One of the great things about this past weekend at Camelback Ranch was the opportunity to hang out with Ned Colletti behind the plate. Colletti has always been warm to Dodger bloggers, but very careful having his comments go "on the record." Luckily for us, the combination of the hot Arizona sun and the desert-warmed beers (drink 'em fast, or they're disgusting) loosened Colletti up a bit and gave us some insight into a white-hot Dodger prospect so undercover, he hasn't been picked up yet by the pundits: Phil Cote.
The Dodgers' farm system, ranked only behind the Marlins and Rockies in the NL, has long been regarded as a pillar of strength for the club. Dodger fans familiar with Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, and 2009 phenom-in-waiting James McDonald know that the Dodger scouts are great at drafting and cultivating pitchers for future major league service.
This rich history, of course, leads to much scrutiny by both other scouts and the press. So it is truly a stroke of brilliance to know that Colletti and his staff have kept Phil Cote, the pride of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee, Kansas, under the radar--if not necessarily under the radar gun.
"Phil Cote boasts a 95+ MPH fastball, a wicked changeup with exactly the same arm motion and slot, and a devastating curveball," revealed Colletti, sweat pouring from his brow in the direct sunlight. "We knew from the first time that we saw him that he'd be something special, so we took a different approach.
"Instead of letting him go through the draft and letting other teams find out about him, we snapped up his rights during his freshman year of high school, and immediately shipped him to our training facilities in China where he can receive one-on-one tutoring and physical development guidance. You know all that time we spent wooing China at the beginning of last year? Well, all of that glad-handing and shipping Tommy Lasorda around is finally going to pay off."
Equally amazing was that Cote hails from the same high school as 2007-2008 Gatorade Kansas Player of the Year Lee Ridenhour, who matriculated at the University of Kansas the following year.
"We didn't want Phil Cote turning into another Ridenhour case," continued Colletti, skin shriveling like a raisin. "Secrecy was a must. Phil Cote has a pitching arsenal that is so stuffed with goodness, it's almost like it has extra filling in every pitch. He's like a special burrito--but with all the sides, all at once. And that's about as good an endorsement as I'm going to give."
There you have it, SoSG fans: how the Dodgers are getting ahead in the arms race. Remember that name: Phil Cote.
Thanks to Ned Colletti for the insight, and good luck Phil Cote in your development--we can't wait to see you pitch in Chavez Ravine!