Daily Archives: February 16, 2007

Phillies system finally gets some respect

The Hardball Times, one of the best baseball information sites out there, put out a piece ranking all 30 minor league systems in baseball. The Phillies system ends up at #10 overall, namely on the strength of our pitching, which was ranked 4th overall. Here is an excerpt, but be sure and check the link above for the full piece.

The Stats

To keep things simple, I used a single stat for every pitcher and hitter in the minors. OPS was a natural choice for hitters, and to keep the graphs (which we’ll get to a bit later) on the same scale, I used OPS against for pitchers. To enable comparisons of everyone from Low-A to Triple-A on the same scale, I used equivalent (MLE) OPS, which is adjusted for park, league and level.

I took into account only two other variables for each player: their playing time and their age. It’s foolish to compare a 21-year-old in the Florida State League to a 25-year-old in the International League, and, as you’ll see in a moment, my ranking approach reflects that.

I considered playing time mainly to differentiate relief pitchers from starters. A team with a bunch of great relief prospects doesn’t have as strong a system as a team with several good starting prospects. (You could argue that adjusting for playing time isn’t sufficient, especially since differences in OPS against will be more extreme for relievers.)

Rating Players

First, I found averages and distributions for every age throughout the minors. In other words, I could compare every player to the average production from his age group. I included all players with reasonable playing time between the ages of 19 and 27—younger than 19, there are only a few players at low-A or above in all of baseball, and older than 27, players don’t really count as prospects anymore. (You could set the age limit lower, of course. It doesn’t end up mattering very much.)

Then, for every player in the minors, I determined whether he was above average for his age group, and whether he was in the 90th percentile or higher for his age group. (I also determined whether he was in the 75th percentile or higher, which helps make the graphs more interesting, but doesn’t affect the rankings.)

Prospect Grades: Hill and Dubee

Happy Friday everyone. I’m still not quite caught up, which means I’m going to have to limit it to two grades again today. However, tomorrow I will try and get a few more done, and I should be able to wrap it up by the end of next week.

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Hill, Garet, RHP (age 22) Grade = B-

The Phillies took Hill, a 4 year senior from Biola University, in the 24th round of the 2006 draft. Hill is a tall, lanky RHP, checking in at 6’5, 217lbs, and he had a nice debut at Batavia. In 47 innings, he posted a 2.49 ERA, allowing 39 H, 7 BB, and struck out 35. Hill’s numbers in college were pedestrian his freshman and sophomore seasons, but he put up a 2.10 ERA in 98.2 IP his junior year, and was starting to look like more of a prospect. However, in his senior season he fell again, posting a 4.15 ERA in 97.2 IP. Nevertheless, the Phillies took a gamble, and it might have been a good one. Because of his height, he’s able to throw on a downward plane, and that manifested itself in the 78 to 33 GB to FB ratio he posted at Batavia. Of his 17 appearances, only 4 were starts, so it appears the Phillies plan to use him as a reliever, which makes sense based on the logjam at Lakewood and Clearwater in the rotations. Hill’s peripherals suggested a higher grade, but due to his apparent role as a reliever, and the fact that he’s already 22, he gets a B-.

Outlook: In lieu of posting ceiling/floor/conclusion for guys now that we’re getting down to the bottom of the organizational ladder, I felt I’d just post a 2007 outlook and make some general comments. Hill will probably start at Lakewood in the pen, and could move quickly based on how well he performs. He could return to a starting role at some point if he continues to impress as a pro.
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Dubee, Michael, RHP (age 21) Grade = C

Dubee’s already made a name for himself to Phillies fans because he is the son of current pitching coach Rich Dubee. As the son of a pitching coach, people are always going to talk about your “feel for pitching”, and it makes sense. Dubee, who only turned 21 in January, was drafted 3 times, and finally decided the 3rd time was the charm after the Phillies went above slot to sign him. His debut was less than fantastic, as he struggled a bit at Batavia in his age 20 season. In 37.1 IP, he posted a 4.82 ERA, allowing 49 H and 15 walks compared to only 27 strikeouts. While his “feel for pitching” is no doubt mentioned as a strength, I have no idea what kind of stuff he actually has. I’m guessing he’s got the fastball/curveball/changeup mix, but judging by his numbers, he’s less than a finished product. Because he does appear to have quite a bit of upside, I went with a straight C, though numbers-wise, he could have drawn a C- at this point.

Outlook: Because of his last name and because the Phillies did overspend on him to keep him away from Tennessee, he’ll probably get a shot in the rotation at Lakewood. I can’t see him staying in rookie ball and going to Williamsport, but I could be wrong.