Phillies' international scout Agostinelli honored
Sal Agostinelli, instrumental in the opening of Phillies schools in Venezuela and the Dominican, wins Dallas Green Award.
MIAMI - About nine years ago, shortly after he had signed his first professional contract with the Phillies at the age of 16, Freddy Galvis was practicing with some other teenagers in his home country of Venezuela when one of the scouts decided to get in on the action.
The scout was Sal Agostinelli, now the Phillies' international scouting director.
"He was off to the side," Galvis recalled yesterday afternoon at Marlins Park. "And when practice was over, he went over to the batting cage, where guys were taking (batting practice), and he started hitting. He was explaining to the young kids, 'This is how you have to hit.' He got in there because he loves it. He cares about them. That was good to see right there."
Agostinelli, who has been a member of the Phillies' scouting staff since 1993, was honored with the prestigious Dallas Green Award yesterday.
The annual award is bestowed upon a scout who "exemplifies the Phillies standard for scouting while demonstrating the same loyalty, work ethic, dedication and passion as the award's namesake. It is also recognition of the scout's ability to judge not only a player's talent, but also his character and heart."
During his time with the Phillies, Agostinelli was a major player in signing Galvis, Carlos Ruiz, Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez and former top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco (traded to Cleveland in the 2009 Cliff Lee deal), among others.
"That's great - he deserves it," Galvis said after hearing the news. "He's a hard worker. He's always traveling to Venezuela and the Dominican, even with the situation in Venezuela, he's still going over and seeing the players. That means a lot."
The 54-year-old Agostinelli, a Bronx, N.Y., native, spent 15 years as the Phillies' international scouting supervisor before he was promoted to his current role in 2012. He's respected throughout the baseball world for his strong work in Latin America.
"I'm flattered and I can't believe it," Agostinelli said in a press release. "Dallas Green is such a special guy to me and my family. It's just so flattering for a guy like me that comes from where I came from to even be associated with the name."
Agostinelli is as humble as he is accomplished.
"Sal really jump-started the international scouting program that we have today," Green said in a press release. "He's been instrumental in our two schools in the Dominican and Venezuela, setting them up, getting them running and going down there and bringing the kids along. He has been with us a long time and is just a wonderful worker and a wonderful Phillie."
After stretching prior to batting practice, Galvis ran off a half-dozen Phillies players Agostinelli helped bring into the organization. The Phillies' shortstop first met Agostinelli when he was "14 or 15" years old.
"He always was a nice person, especially with my family," Galvis said. "We know the business, they try to be nice to everybody. But we saw something in him that was real. He was nice for real. That's one of the reasons I stayed with the Phillies, because I had a lot of teams I could choose. But him and the scout in Venezuela, they showed they were real. So we stayed with those guys."
Agostinelli, a former catcher, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 22nd round of the 1983 draft out of Slippery Rock University. He played in the minor leagues for 10 seasons, including in the Phillies' system from 1989-92.
Owens Award winners
Catcher Andrew Knapp and righthander Ricardo Pinto were selected as the recipients of the Paul Owens Award, given to the organization's top hitter and pitcher each season.
The 23-year-old Knapp, the Phillies' second-round pick in the 2013 draft, hit .308 with an .876 OPS in 118 games between Class A Clearwater and Double A Reading this season. Upon being promoted to Reading, Knapp was arguably the best player in the Eastern League: He hit .360 with a .419 OBP, 1.050 OPS, 11 home runs and 21 doubles in 55 games.
Pinto, a 21-year-old Venezuelan, finished the 2015 season at 9-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 13 starts at Class A Clearwater. In 24 games between Clearwater and Low-A Lakewood, Pinto was 15-4 with a 2.97 ERA, striking out 105 while walking 37 in 145 1/3 innings.
"Coming into the year, very few people outside of our organization knew of Ricardo Pinto," player development director Joe Jordan said in a press release. "Based on his 2015 performance, that has certainly changed. Ricardo is one of our most talented young arms but equally one of our most determined, competitive and driven players."
Cornelius Randolph was listed at the fifth best prospect in the Gulf Coast League by Baseball America. The 18-year-old Randolph, the 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft, hit .302 with an .866 OPS in 53 games for the GCL Phillies this summer . . . Ryan Howard, out with a left knee contusion since Sept. 14, is expected to begin taking ground balls and hitting this weekend in Washington. He remains a long shot to return to the lineup before the season ends a week from Sunday . . . On this date in Phillies history in 1955, Richie Ashburn went hitless in seven at-bats during a season-ending doubleheader but still won his first batting title (.338).