NORWICH, Conn. — One of the first scouting reports I received on Adam Haseley came from inside my family. My nephew, a two-year captain and four-year starter on the Rutgers University baseball team, asked me recently whom the Phillies had drafted in the first round. I told him they selected an outfielder from Virginia. My nephew, a North Jersey kid and Yankees fan, remembered him.
"We played them," Michael Carter told me. "I don't think we got him out all weekend."
My nephew was wrong. Haseley, the eighth overall pick in last month's draft, went 7 for 7 with two home runs, three walks and six RBIs in the first two games of the weekend series in Charlottesville, Va., but he was hitless in two at-bats with a walk in the series finale on Sunday. That day, however, Haseley allowed just two runs on three hits and struck out six without a walk to earn the victory as the pitcher.
"He had a good, tight slider," my nephew said. "But as a hitter, he was just ridiculous."
The Virginia series against Rutgers was in late February, but if it makes my nephew or the Scarlet Knights feel any better, nobody has had much success trying to get Haseley out since then, either. Haseley finished his junior season as the ACC batting champion with a .390 average to go along with 14 home runs, a .491 on-base percentage and a 1.150 OPS.
Apparently, the Gulf Coast League and the New York-Penn League got the Rutgers scouting report on the 21-year-old Florida native. After going 7 for 12 with a double, triple and four RBIs in three games with the Phillies' Gulf Coast League team, Haseley quickly graduated to Willamsport, where he batted .395 with two doubles, a home run and nine runs scored in his first 10 games ahead of Wednesday night's doubleheader against the Connecticut Tigers.
"I haven't really seen him hiccup at all," said Tyler Henson, the hitting coach at Williamsport. "If it was up to me, he has shown that he is ready for the next level."
Another promotion for Haseley will not come this week, but it is unlikely that he will finish his first professional season at Williamsport and entirely possible that he will skip the South Atlantic League and move straight to high-A Clearwater. That would put him on the fast track to the big leagues.
"I think at some point in time that may be what we do," director of player development Joe Jordan said. "But right now we want him to get used to a different routine from what he had in college. Obviously he's not pitching any more, but the amount of throwing and the amount of early work you do in professional baseball is an adjustment. We want him to get integrated into our system."
Haseley, just two weeks into his professional career, admitted the daily grind of professional baseball has been an adjustment even though he has made it appear seamless. The left-handed hitting center fielder compared the pitchers in the New York-Penn League to those he faced last summer in the elite Cape Cod League.
"I didn't know anything about pro ball when I got here," Haseley said Tuesday night before Williamsport's scheduled game against Connecticut at Dodd Stadium was postponed by poor field conditions. "I'm speaking mostly about the pitching. I was just trying to work on doing the same thing I did in the spring. I just think about being disciplined. When I'm doing that, I think I have a good chance at being successful."
Haseley drew eight walks in his first 13 professional games, which helped account for his .525 on-base percentage and 1.125 OPS.
"I think the [velocity] is a lot higher here on a consistent basis than in college," Haseley said. "Everyone throws three or four miles per hour harder. You have to be that much more disciplined and be ready in the box earlier. But it has been a really small sample size."
Williamsport manager Pat Borders has been most impressed by Haseley's approach before and during the game.
"You cannot distract him from getting his work done," Borders said. "In batting practice, he gets in the cage and works on things, period. He's just a really smart player."
One reason Haseley might skip Lakewood and move to Clearwater is that Mickey Moniak, last year's No. 1 overall pick, is playing center field for the BlueClaws. The Phillies want Haseley to remain in center field, too. Haseley, having played three collegiate seasons, is more advanced than Moniak, who was drafted out of high school.
"That's the position we drafted [Haseley] at and that's where we want to see him play," Jordan said. "He has been very good in center field so far."
For his part, Haseley is not worried about when he will be moving up or where he will be moving.
"I deleted my Twitter account, so I don't follow what is being said on social media too much," he said. "I don't know what the next level will be going up, but I do know this level is pretty tough. There's a reason these guys are professionals, so this is a battle in and of itself."