Cloyd, Ruf Break Through, Make MLB Debuts For Phils





Best Player: Often overlooked because of his age and lack of athleticism, first baseman Darin Ruf made sure people noticed him this season with Double-A Reading. A 20th-round pick out of Creighton in 2009, he tore up Eastern League pitching en route to becoming the league's MVP. Ruf batted .317/.408/.620 with 38 homers and 104 RBIs, doing an amazing amount of damage in August, when he hit .371 with 20 homers in 31 games.

Ruf's best skill is a compact, under-control righthanded swing. He has hit .305 since signing, but he turned 26 in July and he's blocked at first by Ryan Howard. Many feel he lacks the athleticism to make an easy transition to left field, where he got regular reps late in the season. The Phillies expect him to play both left and first this winter in the Venezuelan League.

Best Pitcher: Like Ruf, righthander Tyler Cloyd was a marginal prospect who performed his way onto the Phillies' radar by going 15-1, 2.26 in 26 starts at Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 25-year-old started the Triple-A all-star game, won International League pitcher of the year honors (he led the league with a 2.35 ERA and 1.01 WHIP) and earned a September callup.

Cloyd's below-average stuff has fueled doubts of long-term success in the majors. His fastball tops out near 90 mph, and he gets by on pitching savvy and the ability to command his cutter/sinker/changeup repertoire. Despite his flaws, Cloyd outpitched every prospect in the system this year then beat Reds righty Johnny Cueto with seven innings of one-run ball on Labor Day for his first big league win.

Keep An Eye On: Lefty Adam Morgan, the team's third-round pick out of Alabama in 2011, went 7-11, 3.29 in 25 starts at high Class A Clearwater and Reading. In 153 innings, he gave up 128 hits while striking out 164 and walking 37.

Club officials say Morgan has an excellent idea of how to pitch. That, coupled with his four effective pitches, has some team officials believing that the 22-year-old could move quickly through the upper levels.

PHIL-UPS

• Double-A Reading righty reliever Justin Friend tied a club record for saves, going 24-for-24 on the season.

• Righthander Brody Colvin remains an enigma after going 1-4, 11.02 in seven starts for Reading. He struck out 16, walked 23 and allowed 43 hits (including six homers) in 33 innings.