Anthony Hewitt, selected as the 24th overall pick in the 2008 draft, was always viewed by the Phillies as a long-term project. He was an 19-year-old shortstop from a prep school in Connecticut, but the team's amateur scouts envisioned an athletic player who could one day harness those tools.
But Hewitt never hit, and he was released Thursday from single-A Clearwater. The 25-year-old outfielder struck out in 33 percent of his career minor-league plate appearances. He never batted above .244 in a single season.
He showed flashes of promises while at double-A Reading in 2013. He used a hitter's park to his advantage and produced 16 homers in 116 games. Hewitt repeated Reading to start 2014. The results were dismal. He was demoted to Clearwater last week and struck out 15 times in 31 plate appearances there.
That, the Phillies decided, was enough.
Hewitt signed for $1.38 million in 2008. The Phillies thought he could play third base, but that experiment was shelved after 76 games at the position. He was a high-risk, high-reward pick that failed.
"This is why you scout," said Marti Wolever, the team's amateur scouting director, at the time of the pick. "These are the kind of players we grew up liking and wanting in the organization. Because when these guys hit - and not all of them do - you're not talking about an average major-league player. You're talking about a well-above-average player. And to me, that's what you win championships with."