Carmona's bat coming alive at Lakewood

William Carmona, the Phillies' 11th-round draft pick, is hitting .371 in 19 Gulf Coast League games. (Lynne Sladky/AP Photo)
William Carmona, the Phillies' 11th-round draft pick, is hitting .371 in 19 Gulf Coast League games. (Lynne Sladky/AP Photo)
Posted: July 01, 2013

LAKEWOOD, N.J. - You won't find Willie Carmona's name on any list of prospects. You will find him in the middle of manager Mickey Morandini's lineup just about every night at low-A Lakewood.

Exactly what that means for Carmona's future rise through the Phillies organization remains to be seen.

"He's a college guy who is probably a little older for this league," Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper said. "You never know about those kinds of guys. If they keep hitting, some of them might end up in the big leagues one day. He's not a real high-profile prospect, but his bat is coming on."

The 22-year-old Carmona, in fact, has been Lakewood's hottest hitter for quite some time. He went into Saturday hitting .362 with a .408 on-base percentage in his last 35 games. That raised the switch-hitter's overall average to .303.

"Honestly, I just decided at one point this season to start seeing the ball and hitting it," Carmona said. "Whatever the count is doesn't matter. Whoever is pitching doesn't matter. What they're throwing me doesn't matter. If it's a strike, I try to hit it hard. Before that, I was just trying too hard. I was trying to hit a four-run homer every at-bat."

Carmona, an 11th-round draft pick last year, is a Long Island native. He was a star at Stony Brook University, helping the Seawolves earn an unlikely trip to the College World Series in 2012.

One of his obstacles as a professional player is that he played third base in college. No position is deeper in the Phillies' farm system. Even at Lakewood, he is behind Mitch Walding, a fifth-round pick in 2011. Carmona has played 62 games this season, but only seven at third base. He has played 19 times at first base and 38 times as the designated hitter.

"He's pretty good at both positions," Morandini said. "He's got good hands and he's got a good arm. The footwork is pretty good."

Morandini thinks Carmona would struggle to move to the outfield because of his foot speed.

For now, Carmona will have to try to hit his way through the system, which is exactly what he's doing this season.

Greene rebounding

Lakewood leftfielder Larry Greene Jr., the Phillies' first overall pick in 2011, is having his best stretch of the season, hitting .316 over 15 games, including his first home run of the season.

"I just had to get my confidence back up," Greene said. "I was struggling and getting down on myself a lot. I talked to quite a few people who told me to stay confident and stay positive."

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