We’re almost finished at Batavia, which means only the GCL guys left to go, and then the wrap up.
Carpenter, Andrew, RHP (age 21) Grade = B
Carpenter, the Phillies 2nd round pick in the 2006 draft, is really impossible to grade because he threw only 14.2 innings in his debut. Due to his heavy college workload, the Phillies, as they many times do, decided to rest Carpenter after signing him, as he only emerged near the end of August to make a few brief appearances at the GCL level, then three starts at Batavia. His numbers were good, 14.2 IP, 1 ER, 12 H, 5 BB, 12 K, but they don’t tell us a whole lot. The book on Carpenter, upon being drafted, was “solid, not spectacular”, and many were a bit puzzled by the Phillies decision to take a somewhat low ceiling college pitcher so early. However, maybe some are just slighting him a bit. He features a low 90′s fastball, a slider, a splitter and a changeup, and all of his pitches figure to be at least average, maybe a tick above. Finding a starter with four good pitches, with good command, isn’t always the easiest of tasks. But because he lacks the one dominant pitch, his ceiling is already being set at 4th starter. Whether or not that ends up being reality, picking a polished, reliable pitcher isn’t the worst thing the Phillies could have done, considering the uncertainty surrounding the Drabek pick.
2007 Outlook: Because he pitched at a good baseball school (Long Beach State) and because he is polished, he’ll probably jump right over Lakewood and start at Clearwater, giving the Phillies a real solid 1-2-3 in the Threshers rotation of Carrasco, Outman and Carpenter. While the rotations at both A level clubs are strong, the Reading rotation might be less dominant, so with a strong first half, he could find himself in Reading by the end of the year. He turns 22 in May, so he’ll be the correct age for his level, all things considered.
Cardenas, Adrian, SS/2B (age 19) Grade = A
If you’re reading this site, you know who Adrian Cardenas is. Baseball America’s 2006 High School Player of the Year carried over his phenomenal senior season in the GCL, posting an .826 OPS in 154 AB and excelling at pretty much every facet of the game. He hit .318, he drew 17 walks to only 26 K’s, he stole 13 bases in 16 attempts, and he logged 5 doubles, 4 triples and 2 home runs to round out his campaign. Cardenas is a great story, as his draft stock rose off the charts when people came to watch his high school teammate, Chris Marrero, who was taken by the Nationals in the first round. Cardenas was drafted as a SS and played the position at the GCL, but some think he lacks the range for the position, and is better suited for 2B. Because of his advanced hitting skills, he’s virtually a lock to open up at Lakewood, and will be moved to 2B to play next to Jason Donald. 2007 represents his age 19 season, so a solid year at Lakewood will raise his already high prospect status. With Chase Utley now signed for 7 years, Cardenas could eventually move to 3B or a corner OF spot, but if he continues to hit, his bat will carry him at any position.
2007 Outlook: Considering tools and every offensive metric, Cardenas might be the most complete prospect in our system. The only area he’s “lacking” is in raw speed, but he showed enough ability to steal 13 bases and only get caught 3 times. Whether that translates or not at higher levels is left to be seen. He’s the type of talent that could move quick, despite being only 19 years old.
Myers, D’Arby, OF (age 18) Grade = A
Many of you have already read my piece on D’Arby Myers (it’s gotten the most hits of any piece I’ve written), so I don’t have to express to you how high I am on this kid. At age 18, he’s right behind Adrian Cardenas in terms of our best position player prospects. Thought of as a really raw athlete who needed to learn how to hit, D’Arby blew the doors off the place after a slow start, finishing with a .783 OPS, including a .313 average and 10 extra base hits. He also stole 11 bases in 15 attempts and played a good center field, by all accounts. The Phillies initially thought of Myers as a project, almost like a Greg Golson type, but in 128 AB, he’s already proven himself more of a “baseball player” than Golson has in 2.5 seasons. Originally slated to spend 2007 in short season ball, it now looks like Myers will force his way onto the Lakewood team and into the every day center field role. If he adjusts well and puts up a solid season, he’ll shoot up every prospect list at this time next year, just like the Yankees’ Jose Tabata did after his impressive 2005 in the GCL and his good performance in the SAL at age 18 in 2006.
2007 Outlook: The sky is the limit for Myers. He’s shown more than expected in every facet of the game thus far. He has the projectable raw power to hit 18-20 HR per season, he has the speed to leg out 40+ doubles and 10+ triples, the pure hitting skills to post a .300+ batting average, he could steal 30+ bags, and once he learns the nuances of route running, could be a plus defender in center field. Really, he has the entire package. The only area that he’s going to need to greatly improve is his batting eye, and that will come with experience.