Outfielder Michael Taylor of the Reading Phillies and left-handed pitcher Yohan Flande of the Clearwater Threshers are the player and pitcher of the month for April, respectively, in the Phillies minor league system.
The 6-foot-6, 23-year-old Taylor led all Phillies minor leaguers with 12 runs scored and 14 RBI last month while batting .338. Among his 22 hits were four doubles, one triple and three homers. He stole five bases without being caught. His .338 average for the month ranked seventh best in the Eastern League.
"Whether it was weather-related or adjusting to AA, Michael got off to a slow start," said manager Steve Roadcap. "He started having better at bats in Altoona (games 10-11). Since then, he's progressed on the positive side, squaring up the ball and very consistent as a hitter."
After Taylor left Altoona (.229), he finished April with a seven-game hitting streak (14-30, .467). During the month, he started 10 games in right field and eight in left and was used as a designated hitter in two games.
Taylor was drafted out of Stanford University in the fifth round two summers ago. He carried a .308 career average going into the 2009 season. A year ago, he split the season between Lakewood and Clearwater. He was named the Phillies minor league player of the week four times and was the player of the month in April (.354) and August (.376), giving him three monthly awards out of the last six.
Flande, 23, was 3-0 with an organization-low 0.38 ERA for four starts. In 24 innings, he allowed 15 hits and two runs (one earned) while walking nine and striking out 22. He throws a fastball (89-90), slider and change up.
"He can command all three pitches on both sides of the plate," reported Clearwater pitching coach Dave Lundquist. "The change is above average. Yohan is also very good at sequencing his pitches, keeping hitters off balance. He has all the intangibles of a good, young pitching prospect."
Signed as an amateur free agent, December 13, 2004, out of Cruce de Pavon, DR, Flande spent his first three pro seasons in the Dominican Summer League program. A year ago, he was 4-1 in 10 games (nine starts) with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. He allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine of his 10 appearances and didn't allow more than two earned runs in his first four starts this season.