We’ve already been over who the Phillies have protected and left unprotected here. Jiwan James is the big name the Phillies are hoping to sneak through. The Phillies have been very active in recent years, always selecting at least one guy, and in the last two seasons, they’ve kept their guy (Mini Mart, Herndon) the full season and retained them moving forward, so you can assume they will take someone again this year. If they do, here are my suggestions for guys they should look at.
Bryce Stowell, RHP (CLE) – Stowell has a big arm, as he used to consistently sit in the high 90s, but has had some injury trouble recently and is now down in the 92-95 range consistently. Still, if he’s past his injury issues, he has a special arm and could fit in well in the middle of the bullpen. Like we saw with Herndon, stashing a reliever as your 25 man is pretty easy. The Phillies will have competition in the bullpen, and Stowell could fit in there. Over the last 2 seasons between A+/AA/AAA he’s put up this line: 106 IP – 63 H – 57 BB – 159 K. Still a little raw, but plenty of upside. Video here
Ryan Flaherty, INF (CHC) – Flaherty is the victim of a numbers game, as the Cubs have a bunch of high ceiling/bonus baby infielders they need to protect and he doesn’t really have a set position. In 2011 he played 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, RF and LF. That’s versatility. He hit .305/.384/.523 at AA before struggling a bit in AAA. He has lefthanded power and can play all over the field, so if the Phillies were looking for another bench bat, he’d be a good guy to look at. I suspect that he’ll get taken before the Phillies pick. Grainy video here.
Nick Barnese, RHP (TAM) – Barnese was a high ranked prospect as recently as 2 years ago, but like most Rays pitchers, he’s moved very slowly through the system and now must be protected. He doesn’t turn 23 until January, and has moved one level at a time since being drafted. He spent 2011 in AA and saw his walk rate jump a bit while his K rate dipped slightly. His groundball rate has dropped each year since turning pro, but was still a respectable 47% in 2011. He may have just gotten a bit stale in Tampa, or his stuff might have dropped overall. There’s only one way to find out…
Philippe Valiquette, LHP (CIN) – He can’t seem to stay healthy, but when he’s on the mound he throws 97-99 from the left side. Sometimes he knows where its going, other times he doesn’t. But that kind of arm strength is worth a $50,000 flier, and if he’s injured/sucks, you get half of that back when you offer him back to Cincinnati. If he can stay healthy and harness his stuff, he has impact reliever possibility…kind of like Antonio Bastardo at this time last year. Plus, collecting guys named Philippe (and all their alternate spellings) should be an organizational priority.
Pat Venditte, P (NYY) – He’s a switch pitcher. Enough said. Video.
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP (CHC) – Had Tommy John Surgery, but bounced back nicely in 2011 and posted this line in A+: 127.2 IP (career high) – 131 H – 43 BB – 117 K. Both his BB and K rates were improved from 2010 when he was recovering from surgery and he allowed only 10 HR last year with a 49% groundball rate. Would certainly be an interesting guy to look at as a reliever, though he’s been a career starter. He has four pitches, and his fastball sits in the 91-94 range as a starter, which could tick up in relief, and his change and curve are both solid average pitches.
Of course the Phillies don’t ask me for advice, and at this time last year I wasn’t writing up a piece on how they should take Micahel Martinez. So, we’ll see what happens.