Daily Archives: May 12, 2008

Naylor, Taylor Make Ten Pack

Kevin Goldstein highlights two Phillies prospects in his latest Ten pack;

Drew Naylor, rhp, Low-A Lakewood (Phillies)
Don’t know the name? Maybe you should, because he’s suddenly the new minor league strikeout leader. A 22-year-old Australian, Naylor entered the season a bit of an unknown, but he’s putting himself on the map with six straight quality starts, including an 11-strikeout performance last week, and then his best start of the year on Saturday night–-a complete-game two-hitter with 12 strikeouts against just one walk–-lowering his ERA to 2.04 in 53 innings with 62 strikeouts and just 34 hits allowed. Naylor is an interesting player from a scouting level, as he has no dominant offering, but plenty of good ones. His fastball has average velocity and good movement, his curveball and change are both above average, and all of his pitches play up because of excellent command. His relative baseball inexperience makes him a little old for the level, but he should be in the Florida State League soon.

and

Michael Taylor, OF, Low-A Lakewood (Phillies)
During his high school days at Florida, Taylor was a monster, standing six-foot-six and 250 pounds and featuring plenty of athleticism for his size; only a firm commitment to Stanford prevented him from being drafted. His college career was disappointing, but many in the scouting industry didn’t put the majority of blame on Taylor, they put it on a Stanford program that has a reputation for creating hitting clones, forcing most players into a quick, single-plane hitting mechanic that frankly just doesn’t work for everyone. Still in love with his potential, the Phillies made him a fifth-round pick last year, and allowed him to return to his natural swing. So far that’s more than paying off, as the monstrous right fielder has homered in four straight games to raise his averages to .333/.410/.524 in 33 games for the BlueClaws. When you are looking for sleepers in the minors, you’d be best served by betting on tools, so put some chips down on Taylor.

VSL Season Starts Today

The first of the two Latin American complex leagues starts today with the beginning of the Venezuelan Summer League.  The Phillies are coming off a 36-31 4th place finish in 2007, though may have a very young pitching staff on the 2008 roster.  Ace pitcher Freddy Ballestas is now stateside along with several others from the 2007 team.  The second best pitcher from last season, Juan Colmenarez, is still listed on the VSL roster, though he was present on the minor league Spring Training rosters earlier.  Daniel Lara is definitely back from last year to provide at least some veteran presence on the mound. Continue reading VSL Season Starts Today

Is Happ ready to step in?

It’s Monday, that means its time for a discussion question. JA Happ is one of the few reasons to check the Lehigh Valley box scores. After a rough 2007, largely marred by injury, Happ has come out in much better fashion this season;

46.1 IP — 2.72 ERA — 34 H — 23 BB — 55 K — 4 HR — 1.35 GO/AO

Happ’s 2.72 ERA is probably a bit low considering the number of base runners allowed coupled with the 4 HR. His biggest problem is still the free pass. He’s walked 12 in his last 25.1 innings over 5 starts, and before that had walked 5 guys in back to back starts. Is it a case of true wildness, or is he just nibbling too much? The swings and misses are still there, that’s evident in the strikeout numbers, but are the walks due to his not having control/command of his pitches, or a case of him trying to be too fine? Last season in his major league debut he was nibbling way too much. Obviously he was fighting nerves that day, but its something he’s going to have to work on to be successful. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he needs to be aggressive and cut down on the walks.

So, at what point will Happ be ready to step into the rotation?