|Hiatt in his Media Guide|
Astro Duds. . .
|. . .And as a New Orleans|
Phil Hiatt had played over 1300 minor league games before he played another 140 for the 2004 New Orleans Zephyrs, and although his batting average might have been a little lower than usual for the Zephyrs, he played them in very much the same way. |
Phil Hiatt is a Power Hitter, with the capitals please. Ten times stateside, he has had a double-digit home run season, and he has done it for eight different minor league franchises. So you know he takes his hacks. You could say Hiatt doesn't worry too much about the strikeouts: seven times he has struck out 100 times or more while playing no fewer games than times victimized by the K. It's an approach that has always has found him work, but also has perhaps kept him from being invited back.
Hiatt struck out 140 times in 140 games for the Zephyrs, but he also connected for 30 home runs, and scored 80 times while driving in another 77. The 30 homers tied for the franchise lead and was eighth in the Pacific Coast League; he also led the team in at bats and strikeouts. The 140 strikeouts were third most in the PCL.
Hiatt had 25 more RBI's than the player who was named the Zephyrs' 2004 MVP, shortstop Chris Burke. Hiatt also leads Burke by almost 11 years in age; while Hiatt is bankable for the minor league franchise because of his large number of homers, the time is past when the parent club seriously considers 36-year old Phil Hiatt for a major league job. He has got the reputation, and since '95, the only times he has gotten a callup were in years when he won a league MVP. In 1996, he won the International League MVP, and was given a 21-at bat curtain call in Detroit, and in 2001, he won the PCL MVP, and the Dodgers gave him 50 AB's in September.
True to form, the Houston Astros did not call up Phil Hiatt in 2004, although there was much noise when they brought up Burke a couple different times.
Still, Hiatt's year with New Orleans was memorable. On June 15, during an otherwise nondescript 9 - 2 loss to the Memphis Redbirds, Hiatt connected off Dan Haren for his 300th minor league homer. With the shot, he extended his active lead, and by the end of the year, could see from afar Leo "Muscle" Shoals in 10th place on the career minor league home run list, with 368.
Of course, they make movies about this stuff. Hiatt, when asked, says that he plays because he loves the game, and wants to get back to the majors. But he's probably past kidding himself that if only he'd hit .290 the Astros would have recalled him. So maybe a spot on the minor league career home run list would interest him. Number one on the list, Hector Espino, played 24 years in the Mexican League, delivered 484 times, and is beyond reach, but two average seasons for Hiatt get him past Leo Shoals. And it's undeniable that he can find a job for a 2005 Triple A team should he be so inclined.
In January, the Zephyrs were reporting that Hiatt would get an invite to the Nationals' camp, but as spring training opened, he was not seen on the Nationals 40 man roster. Perhaps he is in minor league camp with the Zephyrs as the Nationals new affiliates, or perhaps he has gone back to Japan.
|1991||Baseball City Royals||Florida State||.298||81||315||41||94||33||21||6||5||22||70||28||14||142||.451|
|1992||Omaha Royals||American Assoc.||.214||5||14||3||3||4||0||0||2||2||3||1||0||9||.643|
|1993||Omaha Royals||American Assoc.||.235||12||51||8||12||10||2||0||3||4||20||0||0||23||.451|
|1993||Kansas City Royals||American||.218||81||238||30||52||36||12||1||7||16||82||6||3||87||.366|
|1994||Omaha Royals||American Assoc.||.182||6||22||2||4||2||1||0||1||0||4||1||0||8||.364|
|1995||Omaha Royals||American Assoc.||.158||20||76||7||12||8||5||0||2||2||25||0||0||23||.303|
|1995||Kansas City Royals||American||.204||52||113||11||23||12||6||0||4||9||37||1||0||41||.363|
|1996||Toledo Mud Hens||International||.261||142||555||99||145||119||27||3||42||50||180||17||6||304||.548|
|1997||Hanshin Tigers||Japanese Central||.204||67||208||26||42||30||7||3||11||27||64||3||0||88||.427|
|1997||Hanshin Tigers||Japanese Western||.291||21||79||15||23||19||2||0||9||7||23||1||0||52||.658|
|2000||Colorado Springs Sky Sox||Pacific Coast||.310||136||507||106||157||109||36||1||36||63||149||14||2||303||.598|
|2001||Las Vegas 51's||Pacific Coast||.330||113||436||107||144||99||29||5||44||52||109||6||4||315||.722|
|2001||Los Angeles Dodgers||National||.240||30||50||6||12||6||3||0||2||3||19||0||0||21||.420|
|2002||Las Vegas 51's||Pacific Coast||.304||95||355||70||108||82||14||2||23||42||88||1||2||195||.549|
|2003||Iowa Cubs||Pacific Coast||.272||134||478||72||130||89||35||1||25||45||110||10||2||242||.506|
|2004||New Orleans Zephyrs||Pacific Coast||.235||140||485||80||114||77||15||4||30||64||140||5||1||227||.468|
|14||Minor League Totals (Excluding Japan)||.272||1447||5440||912||1480||986||286||37||314||508||1552||125||55||2782||.511|
|4||Major League Totals (Excluding Japan)||.216||170||422||50||91||55||21||2||13||30||149||7||3||155||.367|
Stats accurate as of March 6, 2005, when this page was created