My Top 30 Prospects for 2011: Part 2

Welcome back! Yesterday I unleashed my introduction along with prospects 1-3 in my 2011 Top 30. In this edition, I unveil prospects 4-6. I’ll spare you the rambling, lets just get right to it.

Volume 1 can be found here

04. Jarred Cosart, RHP
(Click here for larger image)

2010 Summary: Cosart was excellent at Lakewood in 2010, showing swing and miss stuff and getting scouts all hot and bothered. His strikeouts were excellent, his control was good, and he generated tons of groundballs.

Strengths: Cosart has the biggest arm in the system, consistently sitting at 92-97 and touching 98 frequently. His fastball has solid movement, and the ball explodes out of his hand. His arm action is still long, but the Phillies have quieted his delivery down a bit, removing some of the excess motion and moving parts. He’s an excellent athlete, which will help him repeat his delivery and should promote excellent command in addition to his already solid control. While neither secondary pitch is a consistent plus pitch at present, he’ll snap off good breaking balls and show an average if inconsistent changeup. At 6’3, 180, he still has room to add a bit of muscle.

Weaknesses: The biggest concern right now is Cosart’s health. He didn’t pitch at all in 2008 after being drafted, and arm issues shut him down early in both 2009 and 2010. He was given a clean bill of health by Dr Andrews, but until he pitches a full season and stays healthy, the injury question will be with him. On a pure talent level, he’s the top pitcher in the system, but health is just as important as actual baseball skill or raw tools.

Best Case: If he can put the injuries behind him, he has the pedigree of a true number 1 starter. When he is fully developed, his fastball should comfortably sit in the 94-96 range, regularly touching 98 with good movement. He’s shown aptitude for his offspeed pitches, but the lack of innings and health are holding him back from refining and improving the pitches. Even if he can’t hold up with a starter’s workload, his fastball alone makes him an elite closer candidate. In other words, he’s really talented, and should be a fixture at the top of this list for the next 2-3 seasons.

MLB ETA: Staying healthy for a full season is priority #1. He figures to head to Clearwater with Brody Colvin and Trevor May in 2011, and he’ll set his own timetable. Conservatively, 2013 seems like a good bet.

Ranking Difficulties: The injury is what prompted me to drop him below Colvin and Singleton. His peripherals were excellent, his raw tools are excellent, but he has to stay on the field to get the most out of them. As I mentioned in my Brody Colvin writeup, I think Colvin is 95% of the prospect Cosart is, and he’s healthy, so he gets the nod. I considered Singleton and Colvin as near equals, so it made sense to me to drop Cosart down to #4. If you want to rank him #2, I can totally understand that. I felt more comfortable ranking him 4th.

Final Thoughts: Theres a ton to like here. Lets just pray for a healthy 2011. Also, you should follow Jarred on twitter, go here, he’s very fan friendly. Just play it cool!

05. Trevor May, RHP
(Click here for larger image)

2010 Summary: After a solid 2009 at Lakewood, the Phillies promoted May to Clearwater, where things didn’t go so well. He struggled with his mechanics, which led to poor control of all of his offerings. More experienced hitters didn’t do him favors by chasing his fastball and hammer curve, and the result was a demotion back to Lakewood. Upon his return, his numbers ticked back up.

Strengths: On his day, May’s raw stuff is nearly as good as that of Cosart and Colvin, as he can regularly pitch in the 91-94 range, touching 95. He compliments his fastball with a big curveball, and a changeup that shows promise. May creates some deception in his delivery which makes it tough to get good swings off of him.

Weaknesses: The biggest issue facing May is his command and control. His delivery has a lot of moving parts, and as Mike over at scoutingthesally.com pointed out just today, May struggles maintaining a consistent release point, which completely hinders his command of all of his pitches. On a given day, he’ll look like a front of the rotation guy, but those days weren’t as frequent in 2010, especially at Clearwater.

Best Case: If he can refine his mechanics and quiet his delivery down, his raw arm strength and feel for a curveball gives him a chance to pitch closer to the front of a big league rotation than the back. If he’s never able to develop consistency in that regard, his downside looks to be that of a late inning reliever.

MLB ETA: Mastering Clearwater is the first step for May. Unlike Colvin and Cosart, May lacks polish and above average command/control, which will slow his timetable a bit. Still, late 2013/early 2014 seems like a reasonable assessment.

Ranking Difficulties: While May is still rough around the edges, he does have considerable upside. However, the 5th spot on the list is pretty much the high water mark for him.

Final Thoughts: 2011 is a big year for May. He’s proven that he can blow his fastball by SAL hitters, but repeating Clearwater is going to be a big step.

06. Sebastian Valle, C
(Click here for larger image)

2010 Summary: 2010 was a mixed bag for Valle at the plate, but behind the plate the reports on his defense improved. Though he still has a bit of work to do, he reduced his rate of passed balls, improved his caught stealing percentage to 33% and caught a career high 101 games. At the plate, his raw power began to emerge.

Strengths: Catching is always at a premium, and Valle represents not only our best catching prospect, but one of the better catching prospects in the minor leagues. He has extremely strong wrists, which help him generate his power, and though he can be overaggressive at times, he attacks fastballs and drives them to all fields. As mentioned, his defense, once thought to be a big question mark, has shown steady improvement, and he now looks like a real solid bet to stay at catcher.

Weaknesses: As you can see in his stat lines, Valle isn’t a model of patience at the plate, walking in just 5.6% of his plate appearances. While his defense has improved, he can still refine his gamecalling and framing of pitches behind the plate. His selectivity, or lack thereof, could (will) catch up with him at higher levels, but he’s young enough to make adjustments.

Best Case: The offensive threshold is so low at the catcher position, Valle has all the makings of an above average all around catcher. Carlos Ruiz, prior to his excellent 2010, was looked at as a glove only guy, and the Phillies love him, and pitchers love throwing to him. Valle’s defense will have to be at least average to above if he’s going to be an every day starter on the big club, but he’s very young and has time to round out his game. If his power is for real, and he can develop just a bit more selectivity, he could be a borderline all star at the position.

MLB ETA: Valle is a long way away. Catchers generally take the longest to develop, because there are many facets to being a big league catcher, from learning how to frame pitches, call games, work with the different personalities of each pitcher, shut down the opposing running game, and also not be a complete zero in the batter’s box. Valle turned 20 in late July, and figures to be 3-4 years away from getting a crack, possibly even longer.

Ranking Difficulties: I briefly considered ranking Valle ahead of May, simply because of the value placed on catching prospects. However, his defense isn’t plus yet, and his approach is still far from optimal. This spot feels right.

Final Thoughts: Valle has 2 excellent tools in his raw power and athleticism to go with a strong arm. He’s taken well to instruction, and has shown rapid improvement defensively. He’s a ways away in terms of his overall approach, but he has the makings of an excellent catcher. It will be interesting to see how he handles the hot summer sun of Florida, and again catching 3 premium pitching prospects in Cosart, Colvin and May.

82 thoughts on “My Top 30 Prospects for 2011: Part 2

  1. The first 6 were pretty easy. There was going to be some combination of Brown, Colvin, Cosart, May, Singleton and Valle. I think there is only minor quibbling about the ranking. #7 and forward gets a little harder. The real fun comes around #15. When you get to #25 to #30 you could put up 10 to 15 names on a dart board and pick ’em with a dart.

    Do you think Colvin and Cosart have similar upside to Drabek? If you had to rate these 3, how would you rate them? Drabek has proximity and track record (at a higher level) on his side but who would be the best prospect?

    1. At this point you have to say Drabek, he is who we hope colvin, cosart and may turn into in two years.

    2. I actually rate them Cosart, Colvin and then Drabek in terms of their ceiling but its pretty high for all three. I don’t see Drabek as a #1 while the other two guys could be but at the same time, Drabek will be pitching in the big leagues this year and we’ll all be rooting him on.

      1. Im going to say right now Cosarts ceiling is higher than Drabeks. I dont see Drabek as anything more than a middle of the rotation arm.

  2. It will be interesting to see if Valle can build off last year and his succesful winter league season. As you said there is no rush for him. We have Chooch on the big level for a few more years.

    1. Valle showed some serious power last year in Mexico. Glad he is not doing much catching there. I do not want a young catching prospect to get worn out.

  3. I luv the fact that these guys keep the ball in the park. If you can keep flyballs in the park they are nearly dead meat at CBP. I am from Missouri as far as Valle is concerned but I expect he will do well.

  4. I originally had May as my #4 (weighted May’s k’s/9 heavily), but reading Mike at Scouting the Sally has me re-thinking this now. Today, I think I would move Valle up to #5, and May down to #6.

    If Mike Newman sees this, What separates May and Julio Rodriguez (another high k/9) at this time?

  5. Tomorrow it gets interesting. It is very difficult for me to figure out PPs top 10 after pick 6. So many of the usual suspects have holes in their games.
    Biddle has to come in the next 2-3 picks, but other than him, I’m not sure. I would be shocked if James made the top 10 due to K rate and lack of power. Aaron Altherr and Cesar Hernandez seem like possibilities. Justin DeFratus is probably in the top 10, but Worley could be also.
    An uneducated guess: Biddle, DeFratus, Cesar Hernandez then Altherr.

      1. I guess Rodriguez is a possibility, since the guy from scouting the Sally gave such a glowing report on him. At the same time, James got a terrible review from scouting the sally. There is also the possibility of Santana keeping his spot in the top 10, due to bb%.

      1. Ah. I think I agree here. How could I forget Gillies? He’s my Phillies Minor League comeback pick(stretch I know…)

        1. Good point. Gillies was very highly ranked last year. He lost a year but is still age appropriate for AA. Personally I thought he ‘looked’ good in Spring Training 2010.

          I guess PP next three are:
          #7 Biddle – Northern lefty already showing development, fastball is good, K-rate is good, needs secondary pitches
          #8 Gillies – Speed should still be there, batting eye likely okay, so batting average and health are key
          #9 James – Tools are still top notch (speed, defense, size for some power) and though I do not like his approach and see a Chris Roberson type, Jiwan has really just completed his first full season and the flashes are quite good.

  6. On Valle: Can you say Ozzie Virgil, Jr., power-hitting catcher of Phils in the ’80s? He was decent but not great defensively, had some athletic ability and hit some HRs, low BA and OBP, made 2 AS games, one with Phils and one with Braves.

    That might be a reasonable comp for Valle. I would like to see him hit .270+ with a better OBP and be a solid defensive guy and play caller.

    1. Ozzie Virgil always puzzled me. His minor league stats aren’t just good, they’re eye-popping. Can you imagine the hype we would have for a 23 year old catcher today if he hit 28 home runs, collected 104 RBIs and drew 100 walks in Reading? Then he practically falls off the face of the earth for three years.

      The Phillies run of catchers in the 1980s is pretty amazing. They had Bob Boone in 1980. Their farm system produced Ozzie Virgil (1980), Keith Moreland (1980), Darren Daulton (1983), Mike LaValliere (1984), John Russell (1984). They also traded for Bo Diaz. And after all that, their catcher in 1987-88 ends up being an expensive, disappointing free agent signee.

  7. The strength of the system in A ball is phenomenal. 5 of the 6 top prospects will probably be playing for Clearwater to start the season. It is likely that a lot of the other top prospects (i.e. Biddle, Santana) will be at Lakewood. This bodes well for a couple of years from now; for now Phillies fans will have to rely on the big four and the current nucleus with help from Domonic Brown.

    1. I can see a year or two where the current core declines or moves on and the young guys aren’t ready yet, but it sure helps to have a big payroll to fill in the gaps.

    2. I think there is more help available for this season than just Brown, although he’s obviously the big gun. A lot of potentially helpful relief help should be available — Mathieson early in the season and DeFratus, Schwimer, and Stutes possibly helping by the end of the year. Worley is available as the first replacement starter is one is needed and he should be available from the start of the season. Mayberry can be a useful platoon guy against lefties and Rizzotti can be our DH when we play at AL and a PH later in season.

      1. Rizzotti can be our DH when we play AL teams this season?

        So you think we would use Rizzotti, a guy who as of right now has about 100 AAA ABs, instead of Francisco, or Brown, or Gload, or whatever MAJOR LEAGUE hitters we have on our bench at that point?

        I dont think so Allentown.

  8. Jared Cosart- here is the question that dare not be asked in polite circles- how is it that a player of such obvious talents, apparent to one and all, even Kieth Law, can be passed over through 37 complete draft rounds (by Yankees, Red Sox, and lesser teams who have spent big on the draft) and most of the 38th round till selected by Philly? The theory that he was believed to be rock solid for going to College – disputed by the fact he only signed for around Half a Million and that teams might “take a flyer” somewhere before 38th round regardless. Injury concerns time has shown to be not that great, and concern should not have equaled 38 rounds worth. Somewhere on the internet somebody was touting “Dollar Sign on the Muscle” which chronicled Philly rule 4 draft Tomfoolery of seasons past. How shall I put this? It appears numerous members of the Philly decision makers had certain moral and/or personal failings in regard to personal control and restraint, and may have turned a blind eye to these failings in others. Many of these decision makers are no longer in the employ of Philly, but the head guy , Bill Giles, is still around, and one figures some of his running buddies are also. If one takes a side trip excursion to the world of reason and common sense, one might think that Cosart might have had something hinkey in his background, and some of that turn a blind eye thinking may have gone into the more modern decisions made. One can hope that this is not the case, or , if it is, that the situation does not become a time bomb or poison pill, which winds up drawing J. C. and/or other top prospects down the rabbit hole. But maybe , as the old song once said, “Maybe it’s only yesterday”.

      1. I think what he is saying, without any support or even the hint of a rumor, is that Jared Cosart has some very gad things in his background that caused the Phillies and many other teams to pass on him for 37 rounds. He further suggests that the Phillies, in taking him, were somehow morally bankrupt and this lack of a moral compass is attributed by the new guys in the front office, not the old guard led by Bill Giles.

        Truly, this is disgusting and outrageous. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing this.

        1. I obviously, I meant to say “bad” not “gad” – but I was so pissed off after reading this that my typing skills failed me.

    1. @Marfis– so for anyone drafted outside of the first couple of rounds to succeed and become a prospect they have to be damaged goods?

      What rocks would you throw at a guy like Ryne Sandberg, drafted in the 20th round, but made it to the Hall of Fame? How could of really smart scouts have missed a HoF calable player, right?

    2. And this is based upon??? Dollar Sign on the Muscle? I read this book and while you can argue that the Phillies of the era after Scmidt, Carleton, etc… were poorly run, I have NEVER HEARD THAT THEY WERE SOME KIND OF BUNCH OF DEVIANTS.
      I mean seriously, blame it on Bill Giles for being more a marketing guy than a player development guy but do not make stuff up.
      Cosart seems like a good guy. His tweets with Logan Morrison were hilarious. The story about his dad signing the contract in th stands at the American Legion game shows that the Phillies took a flyer on this guy hoping that his talent would come on. It was a gamble that worked. Not a guy with a personal problem.

      Is there a way you can put a poster on “ignore” like you can do at “Hockeys Future?”

    1. On a side note, is it possible to add a +/- rating system to individual comments ala Fangraphs? That’d be pretty cool.

    1. Don’t delete, please. It’s a masterpiece of innuendo, obfuscation, and too much time on one’s hands. It has considerable comic and absurdist value. I have new respect for Marfis. 😉 He is the Yogi Berra of PhuturePhillies!

  9. Texas is a huge baseball hotbed. There were over 100 prospects ranked in the state by BA prior to the 2008 draft. Its possible that scouts just didn’t see Cosart as a surefire first round talent, or that they weren’t sure whether he was better as a pitcher or hitter, or that they basically ignored him because they were sure he was going to college. And maybe most pro teams just felt he was completely unsignable. That was the indication given leading up to the signing deadline. The Phillies did their homework and made him a big offer. End of narrative.

    1. … or is it???? (cue eerie music)

      I really think it’s nothing more than a signability issue. I think I read an interview with Jarred that said he was shocked that he wasn’t drafted until that late. I think he was expecting to go somewhere in the teens.

      – Jeff

      1. You know, I heard someone got murdered in Texas once and they never solved the case…but then you wouldn’t know anything about that? Would ya, Cosart???

      2. Agreed. Nothing more than signability. He was raw as a prospect so it was not clear that anyone would give him $500K plus to sign. If he had been a number 2 pick he would have been seen as very risky (for signability and development reasons).

        He is actually a pretty good example of why the draft is broken. Signability issues should not dictate draft position. Not sure there is a good way around this. I am not a fan of slotting. Being able to trade picks and retain the rights of certain players might do the trick. Make players “declare” for the draft and then their rights are held by teams till one year after their amateur career is over. Under that type of system Cosart might have been a 3rd or 4th round pick with his talent balanced by the risk of signing and waiting for him.

    2. Never had heard of “Dollar Sign on the Muscle”. Too bad it can’t be had on Amazon. Without reading it, it’s going to be hard to understand the conspiracy theory about Giles. Marfis – have you read this book or just heard of it?

      Here’s a link to a write-up. Doesn’t say much about the Phils in the write-up:

      http://www.angelfire.com/tx2/dickiethon/dollarsign.html

      1. I read it through my local library. Odd that its not widely available given that a revised edition came out several years ago. Its a solid read, a look at the world of baseball scouting that followed the Phillies scouts. Right up the alley of the readers of this site. Its focus was on the way that standardization and money was changing the role and methods of the old scouts.

        Whatever the heck Marfis is talking about, I sure as heck didn’t read about it in that book.

      2. Since you asked, I did read the book, I saw it in the bookstore and read it cover to cover while standing in the aisle, as I often did in past years.
        As to some of the issues raised , I believe the brain trust of those years were described as pretty much 2 fisted drinkers in the book and that rather than “deviancy” was alluded to, and as to the innuendo issue, of course innuendo , to directly accuse someone of something without evidence or facts would be unfair.

        1. PP, it’s time to ban this guy (Assuming you can do that with this sort of comment system). Some of us (and I do include myself) occasionally stray from the topic, or into the personal, but this guy is just way outside the bounds & has been for as long as I remember. He contributes nothing.

        2. The problem isn’t necessarily what you say. Its that your comments leave the reader completely confused as to what the heck your point is. Its all rambling gibberish.

  10. I do not think PP will have Worley in his top 15 let alone top 10. I would guess that Gilles, Biddle, Altherr, Santana, Rodriguez, James, Ramirez, DeFratus are all ahead of Worley (who is way overrated in the reader top 30).

    1. Worley might be a little over hyped just because he seems to be the closest to the Majors. He seems to be the Andrew Carpenter of this year. That being said, I don’t drop him out of the top 15. If Blanton is moved (I hope he isn’t), he could be a functional fifth guy in this rotation.

    1. From what I’ve seen, d’Arnaud is really high up in the prospect charts (#57 for KLaw) while Marson just posted a .560 OPS in ~300 PAs for the Indians.

    2. Interesting with d’Arnaud as Law and Baseball America appear to be pretty high on him, Baseball Prospectus and John Sickels are a little more hesitant. Seems to be some debate also as to whether he or J.P. Arencibia is a better catching prospect for the Jays. Of most concern is that d’Arnaud battled some back problems last year. Still a very good prospect, but this is the first offseason where I’ve seen some question marks come up.

      I think Marson will be lucky to have a very long career, even as a backup. He still has an excellent eye and can take walks and not strike out, but he hasn’t really translated those skills into anything else usable.

  11. I have no idea what Marfis is talking about but I will say this. I recall when Cosart signed and I specifically remember that there were questions about his maturity going forward. The article wasn’t specific and didn’t mention anything in particular but did say that many scouts had extreme questions about his character.

    Don’t shoot me, I am just the messenger and like I said, the article never mentioned anything specific. But it was quite clear that there were questions about him that many teams did not find answers for. I remember thinking that Cosart was someone I was going to watch closely simply because it seemed obvious that he had major talent but could be derailed by things other than ability.

    If I am not mistaken, he was signed right at the deadline and I seem to recall that we weren’t even discussing it till a few days after the deadline because the Phils were so slow about announcing draft signings.

    Does anyone else remember these things?

    1. I remember reading the same, but I have yet to hear anyone justify it by citing a specific reason… Cosart actually talked about that perception at one point after the draft and said that he didn’t understand where it came from. That being said, regardless of the pre-draft concerns, thus far I haven’t heard of anything since signing with the phillies to substantiate those rumors.

  12. So, I haven’t posted anything yet about PP’s thoughts on the top 6.

    I will say, I was quite suprised that he ranked Colvin ahead of Cosart and Singleton. Not because I fault his logic, but becuase this is the first instance I can remember (though i’m sure there are others if i bothered to look), where he gave the nod to a lower upside guy when comparing 3 prospects younger then 20 in the low minors.

    As I see it, Colvin doesn’t even have the “best case” of a potential All Star, again just my opinion… he strikes me more as a 2/3 best case. Whereas Singleton, most certainly could be an AS best case. That, in addition to the injury risk inherent to pitchers, suprised me.

    1. I actually think that Colvin does have 1/2 all star upside, I think the knock on him really is his rawness. I personally like Cosart a bit more than Colvin, that being said I can’t really fault PP (or anyone) for liking Colvin better. Health is a major factor, especially for pitchers, and as PP stated Colvin has show better health.

  13. why would you even respond to such a crazy post bout Cosart. Just someone that wants attention and try to stir the pot.

    Grew up watching Cosart and there is NO ISSUES. He has been in Florida since mid January and is weighing around 195.

  14. An encouraging number for May is BB/9 at Lakewood in 2009 compared to what it was in 2010. His time in Clearwater exposed some of his weaknesses. He realized that the hitters there would not get themselves out. He therefore applied himself during his second stint in Lakewood and I think that success at Clearwater will come in 2011.

  15. Glad to see that Cosart put on some weight…because his listed weight of 180 was/is short of what it has to be to take advantage of his height and to deliver more oomph to his pitches. The project for him is to make his frame more able to pitch through a 140 game season w/o arm problems AND to refine his breaking pitches.

    A solid season like that could move him in greater friendly competition with Colvin for the #1 pitcher spot for our prospects. A beneficial thing for both of them…and fun to watch. BOTH could end up eventually competing for that role on the big staff in 3-5 years…after 2-3 of the present aces.

  16. I also wanted to point that Cosart has noted on his Twitter account that he is friends with Tyson Gillies and that he thinks highly of him as person and as a ballplayer. Regarding the cocaine arrest, Cosart defended Gillies by saying that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time and that he is totally clean.

  17. May’s inconsistency still gives me pause that he might hit numerous walls in his development, somewhat like Aumont who has that added issue of being shuttled between teams (minors, organizations, international) and the bullpen.

    So I thought about ranking May even lower. However, he was better in his second stint at Lakewood (more K’s fewer BB’s) so that gives me much more hope than Aumont (who just needs to hit the reset button). Plus May’s K-rate is still outstanding.

    1. Aumont also suffers from being very tall, which may not help him have a consistent delivery. Many of his Reading starts he just did not seem at all comfortable on the mound and his actions on his follow through suggested that his leg was bothering him. I remembered the trade-time rumors of a degenerative hip problem and thought, well maybe that’s what we’re seeing. It was just brutally cold and in one case also windy for his April home starts, all of which were night games (really dumb in early-April Reading weather), so that may also have bothered him. He didn’t look at all like the guy I watched on TV in ST.

      1. Oh please! They are mostly all tall and he is a Canadian. Maybe he had a bad childhood.
        Either he is tough enough for baseball or he isn’t. He has to produce like every other player in this or any system.
        BTW I hope he does but the weeping and excuses are making me ill.

  18. PPs write up in Trevor May makes me want a “do over” on my top 30 list. I wanted to place Biddle ahead of May, and chickened out.

  19. I’m not sure this marfis post can compete with the other marfis post from a stupidity standpoint when he said the nationals will be better than the phils this year, but it definitely sets a new record in confusion and tastelessness.

  20. TV Shows on DVD do not have to constitute just canceled series.

    It can be difficult to pick whether you’ll need a flashy My – Space layout or a more subtle background and various carefully selected My – Space icons. In the big event that he is, you also needs to be on alert mode as you are not so likely to be pleased with him in the future thus select very carefully.

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