Prospects gained in Victorino, Pence trades show promise

Posted: August 13, 2012

Dusty Wathan, the manager for the double-A Reading Phillies, has been ecstatic about two of the additions acquired in trades that sent Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants.

Wathan is managing righthander Ethan Martin, who came over from the Dodgers, and catcher Tommy Joseph, who was the Giants' No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America.

Martin, who didn't receive a lot of attention in the deal, has gotten off to a great start at Reading. The 6-foot-2 Martin is 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his first two starts. He has struck out eight and walked two. On Wednesday, Martin allowed one run in 61/3 innings of a 7-2 victory at Trenton.

Before that, Martin had pitched for the Dodgers' double-A Chattanooga franchise in the Southern League. Combined, he is 10-6 with a 3.38 ERA in 1301/3 innings. Martin, 23, was the Dodgers' first-round draft choice in 2008.

"He has been outstanding," Wathan said in a phone interview after Wednesday's win. "He has a plus fastball, a plus curveball, and a slider."

At Reading, one of the keys will be to develop a fourth pitch.

"We will have to work with him on his change-up, but he has thrown tremendously for us and has a lot of upside."

Wathan, a former catcher, has been invaluable to the Phillies. First, he managed highly touted catcher Sebastian Valle, now at triple-A Lehigh Valley, and now he is managing Joseph.

"He has been outstanding and I couldn't ask any more for such an intelligent young catcher," Wathan said of Joseph. "He wants to learn and knows how important defense is."

Still, when talking about Joseph, who turned 21 last month, the main reports are about his offense.

"He is known for his bat, but he will be a plus defender and really works hard and wants to get better," Wathan said.

Entering the weekend Joseph was batting .259 (7 for 27) with one RBI in his brief time at Reading. He was at double-A Richmond before being traded and for the season with both teams he entered the weekend batting a combined .260 with eight home runs and 39 RBIs.

Even though Joseph will mainly play catcher, Wathan said he would also be used at first base.

"When he swings the bat the way he does, you want to keep him in the lineup," Wathan said. "So from time to time he will play a little first base."

Greene sidelined

Leftfielder Larry Greene, the Phillies' first selection in the 2011 draft and 39th overall pick, entered Friday having missed four games for Williamsport with a hamstring injury.

The 6-foot, 235-pound Greene entered the weekend hitting .249 with two home runs and 21 RBIs in 173 at-bats.

He was originally scheduled to play on Monday, but then tested his hamstring before the game and was pulled from the lineup. A Phillies team official said they were being cautious with him and didn't expect a prolonged absence.

Posting the zeroes

Lefthander Hoby Milner has had his suitcases packed in the last few months, doing a lot of traveling and some pretty good pitching.

The Phillies' seventh-round pick this year out of the University of Texas, Milner began his professional career at Williamsport and has since moved to Lakewood.

If he keeps pitching the way he has, other moves could be coming.

On Wednesday, Milner was the winning pitcher in Lakewood's 8-0 victory over the visiting Kanapolis Intimidators, throwing 61/3 innings.

It was the third straight start of Milner's that ended in a shutout. He didn't finish any of the games, but has a scoreless streak of 182/3 innings.

"It's funny, but I didn't feel I had anything, but kind of worked it out," he said by phone after Wednesday's win.

That is sort of how his summer has gone.

In eight starts for Lakewood, he is 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA, with 29 strikeouts and 17 walks in 401/3 innings. For Williamsport he was 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in only two appearances.

As a junior at Texas, the 21-year-old Milner appeared in 34 games, including three starts. He was 7-4 with three saves and a 2.64 ERA in 712/3 innings.

So it has been a busy spring and summer for Milner.

"It's been a whirlwind and I haven't been able to settle down until now," he said. "I counted earlier, that I have worn 14 different jersey tops this season."

Despite the hectic pace, Milner, whose father, Brian, appeared in two games as a catcher for the 1978 Toronto Blue Jays, isn't complaining.

"Things are starting to settle down," he said. "It's been great here at Lakewood."


 

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