This is a retrospective back on the Top 30 prospects list I wrote before the start of the season. My opinion is that anyone who puts their opinion out there should be accountable for that opinion, in this case rather than just ask whether I was right or wrong, but more why was it right or wrong. The goal is to explore things in the development of a prospect that can point to growth or regression. Additionally just because a prospect fails to live up to or exceeds expectations does it mean the base analysis was wrong when it was written.
Continuing on with the next group of 5 players including a pair of HS SSs turned third basemen who are trending in the opposite directions. As always the original list lives here http://phuturephillies.com/top-30-prospects/mattwinks-top-30/2013-top-30/
25. Tyson Gillies
So the good: Gillies is a great defensive center fielder with good range and a plus arm. Gillies makes good contact and currently has good plate discipline. The bad: Gillies cannot stay healthy and there seems to be a consistent hamstring problem. Unless he develops better game power (and a swing to pair with it) his on base and running ability (if it comes back) will be severely reduced. Overall it is a package with some upside, but it is limited by the large injury risk.
I cannot disagree with what the Phillies did with Gillies in 2013. Seeing that he wasn’t really going to make it with his current profile and they went to move him towards a more power oriented swing. The swing showed promise, but largely the production wasn’t there and at this point the risk well outweighs any upside left. When it comes to prospects it is better to give a guy one year too many than give up early, the opposite is probably true in the majors.
24. Kenneth Giles
Giles’ calling card is a fastball that routinely touches triple digits. Giles made giant improvements in both strike throwing as well as scrapping all of his secondary except for the slider which now flashes as a plus pitch. Giles could move quickly once he has a feel for his pitches and could be a dominant closer on arrival. His value is driven down by his reliever profile as well as my concerns about how quickly he will move.
It is hard to evaluate a pitcher who missed most of the season to non throwing injuries. The stuff is still there and command still isn’t great. A good AFL could put him into the position to get him to the majors quickly, and he may move up a little as I reevaluate how I treat elite upside relievers, because while a middle reliever may be fungible an elite back of the bullpen arm is similar in value to a #4/#5 starter or major league regular.
23. Zach Green
Green is in many ways a mirror image of Walding right down to them being a righty and lefty. Green has more power but less hit than Walding. Walding has a better approach, and Green took better to the defensive transition. I rate Green so high because I believe in the defense, and if he can continue and build on it, he can take pressure off the bat to be ready immediately.
I had a feeling going into the season that only one of Green and Walding would have the breakout year. Green’s numbers look great but there are still a lot of weaknesses, but it is good to see the power projection play in games. Green and some other 2012 guys ahead of him on this list help reaffirm my belief in ranking talent regardless of how much experience it has.
22. Mitch Walding
Despite his terrible finish to the season the scouting reports on Walding remain positive. Like Larry Greene, Walding may be too passive at the plate and needs to really work on recognizing pitches and choosing his spots. He has plus raw power to go with a good bat, but it will need some work. In the field, much like at the plate Walding has all the tools. He just needs to put it together. He is a definite breakout candidate if he can put it all together
I give up, I have no clue how to evaluate Mitch Walding. There is bat speed and batting practice power but he can’t hit for power in games, the approach and swing are good but he strikes out at a high rate. I realize he is raw and there is a ton of potential but there is still plenty to be done. In the end I will always go with a guy like Walding though, and it might be my biggest weakness, because there is something to work with there. If you look at his spray chart (http://mlbfarm.com/player.php?player_id=605520) he hits everything on the ground and the opposite way. People who write about prospects will always be criticized for there use of the word “if”, but if Walding is healthy next year he will still be my sleeper because he is athletic enough that he may only be a couple of adjustments away from squaring up the ball more and showing some more of his potential.
21. Cesar Hernandez
Hernandez has many of the pieces to start for a team but is missing the raw tools to be an average regular. His power is poor and despite plus to plus plus speed he is a poor base stealer. Hernandez is limited to a slap hitting approach that gives good contact but does not allow him to draw walks at a high rate. He is average to slightly above in the field and may be able to play shortstop in short stints to have use as a utility player, but otherwise his use is limited.
Hernandez continues to inch closer to a major league future. The centerfield reps don’t let me put a higher ceiling on him, but it does make me feel more confident that he has a major league job. Hernandez made some improvements in strength and in the run game. I still don’t think there is enough to be a regular and that still doesn’t leave a clear path to the majors.