Let’s get back on track today with the review of the 2008 Reading Phillies. If you’re late to the party, you’ll want to read the other reviews, where you’ll learn more about the statistics I’m using.
So, here we go…
Lou Marson, C: 395 PA — .314/.433/.416
Marson took the world by storm this season, making the big jump from A+ to AA and sitting near the top of the Eastern League in on base percentage for the duration of the season. His .314 SecA placed him second on the team behind only Jason Donald, and his raw OB% was far and away the best mark at Reading, over 40 points better than Donald. He didn’t show much power, his ISO of .102 isn’t quite what you want, but I’ve pointed out a number of times, with catchers, the power tool is often the last to develop. Marson’s defense was the area that needed the most work, and reports this season were positive. 2008 was his age 22 season, and at that point he is ahead of the developmental curve for catchers.
Jason Donald, SS: 414 PA — .307/.391/.497
If Marson was the big story at Reading, Donald was a close second. Donald’s 2007 included a lot of “yeah, but’s”, with scouts and experts wanting to see him replicate his success at a higher level. Donald responded by posting a rock solid season at AA, an .888 OPS to go along with a .345 SecA and a .190 ISO. He drew walks (11.4% of his PA’s) and 33% of his hits went for extra bases. He was also good for 9 net stolen bases. Now, the question becomes where he plays in the big leagues, not if he plays in the big leagues.
Jeremy Slayden, OF: 551 PA — .298/.377/.480
Slayden, a guy people accuse me of disrespecting here, had a decent season at Reading. Slayden has adequate plate discipline, he hits for a decent average, and he has modest power. His .286 SecA was fairly pedestrian, considering he was 25 and in AA, but his .857 OPS was solid. Slayden’s 36% extra base hit percentage was solid, highest among the 4 legit prospects at Reading. The concerns from the past remain, such as where he plays defensively, and if hes more than a 4th OF. Right now, he looks like a 4th outfielder, but we already have two lefthanded 4th OF’ers in Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs.
Greg Golson, OF: 470 PA — .282/.333/.434
Golson, one of the most polarizing prospects in the minor leagues, actually took a step forward this season, even if it isn’t readily apparent in his numbers. He posted a walk rate of 7.2%, a career high, and was actually higher earlier in the season before dropping off in the 2nd half. His K rate of 27.7% was lower than last year’s 28.5%, His SecA of .275 is helped by his 18 net stolen bases. As we saw in his very small big league sample, he still struggles mightily with quality pitching, especially breaking balls.
Brad Harman, 2B: 494 PA — .210/.280/.366
Harman had one of the most disappointing seasons in the Phillies system in 2008, especially after I’d ranked him 10th in my Top 30. There are lots of negatives, starting with his anemic .210 batting average. However, his walk rate (8.7%) was better than Golson’s, as was his ISO (.156 to .102) and his extra base hit percentage, 36.6. He posted a SecA of .257, driven by the walks and extra base hits. But really, what a disappointing season.
Notes: Really nothing else of note here. Jake Blalock, back in the Phillies system again, posted a terrible .235/.296/.314 line with hardly any power and a poor .170 SecA. The rest of the team was generally made up of career minor league guys like Neil Sellers, Luke Appert, and Mike Spidale.
Carlos Carrasco, RHP: 114.2 IP — 4.32 ERA — 3.91 DICE
Carrasco, who finished the season at Reading last year, pitched much better there this season, posting a solid 8.59 K/9 rate and a slightly better than league average 3.55 BB/9. That last number is a bit higher than you’d like to see, but Carrasco was pitching 2008 at age 21, and in AA, so he’s still ahead of the curve. The difference in his ERA and his DICE indicate he might have been a tad unlucky. He did allow a few too many home runs, 13 in the 114 IP, but I think at this point, its something we’ll have to live with, as he is a fly ball/strikeout pitcher.
Drew Carpenter, RHP: 93.2 IP — 5.67 ERA — 4.39 DICE
Carpenter was coming off a big 2007 at High A, but the success didn’t translate at AA. In addition to his struggles on the field, he dealt with minor arm worries off the field, and that probably contributed to some of his struggles. He continued to show good control, walking only 2.9 per 9, but he failed to miss bats, striking out only 6.7 per 9. He also allowed too many home runs, 13 in just 93 innings, and its a bigger issue with him because he doesn’t miss as many bats as Carrasco.
Antonio Bastardo, LHP: 67.0 IP — 3.76 ERA — 5.37 DICE
Bastardo torched Clearwater to start 2008, prompting his promotion to Reading. His peripherals slipped while adjusting to a higher level of competition, and he didn’t really have a chance to make adjustments as he went down with a labrum injury, the severity of which hasn’t really been addressed by the Phillies front office. His biggest problem at Reading was the walks, as he walked 4.97/9 in his 67 IP. On top of that, he allowed 13 HR in 67 IP. 13 was the magic number for Reading pitchers apparently. The high walk rate and the high HR rate are the reason for the large spread in his actual ERA and his DICE.
Edgar Garcia, RHP: 58.0 IP — 8.22 ERA — 5.62 DICE
We touched on Garcia’s struggles briefly in the last report at Clearwater, and as you can see, he really did struggle upon promotion. But its immediately important to recognize that he was only 20 years old pitching in AA, one of the youngest players in the league, facing lots of legit prospects 3-4 years older, and lots of career minor leaguers who were even older. He got knocked around, all of his peripherals were poor, but I’m really not bothered by this 58 inning simple, considering his track record and his age.
Notes: Josh Outman, who struggled at the outset, was turning things around before being traded to Oakland, but doing it as a reliever. Oakland turned him back into a starter, and he made his way to the big leagues in just a few short months. Tyson Brummett pitched at 3 levels, the prior 2 were solid, but his time in Reading was not good, posting a 7.28 ERA in 80 innings. Sam Walls, who dominated at Clearwater, was lit up to the tune of a 7.09 ERA, including more than a walk per inning. Sergio Escalona, a somewhat intriguing relief prospect, posted a 2.22 ERA but had a 4.08 DICE, driven largely by 5.23 BB/9.