Keith Law’s Top 100 prospects for 2011

Head over to (insider only, obviously) again today to check out Keith’s Top 100. Fresh off the strength of a top 5 placement for the farm system as a whole, 5 Phillies prospects crack his top 100. They are:

Domonic Brown: 3rd
Jon Singleton: 27th
Jarred Cosart: 34th
Brody Colvin: 76th
Trevor May: 93rd

To think we placed more prospects in his Top 100 this year, and the farm system ranking improved even after trading for Roy Oswalt is astounding.

101 thoughts on “Keith Law’s Top 100 prospects for 2011

  1. Among the departed, Drabek ranks 13th and d’Arnaud ranks 57th. On the Phils Top 10 list, he has primarily the same names as every list, with the exception of Julio Rodriguez at #10. Several other teams placed 5 prospects on the list, but only the Rays (8), Blue Jays (6), and Royals (6) had more than 5.

  2. Here is his top-10 for the Phils…

    Philadelphia Phillies
    1. Domonic Brown, RF (3)
    2. Jonathan Singleton, 1B (27)
    3. Jarred Cosart, RHP (34)
    4. Brody Colvin, RHP (76)
    5. Trevor May, RHP (93)
    6. Sebastian Valle, C
    7. Jesse Biddle, LHP
    8. Aaron Altherr, OF
    9. Jiwan James, CF
    10. Julio Rodriguez, RHP

    1. Oh,
      Jiwan James and Aaron Altherr ARE better prospects than DeFratus according to the man who ranked the Phillies the 5th best farm.
      I wonder where he would rank Cesar Hernandez in relation to Rizzotti and Hyatt.

      1. Reliever prospects are very subjective. In pure baseball terms they arent as valuable as starters/every day guys, but in economic terms, look at the money teams have been shelling out for them this year. Its certainly worth it to bring up your own guys.

        1. Again, for the 99th time. I am not saying that MAJOR League relievers have no value. I am saying that MINOR League relievers have no where near the prospect value of other positions.
          On a whole, it seems that the regular commenters on this blog over-rate the Phillies minor league relievers, IMO. This thought that the Phillies are going to fill their bullpen with DeFratus, Mathieson, Schwimer, Zeid and Stutes is baffling to me. Every team has guys like them.
          Minor League Starters become bullpen pieces, not minor league relievers. Starters are more talented on the whole. It’s more likely that Cosart, Ramirez and Worley become the Phillies future pen than these guys(no offence to them).

        2. Phillies 2010 bullpen:

          Lidge: Minor League starter until AAA
          Madson: Minor League starter
          CDurbin: Minor League starter
          Contreras: Starter
          Bastardo : Minor League starter
          5 of the 6 top relievers from the Phillies 2010 bullpen were Minor league starters virtually their entire minor league career.

          Now if you want to argue, that doesn’t apply because DeFratus, Madthieson, Schwimer, Stutes, and Zeid are Elite, then that is a different argument. I have never heard any of them described as elite anywhere but here.

        3. I understand mike77’s point and by and large he’s correct. However, something I think I’m observing is the Phils tracking guys for the bullpen earlier in the minors than they have in the past. So previously they might have let a guy start for as long as possible, whereas now if they think he has a future in the bullpen only, they just put him there from the get go. Am I crazy? Perhaps this only is true for college guys? Perhaps it is just the way this has happened with the college guys from the last few drafts, and is not a shift in philosophy at all?

    2. Julio is going to have a huge year. Can definitely see him being in the top 50 next year IF he can hold the velo 91-93 throughout the later innings next year.

    3. KLaw nails it. Having seen them all play except Rodriguez last season can’t say I disagree with him but was impressed with the dominance of Pettibone and Zeid in the SAL playoffs .

  3. one other thing to note in the organizational top 10s
    – Philly 5 (+2 traded)
    – Boston 3 (and first one is #45)

    so for all of the crowing that posters do about how we don’t spend and how boston kicks our butt every year in the draft, we have a much better system than them.

    what say you now nay sayers?

    1. I agree and all, but at the same point they just traded away a bunch of prospects for Adrian Gonzalez. I’d assume 1-2 at least are in the top 100.

    2. Although I am not one of the critics of the way the Phillies spend on the draft, I think you are missing something. Boston traded what would amount to Singleton, Cosart and May, to get Adrian Gonzalez. That group probably would have put them ahead of the Phillies.

      1. Kind of silly to tlk about Red Sox prospects traded for guys in the majors when you are trying to argue that the Philles are not the deeper in talent (as they clearly are). Just the 13 Phillies prospects traded for Lee, Oswalt, Halladay, Blanton show how opening this can of worms only makes the superiority of the Phillies player acquisition & development program all the more obvious.

        All this endless same old, same old about how the Phillies are miserly is laughable unless you honestly believe that miserly is a synonym for really, really smart.

      2. tiggerhawk missed my point, I agree the Phillies have done business very smart.

        01. D Brown. 200,000
        02. J Cosart. 550,000
        03. Singleton. 200,000
        04. B Colvin. 900,000
        05. Trev May. 375,000
        06. Seb Valle. 30,000
        07. J Biddle. 1,100,000
        08. Jiw James. 150,000
        09. A Altherr. 150,000
        10. Rodriguez. 110,000
        Total: 3,765,000

        Everybody’s 2010 wish pick
        Nick Castellano: 3,450,000

        Their strategy works for them. No argument from me.

        1. Nick Castellano not being signed by the Phils has exactly WHAT to do with any of those players you listed?

          What kept the Phils from drafting and signing Nick Castellano AND all those you listed?

          The answer of course is Dave $$$ Montgomery.

    3. We have certainly had a strong record of developing low cost talent in the past few years. Getting two top hundred prospects (Colvin and Singleton) out of the 2009 draft is great scouting, though one could also say we are a little lucky.

      My criticism on the Phillies has nothing to do with development. The last two years we have not spent a great deal on the draft. This is risky over time, however. If the Phillies are so good at development then couldn’t they be even better if they spent a little more money signing prospects?

      1. This is basically what I was going to say. If we have a competitive advantage in scouting, why not leverage it to the max by funding more than our competitors?

        1. Maybe it makes more sense to focus upon the OVERALL, TOTAL spending on player acquisition and development than on just arguing about whether or not the organization COULD MAYBE have drafted–and signed for high six or seven digit bonuses– a few more highly publicized kids who were not drafted by any of the other 29 MLB clubs…or gone beyond what they believed to be a reasonable offer to POSSIBLY sign a selection whose price tag to bypass college was very high.

        2. tiggerhawk, I think the point AndyB was making is more in reference to the guys the Phillies actually did draft but didn’t sign. There have been some high ceiling prospects the team has drafted but did not come to terms with. It’s not always about drafting the Casey Kelly’s and Rick Porcello’s of the world.

      2. I should clarify that I’m not complaining about the spending either as the current resource allocation makes sense to me given the big clubs position.

      3. “If the Phillies are so good at development then couldn’t they be even better if they spent a little more money signing prospects?”

        Of course they could.

        Only a mental defective would argue with you.

  4. Law had the Phillies #11 with 4 in the top 100 2 years ago, before the Lee and Roys trades. Amazing.

  5. Some more ex-phils:
    Knapp 5th best Indians prospect, Villar is 8th for the Astros and Gose is 8th for the Blue Jays.

  6. Keith’s chat just started on Head over to see if we can get some phil’s questions answered.

      1. I’ll give him credit…I challenged him big time on a chat here last year and he gave good honest answers. He has my respect for that. I used to be one of his biggest detractors here but he does not axe to grind with the Phillies and he’s been good enough to post here and do Q & As with James several times.

        1. Yeah, I remember him stopping by, that was fun. Yeah, I obviously don’t think he has any preference for one club over the other. He also is very honest about his opinions which is probably why he generates so much hate.

  7. D’arnaud ranks 57th colvin ranks 76th. Would the phils trade colvin for td?? IMO no way! A little confusing.

    1. I think it’s due to the relative limited supply of quality catchers versus RHP plus the fact that position players are always a bit more of a sure thing. Although I wouldn’t do that trade straight up either.

  8. Jim callis tweeted a while back that in his opinion colvin was the phils best pitching prospect. I think a potential front line starter is harder to find than a avg/little above avg backstop.

  9. Some of the comments here are baffling. I haven’t been regularly replying to comments because I can’t really keep up with it with everything else going on. But a few notes.

    * Minor league relievers make it in the majors as relievers. To argue they don’t is silly. Normally only the elite relievers end up sticking. But forecasting which guys will make it is very difficult, because of the fluctuations from year to year for relievers. I absolutely expect that De Fratus, Schwimer, and Stutes will pitch in the big leagues in the bullpen in the next 2 seasons. Whether any of them stick long term is anyone’s guess. Yes, failed starters often become good relievers, but looking at the Phillies bullpen guys over the last few years, a bunch of them have been relievers their entire careers, and were relievers in the minors. Its not that uncommon.

    * Comparing the Phillies and Red Sox, and their drafting styles, is one of the oldest yarns on this site. I think what we can determine, at this point, is that the Phillies have better scouts, because they are getting more for less. But the Red Sox strategy of spending a lot of money to sign guys who have a lot of hype and big reputations isn’t a bad thing. In fact, its preferable. If the Phillies spent as much money as Boston, I think the system would be even deeper. And the Red Sox did just trade away a bunch of their best prospects. That obviously weakens their system. But they have plenty of talent at A ball and lower, the same as the Phillies.

    1. agree, agree and agree….and most starters convert to relievers because their velo can’t hold up over several innings, or they only have 1 or 2 major league pitches in their arsenal…but still extremely valuable to draft your own relievers because free agents relief pitchers salaries’ are getting wildly out of hand

    2. My sentiments exactly.

      By the way, I still have not read a persuasive rebuke of my proposition that the bullpen, as a whole, pitches, and is therefore worth, the number of innings of approximately 1 and 2/3 starting pitchers. So, ace-level performances by the bullpen carry quite a bit of intrinsic value.

      1. Sure, but that’s pretty irrelevant to the value of any particular relief pitcher, who probably won’t pitch much more than 80 innings or so, or perhaps a third of an ace-level starter at the high end.

    3. Brad Lidge
      Ryan Madson
      Chad Durbin
      Jose Contreras
      J.C. Romero
      David Herndon
      Antonio Bastardo
      Danys Baez

      Everyone above with the exception of GNC Romero began as a starter in the minors. Contreras was of course a starter in MLB. Danys Baez was a starter, then was briefly converted in the minors to a reliever before being brought up, and then made a starter again in MLB by the Indians.

      Herndon does not look like a relief pitcher to me. He looks like a starter and I would think the Phils will send him to AAA this year to work in that role.

      Vince Worley though is clearly a relief pitcher, and a very good one, a real talent. He should open in the Phils pen this year out of spring training. Every hitter he faced coming out of the pen in 2010 looked overmatched. He could setup for Madson this year.

  10. I like Law’s rankings the best, he goes on upside and positional scarcity and offers pretty good explanations as to why players are ranked where they are. I agree with him about Colvin’s command being a little fringy, as well as his throwing across his body in his delivery contributing to that, but to think that the Phils have 3 RHP prospects that can all grade out at the top of a rotation is pretty special, even if 1 of them only make it, it’s a win..also have to consider the 4 aces blocking some of them as well

      1. Thanks for the link, but it only has the Phillies selections.

        Can someone with access make a free blog and name it something like lawslist dot blogspot dot com and put up the whole list with commentary? I don’t understand some of Laws selections. Why would Aaron Hicks be at #10 and Singleton at #27? Singleton is a year younger and played at the same level with better results (unless you think walks for a power bat are more important).

        And who the heck is Jean Segura? Law has him at #35.

        In regard to Law’s commentary on Phils prospects, what happened to Brody Colvin’s curveball? Baseball America had Colvin down as having one of the best among high school pitchers when the Phils drafted him, yet Law does not mention him throwing a curveball and rates his slider as mediocre.

  11. From Keith Law

    Tom (NY)

    FYI – I bought Insider for this day.

    Klaw (1:35 PM)

    Thank you – I know many of you did, and I appreciate it. It is noticed at HQ.

    Remember this is this guys “Intellectual Property.” Be mindful before you do a lot of quoting or demanding information from people who do pay for the service.

    1. Not to start a fight but overall Insider isn’t worth the subscription fee. I used to have it and, like almost all paywalls on the internet, its more expensive than its worth.

      On the other side, I agree that its crap to post pay-for stuff on a free site.

      1. If you just look for deals, you can subscribe to ESPN the rag for like $1 a year. That comes with a insider subscription. The offer is usually made around December. I did it this year (that is, 2010), and they immediately offered a second year at $1. Insider for two years for $2.

        Just be sure to recycle the rag.

    2. Google: “homeless camden new jersey”

      The Disney corporation will survive. I’m not too sure about those living in tents filled with garbage. And I’ve passed by this scene live several times and it looks worse than the pictures.

      Disney and other corporations basically own the congress. If they did not want those people existing like that then they would be in apartments.

      1. I fail to see the correlation between the Disney corporation and homelessness in Camden. I also don’t understand how YOU getting free access to copyrighted information will benefit people living in squalor.

        You’re an idiot.

  12. Correction: BA has Villar as the Astros #3 prospect.


    Sure wish we still had him…but having that #3 hurler in our rotation, Oswalt, makes up for it now.

    Just lets get both SSs & 3rd basemen in the 2011 draft. We still have an extra early pick to get things done w the loss of Wertz to the Nats.


    1. He’s the 8th prospect, not the 3rd. And that system has one player in the top 100. Not a big loss.

  13. First baseman Michael Durant, 24, was the Phillies’ fourth pick in the 2005 draft and was once considered the club’s best power prospect. He missed all of 2010 with what seems to be an injury, although details on his situation are limited. The hulking 6-5 prospect last hit .211/.312/.365 with 12 homers and 142 strikeouts in 2009 for Class-A Clearwater. By 2007, he was no longer considered a prospect. The Phillies also released right-hander Mauricio Romero, who last pitched in 2008 with Clearwater. The moves were reported by Baseball America’s latest transaction update.

  14. Just a small snippit from his review of our top 100 prospects…. regarding cosart:

    He comments how cosart could be a top 10 MLB prospect this time next year if he stay healthy and dominates as he’s expected to. Insanity!

    1. Law has been excited about Cosart for some time now. Back in May when he was updating his Top 25 Prospects list, Law quoted another talent evaluator as saying that Cosart had the second-best arm in the minors. Number one then was Stephen Strasburg.

      1. That would mean Brown and Utley would have almost identical stats, call my a pessimist but no way do I see that happening. Hopefully Brown is able to keep his swing from getting too long in the bigs

        1. Not to knock you, but we aren’t talking about some douch bag’s projections… this is bill james, probably the most influential statistician in baseball history… Though off hand I agree, that’s way more optimistic then I am… I’d love to see PP’s projection… if he’s willing to do it. It’s the last year this kid is a prospect, come on PP, do a projection… pllllleeeasseeeee!!!

    1. He’s never stolen more than 23 bases in the minors so logically he’ll swipe 28 in the Majors.

      Hope that line turns out to be accurate though…that’d be nice.

      1. He did 23 last year in 100 less PA… and 10 CS… you have to think with better coaching at the MLB level, he could improve his sucess %… and with those additional PA, 5 more is possible…

        1. I would counter with it being more difficult to steal in the Majors due to better pickoff moves and better catchers.

    2. I love Bill James, but most of these projections are purely statistically based. On the whole, they end up being quite accurate, but, often, if you have some insight on the player, you will get a firm sense that the projection is either aggressive or modest.

      I feel safe concluding that, for this year, the Brown projection is very aggressive, although, of course, I hope I’m wrong. I expect Dom to hit somewhere between 12-18 home runs over about 400 ABs w/a stat line like (.325/.460/.785). The important thing for Brown is how well he performs toward the end of the season so that he is ready for postseason baseball. I think it will be several years before we see him at his peak, although he should continue to improve.

      1. The only knock there of course… a player like brown who puts up a .850 OPS his rookie year (and isn’t 26)… has the potential during his best years to compete for MVP… where as by taking that down to .780 … I don’t know if that is a realistic outcome… so here’s the real question… will Dbrown ever compete for MVP???? (I’m not sure his ceiling is that high… let alone if he’ll achieve it, All Star yes, MVP no) Thoughts?

        1. I’m just concerned about Brown’s strikeout rate in the majors, i know it was such a small sample size, but if he doesn’t better recognize the stuff in the inner half w/ that long swing, it’ll be hard to hit over 300….If Brown and Utley end up having the same statistics I think the phils have nothing to worry about, but you have to think about A) Will Brown get the opportunity like Heyward did, and B) is his raw-ness going to inhibit his progress? I think people forget about how raw he is despite his immense talents…lets just see how he handles a full grueling major league season before the mvp talk

        2. Jade, I made a list of players 22 or younger who struck out at the same rate in a season. Players who struck out in at least a third of their plate appearances in one season include Pete Incaviglia, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Derrek Lee, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Darrell Porter, Jeff Burroughs, Matt Kemp, Dean Palmer, Gorman Thomas. So many players have recovered from initially poor K rates to enjoy productive careers.

        3. And let’s not forget the future HOF third baseman who had a similar K rate as a 23 year old rookie in almost a full season.

        4. Wow Alan, very encouraging to hear…I guess I’m worried over nothing, I want Brown to succeed so bad, such a good head on his shoulders, but the Posey/Heyward rookie type seasons that some people think Brown can have are the exception not the rule.

    3. I always found the Handbook’s projections for rookies overly optimistic. Of course Ryan Howard’s looked fantastic in 2005 (I think that season). Any rookie projection I take with a big grain of salt.

  15. I like that Law sees Singleton in AA by the end of the year. That would be amazing. It’s also nice that he sees Cosart as a top 10 guy assuming he has a normal year. Also some pretty good comments on May. I think he was a tad aggressive on Colvin’s age. All in all, very encouraging!

    1. If Singleton finishes the season in Reading and does well there, we could be talking about whether he should replace Raul next year, as a 21 yr old, well ahead of schedule I would think.

      1. September 18, 1991…Jon Singleton will playing the 2011 season as a 19 year-old in Clearwater, the phillies would really be going against tradition putting a 20 year-old in the majors in 2012. I think 2013 as a 21 year-old is the earliest possibility if all goes well, but I think that is a long ways off…and gillies and brown will get there chance to flank victorino before singleton gets a chance.

  16. Singleton in the majors in 2012? That would be something,can’t see it happening, but an outfield of Brown, Gillies, Singleton would make me happy

      1. Seriously, six teams have had six left handed batters accumulate 350+ plate appearances in a season.

        1921 Cleveland Indians
        1933 New York Yankees
        1935 Washington Senators
        1937 Washington Senators
        1978 Detroit Tigers
        1993 Philadelphia Phillies

        76 teams had five. Teams that won the pennant with five lefty batters: ’01 Diamondbacks, ’79 Pirates, ’49 Yankees, ’41 Yankees, ’39 Yankees, ’38 Yankees, ’37 Giants, ’32 Yankees, ’20 Indians, ’08 Cubs, 1901 White Sox.

        1. 350 PA is a platoon player. The 1993 Phils used platoons.

          Where are the 2011 RH hitting Phils outfielders? Ben Francisco isn’t that good and he’s the only name. Amaro slept through the winter like a bear in regard to this issue.

          Big problem. I’m already missing The Beard.

        2. Getting Lee was a pretty good idea. Werth wasn’t resigning regardless so its a moot point. Francisco is a good platoon guy who hits LHP pretty well. Its not a huge issue.

        3. Yeah, Jayson Werth would have signed in November 2009 for five years and $85 million. Would have been the happiest guy on the team after doing so.

          Dave $$$ Montgomery had other ideas.

          The Phils should win the weak N.L. East in a walk with this rotation, but in the playoffs you have to hit if you want to win.

      2. If anything, it’s a more common situation and more of a problem to have a lineup loaded with right-handed bats.

  17. you have to remember when brown played in the majors it was a small sample size but he also only played about 2 times a week so it was tough to get that timing down, then towards the end he maybe had 1 AB per week, I think his pitch recognition and strikeout rates will be fine once he plays on a regular basis

  18. Good years from Gillies and Singleton would certainly make things interesting. There are always lots of serviceable corner OFs available as FAs each off season to use as a bridge to Singleton in 2013 at age 21 which does make more sense.

  19. Have you guys heard what position Singleton is playing next year? I heard someone on a message board say he was supposed to play at first.

    1. Current plan to the best of my knowledge is getting time in left field. I assume Spring Training will determine how much time he sees there, depending on how well the experiment goes.

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