Here is the mid-season update of my top-20 prospects. Despite using a bunch of their prospects to acquire MLB talent in recent years, the Phillies system still has a lot of promise, though most of it a couple years away from contributing.
I rank the prospects based on their ceiling, how close they are to that ceiling, and actual performance. When I can, I put comparisons for the player, but keep in mind I am in no way a scout.
1. Domonic Brown, OF
Why He’s Here: Unquestionably the best prospect in our system, and now considered the best prospect in all of baseball with the graduation of many future stars.
Key Stat: Brown has always been a good hitter, but his power was just a projection. This year it became a reality with 19 HR through 80 games. He could be a 35+ HR guy in the majors, maybe even getting 40 a couple times.
What’s His Ceiling?: Everything about Brown screams “star.” He is a 5-tool talent who is humble and hard-working and some have said despite all his talent, his best attribute is his mental make-up. His ceiling is perennial all-star, but don’t expect it right away. Darryl Strawberry with a good head on his shoulders has been a common comparison for Brown.
When Will We See Him? Hopefully soon. He could help during the stretch run. He will likely replace Werth or Ibanez in the outfield next year.
2. Jarred Cosart, RHP
Why He’s Here: Replacing Kyle Drabek as the best pitching prospect in our system, Cosart might be a better prospect. His fastball caused one scout to say he had the best pure stuff in the minors aside from Stephen Strasburg. His fastball has reportedly hit 98 mph, and his BB/9 rate shows he has good control for his age.
Key Stat: As you will see, the Phillies have a lot of electric arms who can’t quite find the strike zone. Cosart’s 4.8 K/BB rate is very impressive and very promising.
What’s His Ceiling?: He’s got #1 starter stuff, but is a long way from being one. His repertoire (hard fastball, curve, change-up) is similar to Josh Beckett, but it’s way too early for that be a fair comparison and his curve will likely never be that good.
When Will We See Him? The Phils will progress Cosart slowly, and 2013 is probably the first time he’ll enter the discussion for a call up. It’s possible if they decide to use him as a closer (he’s drawn some Papelbon comps) and if so, he could arrive earlier.
3. Jonathan Singleton, 1B
Why He’s Here: Only 295 at bats into his career and Singleton has turned a lot of heads. One scout said he was the best hitter in the Sally League since Manny Ramirez and Baseball America already has him in their top-50 prospects in all of baseball.
Key Stat: 33 walks for an 18-year-old in his first pro stint is very impressive. Singleton is an extremely advanced hitter for his age.
What’s His Ceiling?: Not sure yet after such a short time. Right now he’s showing the ability to hit for average, take walks, and hit for power. We’ll have to watch which of these tools continue to grow and which level out as he goes along.
When Will We See Him? Unless he moves to the outfield (a possibility) or the NL adopts the DH (a possibility) it might not be until Ryan Howard’s contract runs out in 2016 (though you’d have to think we trade him by then). Even if there is an opening for him, it would probably be 2014 at the earliest.
4. Anthony Gose, OF
Why He’s Here: Super fast, super athlete whose bat is coming along. Gose is one of the youngest players in the Florida State League, but he has managed to improve his OPS almost 50 points over last year despite moving up a level.
Most Impressive Stat: Gose has 10 triples already, a tribute to his speed.
What’s His Ceiling?: I don’t know that Gose is ever going to be a great hitter, but he could be a gold glove center fielder, hit for average, and steal a ton of bases.
When Will We See Him? I’m not sure we ever will see him in a Phillies’ uniform. Of the top-5 guys, he’s the only one I could see the Phillies trading in a big deal. If we hang on to him, he’s probably another 2013 arrival.
5. Brody Colvin, RHP
Why He’s Here: Our top draft pick from last year (selected in 9th round, but received largest bonus), Colvin has been dominant after a rough start. After an 11.15 ERA in April, Colvin had a 3.21 ERA in May and has had a 1.84 ERA since June 1st. Reports say he hit 97mph in the 7th inning of a recent start.
Key Stat: No one stat jumps out for Colvin, but if his reported fastball velocity is a “stat,” that would be it for me.
What’s His Ceiling?: Similar to Cosart, he likely projects as a 1-2 starter, but there is a lot of projection in that. His fastball is there, but he will need to refine his control and breaking pitches (I’ll try not to be redundant with this, as that is what pretty much every minor league pitcher needs to do).
When Will We See Him? Probably on the same track as Cosart, one level at a time, projected arrival in Philly as early as 2013.
6. Sebastian Valle, C
Why He’s Here: The only decent catcher left in the system, Valle has a (potential) big bat for the position. After a slow start to the year, he’s come on of late, with 6 HR and an .809 OPS since June 1st.
Key Stat: 9 HR in 289 AB’s is pretty good for a 19-year old catcher. Shows he has 20+ HR potential. The question is how good an overall hitter he can be.
What’s His Ceiling?: My best guess is an everyday catcher who hits .260 – .270 with 20+ HR and average defense.
When Will We See Him? He’s got a chance to be Carlos Ruiz’ replacement in 2013 or 2014.
7. Tyson Gillies, OF
Why He’s Here: Because we have yet to see him healthy (hamstring), and his previous minor league numbers, and impression in spring training, tell me he should be pretty good once he gets there.
Key Stat: 26 games, 105 AB’s, the majority of which he played while hurting.
What’s His Ceiling?: Shane Victorino with a better batting average, more walks, more steals, less HR’s, and not as good defense.
When Will We See Him? Depending on when he gets back and how he looks, he could be the one to replace Ibanez in 2012 (assuming Brown replaces Werth). An outfield of Victorino, Brown and Gillies would be one of the fastest, and best defensively, in all of baseball.
8. J.C. Ramirez, RHP
Why He’s Here: He hasn’t been dominant, but he’s been very solid. Promoted to Reading and hasn’t slipped up through 5 starts, which is impressive at age 21.
Key Stat: Has shown poise when he gets in trouble. His WHIP drops from 1.32 with no one on, to 1.15 with men on base.
What’s His Ceiling?: A number 2-3 starter if he can develop his 3rd pitch, a back-end bullpen guy if he can’t. Obviously if the Phils promoted him to Reading as a starter, they think that the former is a good possibility.
When Will We See Him? Assuming he pitches well in Reading, he could be up as early as late next year if we need him. More likely he will be a candidate for the 2012 team.
9. Jesus Sanchez, RHP
Why He’s Here: Acquired in the Bobby Abreu trade as a catcher, Sanchez was converted to a pitcher and has shown impressive improvement in a short period of time. He doesn’t have dynamic stuff, but his has good control and hasn’t allowed a lot of hits.
Key Stat: 1.08 WHIP. Sanchez doesn’t dominate with high K/9 numbers, but he makes up for it by not allowing many baserunners. Last year in Lakewood, he allowed 1 more hit than innings pitched. So far this year, he’s allowed 20 less despite moving up to Clearwater. His rapid improvement is cause for optimism.
What’s His Ceiling?: Scouting reports on Sanchez are pretty much non-existent because of his recent switch to pitcher. Based on his numbers alone, and assuming his rapid improvement means there is more to come, I’d project him as a 3-4 starter.
When Will We See Him? The Phillies like him enough that he is protected on the 40-man roster, so he could be up once he proves himself in Reading (whenever that is). Like Ramirez, probably a candidate for the 2012 team.
10. Trevor May, RHP
Why He’s Here: He was neck and neck with Cosart for the top pitching spot after a couple starts and has big time stuff, but his control went off the deep end and he ended up being demoted to Lakewood.
Key Stat: The only thing more ridiculous than his K/9 rate (11.4) is his BB/9 rate (7.1).
What’s His Ceiling?: He has the same type of ceiling as Cosart and Colvin, but is further away from it because of his control issues. Only a handful of pitchers have had good seasons in the majors with a BB/9 rate above 5, let alone 7.
When Will We See Him? Unless he fixes his control problems immediately, I can’t imagine him being in the discussion for a call-up before 2014.
11. Phillippe Aumont, RHP
Why He’s Here: I could probably just copy and paste Trevor May’s evaluation here. Aumont (who I ranked as our 2nd best prospect prior to the season), has great stuff, no command, and was sent down a level.
Key Stat: 6.7 BB/9. Not quite as bad as May, but still horrendous.
What’s His Ceiling?: I personally don’t think that Aumont will end up as a starter. The Phillies are right to try him there first though. He’s got a big fastball with a lot of movement and is an intimidating presence on the mound at 6’7”. I think he is a future closer and his stuff could make him a very good one if he reigns it in.
When Will We See Him? I think the Phillies keep up the starter experiment for the rest of this year and then scrap it and make him a full-time reliever sometime next year. If that’s the case, you could see him as early as late next year.
12. Domingo Santana, OF
Why He’s Here: The youngest player in Lakewood history, Santana has a ton of potential, and a lot of time to harness it as he should only be a junior in high school right now.
Key Stat: 39 walks in 246 AB’s is very impressive for a 17-year old. Even when he struggled, Santana kept his patience.
What’s His Ceiling?: Santana’s ceiling is very, very high, but he’s probably the furthest from it on this list. He shown amazing patience and power (12 HR in 364 AB’s) for a teenager, and he’s not fully grown into his body. He could stay in single-A for 2 more years and still be on a normal developmental path. However, you can only get so excited about a .207 BA, .322 SLG% and 103 K’s in 72 games. It’s too early to tell what kind of ceiling he really has.
When Will We See Him? He doesn’t turn 21 until August of 2013. Your guess is as good as mine.
13. Jiwan James, OF
Why He’s Here: Touted by many scouts as an even better athlete than Domonic Brown, James was converted to a hitter last year and has slowly improved since. Whether or not it ever all comes together is a different story.
Key Stat: James is currently on a 20-game hitting streak and has hit .317 since June 1st.
What’s His Ceiling?: Like many of the Phillies’ high-risk, high-reward guys, it’s tough to say. James hasn’t shown much power at all, but scouts think he will as time goes on. He has shown good speed on the basepaths and an outstanding outfield arm. Right now, he looks a lot like a Domonic Brown did in 2007.
When Will We See Him? If he looks like 2007 Dom Brown that would give him 3 years to fully develop and have him knocking on the door in 2013.
14. Scott Mathieson, RHP
Why He’s Here: Power bullpen arm who can hit 99mph on the gun and in my opinion should have been in the Phillies’ bullpen from day 1 this year.
Key Stat: 11.8 K’s is what you want to see from a late-inning bullpen guy.
What’s His Ceiling?: I personally believe Mathieson can be a solid late-inning reliever ala Ryan Madson (not the 2010 version). Clearly Ruben Amaro does not.
When Will We See Him? We will probably see him again when the rosters expand in September, if not earlier.
15. Jesse Biddle, LHP
Why He’s Here: Going solely on scouting reports as he has only pitched 9 innings. Anytime you are throwin 92-93mph as a high school lefty, it’s a good start.
Key Stat: N/A
What’s His Ceiling?: I think a #2-#3 starter unless he is really able to develop a dynamite second pitch.
When Will We See Him? Too early to say.
16. Jonathan Villar, SS
Why He’s Here: Because middle-infield prospects are really hard to come by, especially in our system, and he’s showing some skills with the bat and on the bathpaths as a youngster in Lakewood.
Key Stat: He would be a lot higher on this list if not for his 35 errors so far this season. You wonder if a move to 2B might be in his future.
What’s His Ceiling?: Could possibly be an everyday player if he improves his defense. 33 steals is impressive at the half way point and if he can develop some patience and some moderate power (extra base hits, not HR’s) he’s got a good shot.
When Will We See Him? Ask me after Jimmy Rollins signs his extension.
17. Harold Garcia, 2B
Why He’s Here: Garcia burst onto the scene this year with a record-breaking 37-game hit streak in the Florida State League. He hit .335 for Clearwater before getting moved up to Reading.
Key Stat: Garcia hasn’t batted under .291 in a minor league season since 2006.
What’s His Ceiling?: He was old for Clearwater, so his performance in Reading will give us a better idea. Like Villar, he’s got a chance at being an everyday player, perhaps a poor man’s Placido Polanco if he can cut down his strikeouts.
When Will We See Him? He could be a bench option as early as Spring Training next year.
18. Austin Hyatt, RHP
Why He’s Here: Because he is among the leaders in all the minors leagues in strikeouts with 122. He’s not higher, because at 24 years old in A+, dominance is somewhat expected.
Key Stat: His 5.3 career K/BB rate bodes well for his future as a starter or reliever.
What’s His Ceiling?: Probably a 4th starter or a late-inning reliever. Hyatt has good stuff and relies a lot on control. I’ve read articles about him working on a change-up that could allow him to remain a starter. I don’t care how old he is though, that K/9 rate has my attention. Not sure why he’s not already in Reading.
When Will We See Him? Depends on whether he starts or relieves. At 24, it’ll probably be in the next 2 years, or not at all.
19. Matt Rizzotti, 1B
Why He’s Here: He has forced himself into the prospect discussion by having the 2nd best offensive season in the system behind Brown. At 24, he was supposed to raking in Clearwater, but he has actually been better since his promotion to Reading with a 1.031 OPS.
Key Stat: He’s just a couple AB’s short of being qualified for Eastern League batting title, which he would currently be leading for, batting .355.
What’s His Ceiling?: He’s probably at it right now, which is why he finds himself down at 19. The question is, is this just an extended hot streak (he hit .263 in Clearwater last year, .268 in Lakewood the year prior) or is he really a .355 hitter now? He could be an everyday first baseman for someone if it’s the latter (think Lyle Overbay or something) but my guess is he will end up as a solid bench player / utility guy.
When Will We See Him? He could be a bench option next year or even a September call-up this year.
20. Justin De Fratus, RHP
Why He’s Here: Lots of options for the 20-spot, but I’m going with De Fratus based not only on his stellar numbers, but a scouting report that had him a 98mph recently, which gives me hope he could be a closer prospect.
Key Stat: Nothing jumps off the page, but he does have an above average ground ball/ fly ball ratio, which would be wonderful for a future closer in CBP.
What’s His Ceiling?: Could be a pretty good closer. Scouting reports say he keeps the ball down in the zone, has good command, and if the 98mph report was accurate (you never know with minor league guns) that’s a good combo.
When Will We See Him? The Phillies liked him enough to send him to Reading a week or so ago. If he performs there, he could get a shot at the bullpen in 2011 or 2012.
Others Worth Noting (Alphabetical Order)
Drew Carpenter, 25, RHP, AAA – We’ve seen him in the majors, and know he doesn’t have great stuff, but he’s having a good year in AAA, with a 3.34 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Could he be a Kyle Kendrick-type starter at some point?
Leandro Castro, 21, OF, A – Another toolsy outfielder in Lakewood (6 HR, 15 SB) who has been playing well of late, with an .807 OPS since June 1st.
Freddy Galvis, 20, SS, AA – Galvis is amazing with the glove, but unless he can get his bat going (.549 OPS) it won’t matter.
Nick Hernandez, 21, LHP, A – Was dominating single-A (1.61 ERA) before going down with an arm injury. Just coming back now and is one to watch.
Jonathan Pettibone, 19, RHP, A – Would probably be #21 on this list. Pettibone was a bonus baby like Cosart and May and is another big righty who the Phillies hope will fill out into his frame. Has improved as the year has gone on and has a 2.45 ERA in his 4 post-all-star starts.
Julio Rodriguez, 19, RHP, SS-A – Julio-Rod got a couple starts in Lakewood before being sent down to Short Season Williamsport. His age and K/9 rate (9.8) are enough for me to keep an eye on.
Colby Shreve, 22, RHP, A – Shreve was drafted in 2008, and got a nice bonus, with the Phillies knowing he would need Tommy John surgery. He finally got on a mound this year, and has done well so far, with a 3.33 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.
Mike Schwimer, 24, RHP, AA-AAA – Another bullpen candidate who could find himself in majors sooner rather than later. Schwim was recently promoted to AAA after a 3.60 ERA (inflated by a couple bad particularly bad outings) and a very impressive 13.0 K/9. He’s also huge, at 6’8”, 246 lbs.
Vance Worley, 22, RHP, AA – Worley started off the year pretty bad and I thought he was well on his way to the bullpen, but he’s come on strong with a 3.00 ERA in his last 14 starts. He gives up too many hits, but has a chance to be a 4-5th starter or a relief pitcher.
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