Top Prospect #39: Matt Squires

Top Prospect #39: Matt Squires

If not for a shoulder injury, Matt Squires might have received an invitation to big league camp this spring. He would have likely wound up at AAA, but he would be getting a look with the Phillies. Now though, he'll be relegated to minor league camp as he continues to rehab from shoulder surgery. The good news is that the rehab is going well and Squires can figure on returning to his old self before too long.

Matt Squires was well on his way until he started to struggle during the 2004 season. As it turned out, his struggles were the result of an injury and eventually, Squires wound up in an operating room undergoing shoulder surgery. Now, Squires is rehabbing, but there is a long road ahead.

"I'm throwing 120 feet now and if all goes well, I'll move up to 150 feet next week," Squires said. "There's still some stiffness, but that's to be expected. Overall though I feel pretty strong." While Squires increases his rehab, he won't be able to throw off a mound until late February or possibly, even into March. While it's getting closer and closer, the time can't pass quickly enough. "I literally had a dream about pitching. I was warming up in the bullpen, but I didn't have socks or a hat and whenever I tried to tie my shoes, I fell down," admits Squires.

For now, Squires is in Clearwater working out with other young pitchers like Cole Hamels, Gavin Floyd and Zack Segovia. "We're getting a lot of work in, but it's a little frustrating because I'm not doing exactly what they're able to do," said Squires. When the group isn't working out, odds are that Squires and Floyd are on the golf course. "I beat him (Floyd) in a skins game the other day, so he owes me a dollar," reported Squires.

Year / Team W L ERA SV G GS CG IP H R ER BB KO HR
2001 Gulf Coast 0 2 1.21 0 17 0 0 30.0 16 5 4 11 33 0
2001 Lakewood 0 1 6.75 0 4 0 0 5.0 5 4 4 7 8 1
2002 Lakewood 5 6 3.82 8 36 1 0 66.0 62 34 28 40 71 3
2003 Clearwater 4 2 1.86 2 41 0 0 63.0 61 14 13 23 52 1
2004 Reading 0 1 3.62 1 26 0 0 32.0 35 17 13 15 26 1
Career 9 12 2.84 11 124 1 0 196.0 179 74 62 96 194 6

Acquired: Drafted out of Whitworth College (Washington) in the 19th round of the 2001 Draft.

Repertoire: Squires can throw a fastball, change-up, slider and curve. He throws them all well and can control all of them. His shoulder injury obviously took some velocity away, but that should come back.

Pitching: Don't look for Squires to try to dance around hitters. He goes right after them and has no problem pitching in tight situations. It's tempting to take a young left-hander (especially one that's only 5' 10") and look at them as a situational lefty. That shouldn't happen with Squires. He can get hitters out without worrying about which side of the plate they're swinging from.

Projection: In Matt Squires' own words, there are simple goals for 2005. "I know I won't be 100% this season. I just want to get healthy and start pitching again to get back to where I was before the problems." It's likely that the Phillies will let Squires enjoy some warm weather in Florida this spring and not send him out to Reading. He may even need some work in extended spring training, but having him work at Clearwater wouldn't be a bad option. Once he is healthy, Squires will move quickly and will likely also move up the list of prospects.

ETA: Without the injury, Squires would be looking at a season at AAA and then push for a major league audition. Now though, 2005 will likely be lost somewhat and he'll have to wait until 2006 to see AAA Scranton. By the spring of 2007, Squires will have turned 28 and will get a long look in camp.

Comparison: Yes, there are some comparisons to Rheal Cormier, but again, Squires has the ability to get both lefties and righties out, so don't figure on him necessarily being a situational type of guy. One scout compared Squires' stuff to that of Paul Byrd when he first came to the Phillies. He doesn't overpower hitters, but goes at them with good stuff, has good control and keeps the ball down in the zone.

Watch for Matt Squires' On-Line Journal to return this season on PhillyBaseballNews.com.

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