March 2, 2015

Minor Update: Phillies’ Prospects Through The First Quarter

It’s too early in the season to officially re-rank my top-20 (though I did make some adjustments on the prospect page) – but I do like to do a run-down of the Phillies’ system after the first quarter of the season. For this exercise, I’m going to give a quick update on 29 of our prospects broken out into 4 categories…

Get Excited About: Players who have either taken a big jump this year, or are exceeded expectations

Get Worried About: High ranking prospects who aren’t playing as such

Hold Judgement On: Too early to tell, some good, some bad

Other: Doesn’t fall into one of those categories

Alright, real complex stuff, let’s get going…

Get Excited About

Domonic Brown, OF, 22, Reading

Brown was the unanimous top prospect in the Phillies organization coming into the season and has done nothing to change that. In fact, he’s even better than expected and has been the best hitter in the Eastern League so far. He is hitting .311 while showing 30/30 potential (7 HR / 7 SB) and a great eye at the plate (17 BB). He was leading the Eastern League in OPS by a wide margin until he went hitless in his last 2 games. Brown’s all-around game actually reminds me a bit a Bobby Abreu – with a lower batting average and better defense.

Jarred Cosart, RHP, 20, Lakewood

Meet the new Kyle Drabek. Cosart has busted out in his first full season and has an arm that one scout called the 2nd best in all of the minors (to phenom Stephen Strasburg). Cosart sits at 93-95mph with his fastball and has been reported to get up to 97mph. His ERA (3.12) isn’t spectacular, but his peripherals are. In 40.1 innings, he has 52 strikeouts (11.6 per/9) and just 8 walks. He has also only allowed 29 hits for a 0.92 WHIP. He truly has “ace” stuff, and if he stays healthy, he could be in Philly in mid-2012.

Jonathan Singleton, 1B, 18, Lakewood

It’s early on for Singleton, who spent time in extended spring training, but so far he’s been raking. In 11 games, Singleton has shown impressive power (3 HR) and plate discipline (8 BB) for a high schooler drafted just last year. His OBP (.478) and OPS (1.181) will likely come down, but he’s a name to watch.

Nick Hernandez, LHP, 21, Lakewood
Austin Hyatt, RHP, 24, Clearwater

I lumped these guys together because they are both the same story. Both were college pitchers drafted last season (though I’m not sure why Hernandez is so young). Neither have overpowering stuff, and have moderate ceilings, but both are showing this year that they could contribute at the big league level at some point. Hernandez (who just went on the 15-day DL) has a sparkling 1.61 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. His 52 K’s in 56 IP are decent as well. Could be the next 4th-5th starter caliber lefty out of the Phillies system (Happ, Josh Outman, Matt Maloney).

Hyatt is one level above Hernandez. He doesn’t have the ERA (3.16) but his 65 K’s in 51.1 IP are very impressive. He is way too old for Clearwater and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him moved to Reading soon. His long term future with the Phillies might be as a reliever.

Jonathan Villar, SS, 19, Lakewood

With such a dearth of middle infield prospects, Villar’s start to the season has been a positive development. Villar is hitting .309 and showing some speed on the basepaths with 17 steals already. He doesn’t have much power, and probably isn’t going to get it, but he’s very athletic and could turn into a legit MLB SS. He will have plenty of time if the Phillies extend Rollins.

Get Worried About

Sebastian Valle, C, 19, Lakewood

With Travis d’Arnaud and Lou Marson gone via trade, Sebastian Valle is the lone remaining catching prospect. Valle went into the season with a lot of hype after tearing up the Mexican League (and winning ROY honors), but he has been nothing short of awful in Lakewood. Valle is hitting just .227 with almost no power (.291 SLG%). He has struggled everywhere above Low-A, but is still young.

Phillippe Aumont, RHP, 21, Reading

Aumont could probably be put in the “hold judgment” section because he has a lot of things going on right now. First, he’s being converted back to a starter. Second, the Phillies coaches are messing with his delivery and third, he’s moved up to AA, where he’d only had 17 IP experience prior. Put that all together and you get a 6.25 ERA and a horrible 31 BB in 40.1. That’s too poor to be anywhere but here. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t end up in the pen eventually.

Jiwan James, OF, 21, Lakewood

James was billed as one of the tools-iest players in the minors leagues prior to the season. However, having been converted to an OF from a pitcher, there was a decent chance he wouldn’t come close to reaching his potential. So far that seems to be the case. James is dragging along with a .594 OPS, just barely higher than Domonic Brown’s SLG%.

Tyson Gillies, OF, 21, Reading

Gillies earned rave reviews in spring training and coming off of a very impressive year last year, he looked like he might be the heir apparent to Shane Victorino. However, he struggled early on, and only managed a .642 OPS before being placed on the DL. There is some belief that the injury was bothering him all year. I certainly hope so.

Freddy Galvis, SS, 20, Reading

Galvis might be the best defensive short stop in the minors, but until he can learn to hit, he won’t have a chance to make it to the majors. Not so good so far this year, hitting .201 with a laughable .473 OPS.

Hold Judgment On

Trevor May, RHP, 20, Clearwater

Up until a couple weeks ago, May was definitely going to be put into the “excited” category and it was a toss-up between him and Jarred Cosart for the best arm in the organization. However, he’s fallen off the rails a little bit in his last couple starts (12 IP, 12 ER) and now his ERA is all the way up to 5.26. The real concern with May is his control. His K/9 rate is the best in the organization and one of the best in all of minor league baseball (60K in 39.1 IP, 13.74 K/9). This shows he has dynamite stuff and could have ace potential if he reigns it in. The problem is the 26 walks in 39.1 IP (5.9 BB/9).

Domingo Santana, OF, 17, Lakewood

Santana is the youngest player in Phillies’ minor league history (above short-season) so growing pains are inevitable. He has shown very impressive plate discipline (24 BB in 38 games) so his OBP is actually OK (.342) despite his horrible batting average (.195). However, his strike out rate (57 in 38 games) is really bad. At his age though, he could spend 2 more full years in Lakewood and still be on track – so you really have to give him a good deal of time.

Anthony Gose, OF, 19, Clearwater

Considering his age and level, Gose is doing just fine. He has some ridiculous numbers: 9 triples already, 4 more than the MLB leader and 19 stolen bases. And he also has some bad numbers: 12 caught stealing, a .302 OBP and 49 strikeouts. Not great, but could be a lot worse. It’s important to keep in mind that his defense might be his best attribute, but won’t show up in minor league stats.

Anthony Hewitt, OF, 21, Lakewood

Hewitt probably still won’t amount to anything, but he’s on here because I had pretty much written him off after last season. Hewitt, the Phillies 1st round pick in 2008, showed no signs of becoming a decent hitter last year (.223 BA in short-season) but was moved up a level this year to Lakewood. He came out firing, but has since cooled considerably. His .242 average is nothing to get excited about, but there are still people who think that a light-bulb could go off and he could rocket up. Probably not.

J.C. Ramirez, RHP, 21, Clearwater

Ramirez is doing to best of the 3 prospects we got for Cliff Lee, but that’s not saying much. Right now his ERA is just above 4 (4.01), but he’s been more consistent than the ERA would indicate. Take out one particularly bad start (4 IP, 7 ER) and his ERA drops all the way down to an impressive 2.79.

Brody Colvin, RHP, 19, Lakewood

Colvin was the Phillies’ highest profile draft pick last year and you need to be patient with high school pitchers making their first professional appearance. Colvin was originally slated for the “get worried” category after a ridiculous 9.41 ERA after his first 5 starts. But, he has been stellar in 3 of his last 4 starts (19.1 IP, 1 ER, 17 K) – so he might be turning a corner.

Leandro Castro, OF, 20, Lakewood

Perhaps the most disappointing part of the Phillies minor league system so far this year is that none of the high-upside position players in the Lakewood outfield (Castro, Hewitt, Santana, James) have broken out. Castro has been up and down, and is currently hitting .250 but with little power and OBP. He was doing much better earlier in the season, but is currently in a slump.

Colby Shreve, RHP, 22, Lakewood

Shreve was originally drafted by the Phillies in the 2008 draft, knowing that he would have undergo Tommy John surgery. He finally got on a professional mound this year, and has been very impressive with a 1.88 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 24 IP. I didn’t put him in the “excited” category because he is old for Lakewood, only 24 innings past major surgery and for whatever reason doesn’t have great strikeout numbers (14 K in 24 IP) and I usually expect big K/9 numbers from prospects in Lakewood.

Jonathan Pettibone, RHP, 19, Lakewood

Pettibone got $500K from the Phillies to stay away from USC after the 2008 draft. So far he’s yet to put up numbers that indicate future success. This year in Lakewood he is sporting a 4.69 ERA after 8 starts and recently landed on the disabled list. Give his WHIP (1.46), he’s lucky his ERA isn’t higher. He’s still young though, and has room to fill out and add velocity.

Yohan Flande, LHP, 24, Reading

Flande does it with smoke and mirrors, but he still somehow gets it done. Despite a ridiculously low K/9 rate (19 K in 49 IP) and despite allowing over a hit per inning (51 hits in 49 IP), Flande has a sparkling 2.39 ERA, 3rd best in the Eastern League. I personally don’t predict an long MLB future for Flande (perhaps a spot-start or two), but as long as he keeps the runs down, he’s worth keeping track of.

Jesus Sanchez, RHP, 22, Clearwater

Just converted to pitcher last year, this holdover from the Bobby Abreu trade continues to pitch well (2.97 ERA in 57.2 IP) if not dominantly (37 K and 16 BB). I’m not sure what his ceiling is, but for some one who just got into pitching, he’s doing rather well.


John Mayberry, OF, 26, Lehigh Valley

We kind of already know what we have in Mayberry, and he’s doing little to change that in AAA. He’s having a very solid season, hitting .279 with 6 HR and an .834 OPS. I don’t think he’s an everyday player for the Phillies, but could be for a team like the Royals or Pirates.

Scott Mathieson, RHP, 26, Lehigh Valley
Mike Schwimer, RHP, 24, Reading
Justin DeFratus, RHP, 22, Clearwater

These guys are bunched together because they are the 3 most promising relief prospects at each level. All have low ERA’s and WHIPs and over a strikeout per inning. We all know that I think Mathieson (0.82 ERA in 20.1 IP) should be up by now. Schwimer’s ERA is inflated (3.32) by one horrible outing (0.1 IP, 5 ER). Without that hiccup, his ERA is 1.27 and WHIP is 0.98. He has struck out 27 in 21.2 IP. DeFratus was tried out as a starter last year, but has been dominant in relief his entire (brief) career. This season he is sporting a 1.80 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 23 K (and just 5 walks) in 20 IP.

Drew Naylor, RHP, 23, Reading
Vance Worley, RHP, 22, Reading
Drew Carpenter, RHP, 25, Lehigh Valley

It seems to me that these 3 guys have reached their ceilings and kind of are what they are. I think they are probably in the “Kendrick Zone” which would be that they are probably AAAA players who don’t quite have the stuff to maintain an MLB career. All have ERA’s in the low 4′s with below-average peripherals and would probably have ERA’s in the low-to-mid 5′s in the majors. Perhaps a move to the bullpen could improve their chances of impacting a MLB roster.

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  1. Al Giordano says:

    yo pete, i just emailed you my eagles post check it out.

    great post btw you always do a great job with the minor league updates.

  2. rocky says:

    thank you very much appreciate the update on the minor leaguers

  3. Richie says:

    Love this stuff Pete. Keep it up with the Minor League Updates. Great to hear about Villar because we have not had an infielder do much prospect wise. I alos heard some good things about that overbeck guy I think hes in A ball as well. Hopefully, James, Santana and Valle turn things around, but we shall see.

  4. Pete says:



    On Overbeck – he is definitely tearing it up (10 HR, 1.014 OPS), but at his age (about to turn 24) he really should be in AAA. I could see him being a utility guy, but unlikely much more.

    Don’t worry about Santana – he’s got a lot to learn. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him go down to short-season Williamsport once that gets started.

  5. Pete says:

    Also, a follow up on Colvin – a couple posters over on Phuture Phillies said that he was at 94mph on the gun in the 7th inning in his last start. Definitely a good sign.

  6. Ken Bland says:


    Quote from Ruben via Zolecki today…

    “We’re going to be reluctant to move talent, because we’ve moved a lot of talent out of our system,” GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “But we’ll see how things shape up over the next several months.”

    That said, would you like to carry this prospect update a step further and speculate as to who is tradable and who isn’t?

    I’ll offer a very, very generic opinion by saying that they all are. The reason I say that is because Ruben comes across as hell bent on getting his guy. Witness Halladay, who before the winter meeting last year said words to the effect of he seriously doubted anything with Halladay would happen, which was a nice public posture. That doesn’t mean he’d trade Brown or Cosart easily, but he might. Anyway, if you think some are more tradable than others, I’d value your guess. I’m sure we all would.

  7. Ken Bland says:

    Here’s the Ruben quote and what I pulled it out of context from.

    The Phillies’ Search For Pitching
    By Ben Nicholson-Smith [May 24 at 4:12pm CST]
    The Phillies are looking at pitchers around the league, though they don’t need arms as badly as they did last year, writes’s Todd Zolecki. Roy Oswalt is not a likely fit, despite his availability, since the Phillies would prefer to hold onto their prospects.

    “We’re going to be reluctant to move talent, because we’ve moved a lot of talent out of our system,” GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “But we’ll see how things shape up over the next several months.”

    Since Oswalt makes $16MM next season and the Phillies have already guaranteed their players $135MM in 2011, acquiring Oswalt would likely mean letting Jayson Werth leave as a free agent after the season unless the Astros took on salary. The Astros would demand better prospects if they had to take on salary, so the Phillies are keeping tabs on cheaper options. As’s Jayson Stark reported last week, the Phillies are in touch with Pedro Martinez.

    “We haven’t seen him throw, but we check in with him,” Amaro told Zolecki.

    Martinez, who pitched well for the Phillies down the stretch last year after they signed him mid-season, would not cost prospects, so the Phillies are intrigued. They are eyeing a pair of White Sox relievers, too.

  8. Ken Bland says:

    yo pete, i just emailed you my eagles post check it out. >>

    Yo Al,

    Doncha think a Flyers post would be more marketable than an Iggles post at this time?

  9. Dannie says:

    Ken - We don’t do hockey on this blog.  I am sure Pete or maybe a guest post will go up if they actually win the Cup though.

  10. Strass says:

    Great stuff. I’ll look forward to future minor league updates…

  11. phillyfan says:

    Wow – who said Pujols is a great clubhouse guy?  He has always seemed to have a selfish streak and this is just another incident that proves it.  I can’t imagine Howard ever doing this.  As I said, Pujols’ best days are past him and it wouldn’t surprise me if he is hurt as well.  Thank goodness we didn’t make that trade.
    ST. LOUIS (AP)—Albert Pujols(notes) has no RBIs in nine games and he’s just a few more towering pop-ups or infield choppers from having his average drop below .300. No wonder the frustration is showing at times for a player who’s always made production look easy.
    May has not been a good month for the three-time NL MVP, who has one homer and 10 RBIs to go with a pedestrian .267 average.
    On Friday, when Ryan Ludwick(notes) was caught stealing for the last out of the eighth inning with Pujols at the plate and the Cardinals ahead by four runs, Pujols slammed his bat to the turf. He carried a mini-tantrum to the dugout where he and manager Tony La Russa had a brief exchange.

    “It’s no big thing,” La Russa said Monday. “I’m upset it got reported, because those things happen in the dugout once or twice a week.”

  12. Pete says:

    oh my god.

    stop bringing up an argument NO ONE ELSE is talking about whenever there is even the slightest hint of you being right.

    not to mention that Pujols STILL leads Howard in every conceivable category.

  13. phillyfan says:

    Agreed Pete – you do a great job with these minor league posts and really enjoy them.

  14. Pete says:

    D. Brown with HR #8 tonight

  15. Pete says:

    KB -

    On your “untouchable” question.

    The only true one is Brown – if they didn’t trade him yet, they really have to keep him. And his performance this year is showing he might be special.

    If I am the GM – I’m not trading…

    • Cosart
    • May
    • Santana
    • Singleton
    • Colvin
    The first two because they have high-level stuff, and we are going to need some starters to come out of our system around 2012. And the bottom 3 because they are very talented, and too young to really know what you have yet.

  16. Ken Bland says:

    Thanks for the untouchable guide,  Pete.  I guess depending on who the trade partner might line up as, the most attractive trade chip is Aumont.  He seemed dangerously close to the big leagues as a reliever until he was traded here.  I’m glad you still have May as untouchable.  I’m kind of living off his early season work.

  17. Ken Bland says:

    Some notes from around the majors…

     - Funny how when the Red Sox came in this past weekend they seemed so far removed from the playoff race, early though it may be.  They are now 2 games behind the wild card leading Yankees with the Blue Jays currently inbetween.

    - The Blue Jays banishment to the Bank for interleague play may not be the blessing it seemed.  The Jays are a .500 team at home, several games over the .500 mark on the road.

    - There isn’t exactly a depth of difference make quality likely to be available for the trade deadline, but Kevin Millwood is a name that has escaped mention so far.  Doesn’t seem much point in the Orioles keeping him.

    - The list of nominees for most disappointing team of the first quarter is fairly expansive.  The Braves, Angels, Matiners and White Sox might head up the list, but to me, the selection is the Giants.  They are 2 games over .500, and in the thick of the NL West race, but with that pitching, and Barry Zito reestablishing himself, its mind boggling that their ledger card is that close to even.

    - If you take the all star voting seriously, look at the early results for designated hitter in the AL.  Sensibly, Vlad Guerrero tops the list.  But Hidecki Matsui, Ken Griffey ad Pat Burrell are the next 3.  


  18. Jake says:

    Great post since i don’t have time to keep up on all these kids.
    At this point, the way ruben has been operating, i don’t think anyone is untouchable. Would you be okay trading brown for a legit closer? What if it meant resigning Werth (even though the two are unrelated financially)?
    I think Mathieson will move up after the All-Star break, if not sooner. I think they’re saving him for the long haul.
    I think they will make a move for a reliable closer. I don’t think Charlie wants to use Contreras as the closer because he’s more valuable as a long man. I would say no one is safe if Lidge is done…And the pitching is going to have to be the strength of this team if Jimmy stays down for an extended period of time. It’s apparent his injury is lingering and it’s the worst possible thing that could happen to this team.
    Everyone should vote for Pat the Bat  for the All-Star Game….what would MLB do if an unemployed player was voted to the Game?
    Vote for Pat.


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