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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