Watson, Encarnacion Become Phillies Busts

Right-hander Shane Watson and first baseman Luis Encarnacion were both highly touted prospects who never were able to reach the hype they received when they first signed with the Phillies and were released at the end of minor league spring training.

Watson was the 40th overall pick in the 2012 Draft and seemed destined to be a part of a future Phillies pitching rotation. After a strong inaugural season with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2012, Watson made 16 starts for lakewood in 2013 and struggled to a 4.75 ERA through the first three months of the season before winding up on the DL on July 4th with what was initially termed shoulder soreness. Watson missed the remainder of the season and was officially diagnosed with right shoulder subluxation and underwent surgery in January of 2014, which caused him to miss the entire season.

As Watson looked to rehab from the injury, he failed a second drug test and was suspended 50 games for having a “drug of abuse” in his system. The suspension was served at the beginning of the 2015 season, most of which Watson would have missed anyway because of the continuing rehab on his shoulder.

Watson, 24, went a combined 9-16 with a 4.21 ERA as a starter from his return in 2015 through last season when the Phillies moved him to the bullpen after 11 starts at Double-A Reading. As a reliever, Watson seemed to flourish and posted a 2.65 ERA in 22 games out of the Fightins bullpen.

Encarnacion is still just 20 years old and had received a $1-million signing bonus from the Phillies as an international free agent in 2013. He came to the states from the Dominican Republic the following summer and hit .229 with two home runs for the GCL Phillies. In four minor league seasons, Encarnacion hit just 10 home runs and batted .217, including hitting .161 with Williamsport last season. In 2015, he hit 4-36-.271/.313/.370 in 54 games with the Crosscutters and led the New York – Penn League in RBI.

The Phillies moved Encarnacion to Clearwater for four games in the middle of last season and he hit .385/.429/.462 in 13 at-bats with the Threshers.

Neither player showed enough this spring to keep them in the organization and the when figuring out minor league rosters, the Phillies made the decision to let both players go.

Chuck Hixson

Chuck has a wide and varied background in covering sports both locally and nationally. Living in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Chuck has the distinction of being the only person to have covered both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in every season of their existence. Chuck began covering sports in 1998 when he was the first program director and morning host at WTKZ-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania when the station switched to an all sports format. Chuck produced the stations coverage of the Allentown Ambassadors baseball team, which played in the independent Northeast League. From there, Chuck was the editor and writer of Pinstripes magazine, covering Phillies baseball. That led to Chuck founding Philly Baseball Insider in 2003. Chuck has done freelance work for national entities such as USA TODAY, CBS, FOX Sports, Washington Times and others.

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