And then we reached the end of the line. Today is the final installment of my Top 30 prospects for 2011. I hope you enjoyed the new format, breaking things up into 2 weeks worth of discussion. I know that I had a lot more fun writing it this way, as I was able to devote a significant chunk of words and thoughts to each batch of prospects, instead of spending the bulk of my time on the top 10 guys, and then just giving brief overviews of the next 20 guys. Today I’ll cover my last 2 prospects, as well as some thoughts on guys who didn’t make the list. As always, my goal is to outline why I chose the player and then let you decide if you agree or not. So, without further delay, lets finish this.
01. Domonic Brown, OF
02. Brody Colvin, RHP
03. Jon Singleton, 1B/OF
04. Jarred Cosart, RHP
05. Trevor May, RHP
06. Sebastian Valle, C
07. Jesse Biddle, LHP
08. Vance Worley, RHP
09. Tyson Gillies, OF
10. Justin De Fratus, RHP
11. Julio Rodriguez, RHP
12. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
13. Domingo Santana, OF
14. JC Ramirez, RHP
15. Aaron Altherr, OF/3B
16. Jon Pettibone, RHP
17. Cameron Rupp, C
18. Jiwan James, OF
19. Harold Garcia, 2B
20. Kevin Walter, RHP
21. Colby Shreve, RHP
22. Phillippe Aumont, RHP
23. Michael Schwimer, RHP
24. Matt Rizzotti, 1B
25. Austin Hyatt, RHP
26. Leandro Castro, OF
27. Miguel Alvarez, OF
28. Kelly Dugan, OF
29. Josh Zeid, RHP
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2010 Summary: Zeid backed up his positive debut in the NYPL with a good season at Lakewood, missing plenty of bats and limiting his walks while finishing the season as Lakewood’s closer. Though his numbers were solid, he was old for Lakewood, and now that it appears his future lies in the bullpen, hopefully he will move quickly.
Strengths: As a reliever, Zeid’s fastball bumped up into the 93-94 range, allowing him to overpower Low A hitters. He has a very quick arm, which helps him generate the plus velocity, and he has a somewhat deceptive delivery, which helps him hide the ball. His control has been above average so far in the minors. Now that he is a reliever, his secondary pitches won’t be as big of a concern, especially his changeup. If he can tighten his slider, he’ll be fine.
Weaknesses: His biggest weakness is that he’s done all of his damage against younger competition, and its unclear if he’ll have enough raw stuff to get out advanced hitters. If he maintains the velocity on his fastball and can command it to all 4 quadrants of the zone, he should be a solid reliever. His secondary offerings are average to a tick below, and he’ll have to sharpen at least one of them going forward. His home run rate jumped a bit in 2010, which is always a red flag, and he’s not a dominant groundball guy, though not an extreme flyball pitcher either. More than anything, he needs to get on the fast track and go.
Best Case: A solid 7th inning reliever looks just about right here. With an above average fastball, at least in terms of velocity, he should be able to carve out at least some kind of career in the bigs if he can maintain solid control and improve his command a bit.
MLB ETA: He turns 24 in March and hasn’t pitched outside of Lakewood yet, but as a reliever, his timetable should be escalated going forward. He should finish 2011 in Reading, with an eye on a big league cup of coffee in 2012.
Ranking Difficulties: He lacks real upside, but I think hes a higher probability guy, and its okay to balance out the list with a guy like that. His stuff definitely improved with the shift to the pen, so I think he can provide value. I had a list of 6-7 guys I considered for the last 2 spots, he was lucky enough to receive one. Hats off to him.
Final Thoughts: The Phillies seem to be making a commitment to going with a somewhat younger bullpen in 2011, resisting the urge to give a multi year deal to Chad Durbin, and hopefully the Baez contract will be the last multi year deal given to a below average reliever. Guys like Zeid should be given a chance to make their mark, especially since they will make the league minimum for 3 years and be controllable with options up and down.
30. Percival Garner, RHP
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2010 Summary: Garner came almost out of nowhere last spring and started generating scouting buzz after turning to baseball full time, showing easy velocity and touching the mid 90s at times. Fully devoted to baseball now, scouts think he could really take off, those his pro debut was cut short due to injury.
Strengths: When he’s right, Garner generates easy velocity, sitting anywhere from 91-95, touching 96, with scouts thinking even more is in his arm. He’s shown the ability to snap off a power curveball, and for someone without a lot of experience, he seemed to show good poise on the mound. At 6’3/225, he has the build of a workhorse starter.
Weaknesses: Because of his inexperience, he’s mostly projection right now. His fastball features good velocity and natural movement, but he doesn’t command it well, and doesn’t command any of his pitches with great frequency. He occasionally struggles to repeat his mechanics, which throws off his tempo and creates inconsistencies in his command, control, and secondary pitches. Having just turned 22, he is slightly behind the curve despite being drafted as an eligible sophomore. More than anything, he needs innings and to focus on repeating his delivery and maintaining consistency.
Best Case: He has true plus velocity, and has shown the ability to snap off a power curveball with both depth and velocity. At worst, he looks like a potential closer or late inning reliever, but he should be given every chance to develop as a starter. His inexperience makes him a wildcard, so who really knows what to expect.
MLB ETA: He’s much more raw than your typical college starter, so he’ll need time, despite his age. I’d expect he will start in extended spring training in 2011, focusing on his mechanics and making sure he’s 100% healthy, and then he should get a look at Lakewood in May or June when the weather warms up.
Ranking Difficulties: Its the 30th spot. As I mentioned above, I had 6 or 7 guys for 2 spots, and these were the guys I went with. Garner may be way too low, he has a special arm, and could easily put himself in the Top 10 next year. Or he could bomb out early. Almost every spot is difficult, 30th is throwing darts.
Final Thoughts: Garner exemplifies the Phillies recent trend in the draft, representing a player with big upside/tools, but also a big red flag, whether it be an injury or a down season or some other setback. With his focus on baseball now and solid instruction, he could really take off and blow the doors off the place. Or he could do nothing. But he should be an exciting prospect to follow in 2011.
And now the honorable mention portion of the list
* Gauntlett Eldemire, OF – I noted yesterday that if I re-did my rankings now, I’d probably find a spot for the Gauntlett. He’s a tooled up college outfielder who missed most of his pro debut through injury, but he should be healthy in 2011 and ready to go. He’s got power, he’s got speed, and if he can make consistent contact he figures to be a solid outfielder, though probably a corner guy and not a centerfielder. Like Garner, he’s a bit raw, and he came from a non-baseball powerhouse, so there are lots of question marks, but the upside is definitely there.
* Nick Hernandez, LHP – Hernandez pitched well at Lakewood before dealing with injury issues, and never really got himself back on track completely after returning to action. I compared him to a young Jeff Francis last year, and my hope is that his health is a bit better than Francis going forward. If he is 100% healthy he should pitch his way onto the 2012 list.
* Freddy Galvis, SS – Galvis is the prospect that has caused me more headaches than any other in the system. The Phillies have been aggressive, almost recklessly aggressive with him, promoting him to AA when he could have conceivably still been in the NYPL. His bat is a major issue, yet his glove is absolutely outstanding. On his glove alone he will be a big leaguer of some kind. But I’m not sure I see him as an every day player right now, unless his bat makes big progress. He has no power, he doesn’t have great speed, and he doesn’t draw walks. So he’ll be an empty .275/.280 hitter even at his peak, with great defense. Its tough to see a team like the Phillies, now a financial juggernaut, going with a guy who will more realistically hit .235 or .240, even with his great defense. He’s young enough to prove me wrong, and to take steps forward with the bat, but I’m not sure I see it right now. For me, his best case scenario is Adam Everett, and his worst case scenario is John McDonald. Neither guy is a star, Evertt was a nice 2nd division starter, but McDonald has always been a utility guy with minimal value, even with his outstanding glove.
* Jonathan Musser, RHP – Musser suffered a non-pitching related injury before the draft, which saw his stock plummet a bit. The Phillies swooped in, and it appears he is fully healthy and ready to go for 2011. He’s a projectable righty with a potential for three above average pitches and should crack the list next season.
* Brian Pointer, OF – Like Musser, the Phillies went over slot on Pointer, an athletic outfielder with a nice combination of speed and power. You can see him in action here. He has a nice, quiet setup at the plate without a ton of moving parts, and though his swing doesn’t have the kind of leverage that would indicate 20+ HR power, he still has a little projection left and could fill out his 6’1 frame with a bit more muscle. Right now, he looks like a guy who should lace line drives all over the field and use his speed to good effect. He’s definitely one of the more intriguing guys that just missed, and I hope he gets 300 PA in the GCL or NYPL this summer to give us more data.
* Zach Collier, OF – Almost a forgotten man at this point, he missed the entire 2010 season rehabbing a hand injury, and 2011 is a pretty crucial season for him. He flashed all kinds of tools leading up to the 2008 draft, and looked like a potential 4/5 tool centerfielder, but has fallen quite a bit since. He just turned 20 in September, so he’s far from past it, but a lost season at age 19 is a big blow. He needs to rebound in fine fashion in 2011, hopefully with an every day assignment at Lakewood.
* Scott Mathieson, RHP and Antonio Bastardo, LHP – I chose to not rank either guy. Outside of the service time technicality, I don’t think either guy is a good bet for long term value, though I’m pulling for both. Bastardo has already come up with a tender arm in camp this year, and Mathieson has had a billion surgeries. The odds are long on both of them, but it would be great to see both of them have solid, healthy seasons in 2011 and contribute positively to the big league club.
Did I miss anyone? Probably. The Phillies system is deeper now than its ever been, and I can think of 4 or 5 more guys I could have written about and included in my list, but there has to be a stopping point. And that point is here.
As I promised, I’m going to do a mailbag. So if you have any questions about my list, please send them to phuturephillies at gmail dot com, and put “Top 30 Mailbag” in the subject line. I’ll hammer out as many answers as I can over the weekend and put the post up on Monday, since it is a holiday and I’ll have some extra time.
Thanks again for reading my list, I hope you’ve enjoyed it.