Category Archives: 04. Prospect Features

Severino Gonzalez - Picture by David M. Scholfield/Lakewood BlueClaws

Breaking Down Severino Gonzalez

Severino Gonzalez has been the subject of much conversation between those who favor stats and results and those who are looking at scouting reports and the physical body of work.  This is not to say that anybody is wrong in this discussion, but more that we need to strip away all of our personal biases and look at the facts in front of us to come to a more informed conclusion.

The Stats:

No matter how you slice it Severino had an incredible statistical season.  His line across three levels was:

103.2 IP 2.00 ERA 22 Walks 119 Strikeouts 7.3 H/9 0.4 HR/9 1.9 BB/9 10.3 K/9 Continue reading

The Body Issue

So in thinking down my Top 30 list a bit, I come to a bit of a conundrum – I have three guys in close proximity with “body issues”. Severino Gonzalez, Dylan Cozens and Luis Encarnacion.

I spoke in the comments the other day about Severino Gonzalez. He’s listed around 6’1″, 153 pounds, and he’s yet to throw many more than 100 professional innings in any given year. Since he wound up in AA at the end of 2013, I think some folks have taken to assuming he pitched a full season, but we should not forget he was in extended and pitched out fo the bullpen for much of the year. Will a slight frame hold up to starters’ innings?

We believe Luis Encarnacion will hit, based on scouting leading up to his signing, but while he was listed as a 3B, much of the same scouting seemed to think he would never be anything other than a LF or 1B in the future. So not only are we betting on a 16-year-old, which gives plenty of people pause, but a 16-year-old who’s already ticketed for the two least demanding positions on the diamond.  Continue reading

Adam Morgan

Adam Morgan and Shane Watson have Shoulder Surgery Out Until August

Per Todd Zolecki, Adam Morgan had shoulder surgery this past month and Shane Watson is scheduled for surgery soon.  The Phillies expect both to be out until August.  This represents a big blow to the farm system as it makes it essentially two lost years for the pair of pitching prospects. Continue reading

Maikel Franco’s Contact

There has been a lot written and said about Maikel Franco‘s swing over the course of the season.  There have been talks about the shape and length as well as how much power it is going to generate.  Overall scouts have questioned how the swing as a whole will translate to the next level.  Franco has big time raw power and he has elite bat speed and hand eye coordination.  He has demonstrated the ability to make contact, but the quality of that contact has begun to come into question lately.  The goal is to explore if that is true and what that deterioration in contact might look like.

Contact Type:

So the first question is what kind of contact is Franco making.  Here is a break down of his percentages across each level Franco played at this year (sample size of 228, 249, and 88  balls in play respectively).

Contact Type

The first thing that jumps out is the spike in ground balls in AA that coincided with a drop in fly balls.  The next thing is that outside of a spike in winter ball, his line drive rate is very low (for example the lowest LD% among qualified 3B in 2013 was Todd Frazier at 18.1%), given that line drives have the highest probability of being hits, that is troubling.  The decline in flyball rate is troubling as well because that is where the HR power is coming from.  Overall it is an indication that Franco is not making the best contact possible, but given that minor league ball in play classifications can be off lets look at some spray charts. Continue reading

40 Man Roster Decisions – Part 1 – On the Roster

One of the first big moves of the offseason is the reshuffling of the 40 man roster.  The Phillies have already made their first round of cuts but they still have some work remaining to get down to enough to protect newly Rule V eligible players as well as sign free agents.  We are going to kick off this series by looking at the players already on the 40 man roster who may be on the bubble.  I have deemed players with established major league roles as safe and won’t discuss them here (this includes De Fratus, Diekman, Pettibone, Asche, Galvis, and Hernandez), I am including players who either are on the fringes or are pure minor leaguers.  I am going to give my opinion on what the Phillies should and give my guess at what they will do.

When it comes to players already on the 40-man roster, removing them subjects them to the waiver process.  This gives each team the option of claiming them, if claimed a player most only then be placed on his team’s 40 man roster.  If you are looking to keep some of these players in the org the big thing to look at is number of options years left.  A player with multiple options and some talent is likely to get claimed purely for a look, other, more fungible players can be snuck through waivers a bit easier. (*All ages are for Opening Day 2014) Continue reading

Maikel Franco #5 and Aaron Altherr #20 on BAs FSL Top 20

Before anyone grabs their pitchfork, here are the top 13 prospects in the league in order, all of which are no doubt Top 100 prospects: Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Javier Baez, Gregory Polanco, Maikel Franco, Noah Syndergaard, Gary Sanchez, Jorge Soler, Andrew Heaney, Aaron Sanchez, Nick Kingham, Eddie Rosario, and Alen Hanson.  That is a stacked list of names, and has pure prospects I would take Noah Syndergaard over Franco, because I think he is monster pitcher who was limited by only getting 12 games in the FSL.  That being said it is a great placement for Franco.

I am not going to dive into the Franco report too much as he appears on the Eastern League list as well among many of the same names.  Just know that scouts really like him and while their are weaknesses and nits to pick, he is still a very good prospect. Continue reading

Carlos Tocci #18 on BA’s SAL Top 20

The SAL this year was loaded with breakout talent and the two names that topped the list in Tyler Glasnow and Eddie Butler are the minors two biggest examples.  Additionally the stacked Hickory team helped infuse the list with high upside talent.

Tocci came in at #17 sanwhiched between Yankees RHP Rafael De Paula and 2011 first round pick Bubba Starling.  The scouting report on Tocci is a lot of what we have heard before, skinny as a rail with a line drive swing that should look much better once he games on strength.  The defense is advanced for his age and he was one of the best CFs in the league.  The disappointing thing is a year after pegging the speed as plus plus scouts think it is more average (certainly has not been a detriment to the defensive profile).

Prospect Spotlight: What to do about Zachary Green

Zach Green has been one of the breakout prospects so far this year.  On the surface it is for good reason as he is tied for the NYPL lead in HRs, has a sizeable lead in SLG, and is 5th overall in OPS.  The problem is that while his power has shown up in a big way and the walk rate has improved from 4.4% to 8.8%, his strikeout rate has ballooned from 23.5% to 29%.  This leaves a conundrum, on one hand the 19 year old Green is pushing for a spot in the upper echelon of Phillies prospects, and on the other you are wondering if he is going to make it out of A ball.  The truth is somewhere in between and what you are left with after walking through the tool set is the potential for a very solid prospect that has a lot of development left to do if he wants to near that ceiling.

Hitting: Green’s ability to make contact is the biggest outstanding question about him.  The swing has gotten shorter since the GCL, but it has a tendency to lengthen at time.  He generates good backspin and loft without selling out for plane.  The bat speed is average and there a questions about how it will hold up against plus plus velocity, but it shouldn’t be a fatal flaw.  His approach isn’t terrible, but he has big problems with breaking balls.  Additionally, he is really streaky at the plate so he will go through stretches where he is more susceptible to breaking pitches.  The good news is that he has gotten much better but it is something he will need to improve on to get past the high minors.  Given all of the questions it is hard to see the hit tool playing anything more than average. Continue reading

Phillies call up Ethan Martin

The Phillies are calling up Ethan Martin to make his major league debut on Friday.  The reports are Cliff Lee will not be ready to go and Martin represents the best option in the minors.

Martin was acquired for Shane Victorino at the 2012 trade deadline and was the 15th pick in the 2008 draft.  So far this year in AAA he is 11-5 with a 4.12 ERA with 67 BBs and 107 Ks over 115.2 IP.  He has pitched much better of late but walks are still an issue.

Martin will bring a fastball that sits plus velocity (93-95) but he can show plus plus when needed.  The curveball has been a plus pitch in the past and can flash plus plus.  The slider is an average pitch with potential.  At this point the changeup is a dream and not a usable pitch.  Martin has the stuff to dominate if he can keep the ball in the zone.  If he loses feel for his secondary offerings he has the tendency to overthrow the fastball and lose his delivery.