Four Phillies make FSL/EAS Top 20

Baseball America is rolling out their League Top 20′s, and both Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman made the list at #6 and #14 respectively in the FSL, while Kyle Kendrick and Mike Costanzo made the Easter League Top 20. Check the list here and here. Kendrick’s inclusion has to be an oversight, as he clearly broke the innings limit that BA places on it’s qualified guys.

Carrasco

Carrasco is a long ways from a finished product, but he does have a pair of major league pitches. He throws a plus fastball that sits at 91-92 mph and touches 95 with good life, as well as a quality changeup. His mechanics are nearly picture-perfect, as he looks like he’s throwing an easy side session while popping 92s and 93s.

Carrasco’s biggest concern is his consistency. When he begins a game with good stuff, he usually leaves hitters helpless. But when he doesn’t, he has yet to show the savvy to win with less than his best. He tries to overthrow, which results in him leaving vulnerable fastballs up in the strike zone.

He also needs to refine his curveball. Carrasco shows some feel for it and occasionally snaps off a plus bender, but he struggles to locate it.

Outman

With Outman, it’s all about control. He struggles at times to control his fastball, which explains why ranked among the minor league leaders with 77 walks in 159 innings. At times he struggles to control his emotions, which explains why he overthrows and is prone to big innings and bad outings.

But there’s also a lot to like about the lefty, who led the league with a 2.45 ERA and earned a promotion to Double-A. Outman’s fastball sits at 92-94 mph and he pairs it with an 84-87 mph slider. He’s working on a changeup that still has a ways to go.

A good athlete, Outman has reworked his mechanics and developed a more conventional delivery since turning pro. He also has added some deception, as he now hides the ball much longer, and his fastball has picked up some life. One manager who saw him in low Class A in 2006 said has made significant strides since last year

Kendrick

Kendrick never had pitched above Class A prior to 2007, but he entered the postseason as the Phillies’ Game Two starter, and his 3.87 ERA ranked second among their starters. He got started down that path in the EL, as he harnessed his command and stopped trying to pitch up in the strike zone with his fastball and down with his slider.

The athletic Kendrick repeats his delivery, pumps his two-seam sinker to the bottom of the zone and spots his harder, low-90s four-seamer down and away. He also has a hard slider that’s more of a groundball pitch than a strikeout offering. His changeup plays up because he locates it well.

“He realized strikeouts are over-rated,” Reading manager P.J. Forbes said. “He’s pitching at the knees and when he misses, he misses down. He made hitters hit his pitch, because his command was that good. To give up just three home runs, playing in our ballpark, that’s all about executing your pitches, and he did.”

Costanzo

Costanzo finished second to Larish with 27 homers despite a horrific start. For the second straight year, he finished with a flourish, hitting .358 with eight home runs in the final month. He earned comparisons to Russell Branyan for his prodigious lefthanded power and erratic play at third base, where he committed 34 errors.

Costanzo evokes Branyan also for his strikeouts (157 in 508 at-bats), and his grooved swing will continue to produce holes that pitchers at advanced levels can exploit. He has the athletic ability to adjust and the raw power to hit homers even without squaring up the ball, but he must show the ability to make more adjustments and lay off pitches he can’t hit.

Defensively, Costanzo has the tools to play third, most notably a plus arm. But he has yet to make the adjustments that would make him an average defender. He lacks consistent footwork, and scouts question his agility and infield actions.

Not surprisingly, I have to disagree with PJ Forbes here. Strikeouts are not overrated, and they are a good indicator of future success. I was mildly surprised that Donald didn’t make the back end of the list on either the SAL or the FSL Top 20, but I guess it’s because BA still doesn’t view him as more than a fringe regular in the majors. So far, our representation looks like this

Joe Savery, #2 NYPL
Dominic Brown, #15 NYPL
Adrian Cardenas, #13 SAL
Carlos Carrasco, #6 FSL
Josh Outman, #14 FSL
Kyle Kendrick, #14 EAS
Mike Costanzo, #19, EAS

17 thoughts on “Four Phillies make FSL/EAS Top 20

  1. Not bad, though that’s probably it unless someone really loves Happ’s K rate or Jaramillo’s… I dunno, consistency?

    How many top 20 entrants did we have a year ago? I’m guessing it was less than seven–maybe just Carrasco for the SAL and the handful of guys from the GCL.

    Since BA focuses on tools/upside, I guess it’s not surprising that Donald and Carpenter were left out. I’m not particularly discouraged by this.

  2. Last year we had more, though it was a little distorted by having 5 on the GCL list (Cardenas, Drabek, Myers, Sanchez, Monasterios). The two guys from the Yankees were very questionable selections for that list.

    Donald is a guy who does not really have impressive tools. That will always hurt him on these lists. But if he continues to have success with some power at Reading next year he has got to be considered a prospect.

  3. See that Outman and Jaramillo made the USA Baseball World Cup roster for the games in Taipei Nov. 6-18th. Wonder if any Phillies make other national teams such as Carrasco or Monasterios with the Venezuelan team or if Mitchinson, Harman, Naughton and Naylor make the Aussie team? Guess Lin will make the Taipei Chinese team.

  4. Kendrick’s inclusion was not an oversight. ML time has nothing to do with their League Top 20 lists. Trust me, I asked. For those that followed the FSL chat, I was the one that asked the question about Carpenter and Donald being left off the FSL list…he didn’t have much good to say about Carpenter’s ceiling and ignored Jason Donald all together.

  5. A very disturbing report on Carrasco’s fielding. If he can’t play third after these several years in the minors, of what use is he to the Phils?? Should we ask for a miracle? :i.e., all of a sudden at AAA he learns the position…??

    So…IMO the 3rd base position will still be glaringly open UNTIL we make a trade…and, include Costanzo who some other club will either find a position for him or use him as a Desig Hitter.

    It seems to me that this off-season/early in ’08 MIGHT be a good time to make that move…since he just could show more power before much of ’08s season goes by which could tempt some teams…American Lg?

    I see his use as strictly that kind of trade bait………

  6. an interesting move might be to let rowand sign somewhere else via free agency, and collect the two draft picks, trade victorino for minor league pitchers with big arms (a la oswaldo sosa, eulogio delacruz, justin masterson, radhames liz), install bourn as the starting CF, and move costanzo to RF where he can platoon with werthless as a functional pairing.

  7. I think Costanzo would have outfield potential as well. He may not be that fast, but he has a plus arm and some agility. More than Burrell anyway. I would fell better about him in the outfield than Cardenas who I believe does have the tools to stick at 2B, just maybe not with the Phillies.

  8. On Cardenas: IMO he is one of the best draft choices we’ve made in the last several years.

    I see him growing into an offensive force similar to Utley [big shoes to "fill"] in a couple more seasons. The problem is that he plays 2nd base where Utley [my personal comparison to Stan "The Man" Musial] is signed for 6 more years.

    To let that kind of talent develop at a position that is of no use to the big club is a LARGE mistake; rather he should go not much longer without training for another position, rather than–as at present–he appears to be as future trade bait.

    Taking note here that another possible outstanding offensive talent in our system is also a lefty hitter (Brown), then keeping a righty hitter (Rowand) is essential to keeping SOME balance in the big club lineup, pending the arrival of these two lefty hitters.

    And, getting Atkins’ righty power at 3rd would allow both Cardenas and Brown to become offensive forces in the lineup in 2-3 seasons…..in LF and RF respectively.

    Getting Atkins’ righty power could happen if we offer a combination of Costanzo (for 1st base), our 7th-8th best pitching prospect, and Bourn. (Subject to criticism be the “you”s out there)

    Trying to be creative in the little longer term….!?

  9. i like the idea of a bourn for atkins swap. i think bourn would carry a lot of value for a team like colorado, which has a huge outfield and a pair of COFs that have average (holliday) and mediocre (hawpe) range.

  10. Are the Rockies sufficiently high on Stewart that they’d deal Atkins? I think steagles is right that they’d like Bourn–he’s Pierre with patience, after all, and they employed the original JFP–and I like Art’s trade idea… but it’s only even a remote possibility if they feel Stewart is ready to take the job.

  11. You guys are forgetting that the Rox already have Taveras.
    They don’t need Bourn, and you’d be crazy to think they’d
    trade Atkins for Bourn anyway.

    This list of a half dozen or so “prospects” is not very
    impressive IMO–especially when you look at the prospects
    in some other organizations. I would agree with those
    who see Costanzo’s main value as trade bait. Unload
    him while someone still thinks he has a future. I don’t
    see him as any better than Burrell in the OF. Maybe at
    1B, but that seems to be taken already.

  12. Atkins for Bourn? No way do the Rockies agree to that. Atkins is an every day player and Bourn hasn’t proven yet he is. Contract wise its not like Atkins is making a ton of money so it would have to be more than that. I always thought Atkins and Fuentes for Myers, when he was a starting pitcher beacuse he is lights out in that stadium, and a non-top prospect.

  13. Nick: Please read the above posts accurately before youcriticize. The trade suugested was NOT bourn for Atkins straight up; rather it was 3 players from the Phils for Atkins: Bourn, Costanzo (for 1st base for them), and a prospect pitcher who is about our 7th or 8th best pitcher prospect.

    If not this, then why not and what instead…??

  14. Art D: Easy there buddy, I actually must have loaded this page before the 2 previous posts before mine, and just responded when I go thom from work and did not see those posts. Sorry about that. I didn’t read all the posts since I never reloaded the page.

    I always thought Myers and Constanzo for Atkins and Fuentes would be fair for both sides. Maybe Myers seems like alot but there is still some bad blood with him and the fans over his “problems”. He does very wel at Coors Field and Fuentes could become our closer or at least give us a very good lefty out of the pen. The Rockies would have to swallow the Myers’ contract and that should even up the trade. Atkins, Fuentes, and Myers’ money would be one hell of a trade. What do you think?

  15. Nick: Thanks. Don’t see any advantage in trading Myers when a vital need for the Phils is pitching, both starters and relievers. In fact, I hope the tean goes after a real closer that would allow Myers to return to the rotation. Then we’d need one more guy for the rotation…plus two other relievers PLUS adding a couple guys from among our prospect pitchers, i.e., Mathieson, Happ, etc.

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