AFL Wrap-Up

The AFL season came to a close on Saturday with RPhils manager Dusty Wathan’s Peoria Javelinas taking down Matt Williams’ Salt River Rafters 4-3, after a controversial play that would have tied the game in the 7th. 

After DBacks prospect Chris Owings hit a fly ball to right, Nats’ prospect Brian Goodwin scored from third, but was eventually ruled to have left third early on a tag-up.  Replay made it seem like his foot might have still been on the bag when the ball was caught, and the appeal was done in a manner that might best be described as “confusion”.  Either way, the best part of the play was clearly Cody Asche fist-pumping after Goodwin was called out, and the worst part was clearly Matt Williams getting so much screen time in a prospect showcase event. 

Impressions from the game were few.  Cody Asche drew one walk and seemed to be pitched around for another after a steal of 2nd ahead of him. He hit the ball hard into a line drive double play after a really solid snag by the opposing first baseman.  He looked a little awkward on one chance at third, but the ball may have hit the edge of the IF grass.  He almost muffed the ball and then rushed a throw he didn’t need to rush, and almost sailed it over the head of his 1B. 

Zach Collier looked a little shaky in LF, getting to one ball slowly that allowed a first to third on a single, and bobbling another, which probably wouldn’t have made a difference as it seemed like he had (rightly IMO) conceded the result at the plate would be no play. 

LHP Jay Johnson allowed an inherited runner to score after a scalded line drive 2B that RF Rymer Liriano might have keep in front of him and held the runner if he’d pulled up, (tough to blame Liriano, though), then made a LHB Lars Davis look pretty bad on a three pitch K.

Either way, the AFL wrapped up with one thing for certain for Phils’ prospects.  Zach Collier was raking.  Yeah….371/.461/.532 counts as raking.  I would say he’s indisputably pushed himself ahead of Jiwan James and Leandro Castro in the hunt for a 40-man spot, (if there was a dispute to begin with after his nice year in A+).

The other impressions I have are not real solid – Kyle Simon probably should be in the bullpen.  Jay Johnson has a nice LOOGY vibe going, but not nearly as much as Jake Diekman had after last year’s AFL.  Tommy Joseph never got going after dealing with the flu in the middle of the season and seeing limited time anyway behind Mike Zunino, (who Jon Mayo called the #3 catching prospect in baseball after the season).  If I were Cody Asche, (and Kyle Simon, for that matter), one year removed from playing in college, I’d probably be tired in October and November.  Not that they necessarily were, but I would be.  I’m tired after writing this post.

UNTIL THE SPRING, I BID YOU FAREWELL!  Also, I will see you all in the comments during top 30, I am sure.  Here’s an AFL-related surprise for you…Colby Shreve’s not making my top 30.

33 thoughts on “AFL Wrap-Up

  1. It seems like a foregone conclusion at this point that Collier will end up with the last 40-man spot. Way better numbers than Jiwan James had last year, plus a higher upside. My question is, has he played himself into top-10 prospect status? I feel like he’s right on the fringe on my list, maybe around 12 or 13, but I’ll have to get down to the actual business of ranking before I know for sure.

    1. I think he still has to be outside the Top 10. Position player wise he has to be behind Quinn and Franco, and likely Asche, LGreene (the profile is just better), and Joseph. There is a very interesting argument to be made with him vs Tocci on a proximity vs tools basis. Pitching you have to think that Biddle, May, Martin, Pettibone, and Morgan are locks to be ahead on him. I think Watson is ahead of him on ceiling, as might be Gueller. Then you are arguing him vs the relievers (Aumont and DeFratus) and Ruf. So yeah after this performance I would slot him 15 behind Aumont but in front of DeFratus, but could argue him as high as 12 (behind Watson and in front of Tocci).

      1. Re: Biddle, May, Martin, Morgan, Pettibone and Gueller–I am actually going to go into this year’s rankings thinking a bit differently about pitchers. Offense has decreased so dramatically throughout baseball that I think the value of positional prospects has to be weighed more heavily. If LGJr profiles as a guy who can potentially hit 40 HRs at a corner outfield positions … well, there’s a lot fewer of those guys around than there used to be, for whatever reason. If someone like Collier shows a package of speed, OBP skills and at least a chance of developing Victorino-esque power, I think I certainly rank that above someone like Aumont, a back-end reliever, or the long-ways-off GCL pitchers. And maybe ahead of Valle, who looks increasingly unlikely to develop the kind of plate discipline necessary to be a major league catcher. I think I see the positional prospects as:

        Joseph
        Franco
        Quinn
        LGJr
        Collier

        And then Ruf and Asche slot in someplace further back, as I’m still unconvinced that the scouts are wrong about them, despite the great numbers last year.

    2. Collier has restored himself to the prospect list but I still have him at 26. I have guys like Tocci, Walding, Pullen, Cozens and Gueller ahead of him at 21 – 25 but his strong AFL performance has me thinking.

  2. I really disagree with you matt. on De Fratus.This kid is a major league player right now,only thing that held him back was injury,and imo he projects as a solid eight inning guy right now. and possibley a closer.so I would rank him higher than a joseph. who isnt showing he can hit lately. or a greene. And based on performance ruf has to be up there.

    1. I really devalue relievers, I really like DeFratus and think he has closer upside. The amount of value a single reliever can provide to a team is not that large when compared to a major league regular. It sounds like you really value proximity over ceiling, which is a fine way to look at this, but realize that you are going to have dramatically different rankings (I will admit that I have a tendency to swing the other way completely and overvalue a player with elite tools even if they are not applying them to in-game action)

      1. ‘The amount of value a single reliever can provide to a team is not that large when compared to a major league regular.’, generally, I would tend to agree with that summation, but this year’s Phillies were the exception to the rule with the many late-inning blown leads. Someone mentioned that there were 8 or 9 after the 7th.

        1. Consider though that it takes 2-3 good relievers to plug up that weakness, not just one. So the accumulated value does indeed exceed one position player. But for a single reliever prospect, there’s only so much they can contribute.

          I do however believe in Bill Veeck’s poker analogy. A five of hearts is far from the best card. But when you need it to fill a straight flush, it’s the most valuable card in the deck. There are times when a reliever is overvalued far more than most other players on the market. I honestly like De Fratus better than guys like Carlos Tocci because of the low risk compared to the extreme risk of our better prospects. If we had a lot of premium talent ready, I’d consider otherwise. But the best players in the system are just too far away.

  3. Thanks Brad for all you do for this site. When James left, I thought this site was gone. But you and Matt and Gregg have kept it up. No disrespect to James but it’s probably better. I’d like to see James do a couple of draft pieces each year but I understand time constraints. Keep up the good work. Even Marfis and Larry can’t disagree with that. I’m just kidding about Marfis and Larry.

    1. I agree. Site is still great. (although I do miss James draft insight) Still, I visit this site everyday, keep up the great work.

    2. Agree with your appraisals of Brad, Matt and Gregg but the board has become much more disagreeable than before. Some posters would not have been allowed to get away with some of their comments that they do now.

  4. A the moment Collier moved up to 15 for me. I like him and think he has a role as a 4th OF in the MLB at some point. I won’t be considering Ruf, Aumont and DeFratus in my rankings as it would seem to me they have had their big league debuts to the extent we know they fit some where on the roster.

    My top 5 Biddle, Gillies, Quinn, Morgan and Franco…

      1. Sure why not he is still 24 has 1446 PA’s with a .395 OBP, .307 AVG and a .830 OPS. he plays a solid CF blah blah blah. Detractors will cite his injury history and that he played in the PCL and that he only has so many at bats above A ball.

        The facts are this where ever and whenever he plays he produces and there is a reason they wanted him in the Lee deal, there is a reason he is on the 40 man and they thought enough of him to lead him off at the start of spring training.

        So I wouldn’t be alone in thinking he is still highly regarded as a prospect. Find me another position player in the system with the same amount of PA’s that demonstrates the OBP skills and avg he does?

        1. He never plays.

          Ok that’s hyperbole but unless a guy has superstar potential, and I don’t think Gillies does, I can’t see ranking someone with his injury problems that highly. There are plenty of other good prospects in the system who can stay on the field.

          1. I’m to lazy to look it up but who were our last 3 Years #2 Prospects and do any of them still have super star potential?

            1. Singleton maybe on SS status… though i’m hestitant to say anyone but the absolute best prospects in baseball have that attached to their name. Think Steven Strausberg, Bryce Harper, Cole Hamels (though with injury concerns), Johan Santana and Ryan Howard cira AA/AAA. Even a guy like Buster Posey, has been a big suprise to me as a “super star” (though I suspect his .400+ average against lefties this year will drop precipitously), he’s definately achieved that status at a premium position.

            2. There you go, Biddle and Singleton. Both guys who I think have more upside than Gillies and neither has his injury concerns, which was my point.

        2. I won’t argue that Gillies doesn’t have one of the highest ceilings of any positional prospect in the org. The thing is that his injury concerns (these aren’t flukes the soft tissue in legs just doesn’t heal completely and is prone to continuous injury) make him as much a risk as the guys down in the low minors. Frankly I would rather have the guy with the ceiling and youth over the 24 year old speedster with leg problems.

          1. I’d rather have the guy who helps the Major League team… no duh.
            I definitely prefer proximity to potential. I also rank much higher for performance to potential, but that is mostly because I have no scouting ability and performance is easier to understand with numbers.

            I also tend to think that player who are ‘likely’ to the make the majors (generally AA ball is the proving grounds) should rank above players with limited sample sizes.
            Relief pitchers are tough to rank for me because a closer type reliever (consistently excellent year to year) is quite valuable. However, so many relievers are inconsistent that trying to predict Major League success is very difficult.

            I try to recognize in discussions on this board that other posters may value proximity/performance vs potential much differently than I do.

  5. Hey I get it its just my personal preference but whether you want to look at youth/ceiling or body of work who in our system does it disrespect to say Gillies is #2. Anyway I don’t want to belabor the point as I look at Quinn/LGJR/Pullin etc…to be the guys you speak of. I might also add Watson and Tocci to that list.

    Then we reach a tier of players who I think can be very good not great big leaguers. Franco I’m sure will be high on most lists but I don’t see him as a prospect with SS ceiling. He could be steady good in the bigs a lot like Melvin Mora maybe.

    Walding drops way down my list. I still like him and I like what he did to start the season so its possible he wore down but he, T Greene, Pointer and a bunch of others have to show marked improvement this season.

    1. That tier of high upside guys would be Quinn, LGreene, Watson, Tocci, Franco (his ceiling is perennial All-Star, he can really hit and is a good fielder), Cozens (same reasons as Greene), and Gueller (still is ultra athletic with a big fastball). Pullin is not in that class, he has solid upside but there are not spectacular tools there, by moving him to second they took a 4th OF and made him into a solid regular at second, Not all of the guys in the first tier would rank ahead of Gillies for me (I have him #15 very early in the process, behind LGreene and in front of Gueller), the real problem I have with ranking him as high as #2 are the pitchers, I think May, Martin, Morgan, and Pettibone are easily in front of him (we can all agree Biddle is #1), they are at the same level and all have the same kind of upside without the risk.

      1. Interesting. I don’t agree but It is a great debate. I can’t wait to look back on it 3-4 years from now.

      2. I like what I hear about Pullin. Maybe he can be Kipnis-like. OF turned 2B. Lefty bat. Solid stick. Don’t think he’ll be quite the base stealer Kipnis has become though.

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