Baseball America’s Phillies Top 10 list

The list is free for all to read here. The scouting reports are subscriber only content, so don’t copy/paste. I’ll summarize in one sentence the reports and I’ll provide my own thoughts on the list after the jump.

01. Trevor May, RHP – Raw stuff still good, added a slider in 2011, now a 4 pitch guy, repeating his delivery better (improved command/control)
02. Jesse Biddle, LHP – Velo down, changeup/curveball both very good considering his age/experience
03. Sebastian Valle, C – Good athlete, improving defense
04. Jonathan Pettibone, RHP – Velo is up (now 90-94 touching 95) and has taken to the 2 seam fastball
05. Phillippe Aumont, RHP – Command still an issue, and apparently so is his attitude (first time I’ve heard that)
06. Freddy Galvis, SS – You’ve heard it all before, great glove, weak stick
07. Justin De Fratus, RHP – Slider has improved
08. Brody Colvin, RHP – Questions about his delivery/mechanics leading to health issues
09. Jiwan James, OF – Superb defender, better hitter lefthanded, may scrap switch hitting soon
10. Maikel Franco, 3B – Unconventional swing but great bat speed, not a good athlete but could stay at 3B or move to C

My immediate reaction below

* The big surprise is Pettibone at #4. If the reports about his velocity are true, then he’s definitely elevated his status.
* No surprise to see Aumont ranked 5th, as BA has been all over him since he was drafted. The attitude concerns are a new one for me though
* No surprise they are still very high on Jiwan James. I’ve warmed on him a bit as well, but he needs to get on the fast(er) track soon.

I won’t go in to more detail, because I don’t want to influence voting on the Reader Top 30, and because I need more time to dig/process before crafting my top 30. But, feel free to discuss, and if you’re a BA subscriber, ask lots of questions in the chat today, which starts at 2:30 PM ET.

96 thoughts on “Baseball America’s Phillies Top 10 list

  1. Franco could move to Catcher? The young infielder who was discussed as being converted to catching was Cody Asche last I knew. Did I miss something?

  2. I hate these vague references to players having “attitude” problems. I mean, maybe it’s more specific in the writeup (I’m not a subscriber, so I don’t know) but I feel like it can mean anything from “he had a fistfight with his catcher” to “he had frustrated body language on the mound” to “he has a drug problem” to “he didn’t get along with some minor league pitching instructor.” Anyway, given the way those kind of labels tend to follow players around forever, I feel like writers should be careful about applying them (and we should be careful about accepting them at face value).

    Would love to know the specific wording of the Aumont entry if anyone else has access. I think that’s well within the bounds of fair use.

    1. At the end of the scouting report.

      “There are some concerns about his attitude and competitiveness.”

      I think this speaks to a mound presence as well as last season where he did not seem to all mentally be there.

      1. Same concerns the Indians used to have with Cliff Lee.

        I think that should work itself out as he matures a little bit more and is around the right people.

      2. “There are” instead of “scouts think there might be” or “team officials suggest there are”. Garbage reporting. Could be a “former assistant GM” type or former Phils scout laying down a line to someone at BA for god only knows what motive.

        1. Or maybe Aumont has bad body language on the mound… he’s not the first pitcher and it would hardly keep him from having a successful major league pitcher.

          Like I said above, Cliff Lee had the same issues coming up, Cole Hamels, Kyle Drabek, etc.

      3. For a guy who has a troublesome attitude and competitiveness, he sure had a pretty nice season last year, as evidenced by his rise from the dead in this an other prospect rankings.

    2. Cole Hamels had his problems when we first signed him and except for the occasional
      “bad body language” he seems to have mature. Sometimes we all need to remember the ages of the prospects.

    3. The main concern I think with the make-up concerns is whether they make his ceiling a dominant closer or a very good reliever (can he handle the pressure and can he continue to adjust). Not whether he will flame out or not

  3. Obviously the 2015 lineup predictions have to be taken with a huge grain of salt, but it’s interesting to see them put Franco at 3B. I suppose he could move that quickly.

    1. Larry,
      Is that more a factor of us not having any other 3B options at upper/ middle levels of the organization? He’s just the best option because there is nobody else…

      1. Well there is something to that I’m sure. But as I’ve said before, I think that Franco’s upside is very high. A player that good COULD move that quickly, though the Phillies tend to be conservative that way. 2016 or even 2017 is probably more realistic.

  4. This list just shows how gutted our system has become as a result of all of Rube’s deals the last few years.

    1. I guess you would rather have all our prospects back instead of Halladay, Oswalt and Pence on the big club. You seem to forget that the minor leagues exist for the benefit of the ML teams. The only trade that looks non lopsided in our favor is the Oswalt deal which could be salvaged if we resign Roy and he performs well.

      1. No, I’m just stating a fact that our system is far, far weaker than its been in years as a result of several major trades.

        Were those trades worth it? Maybe, maybe not. None of them have led to WS but all of them (with the exception of the 2nd Lee trade) have helped us put a better product on the field in S. Philly.

        A Top 10 that includes 3 relievers is weak no matter how you slice it. We also have no “sure thing” type prospects. We have a bunch of interesting upside guys and guys that have good potential with obvious flaws in some aspect of their game.

        I’m sorry that upsets you but its the truth. If I had to guess, I would bet our system ends up getting ranked in the 15-20 range this off-season whereas it was once in the Top 5.

        1. These trades using prospects do not bother me as long as they keep replenishing the farm system as they have. The 2011 draft has the possibility of being as good as the 2008 draft if not better. Is our farm system as good as it was? Obviously not as I would love to have Travis D’ Arnaud in AAA ready to join the Phils in 2013 along with Galvis, May, Gose and Brown but you don’t get something for nothing. The other prospects could have helped a lot also but the Phillies are not the Pittsburgh Pirates of the 2000′s.

          1. Why did you lump Gose in with Galvis, May and Brown. You should have included him with Travis D’ since Gose is gone as well. Jut curious why you lumped him in with the guys that are still here.

      2. What are the chances that Oswalt is resigned at this point? I understand that hindsight is 20/20 and I’m not saying the trade was a loss either as he did significantly help the club reach the NLCS in 2010 but he was bad this year and worse in the NLDS. That trade might be a push??

        1. Nats may go after Oswalt..they have become big spenders…..casught the Daniel Snyder fever down in DC.

    2. I’m assuming some sarcasm here, but I’d make a couple points in favor of moderate pessimism (gutted is of course too strong).

      (1) There are a couple of guys here that in a really good system would be more top 20 than top 10. For example, James is a guy who probably at this point has an upside of a 4th outfielder.

      (2) Past these ten it falls off. Set aside the recent draft (and there are some good upsides there, but at this point a high beta on all of them). There’s JRod and … a bunch of guys whose upside is probably bench guys or non-closing relievers in the majors.

      (3) Only 4 position players on the list, one of which (James) is a stretch, one of which is a long way away (Franco), and only one of whom (Franco) has star level upside.

      I imagine that the Phillies’ system will end up ranked in the middle of the pack, maybe low middle, among major league teams. Not horrible, but for a team that is going to need an infusion of youth soon, not great.

      1. Which of course doesn’t mean the trades were bad. I still think they gave up way too much for Pence, though in fairness contemplating trying to fill that hole with the (roughly) 10 million that the Phillies would have to fill it with, if the trade hadn’t been made, is daunting (though if they could have had Bourn for much less in terms of prospects, I would have preferred that). But like the trades or hate them, the minor league system did pay the price.

      2. They don’t need an infusion of youth, IMO. Domonic Brown will contribute to the team at some point by 2013 as a regular player. Gavlis will be up in 2013 if Jimmy isn’t back.

        The bullpen, sometime within the next 2 years is going to get younger.

        Halladay, Lee, and Hamels will be followed in the rotation by at least one of Trevor May and Pettibone. Vance Worley’s only 23 (should be at least a good 5th starter… I don’t see him ever putting up a 3.00 ERA or close to it again but 3.70-4.00 isn’t bad).

        I think the age of the team is exaggerated to a large degree. Especially when you factor in their left fielder was 40 and the third baseman is in his late 30′s. Everybody else is around 28-34 with a few exceptions. (Worley, Bastardo). The only players really breaking down are Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley and that’s been happening since 2008.

        1. I guess my point is, it’ll happen naturally and they have the pieces currently to fill those needs. The trades really haven’t hurt them other than depth wise.

            1. Maybe somebody has a breakout year, the Phillies sign Felix Hernandez or somebody. You never know. Prospects flame out, injuries happen, etc.

        2. I just think this is pretty much wildly wrong – at least looking out past 2012. Now, a caveat: I’m not one of the people saying that they need to all of the sudden get younger next year. But taking the longer view, this is a team just asking for a dramatic age related decline.

          Regarding the regulars, “Around 28-34″ is technically correct but deceptive. Pence is the only guy under 30 (unless you want to count Mayberry, and he is old for a guy who still hasn’t been a full season regular). Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco have all suffered age related declines already. Ruiz is coming off his second best season, but he is 32. Victorino is the youngster at 30. Now, if you subscribe to that one study which suggested that “good” players don’t suffer much age related decline till they are 35, that’s maybe not much to worry about. But given every other study of the aging question, not to mention the empirical patterns demonstrated by these particular players, that’s cause for significant worry. Galvis? I like him, but his upside IMO is a solid regular, not a star. Brown I like a lot, but IMO it is increasingly clear that he isn’t going to get a fair shot in Philadelphia. He’ll be traded, if not this off season, then during the season or next off season at the latest.

          2/3 of the top of the rotation is also getting up there, and the other guy is not guaranteed to be with the team past 2012. Now, starting pitchers age a little differently than position players, and our SP prospects are pretty strong, so I’m less worried, but there is some age related risk there as well.

      3. What is it about Franco that I am missing? I know he is young, but what is all the hype about? What is his upside? Power, average, defense, speed, plate discipline, etc? How did he show up on the radar in such a short period of time and which of is attributes make him a big time prospect?

        1. Basically the whole package, except maybe speed. Attributes now include plate discipline, contact skills, power potential, and decent to good defense at an at least moderately demanding position. Think David Wright when he was good, with maybe not quite as much power. Now, that’s upside; like most 18 year olds, he has a high beta and his chances of reaching that upside are small. But considering his really quite good performance at Williamsport, especially considering age/level, and the scouting reports, he has arguably the highest upside of any position player in the system.

    3. I forgot to add that we still have a lot of pitching depth in the top 10 and our system is in good shape despite the trades.

    4. The MLB team’s pretty good though.

      Only prospects I’m going to miss are Gose and D’Arnaud, personally. Way to early to tell on Cosart, Singleton, etc. Drabek was awful in MLB and AAA this year, Carassco had Tommy John, Taylor was always behind Brown on the Depth Chart potential wise, Donald is a Utility Man, Lou Marson is a back up catcher, Villar is young, Happ flamed out, etc.

      I’d take the MLB team we have currently, especially with the new Wild Card system, they’ll be contending for a long time.

      1. 2 thoughts:

        1. I despise the addition of anymore Wild Cards (I’d prefer to get rid of the 1 in each league there currently is). It’s futile, as I’m sure by the time I die decades from now (one hopes) some idiot will adopt Peter Gammons idea to make the regular season pointless and let half the damned league in, like the NHL and NBA.

        2. I think Happ will rebound to be a decent #4 Starter. Even then I’m okay with that trade. I’d love to have Gose back, but no one bats 1.000.

    5. The Phils need to stop trading their best prospects for the next year or two and re-build their system. In a couple of years, the Phils could have a Top-10 system again and could resume trading some good prospects and keeping other good prospects for the big club.

      If the Phils’ plan is to replenish the farm regularly, I don’t mind their system occasionally, as now, being on a down cycle.

      The Lidge trade, the Blanton trade, the first Lee trade, the Halladay trade and the Oswalt trade were all good trades that benefited the Phillies, but drained the system. Only the Pence trade was questionable. Pence is a good player, though, and a good replacement for Werth.

  5. This list has a few potential players but overall, its not good. There isn’t one name that pops out at you. The phillies have a few players in the next couple of years might develop into solid players. Amaro needs to start looking to the future as some phillies are starting to get old. He still has Brown to play with. I could see Amaro flipping him for another big time prospect that fills a hole(3B or 1B). The bullpen pieces look to be fantastic though….Aumont, Savery(he’s a lefty and pretty good), de fratus. They all could be key factors this season.

    Biddle looks like to be the stud of the group. He showed a lot of poise for such a young age and could benefit from spending time around Halladay and Lee this spring training.

    Amaro needs to let Rollins walk. He is a great defender but he is only going to be on the decline from here on out. I think getting a draft pick and signing someone who is more of a on-base person is the best route. Maybe Galvis isnt ready but having Rollins block him for 3-4 years maybe bad. They could use those draft picks to slowly start re-building the farm system. We need to have players ready to slide in there when the days of Utely, Howard and Victorino are over.

    The Phillies need to start changing there ways in players. No more of this homerun stuff, its time to start getting players who will hit for AVG and OBP.

  6. CBP is a home run ballpark and the Phils will definitely look to continue to be a home run team. That doesn’t mean that everyone in the lineup needs to be a power hitter.
    Of the top 10 list, 7 will be in AA or AAA to start the year which is not too bad. JRod still doesn’t make it which is to be expected with his supposed soft toss fastball but a strong year next year should vault him up this list. I agree that the list tails off but in doing my own top 50 list it became clear very quickly that they have about 10 guys who are interchangeable at around 10 and about 20 guys in the mix at around 20. Our top 30 list will be very interesting this year because lots of guys will get votes all over the place. Most of us think this year’s draft (plus our 16 yr old signing) was very strong so it will be interesting to see how many of these kids we place in the top 30.

    1. The Phillies have the third highest payroll in the majors. They are not a moneyball team, so stop worrying.

      1. Thing is, if anything the locus of opinion on this board among the otherwise more knowledgeable people, PP included, has IMO swung too far in the direction of “we’ll be fine, we have the third highest payroll” POV. Payroll helps, and almost certainly will prevent the team from every becoming truly bad, but there are plenty of examples of teams with high payrolls that don’t succeed because of bad decisions and/or bad luck. Seven of the top 9 teams in payroll in 2011 missed the playoffs.

        The recipe for failure for a high payroll team ends up looking like this: too many big contracts to older, declining players, along with a lack of cost controlled quality younger players with below market contracts. There are SOME concerning signs that the Phillies may be headed in this direction.

        1. Larry, although I agree with your premise RE payroll I believe that the Cubs, Mets and Mariners would all disagree that it prevents you from becoming truly bad. Poorly run teams end up in perpetual decline no matter how much cash they throw around.

  7. If we hadn’t made any trades what does the Top 10 look like?

    1. Travis D’Arnaud
    2. Trevor May
    3. Jarred Cosart
    4. Jonathan Singleton
    5. Anthony Gose
    6. Jesse Biddle
    7. Sebastian Valle
    8. Kyle Drabek
    9. Jon Pettibone
    10. Phillipe Aumont

    You might be able to argue Santana in the back end but otherwise Galvis>Villar, Santana might be 11, and Knapp will never be healthy. Those trades make the system very deep but really all you can hope for is a player of Halladay’s caliber out of all of them.

    1. More like this, I think:

      1. Travis D’Arnaud
      2. Jonathan Singleton
      3. Jarred Cosart
      4. Anthony Gose
      5. Trevor May
      6. Kyle Drabek
      7. Jesse Biddle
      8. Sebastian Valle
      9. Domingo Santana (ouch!!!!!! the fish that got away!)
      10. Jon Pettibone

        1. I may be wrong but I read that Drabek because of his demotion is still below the rookie innings limit, brown is over on service time.

          Also in the BA article they said that May was ahead of Cosart and Singleton though they would be close.

  8. Pettibone is interesting. I don’t think anyone expected him to take such a large step forward. He sounds like a Matt Cain type, which is exactly what you need in CBP.

    I take the Aumont news with a grain of salt – LarryM – this is where getting a kid in a good atmosphere with motivated players to serve as mentors can be most important. The sooner Roy and the fellas can show this kid the ropes, the better, but for now, I’ll try not to take this comment too seriously.

    On Biddle, we keep hearing about reduced velocity but, frankly, I again take this with a grain of salt. First, the kid was probably tired and was trying to pace himself with his first long season. Second, I think they were focusing on mechanics, command and new pitches with him this year and probably explicitly told him not to try to throw the ball through a brick wall. If his command is good next year, I expect his velocity to return as he let’s loose. He’s one hell of a prospect and, I believes, remains an untouchable (perhaps the only untouchable) in the system.

    1. I also take the velocity with a grain of salt. Even if he’s high 80′s low 90′s, that’s what Hamels was during the 2008 post season. He has the body and the work ethic to add a few MPH, even if it wasn’t just fatigue.

    2. better make that a grain of pepper too. The Phils site reported Aumont came in better shape this spring which means …..

    1. That is two potential closers at or near the majors, not really a terrible thing, if they were in Hi-A it might be different but both have a shot at breaking camp with the big league club.

        1. Well, you have to consider that a solid closer is now a $10 mill slot on the roster, minimum, if you have to acquire one from outside the organization. I’ve never valued closers that highly, but that really puts them on the level of position players. Lidge made more than most of our position players.

  9. I think this time next year our system will look much better/different. This year’s draft was great. Larry and Tyler Greene, Quinn, Walding, and the lefty we got in the 2nd or 3rd round. Then on top of that we will have more high upside draft picks that we are waiting to see how they play. We’ll be fine, Marti Wolever knows what he’s doing in that draft room.

    1. Completely agree on the excellently chosen drafted guys in ’11…especially those infielders most of whom look like they can hit as well as do the infield. Among them I’d include L.Greene at 1st base. IMO, this draft should turn out to be as good or better than our rewarding 2008 draft.

      We don’t know how many extra early draft choices we’ll have until our own free agents settle in some MLB rosters. If J-Roll goes elsewhere after the Phils offer arb, we’ll get two early draft choices. Same with Madson. And Oswalt.

      So handled well, the Phils could have a bonanza in the ’12 draft. A great way to rebuild the system…like Tampa Bay has done and the Nationals are now doing.

      It is possible that we could get 4-6 more early draft choices in ’12. Watching and waiting…….

      1. Don’t forget, we don’t know if the new CBA will change the draft rules. Free agent compensation may change or disappear for next year.

      2. Don’t count on it. The Phils typically lose a free agent, like Werth, and then sign another type A free agent, Lee, so there is a net wash with draft choices. Very little significance is placed on keeping that no. 1 choice – and the record will show that is the case for the last several drafts – see Kelly Dugan , Michael Bourn, Larry Greene etc. With Cuddyer almost choosing the no. 5 uniform off the Phils rack any day now that too will constitute another wash of draft choices – assuming the Phils will not sign one or more of their type A free agents. Moreover, Oswalt is a type A but is not elegible for compensation unless the Phils offer him arbitration ($16 million) which they are unlikely to do.

  10. We need to draft some college position players to fast track. Seems like we have the young arms at the lower level (for now at least). 3B has been such a black hole…

    1. Utley and Howard were collegiates….not sure how ‘fast tracked’ they were. Seems Burrell was the the last high collegiate pick who got up there fast.

  11. Interesting that Ervis Manzanillo’s name was brought up in today’s BA chat. A guy who is rarely mentioned here. According to Gorman from BA his pure stuff he is close to or better then Biddle. 90-93 fastball touching 95 and compares similarly to Bastardo at this stage of development.

    1. The problem with discussing him is that he’s so far away that nobody here really has any clue about him at this point. As non-professional, non-scout type people, its hard to get good reads on guys at all at that level.

      Also, his results simply haven’t been there yet. He is young for A ball though.

  12. Don’t forget to put this list in context: during 2010-11 the Phillies graduated Domonic Brown, Vance Worley, John Mayberry Jr., Antonio Bastardo and Mike Stutes and they all made pretty good contributions to the big club.

  13. I’m on record saying Jiwan James’ 95th percentile upside is Garry Maddox. Same height, build, game built on defense. More realistically his upside is somewhere between sometime All-Star and good regular. His downside is 5th outfielder, along the lines of Brian Hunter.

    1. I don’t love the move, I don’t hate it. I think it decreases the chance they spend a lot on a left fielder, since Mayberry may not need to fill in for Howard, or not fill in as much, and that’s good – as I’ve said, I think their resources could be better spent elsewhere. And of course Thome can still hit. How well he can play 1B at this point is another matter.

    2. I like the move, he is an immense replacement over Ross Gload and maybe can platoon with Mayberry (moving someone into the LF spot where I expect Mayberry to be normally), until Howard gets back. I believe in the words that no 1 year contract can truly be a bad contract, especially if it is only for 1.25 million, who knows, maybe a future hitting coach (I would have him talk to Brown about approach and swing as well as some of the other young guys).

      1. I guess I like it if he can really play 1B. Otherwise it is a meh move – better than a gimped Gload, but with 5 man benches a guy who can’t play the field is a liability.

      2. Why would we want him to platoon with Mayberry? I’m praying that Mayberry plays full time at first with Brown in left while Howard is out.

      3. I feel like anybody that doesn’t love this deal has forgotten/isn’t old enough to remember what a huge deal it was for Thome to sign with the Phillies in (not checking the year) ’03. The guy took a huge chance on this franchise, and I certainly hope for his sake the tea rewards him with a ring next year. Is it time for pitchers and catchers yet?

  14. Hey LarryM, please read the Philly.com article on giving Brown a second chance. I think you’d write a novel in response to some of the comments there.

    1. I only write long responses to intelligent, reasonable agruments. The kind of crap the typical fan writes about Brown, OTOH, merits only scorn, snark and invictive. And in that situation, my reputation aside, I usually just keep my mouth shut.

  15. On the matter of aging:

    For the most part, the quality of a team is determined by a dozen or so of its players and, in particular, by its stars. The stars, like all players, get older and fade and often cannot be replaced adequately.

    Halladay is a great player, still in his prime. When it’s time for Doc to move on, all other things being equal, the team will be worse. His replacement may be a good pitcher, but the difference between a great pitcher like Halladay and a good pitcher may be bigger than the difference between a good pitcher and a replacement pitcher.

    One could argue that, instead of trying to replace a great player, one-on-one, just find two good players whose WAR equals that of one great player. The problem with that argument is that, since there are only a dozen slots that really determine a team’s overall quality, the team will still end up worse off.

    The more great and excellent players a team has the more difficult it is to avoid the team’s decline when you have to replace those players. Players like Utley, Rollins and Lee, in addition to Halladay will be difficult to replace without some team drop-off. Hamels is another player in the same category, but, because he is young, the Phils should not have to worry about replacing him for several years.

    1. Obviously there is some truth to this – certainly a response to those who value youth for it’s own sake.

      But that doesn’t mean the team doesn’t need to start planning now for the transition to the next generation. Part of that is not going overboard on their own free agents. Rollins, who, contrary to popular opinion, hasn’t really lost much (though he does appear more injury prone), is likely going to be a “victim” of that process. Four of five years is too much.

      But you know that – you say yourself in another reply that they should stop trading prospects. Actually even I wouldn’t go quite that far, but they should be more circumspect about trading prospects. May, Biddle Franco and Valle in particular should be traded only for a young, cost controlled star or potential star, should one become available. Yes, I know all about PP’s theory that we should accept the Yankees/Red Sox model where prospects are mainly trade bait. There’s some truth to that, also, but even a high payroll team like the Phillies is more likely to contend with a few young, cost controlled stars or near stars who are being paid under market salaries. And those players almost always are products of the farm system.

      1. ‘………..PP’s theory that we should accept the Yankees/Red Sox model where prospects are mainly trade bait….’—this certainly does occur, however because both org’s spend quite freely in the Latin free agent market every July…thus replenish their systems with prospects. Let me clarify, spending freely entailing laying the big bonus or two each year on the top 16-year olds. If Dave Montgomery and Bud Selig get their wish, there will be a draft OR an international cap…..then the playing field is qual for all 30 clubs and skill in scouting becomes the key ingredient in recognizing future MLB players..

  16. Some relief can be had by improving overall quality 1-25 or even 1-30 but that doesn’t ensure in the postseason,
    I think we all agree Biddle is a key.
    Resigning younger players must come first. Rollins but no Madsen and Hamels is unacceptable

    1. Improving 1-30 may well help (nothing ensures) in the post-season, if it means you don’t have to play an injured Polanco. It may even mean you have a guy you’re confident enough with in the regular season that you really lean on Polanco to have surgery and end up playing a healthy Polanco in the playoffs. It may mean you don’t go the playoffs with an injured Gload as your main bat off the bench. It may mean a better bench bat on the bench as your second catcher.

      Not totally sure what you mean by Biddle is key. Yes, if he stays healthy he seems a cinch to appear in the Phillies rotation about 3 years from now. If you mean by ‘key’ that he is the guy on whom projections of the strength of the farm next year and the future of the Phillies hinge, then I disagree. I think Biddle is what he is. He’s a solid #3 starter for a pennant team, possibly a number 2.

      The future of the pharm and the big Phillies hinges more on the guys who could go either way and the guys with more upside. On the pitching side, guys like May, Rodriguez, Manzanilla, Aumont, Schwimer, Giles are more keys. To me, the biggest pitching key is Colvin. How they go determines how strong we are. Perhaps the biggest pharm keys are the position players, where someone needs to really step forward. There are a lot of tools on the pharm, but not a lot of demonstrated, overall performance. Galvis is as key as anyone, since it is super big if he continues to develop enough bat to make it as an MLB starting SS. James, Franco, the two Greens, Quinn, Pointer, Altherr, Hudson, even Dugan and Collier are all guys with the talent to step forward. At present, our farm is loaded with guys who have the ability to take a step forward, but who really haven’t shown all that much on a minor league diamond. Hewitt has the same tools as a lot of these guys, so tools aren’t enough. We need for a decent percentage of these guys to fulfill their potential.

      1. Good points. I would phrase it this way. 1 or 2 guys who emerge as high performers, like a Jonathan Singleton, would do wonders for a system that is pitching and tools deep, but with no star-level performers after Valle. (I discount his August swoons and lack of power in FSL for obvious reasons–league and position.) Most likely to come from last year’s draftees. Maybe James or one of the other guys you mention.

        1. I don’t really see Valle as potentially star level either. His upside is basically Ruiz, with more power and fewer BB. Now that would be a valuable property – again, solid young pre-FA players, even if they are not stars, are very important to a team’s success. Ruiz has generated a ridiculous 45 million dollars in excess value (value minus salary) over his career so far. (And btw with all of the criticism of Amaro, mine included, the Ruiz contract, and the Victorino contract to a lesser extent, was an absurdly good one from the Phillies’ perspective.)

          But honestly I think you need to go to low A (Franco) before you find a position prospect with star potential.

  17. All of us seem to think Austin Wright is going to be on the fast track this coming year, I wonder if he places just outside of their top 10. I could see him ranked ahead of Jiwan James honestly because I feel like he will probably turn into more of a contributor in the majors

    1. This seems true. If he stays healthy, Austin Wright has a very high probability of becoming a major league pitcher, and fairly soon. James is obviously going to have to move slowly through the farm. He hasn’t really shown much beyond defensive prowess and offensive potential thus far. Since he has yet to put up very good offensive numbers at any level, his odds of being more than a 4th or 5th OF are likely 50-50. He is the OF version of Galvis, but doesn’t have Galvis’s youth on his side. Like Galvis, he likely makes the majors on defense alone, but has to show he can hit to win a starting job. I’m not convinced that he ever will. I was higher on him prior to the 2011 season.

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