John Sickels Phillies Top 20 Prospects

Its the season of lists, there are a lot of interesting names and orders on John’s list so it should spark good discussion.

  1. Biddle
  2. Morgan
  3. Quinn
  4. Joseph
  5. Pettibone
  6. Asche
  7. Ruf
  8. Martin
  9. Franco
  10. Watson
  11. Gueller
  12. Valle
  13. Aumont
  14. Giles
  15. Wright
  16. Brady
  17. De Fratus
  18. Dugan
  19. Simon
  20. Milner

John’s work is free so read his rationale and comments on his blog http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/12/30/3819856/philadelphia-phillies-top-20-prospects-for-2013

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

132 thoughts on “John Sickels Phillies Top 20 Prospects

  1. Knowing how Sickels generally ranks players, there are only two surprises: 1. He ranked Quinn ahead of Asche. 2. He generally sticks with the high draft picks until they fail, so I’m surprised he left LGj off his list. He has gotten pretty sloppy in recent seasons, so I’d bet LGj and Tocci were oversights, and will be added as soon as someone on his blog points it out.

    1. John knows about both and there was discussion in his initial 40 player list about removing Milner for Rupp, but John loves him some Hoby.

  2. I think it’s a good snapshot of what the Phils’ system is like- 11 guys range from a B+ to B- grade, and 13 more at C+. That’s a lot of depth. Some of the choices surprised me, like leaving off L. Greene or having Valle and Giles that high, but not a bad list.

    1. 11 Bs and 13 at C+ are up from 8 and 8 from one year ago. That makes 24 above average prospects, 50% improvement from 16 last year. I like the improvement in the system.

  3. Agree with commenters that L.Greene and Tocci are very suprising omissions.
    Giles seems too high since he is only a reliever. Likewise Simon who had great stats (so did Friend) but does not appear to have great stuff.
    Wright, Brady, Milner could be high, especially if they eventually profile to relievers.
    I can see Colvin omitted but most people seem to think he has enough stuff but just needs control and confidence.
    Gillies injury and attitude issues can easily move him down these types of lists.
    Morgan #2 is pretty amazing. Thanks to this blog, I moved him way up from my initial rankings.
    Asche and Ruf I could see almost anywhere on rankings. The seem to have just one year of excellent stats to make projections for being so close to the majors as low round draft picks.
    I also had Valle in the top 15. I think he is too young to write off as a backup only, which is still pretty valuable.
    This list seems pretty reasonable with the Greene and Tocci omissions excepted.

    1. Nitpicking but you say Simon doesn’t have great stuff but by the sounds of it he has a pretty damn good sinker.

  4. Sure hope they will do well w their #16 draft choice to find a potential star in that first round.
    IMO Biddle has made good progress through the levels, but does not YET qualify for a higher position though he should have 1 1/2 seasons of minor lg ball to regain 2-3 MPH on hos FB and firm up his change-up to become a better weapon in aqddition to the two new pitches he’s working on.

    His has the reputation of being a hard worker; that kind of work ethic could be the key to making progress toward a #2 or , later, a #1. The comparison to Andy Petite today is different from the comparison to Kershaw previously. I’d take either one (who wouldn’t?) but would love the advancement of the issues suggested.

    On Morgan: when drafted some “pundits” gave him an outside chance to imitate Cliff Lee…though a “poor man’s” fabrication. His advancement so quicky conjures thoughts that he has more potential than we previously thought. I would not be surprised to see him as a serious candidate for the rotation in ’14.

    IMO, I DO see a POSSIBLE close to #1: Martin. His stuff is “electric” with the “IF” being his control/command. A season at LV might bring it off. His lowest point in the rotation, given just a little better command, should be at #3…so long as he is not moved to the pen.

    As we know, the system still lacks young outfield power from the right side. Does anybody see that vacuum being answered by anybody who could step forward?

    I too need to see more out of Joseph, given the hype at his trade time. Hope he doesn’t become an “also ran.”

    The class of ’11 needs to reveal itself as superior; looking for several of them to pride prooif or hints of same.

    1. Hoping Ruben makes a play for Cuban OF Dariel Alvarez. He missed the boat last summer with Cespedes, Soler and the youngster the Dodgers signed.

      1. Alvarez and Diaz are not subject to the cap.

        Dave $$$ Montgomery and Bill Giles worked hard to get those caps on amateur bonuses in place. They will not participate in an open market supply and demand bidding process. They support socialism for billionaires and capitalism for Homeless Americans.

    2. Kelly Dugan came on strongly last year. Aaron Altherr is a possibility. Both are guys with good tools who need patience to develop the skills necessary to play in the majors.

            1. Charles Shackelford says Cozens is Amphibious, he can use his left and his right equally as well.

            2. I’m guessing he was talking about his ability to score with both hands and you are well aware of the word ambidextrous. Very funny quote if that’s what it is.

            3. C’Mon people, Charles Shackelford was a horrible 76er who made a quote along those lines….

  5. Looking at Sickels’ top 10, noticed it is not very different from Baseball America’s list. Same guys in the top 9, but different order. The questionable part of his list comes in places 11-20. He chose to fill the 2nd ten spots with every decent relief arm they have, instead of position players. Relievers always seem to do well on his list.
    Interesting that Biddle and Morgan were the only B+ and B prospects. Ruf was the last B-.

    1. It seems right. A and B prospects are those that are ready to contribute in the near future and have real impact potential. The Phillies don’t have many of those guys. (I would contend they probably don’t have any.) What they *do* have is a lot of interesting young guys and a bunch of players in the upper levels who could be league average hitters and pitchers.

      If Watson, Gueller, Greene, or Tocci have outstanding full-season debuts, they could move way up next year.

      1. I agree that the team doesn’t have any A prospects. I just found it interesting that he made distinction of seperating Biddle and Morgan from the others. I also don’t see Ruf on the same level as Quinn, or a level ahead of many of the names he lists as C to C+ prospects (Watson, Franco, Tocci, LGj).

    2. I was mistaken. Ruf wasn’t the last B- guy. Read his column the day before (Saturday), and he hinted that there were only 5 B- guys, but he seems to have added a few to that grade. Also read there were going to be 10 C+ and 10 C guys. Adjustments seem to have been made.

      1. He noted in that article he hadn’t Graded players whose names start with R or T, so no Ruf, Rupp, Tocci and probably a few others I’m not thinking of.

  6. I think the omissions are more interesting than the inclusions: Guys like LGR, Tocci, Gillies should IMO be in the top 20 some where….

    But then a list is just a list…

  7. Not to beat a dead horse on Gillies but the facts are this no one else in the system with the same or more PA’s has the same offensive production he has.

    1446 PA’s .395 OBP/.830 OPS/.307 AVG in my mind a 24 Y/O with injury problems does not supercede that type of offensive production for exclusion from the top 10 let alone the top 20.

    1. How many of those PAs are before the injuries? You can’t just wish them away, nor the loss of development time and speed that went with them.

      I was as big a Gillies booster as anybody after the trade, but including him on a Top 10 in this system is just kind of nuts. If he puts up an OBP anywhere near 400 this season over the course of 500 plate appearances, that’s a different story. But he has to earn it first.

      1. Fair injuries are what they are I can’t get around them but consider what he does when he is playing. In Reading he managed 311 PA’s with a .369 OBP/.822 OPS/.304 BA

        So to me health is not a tool with a position player. He may very well flame out because of injuries we shall see. This will be a make or break year for Tyson.

        1. In 2012 those were his numbers. You can’t just throw out 2011, which wasn’t so hot. But maybe even more to the point, looking a little more deeply at the numbers, even 2012 was a less impressive than a quick look at the numbers would lead one to believe. 5.8 BB rate, 16.7 K rate, Those aren’t horrible numbers, but they don’t cry out “great prospect” nor do they generally translate into a .300 BA or a .360 OBP. He had unsustainably good BABIP luck which gave him a superficially good BA and OBP.

          Even assuming good health, the loss of three years development time is huge. He’s NOT the prospect he was 3 years ago, again even assuming good health. Not even close.

        2. How many times have we said “this is a make or break year” for Gillies? It’s like an Andy Reid presser – eventually you need to just shut and produce. Gillies is at that point.

          1. It hasn’t been for a lack of production rather a lack of being able to stay on the field so your analogy is beyond ridiculous. Gillies has performed while healthy. Also, he’s 24, hardly “make or break”. Amazing how people forget a certain right fielder who had injury problems yet got his power back and became a pretty damn good player at what? 27? Jesus, wish people would let go of their biases against certain players.

            1. Werth’s situation was different, because his issues stemmed from a misdiagnosis that set him back. Gillies’ injuries are persistent. I like Gillies, but I think it’s at a point where he’s no longer in any long term plans- and with Revere being brought in I think the front office sees it that way too. If he has a healthy and productive season this year that’s great, but I wouldn’t count on it.

            2. Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t the start of his leg problems a misdiagnosis? And persistant? Let’s look back….misdiagnosis of the issue causing his hamstring problems, stepped on a first baseman’s foot, collided with another fielder….Sounds more like a string of bad luck as the last two hardly are injuries that would deem one “prone”. I agree that he needs to stay on the field and have a productive year, but as Larry loves to point out he missed 2+ years of development time yet came back to have a solid, if unspectacular year. That should give people hope for the guy instead of the bile we mostly see. I guess the point of my post was that some posters, like Rick, pick and choose guys to love or hate and do so without any real rhyme or reason.

              I expect big things from Gillies this year and don’t think the Revere trade has much of a bearing on his potential future with the team. Revere is an easily replaceable player….the type of guy you see as a 4th OF on a good team, able to play plus defense at all three positions, swipe a bag as a pinch runner, etc. He doesn’t bring that much to the table other than that….so far. If he can add some gap power the trade could turn into a steal. That’s not to say Gillies is a better player right now or ever will be.

            3. I’m not discounting it, but it’s his only real “plus” tool. A .049 iso along with an unspectacular .333 obp, I mean we’re talkin about a guy who might never crack a .700 ops in his career. Those guys typically don’t start unless the team around them can make up for the lack of production, which right now the Phillies don’t look capable of.

              And we don’t yet know about his CF ability. His URZ last year as a CF was a -0.4 in 309 innings compared to 15.8 the 708 innings he played in right. That’s not especially encouraging considering 90% of his value is for his defense. Regressing his defensive value moving him to CF full time (he had a 8.5 URZ starting in CF in 2011) and we could be looking at a 2.0 – 2.5 war player instead of the 3.4 war player RAJ traded for. So you traded a league average pitcher with some possible upside and your former top prospect for a league average CF who’s only substantial value comes from defense.

              On second thought, maybe RAJ knows something we don’t and is going to flip Galvis to someone for a solid back of the rotation starter and one of their top 10 prospects.

            4. Revere is clearly nothing special with his glove, but by the end of the 2013 season “Wheels” and T-Mac will have brain washed so many viewers that there will be actual online outrage when Revere doesn’t win the Gold Glove.

              The Phillies are in full SCAMMIES mode now so we are going to be subjected to war time level propaganda, and when the Phillies fail to make the playoffs they will chop off Charlie Manuel’s head.

            5. As Roy Smalley said on the radio a few weeks ago, he saw Revere every game he played in Minnesota for the past couple years, he would tend to disagree with you on his defensive abilities in the OF.

            6. Revere had a good offensive season going last year until he wore down at the end of the year. Through August 26 his AVG was 315 and his OPS was 724. I expect Revere to be physically and mentally stronger this year and finish 2013 with AVG>300 and OPS>700.

            7. Almost 70% of his batted balls were grounders. That’s crazy and could make even a .325 BABiP unsustainably high. My guess is the difference between Revere and Gillies would be minimal (provided health isn’t an issue).

    2. DMAR, I expect better of you. Make the case for Gillies all you want, but please don’t perpetuate the lazy and massively deceptive argument that relies on his aggragate stats. ESPECIALLY for a minor league player, and one with an injury history.

      Even setting aside the absurdly high offensive context of about 40% of his PA (and saying that those numbers were good even in context does NOT mean that you don’t need to adjust them for context):

      71% of his PA were A ball and below
      68% of his PA were MORE THAN 3 YEARS in the past.

      His AA numbers are are much less impressive .286/.347/.420. That’s not bad, exactly, you can make a case for top 20 – I’d probably put him between 15 and 20 – but top 10 is, to put it mildly, a stretch.

      1. Larry you and I see statistical information very differently. You tend to discount level and league performance etc…

        I tend to first look at the totality of the players numbers to establish baseline then look at individual seasons age and level etc… and develop my opinion on whether or not I think the kid can play in the MLB.

        So if you want to (as I am) remove injuries from the equation and look solely at his OBP tool, which in my opinion is how I see Gillies value he is remarkably consistent through the levels and leagues is he not?

        I don’t think its fair of you to say I am being lazy with the numbers when in fact I see the exact opposite. I’m doing the work to see the trees from the forrest. For those that aren’t willing to give the “if he were healthy” argument I have no retort. For those that would like to evaluate Tyson as a healthy prospect coming into 2013 you can make the case…I believe.

        1. DMAR, at the most basic level, especially with minor league players, that is IMO a flawed approach. But I don’t have time right now to engage you on that issue, so a narrower diagreement. You say “his OBP tool … is remarkably consistent through the levels and leagues is he not?.”

          I would say not. First of all, OBP is not a tool, but a combination of a number of tools:

          plate discipline/BB rate
          contact ability
          speed (IF hits)
          ability

          Actually, “tools” may be the wrong word for some of these abilities also, but breaking it down like that is certainly better IMO than lumping it all into an OBP “tool”

          Anyway, looking at those 4 areas – none of it has been terribly consistent. His best performance by far in the first two was in 2009 – no surprise. Take that season out of the equation, and his plate discipline and contact ability look much less impressive. Again true also at a higher level/more recently, though I know you discount that. His speed has taken a big hit; maybe he gets it back with a return to health, maybe not.

          I see him, at the big league level, IF he can be healthy and continue to develop, as a guy who can hit .280 and OBP .330. If his power develops a little, if his speed returns, if he can play plus defense in center field, that is a good player. Not a star, but solid. But that’s a lot of ifs – I count 5.

          1. Honest question Larry because I can’t find any reports on it, but do we know his speed has been diminished? Not many defensive stats for minor leaguers but his range facter was slightly above his career average. Are we going by the drastic decrease in steals? Or have there been reports from scouts that he’s lost a step?

      2. I think that the Gillies discussion that has been going back and forth on here has been boiled down to this.

        1.) Gillies does appear to posses the required tools to be a successful ML player and quite possibly a special one.

        2.) The injury issues over the last 2 seasons have robbed him of development time and quite possibly affected one of his major tools his speed.

        3.) At the beginning of this year he was a chronic injury concern, but throughout this year they seemed to be answered positively as his time missed was due to freak injuries/bad decision suspensions, and once he went to winter ball the injuries with his legs appeared again thus rightly raising the injury concern.

        Ultimately the injury question is so large that is vastly over-shadows any bright spots of his production over the last year. And the Revere trade does point to the lack of faith he will be ready for the majors over the next few yrs. I am not saying there is no possibility of it happening because health appears to be his only barrier, but you have to air on the side of anything he adds as a prospect is a bonus.

  8. Was interested to read his takes on Asche and Ruf. Asche is about where I put him and his comments are prettty much what I have been saying.

    Like BA, he puts Ruf a little higher than I do. Again his comments are somewhat similar to my thinking, but probably a little more positive. Though I’d peg the BA lower but the HR higher (assuming full time play). I wonder if the kind of unstated underlying assumption from both him and BA is a belief that the defense is only “bad” instead of “awful.”

    As for other players, I agree with the emerging consensus regarding the ommissions. It really does bring home the fact that once you get past the first 9 or 11 or 12 (depending upon how highly you think of the two 2012 starting pitchers and Tocci), there is a real drop off.

    1. I will say this about Ruf. Well, first a digression – I’ve avoided (1) engaging the many comments expressing joy at the failure of the team to sign any decent free agents, and (2) detailing my disappointment at the Phillies increadibly lackluster (at best) off season. And I won’t get into either (related) issue now, but it’s not as if my opinions on those points are a mystery.

      But since the team has apparently decided that competing for a playoff spot in 2013 is not something on theit agenda, I am now a supporter of giving Ruf a try. Team’s like the Phillies are exactly the kind of teams that should take a shot with a guy like Ruf. Mainly because, if you’re not going to win anyway, why not see what he can do? I think pobably a strict platoon of Mayberry and Nix would produce a little more value (because of defense; also I think they would hit pretty well in a strict platoon), but (a) they aleady know what Mayberry and Nix can do, and (b) Ruf COULD be significantly better. He could also be worse, but in this case a high beta is a good thing.

      Also, and related to this, if one assumes as I do that a perfectly healthy Phillies team has an upside of about 88 wins, in order to compete for a wild card you need someone to step up and have a much better season than expected. The two best candidates for that are probably Brown and Ruf. I still don’t think this looks like a playoff team – I mean, Ruf’s probable ceiling is lower than (say) Swisher’s likely performance, in 2013 anyway – but we don’t have Swisher, so let’s take our shot with Ruf.

      1. A not fully healthy Phillies team played at a 95 win pace in the second half and they got better this off season. Just saying.

        I look forward to Pettibone taking over for lannan some time this season. Ruf/Revere/Brown. I like it. Revere’s range is very much needed.

        1. Joe – I’m excited for ST to see what Pettibone does. I really hope he makes RAJ think about who to bring north for the Opener.

      2. Larry, I thought you’d have been one of the more pleased from this site that the Phils didn’t [overspend] on the like of Upton or Ross. Haven’t you been advocating a season of 600+ ABs for Brown? I’m not casting stones in any way as I also want to see that [finally]. (Although I can you your reluctance to be “all in” on Ruf for a full season.)

        Who would you have liked them to sign? Or were you more interested in seeing another trade?

        1. Arimas Ramirez last year and Josh Hamilton this year and the Phillies would be a lock to win their division this year.

  9. I agree that the Phillies have probably decided on a long term approach. They really needed a big proven right-handed bat to follow Howard in the order to reach 90+ wins. Considering the opposition in Atlanta and Washington, the Phillies’ line-up deteriorates seriously toward the lower third. We are looking at games against good pitching (Nats and Braves) in which many zeros will appear. Having the 16th pick in the draft will mean they have a chance to acquire a truly talented young player.
    The Phillies have done well to compete without having the level of talent available to them. Their scouts have earned them a long run in the playoff picture, something difficult to achieve these days.
    I am assuming that those who demean Ruf’s defense are seeing him in the outfield. He and Mayberry both improve their defense at first base. Ruf’s lack of speed will mean that he will have to hit as productively as Burrell and Ibanez did. He may do that, and without the terrible slumps that plagued both Pat and Raul. Over a season I think Ruf can hit eventually in the .270 range with 30 homers and 80 RBI. That implies that he is a regular left fielder. Mayberry and Nix are much better coming off the bench. Brown will need patience. After two years as a regular in the big league he should fulfill his promise. With the “toolsie” players the team needs patience. His outfield skills will improve as he plays. The fans gave Burrell tremendous support. Let’s hope the same comes for Brown. In the long term the Phillies will be younger and better giving these two players a shot this year.

    1. I don’t understand this statement:
      “The Phillies have done well to compete without having the level of talent available to them”

      The Phil’s just won over 100 games and took the division like 6 times in a row. IMO, they did it with superior talent. Last year’s 1st half was the aberration which was caused by losing your All star 1B and 2B as well as 4 relievers and your backup 2b. Phil’s will be right back at the top of the division.

      1. Joe, I believe the poster was referring to the draft talent when the Phillies have consistently drafted lower than most other teams during their winning stretch.

      2. Thanks Psu joe for noticing that contradiction. What I meant was talent in the draft. Washington took full advantage of their picks as did we; however, Washington had much better talent available to them in the draft. That’s what I meant. Happy New Year.

        1. Got it. Happy New Year. Sure would’ve been nice to land can’t miss prospects like Strasburg and Harper. 2 slots away from taking Trout. Man would he look perfect in CF and be a perfect fit for the lineup.!

  10. Hey guys. I fully recognize that Tocci and Greene have *much* higher upside than Milner for example…I have posted their book comments in the comment section to illustrate. Part of the problem with doing lists like this is that once you get into the C+/C range, lists begin to confuse more than they enlighten.

    Is Greene a better prospect than Milner? Sure, if you are looking at pure upside. But Milner has a better chance to get to the majors and contribute something before Greene does, and the average fantasy player (and the general, non-Phillies fanatic audience) is usually wanting to know more about someone like that than about the guy who might not show up before 2017.

    In a perfect world I could produce both a fantasy list and a “pure baseball upside” list but I’m trying to cover all 30 teams here and simply don’t have time to do that. So the lists take a hybrid approach, which of course risks leaving everyone unsatisfied I guess.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and clarifying. I think the reports are much more helpful than the list or grades with the lower level guys and I am thankful to you for posting them. Here we have a tendency to really go into looking at the upside of our guys and forget about the national audience. No list is going to be well received though I am glad to see you so high on Morgan it is really positive sign for the system.

    2. You do a great job—I read your blog daily just as I do this one. I attend lots of minor league games and it is really hard to follow one teams prospects. It would be overwhelming to keep track the way you do of all teams.

  11. The hardest decisions on any of these lists (for me anyway) are always the guys in the C+ range, especially when trying to decide between an upside vs. polish guy. The hometown fans usually want to know about the upside guy who could be a star or a bust. The national and fantasy audience is usually looking for a window or introduction to a system and is generally more interested in the polish guy…the guy who could turn into the 2014 Darin Ruf, for example, or Michael Fiers. I end up trying to do both things on my lists but sometimes I need to make that more clear.

    1. John, I read your blog, it’s great stuff. The only reason I know anything about prospects from the other teams is from your site. Plan on getting your book this year. Thanks for stopping over to PP.

  12. One thing that I never understand about these Phillies prospect lists, is how little attention the Latin American guys get. The very top guys that have already been acknowledged by BA as top 10 get talked about, but everybody else seems to get ignored. I’m guilty of it too. I have been contemplating my top 30, and have Vargas, Velis and the two new signees just on the edges of the top 30.
    What makes a guy like Mitch Gueller (19 years old) a consensus top 15 prospect, over a guy like Franklyn Vargas (18 years old) who is never mentioned? Vargas is 6’4, 205 lbs, supposedly throws in the 90s and struckout more than a batter per inning in the GCL. It would seem like these two guys would be ranked closer together, with Vargas having the edge.

    1. Gueller shouldn’t even make a top 30 list. Half season ball is pass/fail and he clearly failed in GCL. Unless something changes in a big way between the close of the GCL season and the start of the 2013 season at Lakewood, Gueller will get smashed in April if he is put on the mound.

      1. Yes you’re so right!!!! Gueller sucks! Give him a bat!!!
        What is he 18? How about you give the kid a year after he’s drafted then go say he sucks.

  13. I absolutely love Kenny Giles but #14 seems a bit high. I really think this kid will be a closer in the bigs within 5 years.

  14. Perci Garner was C+ and ranked 13th last year but is off the list this year. His omission is most glaring to me of Sickels’ full list of 41 Phillies prospects. I think he still should be on the list with a C grade. He was raw and is only now gaining much needed full season experience. His fastball and curve ball still seem like they are still good tools, so while he still carries a lot of risk, I think he still has good upside. I think he has a chance of having a break out season in Reading this year.

    1. Considering he included some other power arm relievers (with control problems) on his list, it is interesting that Garner was omitted.
      IMO, the most glaring omissions, of the 40 names, were Gabriel Lino and Franklyn Vargas. I wonder where he learned of Yoel Mecias.

      1. MattW…..anyway of contacting John Sickels and determining the omissions of Lino, Vargas and Garner may have been just oversights on his part? Or maybe there is another reson. Happy New Year.

        1. He addresses Lino in the comments on the original post, I would ask your questions to him there. I wouldn’t get too worked up over missing guys, John only has so much time to write up guys and there are bound to be guys on the bubble (there is not a lot of difference from like 25 to 50) who are left off. Mecias has a ton of helium right now with great reports coming out of instructs so he is rightfully making lists.

      2. Yes, other wild power arms received credit, but Garner lacked the K/9 to get the consideration. Lino has too many passed balls and not enough OPS to make the list. He is young and always a breakout possibility as he reputedly has solid tools. Vargas could easily make a top 30 list. He is wild, but he is also very young with a very good K/9 and not a lot of hits surrendered. He seems a better prospect at the moment than Perci Garner. Vargas also has the height to add a little weight and velocity.

        1. Garner was one of those reach picks that I never understood. I get taking a raw, high upside player out of high school makes a lot of sense because there’s less urgency with the developmental time line and you can often project a player to grow or fill out a bit. But taking a very raw college pitcher so high in the draft was a bit of a head scratcher to me. If he threw in the high 90s or a had a truly dominant pitch, it might have made some sense, but I don’t think that Garner had either of those things.

          1. Perci Garner wasn’t a reach pick. Garner was more highly rated by most sources, than Jesse Biddle. There was talk before the draft, that some teams were considering him as a late 1st round pick.

          2. He seemed like a good pick at the time. I believe the reports were that he had a good fastball and a power curve. He seemed like a guy that could move quickly, and if it hadn’t been for the injuries, maybe he would have.

    2. I don’t think Garner deserves either a C or a spot on the 30-man. After two seasons at Williamsport, with very few IP due to injury, he leaped to CLW, which is where he would be on sluggish normal advancement anyway, and did not pitch especially well. His BB/9 is too high and his K/9 is not impressive. He could break out in 2013, but for now he hasn’t done anything to earn his spot on a top 30 list.

      1. I agree. Perci Garner shouldn’t be a part of the top 30. He hasn’t done anything.
        However I do think, in cases like Garner and Brodie Colvin, that they deserve as much consideration as the Seth Rosins and Tyler Kniggees. Garner and Colvin have the arms to be power relievers, but are being asked to perform a much more diificult task (start). Whereas, similar or lesser talents look better because they are only asked to relieve.

        1. I completely agree, you have to start judging them as relievers which drops their value a good bit, but you can’t put them behind the non-high upside (or high proximity) relievers because they have the stuff to be dominant out of the pen. I thought Garner was destined for the pen last year as the draft reports were that he could move very quickly as a power reliever with closer upside.

        2. Agreed. I do not know if I’d want Garner taking a spot from any of the AA guys at this point: Biddle, Morgan, Wright, Buchanan. Though Buchanan has the least upside I think he profiles better as a starter than a reliever.
          I could see the 5th spot as a competition between Colvin (highly likely he starts still, most upside), Garner (could slot ahead of Buchanan), and Rosin (who I’d like to see get a chance to go back to starting).

        3. You guys a correct that Starters hold more value than relievers and that is why guys with the arms and potential are given every attempt to fail at high levels before the conversion to the pen (see Aumont), With Garner at CLW last year at 23 and his first full year of pro-ball he looks destined to the pen but he needs to log a lot of innings to get his arm the strength it requires and to expose him to the largest amount of innings, to increase the odds of getting into the greatest varieties of situations.

        4. I always find it interesting how everyone just assumes that a pitcher who can’t make it as a starter can just fall right into a reliever role. Starter and reliever skills and mentalities can be totally different, I think there are a lot of guys who will never make it in the reliever role, who are now starters, either because they don’t have the stuff (which is why they are failing as starters) or they don’t have the gritty determination and mental toughness to succeed as a reliever. Relievers often have only one inning or less to get it right…..that’s a very different kind of pressure. Just wanted to bring this up as a point of discussion, since it seems the usual talk is more about how every starter who is struggling (ie Colvin) can seamlessly transition to a “lesser” role as a relif pitcher. I think this can sometimes serve to marginalize some of our bullpen talent and the important roles they play.

          1. In most cases, if you are already in the bullpen in A ball, you are a “marginal” talent.

          2. It depends on the pitcher. We generally don’t know much about a player’s makeup and how they’ll deal with a bullpen role mentally until they do it for awhile. But when we see a struggling starter with a live arm, like Colvin, we often do think they’re a good bet to succeed in the ‘pen. From a talent standpoint it is easier because you don’t need as many good pitches and you don’t have to sustain velocity for 6 or 7 innings.

          3. Not saying it is easy just that if you get to AA and you have at least one ++ pitch or 2 + pitches one may be able to succeed in the pen. Remember how Madson was not a good starter because of not having the arsenal. I agree there is a mentality with some relievers that can make them successful, but with the increase of the quality arms now pitching in bull pens it is less important for one to be a bull dog, but it can help.

            1. One thing all can agree on….all minor leaguers want to get to the show, and if being a reliever gets you there then starting, then you adapt and do it.

  15. A tribute to both this blog and its commenters that John would stop by to give informative input.

    Great job by John and really appreciate you taking the time to post on this blog.

    We (phuturephillies fans) always have the debate between upside and proximity. Most of the time I am a proximity guy but have been swayed more toward upside since star power is really elusive for teams to acquire. Nearly every free agent is not worth their contract in the end. Average starters are much easier to acquire and pay, so prospects with ‘average starter ceilings’ are great because they are dirt cheap but they can normally be easily replaced.

    Getting all star production for league minimum cost allows a team to fill in holes with cost-ineffective free agents and still compete. So guys I am overrating include Tocci, Gillies, Greene; while I am underrating Asche, Pettibone.

    1. You can put together a good team with 2-3 WAR players at every spot, while teams that follow the stars and scrubs approach can easily fail. You really need both the stars and the solid-average dudes to win :)

      1. This is true, althought the zero star approach is unlikely to succeed. The problem with the big star approach is that two extended injuries and your season is toast. With a team of all good, no very good/star players, you don’t lose as much if two guys go down, because the fall in quality to the guys you can replace them with is much smaller. The cost of players, if contracts are awarded wisely, all goes up a lot more than linearly with increasing WAR, because the top WAR guys are almost unique. Lose and Utley and a Halladay for an extended period of time and the star approach starts to look less promising.

  16. I wouldn’t even have Valle on my list. He will always be a backup and is certainly not ahead of Aumont (A likely big league closer/reliever) or Colvin who could be a #3.

    1. I don’t know what to make of Colvin. He has gotten progressively wilder the past two seasons. Apart from his first half season in GCL he has also failed to post elite K/9 or H/9 rates. He repeated CLW for most of 2012 and failed to improve. His short time at Reading was nothing short of disastrous. I’m not sure he’s healthy, as I thought his velocity was less than advertised, based on his Reading time. Next season likely tells the tale on Colvin. A full year at Reading, likely starting in the rotation and moving to the pen, if his performance doesn’t significantly improve.

      1. I don’t think he will stay a starter but his chances of being a good reliever are higher than Valle being an everyday catcher

  17. Also, I want to know where you would rank Matt Rizotti. I’m thinking i the 10-15 range. I think he has some room to grow

    1. Rizzotti is gone and wasn’t very good before he was gone. His numbers went down 100 OPS points his last season on PHillies farm (repeat of Reading) and he didn’t flourish with a change of scenery. He is now 27, having experienced yet another 100 point OPS drop in his third year of AA, having flubbed a brief trial at AAA.

  18. The hardest part is always picking the Grade C guys….so I try to mix some of the raw upside and some of the proximity picks. Ideally I could write about 50 players a team and get everybody of interest, but that’s simply not possible, not for one person anyway. Baseball America does 900 players in their book and has many writers on staff. I’m doing about 1200 and it’s just me. The advantage is that my book has a consistent narrative and point of view, even if it doesn’t agree with everyone.
    Not complaining, I’m just trying to explain. Another factor is the audience…you guys have graduate-level knowledge of the Phillies system. What I’m doing is providing a freshman/sophomore overview of all 30 systems, a familiarization textbook if you will.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write all this about the Phils’ prospects. I didn’t agree with some of your rankings (like any two observers are going to have identical top 20/30) but really appreciated being able to read the blurbs you wrote, even (especially?) the ones in your comment section about the guys off your top 20.

    2. I mostly agree. I don’t have Brady in my top 20, but may be underestimating his potential. I don’t get Milner. He isn’t really a proximity pick. To me, a proximity pick would be someone like Castro, Gillies, or Hernandez. If he is healthy in 2013, Gillies could really pop. Millner strikes me as both not that good and quite a ways away from the bigs. I don’t see him ever being good enough to break into the Phillies starting rotation and there are a ton of RP ahead of him.

      1. In the case of Milner, my decision there (and I’m quite willing to admit it might not be the correct one) was influenced by the fact that I saw a lot of him in college so I’m quite familiar with him and see him as a sleeper. Certainly there are other guys who could slotted there with valid logic, Gillies being one.

        1. Hey John, I think evaluating any prospects is really hard. Then trying to compare guys from different positions and backgrounds while project elite talent sounds mighty difficult. The C level guys really need some stuff to break right and usually will demonstrate that in future seasons making their evaluation slightly easier.

          There are so many pathways these prospects can take. But I do agree that Milner can be considered a ‘proximity’ guy because of his college success and experience and the fact that he demonstrated his superiority against lower level competition. I think he will move quickly and like most prospects his test will be at AA. Does his stuff or command tick up enough then we’d re-evaluate his projection.

          Gillies is really impossible to gage. I do think his talent is real and he could be an all-star level player (Victorino like) in the majors, but right now he cannot even get on any field. If he has lost his speed then he loses significant value. I have no idea if anyone knows how the injuries will affect him. His brief Spring Training stint seemed to create a lot of positive buzz even though his stats were pedestrian. That real brief showing is what makes me think he could be special. I am likely way off on my impression but that is where it comes from.

        2. Not to rain on anybody’s parade but I don’t get the intense interest in putting together prospect lists since it isn’t merely comparing apples and oranges but comparing kumquats and rutabagas. There is no recognized criteria for comparing an 20 year starter with a 23 year old infielder. Depth charts to me as a tool for evaluating players make more sense The write-ups and analysis are valuable. But the debate over whether a minor league reliever should ever be in the top 10 or factoring in plus positions in the rankings to me is like judging how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

          1. I am with you on lists and for that matter batting lineup projections. IMO, depth charts, as they do in football, would be more appealing to me.

  19. Roman Quinn 27 errors in 66 games. And he is the number 3 prospect ?
    I mean … OK, so he’s fast. And I get that he hasn’t played short.

    With Freddy Galvis at SS seemingly blocking Quinn, how in the world does Quinn project as a prospect? Certainly not for the Phillies. Check out Rollins’s numbers when he was 18 at Piedmont. ????? Just don’t see it.

    1. What?

      Quinn just finished W-port. No one is blocking him; he’s not near ML ready now anyway. Galvis might not end up being any good, or if he does maybe Quinn would move to 2B or have to play CF. What do Rollins’ numbers at Piedmont have to do with anything?

    2. I don’t understand the blocking argument right now, if Galvis develops the bat to be blocking you have a good problem.

      Jimmy Rollins (18) – .270/.330/.370, 46 SB in 139 games, 26 Errors, 4.51 RF/G
      Roman Quinn (19) – .281/.370/.408, 30 SB in 66 games, 27 Errors, 4.17 RF/G

      Rollins was at a higher level at a younger age (Rollins was 17 when drafted, Quinn had just turned 18) and was a better defender (not hard to believe since he had actually played shortstop before). Can’t blame Quinn for being at the lower level especially when he crushed it during his time there. Also the value of a prospect has no connection what so ever to playing time available on the big league club.

      1. Let’s not forget that Quinn’s offensive numbers might look even better considering he was learning to switch-hit AND play a new position during his first professional season.

    3. I get it. Roman Quinn isn’t any good because:

      1. Freddy Galvis is already on the team.
      2. Quinn isn’t as good as the greatest SS in the history of the franchise.

      Got it.

  20. Suprised by the lack or recognition/appreciation Lino gets. I was alarmed by the number of past balls but supposedly he’s an excellent catcher based on scouting reports. His production in August was tremendous and still one of the youngest in the league.

    1. Lino was younger than the guys at Williamsport (Quinn, LGj, Walding). He could be held back this year, and still be young for the league. Read somewhere he can throw guys out from his butt, like Benito Santiago or Tony Pena.

  21. I’d offer taking a look at the 07 and the 08 Drafts for perspective. This is not an indictment on the Phillies by any means because many teams missed on these guys

    Mike “Giancarlo” Stanton 2rd
    Porcello a few picks behind Savery
    Todd Frazier a few picks ahead of D’Arnaud
    Jordan Zimmerman

    In 08 there were plenty of busts just ahead of the Hewitt pick but a few interesting notables behind Collier were Wade Miley and Kimbrel. The point is you naturally have to have lists. It is a means for evaluating how a club is at scouting and evaluating talent.

    How else could you benchmark your effectiveness as a system?

    1. Agree on the lists. A depth guy just tells you who your most ready minor league backup is for each position. The guy could be a future HOF or he could completely stink. The depth chart doesn’t tell you which. Also, the next in line could be a journeyman AAAA guy in Allentown, while you’ve got the future HOF at the position down at Williamsport.

      1. C’mon. What does your list of top 30 prospects tell you? Who the future hall of famers are? Your #9 prospect outfielder is my #14. Your number #28 doesn’t make my list. So what. It doesn’t tell you how strong your farm system is because you’re not comparing laterally. Your BA list of top 100 prospects has some value because at least you’re comparing systems.

        But for anybody in his Walter Mitty world who thinks of himself as equal in talent with a GM, do you really think Ruben Amaro keeps a top 30 list and, if he did, what possible
        use would it be? Possibly in offering a team a PTBNL in a trade. I can’t think of any
        other use.

  22. I followed porcello, and his asking price was the reason, a lot of teams passed on him.He let it be know, if i remember right he wanted something like 7 million to skip, college,

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