Gulf Coast League Top 20

Baseball America has begun its league-by-league Top 20 lists and published its Gulf Coast League list today.  Jesse Biddle (#7) and Aaron Altherr (#8) were the only Phils on the list.  They note command and mound presence as positives for Biddle with the need to develop consistency on his curve and change as the area for improvement.  Altherr is noted as a plus runner who may develop some power and as “solid” defensively in center.

29 thoughts on “Gulf Coast League Top 20

  1. Biddle and Altherr were both moved up during the season. If they hadn’t accrued enough time in the GCL, the league Champion Phillies wouldn’t have anyone in the top 20 or at least they would only have #19 or #20. I read the article that said there are 15 teams and it’s hard to get a guy in the top 20. So 2 in the top 20 is pretty darn good.

    I’m excited about Altherr. He’s one of those infamous toosheds that the Phils like to draft. He’s flashed some offensive and defensive skills but the power thing will be his lead weight. He’s a big kid and I hope he turns into the next Dom Brown. What is that old Dusty Springfield song? “Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying.”

  2. i think biddle is going to blow up next year like Knapp did his first year at Low A. I am really excited about him.

    Off topic a bit, but i was thinking last night that this is as good as it gets for phillies fans. the big club is awesome. maybe the best team we have ever had. and the minors is stocked with very talented guys like these two and the great Lakewood team. there is a bit of a hole in our prospects at AA and AAA, but that will get fixed soon.

    damn it feels good to be a phillie.

  3. Nice call, PPFan. davput, thanks for keeping us updated. Pretty exciting to see Altherr’s name here, especially with him holding his own in Williamsport. And Biddle as the second best pitching prospect in the league makes me feel good.

    Odd that BA said it is hard to get a player on the top 20. 15 teams means that each team should have 1.33 players on a top 20 list. So we were right where we should be.

    Two guys I was disappointed not to see make it were Francisco Diaz and Lendy Castillo. I suppose Diaz was not eligible due to too few at bats and perhaps Castillo was just too old to be considered a prospect here (he’s 21). Diaz showed contact and OBP skills (.307/.376/.387 – his OBP would have been 8th in the league if he had enough at bats) at a premium position and Lendy had really good K numbers (10.3 K/9) and an ok WHIP of 1.14. Diaz is also 20, perhaps a little old for the league, and is definitely a little guy (5’10” and 160lbs).

  4. PPFan–not to mention that as of today, you can order food delivery to your seat via iPhone at CBP. Truly the glory days of the franchise!

  5. Altherr, Dugan and Biddle all were the subject of questions in the associated Q &A to this column. Altherr was mentioned in comparison to Hewitt, with BA saying Altherr is more athletic with a lot less swing-and-miss (and obviously his performance to date has been better). It was asked of Dugan was close to the making the GCL Top 20–he apparently missed the threshhold by 20 ABs, but Nathan Rode (who hosted the chat) called the pick of Dugan last year a bit of a “head scratcher” and the reports he’s gotten have not been great. Finally, a reader asked about Biddle’s ceiling–a manager said Biddle reminded him of Hamels, while Rode sees him ultimately as a #2 or #3.

  6. Thanks again, davput. Altherr is more athletic that Hewitt with less swing and miss? How much was Altherr’s signing bonus again?? Good to hear all around. Too bad to hear about Dugan. A Hamels comp on Biddle…wow. I don’t think I buy it because Hamels has always had a premium pitch (Best change-up in the majors in 2008, 5th best in 2009, 12th best in 2010), whereas Biddle does not have an MLB-quality secondary pitch yet (so I hear).

  7. Any “shortcomings” in Biddle’s game are whetted to become sharpened during his likely 3 years (or more) rise through the system. Starting out with reasonable control of his giddyup fast ball and the suggestion that his secondary pitches need refinement total out to the 2nd best pitcher in the GCL…all is good. A fine base to build progress on.

    We do know that the Phils’ org insists on pitchers, of the starting kind, having an effective changeup. A sine qua non in their coaching and development upward through the system.

    They’ve got several seasons in the sun to refine him to add to a staff that includes several Lakewood graduates of ’10 even while Hamels remains in town. An awesome staff in the making.

    And an outfielder worthy of following through his next steps from the righty’s side of the plate toward adding to the crop of the changeover in personnel to occur in 3-4 years if not before. Following the would-be team members through their climb adds flavor to the champagne of being a fan of such a present outstanding major league team.


  8. Boston Phan …

    “Odd that BA said it is hard to get a player on the top 20. 15 teams means that each team should have 1.33 players on a top 20 list. So we were right where we should be.”

    I’m a math guy, so I’ll go a bit deeper. Not only do we have 2 in the top 20, we have two in the top EIGHT! So, though you math is correct, if you go a step further, each team should only have .53 players in the top 8, so we are WAY ahead of the game! No other team place 2 players in the top 8, so I say this is pretty impressive.

  9. Other interesting note about Biddle was that a scout said Biddle reminded him of Cole Hamels. Take that for what it’s worth.

  10. On the comment about Altherr being a better athlete than Hewitt:

    “Athletic” is a broad term, can mean many things. In this case, based on my own perceptions of their photos and video and seeing Hewitt play live, I can offer my speculation:

    Hewitt’s athleticism lies in his sculpted physique, narrow waist, V-shape above waist, great strength and power by all reports, very good straight ahead speed. However, I don’t see him as being super-silky-fluid, with exceptional flexibility and grace. Maybe Altherr has some of the latter qualities (with speed and strength also) and therefore can be seen as the better baseball athlete.

    Seems like Hewitt might have some of the stiffness of an NBA center in a 6’3″ body. So he’s good straight ahead, but not likely to be a good infielder (hence the move to OF) and maybe not a graceful outfielder, but one whose raw speed can overcome his lack of grace. I’m thinking Altherr is built more like a tall NBA shooting guard, with lots of flexibility and silky moves, etc,

    In short, two different body types, and the person who made the comparison values Altherr’s type of athleticism more for baseball purposes,

  11. Having two players in the top 20 prospects of the GCL is ok, but not great. The Phillies had 4 players in the top 20 last year (#3 Cosart, #7 Singleton, #10 Santana and #18 Villar). Interesting that Altherr is rated higher this year, than Santana was last year.

  12. Shocked they didn’t like Dugan. I liked Dugan’s swing a ton, made a lot of noise and a good noise. Maybe they didn’t like his outfield play, and I think he’s a left fielder at best.

  13. two of the top eight is great. four of the to twenty is phenomenal … Maybe the thing that leads to a championship team!

  14. And a little out of left field (pun intended) but speaking of “toolsheds” – our old pal Greg Golson 2-4 for the Yankees tonight:)

  15. Having watched Biddle personally, I think his curve is a quality pitch. He was sitting at 90-91 in his outing and was probably fatigued. I like him as a prospect.

    I personally find GCL stats unreliable so I always like to depend on scouting reports at this stage.

  16. Interesting to note that first baseman Chris Duffy (.272 avg. 6 hrs. 32 rbi’s) put up very similar numbers in the GCL this season to the numbers Ryan Howard ( .272 avg. 6hrs. 35 rbi’s) put up in his first season at Batavia (2001) with both having 169 regular season at bats. Was impressed by Duffy’s glove at first on balls in the dirt in the GCL championship game.

  17. I wouldn’t take this stuff all that seriously, you gotta remember there have been so few at bats to be seen for these guys. A lot of where they are ranked comes to down to how pre-draft hype and how much the international guys were signed for.

    Justin O’ Connor #3 on the list sported a solid .211 BA, .649 OPS, but was a possible top 10-15 pick in the draft. That’s why he’s ranked here.

    Juan Urbina #6 on the list had a 5.03 ERA, a 4.05 FIP and didn’t have any numbers stand out aside from that he was really hittable. But he was signed for a 7 figure bonus.

    I think Hewitt actually made the gcl top 20 with his ridiculous numbers there two years ago. I think the short season ones are more of a who’s who of the first round picks & bonus babies. The full season lists generally seem to be better.

  18. The higher lists are always going to be more accurate because you have more information to go upon. You’re always going to have some uncertainty but its a good indication of which prospects are really worth watching on the club.

    I noted about the statistics previously. The big problem with the GCL and stats is that you’re evaluating hitters frequently with less than 150 at bats. You divide up any player’s at bats into chunks that small and you’re going to see some fluky performances. No one puts up a sample big enough to evaluate with any real confidence.

  19. Agree with several above regarding stats from the GCL, which is why I don’t pay any attention to who’s putting up numbers and who isn’t. For me, the rookie leagues simply give guys their first taste of the professional game and start getting them into the daily routine that is professional baseball.

    HS guys, and even most college guys are not accustomed to the rigors of playing everyday. Some guys adjust quickly, some do not.

  20. Prospect lists of interest

    NY-Penn: September 28
    South Atlantic: September 30
    Florida State: October 6
    Eastern League: October 8
    International: October 12

    I think Domingo Santana and maybe Cesar Hernandez make the NY-Penn list. The Sally League is going to be extremely interesting as Jon Singleton, Jarred Cosart, Trevor May and Brody Colvin will all make the list. Jiwan James probably gets squeezed out, and we might get a Jonathan Villar sighting there. Florida State League is thin, JC Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont and Harold Garcia might have a shot. Eastern League is Dom Brown and Freddy Galvis. Brown might sneak over to the IL list.

  21. Going back to the Hewitt-Altherr athleticism discussion –

    I saw Altherr up close twice this summer, and he definitely looked fluid, graceful, etc. in left field. He has a tall, thin, very lanky build, but appears to have really good coordination. It’s hard to project a kid that’s still in braces (seemed like all the guys under age 20 had them on W-port), but I think there’s a lot to like here.

  22. Well represented on the NY-Penn List
    9. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
    12. Domingo Santana, OF
    15. Aaron Altherr, OF

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