This will be my first of 3-4 prospect updates throughout the season. I did my top-10 list prior to the season, and will re-rank players at my next update, but this is just a review of which prospects are playing well and which are disappointing.
The Phillies have an improving system and probably the deepest system they’ve had in some time (thanks, Pat Gillick!). I’ve reviewed 17 players here, and I think there is a good chance we’ll see most of them in the majors at some point. Please feel free to ask any questions about these players as a kept the write-ups short so I could include all the guys I think are important.
It should be noted that several high picks in the 2008 draft (Anthony Hewitt, Trevor May, Jared Cosart and Colby Shreve) have not played yet this season due to injury or the Phillies thinking they aren’t quite ready for Lakewood yet.
note: I suggest not reading this post in IE, as it apparently doesn’t like the pictures.
Get Excited About…
Notable Ranks in FSL: 1st in OBP, SLG%, OPS and total bases, 2nd in Runs and RBI, 3rd in Walks, 4th in HR, 5th in 3B and BA, 6th in 2B, 7th in SB
Before the season, Baseball America had Brown ranked as the Phillies top prospect, while most other publications had him around 6 or 7. However, after his start, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t have him not only as the top prospect for the Phils, but one of the quickest risers in all the minors. Brown has showed it all this year: Power, patience, average, speed and defensive range and a great arm. He’s a legit 5-tool player and a tremendous athlete (signed with Miami out of high school as a 6’5” WR) who is still developing his game. Looks for him to move up to Reading later this season, and perhaps take the RF position from a departing Jayson Werth in 2011.
Notable Ranks in EL: 3rd in SLG%, 4th in RBI, 6th in HR, SB and OPS
Taylor gives the Phillies arguably the best pair of outfield prospects in baseball. Taylor isn’t quite the fielder Brown is, but he has a power frame (6’6” 250 lbs) with some speed (8 SB) to go with it. He’s also closer to being major league ready, but there isn’t anywhere to put him anytime soon. He had a ridiculous offensive season last year, and after a slow start, he’s finding his groove again. Thus far, he’s shown he can hit for both power and average without too many strikeouts (only 17 so far this year).
Notable Ranks in FSL: 1st in IP and K, 15th in ERA and WHIP
After coming back from Tommy John surgery, Drabek has shown he has the best stuff in the organization. He is not only leading the league in strikeouts (67 after his most recent start), but is leading by 22 over the 2nd place pitcher. Some scouts think his future is as a closer because of his mental make-up, but I certainly hope they give him every chance to be a starter. Drabek might see Reading later this season, and I wouldn’t expect to see him in the majors before 2011.
Notable Ranks in EL: 1st in WHIP, 4th in ERA, 6th in K
Bastardo doesn’t have the best stuff in the organization, but you absolutely cannot argue with his results. The Phillies put him in the bullpen to start the year (thinking he might be the answer to our lefty relief problem), but they recently put him back in the rotation where he has dominated. So far he’s sported an unbelievable 0.81 WHIP and has struck out more than a batter an inning. He throws a low-90s fastball with a very good change-up. The Phillies just promoted him to AAA Lehigh Valley where he struck out 11 over 6 IP, while giving up 3 runs in his first start. I would say he’s in the same vein as JA Happ, but with a little more upside. If the Phillies rotation problems persist, Bastardo would probably get the call-up over Carrasco this year.
Notable Ranks in EL: 2nd in IP, 4th in WHIP and K, 17th in ERA
Worley is one of many players from last year’s draft class that have showed some early promise. His stuff isn’t overpowering, but so far he’s shown the ability to go deep into games, and while his ERA isn’t spectacular, his WHIP (0.95) is, and shows he’s probably been hurt by a couple big hits. Some have him pegged as a future late inning reliever, others as a starter. Either way, he could be in the mix for the Phillies around 2011.
Get Worried About…
Notable Ranks in IL: 3rd in K
Carrasco was the Phillies #1 prospect heading into the season and showed some promise in Spring Training as he competed for a 5th starter spot. That continued into the season, as he had a 2.37 ERA after his first 3 starts. Since then, however, he had one bad start that spiraled into several, and he has been getting hit around at a pretty high rate. Some people think that this adversity will help him deal with it when he gets to the major league level. I think that’s grasping for silver lining. He showed signs of getting on track with his last start where he gave up 2 runs in 6 inning with 8 strikeouts. He’s still only 22, and by no means should anyone panic. I think the Phillies still plan on having him in the opening day rotation (perhaps replacing Myers) in 2010.
Notable Ranks in IL: 6th in 2B
Donald is another player who shined in Spring Training, but has done anything but in AAA. He’s got low numbers across the board and seems to be unable to get into any sort of rhythm. At the beginning of the year, we thought that Donald would either be a replacement for Pedro Feliz or trade bait. With Feliz playing well and Donald’s value low, he might end up being neither.
Notable Ranks in IL: none
Promising spring training, spent some time with the team, not playing well in AAA. Anyone else seeing a trend here? Granted, Marson hasn’t had enough ABs in AAA to really say he’s struggling, but I for one was hoping he would play well enough during his call-up to stay up. I wonder if getting a taste of the big leagues for these 3 guys has somehow affected their play. Hopefully all 3 can find their groove and get their stock back on the rise.
Notable Ranks in IL: none
This will probably be Naylor’s last appearance on this list. He turned some heads with an impressive showing and K-rate in Lakewood last year, but after being promoted, he hasn’t been able to cut it in Clearwater. Too many hits, high ERA, decreased K-rate and being too old for A-Adv make him a non-prospect until further notice.
Notable Ranks in SAL: 7th in RBI
Marson and D’Arnaud gave the Phillies possibly the best catching prospect tandem around to start the year, but both have been real disappointing thus far. D’Arnaud has driven in runs, but his .241 OBP and .329 SLG% are horrendous. He’s only 20, so you’d have to expect some streakiness, let’s hope a hot streak is coming.
Keep an Eye On…
Notable Ranks in FSL: 7th in K
Yohan Flande is the one name on this list I had never heard of before this season. After he allowed 1 ER in his first 4 starts (24 innings), he got my attention. He’s not spectacular, and is old for Clearwater, but he has shown improvement over the last two seasons and is the type of player, a la Kyle Kendrick, who could come up and contribute for a season or two one day.
Notable Ranks in EL: 12th in K
Like Flande, Stutes started out really hot (3 ER, 18 K in 17 IP over first 3 starts) but has since cooled. He was very impressive last season and some Phillies people think he might have the highest ceiling of anyone in last year’s draft class (even though he was picked in the 11th round).
Notable Ranks in IL: 5th in HR, 8th in SLG%
We all saw John Mayberry burst on to the scene with his 3-run HR off Andy Pettitte in his 2nd major league AB. Manuel was impressed enough with him that he is going to stay with the club as a right handed hitter off the bench and someone who can spell Ibanez against tough lefties. The tall and lanky Mayberry has some power and a long swing, but barring injury, he likely won’t get a chance to start long-term with the Phillies.
Notable Ranks in SAL: 1st in SB, 10th in Runs
Gose might be the fastest player in the minor leagues. In 41 games, Gose has 26 stolen bases. He has 10 more than the 2nd place stealer in the South Atlantic League and if he were playing a 162 game MLB season, he’d be on pace for 103 SB. Obviously, at 18, he’s got a lot of development ahead of him, but the Phils 2nd round pick in 2008 has a lot of tools to work with. And if he can’t hack it with the bat, he’s got a 97 mph fastball to work with as a pitcher.
Notable Ranks in SAL: 2nd in K
Knapp is probably the hardest thrower in our system, with a (reported) 98mph fastball. In his first 3 starts, Knapp struck out a ridiculous 30 batters in 18.1 IP while only giving up 4 runs. This caused a slight frenzy among Phillies prospect followers which has since been cooled by a bunch of sub-par outings. At 18, Knapp is going to go through a lot of ups and downs, but his pure stuff is probably 2nd to only Drabek in the system.
Notable Ranks in SAL: 11th in SB
Collier was really, really close to being put in the “Get Worried About…” category, but like the 2 previous prospects, you can only gauge so much from an 18 year old. Collier is a great athlete and many compare his swing to Garrett Anderson. So far, he looks a lot more like the current version of Anderson than the late 90′s version.
Notable Ranks in EL: none
Savery, the Phillies 1st round pick in 2007, has had a better season than his disappointing first season, but isn’t showing the stuff of a 1st round pick. Apparently his fastball is lacking the zip that the Phillies scouts saw at Rice, and therefore his secondary stuff isn’t as effective and he’s getting hit. However, it’s been better than last year and his ERA has dropped despite being moved up from Clearwater to Reading. I’m not sure if Savery will be anything more than a 4-5th starter, and it’s possible they could switch him back to being a hitter if they feel he can’t make it as a pitcher.
Keep up-to-date at our Phillies top prospects page.