Utley The Only True Success Story From 2000 Draft

Chase Utley

It always takes some time to analyze how a draft has turned out. In the case of the 2000 Draft, Chase Utley has been as advertised while others have struggled through tough times and injuries. Looking back, it's a good thing that the Phillies didn't pass on Utley.

Round 1 - Chase Utley

There is no doubt that Utley has become the class of the 2000 Draft for the Phillies. The so called "baseball rat" has continued to progress and develop his skills, doing everything that the Phillies have asked of him. First, there was the move to third base, then some time at first base and then a seemingly endless stint behind Placido Polanco. Through it all, Utley remained calm and waited for his chance.

With the trade of Polanco to Detroit this season, Utley stepped into the limelight. His numbers have been impressive and give a glimpse into just how good he can be down the road. While Utley's numbers have tailed off sharply in August and September, his season totals remain impressive. Utley is hitting .282 with 89 RBI and would have likely hit the 100 RBI mark without his recent slump that has seen him hit just .221 with 27 RBI since August 1st.

For some time, Utley was deemed the Phillies second baseman of the future and the future is now. His numbers and gritty play have made him a fast fan favorite in Philadelphia and it's likely that he'll stay in that position for some time to come.

Round 2 - Pick to Cleveland

Round 3 - Keith Bucktrot

It seemed like Bucktrot was well on his way to being a quick arrival in the majors. Then, slumps and injuries hit. Starting primarily with the 2004 season, Bucktrot's star seemed to fall sharply. It was hoped that he would rebound this season, but again, Bucktrot ran into problems. He wound up back on the disabled list and finished the season 3-4, 5.52 with AA Reading, pitching in 11 games with 62 innings pitched. He started the year with Clearwater and was 1-1, 4.60 in three starts with the Threshers to give him a combined mark of 4-5, 5.33. Perhaps the biggest concern is that he pitched just 77 2/3 innings this season.

Needless to say, 2006 will be huge for Bucktrot. He turns 25 in November and will likely start the year back at Reading. Another disappointing season and he'll truly start to slide down the list of prospects and perhaps disappear from the radar. There is no doubt though that Bucktrot has the potential to bounce back in a huge way if he can stay healthy.

Round 4 - Danny Gonzalez

Gonzalez was supposed to team with Chase Utley to give the Phillies two strong middle-infield prospects. Nobody was sure that Gonzalez would definitely be able to push Jimmy Rollins out of his starting job in Philly, but he was at least figured on to give Rollins someone to look over his shoulder at. It never happened. Gonzalez hit just .218 in 56 games with Reading this season and was finally released. He hasn't caught on elsewhere, which is a little bit surprising. Rumors of a bad attitude and off the field problems could be a reason why Gonzalez is AWOL from the ranks of professional baseball.

It wasn't always like that. Gonzalez didn't always have the best numbers, but as late as 2003, he was voted the Best Defensive Shortstop in the Florida State League by Baseball America. He hit as high at .270 with Lakewood in 2002, but was unable to parlay that into the type of success that the Phillies had hoped to see from Gonzalez. It will be interesting to see if Gonzalez pops up elsewhere for the 2006 season.

Round 5 - Matt Reithmaier

Reithmaier pitched two seasons in the Phillies organization, making it as high as Lakewood in 2001. His initial season with Batavia certainly wasn't dominating, but you could pull some positives from his numbers. In 14 games - nine starts - Reithmaier went 4-4, 4.26 for the 'Dogs. In 69 2/3 innings, he walked 28 and struck out 47, posting a 1.36 WHIP stat. Many scouts believed that he deserved more of a chance to start, especially since he threw a rare New York / Penn League complete game.

In 2001, Reithmaier was promoted to Lakewood and the numbers fell sharply. The right-hander out of the University of Arkansas again split time between the rotation and the bullpen, starting 11 games and relieving in 8 others. Reithmaier became very hittable though, giving up 90 hits in 77 2/3 innings. The Phillies quickly gave up on Reithmaier and he hasn't resurfaced in professional baseball since.

Round 6 - Taylor Buchholz

At one time, Buchholz was one of the young stud pitchers who was supposed to help form the rotation of the future. The right-hander out of Lower Merion, Pennsylvania started impressively, posting a 2.25 ERA with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in the summer of 2000. While he wasn't able to duplicate those numbers after that season, he still posted solid numbers until a late season promotion to Reading in 2002. The Phillies weren't concerned though, because it was Buchholz' first shot at AA hitters. They simply returned him to Reading in 2003 and he quickly returned to form. Naysayers point out that Buchholz' ERA grew at least slightly each season in the Phillies organization. Still, he was 9-11, 3.55 in 24 starts at Reading in 2003 and seemed destined for Philadelphia.

Then, the Phillies pursued Billy Wagner. Buchholz was the prize that the Astros wanted in the deal and the Phillies finally blinked, sending him to Houston to get Wagner. Buchholz has been at AAA the past two seasons in the Houston organization and is 12-7 with a 5.05 ERA. To say the least, AAA has been a struggle. Buchholz, who turns 24 in October, showed signs of progress this past season, putting up a 4.81 ERA as opposed to his 5.23 mark in 2004. The Astros seem to slowly be converting him into a reliever and it will be interesting to see how they handle him this off-season. Buchholz is currently on the Astros 40 man roster, but it's not a certainty that they'll keep him there and if he's dropped from the roster, he'll be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in December.

Round 7 - Antonio Cancio

The Phillies drafted Cancio out of high school. The right-handed hitting first baseman lasted three seasons in the organization, but hit just .232 in those years. He spent two seasons in the Gulf Coast League and when the Phillies challenged him with a promotion to Lakewood in 2002, he hit just .176 and the Phillies decided that they were no longer interested. Coming into that season the Phillies were hopeful that Cancio would be able to build on his second season in the GCL when he hit .292, but it never came close to happening. Cancio hasn't surfaced in professional baseball since being dropped by the Phillies.

Round 8 - Ryan Carter

At 6' 7", 255 when he was drafted, the Phillies were hoping that this monster would become a dominating pitcher once he got his mechanics under control. The big lefty - a college teammate of Chase Utley at UCLA - showed immediately that he was raw, but that there was something to work with. In four minor league seasons in the organization, Carter was never able to put it all together. He showed flashes of brilliance, but they were few and far between. While at Reading in 2003, Carter started to develop injury problems and was on the DL three separate times, missing a total of 63 games. In June, Carter sprained his left ankle and returned a little too quickly, winding up back on the DL with the same ankle injury. then, a month later, Carter developed shoulder inflammation and was shut down for the season. As it turned out, Carter needed surgery and has missed the last two seasons. The pity of it is that before his ankle injuries started, Carter had gone 1-0 with a 2.80 ERA in his last seven starts. He's still technically in the Phillies organization, so he could resurface if he can ever get healthy. However, being a couple weeks shy of turning 27 years old, time is running out for Carter.

Round 9 - Felix Ortega

Who? The Phillies took a shot on a high school catcher in the ninth round of 2000 and it didn't pan out. Ortega never played a game of professional ball for the Phillies and is out of baseball.

Round 10 - Scott Youngbauer

A versatile player, Youngbauer seemed to at least have a shot as a utility player. He lasted in the Phillies organization into the 2004 season when he was dealt to Cleveland and finished the year with their AA team in Akron. He spent this past season between High A and AA in the Red Sox organization and at 26, finds himself as a career .246 minor league hitter who hasn't hit AAA yet. That's not to say that Youngbauer is done. He could still carve out a career as a major league utility player at some point, but the clock is ticking. It's looking more and more like Youngbauer will be like one of those players that the Phillies love and are often referred to as AAAA players. In other words, they can help you at AAA and maybe for a short stint in the majors, but nothing else.

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