The Reading Fightin Phils, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Phillies, have announced the organization's 2013 Opening Day roster. 16 of the players on Reading's team were originally drafted or signed by the Phillies, and 11 members of the 2013 roster have formerly played in Reading.
The roster is anchored by top Phillies prospect and left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle. Biddle, a Germantown Friends product, went 10-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 142.2 innings pitched for Clearwater (A+) last season. Drafted in the first round of the June 2010 draft by the Phillies, Biddle led the Florida State League in strikeouts (151) and was tied for second in wins (10) and starts (26). During the 2012 season, the 21-year old struck out a career-high 12 batters and averaged 9.53 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched.
Biddle will be joined by Austin Wright, Seth Rosin, David Buchanan, and Brody Colvin in the rotation. The southpaw Wright, who was tied for first in the FSL in wins by going 11-5 with a 3.47 ERA, will be accompanied by fellow newcomer Rosin, who went 1-2 with a 3.50 ERA in eight starts between Clearwater and San Jose (A+). Rosin, a right-handed pitcher, was acquired by Philadelphia on July 31 last season alongside former Reading catcher Tommy Joseph in the Hunter Pence deal.
Returning to the Fightin Phils rotation will be right-handed pitchers Buchanan and Colvin. Buchanan went 3-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 starts with Reading before having season-ending surgery in June to repair ligament damage in his middle finger. Colvin spent much of his time with Clearwater last season before being promoted to Reading in late July and will look to improve on his 1-4 win-loss record this season.
This season's roster will feature three catchers this season, one new to Reading and the other two making their return to the club. A University of Texas product, Cameron Rupp hit .267 with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs with Clearwater last season. The third round draft pick was also a FSL midseason and postseason All-Star.
Backing up home plate along with Rupp will be catching prospect Sebastian Valle, who hit .253 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs between Reading and Lehigh Valley last season, and 2010-11 Reading catcher John Suomi, who spent all of 2012 in Lehigh Valley where he also played first base.
Miguel Abreu, Troy Hanzawa, and Tyler Henson will bring a veteran presence to the Fightin Phils infield in 2013 that will also feature three Double-A rookies. Abreu and Hanzawa both held down the Reading infield in 2012 with Abreu hitting .280 with 17 doubles as a utility infielder and Hanzawa hitting .249 with 18 doubles as a shortstop. A Hawaiian native, Hanzawa was also an Eastern League midseason All-Star. Henson, who spent last season in the Los Angeles Dodgers system, played five different positions across three levels (Rancho Cucamonga, Chattanooga, and Albuquerque) and hit .284 in 53 games at Albuquerque (AAA).
Albert Cartwright, Edgar Duran, and Jim Murphy will make their Double-A debuts this year after spending 2012 in Clearwater. Cartwright spent the entire 2012 season with the Threshers and batted .306 (19-for-62) for an 18-game stretch in June. A shortstop, Duran was named Phillies Minor League Player of the Week following a stretch (7/16-7/22) where he hit .444 (8-for-18) with three doubles, two home runs, and six RBIs. Last season, first baseman Murphy set career-highs in RBIs (85) and doubles (43). His mark of 43 doubles led the Florida State League much like former Reading standout Darin Ruf did prior to playing in Baseballtown. Murphy also slugged a team-leading 17 home runs and accounted for 222 total bases.
Zach Collier leads the pack of Reading outfielders this season. Collier, a non-roster invitee to Phillies spring training this season, set a professional high with six home runs for the Threshers while starting 68 games in centerfield. He also hit .269 with 13 doubles and 32 RBIs for Clearwater.
Along with Collier, 2008 first round selection Anthony Hewitt will patrol the outfield with Derrick Mitchell and Ronnie Welty. Hewitt hit .241 in 108 games and launched 13 home runs for Clearwater in 2012, finishing with the second best mark on the team and tied for the seventh best in the Florida State League. Mitchell will make his return to Baseballtown after spending all of 2012 with Lehigh Valley where he spent extended time on the disabled list following a right hand fracture on June 5. During his 2011 season with Reading, Mitchell set career highs in batting average (.265), hits (126), home runs (19), RBI (35), and walks (40). Acquired less than a week ago from Baltimore for former Reading pitcher Julio Rodriguez, Welty spent most of 2012 with the Bowie Baysox (AA) where he had a .286 average, eight home runs, and 11 doubles in 37 games with the squad.
The Reading bullpen will feature an even mixture of new faces and returnees. Kyle Simon, Tyler Knigge, Jay Johnson, and J.C. Ramirez make up the veteran contingent of the staff. Simon was acquired midseason from Baltimore for slugger Jim Thome and went 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 13 games for Reading. Splitting time between Clearwater and Reading last season, Knigge posted a 1.10 ERA (2 ER, 16.1 IP) over his final 13 appearances of the season and finished with a 2.92 ERA in 21 games with Reading. As one of the youngest players on the Reading roster in 2012, Johnson spent most of his time in Baseballtown where 19 of his 28 appearances were scoreless. He also joined Simon on the Peoria roster in the Arizona Fall League. Ramirez pitched in relief all season between Reading and Lehigh Valley and held Eastern League hitters to a .200 average (20-for-100).
Hector Neris and Juan Sosa look to continue their successful seasons in Clearwater as they make their Double-A debut. In a league-leading 50 appearances with the Threshers, Neris was 4-2 with a 3.55 ERA and struck out 94 batters, averaging 10.75 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Sosa had a career year in Clearwater, setting highs in innings pitched (80.1) and strikeouts (79). Former Seattle and Detroit farmhand Mauricio Robles fills out the Fightin Phils bullpen. Robles spent most of 2012 with Jackson (AA) where he was 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 37 appearances.
Manager Dusty Wathan returns to the club after a season where he led the team to a 76-66 record. Joining Wathan will be hitting coach Frank Cacciatore, who is back for his sixth season in Reading, and new pitching coach Dave Lundquist. Athletic trainer Jonathan May and strength coach Justin Miloszewski round out the coaching staff.
Listed below is the roster alphabetically by position: