Around the System-OF (Lakewood, WP, and GCL)

Read below the fold for the final edition of Around the System for 2009.  With the start of the Arizona Fall League late next week, look for updates twice weekly on the goings on with the Phils prospects in Scottsdale.

Lakewood

Anthony Gose, Age 19, Phils 2nd round pick in 2008 draft.  .259/.323/.353 in 510 AB’s.  2 HR 52 RBI, 76 SB (20 CS). .288 vs. LHP; .248 vs. RHP; .291 with RISP; 13 OF assists, 7 errors. Mid Season and Post Season South Atlantic League All Star.  Can’t find too much to complain about with Gose, who clearly will be moving up to CLearwater next season.  He needs to work on his average a bit, but if he keeps up the pace, he is on the way to leading off in the big leagues in 2012/2013.

D’Arby Myers, Age 21, Will be 21 in December. Phils 4th round pick in 2006 draft. .270/.309/.381 in 270 AB’s.  2 HR 23 RBI, 16 SB (4 CS). .182 with RISP. .311 post all star. 4 OF assists, 4 errors. Myers bounced back relatively well from a very disappointing ’08, putting up respectable numbers. He should be ready to compete in High A ball.

Vladimir De Los Santos, Age 23, Signed as a free agent in 2005.  .221/.263/.325 in 163 AB’s.  3 HR 20 RBI, 31% K rate. .143 vs. LHP. .244 with RISP. 4 assists and 1 error. De Los Santos did not show too much this season with the BlueClaws.  Its up in the air, whether there will be enough room for De Los Santos with so much talent surrounding him.

Brian Gump, Age 22, Drafted by the Phils in the 26th round of 2009 draft. In GCL: .317/.386/.484 in 126 AB’s.  4 HR 19 RBI, 6 SB (5 CS). In Lakewood, .200 in 35 at bats. Gump impressed in the Gulf Coast League and earned a late season recall to Lakewood.  Not enough of a sample size for an opinion on South Atlantic League success, but I would expect to see Gump back there next year.

TJ Warren, Age 21, Phils 8th round pick in 2006 draft. In Williamsport: .286/.337/.364 in 77 AB’s. 0 HR 12 RBI, 9 SB (2 CS). In Lakewood: .183/.300/.300 in 60 AB’s. 0 HR 7 RBI, 3 SB, 33 % K rate in Lakewood. Combined: .241/.320/.336 in 131 AB’s. 0 HR 19 RBI, 16 SB. Another toolsy OF struggling a bit in Lakewood. After a 2008 in which he hit .251 in over 200 AB’s in Lakewood, Warren’s progress slowed a bit, and I would expect to see him back playing regularly in Lakewood next Spring.

Williamsport

Leandro Castro, Age 20, Signed as a free agent in 2007. In Williamsport: .316/.351/.512 in 256 AB’s. 7 HR 43 RBI, 18 SB (9 cs); .379 vs LHP; .329 with RISP. In Lakewood: .152/.230/.212 in 66 AB’s. 0 HR 6 RBI, 2 SB’s. Castro started the season in Lakewood,struggled and was sent to Williamsport where he was superb, hitting consistently, showing good speed and some power. He additionally made the NYPL All Star Team.  He should be moving up, playing regularly, and someone to be excited about in 2010.

Zach Collier, Age 19, Phils 1st round pick in 2008 draft.  In Lakewood: .218/.275/.319 in 298 AB’s. 0 HR 32 RBI, 13 SB (7 CS). In WIlliamsport: /226/.280/.336 in 137 AB’s.  1 HR 13 RBI, 7 SB.  Combined: .221/.276/.324 in 435 AB’s. 1 HR 45 RBI, 20 SB. Collier was disappointing in 2009, struggling in Lakewood, getting sent back to WIlliamsport and having similar stuggles in WIlliamsport.  I think the Phils will try to start him in Lakewood, and not hesitate to pull him back once again to WIlliamsport as they attempt to get another full season under Collier’s belt.

Jiwan James, Will be 21 at the start of next season, Phils 22nd rd pick in 2007 draft. .264/.336/.372 in 121 AB’s. 1 HR 13 RBI, 7 SB (4 CS); .286 post all star; .333 with RISP. James is a converted pitcher and this season was his first professional season in the OF, and he saw some moderate success. I see James starting in Williampsort, with a call up to Lakewood in short order if his success continues.

Carl Uhl, Will be 23 at the start of next season. Drafted by the Phils in the 18th round of 2009 draft. .237/.304/.355 in 152 AB’s.  1 HR 9 RBI, 10 SB.  .182 with RISP. Uhl showed some limited potential with his speed in Williamsport, but not a heck of alot beyond that.  The 23 year old, 18th round draft choice will be on the fringe starting next season.

Michael Dabbs, WIll be 23 at the start of next season. Drafted by the Phils in the 17th round of 2009 draft.  .211/.263/.345 in 171 AB’s. 3 HR 17 RBI, 4 SB. 30% K rate. Again, on the fringe.

Gulf Coast League

Domingo Santana, Age 17, SIgned by the Phils as a free agent in 2008. .288/.388/.508 in 118 AB’s.  6 HR 28 RBI, 3 SB. .262 vs. LHP, .303 vs. RHP; .357 with RISP. The decision making on Santana, who doesnt turn 18 until August will be interesting.  I would start him in Williamsport and see what he does with his 100-150 AB’s prior to his 18th birthday, and then go from there.

Kelly Dugan, Age 18, Phils 2nd round pick in 2009 draft. .233/.297/.300 in 150 AB’s. 0 HR 8 RBI, 9 SB (5 CS); .148 vs. LHP; .281 vs. RHP; .175 with RISP; Dugan simply isnt ready to face more advanced pitching then Rookie Level, and until he proves otherwise in Extended Spring Training, I cant see him moving up, even with the large bonus money he received.

Aaron Altherr, Will be 19 in January; Phils 9th round pick in 2009 dradt; .214/.283/.286 in 84 AB’s.  1 HR 11 RBI, 6 SB. .154 with RISP; .185 vs. LHP; 3 errors. Altherr is another player that came with expectations, and has not shown too much yet.  I would again expect to evaluate ALtherr’s positioning for 2010 in Extended Spring Training.

Miguel Alvarez, Age 20, Signed as a free agent in 2007; .260/.308/.370 in 73 AB’s.  0 HR 7 RBI, 5 SB.  .389 vs. LHP; .218 vs. RHP. A prediction would simply be no more then a guess.

David Hissey, Will be 24 in November; Phils 50th round pick in 2009 draft. .226/.344/.226 in 53 AB’s.  0 HR 2 RBI, 2 SB. No room for a 50th rounder hitting .226.

Kyrell Hudson, Will be 19 in December; Phils 3rd round pick in 2009 draft. .162/.225/.216 in 37 AB’s.  0 HR 6 RBI, 2 SB. I would think back to the GCL to start for the high draft pick.

47 thoughts on “Around the System-OF (Lakewood, WP, and GCL)

  1. Again, a sign of the Phillies strength at OF is the number of interesting prospects in the lower levels of the system as well.

    Only drawback from all of this talent is that the team is quickly running into a log-jam of having enough OF spots to find consistant playing time for all of them.

  2. yea jiwan james missed a good part of the season with a wrist injury he was hitting got hit on the wrist and ump called it a strike cause he heard contact the contact was it hitting his wrist

  3. Bill, I think Ihl and Dabbs will both repeat at Williamsport. One or both of them will need to show noticeable improvement in their 2nd year or their stay in the organization will be a brief one.

    At 23, they should be putting up superior #’s against younger opposition..

  4. o ok yea uhl had a big turn around he started by hitting under .100 he just didn’t hit then he did a little bit Dabbs just struckout a whole lot they probably wont last long

  5. I’ll throw out the thought that all these young OF represent a fairly drastic misallocation of resources for an organization that is pretty much totally devoid of IF talent that can reasonably be projected to be of sufficient quality to yield a single future major league starter of even average performance. We added too many raw talent HS OF projects at a time when we already had a few projects but also had very solid talents further up the ladder.

  6. Allentown-

    I was thinking the same thing. However, I hold out hope that maybe the Phills will now begin to go the other way and draft tons of toolsy infielders. I mean when they started drafting these kids we had no real CF, Glanville/Lofton/Rowand? We had Burrell in Left who was/is a DH. We had young guys in the infield such as JRoll/Utley/Howard. And we had Cardenas there on the farm.

    So maybe now we will overload with infield prospects to the point where in a few years you and I might be saying “Our farm is pretty much devoid of OF prospects”.

  7. Like what Dusty Wathan had to say about three can’t miss position players Anthony Gose, Harold Garcia and Travis d’Arnaud after the season ended on the BlueClaw blog:

    Anthony Gose: His personality definately helps. He doesn’t let things worry him. He’s never in a bad mood or worried about yesterday. You don’t know if he went 0-4 or 4-4 yesterday, or even after the game. He’s a team leader and guys listen to him. To do that at 18, that’s pretty special.

    If Harold Garcia were on a different team, you would hear a lot more about Harold Garcia…Without Gose, he’s right there on the front page of everything.

    Travis d’Arnaud’s second half: When a catcher struggles at the plate, sometimes they take it on the field, but he never did that in the entire first half. And he was outstanding in the second half.

  8. DOE-MING-GOOOO SANTAAAAANAAAHH – one of the best baseball names ever and with the apparent talent to match the name.

    I am so excited about watching this kid go through the system.

  9. Agreed that Garcia is a player to watch. He’s one of the main sleepers in the system – he could end up being a solid major league back-up or even an average starter.

  10. What were triple-slash averages for these leagues? I look at the numbers for guys like Myers, Castro and Warren and feel like I’m missing important context; obviously Gose is a comer, and in the case of someone like Collier his pedigree suggests it’s reasonable to expect improvement, but for the “next level” of prospects the prognosis seems unclear.

  11. It will be very interesting to see where they send everyone to play next season, expecially Hewitt and Collier. Where they put them will effect all the others. Lots of guys could play at Lakewood (Castro, Warren, Hewitt, Collier, Gump). Clearwater seems more obvious with Gose and Myers plus someone. They could move Gump up to Clearwater if he has a good winter and spring because he’s older and getting at bats for him at Lakewood could be tough. Gose certainly had a good year especially at his age but he’ll need to increase his average and walk rate at the enxt level. Collier clearly was one of the bigger disappointments for me this year right there with Sampson and Mattair.

  12. Don’t see Hewitt going anywhere but back to a SS league in 2010. I actually think the announcement of the position switch now gives them a reason they can use to sell why he isn’t being advanced through the system.

  13. I also love the future prospects for Santana and Gose. Given all the other guys we already had on the farm in the OF and the likelihood that Hewitt couldn’t stay at 3B, Dugan and Hudson and Altherr just seem like wasted draft picks in a year we lacked a #1. If there weren’t IF who were any good, take a pitcher or catcher.

  14. Dajafi, here are the triple slash averages of all the Phils’ affiliates.

    IL: .262/.328/.395
    EL: .258/.332/.385
    FSL: .252/.322/.363
    SAL: .254/.324/.368
    NYP: .245/.320/.351
    GCL: .238/.316/.335
    DSL: .242/.340/.330
    VSL: .265/.345/.381

    To give an idea of the importance of these numbers, minor league runs per game ranged all the way from 5.49 (Arizona League) to 4.05 (Florida State League). That’s the difference between baseball in the 1890s and 1960s. It’s huge.

  15. Allentown – I agree with you completely. The Phillies have always overdrafted at certain positions when they felt an organizational weakness. Remember when they had no #1 and #2 picks and then drafted 3 toolsy OF types with their first three selections (Moss, Bourn, Moran) in 2003. Moss was a 2B but most thought he would end up in the OF anyway. You could say that strategy worked because it produced 1 major leaguer, but it also ends up ignoring other positions of need.

    Infield is a glaring weakness now and should have been addressed. While nobody thinks Donald was a top prospect after an off year, he was at least important insurance that would probably have been better than Bruntlett next year if healthy. Galvis is a long way away with the bat and Villar is too young to tell if he is a legit prospect. I guess you could say they went infield with the Hewitt pick, but his moving to the OF is no surprise.

    What I fear is that both Rollins and Utley get old around the same time in 2-3 years. Rollins is already showing signs of decline. Utley at least has the bat to play anywhere. As of now, the system does not have a credible replacement for either one of them unfortunately. 3B as well, though I suppose it is easier for them to sign another second tier free agent there to buy some time than it will be in the middle infield.

    I actually like someone like Altherr as a potential prospect. He seems to have plus potential tools across the board. The reality, however, is that he is behind several other players like Dugan, Hudson, and Santana around his age. He will struggle for at bats and even if he develops might not get enough playing time to have real trade value. And the team was also looking at Jake Stewart in the draft. I can’t understand why they did not have at least one high pick (or flier pick) on a talented infielder.

  16. Where i am confused is the talk about rollins and utley 2-3 years ,I would think they have a least 5 years ,as far as infielders this systems is weak, and the closers i see is galvis after that no one yet, but can y go into the draft and take players based on position, rather than talent? think not, I really believe you draft best player available regardless of position, and then try to trade from strength to get young infielders if you dont have them.

  17. It is tough to see all this organizational talent at one position and not start conjuring trade scenarios. I’m seeing Taylor, Brown and Gose as heirs apparent to Ibanez, Werth and Victorino which leaves which leaves Santana, Collier ,( I think he’ll rebound s. next year) Dugan, Hudson, Castro et al as surplus.
    A move to first base by one of these 4/5 tool guys could add speed to a position that normally doesn’t have it.

    It’s too early to start proposing trades but I’ll have some to offer this offseason. They’ll definitely include an outfielder or two.

  18. Rollins OPS the last 3 years:

    2007 – age 28 – .875
    2008 – age 29 – .786
    2009 – age 30 – .719

    In 2-3 years Rollins will be at the age where his defense starts to decline along with the offense. He could recover a little next year, but he is on a career progression where he might not be a starting quality SS in 3 years.

    Utley is in better shape offensively and plays a less demanding defensive position. But he could also move to first after Howard leaves if he is starting to slip a little defensively.

    What scares me is there is no backup plan. And if the team does not invest a high pick on a college infielder, there is no one other than Galvis likely to be ready in 3 years (or any time in the event of an injury). This is a problem.

  19. Rollins is not the type of player to age poorly, being a very good athlete, with little hint of injury and a young man’s body, so even if his numbers over the last three years can be cherry-picked to support the notion, I would be very surprised if he doesn’t rebound (say 780-820 OPS) and sustain that rebound for several seasons. As for Utley, the Phillies have such a competitive advantage with getting his production out of 2nd base that he should stay there as long as physically viable. Not saying some infield prospects wouldn’t be nice, but the alarm is premature.

    I also think it important to note that while Anthony Hewitt’s name is mud, Lou Collier performed at pretty much the same level of terrrrrrrrribleness. Lou Collier was also a first round pick, and also recieved a bonus over $1mil. I do think he tends to get a free pass (or maybe Hewitt has gotten a rotten deal). I don’t have high hopes for either, but it seems that people seem to rely on (and more or less adopt) the reports of 3rd party draft analysts, many of whom have probably never seen the players first-hand. The result is those guys who get labeled a draft steal immediately after the draft end up getting a couple years honeymoon period, while those who get labeled overdraft are public enemy number 1 pretty much from the get go. I’d just love to see some sort of performance analysis of draft analysts (analyzing the analysts… Believe me, I know it sounds stupid), because at the competitive level of high school baseball, with players being SO FAR from what they may eventually become, it just seems like a game of craps, even though it has a frustratingly tangible effect on people’s attitudes.

    Otherwise, great round-up Gregg. Maybe a little too generous to Gose in my book, but there’s a lot to like regardless. And I’d love to see a list of comparables to what Santana did at age 16 in pro ball. I bet there would be some very encouraging names on that list.

  20. Personally I’m not too worried about the lack of infield talent. Don’t get me wrong – I have the same initial gut reaction of “ugh” – but talent also brings talent. We can debate Hewitt (though he WAS a 3B prospect) and Collier, etc. – but at the end of the day there does seem a be a fair bit of higher potential top end talent – most of it OF talent. And so if they can’t play here they can be used as pieces in trades to fill holes.

    So at the end of the day, in baseball, I’m totally cool with the “best available athlete” concept of drafting. Because of all the levels in the minors there are many places to play kids that play the same position, and obviously baseball is a trade focused league so it’s a lot easier to turn a surplus in one area into “need” players.

    Just my $.02

  21. utley is good enough defensivly to stick at second base for his career, barring injury. I’m not worried about second base for like another 7 or 10 years.

    My favorite numbers on this list of outfielders- Domingo Santana his age-17, and then his slugging-508. he is rediculus.

  22. Will, you meant ZACH Collier, right? Collier struggled no doubt, but his BB/K ratio was still twice as good as Hewitt’s. Bottom line is that Collier has better instincts for hitting.

  23. gregg i am still steaming about howard being dissed yesterday so if you allow me latitude. to all you guys who want werth at 1st or taylor or brown, whove done nothing, remember howard is a hall of famer with at least 5 prime years left. he is worth at least 20 mil. its sickening the way you guys want him out of here. everyear its the same thing he wont sign hes declining yeah 44 hr,s 140 rbi,s and .280. he carries this club. thats all!

  24. Gose ran out of gas at the end of the year. He finished 1 for 25 in september and 5 – 41 in his last 10 games. Take those out of his average and he hit .270. Myers was a favorite of mine 2 years ago and really disappointed last year. This year he really grew. He batted .224 in April, .190 in May, .257 June, .333 July, .290 Aug & .316 in Sept. I like the progression.

  25. I am going to ask the follow question with all seriousness. In the entire time that the Phillies have been drafting players, how many high-round, high school, “toolsy” position players have actually turned into good players? In other words, when the Phils have risked a high draft pick on a “toolsy” young position player, how often has it worked out? I suppose that Lonnie Smith worked out (to some degree) and Jimmy Rollins worked out. I can’t, off the top of my head, think of anybody else and the list of utter disasters is as long as Kobe Bryant’s arm (Jeff Jackson, Tim Moss, Greg Golson, we could go on and on and on). At what point, as an organization, do you wake up and realize that this is an insanely stupid draft philosphy? If you want a “toolsy” guy, you’re better off going late round (Dom Brown, for example) and paying over slot. But wasting low round picks again, and again, and again, for good athletes who have little demonstrated aptitude for baseball is idiotic.

  26. I liken this draft philosophy to professional football teams that insist on taking the quarterback who has the most impressive set of physical skills (JeMarcus Russell and Vince Young are good examples). But the best quarterbacks aren’t usually the most athletic quarterbacks, although athleticism is clearly one key component to performance. The best quarterbacks are the ones who read defenses the best, make quick decisions, elude the rush and put the football exactly where and when it needs to be.

    Baseball is much the same, if you have a raw athlete who can’t hit a curveball or make consistent, powerful contact, nothing else really matters very much, does it?

  27. The problem the Phils have is that their success has given them late picks in the last several drafts. Their strategy seems to be to accept risk in exchange for possibly getting higher value out of a low pick. We’ve seen them take toolsy high school players, and pitchers with injury concerns. I think they’re also more apt to take high school players since a healthy portion of their lineup is locked in for several seasons.

    I do agree with your last statement. If a guy can’t hit, nothing else really matters.

  28. I think you make an excellent point Alan. I think as in many sports after maybe the first top 15 picks “sure thing” really starts to drift off. Or, at a minimum, “sure thing star” really drifts off. I think you are looking at “solid but not spectacular” at that point – and again all of these things are hit or miss. So where the Phils have been drafting AND considering they have some long term strength on the major league roster and in the minors I am ok them playing the “take a shot on super upside”.

    At the end of the day I think when you look at the Phils, or probably almost any team, they do well when in the top 15 or so picks and then it’s good solid scouting after that to find the gems amongst the mass amount of picks you make (ala Ryan Howard). So why not go for the brass ring?

  29. I think people seem to missing my point. I have no problem with them taking players with a big upside or taking a chance on a high school pitcher. My criticism is very directed and limited. I am complaining about the draft strategy of taking, as high draft picks, great high school athletes as position players that have not yet shown great baseball skills. This specific drafting philosophy, it seems to me, has (for the Phillies anyway) failed over and over and over again – at some point, you have to abandon or temper it.

  30. I don’t see Santana as surplus. He is so much younger than Brown and Taylor, that he is almost the next generation. Even if he turns out to be all we hope based on his GCL performance, he is 5 years away from the majors. Taylor is ready next season, and 6-7 years from now, he is a major league FA.

  31. Catch
    I disagree with your position on the failings of the Phils draft strategy because of their results. If you have some other objection to drafting HS kids that’s fine, but the Phils results aren’t horrible. Further, I’m not ready to stick a fork in the draft class from the last couple of years which I’m inferring you already have. There are going to be hits and misses, that’s just the way the draft works. If you have already deemed Hewitt and Collier as reasons to reject the strategy, then you need to acknowledge that d’Arnaud, Gose, Cardenas might someday play in the majors too.

    So first let us look at whether this is a successful strategy by looking at the Phils results:
    Given your hypothesis that the phils strategy of picking toolsy HS players in early rounds does not work we would need to determine a failure rate (or vice versa a success rate) that would reject or not reject your hypothesis. In my opinion, all it would take is 1 single success, over a very long period, to reject the hypothesis. I acknowledge that others would set the bar higher I would disagree given that we are limiting ourselves to 1) early rounds (I used round 1 and 2) 2) position players 3) HS kids. This is so narrow we need very few hits to call this strategy a success given the small subset of players we are limiting ourselves too.

    HS Position Player 1st Round Picks from 1990 – 2009 (you mentioned Lonnie Smith, I’m not going back to 1974)
    Players selected in study group: 7
    Success: 1 (Mike Lieberthal, 1990)
    HS Position Player 2nd Round Picks from 1990 – 2009
    Players selected in study group: 6
    Success: 2 (Rollins 1996, Scott Rolen 1993)

    There are a total of 13 guys drafted in rounds 1 (including round 1 supplemental picks) and round 2 that meet your criteria. 3 of them made the Majors and played for a more than 1 season, 3 of them were All Stars at some point in time. Also, Rollins is an example why we need to look over a long time period. He was drafted in 1996 but is still paying dividends today.

    I think it should be noted, that by my count, the Phils have selected 39 players since 1990 in rounds 1 and 2, but only about 1/3 of them have been HS position players, not exactly an overwhelming majority.

    Speaking specifically to your point about bad ‘baseball skills’ for HS players I’ll bring up Hewitt. I don’t remember what Hewitt hit in HS, but I remember he dominated the poor pitching in his league, and I guess that Phils thought he would eventually dominate better quality pitching with more repitition. So I can understand their selection of him. Gose was a guy that I recall everyone thinking would end up a pitcher, but the Phils haven’t wavered in not moving him to the mound. His big knock was his bat, however right now I would place Gose in the asset column given his precevied value and projection.

  32. There is no such thing as a misallocation of resources at the lower level of minors. You draft and sign the best players you can, regardless of position, and play them accordingly. There’s so much uncertainty and unpredictability in prospects that to try and organize by position, instead of just assembling the best players possible, doesn’t work.

  33. This discussion of high school position players is interesting. I suppose Catch might respond by saying that Lieberthal and Rolen both showed “great baseball skills” before they were drafted, so they don’t count. But, then, how does one know if a high schooler has “great baseball skills”?

    In any case, if the total number of high school positions players in rounds 1-2 is really only 13, then what’s the number of seriously raw high school position players (that is the subset that I think Catch is really referring to)? It’s got to be even smaller. In which case I’m not sure it constitutes a draft “strategy.”

  34. Trading talent for talent is what goes on every year in the offseason. As I’ve said before, I think teams will come at the Phils very hard this off season trying to get Michael Taylor from them because he’s ready to play next year. I love MT but the Phils know they have no 3B after next year (they’ll keep Pedro for one more year due to the relatively cheap $5M option) and they need one. I also think that Jayson Werth is such an integral part of this team’s success that they’ll try to give him a multi year deal this offseason which will give MT’s job to Werth with Brown in the wings to take Ibanez’s after next year or the year after. The Phils know they have more outfielders coming to help fill any future gap there and they’ll need the payroll relief at 3B that a rookie would provide in 2012. That leads me to my question for those of you that follow this stuff. Who are the top 3B prospects in AA now that would be worthy of an MT trade and does that parent team need an outfielder?

  35. how many years away from the Majors is Cody Overbeck the 3rd baseman that played in clearwater this past season

  36. Very interesting, I’d love to spend the time to review this methodology to see if there’s anything to the counterarguments that were raised.

    Of the players mentioned, Mike Lieberthal could have been criticized at the time for a pick that was not good, but it definitely was not due to his lack of advanced baseball skills. Lieberthal was an extremely advanced receiver. So much so that he was drafted with one of the first picks in the draft even though he weighed in at slightly more than 150 lbs at the time. He is not the type of player that I’m referring to.

    As for Rolen, I know he was a multi-sport athlete, but my sense is that his baseball skills were pretty advanced.

    I used Rollins as an example to be charitable, but I don’t really know if he was a raw athlete or a great baseball player. I’m just not sure.

    My recollection, however is that, when they came out, Hewitt, Jeff Jackson, Reggie Taylor and Greg Golson were viewed, AT THE TIME, as being extremely raw athletic talents for baseball. They were all viewed much more as great athletes than great baseball players.

    But, you know something, maybe the Phillies are just pretty bad at drafting high school position players. In any event, when the Phils use a high draft pick to choose a “toolsy” guy, it seems that they have very little success with those picks, even keeping in mind that most picks, even high picks, don’t make it. By contrast, I think they’ve done quite well with college players and high school pitchers in early rounds, and incredibly well with college players in rounds 3 through about 15.

  37. On one hand, I think “CATCH 22 F/K/A/ H MAN” raised an interesting point. His combined question was…

    (In the entire time that the Phillies have been drafting players, how many high-round, high school, “toolsy” position players have actually turned into good players? In other words, when the Phils have risked a high draft pick on a “toolsy” young position player, how often has it worked out?)

    I think that question might be slightly mis-applied to this organization. Or at least it has to be broken up into parts.

    ** 1. I don’t believe you can go all the way back to Lonnie Smith, or Jeff Jackson, or maybe even Greg Golson. We are talking about the same organization yes, but only on the surface. The Phillies organization has completely changed over the last 25 years. They went from one of the best farm systems in baseball to one of the worst, to mediocre, back to one of the best again. They have come full circle with different men running the show applying different strategies. And Golson was drafted under the Ed Wade regime. This is the Pat Gillick / Reuben Amaro regime.

    ** 2. Going further, this “toolsy” outfielder as a trend really only goes back to the last 2 drafts…2008 and 2009. The previous “toolsy” outfielders drafted highly before that were D’Arby E Myers (4th) in 2006, Gregory J Golson (1st) in 2004 and Michael R Bourn (4th) and Javon Moran (5th) in 2003. So out of those 4 guys, only Golson was drafted in the first 3 rounds. Michael Bourn was the primary player used to trade with Houston for Brad Lidge. We know Lidge played a huge part in the 2008 World Series championship. Throw in the fact that Bourn appears to be developing into a very fine CF and leadoff hitter for the Astros. Greg Golson was traded for a former 1st round pick in John Mayberry Jr., so he still had some trade value as well this season. Beyond that Golson’s future is still unknown. Moran was a bust and Myers is still in the system. Overall I think the net result is that their “toolsy” outfielder picks worked out pretty well for them in 03, 04, and 06.

    ** 3. Now what about 08 and 09? Sure, I agree it seems like they went overboard a bit here in the outfield. But I think “FROM SECTION 113” nailed the analysis here in his earlier comments. 2008 and 2009 are both similar drafts but I think for different reasons.

    Think about where the organization was at the end of 2007 concerning the outfield. The Phillies had younger infielders in Utley, Rollins, Howard, etc and they were not just good players, but stars just entering their prime. In the farm system they still had infielders they had invested early picks in…Travis Mattair (2nd) in 2007, Adrian Cardenas (1st) and Jason Donald (3rd) in 2006, Michael A Costanzo (2nd) and Michael A Durant (4th) in 2005.

    Meanwhile the outfield was filled with question marks. Aaron Rowand was entering Free Agency and everybody knew he was going to be too expensive to re-sign. Pat Burrell’s was approaching Free Agency after the 2008 season. Jason Werth was a Pat Gillick reclamation project that was still viewed as a nice platoon player but maybe not a fulltime starter. Shane Victorino was still emerging and had just played his first full season (as a LF). In the minors Michael Taylor hadn’t yet begin to show much of anything and nobody was yet predicting Dominic Brown for superstardom.

    ** 4. With the above in context, 2008 made perfect sense to me. Collier and Gose were logical choices and I thought pretty solid value based on where they were selected. We all know Hewitt was the penultimate high risk/high reward type of player and I wouldn’t argue with anybody who thought he was a wasted pick because of that fact. The Phillies seemed genuinely hopeful that Hewitt could make it at 3rd base and I am sure they were hoping that between Mattair and Hewitt, one of them would emerge as a clear 3B candidate. So far they are wrong on their 3rd base gamble and it appears that Hewitt is moving to the outfield. And Domingo Santana was a Free Agent who was still a kid.

    ** 5. The 2009 draft is where legit questions can be asked around how they utilized their selections. By the time the 2009 draft started Michael Taylor and Dominic Brown were emerging as future stars. Shane Victorino and Jason Werth were having All Star type of seasons. Raul Ibanez was tearing it up and was signed thru 2011. Collier, Gose, and Golson/Mayberry were now in the system, along with Quintin Berry who is a decent OF prospect in his own right. So what did the Phillies do? They drafted 3 more outfield prospects in the first 10 rounds, and tried hard to sign 14th rounder Jacob Stewart.

    At the end of the day, the Phillies selections in the 2009 draft came at a time when their starting pitching was a train wreck. The Phillies knew they were going to have to try and trade for a #1 or #2 starting pitcher to compete in the postseason. One thing I really believe is that the Phillies assumed in early June that either Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown (or both) might have to be included in any deal. I bet that if the 2009 draft was held after the Cliff Lee deal was completed…a deal that saw neither Brown or Taylor included…the Phillies might not have drafted 4 more outfielders in the first 14 rounds.

    ** 6. In 2010 I expect to see the Phillies select 3B and SS early and often. At least I hope so. I can rationalize all early picks spent on “toolsy” OF selections in 2008 and 2009, but I couldn’t in 2010…unless they swapped some of the current group of outfielders for infield prospects from other organizations.

  38. To add to BOBO’s remarks below…

    (I think it should be noted, that by my count, the Phils have selected 39 players since 1990 in rounds 1 and 2, but only about 1/3 of them have been HS position players, not exactly an overwhelming majority.)

    Before Mike Arbuckle came over from the Braves system and helped rebuild the Phillies system from the garbage heap, the Phillies developed a reputation for shying away from High School players and going after signable college juniors and seniors. The late 1980’s and early 1990’s are full of forgettable college JAG draft picks.

    I am happy the Phillies don’t shy away from HS kids anymore. I don’t want to bring back the days of Brad Brink, Pat Combs, Tyler Green, Chad McConnell, Wayne Gomes, and Carlton Loewer.

    JAG = Just A Guy

  39. You draft in the top 2 rounds for stars. To be a star generally takes top end athletic skills. You can get good players if you are good at mining others mistakes (Victorino, Werth). You just need to get lucky / be good in round 3 to 6 (Happ, Howard). I think the club’s draft philosophy since Gillick took charge is appropriate… develop talent, use it for leverage to pick up what you need (Blanton, Lidge, Lee).
    It’s hard to find fault with the WORLD CHAMPIONS OF BASEBALL.

  40. “Nobody”, that was an outstanding right up. In fact kudos to everyone on this post as I think this has been my favorite discussion to watch on the site – thoughtful, respectful counter-arguments!

    Now that said 🙂 – the only area I think I might not agree with Nobody is with the comment “I hope they stock up on 3B and SS”. Don’t get me wrong, if there is a stud 3B or SS in the early rounds you jump on him. Or I am ok further down the line stocking up and taking some fliers on specific needs. But at the higher level rounds I still strongly believe you take the person with the best realistic upside. Now obvisously we can debate the “realistic” upside of the Hewitt’s and Colliers, etc., but I do believe that you take the best talent you can get and if it’s not the perfect position of need don’t sweat it – there is always value.

    And I think another reason to not do the “fill the need” thought process is how far away these kids are from the majors. Most you are talking 3-4 years, at the minimum. Who knows – Mattair turns into junior Mike Schmidt (just an example!) and suddenly your “need” isn’t your need anymore.

  41. I disagree that there were Wade drafts and Gillick/Amaro drafts. There were Wade draft budgets and Gillick/Amaro draft budgets, but other than 2008, they are pretty indiscernable. As to which players were drafted, the appropriate division is pre-Arby, Arby, Arby/Wolever, and Wolever drafts. It is not clear that there is much difference between these last 3 groupings and the scouts/scouting philosphy do not have sharp breaks with the transition. So… the Golson pick is very much a pick by the current scouting regime. Bourn/Moss are not toolsy HS OF picks, they were fairly well developed college players. The only similarity is that their primary skill was running speed.

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