My Top 30 Prospects for 2011: Part 1

Hello all. Welcome to my top 30 prospects writeup for the 2011 season. Unlike past seasons, I will be writing up my 30 prospects in multiple parts, in the hopes of promoting more discussion. Before I get to my rankings, I thought it would be helpful to give a brief overview of the system, and more importantly, a brief overview of how I put my rankings together. A list means nothing unless you know how it was put together, the criteria used, etc etc. Before we move on, I also want to point out that my top 30 list is available in the Maple Street Press 2011 Phillies Annual, which I recommend you pick up. The team over at put it together this year, and it figures to be the best edition yet.

So, lets kick start this party, check below the fold.

As I sat down to put together my list, I realized that the Phillies system right now is stronger than I can ever remember. And this comes after a series of trades for Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. I left off 10-15 prospects that I think could have been in the top 30 in previous years. For me, this is a testament to the Phillies scouts. The Phillies spend less money on the draft compared to the other teams in their revenue bracket, yet they consistently produce as many or more well thought of prospects. Operating on a shoestring budget in Latin America, the scouts have turned out a number of prospects in my top 30, paying small six figure amounts, while other teams are spending $2-5M per on much more hyped prospects. In the draft, the Phillies selectively break slot, but when they do, they rarely miss. Like any team, they end up with top 5 or 10 round picks that never make it to the majors, but on the whole, the system has grown tremendously in the last 5 years. Many prospects have been traded, but the traded prospects always seem to be replaced by new breakout guys. As it stands now, the system is one of the 5-10 best in baseball, according to various outlets, and as I said, I think it is as strong as I can remember since I’ve become a fan.

If you’re new to the site, I recommend you checking out this page, which details how I evaluate prospects. If you don’t feel like taking the time to read this, here is a basic summary:

* I strongly believe in melding scouting reports and statistics, its not one or the other
* A prospect’s age, what level he is at, and his home park play a factor when looking at performance
* Defensive value is important, especially when looking at projected production relative to the position being played
* For hitters, secondary skills are very important, notably raw power, plate discipline, contact rate and base running efficiency
* For pitchers, the core skills to focus on are strikeout rate, walk rate, home run rate and groundball percentage.
* For pitchers, velocity is very important, especially for righthanded pitchers. Very few elite pitchers have average to below velocity.

My list is my own personal opinion. As we had our reader top 30, and you submitted your ballots, this is simply my list. I’ve been closely following minor league baseball for 10+ years. But I’m not a scout. I think I have a decent ability to watch a guy swing a bat, or throw a baseball, and figure out whether he is going to succeed. But I’m not an expert. Some things either look right or wrong to me, its a gut instinct in many cases. I don’t get a chance to go see guys play multiple times. This means I have to rely on scouting reports from other sources, short video clips, and my discussions with people who are closer to the game than me. Even if I could get to see all of the players in our system 10 times each, I’d never be right all the time. The big guns of prospect evaluation all come up with their lists, and each year they are on the money with a number of picks, and way off base with a number of their other picks. Baseball prospects are tough to gauge, really tough actually. Some players develop really fast, some really slow, and some never develop at all.

For me, there isn’t a choice between “now value” and “upside value”. Its all an equation, so to speak. If a player is a high probability guy who figures to be only an average big leaguer, that has to be weighed against a guy who is really far away, but has the chance to be a star. There is no “right” here, a list can’t be filled with all high probability guys or all high ceiling guys. I believe in a balance, because attrition in the prospect world is really high. Even “sure thing” guys flame out or fall well short of their projected ceiling. Guys who are almost off the radar come back with huge seasons and re-establish themselves. These lists are simply a snapshot of the feeling at the time, of which guys stand the best chance of making it to the majors and contributing.

For each prospect, I’m going to provide a basic statistics chart, a brief 2010 performance summary, strengths, weaknesses, ranking difficulties, MLB ETA, best case scenario, and final thoughts. These should be self explanatory. Ranking difficulties will be my explanation of the thought that went in to the ranking, if he could have gone higher/lower, etc etc. A few of the statistics represented, and what they mean, just for reference are below. Please check out the statistics glossary for more in depth explanations.

K% = Strikeouts as a percentage of plate appearances. I use plate appearances instead of ABs because I feel its more accurate and meaningful
BB% = Walks as a percentage of plate appearances.
ISO = Isolated power, an indicator of raw power
BABIP = Batting average on Balls In Play. MLB average is around .300
SecA = Secondary Average. MLB average is between .250-.270
DICE = Defense Independent Component ERA. A pitching statistic on the same scale as ERA which emphasizes pitching components that a pitcher has some degree of control over

Are we ready? Lets go. I will be including the statistics charts, as well as links to click to see an expanded version, if it is tough to see on your computer, depending on your display/screen size.

01. Domonic Brown, OF
(click here for stats chart)

2010 Summary: The top prospect on everyone’s Phillies list heading into 2010, Brown mauled his minor league competition and earned a big league callup, showing flashes of brilliance mixed in with expected growing pains. His .390 OB% was excellent across two levels, he maintained his walk rate while also reducing his strikeouts. More impressively, his power increased fairly dramatically.

Strengths: Brown’s strengths are abundant. He more than held his own against lefthanders in the minors, and even with his inconsistent playing time in the majors, he continued to show a good approach at the plate, even if the results weren’t there. His walk rate has remained close to 10% (though it dipped slightly in AAA) as he has climbed the ladder, and the projected raw power showed itself in 2010, including a monster home run at Citizens Bank Park. An increase in power and a decrease in strikeouts is one of the best trends you can see in a power hitting prospect.

Weaknesses: Brown tinkered with his swing a bit after his call-up, raising his hands in a much more pronounced fashion than his time in the minors, and its unclear why this happened. The raised hands may have caused a bit of extra movement in his swing, leading to more swings and misses. His defense is still erratic in right field, but should improve with repetitions. He didn’t run as much in 2010 on the bases, and that may be an indication that he is starting to slow down a bit.

Best Case: Once he is firmly established in RF, Brown looks like a well rounded performer who will hit for power, provide a solid batting average, throw in plenty of walks, and add in the occasional stolen base. In other words, an all star caliber rightfielder who does it all.

MLB ETA: He’s already made it. With a good spring, he has a chance to win the rightfield job outright. If he doesn’t win the job, he may head to Allentown to play every day and work on the finer points of his game.

Ranking Difficulties: This was the easiest selection on the list. No other prospect in the system matches his combination of upside, proximity and probability.

Final Thoughts: Most prospects struggle when making the jump from the minors to the majors, and that is with regular playing time. Brown played sporadically, but the experience around the big league club should prove beneficial going forward. Charlie Manuel loves what Brown offers, so I expect he will get a real long look this spring at winning the job outright. That said, with Raul Ibanez’s contract expiring after 2011, there will be a spot for Brown either this year or next. He has shown a willingness to learn, by all accounts he is a very hard worker, so I wouldn’t get too excited about his struggles in his brief MLB stint, or during what was essentially a rehab stint in winter ball.

02. Brody Colvin, RHP
(click here for larger image)

2010 Summary: Without a first round pick in 2009, the Phillies took Colvin, a potential first round talent, in the 7th round and paid him like a first rounder. He responded by posting an excellent full season debut in 2010 at Lakewood. After a rough start, which saw him post an ERA over 11 in April, he was lights out the rest of the season, finishing with strong peripherals across the board.

Strengths: Colvin is a prototypical power arm starter, featuring a solid frame that lends itself to further muscle and velocity, as well as excellent present raw stuff. His fastball sits anywhere from 91-96, and he touched 97 multiple times this season, even late in games. His mechanics are free and easy, as he does not appear to be muscling up to generate the excellent velocity he already possesses. He’s a great athlete who will field his position well, and this athleticism should help him repeat his delivery once he has maxed out physically. Though his secondary pitches are unrefined, he showed good control and moved his fastball around well enough to keep hitters off balance. His groundball rate was average, but because of his size and impressive velocity, that number could trend up going forward.

Weaknesses: As good as his debut was, he still has a bit of rawness to his game. Multiple scouting reports indicate his command is still a work in progress, especially with his secondary offerings. Though his delivery is free and easy, he does throw slightly across his body, which is a minor health concern going forward, however it did not cause him any issues in 2010, and it does help create movement on his fastball.

Best Case: A starting pitcher who consistently pitches in the 93-95 range, touching 97 with two above average pitches sure sounds like a front of the rotation starter to me. His command and control aren’t there yet, but he has a good idea of what he’s doing on the mound, he’s athletic, and his frame should sustain 200+ innings per season.

MLB ETA: He’ll likely spend 2011 in Clearwater, with a possible bump up to Reading at the end of the summer. Assuming there is no real rush, he figures to make the majors in 2013, but if his command and control develop quicker than anticipated, its not impossible to imagine him getting a cup of coffee in 2012 if the need arises.

Ranking Difficulties: Spots 2, 3 and 4 were all essentially coin flips for me. Colvin’s projectability, coupled with his results and his health were enough for me to rank him 2nd. Elite starting pitching will forever be the most desirable commodity in baseball, and when I look at Colvin, I see a potential ace with all of the tools needed to lead a rotation. But I also concede that I was a huge fan of his heading into 2010, so he only re-enforced my belief in him, and he gets the nod at #2.

Final Thoughts: After a great debut, Colvin moves to the pitcher friendly Florida State League, and I expect great things. His DUI arrest prior to the 2010 season appears to be behind him, and he drew strong marks for his makeup, work ethic, and competitiveness at Lakewood. So far, he’s proven the Phillies right in their decision to offer him almost 7 figures to pass up his LSU commitment.

03. Jon Singleton, 1B/OF

(click here for larger image)

2010 Summary: Held back in extended spring training, Singleton got a late start at Lakewood, but came on like a man possessed, opening eyes with both his patience and power. He hit a wall at the end of the season, but its important to remember that he was just 18, playing against players 3-4 years older than him. He showed a bit of everything, including solid defense at first base, but will now get a look in the outfield in 2011.

Strengths: Singleton has an impressive offensive profile. He showed good contact skills for a potential slugger, striking out in just 16% of his plate appearances despite facing much more experienced competition. His walk rate was excellent, and he showed solid raw power. He also chipped in with 9 stolen bases, a testament to his athleticism. This athleticism has prompted the Phillies to try him in the outfield, where he should be no worse than adequate, with a chance to be an asset defensively. Though he slumped after hitting the wall, he showed very impressive raw power in his first 2 months at Lakewood, piling up doubles and home runs despite Lakewood’s very pitcher friendly confines. Once you show a skill you own it, repeating it is what separates the best from the rest.

Weaknesses: His cold finish to the season seemed to worry some folks, but I think its pretty easy to explain, as he was just 18 and in his first full season. His approach never seemed to waver, he simply wasn’t getting results. His throwing arm is only average, and though he’s a good athlete for his size, he’s never going to steal bases consistently. One concern I’ve seen voiced about his swing, from trusted source, is that he has trouble handling high fastballs. This seems a minor quibble at this point, considering his age and experience level.

Best Case: A guy who can hit for average, draw walks, and hit 30 HR per season seems pretty outstanding, especially if it comes in LF instead of 1B. The future power is the biggest issue, as his approach at the plate is already very advanced considering his age. If he is forced back to first base, it obviously lessens his potential offensive impact.

MLB ETA: If he can remain in LF, his path to the majors with the Phillies is a bit more clear, but he figures to need 2-3 more seasons in the minors at least. His approach is outstanding for his tender age, so its just a matter of him getting reps, continuing to translate his raw power to games, and maintaining consistency over a 140 game season.

Ranking Difficulties: I was tempted, briefly, to rank him 2nd. I can’t overstate the age thing enough. The average “prospect age” in the SAL is like 20-21, with lots of 23-24 year old college guys filling out rosters, and Singleton was one of the youngest players in the league, and put up excellent offensive numbers in all categories. He could repeat Lakewood twice and still be age appropriate for the level. If his power develops further, and he’s, say, a 35-40 HR threat, I think its conceivable to rank him right next to Domonic Brown. I was very aggressive ranking him where I did last season (9th), and if I didn’t love Brody Colvin as much as I do, I could have easily ranked him 2nd. Its a great problem to have.

Final Thoughts: Singleton seems to have surprised the masses with his quick debut, and the short sighted folks who jumped off the bandwagon after his rough finish will likely be the first ones back on in 2011. If he can remain in LF, he looks like a big time offensive weapon going forward. Even at 1B, he’ll have plenty of value, it might just come for another team. A bright kid who takes well to instruction, his work ethic and coachability shouldn’t be an issue at all moving forward. He should open up as the every day LF in Clearwater in 2011, and there’s a whole lot to like here.

73 thoughts on “My Top 30 Prospects for 2011: Part 1

  1. Based on previous posts, I had a feeling Colvin would be judged #2. I had Cosart #2, but sound arguments can be made for any combination of 2 thru 4.

  2. Excellent article and analysis. Stop getting on the Singleton trade train!! Even if he stays at 1B in our system, would you retain an aging Howard or promote him? We need Singleton, at any position.

  3. I enjoy your comments. I think most of us who follow the site believe that slots 2 through 4 are something of a coin flip. I had Colvin 4th, but I understand the justification for making him number 2.

  4. MLB (Renolds?) went through great pains to point out that where Brown’s hands are before the pitch starts means nothing. Its getting to the common” starting point” that is important. Strikingly similar to Strawberry in build and approach. But hopefully he maintains a clear head.
    BTW that is exactly what Ruiz wasn’t doing before last year except at the year end when he got hyped.

  5. I agree on Colvin over Cosart…I really really debated that one myself and went with Cosart but I think it should be Colvin then Cosart (as far as pitchers go).

    1. You were right the first time. Cosart is the better pitcher, by any measure.

      Cosart- WHIP: 1.07, K/9: 9.71, BB/9: 2.02, HR/9: 0.38, FIP: 2.47, GB/FO: 1.94

      Colvin- WHIP: 1.30, K/9: 7.83, BB/9: 2.74, HR/9: 0.46, FIP: 3.23, GB/FO: 1.25

      Clean sweep statistically.

      1. For me, Cosart was more successful because at present, his fastball is a bit better, both in velocity and location. Colvin was 91-96 touching 97, comfortably pitching in the 92-94 range. Cosart was 92-97, touching 98, and comfortably sitting in the 93-95 range. That might not seem like a big difference, but against Low A hitters, I think it is. Cosart has better command now than Colvin, but I consider their secondary pitches (at current) a wash. The reason I rank Colvin above Cosart is because of his health, primarily. Cosart got a clean billing, but until he proves he can manage a full season workload, it will be a concern for me. Colvin has 95% of the raw ability Cosart has, and he has health, which gives him the nod in my book.

        1. Agree with LarryM. The difference in K/9 AND the 1.94 to 1.25 GB/FO, is huge. I understand downgrading Cosart due to injury concerns, but the closeness in ability is overstated a bit.
          If minor arm soreness is enough to place a future #1 (or lights out closer) behind a future #3, then I don’t know where the risk line should be drawn. Worley a future #4-5 is less risky than Colvin, if that is the case.

      2. Check my response further down the line. Colvin’s K/9 and BB/9 were both vastly improved if you remove his really bad April, with another .5 K/9 and .3 BB/9 less than his overall numbers. Cosart’s numbers were better, but also in a smaller sample of innings. There’s no way of knowing whether he’d have hit a wall in August and put up a month similar to Colvin’s April.

  6. NOTE: I caught flack when Ruiz came off the DL with a corrected swing and I stated he would hit ,300 the rest of the way. Well I was wrong he hit …….316…….. (as he pats himself on the back)

    1. Chooch has been probably the most pleasant surprise in recent memory with this club. I wonder how much of his blossoming as a great hitter (and he is a great hitting catcher now and one of the best catchers in baseball) is a result of the lineup he plays in everyday and what part of it is having UC as a de facto hitting coach? UC doesnt get enough credit for all the great hitters that have played for him. Its pretty much impossible not to love Chooch (by far my favorite guy on the team).

      1. He didn’t improve under UC (probably because he didn’t listen)
        Gross may of gotten his ear. If you remember Greg became the hitting coach so after Ruiz came back. If a jerk like me can see an obvious glaring fault I am sure many did but some reached him.

        1. he probably just couldn’t understand UC. I speak English as my first language, and I barely understand UC

          1. His whole problem was where he started his hand the fact that he didn’t correct when he started to swing. He could easily have improved a couple of years age. That he maintain any king of average before showed his potential.
            But he is there now so what the hell. Bring on spring.

      2. I love him as a player. He has improved (agree that the improvement goes back further than when he came off the DL).

        He won’t hit .300 again. He probably won’t hit .280. If he “only” repeats his 2009 performance (which is I think a realistic expectations, with maybe a few more points of BA*), he’ll still be one of the better catchers in the league.

        *I think his increased BA was mostly an illusion of luck, but his increased line drive percentage tells me that some of the increase was probably “real.”

  7. I am in favor of getting Brown into the Phillies’ lineup ASAP and then penciling him in every day for the next 10 to 15 years. The Phils have enough of a cushion with the addition of Lee, a full season from Oswalt, and the possible retention of Blanton to afford the luxury of having Brown learn on the job at the major-league level. I would give the starting RF job to Brown from Day 1 even if he is only OK in spring training.

  8. Brody Colvin should pitch no more than 160 innings this year. Please on repeat of the Knapp SNAFU. I can even see a slow late August and the AFL is he does very well.

    Sorry I have the baseball fever already.

    1. He pitched 138 innings last year so 160-170 is probably his cutoff for 2011.

      Knapp didn’t really have a huge increase from 2008 to 2009. If you look at his pro stats, yeah there’s a 66 inning increase between years but he also played a good amount of HS innings that year prior to being drafted so he wasn’t overused by any means.

    2. Knapp was a high school draftee. Its just a fact of life that those guys will get hurt.

      Colvin has already passed the rigors of a full pro season. He made every start this year, I don’t think there’s a way the Phillies can unduly risk him unless they throw him out there for multiple 120+ pitch outings.

      1. If you remember I stated several times that there was no need to pitch Knapp into late innings against competition he easily retired.
        It was plain stupid . Better to pitch five innings and learn something.
        And yes guys get hurt but you don’t have to help them.

  9. i am hoping someone can tell me how Colvin/Cosart stack up against Cole Hamels at this point in his minor league career?

    1. Hamels made it to Clearwater when he was 19. His K/9 was 13.1 across two levels and he did not allow a home run. Hamels may well have been one of the most dominant pitchers we ever had in the minors, the only question was that of health. Neither Colvin/Cosart pitched at his level.

    2. I second this request. How does the Colvin/Cosart combo compare to the Hamels/Floyd combination as they were coming up?

      1. Colvin and Floyd are comparable. Both pitched Lakewood at 19. Colvin walked less batters and gave up less home runs. Floyd pitched more innings in one more start, they are obviously watching Colvin’s pitch counts. Floyd’s performance netted him 9th on BA’s Top 100 prospects. Floyd was the 4th overall pick so I wouldn’t expect the same praise for Colvin.

        1. A lot of Floyd’s problems were self inflicted. Larry Anderson suggested he go for more movement on his fastball and less speed. Instead he stayed with the pitch that got him by in the minor but was raw meat to almost any finished players.

    3. I think Hamels’ minor league career compares favorably with that of Josh Beckett and other top pitching talents of the last 10 years throughout baseball. Hamels dominated at Low A; he dominated at AAA.

      Hamels gave up a total of 3 HRs in 200 innings in the minors. His K/9 and H/9 rates were outstanding. His BB/9 rate was slightly off. Had he not broken his hand and dealt with other injuries in 2004 and 2005, Hamels probably would have hit the majors in 2005 at age 21.

      Cosart has shown excellent control so far, better than Hamels (2.2/9 vs. 3.3/9). As good as Cosart’s K/9 has been so far, however, Hamels’ K/9 was much better in the minors (12.4/9 vs. 9.6/9). Hamels’ H/9 was also much better (5.2/9 vs. 6.8/9). Cosart has been excellent, but Hamels was more dominant.

      Hamels actually improved as he moved up the ladder. Cosart has been really good so far; and, if he also can improve over the next couple of years, then maybe he can become comparable to Hamels. Let’s see what happens.

  10. I think the top-3 was nailed with this piece. In talking to scouts about both, the raw stuff of Cosart may be better, but few are willing to bit on his durability over a guy like Colvin who is simply a safer guy right now. Cosart will probably slot in at #4 with a talent drop off to the Valle’s and May’s of the organization.

  11. I think its also important to note how much of an impact Colvin’s April had on his overall stat line.

    Overall Line: 138 IP – 138 H – 52 ER (3.39 ERA) – 138 H – 42 BB (2.74/9) – 120 K (7.83/9) – 7 HR (0.46/9)
    April Line: 15.1 IP – 23 H – 19 ER (11.15 ERA) – 23 H – 9 BB – 9 K – 3 HR

    2010 line, minus April: 122.2 IP – 115 H – 33 ER (2.43 ERA) – 33 BB (2.43/9) – 111 K (8.18/9) – 4 HR (0.29)

    Looking at splits at the minor league level can lead to noise and unreliable samples, but I think holding April against him is kind of unfair when you see what he did for the remainder of the season, considering it was his first full season and first real meaningful innings as a pro.

    1. I remember a lot of people (myself included) that were wondering what the heck we had in Colvin during April of last year. Some thought he was hurt, some thought he just plain sucked. I’m glad he didn’t listen to any of that and was able to turn it around.

  12. I had Singleton ranked above Cosart/Colvin, just because I think a hitter is a safer bet than a pitcher. But you can really rank 2-4 a lot of different ways (well six, so not really). They are all very good prospects.

    1. As mentioned in the write-up a lot depends on whether Singleton can stick in LF. I think that’s really the huge question mark with him.

      1. Honestly, I didn’t really consider the position switch for Singleton. I think he’s plenty good even as a 1B, and I consider the presence of Ryan Howard or any other major leaguer irrelevant for such a list.

        1. I think if he’s only a 1st baseman, he could be a Billy Butler type, without the 30HR power. In LF he could become elite.

  13. Also, what separated Hamels from Cosart and Colvin is his changeup, which was a plus-plus elite pitch as soon as he stepped onto a professional field. Major league hitters cant hit it, and minor leaguers certainly couldn’t. Neither Colvin or Cosart has a secondary pitch that comes close to Hamels’ changeup. That’s not to say they won’t develop a killer breaking ball or changeup, but its not there yet.

    1. Exactly my opinion on the dominance of Hamels. He was an amazing high schooler, with a 80 change up. In fact, he only needed two pitches to be World Series MVP and just now is developing a usable other pitch.

  14. I agree colvin has a slight advantage over cosart at this time. I’m excited to read your reviews. Some people use Keith law’s opinion as gospel and you may get some flack. Like all of us we have an opinion and time will tell who’s right and who’s wrong.

  15. I appreciate the discussion of Domonic Brown. There was an article in the Inquirer recently by Matt Gelb describing how Brown has been scorned by people in the media for his 2010 “struggles”. Seeing as Brown was used primarily as a pinch-hitter for what I think was just 29 at-bats, I find it strange and upsetting that someone would put much stock in these numbers. Pinch-hitting is different from playing everyday in that you cannot stay sharp. You can hear Wheels in the video clip above say that it is tough to pinch-hit in the major leagues. Sarge and Wheels said this each time he approached the plate, it seemed, as a pinch-hitter. Brown also suffered an injury to his quadriceps that further disrupted his rhythym. I also feel that while Brown was in the everyday lineup, he did a fine job holding down the fort with Victorino out. Mike Stanton, who is clearly major league ready, went through a 5-57 slump last season (my stats might not be exact, but I think they are close). This was while playing everyday, so he was sharp. How then can you justify that Brown is not ready by citing 29 pinch-hit appearances? And if you love Brandon Belt, he hit around .230 while playing regularly for 13 or so games in a Triple A setting. Of course, you can chalk this up to fatigue or adjustment difficulties, since Belt started the season in single-A. Since Belt came out of college, I would guess (I don’t know his exact age) that age would have to be taken into account when assessing his gaudy numbers in single A and double A. Also, he might have been hot. So how is it that Brown is not judged with the same leniency these other players seem to be getting? For instance, in spite of Belt’s problems at Triple A, Jonathon Mayo said that “he raked at all levels of the minor leagues”. Huh?

    1. Mike Stanton
      Aug 17-Sept 5

      4 for 56. 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 BBs, 22 Ks

      You’re right about Stanton. As far as Brandon Belt, he hit .229 but he also drew 13 walks in 61 PAs and slugged .563. That’s raking.

  16. Some of the noise in Colvin’s first month may be attributed to him switching his grip on his change from a split to a circle. Plus they were tweaking his mechanics early on as well.

  17. Great start PP, I love it already. Personally, I have Singleton at #2 because he projects as an all star everyday left fielder an dthey don’t grow on trees. Also, I have Cosart 3 and Colvin 4 but shuffled it back and forth a few times myself. I finally settled on cosart at 3 because I think his upside is a bit higher with his 98 fastball plus great control. He’s a bg time athlete all around and only needs to stay healthy to mvoe up. Having said that, he’s probably one more injury away from being moved to a closer role. I watched Hamels pitch in the minors and he was just too good for those kids. His changeup, an 80 pitch even in the big leagues, was just unhittable in the minors. As an aside, I’m very excited to see the 2011 version after his incredible improvement last year. By the way, Myers was a much better minor league pitcher than Floyd and a better comparable for our two guys now. It will be amazing if they both make the Futures Game with Singleton (Brown will be busy in Philly then).

  18. Been giving a lot of thought to Singleton versus Colvin … and have basically concluded that we need to start ranking Pitchers & position players seperately.

    Their upsides are in the ballpark of being similar – front of the rotation starter versus all star outfielder. Similar levels, similar ages (Singleton the slight edge there).

    Yet Singleton, as a position player, is probbly at least twice as likely as Colvin to (a) reach the majors, and (b) reach his upside, merely because of the injury risk that EVERY minor league pitcher faces.

    The vast majority of position players who have the kind of year Singleton had at that level at that age go on to have major league careers – the majority as regulars, and a substantial minority go on to be stars.

    The same is not true of pitchers. I don’t have exact numbers or a link, but from what I’ve read, I’d say that the chance that ANY pitcher at that level ends up with a real career as a major league starter, front end or no, is probably less than one in three.

    So you would almost have to rank Singleton higher .. except that this analysis, generally applied, would rule out most A pitchers from even being considered for a top ten list. Which seems wrong as well.

    Hence the need for seperate lists.

    1. I don’t think you need separate lists.

      This isn’t rocket science, and it doesn’t pre-ordain prospects to any particular level. Singleton may be more likely to become an all-star, because of the attrition level for pitching prospects, but there’s also a chance Singleton’s power never fully develops, and he ends up just an average every day player, or even a 4th OF. All prospects carry risk, all A ball prospects carry significant risk, pitcher or not.

      1. They likely carry the same developmental risk, but the injury derailment risk for Colvin has to be quite a bit higher. Singleton has to fully develop his power, master the high fastball, deal with the tougher job of pitch recognition as he moves up the ladder, where he likely will see a smaller percentage of mistake pitches. On the other hand, Colvin needs to master command and his secondary pitches. Given where each is starting that seems to be a wash on developmental needs. Pitchers just have a much higher injury washout rate from low-A to majors than a LF or 1B. I put Singleton #2 and Colvin #3, but either order is fine. If we were setting injury risk to the side, I’d have Cosart #2, but I put him #4 just because of the one injury he had and that is supposedly behind him.

        1. My point was, all prospects carry risk.

          In the abstract, a legit #1 starter who logs 210 IP a year, with a low WHIP, lots of strikeouts and few walks is more valuable than a leftfielder with 25-30 HR power and a .360 OB%.

          In reality, both of those things are really valuable. Pitchers get hurt more. But prospects at every position flame out and hit the wall. By nature, pitching prospects are also able to move faster as well. The Phillies didn’t hold back Hamels, his injuries held him back.

          Also, Cosart was drafted in 2008 and has logged a total of 95 innings. Injuries have derailed 2 of his 2.5 seasons so far. That’s a worry for me, even if he was given a clean bill of health. But I’ll address that in his writeup.

      2. I think Carl Crawfords Contract shows how valuable an elite Corner outfielder is worth. Aside from a Lee or Halladay type most number 1’s cant even touch that kind of money.

  19. Good start – I had Cosart up there but it was a toss up between him Colvin – I see both of them spending the whole season in CLW. If anybody gets moved up I see May getting the call.

    I don’t think we have to worry about Dom Brown…if he gets his consistent at bats he will hit. He was just a pinch hitter at the end of the season. That is a tough thing to do as a kid. I think we will pleased with his production and Francisco’s this year.

    I’m excited to see what Singleton does this year. How will he do in LF? Will he continue to hit for average? Will he increase his power?

  20. James, have you seen the PECOTA most comparables? Shoot me an email. Gotta be something wrong there. For those who haven’t seen them, Biddle and other minor leaguers are compared to HOFers.

  21. I think that it would be a cool idea if you put a best comparison for each player. You could show a current or former major league player that the prospect compares to and has a chance to have a similar career as.

    1. I’ve tried to do that myself a couple times. Its very difficult for low minor league pitchers. There are too many similar players, not a lot of track record and invariably it always becomes any lefty = Tom Glavine.

      Some I’ve come up with though…

      Domonic Brown: Cliff Floyd
      Jonathan Singleton: Jon Olerud
      Jiwan James: Garry Maddox
      Sebastian Valle: Benito Santiago

      1. I don’t see the Benito Santiago comp for Sebastian Valle. There have been questions about Valle’s defense and whether he could even stay at the position. Benito’s defense was waaay ahead of his offense. He was one of the ‘break the mold’ defensive catchers, like Tony Pena or Yadier Molina.
        I know people may not like these comps for Valle, but I would say Bengie Molina or Rod Barajas. Barajas isn’t popular around here, but he has had a decent major league career.

        1. My comparison is solely based upon offense. Santiago in his first pro season struck out seven times as often as he walked. But he had enough power to be a useful offensive player. Barajas and Bengie I don’t see as good comps because frankly, they’re fat while Valle is relatively trim.

    2. I really dont put a lot of stock into comparables at this point. The only thing I can do, in that regard, is look at a player’s swing or a pitcher’s motion and think of who it reminds me of.

  22. It’s understandable that Dominic Brown is the #1 prospect given his size, tools, and experience through all levels of the minors.

    But Jonathan Singleton profiles like Justin Upton, David Wright, and Jason Heyward. When I watch available video I see Al Oliver with superior power and plate discipline. Al Oliver with those qualities is Barry Bonds.

    I would package Singleton, Colvin, Cosart and May for Evan Longoria. Other than that, I would just look forward to Singleton’s arrival.

    $400,000 for both Brown and Singleton?


    Dave $$$ Montgomery is killing this franchise by restricting what is spent on the Phillies farm system.

    If you want to see Phillies’ owner John S. Middleton, click my name.

    1. The Phils’ win totals the past five years have been 85, 89, 92, 93, and 97. I believe there was some playoff success in there too. Meanwhile, we have a top 10 farm system. I think that would be the opposite of a franchise getting killed.

      I wish they spent more money on signing amateurs too, because they seem to be pretty good at finding “value” guys. Still, it is really really short-sighted to complain about the Phils right now. If you can’t be happy with the Phils now, you will never be happy.

      1. Now yes, but the Phils are short of the young talent they need to keep it going unless they are going to take the payroll to $200 million in 2013 and onward from there. The people in the organization are very good at evaluating talent but Dave $$$ Montgomery has killed them in the first round by demanding they draft easy signs who were failures on draft day. Greg Golson, Joe Savery and Anthony Hewitt were crap picks that enraged me. Golson in particular. Phil Hughes was siting there when the Phils took Golson. “Wheels” went on a rant the next night on TV about how great it was that Golson signed for slot (or was it slightly below slot?) and had agreed to that before the draft. Golson was at best a 2nd round talent with a flawed bat.

        No way the Phils staff didn’t want Phil Hughes.

        Then there are the guys who the Phils don’t draft or sign later on because of money. The Phils are better talent evaluators than the Red Sox but Boston will win out in the end because of Dave $$$ Montgomery

        1. I think you are unfairly letting the Phils’ performance in the first round cloud your perception of the organization as a whole. They may not have done well in the first round, but they do quite well in the later rounds.

          As for comparing us to the Red Sox, the Phils have won 282 games over the last three seasons. The Red Sox have won 279. Keith Law ranked our system 5th compared to the Red Sox at 11th. I think we are beating the Red Sox now and we are set up better for the future.

          1. But in the first round the Phils have played Russian Roulette with five bullets in the gun instead of one. Just to please Bud Selig.

            Screw Bud.

            The Red Sox have had some bad breaks of an unusual medical nature too, and just traded a stud prospect for AGon, a stud they paid for well out of the first round.

            I’m saying in the long run, the Phils won’t continue to pull winning lottery tickets with Brown and Singleton -and let’s not forget Ryan Howard- while the Red Sox model means they will have to be incompetent to fail.

            The Astros were successful for a while by not spending any money in the draft. Eventually that model turned their system into a basket case. Roy Oswalt was one of their no-money success stories.

            When your team starts to keep company with the Mets at the bottom of the draft spending column it’s time to worry and speak up.

  23. I put Singleton at two just because I saw him when he was tearing up Lakewood. Once you take a step back, I think Singleton, Colvin, and Cosart each make a case for the two slot. Fans in Clearwater should be excited for what they are getting this year. Having watched this group last year in Lakewood, Phils system is in real good shape.

    1. Take a step back indeed.

      Gavin Floyd Lakewood age 19

      2.77 ERa 166 IP 119 H 140 SO

      Cole Hamels Lakewood age 19

      0.84 ERA 74.2 IP 32 H 115 SO

      Brett Myers Piedmont (same league as Lakewood) age 19

      3.18 ERA 175.1 IP 165 H 140 SO

      Jarred Cosart Lakewood AGE 20

      3.79 ERA 71.1 IP 60 H 77 SO

      Brody Colvin Lakewood age 19

      3.39 ERA 138 IP 138 H 120 SO

      Jonathan Singleton is if anything underrated by many at this point. He has no deficits as a hitter. He turned 19 on September 18th. He’ll have no trouble becoming a LF and can play 1B as well. Has the ability to become an above average fielding first baseman. He’s a “can’t miss” MLB talent already. Now we watch and see if he can look like a multiple All-Star and Cooperstown inductee.

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