I was going to do a whole mid-season recap of the Phillies, but it seemed like I would just be repeating stuff that we all already know. Rollins needs to play better, Hamels needs to pitch like an Ace, Lidge and Madson need to stop blowing games and everyone else needs to play fairly similar to the first half. There, I saved you all 1,000 words of nonsense. Instead, I hammered out my mid-season prospect update. Unlike the last prospect update, I’ve ranked these guys from 1-20 with a paragraph giving my thoughts. I’d do another update 3/4 through the season and then a final prospect ranking at the end.
1. Kyle Drabek, RHP
Drabek, in his first full season in the minors, has been a revelation. In the Futures Game during the all-star break, he showed the 95-96 mph fastball and killer curve that have made him one of the best pitchers in the minor leagues this year. He showed no signs of growing pains when he was promoted to AA-Reading and could be in the Phillies major league plans as soon as next year. Even though he is #1 on this list, we have to remember that he is just coming off major surgery and is no sure thing.
2. Michael Taylor, OF
I’ve already done a longer post on Michael Taylor, so I’ll just sum up his current ranks in Eastern League: 1st in Hits, 2nd in Runs, OPS and Total Bases 3rd in RBI, BA and SLG%, 4th in HR and OBP, 5th in Doubles and Stolen Bases, 6th in Triples. Couple his talent with his tremendous personality, and he’s easily my favorite Phillies prospect. Update: As I’m writing this, it seems he has been called up to AAA and will play his first game tonight (or yesterday, depending on when I finish this post)
3. Dominic Brown, OF
Dominic Brown, like Taylor, was at the top of the leaderboard in nearly every category before suffering a broken hand from which he is just now returning. On upside, Brown could be ranked slightly ahead of Taylor. He’s younger, more athletic, an exceptional fielder and has a better eye at the plate. He doesn’t quite have the production Taylor has, which is why he is slightly behind him. Comparisons for him have ranged from Daryl Strawberry without the attitude issues to a more energetic Bobby Abreu. I’ll take either.
4. Carlos Carrasco, RHP
How can someone who has been so disappointing be up here at #4? For starters, he’s still only 22 years old. He’s been a top prospect for so long that he seems older, but he’s only 9 months older than Drabek. 2nd, while his H/9 is horrible, his K/9 is very good for AAA, meaning that he definitely has the pure stuff to be a solid major league pitcher. Right now, it seems that problem is mental. Whether it is confidence, or the inability to shake off a big hit, he’s got some maturing to do. He seems like he might be a Gavin Floyd-type mentally, and it wouldn’t be bad to let him work it out in minors, unlike we did with Floyd.
5. Jason Knapp, RHP
Knapp is a long way from contributing, but word is he is close to untouchable because he throws about 98 mph and is still growing into his frame. Last I checked (a week or so ago), Knapp was leading all of the minor leagues in strikeouts. He has a lot to work on, including improving secondary pitches and overall command, but the sky is the limit for him. Personally, looking waaaay into the future, I could see him stepping into the closer role after Lidge’s contract is up. They will keep him as a starter in the minors, but I could see him being our Jon Papelbon. He was recently put on the DL, so I don’t know how much more we will see from him this year.
6. Lou Marson, C
Marson (who just turned 23) never really got into a rhythm this season. He started with a chance to make the team, then went to AAA, then got called up, then went back down, then got hurt. However, since returning from injury, he has been stellar. Since June 1, he has hit .353 with a .418 OBP and .818 OPS. He’s still lacking for power, but could be valuable as a #2 hitter who gets on base in front of our big guys. I still expect him to be our opening day starter next year.
7. Jason Donald, SS/3B
Donald is here for what he has done in the past, not this year. He was horrible at the start of the season, but was apparently hurt, and is just now coming off the DL. We will see if his dip in production was due to the injury, or something else. I imagine he will be involved in a trade, for Halladay or a lesser starter, as he is blocked by Rollins, and would likely have below average production for the third-baseman.
8. Joe Savery, LHP
One of the most pleasant surprises on this list for me, I was about to consider Savery a “non-prospect” before he went on a long-term tear, ending with him being named the starting pitcher in the Eastern League all-star game. Savery hasn’t been spectacular, but he has been a quality start machine, only getting hit hard a couple times all year. I would need to see him in person to move him up, regardless of numbers, because I’ve read that he doesn’t have a great fastball and gets by on secondary stuff, which likely won’t fly in the majors.
9. Antonio Bastardo, LHP
We all saw what Bastardo can do in his brief call-up this year, but we also saw what he needs to work on. He has a great fastball, but needs to work on locating it, and also on his secondary pitches. I think he can be a good starter in the majors if he figures it out. However, his history of injuries gives you pause as to whether he’ll ever make it there.
10. Drew Carpenter, RHP
I really don’t know what to make of Carpenter. He has not looked impressive in his (very) brief time in the majors, but I can’t ignore his numbers after he was sent down to Lehigh Valley following his spot start with the big club: 10 starts, 7-2, 66.7 IP, 1.89 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 53 K. Maybe it’s just a flash in the pan, or maybe he’s figured something out. Either way, you can’t ignore those numbers. I’m actually surprised they didn’t give him another shot before settling on Pedro.
11. Anthony Gose, OF
Gose is an interesting prospect. He has pretty much no power, but he might be one of the fastest players in the minor leagues and he’s done a decent job of getting on base for an 18-year old in single-A. Gose has stolen 49 bases in 84 games, and would be on-pace for about 100 if the minor league seasons were 162 games. If he doesn’t work out as a hitter, he could be converted to a relief pitcher as he reportedly hit 97mph in high school.
12. Travis d’Arnaud, C
d’Arnaud had been one of the Phillies more disappointing prospects this year, but like Lou Marson, had turned it around a bit as of late. He’s hit around .275 since June 1, and has shown a decent power stroke (9 HR) all year. He’s also come up in run producing situations, and is 1st on the team and 9th in SAL in RBI. He is a superb defensive player, and you can see with his power numbers that he certainly has the potential to shoot way up this list if he puts it all together.
13. Yohan Flande, LHP
Flande, the Phillies other representative in the Futures Game, came out of nowhere this year and dominated in Clearwater with a 2.52 ERA in 13 starts. He has struggled since his promotion to Reading, but has only had a few starts there. Like seemingly every prospect in our system the last couple years, he is a left-handed pitcher who throws a low 90′s fastball and a change-up. He doesn’t have a whole lot of upside, but people were saying that about JA Happ a couple years ago as well.
14. John Mayberry Jr., OF
We’ve seen what Mayberry can do in the majors, and he’s at an age where he needs to either find a spot on the team, or he’s going to become too old to really be a prospect. I think his ceiling is something like a .250 hitter with 20 HR power. He’s a nice player, but with our other outfield prospects, he will likely only be a bench guy for us barring injury.
15. Vance Worley, RHP
Worley might be feeling a little bit of fatigue in his first full season in the minors. Last year’s 3rd round pick was challenged by the team when they started him in Reading. He had a 2.22 ERA in April, but his ERA has risen in each month since. He is a control guy with a low 90s fastball and a decent slider and change-up. I’ve read that the Phillies might see him as a future late-reliever.
16. Sebastian Valle, C
From here on out, these are very young prospects with upside, but aren’t currently even in Lakewood and have a lot to prove. The first is Valle, who after struggling a bit starting the year in Lakewood, has been killing the Gulf Coast League. Valle is hitting .390 with 4 HR, 19 RBI and a 1.229 OPS in 16 games there.
17. Trevor May, RHP
May is one of a couple high potential pitchers the Phillies picked in the 2008 draft. His fastball sits around 92-94 and he his curve ball has the chance to be an out pitch for him. So far in Lakewood, he’s striking out a lot of batters, but walking a ridiculous amount. This shows me he has the pure stuff, but as 19, has a long way to go with his mechanics and control.
18. Anthony Hewitt, 3B
Speaking of a long way to go… Hewitt, the Phillies controversial 1st round pick last year (you know, because he can’t hit) has shown a little, but not much improvement in his second go-around in short-season Williamsport. Hewitt has been described as a “Bo Jackson-type” athlete, but he is essentially learning how to be a baseball player right now. It’s more likely he will fail than succeed, but if the light turns on in the next couple years, watch out.
19. Matthew Way, SP
The only member of the 2009 draft class, Way signed right away and went straight to work. He’s way too old for Williamsport, but he gets a spot at the end here because only 5 hits in his 16 IP there while striking out a batter an inning. Like I said with Johan Flande, he fits the Phillies pitcher profile: Lefty, low 90s FB with an above average change-up!
20. Domingo Santana, OF
Really just taking a flyer with this last guy here. Santana was signed out of the DR this season for $330,000. He has been hitting well in the Gulf Coast League, where guys like Hewitt have been struggling. Considering his age (16), size (6’5”, 200), position (CF) and apparent raw power (3 HR in first 5 games), he is someone to keep an eye on, but probably wouldn’t sniff the majors until 2014.
Just Missed: Mike Stutes RHP, Zach Collier OF, Drew Naylor RHP, Mike Cisco RHP, Kelly Dugan OF
2008 high draft picks who haven’t thrown yet: Colby Shreve RHP, Jarred Cosart RHP
Keep up-to-date at our Phillies top prospects page.