Prospect Tiers; Hitters

As someone who loves to rank things, whether it be Phillies prospects, Seinfeld episodes, or fantasy football players, one of the things that I find most useful is rankings using tiers. Saying object X is ranked 1 and object Y is ranked 5 doesn’t tell you much unless you know the gap in quality between #1 and #5. For instance, if #1 is a Jaguar and #5 is a BMW, that’s different than #1 being a Ferrari and #5 being a Honda Civic. Or in baseball terms, if Domonic Brown is our #1 position player prospect, Michael Taylor is #2, and Jiwan James is #5, its important to understand the dropoff in prospect value from 1 to 2, and then 2 to 5, for instance. Lots of prospects have similar upsides, similar profiles, and similar projection, so just knowing they rank, say, 10 and 15, doesn’t tell you much unless you know just how similar the expectations are. So I’ve decided to try and create a little system to group prospects. Check below for more..

I’ve decided to just use 5 classifications for the players I’m going to include in this study.

Elite prospect: This is a guy who would be a #1 prospect in more than 10 other organizations, or at least be in solid contention. He’s a blue chip guy, he has top of the rotation (#1 or #2) potential, or All Star potential as a hitter. A grade in this tier won’t be given out liberally, it has to be pretty clear cut.

Above Average prospect: These are guys who aren’t quite in the Elite tier, but look like better than average prospects. They’re guys who you’d expect to be starters in the big leagues position player wise, and middle of the rotation starters. For pitchers, if you’re more fringy and potentially a #5 or just an innings eater, you don’t profile here. Only the best relief prospects fall in here, since the value of relievers is generally lower than that of a good starting pitcher.

Average prospect: These guys are fringe starters in the big leagues, more likely a 4th OF or a utility infielder, but maybe a starter on a bad team. Guys who have the repertoire to start, and could hang on in the bigs as a starter, but without much upside will go here. Good relievers go here, guys that aren’t dominant but who will probably find themselves as serviceable 6th/7th inning guys in the majors.

Fringe prospect: This is the group that will likely have the highest population. These are guys who might possess one good tool, but have major deficiencies in their game. If the light suddenly turns on and they put it together, they can graduate out of here, but they’re likely only going to move up one group. A select few will have tons of tools but very poor results. They can’t be considered average prospects, because a lot needs to go right for them to correct the major flaws in their game and make it as anything more than a fringe starter. For pitchers, you’re looking at command/control guys with modest peripherals who will likely bounce back and forth between the majors and AAA within a major league season.

Organizational player: These are basically the non-prospects, guys who are really here to just make up the numbers. For pitchers, if they develop a new pitch, learn a new motion, or undertake some kind of drastic re-invention of themselves, they could possibly move up to the Fringe prospect tier. But more than likely these guys will end up with nothing more than a cup of coffee.

The tiers are very basic. In a lot of cases, the guys in each tier will be interchangeable, you can rank them within the tier in a manner that you see fit. If you feel like a player deserves to be in a different tier, then you can make the case for him. I’m not going to add in the 150+ players who played in the Phillies organization this year. I think its kind of obvious who the guys are that don’t belong on anyone’s radar, ie, the 24 year olds in rookie ball.

We’ll kick start this with the Catching position

Catchers:

Elite:

None

Above Average:

Travis D’Arnaud – Catcher is the toughest position in baseball, and also the toughest to project in terms of guys in the minors. Some guys are able to stay behind the plate, some excel, and some have to move to a different position. D’Arnaud’s defense is good, still raw, but good, and I have confidence in him sticking behind the plate. His bat is also raw, but he’s shown good bat control, emerging power, and his plate discipline while not a positive, isn’t a big negative either.

Average:

Sebastian Valle – I’ll put Valle in this tier, simply because I’m not sold on his ability to stay behind the plate. B-R has him listed at 6’1, 165 which is not an ideal catcher’s frame. He’s shown excellent offensive potential, but at this point I don’t know how well his bat will play at a less premium position. The dropoff from catcher to any other position beside SS and 2B in terms of offensive threshold is vast. If he proves he can stay behind the plate, and his bat continues to progress, I have no problem bumping him up to Above Average. For right now though, I feel confident here.

Fringe:

Marlon Mitchell – Mitchell had an intriguing scouting report writeup prior to the draft, the Phillies gave him a sizable bonus to pass on college, and while we only have a 62 PA sample to judge him on, I’m intrigued by the potential here. He’s a fringe guy with 1 tier upside, but for now he belongs here until we see him hit.

Organizational:

Joel Naughton – Naughton hasn’t really hit yet, but he has shown the ability to draw a walk. I’ve never read detailed accounts of his defense, but he’s still only 22, and I do see some potential to develop into at least a possible backup if his defense is legit.

First Base

Elite:

None

Above Average:

Jon Singleton – Singleton had an awesome debut in the GCL, showing excellent peripherals. BA noted that he was a bit of a sleeper entering the draft, as he had a pretty swing with great fundamentals, but the results didn’t really match up with the scouting reports in High School. This isn’t really uncommon, some guys struggle in their senior seasons. Sometimes it comes from just trying to do too much, sometimes it comes from pitchers pitching around you and you wanting to impress the scouts there to see you, and sometimes its just a combination of things. The Phillies look like they found a gem in Singleton, who is easily the best corner INF prospect in the system for me. He falls short of elite at this point because of questions about his raw power. As a guy limited to 1B, the threshold for offense and power is quite high, but even if he maxes out at 18-20 HR in a full big league season, he’ll have plenty of value if his other tools are all plus. Should the power develop in the next year or two, I wouldn’t hesitate to bump him up.

Average:

None

Fringe:

Matt Rizzotti – Rizzotti has been fairly pedestrian, but he does a few things decently well. He’s drawn a decent amount of walks, and he actually increased his power a bit this year despite moving to a very pitcher friendly league. The problem is, he’s already 23, and he doesn’t have plus power for the position at this point. His profile screams “Greg Dobbs”, and that’s the definition of fringe. He could be one of those guys who gets to AAA, hangs around for a little while, and gets a chance to pinch hit/spot start for a few seasons, but it might not be in Philly.

Ryan Bollinger – Bollinger has a unique profile. He was a surprise signing in the 47th round out of North Dakota, a real baseball hotbed. He does offer an intriguing frame (6’6, 185), and you have to think he may be able to pack 20 pounds on and maybe turn into a hitter of some sort. His short debut means essentially nothing, but he’s a mildly interesting guy to me.

Organizational:

James Murphy – Murphy was one level below Rizzotti, and put up very similar numbers, with an identical SecA actually, but he’s 23, and he really doesn’t have much upside. As far as I know, he’s not a defensive wizard, and without big time secondary skills, he really doesn’t fit in. Nevertheless, he’ll be a decent org player for a few more seasons should they keep him around, and based on the lack of depth at CI in the system, I bet they will.

Darin Ruf – Ruf was a 20th round pick in 2009, and really his numbers are probably just a case of a 22 year old in a rookie level league hitting against guys 4-5 years younger than him. He put up decent peripherals, didn’t strike out a ton and racked up a few extra base hits, but he’s basically just an organizational guy. At only 22, he is younger than Rizzotti and Murphy though, so I put him on the list.

Mike Durant – I debated leaving him off entirely. He really hasn’t shown the ability to make consistent contact, and he struck out in almost 33% of his AB’s. Just shy of a 12% BB rate is nice, but he’s now 22, he’s 5 seasons into his pro career (Rule 5 eligible), and he’s yet to hit above .236. I suspect this is the last time I’ll mention him on this site.

Second Base

Elite:

None

Above Average:

None

Average:

None

Fringe:

Adam Buschini – This might even be aggressive, but I’m going to give Buschini credit for his monster college season and not knock him too much for his below average performance in the NYPL. He drew his share of walks (11%), and he did post a .306 SecA despite hitting only .228. He’s very athletic, so he should be able to stick at 2B, and it’s reasonable to expect him to be able to move around a bit, play some 3B and maybe even SS in a pinch. Of course if he doesn’t hit next year, when he’ll be 23, then he’ll quickly fall down to organizational player status. If it was really just fatigue from playing a ton of games in his return from a big injury in 2008, then he should hit for average, steal a few bases, and provide a solid glove at 2B with versatility, ie, Jason Donald lite.

Organizational:

Harold Garcia – Garcia is one of the least talked about guys here, and frankly its because I don’t know a whole lot about him specifically. 2008 was his first year in the US, and he posted an OPS above .900 in the GCL, but he was also 21, very very old for the league. At 22, he was still 2 years too old for Lakewood, but again he put up decent numbers. In the BA chat, he seemed kind of excited about Garcia, but the peripherals really haven’t looked great. Less than 6% BB rate, almost 20% K rate, and a .257 SecA doesn’t really inspire confidence. If he has a good glove, he can stick around and see what happens, but I’m not overly optimistic here.

Cesar Hernandez – As best I can tell, the Phillies signed Hernandez out of Venezuela sometime in 2006 or 2007. He played two years in the VSL, and 2009 represented his first year in the US. He definitely didnt embarrass himself in the GCL, hitting .267 (empty though) and posting a respectable 9.7% BB rate. He showed decent bat control (only 11% K rate) and was 13 for 18 in SB. A .213 SecA is nothing to get excited about, but I’m much more excited about him than, say, Brad Harman.

Shortstop

Elite:

None

Above Average:

None

Average:

Freddy Galvis – Galvis is one of the toughest guys to gauge. The reviews of his defense are well publicized, with a few outlets even indicating that he could play defense in the big leagues right now. But as I’ve harped on before, if you can’t hit in the majors, your value is likely limited. Look no further than Adam Everett. Everett is considered the best defensive shortstop in baseball, or was before he suffered through a bunch of injuries, but he’s a zero with the bat. In his best season, his FRAA (Fielding Runs Above Average, BP metric) was +62, a truly excellent number. If 10 runs is roughly one win, you can see he was a 6 win player defensively, which is nothing to sneeze. In that same season, his RAP (Runs Above Position, a BP metric used to compare a player’s offensive output to his the positional average) was -19, or roughly two wins below what a replacement level hitter would put up at shortstop. He hit an empty .239 that season and was close to an automatic out. But his glove was truly outstanding. That’s kind of what I expect out of Galvis. A hugely valuable glove, but a bat that will make it tough to justify the roster spot. If the Phillies were a mid market team who’s aim was to win 80-82 games a year, you might live with Galvis in the 8 hole even if he hits .220, because he’s a big asset to your pitching staff. But I can’t see him sticking as a regular on a team like the Phillies. If he can hit a bit more, steal bases at a higher clip, and maybe produce at least doubles power, then I could justify him being an above average prospect. But with his bat being what it is right now, this is as high as I can go, and I think he has room on the downside, to be honest.

Jonathan Villar – Some sites have him listed as “Villar”, and some have “Villan”, minorleaguebaseball.com has Villar so that’s what I’m going with. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic and flashed some decent numbers in his US debut, mainly in the GCL. He showed a solid 11% BB rate as well as a .331 SecA, boosted largely by his 17 for 19 in SB. Reports indicate he’s a good defender, not in the Galvis category, but he’s already arguably shown more with the bat in only a half season in the US. I kind of like him as a sleeper heading into next year. He got a brief taste of the NYPL, which is the level I’d expect him to play next year unless the Phillies get aggressive.

Fringe:

Jeremy Barnes – Barnes is your typical grinder, similar to Adam Buschini. His numbers were a bit better than Villar’s, showing more power and fewer walks, but his .268 SecA reflects a lack of speed in his game, as he was just 3 for 7 in SB. He’s not a true shortstop, but might stick there until he reaches the higher levels. He turns 23 in mid April, so the clock is ticking. He should be in Clearwater, but may start the year in Lakewood. There could be some value in him if he can remain competent in the middle of the diamond defensively.

Organizational:

Troy Hanzawa – Hanzawa is a slick defender who really has no peripheral skills at the plate. He hit as empty a .263 as possible, posting an atrocious .135 SecA, killed largely by 11 caught stealings in 20 attempts. An ISO of 0.90 doesn’t indicate any future power, and this came as a 23 year old in A ball. Guys who can catch the ball are assets to young pitchers learning their craft, so for his glove he should stick around.

Third Base

Elite:

None

Above Average:

None

Average:

None

Fringe:

Travis Mattair – I was really excited when the Phillies drafted Mattair. Just goes to show what I know. He’s been a big disappointment, showing almost no power despite a prototypical hitter’s frame. Which leads me to believe he has mechanical issues in his swing and he’s not using his lower half at all. His defense has generated good reviews, and he showed excellent patience in the first part of the season, and finished with a respectable 10.4% BB rate. But if he doesn’t show pitchers he can square balls up into the gaps at least, they’ll be less likely to work around him, and the walk rate may come down. After 2.5 seasons, he doesn’t really appear ready to move to A+, but he will enter a very pitcher friendly league and the odds of success don’t seem all that high. Then again, if the light suddenly goes on, he does have 2 tier upside.

Organizational:

Cody Overbeck – Overbeck was another big disappointment this season, posting a putrid .230/.282/.399 line in the FSL. The .169 ISO is decent, but its about the only positive thing you can really say about his season. His 5.9% BB rate coupled with a 27% K rate doesn’t inspire confidence. There were questions about his defense at 3B, and his bat certainly doesn’t play up in a corner OF spot. The one hope is that he could move to 2B, play it passably, and hit for some power. But really, its tough to find the silver lining here.

Corner Outfield

Just a side note here. I’m going to combine primarily LF and RF guys into one category. Rightfielders are more valuable because they have to make the tougher throw to 3B, and thus they normally require stronger arms. But its tough to really gauge that type of thing at this point in a prospect’s journey, so unless there’s a definite reason to consider someone a LF only, I won’t really make a note of it.

Elite:

Domonic Brown – Brown, as you may have heard, is kind of a big deal. He’s a physical beast, and still has room to add muscle to his very athletic frame. He’s not quite a finished product, he still needs to work on his routes in the outfield, and the power is still projection. But scouts seem convinced that he’ll draw enough walks where even if he maxes out at 20 HR a year, he’s got a chance to be a really special player. He basically does everything, and is a legitimate 5 tool player.

Michael Taylor – Taylor, it would seem, gets discredited a bit because of the presence of Domonic Brown in the system. He came from off the radar to big time prospect in just a few short months, and he’s shown no signs of slowing down. Taylor’s peripherals are outstanding, starting with a walk rate of almost 10% coupled with a good K rate of only 14.3%. 39% of his hits went for extra base hits, and his .229 ISO is excellent, as is his .379 SecA. Scouts tend to knock his power potential because he seems more contact oriented, but the fact that he is strong enough to rocket line drives over the fence while taking level swings would indicate that he’s always going to hit for power, and if he remains in the Phillies organization, his home park certainly won’t hurt his cause. Some might drop him down in the Above Average tier, but really he’s done nothing over the last 2 seasons other than destroy the ball, so until he slows down, or raises any red flags, I see no problem calling him an elite position player. Its not out of the realm to think of him hitting .290 with 30 HR and 10-15 SB, and every team in baseball would take one of those guys.

Above Average:

Domingo Santana – Santana, the Phillies highest profile international signing in the last few seasons, burst onto the scene in the GCL, sending 38% of his hits for extra bases, while also showing a feel for the strike zone with a 10.8% BB rate. Did I mention that he did this while only being 16, and that he’s already 6’5, 200 pounds? Its scary to think what he’s going to look like when hes done filling out. You could be looking at a guy who physically mirrors Michael Taylor’s 6’6, 250 pound frame. The GCL is one of the toughest hitting leagues in all of the minors, making Santana’s 6 HR even more impressive. He’s a project, he did strike out in 32% of his PA’s, but he’s really young, there is zero need to rush him, and if he develops and maintains his feel for the strikezone, he could be a really special talent. Definite elite tier upside.

Average:

Leandro Castro – Castro played 25 games in center, but 45 total games in the corners, so I’m sticking him there. Kevin Goldstein had some promising words for him back during the summer when he checked in, and Castro’s overall line is fairly promising; .283/.326/.450, with a .168 ISO, but his line in just the NYPL was more impressive; .316/.351/.512, with a .196 ISO. He still has issues to work on, and the low walk rate is cause for concern, but there’s also a lot to like. This was only his second season in the US, and based on experience he’ll be age appropriate for the SAL next season.

Fringe:

Tim Kennelly – The organization doesn’t appear too high on Kennelly, as hes a guy you really hear nothing about. Signed out of Australia way back in 2004, and having ended his 5th pro season (Rule 5 eligible, I believe), he posted his best numbers since his rookie ball debut in 2005. His numbers tailed off in Reading, but his Clearwater line of .303/.382/.450 is certainly solid. His overall peripheral numbers were very good; 10% BB rate, 14% K rate, 37.5% XBH, but only a .268 SecA, again largely driven by his poor short stint in Reading. His biggest issue appears to be his position. Since his debut, he’s played at least 20 games at Catcher, First Base, Third Base and Right field. In 2009 he spent 44 games in an OF corner, 36 games behind the plate and 13 games at 3B. It seems that he has a good skill set offensively for a super utility type player, and it will be interesting to see what happens with him next season, assuming he isn’t taken in the Rule 5 draft.

Kelly Dugan – Dugan was kind of a strange pick, I was confused as to whether he was a 1B or a corner OF, and his debut produced less than inspiring results, with a .233/.297.300 line in 167 PA in the GCL. He did steal 9 bags, and the reports indicate he has good raw power from both sides of the plate, so I’ll resist being too harsh on his debut. He’s obviously all projection at this point and will take some time, so I’ll leave him here and give him Average prospect tier upside. He played more games in CF than in a corner, but most everything I’ve read indicates he’ll have to shift to a corner or possibly 1B, so I’m just including him here.

Steve Susdorf – Susdorf went from College World Series hero to hitting a grand slam in his first pro game, to posting a solid overall line in his first full season. He predictably tore up Lakewood and Clearwater, then stumbled upon arriving in Reading. The jump from A ball to AA is the toughest jump in the minors, and he could have simply run out of steam. His peripherals overall were just ok, nothing really stands out, and his overall SecA of .239 isn’t impressive. Time is really what is working against him, as 2009 was his age 23 season, and his two big production outputs this year came in situations where he was much too old for his league. He needs to start at AA, and he’s going to have to rake, because hes limited to LF.

Zach Collier – It all seemed to go wrong for Collier. After a nice debut in 2008, including a solid walk rate in the GCL, Collier was terrible across both the NYPL and the SAL, where he started the year. A 6.7% BB rate, a near 26% K rate, and a SecA of .207 tell most of the story. He was clearly in over his head with the aggressive assignment to Lakewood, and he carried it with him to Williamsport after being demoted. There’s no denying the tools, he was a first round pick for a reason, but right now he’s clearly in the speculation stock bin. He has 2 tier upside, but he’s a long way away from that right now.

John Mayberry – Mayberry had a weird season. He spent a small chunk of time in the majors, and even dropped in a big fly in New Yankee Stadium, but we also saw the flaws in his game. He swings and misses a lot, the product of a very long swing, and because of that he’ll likely always struggle to hit for average. He did post a respectable 9.5% BB rate, and a .200 ISO is very good. The problem, though, is that 2009 was his age 25 season, and its hard to figure out where he fits in on the Phillies team. Ben Francisco is a super player and appears locked in as the team’s 4th OF, and also happens to bat righthanded and flash a better glove defensively. Mayberry may have to find work in another organization to get a chance. He’ll likely always strike out a lot, but he should draw enough walks to a valuable part of a platoon or strengthen a team’s bench.

Organizational:

Miguel Alvarez – Another guy signed out of the D.R. who I have very little information on. I know he’s 6’1, 170 and spent two seasons in the VSL before coming stateside in 2009. He appears to have a little speed, His ISO and SecA both ranked slightly above Zach Collier’s, and he was only 19. I don’t know if there is anything here, but it was a name that just made me curious, so I’m adding him here. The rest of the names are kind of uninteresting, so I’m moving on.

Centerfield

Elite:

None

Above Average:

Anthony Gose – Gose, the topic of a recent discussion here, is another tough prospect to judge. He has 3 legit 70 rated tools in his arm strength, his range in the outfield, and his speed. You can’t steal 76 bases by accident, but you also can’t steal 1B unless you’re an extremely proficient bunter. The great news on Gose is that he obviously is a very gifted athlete with excellent tools. He seems like a good kid with a good work ethic, which should help as he learns how to work his craft and develop a better plan at the plate. I mentioned before how tough it is to evaluate the value of stolen bases, and Gose is the exact type of situation I was thinking of. 70 SB potential in the majors is awesome, but you have to get on base first, and the pickoff moves you see in the majors will be much different from what you see in the minors. If Gose truly learns how to refine his approach at the plate, and his power is legitimate gap power, then he has elite tier potential. Guys who play gold glove defense, steal 70 bags, and hit 15 HR are very rare. His worst case scenario seems like Carlos Gomez, a guy with a low OB%, amazing defense in CF, and great speed who kind of plays out of control at times. If thats the player he turns into, he has value at the big league level. If he develops a better plan at the plate and adds more muscle, Carl Crawford is a reasonable expectation. And that’s a borderline superstar type player. Gose is far away, and has lots of adjustments to make, but he has definite potential.

Average:

Nathaniel “Jiwan” James – James was an afterthought heading into 2009, as his role and future were largely undecided/unreported on. He came into pro ball after turning down a change to play Division I football and started his career on the mound. After missing all of 2008 with an arm injury, he re-surfaced as an outfielder and apparently opened the eyes of a bunch of scouts at Williamsport. None of his peripherals really stand out, but he is a freakishly good athlete with a great frame and supposedly blistering speed. 2009 was just his age 20 season, so while he basically has 2 lost years in his development, he still has plenty of time, and it should be interesting to see what he does in his first full season as a position player. He has Above Average prospect tier upside.

Kyrell Hudson – Hudson is the prototypical Phillies draft pick. You can dream on his tools all day, but he has issues when it comes to making consistent contact and the offensive side of his game was considered a project. But like many others on this list, he has significant upside, and if he harnesses his athletic ability and develops a plan at the plate, he has Above Average tier upside, maybe even more. I feel he is very similar in profile to Nathaniel James, so putting them in the same tier makes sense. He’s going to require time, but he may turn out to be a special prospect. Or a nothing prospect. That’s the beauty of it.

Fringe:

Quintin Berry – The Phillies chose to protect Berry on the 40 man roster, and I believe it was a wise decision. In 2009 Berry did what he’s done since turning pro. He drew his share of walks (10.5%), showed decent bat control, hit for almost no power, and stole a ton of bases (48) at a high success rate (77%) and played good defense. At this point, he is what he is, but he could be a valuable (and cheap) 5th OF for the major league team this year in a role similar to the one Michael Bourn played a few seasons back. His speed is his biggest asset, and he is able to control the strikezone enough to draw enough walks to offset a modest batting average. He doesn’t have much upside, but he also should make it as at least a reserve OF.

Aaron Altherr – Altherr was kind of a surprise signing. There wasn’t a whole lot made of him pre-draft, because I think a lot of people thought he was going to college for sure to play basketball. Well, here he is. He’s exceptionally raw, more raw than a guy like Dugan, but he’s an excellent athlete and already stands 6’5, 190 lbs. He’s going to require a ton of patience, but like James, Dugan, and Gose, he has plenty of upside, two tier upside in this case.

Anthony Hewitt – Hewitt goes here, not at 3B, because its been reported that the team is going to move him to the outfield in 2010. The decision makes some sense to me. 3B is a reaction position, and if he doesn’t have the footwork to play there, its not going to work, and its better to let him play a position that emphasizes his raw athletic ability instead of his reaction time and footwork. He’s obviously still a mess with the bat, sporting a 3.1% BB rate and a staggering 31% K rate. He has shown flashes of power, he’s shown flashes of speed, he has a strong arm, and he’s a wonderful athlete. And yet he can’t really hit. Moreso than any other prospect on these lists, his gap between where he is now and what he could achieve with his physical tools is the largest in the system. He’s a borderline non-prospect because he can’t hit, but if he suddenly figures it out, or even if its a gradual process, he has the raw power to hit 30-35 HR a season, and the speed to steal 25 bags in a season. Those are borderline star numbers. But its even more likely that he never sees the majors. Its boom or bust. Lets hope for boom.

Organizational:

Winder Torres – Torres was one of the more marquee names signed on the International market for the Phillies, but his introduction to pro ball wasn’t pretty; .109/.183/.127 in 60 PA’s. Obviously its only 60 PA’s, so we wont get too carried away. 2009 was just his age 18 season, so he has plenty of time. He has two tier upside.

D’Arby Myers – I had such high hopes for D’Arby, but it looks at this point like that train has left the station and gone directly off the tracks. After a nice debut in 2006, not much has gone right since. His big issue centers on pitch recognition, as he put up just a 4.2% BB rate in 2009, and for his career has 57 unintentional walks in 1063 PA’s, just a 5.4% rate. He doesn’t have a lot of power, speed is his only real calling card. Looking back, all of those strikeouts in his debut (and the very low walk rate) should have been the red flag. Part of me worries about Domingo Santana for the same reason, but Santana has a different skill set, so I’m not going to let it affect my rankings.

Thus concludes the position player aspect of the tiers. If you see something here that doesn’t look right, or someone you think I’ve missed, be sure and let me know. I’m going to cover the pitchers in my next post, look for that in a few days.

86 thoughts on “Prospect Tiers; Hitters

  1. Don’t give up on D’Arby just yet. I REALLY liked him when I saw him play. He raked a couple of the best young pitching prospect in the Mets system and showed fluid movements and great athleticism.

  2. your low assessment of barnes does not surprise me , since he has never been given the respect he should be getting. he IS a natural ss and will prove to be more of a player than 90% of the guys you have rated above him. but then only time will tell. maybe he’s not given respect because he’s not a ” toolshed”. imo taylor is the better between him and brown. all in all i’d say your evaluations are above what these toolsy guys will produce.

  3. I like the tier system. Its true and honest to believe the difference between our #1 prospect and #10 could be the difference between elite and a guy who will never rise above AA. When I’m doing my top 30, I get caught up in difference between current performance and upside potential. I rate a guy like Berry higher than a guy like Hudson because I can see him playing in the major leagues as a 4th or 5th OF. Hudson is too far away. His potential is probably far higher but his chances of even being a 4th or 5th, are far slimmer.

    As one guy wrote on another thread, most of us don’t get to see these guys day in and day out. If we have the ability to see games in Allentown or Reading, we don’t get to see guys in Clearwater or Williamsport. Its hard to match them other than through statistics. Its a fun exercise rate guys and put them in tiers.

    John, how did I know you would defend Barnes? Like you, I get attached to guys. I really liked Valle when he was in South America and he disappointed me when he was in the Sal. He came back to salvage his year in Williamsport. I, like James, loved Mattair. I saw potential Philly 3rd baseman right from his signing. I haven’t given up on him but I’m also not expecting anything from him.

  4. Nice write-up. I think a case can be made for Dugan and Collier to be moved up a tier, but it’s a borderline call.

    I also think Taylor might be one level to high. To call him ‘elite’ might be a stretch, but not by much. I may be tempering my own expectations though, because I really want to see him in Philly next year.

  5. the rating system by james is excellant in its inception and enjoyability. i guess what i find different in our opinions is the a subject we’ve discussed. toolsheds vs. rfptp,ers. personally give me the barnes’, taylors and other college ready guys anyday( excluding pitchers). for the most part i find these guys are much more judgeable than the hewitts, james, attair,s and singletons of the world. although hewitt is the only one i’ve seen a bit and he is terrible. one of the most ridiculous things i hear is a player could have been a quality football player. football and bb are as different as bb and golf. ask mj. being a good athelete has very little to do with being a good bb player. to waste a draft pick because someone can play football is absurd. the reason i like barnes is because i saw him a ton of times and he is a quality bb player, no need to teach him how to turn a double play or hit a duece like toolsheds who can take 3 years of wasted time and fail. just my preference. but aside from pitchers i’ll take a college player like taylor over brown anyday.

  6. So based on the tiers, I would guess that John Singleton will be rated higher in the top 30 than Sebastian valle ( since Singleton is an above average prospect and Valle is an average prospect).
    Interesting.

  7. Interesting. Can we get winter over and see. I am a Valle fan and who isn’t Santana fan. It is my hope Taylor starts in Philly as a adjunct to Raul with Brown later or next year. Talent aside most Phils farmhands seem like good people e.g. Taylor and Schwimer . There should be a extra box to check off for that.

  8. Very nice write-up. This is exactly how I think about ballplayers, but you’ve done my homework for me on all the details (thanks!).

    I really can’t say I particularly disagree on any of these rankings. We’d all prefer to talk about Domingo Santana as an elite prospect but, unless you’re A-Rod, Dwight Gooden or Ken Griffey, Jr., you’re almost certainly not going to be an elite prospect until you can show an ability to dominate at an advanced age in A or A+ ball.

    The more I think about the protection of Q. Berry, the more I agree this is a very good idea. Think about it – who do you want coming in, running the bases, and playing defense in the outfield. Berry or somebody like Eric Bruntlett. He’s a very good cost-effective option for the 5th outfielder and who knows, he might surprise us and even Mayberry might surprise us.

  9. someone who finally gets it! I always felt like BA’s Top 10 is missing something like this: if a guy is #2 in that team’s organization, does that mean he would be 10 in a really strong organization? This deals in a more absolute.

  10. Great stuff James. The Phils system is absolutely loaded with outfielders from top to bottom, it’s a great “problem” to have.

  11. not to start another war, but there is no way Gose can be listed as above avg right now. That may change….oh also, Crawford isnt a borderline superstar, he is a superstar

  12. How can he not? Its about projection. Gose projects to be a legit MLB player. Based on that, “above average” is fair.

  13. I like this system. I’m a little higher on Valle, but other than that, I can’t disagree with your rankings.

  14. So: two elite position prospects, both corner OFs, and four above-average (C, 1B, corner OF, CF). The organization added two of the above-average guys this past year, while parting with I assume one (Knapp). That all seems pretty good.

    As a compulsive maker of lists myself, I like this system a lot, but I think there’s inevitably a difficulty in classifying a guy like Santana or Singleton with so little information on them. As you imply, three years ago you probably would have put Myers in there, and understandably after his very impressive debut. (That said, it sounds like scouts and other industry types are as taken with Santana and Singleton as we are, which is encouraging.)

    Maybe it would make sense to add another dimension reflecting level of confidence in the evaluation: with Brown, Taylor, Rizzotti, Durant, Berry, Mayberry and Susdorf, we clearly have a better idea than with the teenagers and others acquired in 2008-2009. This is already hinted at in comments suggesting two-tier upside for Collier and others, but formalizing that a bit more could be useful.

  15. Great stuff here, James. I think the tiered system is a great way to get a feel for what’s really going on as far as organizational depth goes. Mbbear: this is something Kevin Goldstein from BP does, only he uses a star system, which makes his rankings easier to put into context than BA’s, at least in my opinion.

    With respect to Valle, it sounds like scouts were impressed with the progress he made behind the plate over the course of the year, so I think there’s a good argument for him meriting Above Average status.

    John, Barnes is a personal favorite of mine, but even I know that there’s no way to classify him as an “Average” prospect until he does something at the higher levels. The early returns were good — he flashed some power, and it sounds like he’ll stick at short for a little while at least — but it’s difficult to project him as anything more than a utility guy at this point. Still, he’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.

  16. Thanks for doing lots of leg work. Good concept and probably consistent with what may of us do informally. My only changes would be to move Harold Garcia, Altherr, Dugan, Hewitt, and Collier up a level. However, my approach is based totally on projection. As an example, Q Berry will never be a major league starter but Hewitt, Dugan or Altherr could some day even though the odds are long. Its that old celing vs liklihood discussion. But any baseball discussion in late November is good…

  17. I think Harold Garcia is fairly rated. He was old for his level and as James said, his peripherals were not terribly inspiring.

    On Sebastian Valle. B-R also has him as a left handed throwing catcher, so how much stock can you put in that number? He’s 18 years old and 6’1″, I’m certain he would fill out into an acceptable catcher’s build. He got a write-up in BA’s prospect supplement last year and they made no mention that he might not stick as a catcher.

  18. NEPP: the main difference is Brown and Taylor have actually produced at an elite level, whereas Gose hasnot.

  19. I think it’s very hard to include the 09 picks in any ranking. For example Dom Brown had almost identical numbers as Aaron Altherr in the GCL and is in the elite group now and rightfully so. Btw Miguel Alvarez was released before the end of the GCL Season.

  20. ****That Dude: the main difference is Brown and Taylor have actually produced at an elite level, whereas Gose hasnot.****

    That’s why they’re a level above Gose in the tiering.

  21. I don’t want to thread jack, but BP has the top 15 Indians prospects up. I know this might be of some interest to some of us. They also use stars in their ratings so unlike BA you get some gauge of where the guys stand relative to other minor league players. Only the list is free content.

    http://tinyurl.com/yckd7pu

    They also interviewed Lou Marson. There is some interesting stuff in there about how the Phillies system requires a minimum amount of pitches per game to be change-ups in the minors and other tidbits. The whole thing is free content:

    http://tinyurl.com/y9b5nha

  22. something thats become pretty obvious over the past couple of years. i guess thats because its become a trend. the wasting of draft picks on toolsheds who are 6’5′ can run like the wind, cant hit, dont know the fundenmentals, and where talked out of playing football or basketball to sign with the phils. are hewitt, atherr,james, hudson the same person? wasted draft picks. i notice that james murphy is over the hill at 23. his bat would look good on the phils bench. 23 he’s no schmidt but schmidt didnt arrive until he was 24. murphy may never be a star or a regular but he can hit and i would bet if given the shot he would be a nice rh bat off the bench.

  23. John, here’s how bad a strategy it has been to acquire 6’5″ multi-talented outfielders: Santana, Taylor, Brown and a guy named Werth. I wish all of the Phillies’ player acquisition strategies worked so poorly.

  24. Outstanding post. Thanks PP! I think you were about spot on with your placements – what a great way to evaluate.

    I think someone commenting on the Mexican Leagues said that Valle looked more like 185lb than 165. That 165 number is probably from when he was originally signed. I don’t think they update height/weight numbers very often…

    PP had an interview several years ago with a guy that used a two imput rating system. First component was numerical 10-1 ceiling level with 10 being super star, 1 being GCL and gone. Next was a letter grade indicating the likelihood of that player reaching their potentail. ‘A’ being 90% ‘I’ being 10%. So an Anthony Hewitt would be a 10-I. Andrew Carpenter would be a 5-B, or something to that effect.

    I’m sure I’m grossly misrepresenting his prospect scale, but it really does help to classify a guy’s upside, and his his likelihood of reaching that level. PP, Maybe you could repost that interview, or linky to it? I couldn’t find it…

  25. This list is really great. Yet another reason why I frequently visit this site. I may have some players ranked differently here or there, but on the whole I agree with almost all of the tiers.

    – Jeff

  26. thanks Philly Friar for that note…I have not seen that, but you obviously get my point.
    Another general observation/question: I know first base has its own skill set, but the first thing to start with is height. Have their been rumors etc. of moving any of these tall outfielders to 1B?

  27. Great post, PP. I really enjoyed the rankings and analysis. I think Galvis has the most potential to surprise us this year.

    John: I have to say that I saw Barnes a few times this year at Wmspt, and he didn’t impress me, but I agree with you that the Phillies need more Barnes in their system. I just don’t see him as a starting SS in the bigs, but I hope I’m wrong. I agree that the toolsheds should be put on hold this year in the draft for some viable middle infield and 3B prospects/depth.

  28. so could mayberry be a trade chip he needs to be a starter to succeed hes got enough potential but there isnt much room for him in phillie cause theres taylor and after him there’s brown

  29. catch i know taylor is a college product, i believe werth is,, brown is the only one who has panned out. the latin players are looked at from a whole different perspective. but all in all the toolshed approach imo is an abject failure. one player who has yet to prove anything although he is highly ranked i dont call a success. we would be better off drafting college ss and 2nd and 3rd basemen.

  30. Unfortunately, Mayberry isn’t good enough to be anything more than a throw in at this point. He hasn’t shown enough ability to hit right handed pitching for anyone to think that he could possibly start. From what I’ve seen, he can only hit a fast ball and that’s just not enough in the big leagues.

  31. John:

    My only point is that the idea of obtaining big, strong, multi-talented outfielders is a good thing and it is working for the Phillies.

    My issue lies not in drafting “tool shed” players (undeveloped athletes with raw ability but little demonstrated baseball aptitude – that’s what I mean by a “tool shed”), but in using so many high round picks for these players when the team shows little historical success at drafting these players. When the team uses even 3rd or 5th round picks for these players, it’s fine. The Anthony Hewitts, Jeff Jacksons, Greg Golsons just kill you, however. Given this team’s track record with those players, it seems very risky.

  32. What’s the point of targeting college second baseman when you have the best 2B in franchise history locked up long term?

  33. You should always draft the best available player regardless of MLB needs. Most guys drafted are 5 years away from the Majors. Keep drafting the best available guys and things will work themselves out.

  34. catch your 2nd paragraph completely agrees with me? nepp i am not against drafting the best available athelete WHO,S A BB PLAYER. this trying to turn football and basketball players into bb players imo is nonsense. ask michael jordan how easy it is to play bb. and as far as of’s how many do we need. it would be smart to draft ss and 3rd and 2nd now so 5 years from now were not caught short.

  35. Where’s Domingo?

    We really need some IFs, huh. Picking up a plus glove college 3B with some power in next draft that could be on a somewhat fast track would be great (I liked Mendonca in last year’s draft fitting that profile)

  36. John: Drafting ANYONE is a risk. And anybody who remembers Mache will debate you on whether or not drafting college infielders is a guarantee to success.

    Collier didn’t look like such a bad pick last year– Gose and Brown look like great picks now– we all know how Golson panned out and Hewitt doesn’t count because we drafted him as a third basemen. You’re complaints don’t really hold water.

    You win some, you lose some… and hindsight is 20/20.

  37. Werth was a high school player. Drafted as a catcher, but was known for his great athleticism and tools.

    But John didn’t meantion him. Weird? Also weird that he considers Hewitt/Altherr/James/Hudson all the same person? What do those guys have in common?

    He bashes those guys, but loves guys like Jim Murphy and Jeremy Barnes. What do those guys have in common?

    I mean, come on.

  38. i meantioned werth, also my favorite player is howard, my favorite prospect is taylor. i could go on and on but people like you see conspiricies around every corner. grow up.

  39. John – I agree with you to a point. I am definitely not in favor of drafting for need – it’s generally a failed policy. Usually, the best strategy is to draft the best available player. As for “tool shed” players, I am not totally against that philosophy, but the team needs to be much more judicious about how it goes after these players and unless and until they get a bit better as identifying who the best “tool shed” players are going to be, why waste so many high draft picks on these players. Their currently best tool shed players are a foreign free agent (Santana), an okay college player and 5th round pick (Taylor – he came on very late, but he’s a true five tool guy), a 20th round pick (Brown), and a major league free agent (Werth). If you’re going to pick up great athletes (not always a bad plan), why don’t you load up on them after the first few rounds are over. It’s like taking the kid who throws 95 MPH, but can’t find the strike zone or throw a curve. It’s good to load up on these players, but why blow a first or second round pick unless you’re very, very good at identifying the best ones, an are in which, to date, the Phillies have not excelled.

  40. John and many others said:
    michael jordan how easy it is to play bb.

    We know the media are horse’s butts but we should know better. Jordon hit .202 at age 31 at AA having not played baseball in forever. How many guys coming out of college could hit .202 at that level. Was he great not really but we he terrible no.

  41. I also agree with AB that drafting a nearly polished college 3B would be great, however players like that are rarely available after the first 5-10 picks. The Phillies haven’t been that bad (thankfully) to be drafting in those slots for quite some time. You absolutely cannot draft a college 3B because you need somebody in that position if there are other more talented players are other positions available.

  42. catch, two points taylor and werth were not tools. werth was a highly touted bb player in h.s. but he was a great athelete . taylor was a great college player.( at least i think he was). these true toolsheds hewitt atherr, james hudson are so far away from the majors theyll probably never get close. as far as barnes and murphy their so far ahead of the above mentioned 4 its diconcerting to mention them in the same sentence. as someone said, and it wasn’t herzog, you cannot steal 1st. and despite the liberal political correctness of not criticizing these 4 i would prefer to draft 10 solid baseball players than 10 great atheletes and teach them bb at an advanced age. imo the odds of success are greater with the former than the latter. it’s obviously a matter of opinion but i hate to waste draft picks especially in an organization that seems to be sticking to a 130 mil budget.

  43. John – Taylor was not a great college player or he would have been chosen in the first couple of rounds. But, even if you take Werth and Taylor out of the equation, it doesn’t alter my point at all (and, by the way, I only disagree with you to a degree).

    I am fine with toolshed players but want the team to be more judicious about using them with very high picks. Right now, there are three players in the system who were very raw “tool shed” picks and who will likely be great pick-ups for the Phillies and can in no way be deemed to be wasted picks or signings: Brown, Santana and Anthony Gose (Jiwan James is also said to have a bright future and was also not a wasted pick). I’d rather have any of these guys than a polished college second baseman or shortstop who has limited upside (the Tyler Mach’s and Buschinis of the world). My point is that, of the three players mentioned, only one was a high draft pick so, you can often get these types of players with lower round picks. If so, these players should be drafted with high picks in the most extraordinary set of circumstances. But to ignore this type of player entirely would be foolish and ill-advised.

  44. Sorry for the strained English and grammatical and typographical errors – I’m at work and am trying to make my points quickly – but I think what I’m trying to say is coming through. Briefly: Toolsheds are okay, but don’t blow all your best draft picks on them.

  45. Taylor hit well over .300 in his Stanford career. 45 doubles, 21 home runs in a little under 700 at bats. He could certainly hit.

  46. The nonpitcher backbone of the Champion Phillies was made up three elite players, two well above average players, an veteran and two average players. The point is without the elite players the rest are pedestrian. Therefore the first point of your farm system to find and develop this type of player. Five tool players fit almost anywhere. Those with less than five
    (Ryan Howard e.g.) maybe limited to a position. A few successes go a long long way. And a few semi successes may still be valuable . In a few words “aim high”

  47. taylor was almost definatly a toolshed. he wasn’t hitting really well for college, and he is one hell of an athlete. Werth was also a very toolsy player, and when we picked him up he hadn’t really been hitting that well.

  48. The major issue with Werth was his health and repeated injuries. He had a great half season with the Dodgers but then was injured for almost all of 05 and all of 06 with wrist problems. The talent was always there but the health wasn’t. Regardless, the Dodgers never should have non-tendered him…stupid move on their part.

  49. Why is Werth part of this conversation? He was drafted by Baltimore and made his way around to us by way of Toronto and LA. He neither proves nor disproves the folly of the Phillies’ draft strategy as he was not drafted by the Phillies. It’d be like saying, The Phillies should continue to draft pitchers out of Arkansas because Cliff Lee panned out alright.

    As for the derision passed upon drafting polished college infielders, isn’t that what Chase Utley was?

  50. I concur on Valle not being 165 lbs. Being that I hover around 155-165, I can say having seen him play in August, he was a little bigger than me. I think the 185 lb. assessment is probably about right. So is 6’1, 185 catcher material?

  51. Actually Utley was a polished hitter, not a fielder (or else he would not have wasted a year at 3rd base). But even his first two years in the league made him look like he would only be a “good” player, not the force he has ended up being.
    Anyone that makes it to even Minor League ball is a great athlete. What the Phillies are looking for is “projection.” If this guy absolutely maxs out his potential, what will he be. Mach, maxed out (loved the sound of it, had to use it), is Mach. Dom Brown maxed out is a difference maker.
    You sign street free agents to big league contracts to be Mach or Bruntlett or whomever.
    It’s all a crapshoot anyway (witness Werth). The Phillies have the dice right now and are rolling good numbers. They have a philosophy and they are sticking with it. That’s what good organizations do.

  52. To Colin K.
    If he is 6’1″ 180 then he is the same size as Lieberthal was at this age. I think you’d take a Lieberthal major league career for this guy as a catcher and be happy.

  53. Werth is relevant only as part of a more general conversation about the organization trying to acquire undeveloped mutli-dimensional, “tool shed,” talent at the draft level, minor league level and major league level. Clearly, he is at the very farthest end of the “undeveloped” spectrum and the mention of him was only tangetially pertinent to the main topic of discussion.

  54. Alan:

    By the way, Taylor was much closer to a “tool shed” than the typical highly drafted college player. 21 home runs in 700 at bats is not all that impressive for a college player of his talent. He was definitely viewed as a talented athlete who disappointed at the college level, with the excpetion of the last few months of his college career which, fortunately, the Phillies happened to follow carefully.

  55. Drafting is all about estimating a player’s ceiling and likihood, as we’ve talked so much about. You need stars to win and only 5 -10 sure fire stars (and even some of them fail) come out each year. Hewitt is a great athlete and I actually think he’ll have a much better season next year away from the infield. He knew his defense was terrible and it had to effect his hitting. He does have one of those swings that makes a different noise when he connects. Those guys are hard to find and very valuable “if” they can figure out out to make contact enough which isn’t always easy. As for Collier, we were all ready to annoint him after his GCL start. Obviously, he had a terrible year but I think he has lots of talent and can bounce back. The Phils are reaching for possible stars rather than settling for too many Susdorf types that will never project as stars and I support the strategy.

  56. Jumpin’: that Utley wasn’t a polished fielder coming out of College is less important than the hitting part because he is a 2B, and 2B is not as difficult to play as C, SS, CF, or 3B (in my opinion) that’s why 3B’s like Ian Stewart or Blake Dewitt can be moved over and guys like Jeff Kent don’t kill their teams with their defense. So Utley was a polished college infielder. So, the Phillies have had more success drafting polished college infielders in the last decade with a pick in the 1st 3 rounds than they have toolshed high schoolers (1-0). I like projection as much as the next guy, but the “shoot for the moon with your 1st couple picks ” strategy every year is getting difficult to defend when all the success stories are later round picks (which is where those guys ought to be taken anyway).

  57. Everybody that gets drafted has been scouted by professional scouts,crosscheckers even Scoutingdirectors before they get drafted. The notion that any organisation would draft somebody that can’t play baseball is just plain silly. The ‘toolshed’ players are baseball players first that have separated themselves on the Baseballfield first. Then they have tools that other players don’t have. I bet there are 30 teams that regret not signing Stephen Strassburg out of Highschool for say 1 million.

  58. Taylor most definitely was not a great college player. He follows a successful Phillies pattern. Howard was a good college player, with a bad senior year. Donald was an excellent HS player who disappointed severely in college. Taylor was an excellent HS player who disappointed in college. Utley was the exceptions. Questions about his D and whether he could remain at 2B, but rated the best college bat in his draft class. BTW, he did not move to 3B because his 2B D was still viewed as lousy at that stage in his development, but because the Phillies found themselves desperate for a 3B. Ruiz and Valle were very lowly regarded international signees. We’ve done equally well taking chances on the pitching side. Lousy attitude Drabek, mysteriously broken armed Hamels, injured with surgery and not pitching well Savery. Most of these gambles have paid off. We had less success with the totally sure-thing HS pitcher Floyd and attitude problems with the everyone loved him as an early pick Myers.

  59. To JBird
    I go back to Chad McConnell, ace college baseball player – remember him? Better to gamble on hitting it big, fill in around the edges and sign an Ibanez where you need more impact. This year sign a 3B.
    And Utley was by no means a polished college infielder. He was drafted for his bat and his make – up, which drove him to become the player he is.
    They must be doing something right the past few years…

  60. oldtimer of course every draftee is checked and crosschecked, thats not the point. the point is a philosophy of drafting atheletic talent simply because of atheletic talent. no one said hewitt never played bb but he was drafted because of a hope of transforming him into a great bb player. look into jim murphy who is always overlooked. not flashy just a guy who gets the job done. hits for average and power. not even a sniff as a rh bat off the bench. of all the bats pp checked my future guys are these.d’arnaud, valle, singleton, murphy, taylor, brown, santana, barnes and castro.

  61. The odds that Jim Murphy will ever be a productive major league player, even in a limited capacity are very, very low. To me, Murphy is the opposite end of the “tool shed” spectrum. A solid young hitter, who was probably a very good player in college and can do nicely in the low minors but has such limited tools that it’s very unlikely he’ll ever be a major league player. If you draft a bunch of Jim Murphys every year, you turn into the Kansas City Royals.

  62. John – by the way, again, I don’t completely disagree with you on this issue (we just see it differently). But focusing on guys like Jim Murphy or Matt Rizzotti is not the answer.

  63. i’m not talking about having the k.c. murphy’s just a bench player who can hit when needed. matt rizzotti hasn’t proven anything murphy has proven he deserves at least a shot at reading or lehigh. i mean i’m only talking about 40 ab’s a season. he’s hit at every level.

  64. John, let’s see what big Jim Murphy does at Clearwater or higher this coming season. His .279 avg, OPS .860 and 14 homers with Lakewood compares favorably with Ryan Howard’s .280 avg, .827 OPS and 19 homers when he was at Lakewood.

  65. Look, I hope that Jim Murphy turns out to be another Greg Dobbs, but he was very old for Lakewood last year. I hate to break the news to everyone but, from a statistical standpoint, there’s very little to distinguish Murphy from Rizzotti given that they were the same age and Rizzotti was at a higher level. In fact, you could make a pretty good argument that Rizzotti is the better prospect. But, frankly, neither of these guys excite me very much, although I certainly hope that one or both of them can continue to progress and it’s always possible that either of them could have an age 24 breakout year like Ryan Howard, although the odds of that occurring are very low.

  66. Jumpin: I’m not say’n draft guys based on their college obp. I just think they Phillies are consistently drafting players with top picks with a skewed tools:aptitude ratio. I think it’s fine every once and a while with a high pick and it’s a great strategy with lower round picks. But I’d rather have any of the 6 guys drafted after Hewitt in the 1st round than Hewitt. It’s a “PowerBall” style strategy, if you hit, it’s awesome; if you don’t it can leave you broke if you put all your eggs in one basket over the long haul.

  67. JBird – you and I are on exactly the same page. There’s too much PowerBall going on in the first round for the Phillies. Other than that, they’ve been doing a pretty good job in the draft recently, particularly in the 5th round (Howard, Taylor, Way – wow!).

  68. For what it’s worth, I’m on board with Catch’s take on this: I don’t at all mind taking lottery tickets, but I generally hate doing it in the early rounds. I’d much prefer the organization to focus on college bats or young arms early, and then nab a couple of Domonic Browns and Jiwan James in later rounds hoping to sign them to overslot deals.

    And John: Murphy was a nice player for Lakewood, but we’re talking about a 23-year old who’s limited to first base and struck out 33% of the time while only ISOing .188. His absolute best case scenario is Andy Tracy.

    But what I do agree with you on, John, is that the organization has gone too outfield heavy in recent years, leaving virtually no infielders in the system. That’s a situation that needs to be rectified sooner rather than later.

  69. A few points:

    Great system, PP. I would love to see a list of players in each of the top categories compared to some other systems.

    Buschini is interesting, as you say. One thing not mentioned is the transition to wooden bats, which holds some guys back in Short Season A, a la Michael Taylor. So one possible path is a dramatic elevation to more authoritative hitting sometime next year when the wood bat clicks with him, if this in fact is the limiting factor.

    Our only hope, Obiwan, is that Freddie Galvis elevates his hitting game via the weight room, natural filling out of frame, improved mechanics, etc., developed approach at plate, etc. A Galvis hitting .270 with .335 OBP and 5 HR and a little gap power would be very high value and a solid long-term starter in bigs. Bowa was driven down this path from sheer drive of personality and had 2 or 3 pretty good years at the plate, esp. for a top-fielding SS. So Freddie’s makeup and ability to listen to instruction and find the right mentor will be crucial.

    Singleton will be exciting to watch. A good athlete with a classic line drive swing is a nice place to start a pro career. Rico Brogna is his floor, Steve Garvey his ceiling? Thanksgiving is a time to dream of both turkeys and eagles! (Brogna was no turkey, maybe a chicken hawk.)

    Mattair: Last Chance Saloon in 2010?

    James has lost 2 years of development, but is in that category where his extra years are a plus in a way. Because he lost time due to injury, the age does not necessarily limit his ceiling, and he has an extra 2 years of physical and emotional maturity. Also, the experience of overcoming adversity can be a plus for the right type of guy. Someone to keep a close eye on.

  70. Awesome work by you. I’m hoping to see Taylor at CBP next year to make some starts in LF. Obviously at the end of the season Ibanez faded. Don’t care how good of shape you are in you can’t escape your age in pro baseball and Ibanez would have been better served to take some days off against Left Handed pitching.

    Taylor does so many things well I see it as a waste to start him in AAA when our bench last year was so putrid.

  71. Last year, the combination of Dobbs, Stairs, Bruntlett, Francisco, and Mayberry totaled 232 at-bats that were credited as happening when they were actually playing the OF.

    No doubt, some of those at-bats were accrued by 2 or more bench players in the same game, but for the sake of argument, lets say that Taylor gets every one of those at-bats along with another 70 pinch-hitting appearances. That still only gets him to 300 total at-bats for the season, which is 200 less than he got in 2008 between Reading/Allentown.

    If you consider Taylor to be an above average every-day player moving forward, it would be a waste to trade a cheap, full year of service time for 1/2 season worth of at-bats by using him as a spot starter/late inning replacement.

    Now if one of the 3 every-day guys goes down with an extended injury, then Taylor should be first in line to get their playing time vs. using Francisco/Dobbs/etc.

  72. I should have added that the most at-bats any bench player got last year for the Phillies was Greg Dobbs, who had just over 150. The reality is that as a true bench player, Taylor is more likely to get around 200 at-bats vs. the 300 mentioned above.

  73. DMAR Says:

    I’m hoping to see Taylor at CBP next year to make some starts in LF. Obviously at the end of the season Ibanez faded. Don’t care how good of shape you are in you can’t escape your age in pro baseball
    exactamondo. I hate when the believes there own(he’s a gym rat) bull.

    3up3kkk late game subbing my take Taylor over 200. Plus MT might get more games in hot months.

  74. Ibanez’s late season fade may have had something to do with the sports hernia he had surgery for after the season.

  75. dd singleton – steve garvey??? i think the big problem all of us will have is comparing a galvis to j-roll , or a singleton to howard or who knows who to utley. none of these guys will ever match up with this infield. enjoy these guys while you can youll never see it again.

  76. James, thanks for doing such a detailed analysis of Phils prospects. I would like to suggest that after each player’s name adding their age and farm team.

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