was the first time in the franchise's 4-year history that the IronPigs went above .500. (432 games). They lost their next two but won last night.

* Righthander Vance Worley earned the Opening Day win for the IronPigs. And it was impressive: six innings, no runs, four hits, nine strikeouts and one walk. Worley's on our radar. He is only 23 and went 10-7 with a 3.36 ERA last season between Reading and Lehigh Valley.

* Big first baseman Matt Rizzotti got a nice look in spring training on the strength of his mammoth 2010 numbers (.343, 17 homers, 76 RBI), racked up in stops at Clearwater, Reading and Lehigh Valley. He's back at Reading this year and off to a torrid start: 8-for-19 (.421), a homer and four doubles. Trade bait, since the Phils seem to be covered at first base for the time being?


Lehigh Valley (AAA)

Today: vs. Syracuse, 10:35 a.m.

Tomorrow: at Rochester, 7:05

Thursday: at Rochester, 12:05

Friday: at Rochester, 7:05

Saturday: at Syracuse, 2

Sunday: at Syracuse, 2

Monday: vs. Scranton-WB, 6

Batting leaders

Jeff Larish, 1B, .500, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Ronnie Belliard, 2B, .462, 0 HR; 1 RBI

Brandon Moss, RF, .429. 0 HR, 1 RBI

Pitching leaders

Eddie Bodine, 0-1, 1.50

Vance Worley 1-0, 0.00

Nate Bump 0-0, 0.00

Reading (AA)

Tonight: at New Hampshire, 6:35

Tomorrow: at New Hampshire, 6:35

Thursday: vs. Akron, 7:05

Friday: vs. Akron, 7:05

Saturday: vs. Akron, 6:05

Sunday: vs. Akron, 1:05

Monday: vs. Eric, 6:35

Batting leaders

Tuffy Gosewisch, C, .500, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Fidel Hernandez, 2B, .375, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Matt Rizzotti, 1B, .333. 0 HR, 0 RBI

Pitching leaders

Chris Kissock, 0-1, 3.00

Austin Hyatt, 1-0, 1.80

Ryan Edell, 1-0, 5.40

Clearwater (A)

Tonight: at Daytona, 7:05

Tomorrow: at Daytona, 7:05

Thursday: at Bradenton 7:05

Friday: at Bradenton, 7:05

Saturday: at Bradenton, 7:05

Sunday: vs. Daytona, 6

Monday: vs. Daytona, 7

Batting leaders

Joe Savery, DH, .800, 2 HR, 17 RBI

Leandro Castro, OF .467,, 2 HR, 7 RBI

Jonathan Singleton, 1B, .333, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Pitching leaders

Jarred Cosart, 1-0, 0.00

Tyler Cloyd, 0-0, 3.00

Trevor May, 0-0 3.00

Lakewood (A)

Tonight: vs. Greensboro, 6:35

Tomorrow: vs. Greensboro, 6:35

Thursday: vs. Greensboro, 6:35

Friday: at Hagerstown, 6:35

Saturday: at Hagerstown, 6:35

Sunday: at Hagerstown, 1:05

Monday: at Hagerstown, 10:35 a.m.

Batting leaders

Torre Langley, C, .333, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Cameron Rupp, C, .250, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Edgar Duran, SS, .200, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Pitching leaders

David Buchanan, 0-0, 0.00

Mario Hollands, 1-0, 0.00

Jesse Biddle, 0-1, 1.93

comments powered by Disqus