Acquired: Signed by the Phillies from
the independent Northern League.
B: R T: R / Height: 6', 1" / Weight: 180
2007 Team/League: Reading (Eastern) 68 G, Clearwater (FSL) 58 G
Positions Played in 2007: LF (99 games), CF (15 games)
School: Nazareth Academy
Batting and Power: Throughout his long minor league career, Mike Spidale has never shown much of a power potential and is much more of a slap hitter. He does have excellent plate discipline and will rarely swing at a pitch that he can't do something with, which is evidenced by the fact that he has drawn 315 walks over his eight minor league seasons and has struck out just 392 times. Spidale's philosophy is pretty simple; just put the bat on the ball and hit it where it's pitched. He won't look to turn on a pitch because he knows that he simply doesn't make a living if he resorts to that approach, so he has learned to work with the tools that he's got.
Baserunning and Speed: While he won't blind you with his speed, Spidale has above average speed and much like with his hitting, he doesn't try to do too much with it, preferring rather to simply use it wisely. He's lost a step or two from early in his career, but he's gained a lot of savvy when it comes to stealing bases, which makes up for any speed that he has lost. He's the type of guy that's not going to run you into outs very often and can swipe a base in a key spot.
Defense: Defensively, Spidale is above average and has natural instincts to get to balls hit away from him. His speed is a plus, but it's his knack of getting a good jump on the ball and knowing how to play situations that makes his defense as good as it is. The drawback is that his arm is below average and probably isn't good enough to play right field and is also weak for center field, but he does other things well enough that overall, you can keep him in the outfield without him hurting you.
Projection: The best that Spidale can hope for is to find himself playing the role of a utility player in the majors. Spidale had just one pinch-hit appearance in 2007 and picked up a base hit in the at bat, but when he comes to the plate with runners in scoring position, he hit .273 last season and is comfortable in tight spots. Since he'll turn 26 prior to next season, Spidale will have to do something to really get himself noticed or risk becoming a career minor leaguer. He's only got 161 at bats at the Triple-A level, but his average dips considerably at that point. In all other levels, Spidale is a career .286 hitter, but he's managed to hit just .230 in 46 games at Triple-A.
ETA: Spidale will need at least a full and productive season at Triple-A before he will get much consideration at all for a major league audition. The Phillies seem more content with him at Double-A, where he's highly productive, rather than pushing him to Triple-A to see what he could do at that level over the long haul. If he gets a chance and can be productive, Spidale will likely still need at least a couple seasons before he would get much consideration for a utility role with any major league team.
Mike Spidale's career stats
Statistics courtesy of The Baseball Cube.