With Carlos Ruiz nursing a strained oblique, rookie Lou Marson earns his second big-league start tonight, according to multiple reports.
I’ve gotta admit: I’m surprised Chris Coste came north. Not only that, I’m surprised how quickly his battle with Ronny Paulino ended. I wish I knew more details. Was Coste the resounding winner, or was Paulino a resounding loser? Catcher was one the Phillies were certain to upgrade this offseason, and they tried, but failed, in auditioning Paulino from Pittsburgh. The reports suggested they didn’t like him, whatever that meant. So at the moment, their top catcher is 36-year-old Coste, who’s hitting .143, yet, the Phils are 3-0 in his starts. Tonight it’s Marson’s turn, and from the sound of it, the first of several turns before Ruiz comes back. Charlie Manuel has been hinting at a two-week minimum for his starting catcher.
Catcher represents one of the lone positions with opportunity for a young player to step up and stake a claim. Marson, 22, had a superb year in Reading last season, improving his stock by hitting .314/.433/.416 with five homers. While his plate discipline is encouraging, power is one of the main hangups with scouts; he only has 25 homers over 1,640 plate appearances. The Phillies would like to see Marson, who is rated as the third best prospect in the system according to Baseball America, pull more pitches on the inner half of the plate, according to a March report on Phillies.com. Defense is another area where reviews seem mixed, including his throws from behind home plate. The Phillies said he fell into bad habits in that area and is working to correct it, according to the same report.
Marson reportedly drew interest from the Red Sox this spring, but the Phillies’ asking price was high enough to include promising right-hander Clay Buchholz.