Taking a step back, our Top 10 now

I just had a brief thought, and I don’t want to add it to my earlier opus, so I’m going to put it here. After losing the prospects we lost, these are the 10 names I put down as our Top 10 of whats left

Domonic Brown, Trevor May, Anthony Gose, Juan Ramirez, Tyson Gillies, Phillippe Aumont, Brody Colvin, Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, Sebastian Valle. Arrange them any way you want.

Now compare them to our Top 10 prospects, per Baseball America in their 2006 handbook, which was published before the 2006 season. So in essence, 4 seasons ago.

Cole Hamels, Gio Gonzalez, Greg Golson, Michael Bourn, Scott Mathieson, Dan Haigwood, Welinson Baez, Mike Costanzo, Brad Harman, Jason Jaramillo

Amaro traded away 7 prospects. And what we have left is still miles better than what we had four years ago without anything resembling the Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay deal in terms of a prospect exodus. I think when you look at it through this lens, and you remember that there are still at least 15 legitimate prospects in the system, it helps take some of the sting out of this. And our system is certainly not empty, we just lost a lot off the top.

117 thoughts on “Taking a step back, our Top 10 now

  1. The system isnt completely gone but its an enormous step back. I dont see enough to build another NL East champion once our core of today has left.

  2. I’m actually depressed by the deal. I really wanted to see Drabek and Taylor play in Philly..especially after seriously following their minor-league careers the last few years.

  3. Dom Brown- Potential superstar v. Hamels- 1/2 starter
    May- Potential ceiling 1, floor 5/closer v. Gonzalez- 5 starter
    Gose- Leadoff man/5th OF v. Golson- 5th OF
    Ramirez- 2/3 starter v. Bourn- Good ML CF
    Gillies- Leadoff man/5th OF v. Mathieson (Still have him)
    Aumonte- 3 starter/8th,closer v. Haigwood- Bust
    Colvin- Potential 2 v. Baez- Bust
    Cosart- Potential 1 v. Costanza- Bust
    Singleton- Power hitting 1B v. Harman- Bust
    Santana- Potential monster in the form of Vlad Guerro v. Jaramillo- Back up catcher.

    I think at the top everyone’s potential was similiar at one time or another. The difference, as James noted, is the depth we still possess in the lower levels. Santana, Singleton, and Cosart possess potential and tools that guys like Harman, Jaramillo and Costanza never had. Plus we’re not even mentioning Sebastian Valle who destroyed the Mexican league at 19. We still got some studs to follow at PP. Our system still is Top 15 and with a solid draft it can reload again. Anyone hear anything about that Columbian catcher?

  4. AFein: I’d say the most disapointing part of the deal is not acquiring a guy like Triunfel who could possibly replace Rollins in a couple years.

  5. Also, stick to discussing this concept in here. If you want to complain/praise the mega deal, do it in the other post.

    The guys in 2006 obviously had potential. My point was, our system right now is still stronger than it was in 2006. Its not a top 5 system now. But like in 2006, we still have a bona fide elite prospect (Brown) at the top. And our secondary guys are much better now than they were in 2006. Dan Haigwood? His ceiling was always a #5 starter. Brad Harman’s ceiling was a fringe starter or a utility infielder.

    My big takeaway point is, our system went from #4 or #5 overall to maybe #12, or #15 at worst.

    I can think of 7 or 8 systems right now off the top of my head who would instantly trade their system as a whole for ours.

  6. Sorry PP. Yeah, our system is still pretty strong and depending on next year’s draft as well as wildcards like Shreve and Cosart, we could be right back in the Top 10 by the AS break.

  7. Pat burrell, its hard to project players when most of them are a couple of years away from the majors. Obviously 4 years ago when we looked at that group of prospects we had high expectations for them but with the exception of hamels and bourne, they are all somewhat dissapointing. When we look back at that group of prospects its hard to label them as little potential because obviously they had some to be in the top 10 ( even though it was a weak top 10 at the time) and since theyre pretty much figured at this point we already know their potential so that further weakens our opinion of them.

  8. “My point was, our system right now is still stronger than it was in 2006.”

    I do think there’s more depth. Much more. I’m not so sure I’d say right away that the farm is stronger than in 2006 because there’s no Cole Hamels on the farm right now. What Hamels has given the Phillies already at the salary he’s drawn is the holy grail of a farm system. And Michael Bourn and Mike Costanzo helped get us Brad Lidge.

    Perhaps the depth makes up for the lack of a Hamels but it’s not as clear cut for me unless an ace emerges from the lower levels.

  9. I see what you mean, but I disagree. Like PP said, those guys at 7-10 never, ever had the ceiling that our guys at even 10-15 have (Collier, James, Mathieson, Bastardo, Shreve). Basically, the point is that the system is still in good shape, despite trading 7 guys in the last five months.

  10. The new prospect list is missing a lot of the top pieces from a year ago, but those pieces were on top largely because they were older and thus closer to the majors. However, a lot of them were blocked (Marson, Donald, Taylor), so they weren’t going to do us much good if we hung on to them, except as insurance against injury.

  11. I think it’s still a top ten. Everybody is just farther away. The talent and youth of the system is very satisfying. If they aren’t ranked in the top ten by BA, they will be in a year or two.

    The Phillies need to draft well this coming spring and sign Jorge Alfaro, who they are rumored to be close with. He would probably rank around 5. With a pop time of 1.85, I think he is a fine replacement for D’arnaud. In fact I might rate him a tick above him.

  12. Phillies sign Colombian catcher? Wanted to pass along an unconfirmed report that the Phils have signed 16-year-old Colombian catcher Jorge Alfaro in the amount of 2,500 million Colombian pesos, which is a record signing for that country, according to a report in a Colombian paper. A follow-up Twitter report from an ESPN senior scribe said the catcher worked out with the Phillies yesterday, but no deal has been struck. That figure, by the way, translates to $1.25 million US dollars

  13. PP, you’re right. Our system is vastly improved in quality and quantity…. but dang wouldn’t it look good with Susac, Stewart, and even the Columbian catcher… or gasp Aroldis. At the time we signed Moyer for two years at that high price; I remember thinking… dang… wouldn’t $12-14MM be better spent busting slot on draft picks.

    I still feel that way.

  14. A report earlier today had us sending 2 scouts to watch Aroldis but that we “were not seriously interested”.

  15. Catcher Jorge Alfaro from Colombia, regarded for his solid bat and strong arm, may soon land a bonus in the six-figure range. Alfaro is a converted outfielder who has attracted attention from the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees. The Mariners appear to be the front-runners, according to one Dominican baseball source. Not everyone is sold on Alfaro, though. One prominent National League scout suggested that Soto would be better off turning Alfaro into a pitcher because he has such a strong arm.

    From Alguarere from ESPN, he said he worked out for the Phillies but did not sign a deal.

  16. some of those guys on that list have the potential to make us forget drabek and taylor quickly.

    and the reality is, the phillies aren’t going to be in a position to play a rookie meaningful innings for the next few years. i gotta believe that they want to re-sign worth if he comes close to how he played last year. he is an absolute 5-tool stud. so brown is really going to be groomed to take over for ibanez (which is 2 years away).

    pitchers like May and Colvin and Cosart (let alone the guys we just got) have top to mid rotation capability. i really don’t know why you are so down on Aumont. he is only entering his age 21 year and clearly has a lot of talent. give him time to grow into his body.

    i think that we all are just so bummed because we were so excited to see guys with drabek’s capability rise through our system. we got emotionally attached to him.

    stark just did a piece in which he said that he talked to a lot of scouts that compared the prospects we gave up verse the ones we got in favorable terms:
    ———-
    Scouts we surveyed were split on whether the prospects exiting have a higher ceiling than the prospects arriving. But the whole group is “a bunch of legit prospects,” said one NL scout. “They’re not just throwing in a bunch of names to make this look good.”

    So while the Phillies still have bullpen issues to address, “I like this deal a lot for the Phillies, long-term and short-term,” said an AL scout. “They got the best pitcher in the game right now. And they got a couple of guys from Seattle [Aumont and Gillies] I’m surprised they could get.”

    ———–
    starks is a legit inside guy and i am sure he has legit sources.

  17. So since Drabek is gone, and he was apparently supposed to be a #1 (though I think a 2/3 is more like what he will turn out to be)…which remaining pitchers have #1 potential? Of all the pitchers left, I’m intrigued by May, but does he project as a top of the rotation pitcher? How about guys like Colvin (who is supposed to be like Drabek out of HS), Cosart and Shreve?

  18. When I read this post, my first thought was “good perspective,” but two things come to mind”

    2006 Howard was playing his first full season in the bigs and Utley his second. You can’t really look at those lists in a vacuum. Unconditionally the first group seems better, but conditional on who was just pulled out of the system I like the second group. JA Happ just isn’t measuring up here..

    Secondly, we have the benefit of hindsight with the 2006 list. It’s not uncommon for top 10 prospects within a given system to just flop, right? In 4 years we probably will probably be thinking a lot worse of this current group. Isn’t it safe to say there’s more downside risk for prospects than upside? For instance, how much more likely is it that Valle never adds wins over replacement vs. turning in to another V-mart or Mauer? The distribution of prospect outcomes is pretty highly skewed I’d say

    Not trying to be a debbie downer here, just taking a step back from the step back :) – Maybe I have something wrong here

  19. Is Scott Mathieson still a factor for the Phillies? Do you see them converting him into a reliever or a possible closer? Maybe some kind of young relief duo with Aumont?

  20. The Chapman thing is intriguing. If he were to be signed, I guess the Phillies would have the Drabek replacement taken care of right away, right? Amaro basically went from a response that was like “Aroldis who?” and denying that anyone was planning to watch him pitch to sending two scouts. I’m not getting too excited or anything, but I’d say that actions speak louder than denials… especially since Amaro seems to take a “deny everything” route.

  21. Chapman is like a Godsend, they must get him. Perhaps they cleared the cap space to sign him from the get go? That way you get a Drabek-type pitcher AND a long-term Ace.

  22. That’s an unfair comparison. By 2006, the Phillies have already graduated Howard and Utley to the big league. The farm hasn’t produced anything like that last couple of years. It’s going to be very painful watching Michael Taylor jack 30 HRs, batting .300+, while we lose Werth and Ibanez turns 39.

  23. PP rating a system on cosart ,who has done nothing, is nuts , right now this system has brown, Mathieson and a lot of lower a guys and we know what happens when they get to higher levels most fail. The cheapnest of last draft hurt us with this moves if we signed susac it would have help a lot more, why we dont have any infield prospects beside galvis is nuts to me but i am not a expert,

  24. As far as Chapman, I think with 15 teams looking/bidding on him it is about a 90% certainty that he is going to be overpaid. He has good stuff, but he is far from a finished product and I don’t think he’s the kind of player you want to bet the farm on.

  25. Ramirez is on Seattle’s 40 man roster. He’ll have to take up a roster slot for us… if he’s part of the deal.

  26. I’m hoping we see a Knapp like break out by May, Colvin, Cosart or heck, Pettibone, this year to make me feel better about it all.

  27. The one problem this deal creates is that it now puts undue pressure on the Phillies to sign Werth to a long-term contract. With Taylor in the wings, they could always offer Werth arbitration, let him leave, get the picks, and then plug Taylor into the outfield. Would it be a loss short-term? Probably. But long-term it was a very sensible option and allowed them to manage the salary issue and make no mistake, the salary issue is HUGE. Werth’s salary the year after year next is likely to be in the $13-17 million range. My guess is that the Phillies will, however, not sign him long-term but, rather, will offer him arbitration and allow him to leave. The replacement will probably be Francisco, which is quite a drop-off. Perhaps they will be purusing a replacement. There are a lot of major leaguers who are young, but have disappointed, who might be acquired. Jay Bruce comes to mind.

    This line of succession also allowed them to replace Ibanez with Brown the following year (2012).

  28. Great post. I think the phillies farm system is in way better shape than a few years back. My only hope is that they be aggressive in each draft and take a few more over slot chances. Last year they weren’t as aggressive as I’d like. So this year it will be interesting to see what happens.

  29. This post chears me up a little bit. The minor league system has come a long way in 4 years. Let’s hope that it continues to impress and churn out good prospects. The 2008 draft was just fantastic and has given us a lot of hope at the lower levels. 2009 was a bit of a disappointment to the loyal PP followers, but I think that was more in a context of 2008 than anything else. When we look back on it, I still think that we acquired more talent in the 2009 draft than many of the past drafts. Only time will tell. Let’s see what 2010 brings.

    After following this site for two years, the draft is probably my second favorite time of year now…still hasn’t surpassed pitchers and catchers reporting!

  30. I think we’re around the top 15-20 teams now in terms of prospects. We’ve still got great depth. No, the 15-20 range doesn’t translate into a Championship team 5-8 years from now, but that’s not really the point. The point is that we extended the current championship window another 2-3 years – and left ourselves in possition to at least have a competitive team down the road – which we’ll need so that we can maintain the revenue stream so we can continue to invest in signing players and prospects to make another run 10-15 years from now.

  31. Okay, I am still trying to get my bearings after this trade, a trade so big that it could almost be viewed as a paradigm shift – we are now left with a very different set of minor league prospects. Prospects we have not had time to learn to grow to love and care about.

    Aside from the immediate salary issues on Werth (see my post above), the more I move away from this trade, the more I see that the one player they departed with who is least replaceable (at least right now) is D’Arnaud. Trading him would suggest to me that: (a) they now look at Chooch as their long-term catcher – a guy who may be with them for another 3-5 years. If Carlos’s hitting is for real, that’s not such a bad move; he has turned himself into an outstanding receiver and perhaps even a competent to good hitter (improved strike zone judgment and power is part of that package); and (b) they are probably going to draft another catcher and may even move hard to sign the young prospect everyone mentions – that would be a good idea.

    Drabek is projected as a number 2, but, frankly, that’s a bit down the road. He would probably become a number 4 or 5 late this year or next year and would slowly move up. But they have a lot of other good arms in the system, including Aumont and Ramirez and the more I read about those players, the more convinced I become that they each have significant upside. When you combine those players with the guy who I think is the next stud, Trevor May, the other young guns (Cosart, Colvin, etc. . . . ) and the fact that, this year, we will have some nice arms available for the pen (Bastardo, Mathieson, Escalona) and even some backup options that may surprise us (Stutes, Savery and Kendrick come to mind), I think there’s plenty of cushion to absorb the loss of Drabek assuming he is not a future ace.

    On Taylor, the issue is more one of timing and cost-containment rather than of outfield depth. Brown is our best prospect, so we know we have at least one guy who is likely to become a stud for us. Second, with both Gose and Gillies, there is a strong likelihood that at least one of those players is going to become a legitimate MLB centerfielder – their skill sets are similar, with Gillies being more developed. And we will have other corner outfield options, including Santana (probably about 4 years away) and perhaps Collier and Dugan. So, while I hate losing a prospect who I think is going to be a really good major league player and who I think we all fell in love with to a certain extent, there’s a good chance that, in the long run, replacing Taylor is not going to be a big deal – we have depth in that area.

  32. What do you guys think of Scott Matheison?

    And I don’t believe in “Championship Windows”. While Utley and Howard and Vicorino and Rollins and Werth and Hamels will all be gone at around the same time, it should only affect a good team for maybe one year, if that.

    The Phillies, if they spend and are responsible, should not lose any time.

  33. I agree that our system is still better than average, maybe in the 12-15 range. We did take a hit in high-ceiling prospects in this latest deal. We just traded 2,3,4 for guys that may line up more like 4,6,10 in the new ranking. I think Drabek and Taylor rank ahead of anything we got.

    The lack of star potential prospects does decrease our system ranking, though our depth is still excellent. We actually do have a large number of C+ level prospects that might develop. Not including the new pitchers I think it is reasonable that we get a starter out of our current AA/AAA group (Savery, Stutes, Worley, Flande, Cisco). Probably 1-2 Condrey-quality relievers as well. That will be important when we need to replace Moyer and Blanton and can’t afford two high-priced arms to do that (we might be able to afford one).

    There are some concerns going forward. We are still painfully thin in the infield and at catcher now. We had what looks to be a mediocre draft last year compared to other teams (we were either 29th or 30th in spending). We got Colvin but really failed to get a couple of other players that we should have signed. So far we have only signed Lino Martinez in the high-dollar international pool. Thus the strength of our system after trading the AAA guys and not having a great rookie season is really in the middle (A/AA). We need to replenish the lower end and hope the core of the team stays healthy that we do not suffer from not having a AAA SS or catcher for instance.

    It is a good gamble by Amaro, but I would feel better adding the Colombian catcher and then committing to spending $5 or $6 million total in the next draft.

  34. Scott Mathieson, if he can stay healthy, has the ability to be anything from a 10th/11th guy on a staff to a set-up guy or closer. With the surgeries, he’ll probably never go back into the rotation, but who knows? We could use another righty starter down the line and his stuff is as good as anybody’s.

  35. Alfaro worked out for them last weekend but has not signed yet (unless it happened but was not announced). All we can do is wait for an announcement at some point. Hard to know how good a prospect he is until we actually see him play.

  36. Doesn’t Aumont’s prospect status depend a ton on whether they put him at starter or reliever? Any insight on what that decision is likely to be?

  37. I’m still high on Mathieson. Also don’t believe the guys now in the system are going to make us quickly forget Taylor and Drabek, who may be better than anyone now in the system. Taylor was major-league ready reality, still a lot of projection in Brown, although I did rate Brown the slightly better prospect.

    Depth in the minors is very niced, but not nearly as important as the primo prospects. We have Brown left out of our clear primo prospect group of Drabek, Taylor, Brown, Carrasco, Knapp.

    The trend is important. We are better than in 2006 in the BA top 10, and that is a good trend. It is also a very misleading trend, caused in large measure by BA misranking our 2006 prospects. We can look at that top 10 today and conclude we weren’t all that good, apart from mega-prospect Hamels. Yet, in the BA top 30 from 2006, we also have Victorino, Ruiz, Happ, Kendrick — as well as the traded Marson and Carrasco. These guys weren’t rated out of top 10 because they were young, so much as just misrated. If I recast that top 10 as Hamels, Happ, Ruiz, Victorino, Kendrick, Carrasco, Marson, Bourn, Mathieson, Gio Gonzales/Golson fighting it out for #10, it is an awesome top 10 and clearly better than our current top 10.

    The other trend is a clearly negative one — the promotion of guys to the bigs to replenish the core and help control the salary budget. If I, improperly I know but this is the way I think of him, count Happ as a 2008 entry to majors (rather than 2009), then we produced no significant new major league talent from the farm in 2009 and are unlikely to do so in 2010 (unless Mathieson gets promoted and plays a significant role). That makes us older and reduces the likelihood of turning over the core on the fly.

    Final point — if the trading of prospects got us a $20 million or so discount from market value over the course of Halladay’s contract plus a $6 mill rebate from Toronto, then by trading the net proceeds of about 2 draft classes, we have saved $26 mill from the major league salary budget. Since we pay only about $4.5 mill per draft class, this is a 300% return on our investment in the space of about 5 years. Makes it kind of insane, from a business standpoint, that we didn’t spend an extra $3 million on the past year’s draft to sign all of our long-shot picks.

  38. Hamels alone makes the 2006 list better. You hope and pray that some day one of your top ten prospects will win a World Series MVP trophy for you. If he never does anything else again (which is highly unlikely, I might add), what Hamels has accomplished makes the 2006 list, in hindsight, better than the potential of our current prospects.

    And anyone who thinks Chapman is a lesser prospect than Brown doesn’t understand economics (or dare I say math). Ask yourself this question – if Domonik Brown was a free agent today, right now, what would he sign for? Then take a look at the contract that Chapman is poised to sign. Do some addition (really subtraction) and then come back with a reasonable explanation for a thesis that Brown is a better prospect.

  39. I agree Aumont could be the key to the trades. If he’s a starter, I feel a LITTLE better, if he stays in the pen, I think our haul from the Lee trade is very light.

  40. We probably won’t know for another 3 or 4 years if this was a good trade or not. There are as many variables here as in any trade I’ve ever seen. Having thought about this some more, I think this entire trade was brought about by Amaro’s fear (yes, I think it was a trade motivated primarily by fear, not opportunity) that he would enter the 2011 season without a true ace and, thus, with a significantly reduced chance of winning the WS in the last year that he knew, for sure, that the core of the team would be intact. You can argue whether or not it was a good move, but, no matter how you look at it, the move had the word “desperation” written all over it.

  41. Another point (one I tried to make yesterday on my PDA, but I don’t think the message got through).

    When you look at the direction of the team, you start to come to what seems to be the inescapable conclusion that the Phillies are now the type of team that develops players for the primary purpose of having trade fodder. Just look at the exodus of talent over the last few years – Outman, G. Gonzalez, Spencer, Bourn, Carrasco, Marson, D’Arnaud, Drabek, Taylor, Donald, Knapp . . . . If they keep doing this, it is going to bite them in the tail – it’s not a good long-term policy and, if you don’t believe me, just ask the Yankees. Not the Brian Cashman Yankees, but the old Yankees, who traded nearly all of their good prospects, with the result that the team was really bad during the late 80s and early 90s, even with all that cash floating around. Cashman turned that around and, if you notice carefully, the Yankees, for all their resources, do not trade a lot of their prospects.

    They don’t do it because if you’re not careful, constantly trading to fill holes can create an endless series of crises. You trade a bunch of prospects to get a player you really need at the moment, and then, later, when you need help, there is no major league ready talent available, so, again, you trade OR you overpay for free agent talent. It’s easy to create a vicious cycle and the Taylor move, more than anything, could perpetuate this cycle for the Phillies when Werth is available for free agency.

    So, yes, we replenished a bit and, yes, we got a hell of a pitcher. But what’s depressing is that, more and more, it appears that the Phillies are a team that trades away talent and doesn’t promote young players. Maybe this circumstance is unique and what we are seeing is not a pattern. However, I think a clear pattern is developing and its’ disturbing.

  42. Catch – I agree with you on this becoming a trend – just look at our recent promotions from the minors to the bigs – there haven’t been any other than Happ and Kendrick. That illustrates the fact that we’re not focused on devoloping guys for ourselves.

    Obviously we won a championship – so that style worked – but you can really only ride that pony once.

  43. At this juncture we look poised to promote a number of prospects into the pen for next season. Obviously we are looking to promote Brown no later than 2012 and may even see Galvis in 2012. I suspect that we will see some fast tracking of some of the big arms over the next two years.
    Lets hope to sign some great prospects in the June draft.

  44. Catch22 –
    Agree with comment that minors are being viewed almost exclusively as trade fodder to an alarming degree.

    Disagree that this deal screams desperation. When you are planning to solve a problem that is more than a year away, that is hardly desperation. It is acting now to avoid desperation a year from now.

    What the deal screams to me is unexpected opportunity seized, despite constraints. Everyone has a budget and Amaro had his. He went about his post-season plans not expecting that Halladay would be willing to sign an extension, so with no thought of acquiring him. This is sound, since it seemed last summer that the only possible reason that Toronto would not allow a trade partner to discuss an extension with Halladay, an extension that would greatly increase his trade value, was that they thought they knew 100% certain that any team that met with him would hear either ‘I’m absolutely committed to FA’, or ‘the only offer I would consider is 6yrs/$160 mill and if you don’t give it to me now, there will be no negotiations prior to FA’.

    Add to your list of traded prospects lesser lights like Maloney, Bourn, Costanzo

  45. Dphrey –
    I think we are about to show that you can ride that pony 3 or 4 times, but I get your point, at some point the music stops, you don’t have a seat, the upper farm is stripped, and you rapidly realize you have a very old, very expensive, second division major league club, with no apparent help on the horizon. It is easy to say this can’t happen to a ‘big money’ club, like the Phillies, but the Mets got themselves in exactly this predicament, without ever bothering to build and then deplete the farm. The crux of the problem is too much overemphasis on expensive vets, without considering the high likelihood of age-induced falloff or the greater chance of injury with aged players. Also over-valuing your non-primo prospects.

    There is a danger of unsustainability related to allowing the ratio of major league salary budget to draft/international budget to become too high or to trading off too many of the successes from your drafts.

  46. It is being reported that one of the prospects involved I’m the trade failed his physical. Let the madness resume….

  47. I love the farm system sports. I love farm systems and developing players. It’s a huge reason why Baseball and Hockey are so awesome for me.

    But come on. We don’t have room for most of the players you guys praised as prospects. We have better players in those slots. It just doesn’t make sense to not get something in return for those players while improving your current team.

    Do I like trading Drabek or Knapp? No. Do I like trading two catchers? No. But our catcher spot is blocked, and you need to trade pitchers to get things done. I am confident we can replace them in our farm system in time for a spot to be open.

    I feel they need to begin drafting for the infield soon, next year or so. And pitchers are always in demand. But I don’t think there is any rush. The Phillies are MUCH better off going scouting than anything. And, with any luck, we’ll have signed Chapman and all this will be forgotten.

    (We better sign him.)

  48. Have any of you read Jayson Stark’s article on espn.com? John Manual, co-editor of Baseball America, seems to have a totally different take on a few of the prospects that we’ve been talking about. He rates a Jiwan James as one of our top 10 prospects (well, borderline top 10). This is the first that I’ve ever heard of him.

  49. This guy Manuel apparently is the Baseball America person who covers the Phillies organization. He has interesting commentary on Stutes, Flande, Savery, Bastardo and Escalona as well. He puts our new top 10 as:
    1) Brown
    2) Gose
    3) May
    4) Vale
    5) Cosart
    6) Aumont
    7) Bastardo
    8) Gillies
    9) Santana
    10) Jiwan James (?) / Mathieson

    He also ranks Ramirez as the 18th best prospect in the Mariner’s system.

    FWIW, I agree with Stark 100% that the Lee trade had nothing to do with money.

  50. Manuel has always liked James a great deal, though I really want to see him in some extended playing time before saying he should be in the top 10.

    So from Manuel’s perspective we are replacing 2,3,4 with 6,8,15? I think he is a little pessimistic about the Mariners guys. I wonder if Aumont is the injury question now. I think I like Ramirez the most of the three even if Aumont has better stuff. Ramirez is a starter and still has a big arm. His stats are clouded by the High Desert offensive environment. Gillies I would have in the 8-10 range also. Aumont is the wild card because he is the most likely high end talent that could compensate for Drabek and Taylor.

  51. montyburns –
    He discussed Jiwan James on the BA chat, when the Phillies top 10 list was posted. This is pretty much a 100% projection kind of thing, based on speed and athleticism and size, rather than performance. James is a HS draftee OF from a couple seasons ago, who as a 20 year old at Williamsport, put up a rather unexciting .708 OPS, with only 7 SB against 4 CS. Don’t see what in this separates him from the rather large pack of toolsy young OF in our system.

  52. The Phillies organization is at a point where trading prospects for major league players makes sense. Rather than a trend I would suggest it is trying to take advantage of the window for contending with Howard, Utley, et al.

    There is no doubt that this not sustainable. Don’t you think that is one of the reasons Amara traded Lee for prospects?

    And Dr. Steve is right. Would you trade two straight WS appearances for all the prospects on the “trend” list? Does anybody think we would have had a parade if we had kept those prospects?

  53. James is different because he was drafted as a pitcher. He has not had the offensive playing time. Putting up a .708 OPS after basically not hitting for 2-3 since high school was impressive. He basically outperformed Hewitt coming off his layoff. He could develop quickly if he gets 500 AB next year.

  54. The Phils couldn’t win a pennant with two young outfielders at the same time so Taylor playing with Brown never seemed likely to me. I had suggested here a month or so ago that I thought the Phils would trade Taylor this offseason because he was ready and they had no spot for him. I expected that they would trade him for a 3B (like Wallace) but that didn’t go according to plan. By the way, Jiwon James by the way started as a pitcher but was converted last spring training back to the OF. In HS, he had played OF and pitched, as did Gose.

  55. I think the comparison of the ’06 top ten and the current one speaks a little to the talent involved (better now) and a lot to the inherent problems of ranking talent playing at a lower level (usually younger) and players in the upper levels who perform well against better competition but maybe don’t have the native talent to take it to the ultimate stage in the majors.

    Show me a top ten based solely on skills and promise and another based on performance. If you’re good enough to be on both lists then we might have a legitimate prospect.

  56. Whether or not you can win a pennant with any particular two OF would seem to be far more related to how good those OF are than to how old they are. In any case, Taylor would have been a veteran of a big league season before Brown came up.

  57. RickWiseGuy –
    Upthread I listed a rearranged top 10 for 1996, created from the BA top 30 of that year. It is an impressive list, I think superior to the talent we now have on our top 10. It includes two members of our 2009 starting rotation, our starting catcher, our starting CF, Houston’s starting CF, 2 of the key players in the Lee trade, Mathieson who may be a significant guy in our 2010 pen, and Gio Gonzales. It didn’t even count Costanzo from the Lidge trade or Outman from the Blanton trade. That’s a very impressive group, causing me to conclude that our top 10 didn’t improve between 1996 and now; BA merely misranked the 2006 top 10. It is not that these guys were super young, either. They just badly missed on Ruiz, Happ, and Victorino.

  58. Phillies offically announced the Lee trade for Aumont, Ramierez, and Gillies.

    Roy hasn’t been offically announced yet.

  59. So how is everyone going to feel when trade talks heat up in July when we’re looking for another pitcher?

  60. “James is different because he was drafted as a pitcher. He has not had the offensive playing time. Putting up a .708 OPS after basically not hitting for 2-3 since high school was impressive. He basically outperformed Hewitt coming off his layoff. He could develop quickly if he gets 500 AB next year.”

    He’ll be hitting 25 home runs in Reading – just in time for him to be included in the 2011 trade (along with Phillipe Aumont and Domingo Santana) for Matt Cain.

    Sorry, everyone, but these trades have left me a little jaded. Until something changes my mind, I will no longer watch our prospects with the hope that the good ones will be with the Phillies. By performing well, they merely increase their trade value.

  61. We watch ,hope and plan then the players are gone for no reason except corporate something or the other. I have to wonder why we do this.

  62. The discussions & points are awesome… I see both sides of this trade… Happy for the big club, as long as they prove to have more pitching depth than the top 2… still to be seen…
    As for the minors I am saddened as what others have said, I have followed many of the recently traded from the drafts and was excited to see them play for the Phillies.
    I just hope that they are correct on D Brown or we are in a big mess very quickly… I agree we need to spend a few dollars this year on teh draft and sign some players especially in certain positions (cather, 3rd & short) with high potential… we have enough outfielders with potential to shake a stick at!

  63. At least Ramirez is offically in the deal. If he wasn’t, and I’ve seen places he wasn’t mentioned, I might scream. He is probably the highest ranked guy IMHO of the three we got.

  64. Most of the talking heads still love Aumont. But they also concede he’s likely to be a reliever. Which is why I downgrade him immediately. The are also saying Ramirez might end up a reliever, but that’s based on his struggles against LHB, not his durability or frame or mechanics. So I think he actually has a better shot to remain a starter, which is why I’ll probably rank him higher than Aumont in my Top 30. I hope the Phillies send Aumont to Clearwater and turn him back into a starter. Its where they can get the most value from him. They need to slow him down, iron out some of his mechanical issues, and then see what they have in him before relegating him to the bullpen.

  65. Contending veteran teams do not seem to want to put up with the growing pains of young talent.Mostly prospects (as much as we enjoy them ) end up as fodder for trade.

  66. PP I know this sounds stupid, but why send him down farther to re-do his mechanics? As I see it, regardless of where he is at, it’s still the minors.

  67. I agree with PP (see how long my self-imposed exile lasted – what, 15 minutes?), let’s get this guy on-track and back in a starter’s role. Let’s look at it this way. This guy has the ability to dominate. Live arm, big frame and electric stuff. If you put him in Clearwater, he, in essence, serves as a replacement of Jason Knapp in terms of upside (perhaps a little more upside, actually – it depends on who you ask). Let’s get him, iron out the kinks, build his arm strength and allow him to write his own ticket in 2011. They won’t need him as a starter or reliever this year or next now that Halladay and Hamels are fronting the rotation – he can proceed at his own pace.

  68. by the way, I don’t know if anyone has seen the tapes of Gillies. Holy cow is he ever fast – about as fast as anyone I’ve ever seen. This is nice – they can dual track Gillies and Gose to the majors in centerfield – may the best man win!

  69. Aumont as a starter would make me feel much better. If they try to rush him up to the majors to help in the bullpen as PP specualted somewhere I’d be upset.

    If you consider both Aumont and Rameriz as A ball starters with 2/3 potential, it makes me feel much better. That’s a reach for Aumont right now though.

  70. PP, please ban nowheels. He is a nasty, nasty, poor excuse for human being and his presence on the board makes your site much less desirable. I guess I’ll keep coming for your posts, but I think I may need to abandon the comments section because of his presence.

    Note that it’s not even the fact that he is so wrong about almost everything – in fact that is a plus, as that aspect of his comments provides comic relief. But comments like the ones at 4:29 – just filthy, vile, unsubstantiated libels on the Phllies front office – really have no place here.

  71. Just to lay out my position clearly, Michael Taylor was my favorite minor leaguer, and I voted him the #1 Phillies prospect in PP’s poll. To me the guy just had the same feel to him as Ryan Howard did when he was stuck behind Jim Thome. That doesn’t mean I think Taylor will be as good, I just feel very comfortable with him being a legit starting LF in the major leagues.

    But for Roy Halladay over the next 4 years, I can deal with the disappointment. I understand the logic on the Phillies part. They are trying to win while Utley, Rollins, and Howard are still in their primes. And the 2008 and 2009 drafts brought a ton of outfield prospects to the system, and that doesn’t even include Dom Brown, who is obviously the #1 prospect.

    I am not a big fan of the Cliff Lee deal. I would have much preferred to keep Lee for 2010 and get the compensation picks back for him when he left and signed a huge deal elsewhere. The idea of a rotation of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton, and Happ just would have been an awesome thing to watch.

    But to the comments in this thread that the Phillies are setting a trend of trading away minor leaguers, I don’t really see that as being true. Sure, it is what has happened, but I don’t think that it is a reflection on some grand plan or some lack of appreciation of the importance of a strong farm system.

    The Phillies used this talent to acquire Brad Lidge and Joe Blanton…which won them the 2008 World Series. They used it to reach the 2009 World Series (Lee). And they are using it to try to get back to the World Series again (Halladay). They are making these moves to capitalize on their core team (Howard, Utley, Rollins, Ruiz, Werth, Victorino)…who were all guys that either came up in the Phillies farm system or were acquired after bouncing around other farm systems / teams. I just think it is the pragmatic approach for right now, at this specific time.

    I trust the Phillies will refocus now on the farm system, and after 2010 they will have Moyer’s salary and possibly Blanton’s salary to work with in Free Agency or to sign their own guys (Werth).

    But to the key point, I strongly disagree that the Phillies have somehow lost appreciation for the importance of having a strong farm system, or don’t want to promote their own guys and would rather trade them. That just doesn’t seem to be a logical conclusion. At least not based on the evidence we have at this point. On a team built around Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz, etc…I seriously doubt they forgot the importance of the draft or the farm system for producing homegrown talent.

    Overall I think the Phillies are managing their farm system about just right, considering the circumstances. The main thing I think they need to do a better job at is drafting more guys like Andrew Susac or Jake Stewart…but just making sure to get guys like that under contract. Either that or get more aggressive for guys like Aroldis Chapman when they become available.

  72. If you translate ‘corporate something or other’ to two WS appearances and setting up for two more, the attack on the front office vanishes.

  73. “But to the comments in this thread that the Phillies are setting a trend of trading away minor leaguers, I don’t really see that as being true. Sure, it is what has happened, but I don’t think that it is a reflection on some grand plan or some lack of appreciation of the importance of a strong farm system.

    The Phillies used this talent to acquire Brad Lidge and Joe Blanton…which won them the 2008 World Series. They used it to reach the 2009 World Series (Lee). And they are using it to try to get back to the World Series again (Halladay).”

    This. Each of these deals (well, not the Lee deal last year, not much anyway) were lambasted on this board at the time.

    I’ll say it again – the Phillies have yet to be burnt on any of these deals. This may be the first one – I said elsewhere that I wouldn’t have doine it for contract/payroll reasons – but the notion that this continues some horrible trend of trading away our future is not just wrong but absurdly wrong.

  74. Lol, Allentown, that may be the key to continuing reading the comment section despite nowheels’ presence. Just play woird substitution when he posts.

  75. “I’ll say it again – the Phillies have yet to be burnt on any of these deals. ”

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m willing to bet that if the Phillies could have a redo Floyd/Gonzalez for Freddie Garcia, they’d be all over it. If that’s not getting burned, I’m not sure what is. That was three years ago. And let’s not forget Abreu/Lidle for ?. How quickly we forget.

  76. PP,

    My understanding of your personal formula for evaluating a prospects season is that you did it for all the leagues, correct? I’m really intrigued at how the 3 prospects that Philly just got will compare to Phillies prospects given how radically different their leagues are. I’m sure your swamped but I look forward to comparing those numbers.

    I’ll also add this about the prospects we got verses those we gave up. It’s possible that Drabek and Taylor are at the upper end of their value (sell high) after their strong seasons this past year and those that Philly received particularly Aumont and Rameriz are at the low end of their value (buy low) given their seasons and position moves. I don’t think it makes a huge difference but it is worth noting.

  77. The Garcia deal I’ll give you; it was as you say three years ago.

    Abreu/Lidle was even longer ago, and wasn’t the kind of prospect for a vet deal that people are whining about now.

    So I’d say you’re kind of proving my point.

  78. Michael Taylor will be the rookie of the year this coming year, for the Oakland A’s. What exactly did we gain in this deal, for the farm or anything else?

  79. We gained four years of arguably the best pitcher in baseball, instead of one year of one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball?

  80. better system is great. I like it. But I have to admit I am a little disenchanted by trading away Knapp AND Drabek. The catchers, they were not going anywhere – they are not as good as we all like to say they were. Solid backup catchers can be had anytime. But two high-talent pitchers who could help WHEN we need them in a couple of years. Ouch.
    I suppose my point is, I just lament the positions that we traded away at the time we did. Taylor for Werth, Marson a backup, Drabek for Moyer, Brown for Ibanez…those could EASILY be the logical progressions. I thought they were going to hold onto those guys for their PURPOSE not because of who they were. And now, I worry about filling those holes. Short term and long term the system will flourish, I believe that. Its the intermediate that worries me. With great teams like the Phillies are right now, its easy to lose the dominance fast, and rebuild it much later (see 1980 team and 2008), but if you lose the middle you lose a lot.

  81. I’m warming up to this deal, Though I still think the lee deal could have been better, overall, this ensures the phillies will be world series competitors for atleast another 2 years, probably 3.

    At that point we may take a step back…

    Just so no one forgets… No national league team has made it to the WS 3 years in a row, ever… In the entire history of baseball. So, sorry to put some of you down, but this management group must be doing something right… They’ve got a great chance to be the winningest NL team over a three year period ever. Honestly, if the phillies make another WS in the next 3 years this deal is worth it and I’m sure will have a lot to do with it.

    I’m officially done with this trade now… I’ll see everyone when PP starts up the top 10 again!

  82. “Sorry, everyone, but these trades have left me a little jaded. Until something changes my mind, I will no longer watch our prospects with the hope that the good ones will be with the Phillies. By performing well, they merely increase their trade value.”

    Isn’t that a part of the point of having them?

  83. Philliesphan–
    Just read your top 10 more closely and saw what you wrote, rather than what I thought you had written. So… why Singleton, rather than Santana, on your top 10?

  84. the st louis cardinals made the WS from 1942-1944 so you are wrong there. It would still be a great accomplishment but it has been done before. BTW still don’t think we got enought back for lee. Morrow in place of aumont and i love this deal. Im a bit sad now.

  85. Bedrosian’s Beard Says:

    “Sorry, everyone, but these trades have left me a little jaded.

    I second that emotion. I even deleted all baseball programs
    I was holding on the dvr. Its such a hollow feeling. It’s like what you want means nothing to the suits. And anyone that thinks this mess is baseball needs a new brain.

  86. I’m not in love with the trades but to hear you guys jumping off of bridges for the two time NL champs sounds pretty foolish to me. As far as I can tell, Ruben has only made one mistake so far and that was giving Moyer the second year. Every other move has been sound. I know he consulted with others in the org who know the Mariners prospects quite well so I’m wiling to wait and see before I judge that trade. Yes they could have kept Lee for one year and made a deep run this year. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what these three are. Gilles had an amazing year and if he comes close to that in Reading, we’ll be pretty happy. They did pick up one of the top 3 arms in all of baseball and they have him for 4 years for reasonable numbers. Do you all realize how valuable that is? I loved Taylor and Drabek but the more i think about it, its a fair trade. Remember that the goal is to win championships. The current nucleous has a few more years before they have to lean on the kids and go back to an 81 win team. Enjoy it now!

  87. howard, utley, rollins, hamels, ruiz have now been here roughly 5 plus yrs its safe to say you have most of these players under control for another 2-3 yrs so why are we worried about the farm now. we hit the jackpot when all these guys made it big in the majors and got us a championship we have another 2-3 good yrs left with this core so we have time to “re-load” the system……everyone who is worried about our farm……. relax. just think about next october when halladay beats ny twice to win another world series…..after winning 22 games a cy young with a sub 2.5 era with about 10 complete games. does that make you feel better? that is roy hallday!!

  88. our catchers are all really, reallly solid prospects with a good cance of making the bigs, and a really good chance of starting. but, now we only have one of the three.

  89. Murry
    nice thought but any way you slice it if they had any interest in winning they would of kept Lee. AMEN

  90. There isn’t a truthful man on this site who can say when the Halladay talk restarted that he didn’t think there was to be a Halladay/Lee combo.

  91. I just dont get you guys. Now I dont like the trade over all but im not going to complain about it either. Look at it this way if we didnt trade for Halladay at all or even were in the talks for it we would be starting the year with Lee, Hamels, Happ, Blanton, and Moyer/Kendrick or whatever else is picked up. NONE OF YOU WOULD CRY BLOODY murder. But because the trade was made you think all hell broke lose and we wont make it back the the Playoffs let alone WS. But yet you thought we would make it before the trade. RAJ stated the reason Lee was traded had NOTHING to do with money but all to do with FARM SYSTEM and future.

  92. They still have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. Trading Lee was about recouping the prospects.

    The Phillies have crazy pitching still in their system. Theyre mostly a few years away, though. The position players have taken a bit of a hit. But there will be some new guys coming to the fore pretty soon in the coming season.

  93. Nowheels says:

    “Bedrosian’s Beard Says:

    “Sorry, everyone, but these trades have left me a little jaded.

    I second that emotion. I even deleted all baseball programs
    I was holding on the dvr. Its such a hollow feeling. It’s like what you want means nothing to the suits. And anyone that thinks this mess is baseball needs a new brain.”

    I was quoting someone else.

  94. bergeraj
    “RAJ stated the reason Lee was traded had NOTHING to do with money but all to do with FARM SYSTEM and future.”
    Not a single person on here with any sense thinks the phillies are weaker with Halladay…but do not buy the s**t ‘RAJ’ is shoveling about the farm system and the future…the phils, if they let him walk after this year (as world series favorites with his inclusion) they would have received a 1st and supplemental pick, as well as a supplemental pick for blanton…giving us 3 TOP 60 PROSPECTS from the 2010 draft on top of our own 2010 pick. we would be none the worse for wear by having the best rotation in baseball for a year THEN recouping what we lost in the Halladay deal for our future. Read between the lines, face value is not truth, a foolish move on the part of amaro regarding Lee…that will only look worse when he trades for a starter in July and finds no one of his caliber available.

  95. The Garcia trade was terrible. Three years is not that long ago. The same people in the front office were involved. All that being said, you win some and you lose some. I hated that trade, but you can’t come out on top in every trade that you make. My point is that they have gotten burned before (and badly once you factor in the $10MM we paid to fat Freddy).

    The last time we traded an all-star for prospects was three and a half years ago, also not that long ago. We traded Abreu/Lidle for a bag of balls. That was a terrible trade. We essentially dumped salary. Again, the same guys in the front office made that trade. I’m concerned that this Lee trade is going to end with the same result. How can you trade a top 10 pitcher in baseball with a favorable contract and not get one of the other teams top 4 prospects in return? Would you trade Donald/Marson/Carrasco/Knapp today for the guys we got from Seattle? No way.

    And I’m waiting for a reasonable explanation on how it makes sense to trade Drabek, Taylor, D’arnoud now for Halladay when we weren’t willing to make the same trade in July. If you like that trade, then you have to acknowledge that we should have made it last July and won a 2nd world series. The fact that not making this trade last July was a huge mistke is something that no one seems to be talking about.

  96. Would Philly trade the 4 picks we sent to Cleveland for the 3 picks we got from Seattle??? I don’t think that’s as easy a decision as you make it out to be due to hometown bias. I have a hunch that the Seattle 3 will have a higher upside than the Cleveland 4.

  97. What does bias have to do with any of this? It is certainly debatable, but I like the guys we sent to Cleveland more than the guys we got from Seattle. Our guys were further along in most cases and all projected as regulars. Carrasco projects as a starter. Maybe we would have traded him for Aumont, but it is debateable. Starters are way more valuable than relievers. Is there anyone who would take Ramirez over Knapp? No one that I’ve spoken with. And how about the position players…Gillies vs. Marson & Donald – no way we would have made that trade. Yes we got a half season of Lee, but we should have just made the trade for Halladay and kept our Cleveland prospects. That’s my point.

    But there is no bias. I like Heyward more than I like Dom Brown. I like Wieters more than I like Marson. We are talking about trading assets, it’s not personal at all.

  98. I am just as guilty as others when I expressed dismay at Lee being traded. I wanted to see Halladay, Hamels, and Lee together. In that rotation, I would project as a good #4 starter.
    But seriously, think back 5-10-15 years ago at what a prospect list would look like for the Phils. Remember the days where Rich Schu, Tori Luvullo, Kevin Sefcik, et al were in our top few prospects? That is why the team was bad for so long. Seriously! Look how far we have come. The team has been drafting athletes, who have the ability to rise to levels that were unfamiliar in the past system. I expect the 3 guys they brought in to be in that mold. Looking at the writeups on all 3, they look like they have potential. Our guys have been doing a good job developing talent. Let’s keep doing it. As far as Aumont is concerned, I feel it is about time we develop a closer to replace Lidge. We had to shell out major bucks to fill that position.
    I will be happy with seeing Halladay in red for many years. No way Lee was signing for less than 6 years and the Phils don’t like to go that far. You cannot fault them for not wanting an albatross of a contract similar to Zito or Hampton hanging out there. Plus, after 2011-2012, we will need to have a plan to fill the void of guys moving on: Ibanez, Rollins, Polanco, Werth, Howard, Lidge, etc.
    Roy Halladay wanted to be a Phillie! Let that sink it a bit. The top pitcher in MLB wanted to come here. That is great to hear. We have a team on the field good enough to win again. Let’s fortify the bullpen. Now the focus goes to Hamels, Happ and Blanton. Hamels needs to be the guy of 08, while the other two need to step up a bit more.

  99. Look I agree with just about everyone in saying this trade was bad. Here’s some things that could have happened instead and worked out WAY better.

    #1. Dont take money back and send less prospects maybe just Drabek and D’Arnaud plus another B prospect. This would require us to trade Blanton for whatever just to free up 7 mil. We can argue all day what the prospects would be in the $6mil wasnt included. IMO Drabek was a must.

    #2. Keep Lee forget about Halladay till next year since being a Phillie is “DREAM COME TRUE” let Lee walk while Nabbing 2 draft picks. We might have add to give a little more to Halladay but thats the price of keeping out prospects.

    #3. Once again we can all argue this but BP and some at BA feel we gave Lee away at $.70 on the $. Is this really the best deal we could get? Or are these just the prospects our Scouts wanted? IMO these are the guys that the Phills wanted all along. Perhaps another team (Angels) could have given HIGHER Rated prospects but did our Scouts really like them more than what we got from Sea?

    #4. Sign Lee to some sort of deal (but not as favorable that Halladay got) Also sign Halladay in next years FA class. Depending on how this year is for Hamels trade him for HUGE collection of prospects to help comp the losing of our #1 pick and save $ and build more for future.

    All in All I would have preferred to take the #2 approach but we dont really know what was going on in this deal. Lee also said he wanted to be a Phillie for the rest of his MLB life. Thats 2 CY #1 Stud pitchers that wanted to be a Phillie till death do us part which is a very good sign of where this team is.

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