I’ve been picking the names of the 13 non-roster invitees to the Phillies training camp pretty much at random, but I will tell you the reason I picked Tuffy Gosewisch this time is because his name is “Tuffy,” and that’s… well, that gets these results on babynames.com. It also makes me think of a really angry teddy bear.
In 2009, Lou Marson was sittin’ pretty.
The 23-year-old minor league catcher out of Scottsdale, Arizona for whom it looked like shaving was merely a monthly chore, was an up and coming player in the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies’ farm system. Fresh off receiving the Paul Owens Award, Marson had to know his name was sliding in and out of conversations held by the Phillies brass. It was a key position for the team, one that they could probably see him filling in the future, relying heavily on his natural talent and leadership qualities. When Carlos Ruiz went down with an injury to his right oblique on April 11, Lou Marson was the guy stepping into the pads.
Some day soon, Marson and the Phillies would no doubt be a big part of making each others’ futures a little bit bett–
And then suddenly, he was in Cleveland, where times were just a little tougher.
Jarring, probably, to go from being a hot prospect to one fourth of Cliff Lee’s price tag. However, the move made an impact on a few others, as well, one being also a young catcher; also somehow from Scottsdale.
“It was fortunate that they traded Lou [Marson] away, they trust you and they know you can play,” said Tuffy Gosewisch.
And so, the spotlight shifts a little further to the right, and in steps James “Tuffy” Gosewisch, a new Phillies catching prospect, golf enthusiast, and an active participant in “getting jacked out of my mind,” according to Facebook.
Ha ha, yeah! What?
Gosewisch came screaming out of Arizona State with a .320 batting average as only the second catcher in the school’s history to start three years in a row; and in that time, he only made 10 errors and batted .526 with the bases loaded. Which is so clutch it’s disgusting.
The Phillies drafted him in 2005 in the 11th round, seeing the benefit of an extremely defensive young catcher who somehow apparently hit exponentially better the more people were on base. He played seasons with the Clearwater Threshers in 2006, Lakewood BlueClaws in 2007, and landed back with the Threshers for 2008 .
Last season, Tuffy was promoted to both Double A Reading (batted .235 in 60 games) and Triple A Lehigh Valley (.200 in 16 games). He was also a participant in the Arizona Fall League, playing for his hometown team, Scottsdale, and hitting .318 in 11 games; numbers offensively that are more akin to “regular season Carlos Ruiz,” rather than the white hot “postseason Carlos Ruiz” Tuffy had been emulating with his hitting at Arizona State.
Making his way onto the 2010 Phillies Spring Training roster is a step further along in filling a keystone roll for the Phillies in coming years. We will have to wait and see if Brian Schneider can bring some life to a backup catcher’s role that was drowning in the incompetence of Paul Bako in 2009. His season may dictate how briskly Tuffy ascends the ranks of the farm system. With an aggressive, well-rounded play style, Tuffy could be jacking baseballs professionally soon enough.
Assuming “jacking” means “hitting with a bat.”