Seven parts and 22 prospects in the books, that means just 8 more guys to go in this year’s top 30. I won’t bore you with an intro, we’ll just get right to it.
23. Michael Schwimer, RHP
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2010 Summary: It was a largely successful season for our favorite phuturephillies.com contributer, as Schwimer missed a ton of bats at AA and then held his own in his first taste of AAA.
Strengths: Schwimer’s biggest asset is his approach to the game and his ability to get the most out of his tools. He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, sitting in the 89-93 range, but he can cut it and sink it, and his huge stature allows him to hide the ball well, creating deception. Though his changeup and slider are still works in progress, both continue to make progress.
Weaknesses: Schwimer isn’t overpower, and he’s still slightly vulnerable to lefthanded batters, something he is of course aware of, and something he is working on. Because he lacks the one knockout pitch, its tough to project him into a 9th inning role right now, but he certainly has the mentality to handle it, and guys have saved a ton of games with a lot less raw stuff. His home run rate ticked up at the hitter friendly confines in Reading, and inducing more groundballs would definitely help his stock going forward.
Best Case: His best case is probably a good setup guy or 7th inning reliever, but he could probably close games if he tightened his command and control, especially of his secondary pitches.
MLB ETA: It should be some time in 2011.
Ranking Difficulties: This spot feels right. He drops 6 spots in the rankings, but it was more because of the influx of talent and the breakout performances from some of the guys who were off the radar last year moreso than anything he did wrong.
Final Thoughts: Its no surprise that I’m a big fan, especially after what he’s provided to this site, but putting that aside, he does have the mentality needed to pitch in tight spots, and though none of his pitches wow you, he knows how to use them to set up hitters, and his strikeout rate speaks for itself at this point. Everyone here is pulling for Schwim, and it should be exciting to see him get his first taste of the bigs this year.
24. Matt Rizzotti, 1B
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2010 Summary: Facing a crucial season in 2010, Rizzotti responded by obliterating AA Reading, posting massive power numbers, along with a solid walk rate and a manageable strikeout rate. He was the beneficiary of a very unsustainable .425 BABIP, but the secondary skills say his 3 slash line wasn’t a total fluke. He struggled at AAA, but that’s forgiveable for now.
Strengths: Rizzotti’s strength lies entirely in his bat. He’s shown solid patience at every level, and he actually lowered his K rate when promoted to Reading this year. His power spike came almost out of nowhere, as his power was good considering the FSL last year, but nowhere near this good. Reading’s home park no doubt helped inflate those numbers to some degree, but a .635 slugging percentage is impressive pretty much everywhere.
Weaknesses: Rizzotti is a defensive liability even at the weakest defensive position on the diamond. He isn’t a great athlete, and struggles with even routine plays at times. Because there is no DH in the NL, this poses a problem. Though his K rate was manageable in AA, it ballooned to almost 27% in AAA, and his power also vanished. Adjusting to a new league, a league with polished pitchers, in just 52 PAs buys him a pass at this point, though his AFL performance was also a bit of a red flag. He turned 25 on Christmas eve, so there’s really no more projection here, he is what he is.
Best Case: On a second division team, especially in the AL, Rizzotti might swing it as a DH, because unless his defense improves, his bat is going to have to improve as well for a team to buy into him as a first baseman. That team won’t be the Phillies, who have a 1B tied up for the next half of the century. He’s a three true outcomes hitter at this point, and there is value in there, just not a ton of long term star value.
MLB ETA: A full season at AAA would probably help, especially to get him reps against better breaking balls and changeups. His defense absolutely should be a point of focus, and there is no sense DH’ing him, he’ll never learn that way. Let him play the field and figure it out.
Ranking Difficulties: Based on his Reading numbers, I’m sure people would want him higher on the list. Maybe not. But this is where I felt comfortable ranking him, and to be honest, I could have ranked him a few spots lower. In fact, if I had it to do again, I’d rank him below the next guy on the list. That said, he did have a breakout year, he does have secondary skills, so I think he can be a useful big leaguer at some point down the line. Sp yes, there were difficulties.
Final Thoughts: As it stands, his greatest value to the Phillies is as a trade chip. If he comes out of the gate strong, he could be on the move in July. Then again, if he sticks around, can improve his defense at 1B, and shows the same power he showed at Reading, he could fill in as a cheap bench bat in the majors for a few seasons. Hes one of those guys where you want to see him do it again, and that level of skepticism does play a role in me ranking him down in this region of the list.
25. Austin Hyatt, RHP
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2010 Summary: Hyatt had, in many ways, a season similar to Julio Rodriguez. The strikeout numbers were eye popping, his numbers were good, but every scouting report on him was different, with some saying his fastball was only 87-90 and fairly straight, and others saying his velocity has ticked up in the 90-92 range. Because he didn’t have a ton of fanfare coming out of college, maybe scouts haven’t paid attention as much, and maybe thats why its impossible to get multiple, consistent scouting reports. Whatever the case, Hyatt was great in Clearwater, and did everything well in Reading except keep the ball in the park.
Strengths: Hyatt’s command has been good, as he’s been able to spot his fastball and just carve up more inexperienced batters. Like Michael Schwimer, he’s a smart kid with a good gameplan, and he’s been able to use that to his advantage. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, and might be a few ticks above average. His slider shows flashes, but isn’t quite an MLB average pitch at this point.
Weaknesses: Hyatt has been very old for his level at every stop, 2-3 years too old in Clearwater, but like the old saying goes, you can only dominate the competition right in front of you. His strikeout and walk numbers were fine in Reading, but he gave up a ton of home runs in just 22 innings. That may be noise, or it may be a sign that better hitters were able to square him up. He’s been a pronounced flyball pitcher, to the extreme, at every stop, and for a guy without overpowering stuff, that’s a big red flag.
Best Case: I really don’t know. If his fastball velocity is really 91-93, as some reports indicated, and he is consistently there, then he can be a starter. If he’s more 88-91, then he’s a middle reliever with his good changeup and command. Still, young cheap arms who can soak up innings for 3 years at the league minimum are valuable.
MLB ETA: He should make it to AAA this year, depending on his role. He has time, in terms of his option years, but he turns 25 in May, so he doesn’t have all the time in the world.
Ranking Difficulties: I’m not sure what to do with him. He has obvious strengths, and really obvious weaknesses. Not having conclusive, agreeing scouting reports made it really tough to rank him. I could have gone a few spots higher, maybe a few spots lower. So I settled here.
Final Thoughts: Hyatt is a guy I was skeptical of before, but I’ve kind of warmed up to him. Good control and a good changeup is a ticket to at least pitch middle relief in the majors, and his intelligence on the mound will be a benefit. It would seem that the Phillies may want to move him to the pen, see if his fastball ticks up in short bursts, and get him to the big leagues before his 26th birthday, to try and get a few solid years out of him. Without an average or a tick above breaking ball, its tough to see him as anything more than a #5 starter. It will be interesting to see what he is capable of with a full season at AA/AAA against advanced hitters.