Affiliate Review: GCL Phillies

Today I’m going to start my reviews of the 6 Phillies minor league affiliates. I was originally planning to do something more in depth, but I haven’t quite finished my new system yet. Its to the point where I can use it to discuss the players in fairly good detail, but I still have more work to do before I churn out Top 30’s and get into the final analysis of our prospects heading into 2009. So what I’m going to do is talk about the 5 best performances for hitters and the 5 best performances for pitchers at the level, and then cover any high profile players who didn’t fall in that range. It should be easy to follow, so lets get started.

Sebastian Valle, C: .281/.341/.407

Valle’s line, based strictly on his raw numbers compared to the GCL average, was about 17% above league average. He did this as a 17 year old, and he’s a catcher, which are the biggest points in his favor at this stage. But he does come with some red flags. First, his SecA was only .198, a very low number. He drew only 12 walks and had only 17 extra base hits out of 47 total hits. His K rate is manageable, at 16.8%, though hes going to need to improve his secondary numbers as he improves. As I mentioned, he performed well at the toughest defensive position at age 17 in this league, so he does get credit, but it comes with red flags.

Harold Garcia, 2B: .299/.402/.511

Garcia, 21, was very very old for the GCL, which has to be said up front. And the odds of him becoming a great prospect are slim. But if we’re talking about raw performance, Garcia was one of the best hitters in the GCL. His .414 SecA is fantastic, he didn’t strike out all that much (15.2% of the time), he walked in 9.5% of his plate appearances, and 42% of his hits went for extra bases. The big thing is, most legit prospects coming from Latin America are 17/18 when they make their US debut. Garcia played in the VSL last year, posting a .296/.383/.402 line, making this year’s stat line all the more impressive. Again, he’s not likely a legit prospect, but he had the best statistical season of any GCL player, it was his debut, and I felt he deserved a mention.

Zach Collier, OF: .271/.347/.357

Collier, the Phillies supplemental 1st round pick, has gotten excellent reviews from outlets like BA since being drafted, even being compared to a young Garrett Anderson. His debut, statistically, was good but not great. He finished with a .257 SecA, and the biggest plus for him right now is the 11.3% BB rate. I harp and harp on plate discipline, and he’s shown a good eye thus far at the plate. He didn’t flash a whole lot of power, only 28.6% of his hits went for extra bases, and he finished with a .086 ISO, but he was young for the league, and as he fills out he should show more power.

Leandro Castro, OF: .298/.317/.422

Castro, making his US debut at age 19, was again a bit old for the league, but posted a decent composite line, putting him about 14% above the GCL average. He posted a .180 SecA, which was largely influenced by his microscopic 2.4% BB rate. His XBH% was lower than Collier’s, at 27.1%, but he had a slightly better ISO of .124. At this point he looks like a marginal prospect at best, but I’d say he is a prospect, at least for now.

Yonderman Rodriguez, 3B: .302/.421/.364

Following along the lines of Harold Garcia, I have to mention Yonderman Rodriguez. His composite OPS line was about 30% above the GCL average, stronly driven by his walk rate, an eye popping 17% in 159 PA’s. He didn’t show much power at all, as evident in the .062 ISO, but the walk rate boosted his SecA to .318, one of the best scores of any Phillies hitter in the GCL. As with Garcia, he’s not really a prospect until he proves he can hit at higher levels. But there really weren’t a whole lot of other options for this spot.


Anthony Gose had a disappointing debut, posting a .256/.293/.359 batting line in only 41 PA’s before going down with an injury. Anthony Hewitt’s debut was also poor, though it was less surprising. His final line of .197/.256/.299 was a whopping 39% worse than the average GCL line of .253/.331/.356. Jean Rodriguez, another 2008 pick, struggled in his debut, Ruddy Rio-Nunez had only 7 PA’s, and Damarii Saunderson had only 39 PA’s, and despite the .540 OPS had a .310 SecA. Jim Murphy, a 2008 draftee, isn’t really worth mentioning (even though I just did), because he was 22, 4 years older than the average GCL prospect. Nice numbers, but fairly insignificant.

Kyle Slate, RHP: 27.2 IP — 4.55 ERA — 2.96 DICE — 9.60 K/9 — 0.66 BB/9

Slate had possibly the best performance of any Phillies pitcher in the GCL this season, even when you account for him only pitching 27.2 innings. He missed bats, he didn’t walk anyone, and his ERA on the surface was unlucky, which is indicative by his 2.96 DICE, a run and a half lower than his actual ERA. He did allow 3 HR in those 27 innings, and that is a red flag, but the rest of his numbers look great. He pitched 2 innings in the GCL last year, and “repeated” the league this year. The Phillies should probably be aggressive with him and start him at Lakewood, even if its in a bullpen role. That will limit his innings, which they seem intent on doing, but it will get him facing age appropriate competition.

Jason Knapp, RHP: 31.0 IP — 2.61 ERA — 2.42 DICE — 11.03 K/9 — 3.48 BB/9

Knapp, a hard throwing 17 year old, was younger than a lot of his peers, but flashed the swing and miss stuff that got him drafted in the 2nd round. Of the 26 hits he allowed, only 3 went for doubles and he allowed 1 HR, very good rates. He struggled with control at times, especially to left handed batters, and the Phillies will probably continue to work on smoothing his mechanics and cleaning up his arm motion. He went down at the end of the season with an injury, I haven’t heard anything since, but I’ll take the “no news is good news” approach here.

Spencer Arroyo, RHP: 31.2 IP — 4.26 ERA — 2.07 DICE — 7.21 K/9 — 1.44 BB/9

I touched on Arroyo a bit in my draft review. He showed excellent control, and while he didn’t miss quite as many bats as you’d like to see, he limited the walks, and also did not allow a home run, a promising sign. Of course he didn’t fare quite as well in Williamsport, but we’ll get to that later. As a 19 year old, he was a little bit older than your average GCL prospect, but he’ll still be age appropriate as long as the Phillies continue to move him along.

Ebelin Lugo, RHP: 33.0 IP — 3.82 ERA — 4.12 DICE — 8.73 K/9 — 3.00 BB/9

Lugo is a guy I don’t know much about, to be honest, but whos numbers kind of interest me a little bit. He struck out 32 in 33 innings, a nice total, but was also hittable, allowing 37 hits in those 33 innings. He also allowed 5 HR, a not so great sign. But the reason I wanted to put him here is that he was only 18, while a lot of other guys I’m looking at here are 21, 22, or 23. Lugo is listed at 6’2, and I can’t find his weight. So he doesn’t appear to just be a 5’9 soft tosser fooling guys with a trick pitch. Well, maybe he is doing that, I can’t be 100% sure. But I see a few interesting things in his numbers that make him kind of interesting to watch next season.

Miguel Matos, RHP: 30.0 IP — 3.30 ERA — 3.73 DICE — 7.80 K/9 — 3.30 BB/9

Matos makes the list again because of his age, as he was only 20. I say “only” 20, even though I concede that is 2 years older than the average GCL prospect. If it seems like I’m a broken record now about age-related to level, good, because I think its really that important. Matos has a nice pitcher’s frame, at 6’4/180 lbs, and could still develop into an interesting arm. He’s a longshot, obviously, but I think he’s a guy worth monitoring next year.

Notes: Tyler Cloyd pitched well, but in just 11 innings here. He showed great potential in striking out 11 and walking only 1. 3rd round pick Jon Pettibone pitched only 1 inning, so not much of note there. Trevor May pitched 12 innings and struggled with his control. Julio Rodriguez, another 2008 pick, struggled as well in his 10.1 innings of work. Reginal Simon, a guy I liked heading into this year, turned in a fairly pedestrian over 49 innings, not really missing many bats, but limiting the walks. Ryan Bergh dominated, but was 23, and is hardly worth a mention in this space. Yohan Flande, making his US debut, was also very old for the league at 22. His 2.19 ERA looks nice, but his 3.43 DICE indicates it may have been a bit lucky.

Next up, Williamsport, which will come either tomorrow or Wednesday.

18 thoughts on “Affiliate Review: GCL Phillies

  1. Its pretty impressive what Valle was able to do at 17. He’s not a big guy so I’ll be curious to see if he can improve next year. I like Castro and agree with you that he’s a prospect for now but he needs to be pushed up the ladder at his age. Hopefully, a few of these pitchers will be heard from for years because they have the potential.

  2. Lakewood should be the interesting team to watch next year in the organizatiion. Based on the players invited to Instructionals which season ends this week, it looks like like the Blue Claws lineup will be something like Overbeck or Hewitt at third, Hanzawa at SS, switch hitting Harold Garcia who was 3rd in the GCL in OPS at 2b, and Tomas DeLosSantos, who led the GCL in rbi’s and was second in homers and total bases at first . Looks like the outfield will be Gose, Collier, Castro and Myers with Valle catching. The pitching will be the most interesting with the likes of Flande, Slate, Simon, all of whom were key starters in winning the GCL flag to go with Knapp, Pettibone, May, and Schwimer coming out of the pen.

  3. I can see Slate and Schwimmer making the Lakewood roster next season for sure. Simon, pettibone an may r all likely to start in WPORT. Knapp is interesting, he seems to be more of a closer with his awkward arm motion an power arm. As for position players i dont think hewitt or gose will see lakewood maybe collier..who knowss..should be interestingg

  4. Slate was sidelined over a month an half with mono this season. He most likely would started in williamsport if not sidelined due to illness. Thats also the reason for his limited innnings

  5. DiamondGuru, the scout (yes, he is) who posts on the board, had some very positive things to say about Flande. Said he lives in the low 90s and has a simple repeatable motion. Old for the gcl, but that formula is what good, cheap middle relievers are made of.

  6. The way Hewitt struggled, do you think they would jump him to lakewood? To me it seems too much for a kid who had a lot of trouble making contact at GCL. Has he maybe impressed people at the instructional workouts.

  7. Quick question about the DICE statistic. I realize that it’s designed to evaluate pitchers independent of the defenses behind them, but does it value certain types of pitchers over others? Obviously, strikeouts are good and home runs are bad, but it seems like there’s a universe of subtle differences in the ways different pitchers get people out. Not debating that there’s an element of luck involved on (non HR) balls hit in play, but the spread between (for instance) Arroyo’s 4.26 ERA and 2.07 DICE seems pretty substantial. Sorry if this question is very elementary–it seems like every time I get one set of stats down the sabermetrics guys invent a new one.

  8. Also, since all these pitchers are playing in front of the same fielders, more or less, since they play on the same team, isn’t the quality of the defense already figured into their ERA?

  9. Gose, Hewitt and Castro are all not likely to start at Lakewood. Outside shot for Castro, but we may give him a bit more credit for his readiness based on his stats then the people who watch the games.

  10. In large part, I think the list above shows exactly why the GCL is an instructional league. The performances of Hewitt, Gose, Rodriguez, the other Rodriguez, May, and Pettibone simply weren’t good enough (or large enough in sample size) to warrant inclusion on a list like this — yet they’re all (relatively) high ceiling prospects that are worth monitoring going forward.

    And regarding Rickey’s point, I think Collier, Garcia, and Yonderman Rodriguez should be the position players from here who start at Lakewood next year. Valle, Hewitt, Saunderson, Gose and Castro should probably head to Williamsport, and Jean Rodriguez should repeat the GCL (so that both he and Valle get a good number of reps at catcher). The pitchers are a bit trickier, but I think Slate and Knapp should probably start in Lakewood; but of course, that’s fluid, depending on how everyone performs in instructs.

  11. Knapp would be 20 and at low A ball…that’s about right though I wouldn’t mind if he started at Williamsport and moved up accordingly. I’d like to watch him pitch and that won’t happen if he’s already at Lakewood next season.

  12. Vladimir de los Santos might be worth a look, too. Although he, like Garcia, was 21 for most of the year, he showed quite a bit of power with a .230 ISO. He also was a monster in August, with a .330/.578/.908 line (OBP/SLG/OPS), and he hit well in the playoffs.

  13. Who do you think starts at Williamsport next year? I hope Knapp and Hewitt do because when they come to Oneonta I can get a good look at how good they are.

  14. I was thinking Knapp was 19 now for some reason…my mistake. I confused his age with Hewitt’s for some reason. I definitely think Knapp should be at Williamsport then. He can stay in extended spring training and work on his mechanics and start with the Crosscutters in June. He’d still be able to move up to Lakewood by the end of the year if he does well there. I’d like to see Hewitt there as well for much the same reasons as Mike.

  15. Hewitt may have to repeat GCL if he does not progress enough to handle college pitchers. A distinct possibility.

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