2012 Reader Top 30, #27

Harold Martinez edged out a tight pack for #26, and with that we have just four more spots left. Herlis Rodriguez will enter the voting for #27, and let’s just get right to it. So far we have

01. Trevor May, RHP
02. Jesse Biddle, LHP
03. Sebastian Valle, C
04. Brody Colvin, RHP
05. Freddy Galvis, SS
06. Phillippe Aumont, RHP
07. Jon Pettibone, RHP
08. Justin De Fratus, RHP
09. Maikel Franco, 3B
10. Julio Rodriguez, RHP
11. Tyler Greene, SS
12. Larry Greene Jr, OF
13. Jiwan James, OF
14. Tyson Gillies, OF
15. Lisalberto Bonilla, RHP
16. Roman Quinn, SS/OF
17. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
18. Austin Wright, LHP
19. Brian Pointer, OF
20. Mitchell Walding, SS
21. Carlos Tocci, OF
22. Aaron Altherr, OF
23. Cameron Rupp, C
24. Austin Hyatt, RHP
25. Perci Garner, RHP
26. Harold Martinez, 3B

Check below for #27

62 thoughts on “2012 Reader Top 30, #27

  1. Herlis. I am book smart. Other guys would definitely get thrown into a trade first, but I like Herlis.

    1. I’m interested to know why Herlis Rodriguez over the other Latin prospects that received invitations to Fall instructionals? Alejandro Villalobos, Gustavo Gonzalez and Jiandido Tromp were invited over Herlis. Herlis played on the same Venezuelan summer team as Tocci, Villalobos and Gonzalez and they all hit much better than him.
      I understand Herlis was 17, but Villalobos was only 19 and hit better in the GCL than Herlis did in the VSL. It would seem as though Villalobos would get top 30 consideration before Herlis, because of these things.

      1. Correction. Tocci, Villalobos, Gonzalez and Herlis Rodriguez all played on the same Winter Venezuelan league team, not Summer.

      2. I was not aware of the Latin prospects that received invitations to Fall instructionals, so that did not factor into my ranking (much to my detriment, I recognize). Perhaps I have fallen victim to a small sample size, but usually I get excited about players who are much younger than their competition who perform well. His walk rate was solid, he didn’t strike out that much, and his BABIP wasn’t too out of the ordinary. It looks like he has some real skills and a lot can happen as a 17-year-old progresses.

        I honestly know nothing about Tromp. I have Villalobos at #34. He is almost three years older than Herlis, so I am not surprised he did better at a higher level. I downgraded Villalobos because he had trouble getting playing time once TG signed. As for Gonzalez, I did not see much to get excited about.

        My affection for Herlis is nothing more than good performance at a young age. There are many prospects like that in the system, in addition to many prospects more advanced than he that can profile as MLBers. In this instance, I prefer Herlis. His placement and subsequent performance in 2012 will tell us a lot about if he is for real or not.

    2. I can’t see the Herlis support myself. I look back at prior years of the VSL. We had a 16 year old kid produce a .390 OBP a few years ago. He didn’t rise above rookie ball. The percentage of VSL players who make the majors is tiny. The Phillies have had ONE player from their VSL teams reach the majors. It almost feels like a high school league more than anything else. Not to disparage Herlis’ potential, but he’s so far off he’s not even on the depth chart yet. At best, too soon.

      1. It’s most likely irrationality on my part, but I am a Herlis supporter as well. If he doesn’t make it state-side this year though, he will drop off of my list. He may drop off anyway. I like the OBP and the age, although Alan brings up a very good point about past performers. At this point it is just a gut feel for me, and a gut feel is about all I have to go on in the mid-late 20′s (or, frankly, the entire list).

      2. Alan, just because one kid who performed well years ago did not do well does not mean Herlis will not. Your comment about the % of players from the VSL making the majors applies to all levels of the lower minors.

        Maybe another way to state your point is that the statistics/performance produced in the VSL have no meaning. Fair enough. I am leaning on a different axiom, namely good performance at a young relative age is a good indicator of ability.

        1. The percentage is more significant in the VSL than in other leagues. I took a look at 2005 to see how players fared in terms of making it to the majors. Easy enough to do since Baseball-Ref bolds the names of players with MLB experience. Looking at the players in the top 100 in plate appearances, here’s how many made the majors down the line:

          IL: 84/100
          EL: 46/100
          FSL: 25/100
          SAL: 27/100
          NYP: 14/100
          GCL: 11/100
          VSL: 3/100

          When you note that good performance at a young age is good, obviously that’s a point in Herlis’ favor. But the follow up question is, what does that mean? What has that meant for past players of this level of ability? How good is the league? We know the average player is 18 1/2 and it’s a hitters’ league. Herlis was young but a 17 year old in the league is not unusual.

          Every player has ability. Almost every player in our system was a star somewhere on a baseball diamond. I just don’t see where Herlis’ case can be made based on his VSL statistics.

          1. VSL stats are not meaningless, though I would also say that Herlis did not do enough to merit prospect list ranking at the moment. He had a great start but then fell off performance-wise to the point where he really does not stand out among the top group of young players on that team. That group also includes Jair Morelos and Francisco Herrera and the other two might have more defensive value.

            VSL rosters rarely produce major leaguers as the best Venezuelan players skip directly to GCL. Yet another reason to not get excited over Rodriguez yet even though he is certainly a name to watch.

            1. The most meaningful point made in this conversation was from andyB. “VSL players rarely produce major leaguers, as the BEST Venezuelan players skip directly to the GCL”. The fact that Herlis didn’t get sent to play in the GCL is enough to determine he is not a top 30 prospect yet.
              Heck, Maikel Franco was sent directly to GCL at age 17, and hit cleanup, and he didn’t get close to the top 30 last year.

            2. I have no idea what percentage of real prospects play in the complex leagues, but one interesting note is that the first 26 on our list are split equally (throwing on the next wave of prospects as well).

              Played in VSL/DSL: Valle (3), Bonilla (15), Hernandez (17), Manzanillo (NR), HGarcia (NR)
              Skipped VSL/DSL: Galvis (5), Franco (10), Tocci (21), LMartinez (NR)

              Herlis would probably rank below Manzanillo, Garcia, and Martinez (in no particular order). Also we should recognize that Ranfi Casimiro and Ulises Joaquin both got instructional invites as well and are also potentially better prospects. It is not a fatal strike against a prospect to play in the complex leagues but it probably does sort out the players that are the equivalent of top 5 round draft choices versus the lesser prospects who are more like round 10-20 draft choices. Some low round picks obviously make it, but the numbers are much lower percentage-wise.

            3. AndyB…thanks for the information. It really put things into perspective. I’m still going to vote for Herlis going forward because I’m stubborn, but I’ll have a much better idea where to rank the complex league players going forward. I appreciate the education.

          2. Alan, this is a small sample and hence does not prove anything, but I think the first point you are making is that the VSL is a weak league and performing well in a weak league does not tell us much. Fair enough. But I do think that his performance at that age does have meaning, even if it is a weak indicator. Perhaps all it means is that he is better than others in the VSL, but may never cut it stateside. At #27 on the list, I will take the risk.

            I take AndyB’s point better – Herlis performed very well for a short period, but then fell off and continued his poor performance in the Winter. I can understand preferring others at this point in the ranking, and I appreciate all the feedback on my thought process regarding Herlis.

            1. And understand I don’t mean to demean Herlis in all this. I just find it fun to investigate the macro issues of prospect evaluation.

  2. Wow I was probably one of HMARTS biggest supporters when we drafted him. I followed him a little bit in the college WS a fews years back. At the time he looked like he could be another Evan Longoria or Danny Valencia.

    Now I’m not so sure. His biggest numbers were put up the year before they changed the bats over. He posesses very good OBP skills but the knock on him was bat speed and whether or not he could generate enough of it with a wooden bat. I think a lot of that reared its ugly head in the NYPL. I do hope they double jump him right to clearwater and see if he is up to the challenge.

  3. I voted for J.C. Ramirez but I think Lino Martinez should be getting some consideration. I have him in my top 20.

  4. I’m leaning toward cloyd as a possible back of rotation starter…I can’t vote for any middle reliever or future bench players as prospects no matter how close they are…can someone give me something on herlis…also maybe kyrell…thanks!

    1. I agree with your argument. I am somewhat surprised that Cloyd gets so much less support than Schwimer. Both are Older, Right-handers with middling stuff and good K/bb ratios, but Cloyd is a Starter and Schwimer is a middle reliever at best. It would seem that if you were attracted to Schwimer’s skills, you would like Cloyd, as much or better.

      1. Schwimer has a low 90s fastball that will play in the bigs, at least velocity wise. I remember hearing cloyd worked in the mid 80s. Even if that plays up a bit out of the Pen, I’d still lean towards Schwimer having a brighter future simply on the fact that he’s got enough gas, if not the secondary stuff.

    2. Herlis hit .289/.356/.396 in the VSL last summer as a 17-yr-old (he turns 18 in June). The average age in the VSL is 18.5. The average OPS was .722 (Herlis was at .752).

      Strikes against him: 1) small sample size of good performance; 2) he did not get a big bonus as far as I know, usually a sign that his tools aren’t all that special ; 3) he did poorly in winter league.

  5. I voted for Manzanillo even though I have Lino Martinez ahead of him. Clearly Lino’s not making this top 30. Both young for their leagues, both flawed. But they throw from the left.

    If Lino adds some weight and 3 MPH to a fastball that someone on here said sits 87-89, he could add some Ks and be a real prospect as a starter. Is that 3 MPH unreasonable for a guy only 6’0? It’s certainly not unheard of for a 19 yr old.

    If Manzanillo can’t tame his wildness, he cannot hope to be a starter. He’s shown no sign of reigning it in so far. Sitting mid-90s, he might be a reliever even with some bad control, but not a high-leverage guy.

    So that’s the argument in my head. Lino wins for now. If Manzanillo brings down his walk rate to closer to even 4/9 next year and Martinez doesn’t improve his Ks per 9, I think Manzanillo will easily be ahead in the voting next year.

    1. It’s fairly common for 19 year old pitchers to be wild. Usually, it’s a function of inconsistent mechanics. Consistency comes easier with repetition and strength. I’d rather a young prospect struggle with command than velocity.

      1. True – And I don’t begrudge the guy time to learn. Plus “they” say he’s holding a wicked change. Just won’t be much use if he doesn’t settle down.

  6. Went Savery here, worst case he looks to be a major league ready LOOGY and best case he can be a 7th-8th inning reliever who can get both lefties and righties out. Low ceiling, but high floor as well, 27 just seems right for a guy who is major league ready (even as a reliever, look at DeFratus and Aumont in the Top 10). I wouldn’t argue against Schwimmer here either, I just like them better than Wack-A-Mole with your favorite breakout Rookie leaguer

    1. De Fratus and Aumont have closer upside – Aumont more so.

      Savery may or may not be big league ready, we’re essentially talking about a half season breakout after a career of not being a prospect. We need to see if those results hold up. Even then, it’s not clear whether or not he was showing big league quality stuff last year. I’ve heard it described as fringy by a lot of guys who saw him live.

      1. I’m not going to vote for Savery in the top 30, but the key for his success this year was the Return on the Velocity on his FB.

        Thus the success has some explanation beyond simply being “hot” or in a “groove”.

        He arm may have finally “Kicked” into gear after taking an extended down time when he switched from pitcher.

        If the speed maintains, which it very well may, then he does become a legit prospect.
        Again, I’m not really disagreeing with you and Savery would not make my top 30 but I can see where he starts to garner support on the hopes that his arm strength finally returned after the surgery performed prior to his drafting.

        1. The velocity is a good sign, but those “fringy stuff” reports came AFTER he saw the bump.

          I think that he’ll ultimately disappear in a future Rule 5 draft.

  7. Voted for Leandro Castro, whom I had around #15 on my personal list. .785 OPS in Clearwater in his age 21 season (before the injury) puts him head and shoulders above the remaining players on the board in my opinion.

    1. I like Castro but down-graded him because of a late season leg injury that saw him playing with a noticible limb and then missing the last few weeks of the season. Anyone have an update there? I thought I heard it was his knee, but maybe that was just me assuming the worst…

    1. Thought it was a very solid list, very similar to my own. One of my biggest gripes about this list is that the voters are being too passive about the new crop of draftee’s which isn’t the case with his at all.

    2. Mayo is pretty reputable….has access to MLB scouts/clun personnel….however every year he seems to have a head-scratcher or two higher then what we pine on here …last year for me it was Aaron Altherr.

    3. Putting Hewitt on a top 20 list falls under the category, Wish and a prayer. I’m not sure I’d put him in my top 40 but his # of Ks could be called breath-taking or at least prolific. If the Phils double jumped him to Reading, he’d be neck and neck in Ks with May. 200 or 250 might be well within the realm.

  8. Kind of excited for Franco this year. Alot of the experts are expecting big things from him. I might have to drive up the Jersey Tpke from Delaware to check out Lakewood.

    1. I think the rap on him is that he is never going to hit for power, is not really going to be able to man an infield position and, therefore, falls into the category of a replacement level outfielder and, thus, without substantial value. That’s what I think folks are saying but, as for me, I would have preferred if the Phils took a chance on him and tried to trade a low level player to get him. He is still young and, as you point out, he can hit. It seemed like a no risk opportunity with some interesting upside.

      1. I agree, no big loss in not acquiring him, but Greg Dobbs grinded out several seasons despite being unable to actually play in the field. Cardenas could have done the same.

        At this point, he would have been competing with Juan Pierre for a short term bench spot, and I think the Phillies are secure with just letting Pierre win that spot.

        1. Waiting until you see Pierre up close and personal in the small park with lots of walls and little running room. By June you will be pulling your hair out and screaming at the TV

      2. The criticisms of Cardenas are correct. Yes, the Phillies could have traded a low player to get him, but so could 28 other teams. A lot of teams passed on him. At this point he’s a replacement level player.

        Cardenas last year hit .314/.374/.418 in the PCL. Placido Polanco at the same age hit .316/.347/.418. I think Cardenas’ upside as a hitter is roughly Polanco. Is that fair? The problem is that Polanco was/is a Gold Glove fielder at multiple positions, while Cardenas’ fielding ability is in question. If Polanco had been a left fielder his whole career, would he have been a desirable player? Doubtful. I think Cardenas can fill a role as a bench player, but the Phillies should have no regrets.

        1. If you forgo any preconceptions and erratic points of view and ask logically where Cardenas would fit in this poll what would your answer be. TOP 10, TOP5 ????
          Then trading a 25 or 27 would of been a productive move. Will AC be a great player ? Probably not. A useful player probably! I don’t have a crystal ball and neither does anyone else . On a team that is growing old not so gracefully(position wise) Cardenas would at least been a hope.
          Bottom line we will see.
          P.S The A’s are where they are for a reason.

          1. I have one last thought on Cardenas and his “should be place”. Let’s say Mayberry is in the game down ,one run,men on.Nix comes up and they put in a leftie. Who the hell is going to pinch hit?? Please don’t say Ty without looking up his record.

            1. You are truly clueless. How does Cardenas solve that situation? He’s a left handed batter.
              And Wigginton had a .370 OBP against lefties.

            2. Wiggington is a terrible PH, AC hit lefties better than righties. You did look up that clue didn’t you?

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