What to Expect in 2013: Middle Infield

Up the middle positions (catcher, short, second, and center field) are some of the hardest positions to fill because the defensive requirements force many players off to the corners.  Shortstop and second base have been filled at the major league level for the past decade by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, but they have moved past their prime and the organization needs to look to future at the positions.

Again for those that haven’t read it or would like to refresh themselves on the end of season discussion, here is gregg’s end of season report card

Second Base:

Second base is a tweener position, often second baseman are short stops that don’t have the range or arm or third baseman who have the defense to play second and do not have the offensive profile for third.  Teams recently have been moving players in from the outfield to second base early in their careers with some success.  Second baseman have to hit, because there are no back up second baseman on the major league level.  In order to be a back up a player has to be able to handle short stop to have a utility profile.

Cesar Hernandez (22):  Hernandez is a solid player but he lacks the tools to profile has a first division regular at second.  At the plate Hernandez makes good contact and hits with a high average with a decent walk rate, but it is a relatively empty average has Hernandez’s power is limited to the gaps and while he has good speed he is a poor base runner and he doesn’t steal bases at a successful enough rate to add value.  In the field Hernandez is a good defender at second.  The good news is that Hernandez is almost in the majors right now and scouts think he can handle shortstop enough to be a utility player as long as you aren’t relying on him at short for an extended period of time.

Alejandro Vilalobos (21):  An under the radar middle infielder who put up good numbers in both 2011 and 2012.  Not a lot of power but little swing and miss with a good approach at the plate.  He will need to keep hitting to continue to move up but his numbers so far indicate that he will continue to get that chance.

Tyler Greene (20):  Greene got an above slot bonus in 2011, and then made his debut in the GCL where he showed good all-round skills but with a very high strikeout rate.  Greene’s 2012 was a disaster starting in Lakewood and then dropping back to Williamsport.  He has good power but there is a ton of swing and miss in his game, otherwise he has good raw tools.  He can play shortstop right now but he likely fits at second or third base long term.  Greene’s future will depend on his ability to make contact, if he can’t his future in the organization may be very short.

Andrew Pullin (19):  Pullin was the Phillies 5th round pick in 2012.  He is a classic tweener in the outfield, he just barely lacks the speed to play center, and doesn’t have the arm for right, and doesn’t have the bat for left.  The Phillies plan on moving him to second base where his profile should play.  Pullin does not have star level tools but could be a solid to above average regular at second base if he can stick there defensively.  At the plate Pullin is a polished hitter who can generate good line drive power to all fields, and on the base paths he adds average speed.  There are few reports on how Pullin’s defensive transition is going but he has the tools to be good there defensively.

Jairo Cardoza (18):  Typical light hitting fielding middle infielder, it will take another year to see if there is anything there or if he is not long for the organization.

Shortstop:

Shortstop is the most demanding defensive position in the majors.  Outside of a few examples the bar to play shortstop defensively at the highest level requires that a player not just be average defensively but you need plus defense at short to stick in the majors.  Shortstop is thin in most systems across the majors, often players can either hit or field at the position and a prospect that can do both is very special.

Edgar Duran (21):  Duran was signed as a defense first shortstop.  He has made small improvements each year and he is still young.  He will likely move up to Reading where he will have a chance to keep improving.  There are not a ton of reports on him but the Phillies have moved him up each year and given him the primary shortstop ABs at each level.

Roman Quinn (19):  Quinn is the probably the most exciting player in the system.  In the field Quinn is still learning how to play shortstop and there have been growing pains.  There are mixed reports on whether he can stick there but he has all of the tools to be good.  At the plate Quinn has good discipline and a good contact rate (which plays up due to his speed) and has line drive gap power that plays up with his speed.  The speed is the difference maker, it is a true 80 tool and Quinn knows what to do with it on the base paths. The speed can be game changing and if he is forced off short, could make him a plus defender in center field.  Quinn has plenty of room for projection as he matures, additionally 2012 was his first year switch hitting and he should continue to improve with reps.

Angelo Mora (19):  Mora made good contact in a small sample size and played decent defense at shortstop.  He will likely move to Williamsport where there will be a chance to see if he can repeat his numbers as well as better scouting reports on his approach and defense.

The Graduated:

Just because a player is no longer rookie does not mean the developmental process is over. For some positional groups there are players in the majors who fit into the developmental outlook of the system.

Freddy Galvis (23):   Galvis is a tremendous defensive player, at short he is one of the best in the majors and in his short time at second base he was arguably the best in the league there.  The question has always been can he hit.  At the plate Galvis is weak on secondary skills in that he does not draw a ton of walks and he is not a burner who is going to steal a ton of bases.  The good news is that Galvis showed more power than expected even if his average was very poor.  At short Galvis does not need to be anything more than replacement level at the plate but at any other position his bat will have to improve to be anything more than a utility player.

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

32 thoughts on “What to Expect in 2013: Middle Infield

  1. A Programming Note:
    This series will take a break until after the Winter Meetings, look for a Rule V preview instead.
    The Reader Top 30 will start after new years and will be followed by the Top 30s of some of the writers here and a forum for Readers to submit their individual Top 30s

    1. Yes, thank you. Aside from keeping the site going strong, your analysis in the comments sections has been really strong lately.

    2. have to echo the other guys saying thanks for keeping the site alive. I come here to find out what I need to know about prospects. Thanks!

    1. You want hope? Here is a list of last years Rule V and what they did:
      As you can see many are Disabled Listed thru the year for ‘protective and healing’ measures. Some just didn’t work out as hoped.
      ———————————————————————————————————————
      •Rhiner Cruz, RHP, Astros (from Mets) — The 25-year-old has worked out of the Houston bullpen all season and owns a 6.80 ERA in 47 2/3 innings.
      •Terry Doyle, RHP, Twins (from White Sox) — Doyle was returned to the ChiSox in Spring Training and he’s since moved on to a team in Japan.
      •Lucas Luetge, LHP, Mariners (from Brewers) — The 25-year-old southpaw has turned into a reliable bullpen weapon, pitching to a 3.13 ERA in 37 1/3 innings while holding left-handed hitters to a .169/.267/.169 batting line.
      •Ryan Flaherty, IF, Orioles (from Cubs) — Flaherty, 26, has spent time on the DL this season but has otherwise hit .211/.252/.309 in 135 plate appearances for Baltimore.
      •Cesar Cabral, LHP Yanks (from Bosox via trade with Royals) — Cabral has been on the DL all season with an elbow injury.
      •Lendy Castillo, RHP, Cubs (from Phillies) — The 23-year-old missed considerable time with a groin strain and owns a 10.22 ERA in 12 1/3 innings for Chicago.
      •Gustavo Nunez, IF, Pirates (from Tigers) — Nunez has been on the DL all season..
      •Robert Fish, LHP, Braves (from Angels) — Fish has been on the DL all season..
      •Erik Komatsu, OF, Cardinals (from Nationals) — The 24-year-old hit .211/.286/.211 in 21 plate appearances with St. Louis, was claimed off waivers by the Twins, hit .219/.297/.219 in 37 plate appearances with Minnesota, then was returned to the Nationals in May.
      •Marwin Gonzalez, IF, Astros (from Cubs via trade with Red Sox) — Gonzalez spent some time on the DL but has otherwise hit .234/.280/.328 in 215 PAs with Houston.
      •Brett Lorin, RHP, Diamondbacks (from Pirates) — Arizona retained Lorin after a Spring Training trade with Pittsburgh.
      •Brad Meyers, RHP, Yankees (from Nationals) — Meyers has been on the DL all season.

    2. Jon Mayo’s Best Twenty–Rule V–Alphabetical Order:
      Jesus Aguilar—: 1B– 22,—Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 3″, Wt: 257- Cle
      Miguel Celestino: RHP: 23, Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 6″, Wy: 205 – SEA
      Ryan Chaffee: RHP: 24, Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 2″, Wt: 195 – LAA
      Tim Crabbe: RHP: 24,Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 4″, Wt: 195 – CIN
      Josh Fieldsn: RHP 27,Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 0″, Wt: 185 – SEA
      Nate Freiman: 1B 25, Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 7″, Wt: 225 – SD
      Jason Hagerty: C 25, Bats: S, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 3″, Wt: 220 – SD
      Kyle Heckathorn : RHP 24 Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 6″, Wt: 225 – MIL
      Randy Henry RHP 22,Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 3″, Wt: 190 – BAL
      Destin Hood OF 22, Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 1″, Wt: 225 – WSH
      Jarret Martin RHP 23, Bats: L, Throws: L Ht: 6′ 4″, Wt: 227 – BAL
      Jefry Marte : 3B 21, Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 1″, Wt: 187- NYM
      Jon Keck LHP 24,Bats: L, Throws: L Ht: 6′ 6″, Wt: 215 – KC
      Braulio Lara LHP 23,Bats: L, Throws: L Ht: 6′ 1″, Wt: 180 – TB
      Chris McGuiness 1B 24,Bats: L, Throws: L Ht 6′ 1″, Wt: 210 – BOS
      Carlos Perez : LHP 21, Bats: L, Throws: L Ht: 6′ 2″, Wt: 195 – ATL
      Ryan Pressly RHP 23, Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 3″, Wt: 175 – BOS
      Blake Smith : OF 24, Bats: L, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 2″, Wt: 225 – LAD
      Juan Sosa : RHP 23, Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 2″, Wt: 165 – PHI
      Coty Woods : RHP 24,Bats: R, Throws: R Ht: 6′ 2″, Wt: 190 – COL

      1. Destin Hood could have some possibilities…..sweet Nat revenge. Not sure what happened to him after 2011.

  2. Greene has all the tools but that K rate is going to be hard to overcome.

    I have a good feeling about Pullin.

  3. I agree that Quinn is the most exciting player in the organization and the one player I would not trade.

    I see the assignments as such:
    SS:
    AAA: Galvis – would still prefer a better hitting utility guy in the majors, let Galvis get everyday at bats and if they need to move him for fielding other positions, do so in the minors. I still see him as a utility guy.
    AA: Duran – just keep moving him up the ladder, his good defense is valuable to have and he still might get better at the plate
    A+: Carver/Hanzawa – No idea who profiles in this slot, Hanzawa is too old but good defensively and is just org filler, Carver was a recent draft pick so maybe he could have some prospect value left but it is a big jump
    A-: Quinn
    Mora at WPT

    2B:
    AAA: Hernandez – He should get some time at SS as well, I think he should be the callup at 2B though to see how he does in the majors, I think he could be a starter but it will be at a Polanco level of output in best case. He could profile as a useful #2 hitter with some speed.
    AA: Alonso? – No idea for this spot either. I was hoping Phillies would re-sign Harold Garcia and put him back in AA after his injuries. I do not like Cartwright. Alonso appears to be a utility type player and did actually hit a bit. Why not give him a chance.
    A+: Villalobos – another utility guy type, again he needs to get at bats and here’s the place for it
    A-: Greene – no reason to promote him past LWK, give him another chance where he at least is in the middle infield.
    Pullin at WPT but could be competition for Greene at LWK, since Pullin’s bat may be ready to move up. Cardoza probably GCL again, depending on Pullin.

    1. Hanzawa really fell off at the plate in the second half though. There’s no reason for him to take away much playing time from Duran at SS, so unless they use him as an extra man or at 2B, Clearwater would be an option.

  4. Can’t argue about Quinn; clearly the gem–so far–from that draft. Besides Galvis he is the only SS seemingly in the system that now profiles to handle the position well. Quinn has the offer of an exciting offensive game-changer at the top of a lineup who now shows respect and regard for the OBA meaningfulness. All indications are that he will remain at SS and has the necessary tools under development to provide better-then-average defense. It took J-Roll a few seasons, including working with Bowa to accomplish his defense mojo. As should/likely be absorbed by him.

    Galvis should be given every opportunity to play at the MLB level…as a fill-in at 2nd base, SS, and even 3rd base. His superior defense will continue to make him a valuable piece while we see what kind of offense he can provide. I suspect there is more there than we’ve seen so far; his winter ball may give us impetus to hope. He deserves that chance.

    At the lowest levels, somebody else needs to play SS; to depend completely on Quinn could be a mistake. Of those possible, I’d suggest T Greene despite his ’11 season. His way out of his funk needs development via the confidence he’d get by being given that assignment…perhaps.

    1. One thing to keep an eye on with Quinn is his Righty/Lefty splits. Much stronger from the Right side it seems. Understandable as he just started switch hitting I believe.

    1. Based on his playing in the majors and doing better than the other reserve IF spares we’ve used in recent years — Valdez, Martinez, Orr. Galvis hits about the same as this trio and has a far better glove.

      1. No doubt he could play in the majors since his fielding is elite. But I’d prefer he get more opportunities to improve his hitting. I think that has a better chance of happening with more time in the minors.
        If Phillies expect Martinez level hitting, then they should just leave him in the majors for his fielding. I do not expect him to hit better than replacement level, but I think they should do what they can to try to get him to improve. He does have age on his side.

  5. Does anybody know where to find minor league split information? I was looking at Freddy Galvis’s stats on fangraphs, and noticed in his small major league sample size this season he put up a wRC+ of 98 as a righty as opposed to 47 for a lefty. I’m wondering if his minor league splits would be similar and possibly indicate he should drop switch-hitting.

    1. Thanks. I suppose I should have expected it was flukey- if his splits had been that dramatic for years, they might’ve already dropped it.

  6. My sense, based on the puffs of smoke coming out of the front office this offseason, is that they love Galvis’ defense so much that he’s likely to be be a big part of the major league club’s plan for next season. Best case scenario (for the team, though not for Galvis’ development necessarily) would be if they sign or trade for a decent veteran 3B in the Youkilis mode, in which case having Galvis to back up him and Utley will be crucial, since there a good chance that between Rollins, Utley and a geezer 3B to be named later, Galvis will have a chance to start 100 games or more.

    Worst case scenario is that Ruben Amaro really means it when he says he thinks some combination of Fransden/Galvis can work at 3B next season. In which case … eeesh.

    But regardless, I think Galvis will spend next season with the Phillies, playing the Valdez/Martinez role.

    1. I agree with your assessment. The staff of the the Phillies seems to love Galvis. I just think it is a bad idea to have him begin the season in the majors. There are always injuries so why not acquire some more talent (even Theriot) and have Galvis in AAA when you need him.
      The Phillies should have enough roster controllable talent to shuttle a couple players from the bullpen back and forth to AAA to handle some roster moves to get Galvis and Ruf up to the majors. Get ‘known’ talent, for cheap even, and force these young guys to beat them out or be available on injury replacements.

  7. Galvis will be with the bug club as a utility IF and possible platoon with Frandsen. At least some times. Frandsen mashes lefties, always has. Galvis was very respectable against righties. Not great, but with that glove good enough. Phil’s need some RH power and other than Youk not much out there at 3rd.

  8. Charlie even said last year Galvis was going to be with the big team after Utley returned from his injury.

  9. FWIW – I am guessing, based on almost nothing but numbers, that Duran will be a breakout prospect in 2013. He jumped from A-to A+ and his OPS went up almost 100 pts. Hit 7 HR in an age-appropriate (and a notorious pitcher’s) league in 2012, and he continues to hit in winter ball. For a guy with his low-power profile, you’d like to see a little lower K Rate, but it wasn’t terrible in 2012, as he lowered it by around 2.5% while walks went up by almost a point. That’s nice incremental progress.

    As for his D, I have asked Jay Floyd and Mitch Rupert, who’ve probably seen more of him in 2010 and 2011, respectively, than most of us, what they think. They both had similar, “pretty good with the glove” type assessments, and neither seemed to think that he was destined to be moved off SS by his glove.

    Anyone who saw alot of him in 2012, please offer your best assessments. Like Matt says, not a lot of scouting on him. With his low profile thus far, it could be that most scouts simple think he’ll be eaten alive by the next level of pitching and have not went out of their way to take more notice than that.

    1. I think you are on to something with Edgar Bracho Duran. By the numbers, he would appear to be ready to explode, hopefully in Reading in the summer of ’13.

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