Baseball Prospectus released the first legit Top prospects list for the Phillies today (no, mine doesn’t count as legit) and the rankings show a marked improvement in the Phillies system over the last couple years. In their prospect rankings, BP ranks players anywhere from a 2-5 stars and they are very stingy in giving out high rankings, so don’t compare the stars to basketball or football H.S. recruiting sites.
Below, I have made a chart that shows BP’s rankings of the Phillies prospects over the past 3 years. The players with the same star rating are ranked in the order BP had them.
As you can see, just 2 years ago, the system was made up primarily of low level prospects, and was considered one of the worst in baseball. Now, we are one of only a few teams with no 2-star prospects in our top-11. In addition, several of lower players in these rankings (Collier, Knapp and D. Brown) all have the talent and tools to shoot up to a 4 or even 5 star prospect if they develop as the Phillies hope.
I was actually surprised at how close these rankings were to my own considering that BP uses crazy metrics to determine most of the rankings and I just use, well, basic numbers and common sense (which they frown upon over there, but that’s for another day). I had mentioned that I ranked Michael Taylor (who looks positively bad ass in the picture above) higher, and Lou Marson lower, than most people, and it seems like BP agrees with me. On the other end, I obviously like Jason Donald more than they do, and Travis D’Arnaud is a player that I did not have in my top-10 that maybe I should have. This article makes note that while D’Arnaud has the tools to be an above average offensive catcher, he is also a very good defensive catcher, which I did not know.
Since the scouting report on each player is premium information, I can’t relay exactly what was said, but a couple of our prospects (Drabek, D. Brown and Taylor, in particular) have big years coming up where they will either become untouchble prospects or potential question marks.
Finally, to give you an idea of where we stand relative to the rest of the majors in terms of our top-11, I compiled these non-scientific rankings of the 11 teams that BP has evaluated so far. The rankings are the average stars for each team’s top-11, as I did above with the past 3 Phillies seasons. If teams were tied, the team with the most 4-5 stars got the tiebreaker.
- Marlins, 3.82
- Braves, 3.56
- Rockies, 3.36
- Phillies, 3.36
- Brewers, 3.27
- Reds, 3.18
- Dodgers, 3.18
- Cubs, 3.09
- D-Backs, 2.91
- Mets, 2.91
- Astros, 2.64
The Marlins are #1, of course, because their entire operation relies on constantly having a strong farm system. They draft well, and trade away the vast majority of their major league talent for cheaper, minor league talent. The D-Backs and Mets are examples of how farm systems can drop in the rankings after just one big trade (Dan Haren and Johan Santana). The Brewers are also an example of this, as they may have been #1 if not for the CC Sabathia deal. A positive note for us on the Mets front is that their top 3 prospects, and only 4-star prospects, are all about 17 years old, and very far away from contributing to the major league roster. They also have plenty of time to completely fail, just like New York hype-machine casualties Lastings Milledge and Alex Escobar.
Once BP is done evaluating all the teams, I will post where the Phillies rank against all 30 teams. Until then, Baseball America will be releasing their Phillies top 10 on January 5th and I will put up a post about their thoughts on our system as well.
Keep up-to-date at our Phillies top prospects page.