Amaro: Phils' player development needs revamping


Updated: 11:30 p.m.

Even with three games remaining in the season, the Phillies have begun their offseason makeover.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced on Friday that director of scouting, Marti Wolever, would not return to club.

Wolever, a native of Omaha, Neb., joined the Phillies in 1992 and became the scouting director in 2002. Though the core of the teams that won the NL East for five straight seasons were built during Wolever’s tenure, the Phillies have had some hit and miss high draft picks.

Regardless, Amaro was vague when asked why Wolever was the first casualty of the Phillies’ third straight year out of the postseason.

"We just need to be better, and we're working to get better,” Amaro said after Friday’s 5-4 victory over the Braves (see Instant Replay). “Player development and scouting has always been the backbone of every organization. It's been the backbone of ours for many years. We've had many players playing right now, our core guys, putting us in a position of success every year. They're all homegrown guys. We've got to get back to bringing that caliber of player back to our system. That's our goal.”

After Cole Hamels was selected in the 2002 first round, the Phillies selected Tim Moss, Greg Golson, Mike Costanzo, Kyle Drabek, Joe Savery, Anthony Hewitt, Kelly Dugan, Jesse Biddle, Larry Greene, Shane Watson, J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola as the club’s first selection in subsequent drafts.

Though Watson, Crawford and Nola are still early in their development, the rest of those top picks have not panned out. Though Wolever was able to draft players like Ryan Howard, Ken Giles, Dom Brown and Cody Asche in late rounds, and use other draft picks to acquire Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence, the drafts have not been solid.

The Phillies’ minor league system does not receive high marks from scouts or experts such as Baseball America, and aside from a free-agent signing like Maikel Franco and Crawford, the system is devoid of high-profile prospects.

Though Wolever and the Phillies’ philosophy of drafting high-ceiling, high-risk players has changed during the past two years, Amaro still saw the need to make a change.

“There's nothing easy about the decision we made, but we're trying to get better and we're trying to make changes,” Amaro said. “This is the change that we made. Nothing easy about it. Marti's served our organization very well for a long period of time.”

As for a replacement for Wolever, Amaro said there have been some internal discussions, but the process is still early.

“We’re going to take our time with the process and make sure we’re going to work on it immediately,” Amaro said. “But we’re going to try to make the right decision. It’s a very important part of our organization, clearly.”

Wolever has been a big-league scout since 1984 and has worked for the Tigers, Yankees and Phillies. In 2009, he was inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.

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