Tommy Joseph #10, Cody Asche #17, and Jon Pettibone #19 on BA’s Eastern League Top 20

Baseball America posted their Eastern League Top 20 today including three members of the Reading Phillies, note that Adam Morgan and Ethan Martin were not eligible for this list due to innings accrued.

Tommy Joseph – Joseph a catcher was the centerpiece of the trade with San Francisco for Hunter Pence.  He put up crazy numbers in the Cal League in 2011 and his numbers came down this year in the EL.  He has the ability to hit the ball to all fields and has at least plus power right now.  His contact rate has gone down recently but his walk rate has increased.  It is still to be seen where the Phillies send him next year with Valle at LHV and Rupp behind him.

Cody Asche – Asche was a 4th round pick in the 2011 draft out of Nebraska by the Phillies. After a terrible year in the NYPL attempting to play 2B the Phils sent him to CLW at 3B.  He mashed at Hi-A and was promoted to AA in June, where after struggling for a month he hit .371 with 27 extra base hits over his last 42 games.  Asche is a good hitter with a line drive swing that allows him to hit the ball all over the park.  When he was drafted it appeared as if he had above average power but he has yet to display that amount of power in the minors so far.  He is a work in progress at 3B where most of his defensive tools are average at best and it looks like the Phils are committed to him there long term despite rumors at the beginning of the season he was destined for catcher.

Jon Pettibone – Pettibone was on the youngest everyday starters in the EL.  His fastball sits 88-92 with good sink and he can touch 94 when he needs to.  His change up and slider are fringe average but play up because of his ability to throw strikes.  He has plus control and for the most part has limited the HR he has given up.  The Phils moved him up to LHV towards the end of the season where he continued to put up good numbers.  His lack of strikeout potential or overpowering stuff limits his upside to mid-to-back of the rotation starter.

There will likely be questions concerning some other Reading guys to miss the list Ruf, Valle, May, Martin, Morgan, and Hernandez in the chat.

77 thoughts on “Tommy Joseph #10, Cody Asche #17, and Jon Pettibone #19 on BA’s Eastern League Top 20

  1. I think Valle gets traded this offseason. LHV is going to really good and hopefully those guys can help out in 2013. The phillies hopefully don’t wipe out the farm system nor sign a free agent who will cost them the #15 overall draft pick

  2. Trevor May with a big fall from top prospect status. Seeing BA drop him behind Pettibone in the league prospect rankings may indicate a huge drop down in the system rankings. Pettibone is a back of the top 10 type. If May is considered behind him, he may barely make the top 10.

    1. I guess that is the hidden story here. I still consider May a better prospect. This year was a little discouraging, though I will say that May looks like a guy that needs 2 years to master each upper level. That is OK if he maintains his stuff. I try not to over-react to any individual year especially when the tools are still there. In the opposite direction I am still not totally sold on Asche. Still a pretty small sample size on good performances from him.

      1. I disagree somewhat. I don’t see May’s struggles this year as an ‘individual year’ issue. May has had worse struggles in the past. His 2010 was worst than his 2012. This upcoming year will be his 6th minor league season and he hasn’t shown any control.
        It may be that he is now looked at as a potential, big arm, reliever because he can’t maintain control over a full game.

        1. My comment was not that May deserved to be there. I just like him better as a prospect than Pettibone. Pettibone is more likely to be a major league starter. I just think May has a better chance of being a good major league starter. I am frustrated by May’s progress as well, but he still misses bats. May’s control has not developed as one would have hoped, so he is certainly a lesser prospect than he was a year ago.

    2. Interesting take there… I actually disagree with BA on Pettibone’s ranking, I think it’s too aggressive given his lack of stuff. May on the other hand has an abundance of stuff, if he could only put it all togeather. This year was really disappointing and this is a second time he’s actually “failed” a level. His odds of being a long term major league pitcher were significantly diminished in my mind.

  3. BP had a chat yesterday and I asked about Pettibone. The answer was that his fastball is too straight and would get killed in the bigs. Quite the opposite of what we have here where his fastball has a ‘good sink’.

    1. BP chat guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Keith Law likes Pettibone a lot as long as you’re talking about the back of the rotation. Says he has a “good plan” when he takes the mound and his stuff will work in MLB.

      1. I think being a writer on crashburnalley has tainted him with the pessimism on all things Phillies that is required for that site.

    1. If the Phillies do *not* sign Josh Hamilton then gutting the farm system is their only option to fix the team and win back the division.

      Signing Hamilton makes everything else easy.

      1. Not sure the reason for the Hamilton obsession. Or, to put it another way, I can see the attraction, but he is such a high risk option on so many levels.

        There seems to be a pretty wide range of predictions about his contract. If the various doubts about him – his approach, his durability, his prolonged slump this year (okay, probably related to his approach) his … past problems – result in a relative bargain (say 3/60), then sure, I can see it. But if we’re talking more like 5/125 – then pass. Even if it does mean a rebuilding year or two.

        1. Though you are cloaked in anonymity, I would not be surprised if your IP address showed you were writing from Norristown State Hospital

        2. Seriously.

          ‘Hey, let’s overpay the most over-rated free agent in this year’s class with an even more ludicrous contract than Ryan Howard’s! What could possibly go wrong?! Hamilton never misses any games and is in the upswing of his career, right?’

          That would be an awful, awful signing from a resource allocation perspective. The Phillies don’t have an unlimited payroll, brah.

        3. 7 for $175 for the 32 – 38 year old years of a left fielder who averages 129 games a year? Ah…. Not. Even. Close.

        4. Agreed Larry. Thing is you cannot invent the FA market that makes you a better team and the last thing we need is to be saddled by another over priced FA. Just walk away RAJ and let the market come to you this off season.

          1. I think your last sentence is the key. I’m not one of the people around here who are anti-free agent – especially when you have the resources that the Phillies have. But lately there have been some nice relative bargains for teams that have waited. It’s a risk, but if that doesn’t happen this year, it will probably because there is a feeding frenzy and everyone is overpaying. And if that’s the case, maybe you just bite the bullet and accept a rebuilding year.

  4. May was terrible this year. However, he won’t be traded with value this low, so he will have an opportunity this year to reestablish himself. I look for a big year for him.

    1. Check out Gio Gonzalez’ ERA, WHIP and BB/9 stats at Reading in 2006, wasn’t exactly superb. but he had the ‘stuff’. I would not give up on May.

  5. At the time of the Pence trade to the Giants, there were some that criticized the Phillies for receiving Tommy Joseph instead of Gary Brown (Giants’ pre season #1). Now Tommy Joseph is rated #10 in the EL, while Gary Brown is rated down at #16.

    1. The problem is that Joseph is *all* the Phillies got. That combined with what they gave up to get Pence.

      As long as they sign Josh Hamilton all that will be forgotten.

      1. I actually think that deal was acceptable. I think Pence had a really bad year this year. He’s a career .182 hitter in the post season and he’s being paid 15 million next year with below average fielding in right field. I’m not sure Pence is (er was) the long term solution in RF.

          1. If the Giants have any sense, that’s exactly what they should do with him. Pence isn’t a 15 million dollar player. Ruben did the right thing in moving him while he could get some value for him.

      2. Scheirholtz isn’t a stud, but he’s an excellent fielding solid platoon guy with the potential to be a starting RF. his OBP is NL league average. Seth Rosen has a shot at being a really good bull pen arm. Phillies needed pieces and you can’t look at the Pence trade in a vacuum. The pieces they got in the Pence, Victorino, Thome and Blanton trades the Phils seriously upgraded their farm system. Not near what they gave up, but they also have 3 mlb players added as well.

        How about Kyle Simon? .767 Whip at Clearwater and an even better .671 WHip at Reading. Tall dude. What’s his stuff?

    2. If we have only those two to pick from, I agree that Joseph was the better pick. That said, I remember a discussion with PP a while back about age and performance relative to level. He basically said if you’re young for your level but only putting up league average it doesn’t amount to much. Joseph’s year was certainly average. His arguement was that top prospects will outperform the league in spite of their young age.

      I’m actually probably one of the least optimistic “rational” posters for TJ here on PP. The high praise so far seems all scouting based (atleast for the 450 AB’s he had this year). He managed a SLG of .399 this year, a significant drop over the previous two years (though it did pick up some in reading). One of the big issues I have with him is his contact rate (and K%). He hit .240 this year with a BABIP of .315 (minor league career high) all while sporting a 20%+ strike out rate. That is seriously concerning to me. Defensively his CS% was great at 40% (though it did drop in a comparitively small sample size in reading).

      Yes he is young, yes he plays a premium position, yes he’s one of our top position prospects. Does he profile as an All-Star? — everything would have to break just right for that. That said, no one thought Ruiz would become what he has and catchers develop very slowly. Joseph is probably going to spend another 3+ years in the minors and has a 1-2% chance of being a major league all-star.

      1. 1-2%? Come one. Guys with his profile aren’t 1 in a 50 shots to make an all-star team. I’d say more like 10-20%.

        1. I think you’re misreading the probabilities.

          I would be shocked if more than 20% of prospects with his profile end up major league starters, let alone all-stars. I’d say 10-20% of his making a career as a starter, with a 10-20% chance of being an all-star given that he makes it as a starter. This implies 1-4% chance, which is in line with what Supra98x thinks.

            1. Ok, the age thing I get. But you’re going to have to be more purswasive on the “bat profile” comment. What in his statistics this year (OR ANY YEAR FOR THAT MATTER) makes you think he’s an all-star caliber bat?

              Let’s say the top 4 catchers in MLB in terms of OPS would be our “all-star” players…

              Let’s list them:

              Buster Posey: OPS .957
              Carlos Ruiz: OPS .935
              Yadiar Molina: OPS .874
              Joe Mauer: OPS .861

              What about Tommy Joseph screams an ops over .861 and a player better then any of those 3?

              Do you now see why I said 1-2%?

            2. Mike Napoli hit .227 this year and was an All-star. This was a really strong year for catchers, the guys you listed are more than all-stars, they are MVP candidates. I think you’re overestimating what it takes to be an all-star catcher in most years. Here are some more recent all-star catchers: Russell Martin, Miguel Montero, Alex Avila, John Buck.

            3. 50 percent of the catchers you listed OPS’d at or lower than Tommy Joseph’s career numbers in the minors. I think if anything, that sample shows how much of a crapshoot being an MLB All-Star can be.

              That said, I have no idea what to make of Joseph right now. I’m hoping he develops like D’Arnaud did for Toronto, but I’m not exactly ready to push Chooch out of town to make room.

            4. I think there’s a 100% chance that people pulling random percentages out of their butt is the most annoying thing that posters consistently do on Phuturephillies.

        2. I agree, Joseph has good chance of being an all-star catcher in the near future. I dont think he’ll be in the minors for the next 3+ years. I think he can relax when he gets to LHV and play really good. I think the phillies are really high on him and will have a tough decision what to do with him if Ruiz does what he did this year again. I think Joseph could be a starter in 2014. I think the group who were in Reading this year will be a major factor with the big club in 2014.

            1. Joseph is too good to be in the minors for 3+ years. He will have some role in 2014. I think he makes the phillies brass have a difficult choice in the near future.

  6. By the way, AFL action is starting. Hopefully we’ll see some lines from Asche, Collier and Joseph today. Too bad none of the pitchers we have there are ones we care about.

    1. You don’t send top pitchers to the Winter Leagues… at least not Starters. The reason is pretty obvious. They pitched their arms off during the regular season. You don’t want to add another 30 innings onto their arms. If a guy was injured you might send him so he gets to pitch. Or a guy who relieved all year and you want to see what they can do as a starter might get some innings. Otherwise, you see a bunch of reliever types who need to show something to stay in an organization. Diekman did that last year. It really isn’t fair that the hitters are some of your top prospects but the pitchers are mostly 2nd or 3rd tier guys. It’s like batting practice. It is nice that Joseph is the youngest guy on Peoria.

  7. I’ve watched Pettibone pitch seveal times and I can go only go by what I’ve seen. He doesn’t give up hard hit balls and doesn’t give up many homers. If that doesn’t sound perfect for CBP I don’t know what does. His ball goes down very well and he’s tall so its a noticeable drop that gets lots of ground balls. I keep reading the straight fastball comment and maybe its straight in terms of left to right but to say it doesn’t move is just not true. This guy has an absolute future as a back of the rotation guy and he’ll probably pitch in Philly next season sometime. RAJ said he doesnt want to sign any starters and block the kids (Pettibone, Morgan, Martin, May, Biddle) that are coming. Cloyd is on a different list although I think he’ll start next year as our 6th starter, in LHV. We all saw Cloyd perform in the major leagues this year and he didn’t look good but i’m hoping that some of that was his pitch count. He threw many innings and went deep into games in almost every start. He actually started to look tired at LHV so I’m hoping we didn’t see the best of Cloyd. There is a place for guys that move the ball around and hit spots and let hitters get themselves out. One last thing, wasn’t anyone surprised that Cesar didn’t make this list? There’s no place on the list for a very young good fielding 2B who hit 300? Seems odd to me.

    1. His K rate is a huge red flag. Here’s a list of right-handed NL starters who had a lower K rate than Pettibone as minor leaguers:

      Kyle Kendrick, RA Dickey, Lucas Harrell, Jeff Samardzija, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Voldstad, Bronson Arroyo, and Kevin Correia.

      Dickey is a special case obviously. With the exception of Arroyo, the rest of those pitchers aren’t very good. And remember, those guys represent the best case scenario.

      1. Those pitchers are good enough to be 4s or 5s in most rotations. And Arroyo may yet win a WS game in the next few weeks.

  8. Cesar just doesn’t have a plus tool imo. Very little plate discipline, Very little power and merely good speed. He’s probably going to end up a utility player.

    1. +1 … Cesar has always been a fringe prospect. Best case scenario for him is a young cost controlled Kevin Frandeson.

    2. The problem is there is no role for a back up second basemen on a major league roster. To be a utility infielder you need to be able to play shortstop otherwise the team has to carry a back up shortstop as well and you are carrying two light hitting players on your bench. Hernandez is really going to have to make it as a starting second basemen somewhere or he doesn’t have much of a major league future.

  9. Trevor May from chat
    Ben (Leland Grove): A bit surprised not to see Trevor May this year. Is command his own worst enemy? If not, what else does he need to work on?

    Matthew Eddy: Phillies RHP Trevor May was one of the final cuts from the list, so that’s a good place to start. As you probably know, May led the EL with 151 strikeouts (but also 78 walks) and flashed three major league-caliber pitches at times. He generates terrific power on his curveball, peaking near 80 mph, and his changeup took a step forward this season. The case against May continues to be his command, because his max-effort delivery can make executing his offspeed pitches a challenge. Most scouts see his future in the bullpen, where his fastball velocity would play up, his command would be less of an issue and he could keep hitters guessing with a varied arsenal.

    1. first time I’ve heard of ‘most scouts see him in the BP’ line. You can say that about any pitcher that has command issues. Or you can have the pitcher try to work out the delivery and command issues instead.

    2. Good to hear he wasn’t far out… we all know he had a disappointing year. I think he gets one more shot as a starter next season, if he doesn’t make strides in his command, I think there’s a good chance he’s moved up to the Phillies in the BP.

    3. Could be the same analysis report used for Ethan Martin last year. Command was also the issue but with great stuff.

    4. Yeah, that’s awesome. Let’s turn Trevor May into yet another relief pitcher. God knows we need more young relief pitchers. My fondest dreams realized.

      1. The way I look at it, based on the expert analysis of the natinal publication scouts, the Phillies only have two legit starters in their system, Biddle and Morgan, and both mid-rotation guys. But we have plenty darn good relievers coming up.

  10. Let’s hope he puts it together. I’m not optimistic Halladay returns to form. I’m not comfortable with anything we have after Hamels and Lee. A surprise from a guy like May, Pettibone or Morgan would be nice.

  11. From BA chat, Gillies
    Ben (Philly): I’m curious where Tyson Gillies fell as this list was getting cut down? He performed nicely at the plate when healthy.

    Matthew Eddy: Phillies CF Tyson Gillies shows promising tools and skills, though his erratic behavior (including a run-in with a team bus driver this year that resulted in a suspension) and injury history (especially to his lower half) cause many to question whether he can reach his ceiling. Gillies has terrific speed and could be a disruptive force as a leadoff hitter if everything breaks right for him.

    And Catchers
    Angelo (Philly, PA): Hi Matt, With Ruiz having such a great year and facing free agency next year do you think Joseph will spend this year in AAA and then take over as the starter in 2014 or will Phil sign Ruiz to an extension and then Joseph becomes his caddy for a few years ?

    Matthew Eddy: The Phillies state publicly that Tommy Joseph, Sebastian Valle and Cameron Rupp all will compete for starting catcher jobs at Triple-A and Double-A next year. I wouldn’t necessarily expect any of that trio to log meaningful time in the big leagues until 2014, however. Joseph may receive a second-half callup next year to caddy with Carlos Ruiz, as you say, and even in 2014 the Phillies may elect to pair him with a veteran catcher on a one-year deal.

    And from another question it appears that Ruf was in the next tier with May and was likely in the 20-30 range

  12. There was some discussion a while back about the 40 man roster and how many of the promising prospects could be protected and how many would either have to be traded or exposed to other teams.

    Now that the season is over and many things are clearer, could somebody please recap and update that discussion? I would appreciate it.

  13. I have tried to keep my opinion out of the write ups so I am just going to put in my prospective here on some the high profile AA guys going forward.

    Joseph – I like him and think he is going to be a major league starter who maybe picks up a few All-Star nods, but overall will be a solid average catcher. His average is never going to be great but the walk rate and power are skills that most catchers don’t have especially when it comes with not elite but still very solid defense.

    Valle – He has the power to be right there with Joseph but his overaggressive approach is going to doom him. I see him as a solid back up who teams keep thinking they can fix and make a solid starter.

    Asche – I am low on Asche, I see a line drive hitter with 15HR, not really any speed, and average at best defense at third. He could put up some decent hitting numbers but he doesn’t profile offensively as a first division starter (top 15 team in the league) and he doesn’t have the defensive ability to compensate. He will be a major league starter and a good value for a while but I don’t see him as an answer at 3B long term.

    Hernandez – Second division starter, a guy you don’t mind in your line up but you are always looking to upgrade.

    Ruf – I am going to post a profile tonight on him, huge defensive liability in left and will likely have his weaknesses exposed at the plate. I see a platoon bat with plenty of pop who will be exposed if given too much playing time. He is idealy suited for the DH or 1B role with a lefty compliment.

    Pettibone – Solid #4 starter, will eat innings and throw strikes. He is Joe Blanton at half the size and a tiny fraction of the cost. Won’t have a ton of strikeouts and shouldn’t walk you either (though his walk rate seems high for a command and control guy), a very solid guy to have in the organization.

    May – I am still really high on May because the stuff is still there and he shows way more flashes than Colvin. May has three pitches that are at least average and could be plus and he has proven to have the ability to miss bats. I think that if the control doesn’t come he is a #4 starter who will be either horrendous or lights out, but I think he will wind up as a solid #3. There is no way in my mind that the Phils move him to the bullpen without him failing at the major league level.

    Martin – He is going to be really good, his breaking ball and fastball are a grade better than May’s but his change up is a grade worse. I am not convinced yet he sticks as a starter because when he goes he goes worse than May but if he stays as a starter I think he has a chance to be a #2 and I think he was a real steal in the Victorino deal.

    1. So you think Pettibone can get 7-8 K’s per 9? I didn’t think he had the stuff for that. Maybe I’m just a bit lower on him. I don’t see him ending up much (if any) better than Kyle Kendrick.

      1. I hadn’t realized how much Blanton’s K/9 went up here in Philly, I was comping more to the Oakland Joe Blanton who was between 5 and 6 K/9.

    2. Very interesting. While I may not agree with everything you said, everything you said is defensible.

      I agree entirely with your thoughs on Joseph, Valle, Hernandez and May.

      On Asche, you may very well be right, but I am not sure we know his true ceiling yet. I am hopeful there is more to Asche than what you project. I think, by the end of this year, we will have a much better fix on Cody Asche and his potential.

      On Pettibone, I think what you say is accurate unless Pettibone masters a very good breaking pitch, such as a change up or a cutter (preferably a change up). If he does, he could be a #2 or, more likely, a very solid #3. If not, I agree, he is a #4 as his fastball is pretty straight. Fortunately, Nichols and Dubee appear to be among the best teachers of these types of breaking pitches.

      I was very impressed with what I saw from Ruf at the end of the season, albeit, of course, with a ridiculously small sample size. I project Ruf to be a better hitter than you do, but the defensive limitations are going to make it tough to play him very much because, while he is coordinated, he is extremely slow. He might be pretty effective in a modified platoon where he gets some ABs against righties, but is replaced in late innings for a defender when the team is ahead.

      May and Martin are encouraging. I’m not sure what to make of either of them, but I do think there’s a good chance that one of them ends up as a #2 or a very good #3 and, if that happens, we should consider ourselves fortunate. For what it’s worth, I am very high on Morgan

    3. So, you are saying Darin Ruf is Wes Helms? I actually really like that comp and think people will go insane with anger if that’s what you are saying.

      1. Not a terrible comp, though I think Ruf will hit for more power and less average than Helms. For those about to raise objection Helm’s age 27 season, his only one as a full time starter he hit .261/.330/.450 with 23HR, while playing a more demanding position than Ruf (3B)

    4. An interesting read, well thought out, thanks. I disagree on a few but not dramatically. I think Asche is a much better athlete than you think he is and I have more appreciation for him as a possible 320 hitter with 15 homers than you do. Asche has the kind of swing that produces 320 – 340 averages which would be very good if it were to happen on that level. If he hits well and Franco does well down the road also, Asche may ultimately get tried at 2B and maybe LF. Also, while I agree that Ruf will struggle to stay in LF, I’ve watched the guy hit multiple times and he barrels everything. He did nothing unexpected in his two week tryout as far as I was concerned. However, if he can’t play LF, I’m not sure where that leaves him because Howard is here for 4 more years, at least. He has little trade value so you’d hate to include him as a throw in. Valle isn’t a starter at this point.

  14. From Southern League BA chat, got a question in on Martin (Prospect Profile coming later today)
    Matt (Philly): Was there any consideration for Chatanooga right hander Ethan Martin, his numbers were nearly identical to Webster’s (BB, K’s, ERA, IP) and they are the same age?

    Teddy Cahill: If this list were 10 players longer, Phillies RHP Ethan Martin probably makes it. While he might be statistically similar to his former teammate in Chattanooga, Martin is a year older and his stuff isn’t as good as RHP Allen Webster. Martin is viewed more as a work-horse starter while Webster has higher upside. Not a knock on Martin at all, the feeling in the league was he has really improved since last season.

  15. Lost in an earlier part of this post:
    How about Kyle Simon? .767 Whip at Clearwater and an even better .671 WHip at Reading. Tall dude. What’s his stuff?

    1. All reports I have are him as a starter though his draft report says that as a reliever you would expect him to touch 93 much more often.
      His fastball as a starter sits 86-89 but can touch up to 93, the important thing is that his fastball has heavy sink to it. He also has a slider that is still a work in progress. He has a cutter and change up that could possibly profile as average. His delivery has some deception to it.
      A decent middle relief prospect but there is an important role for them, especially on cheap salaries.

  16. Here’s what you do with Hamilton — a little unconventional but he’s an unconventional player. You offer him a four year $25 M a year contract with very attainable vesting requirements for a 5th year at the same price. But you give the team $2M (end of second year) and $3M (end of third year) buy-out clauses. Now all of a sudden the player is assuming enormous risks for any risky behavior.

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