My top 30 prospects for 2009

I was going to do a really long writeup, I started to, I started to really dig into it, and then for some reason, I kind of lost the drive to do it. That might be a bad sign going forward, but I still wanted to put out my top 30 list. I’m going to still write up brief blurbs, but I’m not going to put lots of bells and whistles with it. I basically just want to give my list and some brief reasoning, and if anyone has problems/issues/questions, I’ll try to follow the comments for a few days and respond. So….

30. Michael Schwimer, RHP (2008 ranking = N/A)

Posted very good peripheral numbers in his debut. He struck out 62 in 42.2 IP, issued only 13 unintentional walks, and didn’t allow a HR. He also produced a 61% groundball rate, which helps back up the stellar ERA. With all of this, he was actually a tad unlucky, as he had a .367 BABIP (average is closer to .300) and a 17% line drive rate, a touch higher than normal. Scouting reports indicate a good fastball with plus velocity, so I’m optimistic that these numbers aren’t simply a guy with a good secondary pitch overmatching young hitters. He turned 23 a week ago, so he’ll need to be on the fast track, but there’s no reason he won’t finish in Reading this year, with the big leagues possibly in the 2nd half of 2010. At the back of the top 30, I’ll take a polished college reliever on the fast track.

29. Freddy Galvis, SS (2008 ranking = 30th)

I mean, I really don’t know what to do with Galvis at this point. His defense is elite, if you go by the scouting reports. But he hasn’t really hit yet, and I don’t know what his ultimate upside is with the bat. He managed to steal 14 bases in 21 tries last year, but he isn’t going to profile as a real stolen base threat. I don’t think the Omar Vizquel comps are fair, really because Vizquel was an elite defender, one of the best in the game, and because he actually did have some offense to his game. Right now, I look at Galvis more as Rey Ordonez, and I suppose there is some value in that, but I really don’t know where to rank him. If he can’t hit much at all, I don’t know if he’s going to be a starter for a top tier team.

28. Anthony Hewitt, 3B (2008 ranking = N/A)

There really isn’t a whole lot to say at this point that hasn’t been said. He’s a premium athlete, he has huge raw power, he has a strong arm, but he lacks anything resembling pitch recognition and has a long way to go. The sky is the limit, but he’s barely off the ground. The fact that he’s already 19 and has limited experience against good competition is a negative. It’s likely that he’s going to need at least one year in short season ball, and I expect he won’t be in Reading before 2012. He’s a prospect, of course, but he’s not worth worrying about for the foreseeable future.

27. Brad Harman, 2B (2008 ranking = 10th)

I was really high on Harman last year, and it appears I’ll be high on him again this winter. Its easy to be discouraged, not much went right for him in 2008, but he just turned 23 in November and has already spent a full season at AA. We’ve gone over the lengthy learning curve most Australian prospects face, so I’m willing to give him one more season. I still think, best case, he’s a .270 hitter with 25+ doubles/10 HR power, which would work just fine in a utility role. Not giving up yet.

26. Travis Mattair, 3B (2008 ranking = 23rd)

I was on the Mattair bandwagon from Day 1, but the bandwagon blew out a tire last season. Reports indicate he was starting to make adjustments in the second half, and you always have to give cold weather guys (he played HS ball in Washington) the benefit of the doubt in their first pro season, since they aren’t used to playing as much as the kids in baseball hotbeds. I still think he’s our best 3B prospect for the moment, and I hope with a repeat of Low A he puts up some big numbers. He’s only 20, he’s got plenty of time.

25. Sebastian Valle, C (2008 ranking = NR)

Valle, making his US debut, got out of the gate strong and finished with a solid .748 OPS at age 17. He was ranked the #7 prospect in the GCL by Baseball America, but couldn’t crack the Phillies Top 30 list, which seems odd. He’s listed at 6’1, 168, not exactly your prototypical catcher’s body, but he still has room to grow. He didn’t show the best eye, but did manage 15 doubles in just 167 AB. Catchers are the toughest prospects to evaluate, and Valle is no different. If he can’t stick at C, I don’t know where his bat will play, but we’ll worry about that at a later date.

24. Mike Cisco, RHP (2008 ranking = N/A)

Looks like the Phillies were the beneficiary of his rough season at SC, allowing them to not only draft him in the 36th round, but then sign him and get him going. He righted the ship and had a nice debut, especially after being promoted to Lakewood. He’s small (5’11, 190) but managed to generate 64% groundballs, an impressive accomplishment. He’ll need to keep the ball down and keep missing bats as he climbs, but I’m fairly optimistic.

23. Anthony Gose, OF (2008 ranking = N/A)

I had second thoughts here, I maybe should rank Gose lower, but the scouting reports on him seem to far exceed his output. When writing up my draft recap I’d forgotten that his injury report prior to the draft was as bad as it was, which probably explains the decision to let him play the field. If he did do arm damage, probably best to let his arm heal and keep the mileage off of it at a young age. In 3 years if he can’t hit, we know the arm will still play and you can move him back. While I’m a bit skeptical on how much he’ll hit, his speed is apparently game changing, so I’ll wait and see.

22. Drew Naylor, RHP (2008 ranking = 8th)

I was kind of disappointed in Naylor’s 2008. I thought he should have started in Clearwater, his performance at Lakewood didn’t tell us much. He struggled against more advanced hitters, though he did show some promise near the end of the year. The positives? He doesn’t turn 23 until May, and the same caveat I mentioned with Harman applies here. He’s also been durable and has a clean delivery. The negatives? Drop in groundball rate when he moved to Clearwater (40%, down from 55% at Lakewood), as well as mediocre control, walking 3.56/9. 2009 will be a big year for Naylor. His stuff seems average, maybe a tick above, but he’s going to have to keep the ball down and command it better.

21. Antonio Bastardo, LHP (2008 ranking = 24th)

He went from underrated to overrated in a few weeks, but when he was healthy he pitched well. I cautioned that he might struggle as he jumped to AA because he lacked plus fastball velocity, and he was much more home run prone, allowing 13 in only 67 innings. His control was something of an issue at lower levels, and if he’s going to be home run prone, he’s going to have to limit the walks. The biggest red flag right now is the labrum/arm issue that ended his season, the second red flag is the 30% groundball rate in 2008. Add in the major arm concern and I have to keep him in this section of the rankings.

20. Jared Cosart, RHP (2008 ranking = N/A)

This might be aggressive, but I love the arm strength, and I love the athleticism. He set all kinds of hitting records in Texas, yet he might have even more potential as a hitter. If the Phillies can clean up his delivery a bit and remove that pause, I think we’re looking at a potential top of the rotation guy. This is a bit of a flier, but I’m going to go with it.

19. Justin De Fratus, RHP (2008 ranking = 21st)

Steady she goes. A personal favorite of mine, De Fratus moved up one level and continued to post solid numbers. His biggest asset remains his ability to keep the ball in the park, as he’s allowed only 2 HR in 129 minor league innings. While he wasn’t able to match his 3 BB in 46 IP in 2008, he did hold his own, walking only 25 in 83 innings while striking out 74. There’s still a bit of projection here I feel, and though he hasn’t rocketed up the ladder, He’ll pitch all of 2009 at age 21, and looks like he’ll be a fixture at Lakewood. A big season should put him on everyone’s radar. His one red flag? He only posted a 46% GB rate in 2008, down from 55% in 2007, so against better hitters, his HR rate might spike up. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

18. Edgar Garcia, RHP (2008 ranking = 11th)

Garcia drops down the rankings, partly because of his 2008 results, but also partly because of the influx of talent into the system. We know his first exposure to AA didn’t go so well (it sucked, really), and despite mediocre scouting reports, I’m still on board. It seems like his biggest issue is consistency. He’s always shown good control, but command is an issue, and it seems he lacks a true out pitch. This has people pegging him as a reliever, and he might end up there, but he’s still young enough (just turned 21 in September) to where I think he can improve. Some guys never develop consistency, some guys just flip the switch. 2009, and a return to AA, will be a big test for Garcia.

17. Mike Stutes, RHP (2008 ranking = N/A)

Stutes, like Cisco, struggled in 2008, which allowed the Phillies to grab him lower in the draft, and much like Cisco, he dominated in his debut. 10.6 K/9 and a .151 opponents average are the obvious pluses, and the 54% groundball rate works as well. Walk rate was a tick high (3.66/9), and his .217 BABIP indicates his ERA was probably a bit fluky. But for a college guy who’d logged a bunch of innings, its a solid debut. The scouting reports are favorable, and he has a big fastball, something that bodes well for future success. His delivery seems to have a bit of effort, that makes me pause, but so far so good.

16. Colby Shreve, RHP (2008 ranking = N/A)

I’m going way out on a limb here. But I loved this pick at the time, and I love it right now. He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s got a power arm, and the reports were positive on the surgery. He won’t be around till the end of 2009, but I think he’s a mid rotation starter. He has 3 pitches, including a really good fastball. Obviously TJ surgery isn’t something to take lightly, and his delivery did have some violence, but he was the top JuCo arm in the country before the injury, and I think we ended up getting him at a discount, even if we paid over slot. Some projections had him going in the sandwich round, and I believe that’s the level of talent we got.

15. Trevor May, RHP (2008 ranking = N/A)

May is the 2009 version of Julian Sampson, who I ranked 18th last year. So maybe I’m being too aggressive, but I really like May’s profile. He’s a big kid (6’5, 220), so he’s got workhorse potential, as well as a solid fastball and promising secondary offerings. He may need a bit of time to adjust, just as Sampson did, but I like him even more than I liked Sampson last year, hence the aggressive ranking. While a few of the guys behind him might have a higher probability, I love his upside. I rank him one spot above Shreve because he has a clean bill of health at the moment.

14. John Mayberry Jr, OF (2008 ranking = N/A)

I really was all over the place on Mayberry. At one point I had him in the 20′s, at one point I considered ranking him in the Top 10. I settled for 14. I’ll fully admit, I could end up looking foolish here. When the Phillies made the trade, I highlighted why I was somewhat optimistic on Mayberry. His numbers aren’t eye popping, he’s not exactly a young inexperienced kid, but at the same time, I want to look at him the same way I should have looked at Michael Taylor after last season. A freakish athlete with a boatload of talent, but the results just don’t back it up. Of course they both went to Stanford, there’s been much written about the “Stanford Swing”….maybe the Phillies know the secret to unlocking these Stanford guys? Or maybe Mayberry won’t amount to anything. But he’s got big raw power, he’s a pretty good athlete who should be plus in right field, and yeah, he’s got big raw power. In a perfect world, the Phillies are able to move either Stairs or Jenkins and keep Mayberry on the roster. We lack a power RH bat on the bench, and a full season working with Charlie Manuel can only increase the likelihood of him unlocking his potential.

13. Jason Knapp, RHP (2008 ranking = N/A)

Knapp jumped up draft boards just like fellow draft pick Anthony Hewitt. His calling card is huge arm strength, with reports of high 90′s velocity consistently. His secondary stuff is rudimentary, which isn’t uncommon, and he pitched in the Northeast, not really a baseball hotbed. Like May, he might need a bit more development time. His debut was good, but he was shut down with some sort of mystery arm ailment. It might have just been the Phillies being cautious, which isn’t the worst idea. I rank him ahead of May because he has a bit more arm strength, and you can’t teach arm strength, even though May’s secondary offerings seem a bit more refined.

12. Joe Savery, LHP/1B (2008 ranking = 4th)

At times last summer, I felt like Joe Savery’s only fan, and his family should have sent me a Christmas card. But they didn’t. His 2008 was good at times, bad at times, great at times, and downright awful at times. He went through a stretch where he put up awesome numbers, and then he gave up 8 runs in an inning. Reports on his velocity had him down in the low 80′s at one point, then back up around 90 with a lot of sink/movement on his fastball. BA also reported some kind of conditioning/dedication issue, which seems kind of odd, as he doesn’t seem like that type. The Phillies aggressively jumped him to A+ in his first full year. Its not uncommon for college pitchers to make that jump, but Savery wasn’t your typical college pitcher. He was a true 2 way guy in college, so he focused less on pitching than most upper echelon arms, and he also missed big chunks of time with his labrum issue thing. After one full season, I think its ludicris to call him a bust. We gave Golson at least 3 years before people called him a bust. Savery’s final line in A+ wasn’t an embarrassment; 4.13 ERA — 3.6 BB/9 — 7.32 K/9 — 0.6 HR/9. If you remove the unrealistic expectations placed on every 1st round pick, especially a unique first round pick, I don’t think his 2008 was a disaster. If he comes to camp in better shape this year, now that he knows what it takes to compete for a full season, I think he’s going to have a good year. In fact, I debated ranking him a notch or two higher.

11. Vance Worley, RHP (2008 ranking = N/A)

The Phillies love them some Vance Worley, and he didn’t disappoint in his debut. The big knock on Worley has always been that he’s underachieved a bit. He has a big arm, a smooth and simple delivery, yet he’s never really taken off and gone to the next level. I don’t see ace potential in Worley, I think he’s got less upside than Shreve, May, Knapp, and maybe even Savery, but I think he’s a very high probability arm. I don’t think he’ll ever be a huge strikeout guy, but I think he’ll be able to keep the ball in the park and on the ground and miss enough bats. A comp for Worley? A poor man’s Tim Hudson with a bit more durability….that’ll play.

10. Julian Sampson, RHP (2008 ranking = 18th)

Another aggressive ranking I suppose. His peripherals were nothing special, but the scouting reports are ahead of the performance at this point. The one knock on him (from Kevin Goldstein) was the lack of deception in his delivery. Is this something the Phillies can improve upon? Consistent low 90′s velocity and the potential for two above average secondary pitches, plus a great pitcher’s frame that still has projection. He held up for a full season in Low A, and I still think we’re looking at a potential #2 starter here. 53% groundball rate, and I think that number actually has some room to go on the upside. I expect big things from Sampson in 2009 and expect to rank him higher next year.

09. JA Happ, LHP (2008 ranking = 13th)

Happ rebounded from a rough 2007 by staying healthy in 2008, pitching well in AAA on a really awful team, and holding his own in his big league debut. His stuff plays up because of the deception of his delivery, and while some are worried about him pitching up in the zone, the deception and arm action should allow him to get away with it, at least for a while. I’d prefer him to pitch in the bottom half of the zone, especially with his changeup, and I want to see him tighten the break on his curve, but he’s essentially a finished product, and I believe that product is capable of being a solid #4 starting pitcher.

08. Zach Collier, OF (2008 ranking = N/A)

I liked the Collier pick, and he had a solid debut. At this point he looks like a potential 4 or 5 tool outfielder, a complete package of sorts. He has very good tools, but also showed solid plate discipline in his debut, and scouts have already dropped a Garret Anderson comp on him. Like Knapp and Hewitt, he saw his stock steadily rise all spring, and it looks like a nice find so far. He’ll need time to develop, obviously, but I’m pretty excited to see what he does in 2009, hopefully in Lakewood.

07. Travis D’Arnaud, C (2008 ranking = 20th)

D’Arnaud had a big 2008, putting up a great line in the NYPL and impressing even more in a brief Lakewood cameo. As I mentioned before, evaluating catchers is kind of tough. D’Arnaud showed promising plate discipline (8.6% BB rate) and a respectable .159 ISO, but he only put up a .251 SecA. He was much better against lefties than righties, 1.005 OPS v .766 OPS. The Phillies have Ruiz on the cheap for a few more seasons, they have Lou Marson, so there’s no rush for D’Arnaud, but he appears to be moving fast.

06. Michael Taylor, OF (2008 ranking = NR)

So yeah, I missed on Taylor last year. The big question everyone is asking; was it for real? I will admit, I’m somewhat skeptical, but I’m mostly a believer. His first 40 AB’s at Clearwater were a struggle (6 for 39), but he found his way thereafter, hitting .358 over his final 204 AB’s. He slugged .709 over the last month of the season, so we know he’s got power. But he’s not without red flags. First, this came out of nowhere, that’s always a red flag. Second, he swings and misses a lot. Which isn’t always an issue, but its something to monitor, and it could mean the difference between a .250 hitter and a .285 hitter. He also didn’t post an elite walk rate, only 16 unintentional walks in 266 PA’s at Clearwater. Maybe its because he felt he could hit any pitch (and he really did) and didn’t feel the need to work the count? He did manage 5 walks in only 20 plate appearances in Hawaii, so he would seem to understand how to work the count when necessary. Defensively, he’s more than average in right field. He’s a great athlete. So I guess now the issue is, what will he do in 2009? There were rumors he was going to start back in Clearwater, which I think would be a big mistake. We know he can crush A ball pitching. Making the jump to AA will tell us more. For now, I’m buying, but I’m not all in.

05. Dominic Brown, OF (2008 ranking = 12th)

Brown’s stock is on the rise. Brown is what we should hope Zach Collier looks like in 2 years. He flashes all 5 tools, he should hit for more power, he should steal bases, he should hit for average, and he should draw walks. So yeah, there’s a lot to like there. A .304 SecA is slightly ahead of a .799 OPS at this point, but 12% walk rate is good, the 15 net stolen bases is good. The .291 batting average is good. Big big big things in Brown’s near future.

04. Jason Donald, SS (2008 ranking = 6th)

All Donald does is hit. After underachieving in college and posting a modest debut, he backed up a breakout 2007 with an even bigger year in 2008 ending with a bout on the Olympic roster. While its unfair to compare him to such a unique player, I view Donald as Dustin Pedroia lite. He’s not quite as smooth defensively, and he doesn’t quite have the same bat control, but Pedroia had his share of doubters as he was coming up through the minors, and all he did was get better and better. Donald seems to have excellent makeup and work ethic, I think he’ll become a good defender at 3B. He’s blocked up the middle by Rollins and Utley, but I think with a big spring, he’s got a shot at getting some reps at 3B if Feliz can’t start the season, and I think he could end up there as a regular next season. I view Donald as a .280/.360 hitter with 35 doubles and 15 HR. While that’s not prototypical 3B production home run wise, the .360 OB% will play at any position.

03. Kyle Drabek, RHP (2008 ranking = 3rd)

I ranked Drabek 3rd last winter, I’m sticking with him in the same spot this year. He has the best arm in the system as well as the most upside. His velocity has reportedly made it back to close to his pre draft level, and now he has a fresh tendon in his elbow. Reports from Hawaii were positive, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do in a full, healthy season. The Phillies will have to manage his workload as he’s coming back and getting up to full speed, but I think the sky is the limit here. If Carlos Carrasco exhausts his rookie eligibility this year, I think Drabek will be the top prospect in the system next year.

02. Lou Marson, C (2008 ranking = 5th)

Sweet Lou made the big jump from A ball to AA, and he had the best offensive season of his career. His plate discipline has been well chronicled, and for a while, he was leading the Eastern League in batting average as well. Right now, everyone spends time focusing on his lack of power, but to me that’s backwards. Playing all of 2008 at age 22, he had one of the best seasons in the Eastern League, at the most physically demanding position. He didn’t start catching until late in his high school career, yet that’s the aspect of his game that has made the most progress. He’s still not a finished product defensively, but the improvements have been great. Despite not having an idea throwing motion (a product of playing quarterback in high school), he still managed to throw out a respectable 36% of would be basestealers last year. I’ll say it a third time…catchers are tough to evaluate. The physical demands of the position many times sap the offensive ability of catchers, they focus so much on the defensive aspect of the game that they suffer offensively. Instead, Marson has been slowly improving offensively as he’s climbed the ladder, while also improving defensively. I concede that he’s probably never going to hit 20 home runs in a season. But I don’t think he has to. The bar is set so low offensively for catchers, that a .365 OB% alone would put him near the top tier of catchers, offensively. Among MLB catchers with at least 250 plate appearances in 2008, only 7 ended up with an OB% of .350 or higher. Dinoer Navarro and Yadier Molina were at .349, just for accounting purposes. PECOTA projects a weighted mean OB% of .346 for Marson in 2009, his age 23 season and what would be his rookie year. That’s a very positive projection, all things considered. I’ve been on the Marson bandwagon for 3 years, I’m staying aboard. There’s no desperation, the Phillies love Ruiz, and Paulino is a decent placeholder, so Marson will have more time. But I do believe he’s the Phillies catcher of the future, and I think that future starts sometime in 2010 at the latest.

01. Carlos Carrasco, RHP (2008 ranking = 2nd)

Carrasco had a rough 2007, pitching decently in Clearwater and then struggling a bit in Reading. He rebounded in 2008 with a decent campaign in Reading and then a dominant end of the season in Lehigh Valley. His stuff draws varied reports, some calling his fastball and changeup plus pitches, others being critical of the depth and consistency of his pitches. He’s always been young for his league, and outside of his blip in 2005, he’s been fairly consistent. He has plenty of fastball both in terms of movement and velocity, and the consensus seems to be that his changeup is also a plus offering. Having seen him pitch a few times, when he maintains his arm speed on his changeup, its a solid pitch. When he slows his arm, he telegraphs the pitch and the results show it. He’s still young, and if he can improve his consistency, he can be a solid top of the rotation guy. There have been reports that his mental game isn’t the best, which of course makes you flash back to Gavin Floyd and the reports of him pitching scared. Carrasco’s raw stuff grades out as good or better than Floyd’s, especially his fastball. I think Drabek has a higher ceiling, but Carrasco has a much longer track record and a cleaner bill of health, so ranking him #1 is kind of a no brainer. I think if anything, he’s been a victim of prospect fatigue, as he’s been on the radar for a while now, he’s pitched well, but he hasn’t done anything totally ridiculous, like throw a no hitter or strike out 14 in a game. But he’s close to big league ready, and if he can harness his stuff and improve his approach on the mound, he could be a special arm. I’m comfortable with sticking him here.

So that’s a wrap. But there’s more. My sleeper for 2009, ie a guy who I think is under the radar but could really open eyes……Freddy Ballestas. He posted an ugly 7.03 ERA in 64 innings this year in his US debut, but underneath that he struck out a batter per inning. He allowed only 4 HR in 64 innings, though he did walk 36 guys. His .385 BABIP was probably a bit flukish, and his DICE was only 3.44. So while his surface numbers look bad, I think there might be something here.

A few guys I considered, but for one reason or another left out….

Kyle Slate, RHP - Intriguing, but he’s thrown only 30 innings in 2 seasons. I want to see more from him, considering he hasn’t generated all that much scouting buzz.

Damarii Saunderson, OF – Loved the plate discipline in a very small sample, seems like a great athlete/potential guy, but the sample size was ultimately too small considering his scouting buzz (or lack thereof)

Jon Pettibone, RHP – Over slot guy, but I wasn’t crazy about the video of him I saw, and he’s really raw, so I think he’s got time to work his way onto the list.

Cody Overbeck, 3B – I outlined my skepticism on him back in the fall, he might prove me wrong, but I’m not that excited.

Quintin Berry, OF – I don’t see much value in his bat, his value is tied purely to his legs/stealing bags. That’s a 5th outfielder to me, and those guys can be plucked out of AAA and the waiver wire every winter.

Jeremy Slayden, OF – That the Phillies didn’t protect him in the Rule 5 draft, and that no team took him, tells you what the scouting community thinks of him. I think he could hit a bit, though more for average and not much power, but he’s limited defensively because of his arm, and he’s at the upper reaches of prospect age.

Matt Rizzotti, 1B – Our best 1B prospect at this point, after a good season at Lakewood, but he was 22 in a league dominated by 18, 19 and 20 year olds, and the power isn’t elite, at a position that almost requires elite power.

Andrew Carpenter, RHP – Just really not that impressed. He can fool A ball hitters, but his stuff is merely average, and to me, he’s a Clay Condrey type reliever. Again, those guys can be plucked off the waiver wire and the minor league free agent pool. He might be more than that, but I don’t buy it, and hey, its my list.

Steve Susdorf, OF – Jeremy Slayden 2.0?

D’Arby Myers, OF – I haven’t completely forgotten about him, but he’s inching towards the edge of my periphery.

Chance Chapman, RHP – Just way too old for Low A, though I guess that wasn’t his fault. I just don’t see the upside here.

If I was considering Cardenas, I’d rank him one spot behind Donald, and I’d put Outman one spot behind Sampson.

So there you go. I didn’t make a conscious effort to include as many 2008 draftees as I could, it just worked out that way. 2008 was the best draft class I can remember for the Phillies. I think our system is as good now as its been since I started following the minors. We don’t have a sure fire blue chip guy like Cole Hamels, but we have a ton of interesting guys at a wide array of positions. 2009 should be a really interesting season to follow. up his

45 thoughts on “My top 30 prospects for 2009

  1. When are you posting the Reader Top 30s? It would be interesting to compare yours to the Readers.

  2. I didn’t submit a personal top 30, as the process of the “collective list” just drove home to me how little of a clue I have beyond maybe the top 12-15 guys in the system. But reading this list, I feel pretty good about the long-term future of the team. The bets seem well balanced: a few true lottery tickets, some college arms that might offer less upside but are well advanced, many athletic outfielders, three bona fide catching prospects, and guys whose time is now, or could be. It should be a really fun year to follow the system.

  3. James, I love this site and all you do for it. You allow us, Phillies minor-league junkies, to take a good hard look at the future. We don’t all agree and we certainly are not always right but we exchange ideas, thoughts and perceptions that we couldn’t do anywhere else. I especially like the match-up sections, like D’Arnaud versus Marson or Taylor versus Brown. Thanks again.

    Enough of the lovefest. As I’ve said before, last year I had trouble finding guys in the organization to put in the top 30. This year I had a number of guys who I wanted to put there but didn’t have the room. Last year, we had very few, if any, who we thought would make an impact with the Phils in 2008. This year I can see 4 or 5 who COULD provide some help to the big club. That’s improvement.

  4. Savery’s Christmas card must have been lost in the mail. His delivery should improve this season — the card will reach your mailbox and his fastball will reach 94.

    I can’t thank you enough for this site and your write ups. These top 30 lists are a real highlight of the season for me. Great job!

  5. Excellent job—–

    Obviously you have put alot of thought and analysis into your rankings. I am much higher on Galvis simply because he has played so well in my few games I attended at Lakewood. Slayden will hit anywhere he is given a chance but is the anti-toolshead.

  6. Thanks James.
    Without reading a similar list from the other 29 teams in MLB, its impossible for me, a slightly more than casual fan of MiLB, to put this list in context. From the guys who do put these things in context, the “experts”, I guess this isn’t the most talented or deep group out there. But they’re OUR boys and it will be a blast following them this year. And since I’m within a 90 min drive of both Reading and Allentown, my goal for this season is to actually see these guys play. But I’ll always check here first to find out what to watch for.

  7. I am curious on Tyson Brummett. In August 2008, you ranked him 18th in the organization. Now, he doesn’t make the top 30 or even the 11 considered.

  8. I think the lack of Brummett has more to do with how good the draft class was, and the fact that he just got hammered in AA. I don’t see him as a starter, and I don’t know about him as a reliever, since he’s never served in that role, to my knowledge.

  9. Looks good. I’m really happy to see that you remained skeptical towards Galvis. His ranking on the fans list was the one flaw that really stood out to me. I don’t think he makes the list next year. In that vein, Valle is my pick to have the biggest jump of anyone currently in the system.

  10. I eagerly anticipated this, and you didn’t disappoint, James. Great to get your thoughts on where these prospects slot within the system.

    The biggest surprises to me were: (1) how highly you had Worley placed; and (2) how low Naylor wound up. On that front, a couple of questions…

    If Naylor had, say, gotten hurt and not pitched an inning at Clearwater, where would he have wound up (just based on his Lakewood numbers)? Do you think he still projects as a starter at this point, or do you see him moving to the pen?

    As for Worley… do you still think he’s ultimately ticketed for the pen, or do you see his control and GB% as signs that he can be a legitimate #3/4 if all falls right? And what do you make of the report that he and Stutes could start in Reading if they pitch well this spring?

  11. Phuturephillies –
    One other guy I forgot to mention, whom I didn’t include in my top 31 and very well might not have included in a top 41, but who was BA’s #26 — Overholt. Interested in your view, I saw him at Reading and don’t see what BA sees in him.

  12. Great job James, really good stuff. The one guy who really stood out to me is Trevor May, he was way off the radar to me. What do you see in him that makes you so bullish, ranking him above Stutes, Naylor, Garcia, and Cisco?

  13. One question on your analysis, you seemed concerned with Taylor’s 19% K rate but didn’t mention Donald’s 23.7% K rate.
    Was it because Donald was at AA?

  14. For a developing power guy like Taylor, a 19% K rate is actually very good. It is down a few % from 2007. His numbers across the board at Lakewood were excellent. The only problem I have with his peripherals is that his BB rate was low after promotion to CLW. The guy from PP’s top 30 with the really nasty K rate, in addition to the obvious Hewitt, is Harman, who K’d about 30% of the time.

  15. Great job, James. It’s interesting to see how your list seems to deviate from what the masses seem to think here.

    To me, the biggest surprises on your list were May, Shreve and Cosart. It was nice to see Harman crack your list, despite his poor year.

    I’m actually more excited to follow the minor league players/clubs this year than the big club.

    Two other thoughts, it was mentioned that Mattair may repeat at Lakewood. Does anyone know if the Phils do in fact plan on keeping him there. IMO it’s the right idea. Also, Jeremy Hamilton wasn’t even on the “guys who got consideration” list. When he’s hitting .370 at Lakewood in June (and getting promoted to Clearwater), will someone buy me a beer and give me some props?

    - Jeff

    - Jeff

  16. Thanks I found it interseting that drabek was ranked that high. What ever happend to JD durbin what do you think of him and same for Scott M and the people from the Abreu trade. Once again thank you this website is great.

  17. J.D. started at AAA .They had to get him out of there before
    his ERA hit double digits. Then they shipped him to Reading
    and for some strange reason gave him Outman’s starts.
    He went 5-7 but really was much worse. So back to AAA
    were he restunk(a new word referring to this situation only)
    Check your local 7-11 he might be working there

  18. I think only Monasterios (sp?) remains from the Abreu trade, which is best left forgotten at this point. Sanchez is a backup minor league catcher. Henry was awful. I had hopes for Smith, but he had TJ and was on the mend last year.

    But hey, Abreu doesn’t have a World Series ring, does he?

  19. Great job as always. I don’t get a chance to see our minor leaguers, so this site is the source for me when looking at our minor leaguers and your insight is appreciated.

  20. I like your list a lot, and would concur with valuing Shreve, May, and Cosart among the top 20 or so prospects. I completely concur with your positioning of Hewitt–I’m afraid he was a complete waste of a draft pick based pretty much entirely on “the good face”.

    A few minor quibbles: I really don’t understand the affection for Sampson and DeFratus shown by a lot of our minor league aficionados. Both of them have straight, very hittable fastballs and secondary pitches that don’t get people out. That’s a bad combination for projecting guys to improve. Also, I don’t think success in the Hawaii summer league is enough to rank Drabek quite that high. I’d like to see him hold up for at least half of a minor league season before moving him above 8 or so on the list.

    My real off the radar sleeper would be Ebelin Lugo, the 18-year-old minor league righty who didn’t allow an earned run after July 11th in the GCL. He needs to get back to starting, though, and keep his K-rate where it was last year.

  21. I counted 11 out of 30 from last year’s draft which is amazing. It will be fun to watch these kids perform this year to see who is moving up.

  22. Just checked out Lugo’s minor league page. In the last four games = 9 2/3 innings he struck out 15 batters. Norman u might
    have something there and he is still on pablum.

  23. i think that this is a make or break year for savery. to that end, i think that it is a mistake that they are moving him up a level. i would have started him in clearwater and told him to go out and dominate for a 6-8 starts. blow those punks away and then we will move you up. i don’t see the logic in jumping him.

    also i think that the thing that has people more worried about savery isn’t just his inconsistent stats. it was the reports we heard about his stuff and velo.

    but looking at this list in total, it really is a bunch of guys “on the come” to use a gambling term. i like our 2008 draft too, but rating so many of those guys so high really shows a lack of quality depth in the system.

    we will also have to agree to disagree on Q. but let’s see how it plays out with him.

  24. Slayden went yard, continuing to show he deserves to be SOMEWHERE in the major leagues. Honestly I’m bummed nobody took him in the rule 5 because the kid deserves a shot. Despite solid stats at every level, he’s organizational filler at this point. If we deal Jenkins or Stairs, I’d love to see him get a chance.

  25. my personal favorite Kyle Slate. when hes been healthy hes had some pretty dominant stuff..throws all pitches for strikes an gets hitters out..hopefully a good full season at Lakewood will sky rocket him on many Top 30 lists

  26. I rarely read these types of posts all the way through (no matter the source) but this was put together so well. great post – thanks very much

  27. If Naylor had, say, gotten hurt and not pitched an inning at Clearwater, where would he have wound up (just based on his Lakewood numbers)? Do you think he still projects as a starter at this point, or do you see him moving to the pen?

    I think hes a #5 starter, but more likely a middle reliever.

    As for Worley… do you still think he’s ultimately ticketed for the pen, or do you see his control and GB% as signs that he can be a legitimate #3/4 if all falls right? And what do you make of the report that he and Stutes could start in Reading if they pitch well this spring?

    I think hes a legit starter. I don’t think hes gonna have blow’em away stuff, but I think excellent control and groundballs will keep him in the middle of the rotation.

    One other guy I forgot to mention, whom I didn’t include in my top 31 and very well might not have included in a top 41, but who was BA’s #26 — Overholt. Interested in your view, I saw him at Reading and don’t see what BA sees in him.

    I don’t really get the love either. I mean, I could have added him in the guys to keep an eye on, but hes just a middle reliever for me.

    The one guy who really stood out to me is Trevor May, he was way off the radar to me. What do you see in him that makes you so bullish, ranking him above Stutes, Naylor, Garcia, and Cisco?

    May has a very aggressive delivery and already seems to have a big fastball. I think with some refining, and if he fills out his frame a bit, he’s going to have a top of the rotation arm. Its an aggressive grade, but I’m fine with it.

    One question on your analysis, you seemed concerned with Taylor’s 19% K rate but didn’t mention Donald’s 23.7% K rate.
    Was it because Donald was at AA?

    Yeah, the level difference is a big deal and Donald draws more walks too, so its less of an issue for him.

    A few minor quibbles: I really don’t understand the affection for Sampson and DeFratus shown by a lot of our minor league aficionados. Both of them have straight, very hittable fastballs and secondary pitches that don’t get people out. That’s a bad combination for projecting guys to improve. Also, I don’t think success in the Hawaii summer league is enough to rank Drabek quite that high. I’d like to see him hold up for at least half of a minor league season before moving him above 8 or so on the list.

    I like both guys because they have good raw stuff and in DeFratus’ case, great control. If they were 22-23 and didn’t have good fastballs, but only got guys out with offspeed stuff, then I wouldn’t be optimistic. Scouting reports on both guys were positive in the 2nd half of the season, and with pitchers, it seems like the switch is easier to flip with just a small adjustment, moreso than a hitter. I’m sticking with both guys for now.

  28. Really really insightful stuff here. Thanks for putting the time in and putting this out. This, and the readers 30, will be nice reference guides for me this season as I look up the pharm team box scores. It’s nice to know where to start.

  29. Can I make a stupid request?

    I love reading these top 30 lists, whether they’re by pp, the readers or writers, etc. One thing that I can never find on these lists are the years of acquisition for the prospects. To me it would be fascinating to see who’s ranked and when the organization acquired up the individual (e.g. Their draft year, when they were signed from South America, etc) as a barometer of the strength of certain classes (e.g. based on our current list was the class of 2008 better represented over, lets say 2005?) It also lets us know how much time the propsects on the list have been in the system without having to double back to their individual profiles to get the year. Thanks for the consideration.

  30. To the poster who said we had a very good draft in ’08: We’ve had very good drafts under Gillick all 3 years. It will be tought to match in the next 3 years.

  31. Norman, the draft is usually run by the scouting director. In our case it has been Marti Wolever for the past few years. I’m pretty sure he did not follow Arbuckle to KC. Can anyone confirm? If so, you can be sure that we will have similar drafts to previous years. The only way that would change is if the draft budget gets reduced due to economic reasons.

  32. It may change a lot this year, since instead of having an extra pick, we are going without our first rounder.

  33. ” Boston Phan Says:
    March 3, 2009 at 11:28 pm
    Norman, the draft is usually run by the scouting director. In our case it has been Marti Wolever for the past few years. I’m pretty sure he did not follow Arbuckle to KC. Can anyone confirm? If so, you can be sure that we will have similar drafts to previous years. The only way that would change is if the draft budget gets reduced due to economic reasons.”

    Yes, Wolever is still with the team. The biggest disgruntlement with the organization’s management of the scouting during most of Wade’s era was that he routinely gave away picks and didn’t gain any- all most wanted to see was that they were giving Arbuckle and Wolever a chance to do what we knew they were pretty good at. Gillick did this, and the drafts reaped the benefits, and there isn’t a strong precedence to assume that absent the early picks they will go deeper with subsequent picks, or even that they will continue to try and have deep drafts at all with the new GM.

  34. I like your list and your comments on May, he is remember only 19 and he is still growing but he has all the atributes needed to succeed . the speed is there, working on the other stuff and getting it right will bring the speed back.

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