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Rizzotti on slow track

A LINE FROM Billy Joel's hit "Allentown" talks about the promises our teachers made, "If we worked hard, if we behaved."

Matthew Rizzotti has hit at every level since the Phillies drafted him in the sixth round in 2008. (Photo by Ralph Trout)
Matthew Rizzotti has hit at every level since the Phillies drafted him in the sixth round in 2008. (Photo by Ralph Trout)Read more

A LINE FROM Billy Joel's hit "Allentown" talks about the promises our teachers made, "If we worked hard, if we behaved."

Reading first baseman Matt Rizzotti has worked hard and behaved. He says all the right things, his work ethic has been lauded, and the organization seems to like him. But none of that seems to be enough to earn him a trip to Allentown, where the Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs play.

Rizzotti was named to the Eastern League's season-ending All-Star team last week, the second straight season he has earned that honor. He finished the 2010 season with the IronPigs, earning a promotion after hitting .361 with 16 homers and 62 RBI at Reading. He battled a thumb injury and only hit .200 in 17 games at Lehigh Valley. Still, it was assumed that if he hit well again at Reading this season, his stay with the R-Phils would be brief. Or, he and his lefthanded bat would be dealt to an American League club so that he could be a designated hitter, since defense was never his ticket to the big leagues.

Last night, he hit two home rpuns in a win over Akron and is hitting .290 with 23 homers, 30 doubles and 77 RBI. Not the numbers he put up in Baseballtown last summer, but pretty darn good.

He was trading time at first base with Cody Overbeck for the first couple months of this season, but when promotions were announced in mid-June, Overbeck got the call to Triple A. It looked like the wrong move as Overbeck seemed overmatched with the IronPigs and Rizzotti continued to bombard Eastern League pitching. Overbeck hasn't cooperated with Rizzotti's hope for a promotion, though. After laboring through his first month, Overbeck has managed to pull his average up to .255 with a late-season hot steak.

What's it all mean? Rizzotti is an Eastern League season-ending All-Star. Again. He was an Eastern League midseason All-Star this year as well. He's put up some big numbers for the R-Phils and collected some nice trophies. They could name a street after him in Reading, but he'd likely give it all up for another shot to prove himself in Allentown.

All the best?

The Reading Eagle recently released its annual list of the Phillies' top 20 prospects. Results were based on a poll of the dozen media members who cover the Phillies' minor leagues.

Here's the list:

1. Trevor May, RHP, Clearwater

2. Sebastian Valle, C, Clearwater

3. Jesse Biddle, LHP, Lakewood

4. Freddy Galvis, SS, Lehigh Valley

5. Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Lehigh Valley

6. Brody Colvin, RHP, Clearwater

7. Justin De Fratus. RHP, Lehigh Valley

8. Julio Rodriguez, RHP, Clearwater

9. Michael Schwimer, RHP, Lehigh Valley (now with Phillies)

10. Jiwan James, OF, Clearwater

11. Jonathan Pettibone, RHP, Clearwater

12. Austin Hyatt, RHP, Reading

13. Aaron Altherr, OF, Williamsport

14. Joe Savery, LHP, Lehigh Valley

15. Harold Garcia, 2B, Reading

16. David Buchanan, RHP, Clearwater

17. Carlos Rivero, 3B, Reading

18. Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Clearwater

19. Lisalberto Bonilla; RHP, Lakewood

20. Zach Collier, OF, Lakewood

OK, here's our list. We were asked to name 15:

1, Aumont. 2, Galvis. 3, May. 4, Rodriguez. 5, De Fratus. 6, Valle. 7, Pettibone. 8, James. 9, Biddle. 10, Savery. 11, Tyler Cloyd, RHP, Reading. 12, Bonilla. 13, Altherr. 14, Hyatt. 15, Lino Martinez, LHP, Williamsport.

Only went off the list with Cloyd and Martinez. Cloyd (5-3, 2.88) earned a call-up after performing well at Clearwater early on. He has never gotten the kind of chatter Hyatt has earned, but he's provided a potent arm as the R-Phils head into the postseason. Martinez, meanwhile, is a lefty who won't turn 19 until next month. He's 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA through Monday. Just looking ahead a bit.

Him again?

This is getting redundant.

Clearwater's Julio Rodriguez was named the Florida State League's Pitcher of the Week Monday. That's two straight weeks for the 6-4 righty who turned 21 Monday. It's also his third FSL Pitcher of the Week honor this season.

A dominant performance against Brevard County Thursday sealed it for him. He allowed two hits and struck out eight over seven scoreless innings. Through Monday, Rodriguez (16-7) leads all minor league pitchers in wins, ranks second in the FSL in strikeouts (150) and has given up eight hits over 14 shutout frames in his last two starts. In 25 starts this season, he's allowed more than three runs just four times. And they all came in June.

Meanwhile, Williamsport third baseman Maikel Franco earned New York-Penn League Player of the Week honors. In five games, he went 9-for-21 (.429) with five doubles and six RBI. He turned 19 Friday.

Brown on the farm

Lehigh Valley dropped a doubleheader Monday to Syracuse, losing both games 4-0.

This is worth noting for a couple reasons. Domonic Brown took an 0-for-6 in the two games, striking out four times - he whiffed three straight times in Game 2. He also committed a costly error and badly misplayed a couple of balls in the outfield in the second game. He looked so bad that Tagg Bozied, normally an infielder, replaced him in leftfield in the sixth inning.

In Game 1, IronPigs starter Scott Mathieson trudged through five innings in which he allowed four earned runs, eight hits, a walk, and no strikeouts. He also served up a couple of home runs.

These are two guys who have a pretty good chance of getting called up to the big club for a little September help. Hmmm.