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.
The 11-15 range was filled with disappointment. There are a lot of high risk high rewards guys present and it did not go out well. Additionally I was flat out wrong in my evaluation in some places. As always the full list can be found here http://phuturephillies.com/top-30-prospects/mattwinks-top-30/2013-top-30/.
15. Dylan Cozens
Cozens is a freak athlete with plenty of raw power. He has a stiff long swing that will likely have plenty of miss in it, but he has some semblance of an approach. In the field he can stick in right with his plus arm for now but as a giant already it is hard to project him long term in the outfield. Even if he has to move to first the bat will play. He is likely destined for Extended Spring Training and Williamsport but could find a way to Lakewood at some point.
Dylan probably was the best call of the bunch. Cozens has almost no physical project left and so his season showed up as a more polished version of his 2012. He hit for a little more power, struck out a little less, and walked a little less. I am more confident than I was in the preseason that he will come up in the OF, but he reminds me a lot of Adam Dunn in that once he gets older he is going to stiffen and the speed and range will decrease dramatically. That being said Cozens is an interesting prospect still likely just on the fringes of the Top 10.
14. Darin Ruf
There was no good place to rank Ruf. The reason for ranking Ruf so low is there are concerns about the swing and miss against good stuff now, and that he sells out more for power than his previous high contact line drive approach, in addition to the defensive concerns. At first base the bat is average to lower because he does not have stand out plate discipline and walk rates, and in left field he does not have the range or skills to be a good defender. Ruf will have his uses on a major league roster and could start for many teams (and might for the Phillies), but can the bat be enough over a full season of adjustments and overcome the defense.
I am a noted Darin Ruf disbeliever and at this point I should probably cut my losses and say that his career 1.4 WAR already banked is better than some player around him. But I still think he is a major league bench player with extreme holes in his swing and defensive deficiencies. If Ruf was eligible he would not crack my Top 10 and might actually fall from this #14 ranking.
13. Phillippe Aumont
Aumont has the best raw stuff in the organization but the command and control have always been a problem. Aumont should be a dominant reliever for years which earns him a spot high up on this list. If Aumont can just keep the ball around the plate, it will make the curveballs he buries out of the zone more effective. Overall, Aumont could be the best pitcher out of the Phillies pen as early as the end of spring training.
Everything fell apart for Aumont, he can’t find the plate and he is an absolute headcase with huge makeup questions on and off the mound. I still believe in the raw stuff and I love the fastball/curveball combination and think he can succeed with the high walk rate due to his groundball tendencies and miniscule HR rate. That being said he is going backwards and his chance is not going to come with the Phillies and now the projection is all on someone putting him back together. That in a reliever is always desired but may not be that valuable.
12. Mitch Gueller
The case against Gueller is that he was not very good in his GCL debut. The case for him is that he has a plus fastball that could be plus plus, and a changeup and slurvy breaking ball that both flash plus potential. On top of that Gueller has a big athletic frame which suggests future projection. His mechanics need work right now but the Phillies will work with him to smooth them out. Gueller will take longer than fellow RHP Watson but the payoff could be greater with Gueller.
I have brought up Gueller a lot in conversation with Mitch Rupert and Gueller still vexes me. He pitched with a 45-50 grade fastball for much of the year but showed plus velocity in the spring. The breaking ball has good movement but he tips with the way he throws it by not showing confidence in his release. He still has good feel for the changeup and it has good potential. The problem on some level is he was exhausted by the time he got to Williamsport (I don’t know why) and he has no confidence in his pitches. He takes to instruction well, is athletic, and gets good plane on his pitches. Instructs are going to be huge for him in gaining confidence and feel for his pitches. I am not ready to give up on his potential yet, pitchers have a lot more room for bounceback than hitters do, but he won’t be anywhere near this high up the list.
11. Larry Greene
I gave Greene the benefit of doubt because the power was still there in batting practice. Greene showed much better plate discipline than expected, but it would do him well to be more selectively aggressive and look to drive his pitch. Greene is an average runner and defender in left will be good for his future defensive value. He likely will end up at first base long term but there is no reason he cannot come through the system in left field.
By far my worst call of the year. I will have more in depth on Greene soon so I won’t launch into too much here. It was a mediocre draft pick that was compounded by two years of set backs due to conditioning, and a profile where everything needs to be working right for him to be successful. At this point Greene has BP raw power and not much else going for him. The in-game Larry Greene is not the same as the practice Larry Greene and until the two of those converge he should not be anywhere near a prospect list.