My Top 30 Prospects for 2011: Part 10

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.

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6
Volume 7
Volume 8
Volume 9

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.
30.

29. Josh Zeid, RHP
(Click here for larger image)

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
(Click here for larger image)

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.

126 thoughts on “My Top 30 Prospects for 2011: Part 10

  1. James, Thanks for making this all possible. I love this site and appreciate all the time and effort put in by you and the other contributers.

  2. Definately can see Zeid move up when we review th Top 30 at the mid yr point. As long as he stays in the pen.

  3. Great read. It will be fun tracking our system this year. Each year a somewhat unknown puts together a great season, who will it be this year?

    Headed to Clearwater tomorrow. Hopefully I get a long look at some of the kids.

  4. Outstanding — thanks for all the work. Really appreciated coming in each morning and getting to read the list.

    Right now, this system is the Deepest I can ever remember. Kind of breath taking considering all the trades they’ve made giving up the Drabeks, Knapps etc…. for MLB starters.

  5. Great work. I enjoyed reading it (looked forward to it every morning, first thing), as well as the community comments. I learned a lot!

  6. Thanks for doing this – it’s a very enjoyable exercise and the write-ups were great. I had to laugh out loud that, after saying yesterday that Zeid and Garner were missing from the list, as was Eldemire, the three magically showed up today.

    For those of us who have been following the site for years now, it is amazing how, due to your work and to all of us following and discussing the prospects on a nearly daily basis, we have all become so much more sophisticated and better informed about these things. You develop an eye for statistics and a feel for prospects. We are even now able to see clips of these players, which helps even more.

    It’s funny now, when a poster arrives on the site for the first time and says something like “why so little love for Derrick Mitchell or Matt Rizzotti” – I think those of us who have been following this for years just think “oh boy, another new guy [or girl] – they don’t get it, but if they stick around, sooner or later, they probably will.” What is also interesting, and I think gratifying, is that, over time, it appears that those who submit truly inane or obnoxious posts, seem to be drowned out by a sea of reasonable responses that, again over time, wears them down and, often, they finally just go away or stop being obnoxious.

    On the system, my overall response is this, if played properly, the lottery system of propspect development generally works. This system is chock full of projectable arms and hitters – if 20% of them pan out, we are going to have a fine team for a long time and we’ll also have a lot of prospects to trade to fill gaps. The weakness or hole in doing this is that there are certain positions that you really cannot fill with just a great athlete, you need someone who looks like he has or will develop very baseball specific skills. These include catchers and middle infielders. We have done not such a bad job with the catchers (although several have been traded) and we’ll see on the middle infielders. But our two major league guys probably aren’t going anywhere for at least 3 or 4 years, so there is time yet.

    So, congratulations to the Phillies on building such an astonishingly deep system. With the overwhelming number of projectable players, it seems a foregone conclusion that, with a little foresight in determining who can be kept and who should be traded, the team should be in good shape for at least the next 4 or 5 years. And there are plenty of surplus players to be dealt for needs, such as new hitters.

    Let’s play ball!!!!

    1. Lets be honest, if someone just stumbles on this site, they’d be more likely to say “Who’s Derrick Mitchell and why are these people bickering so much about him?”

      And Rizzotti gets plenty of love at this site, let’s be honest. Maybe a little more than he deserves.

      1. I actually thing Matt Rizzotti is a clear Top 10 Pick and a likely ROY winner if there was an opening in Philly.

        I just really like that guy.

      2. You say that about Derrick Mitchell, but we get a lot of comments from people who see him play in the minors.

        On Rizzotti, yes, we do give him a lot of love, but it’s never enough for the people who seem to think he is a top 10 prospect. Sorry folks, he isn’t. But that’s besides the point. The point is that Rizzotti is the type of prospect that people think is going to be a superstar when they don’t know a damned think about evaluating prospects.

        1. Obviously, I meant to say they don’t know a damned “thing” about evaluating prospects.

          1. I wonder if that was actually Matt Rizzotti. You have to imagine those guys probably read these lists quite closely. If so, kudos to you Matt for having a sense of humor about how fiercely some on this board debate you!

            1. I got a chance to meet Rizzotti in Williamsport. Nice kid, as most of these prospects are. Often I’ll have criticism of a player’s potential but its all strictly on-the-field. As people, I root for all of them.

          2. We all root for the prospects. I hope nothing more than for Matt Rizzotti to become a star. If that was you Matt, then best of luck. Prove me wrong!

      3. Derrick Mitchell is a great athlete with incredible potential. Derrick will do great things with the stix this year and has an unbelievable glove. No question deserves top 30! For all the cynics, guess you’ll just have to sit back and watch.

        1. After watching him play last year, his stats from years past do not reflect his talent. Seems he is finding his way with some impressive power numbers, as well as a great eye for taking an extra base. Seeing some of the comments on this page tells me that the critics have never played an inning of baseball in their lives, probably more like Magic the Gathering. Strikingly funny how those of you who have never competed an anything in your life know so much about the game? As far as Derrick you can expect a more consistent BA this year (around .320), 15 HR, and he will take at least 30 extra bases. In my belief you will also see him make some more web gem catches. Derrick will show a lot of people this year that he is not going anywhere but up, literally

  7. Yes, PP thank you for putting out the top 30 and providing this site. It’s a great resource for Phillies fans. Looking forward to the mailbag on Monday.

  8. I’d just like to chime in and say thanks as well. It’s a great site and a fun read.

    Well summed up on Galvis. I follow Kevin Goldstein on twitter and recently he said Galvis will never hit, or something to that effect.

    I’m glad you had Musser on here. I almost put him in my top 30 but went with Nunez instead. Either way, I’m excited to see what Musser can do.

    1. I saw a post elsewhere that B.A. had Galvis as #20 this year, which is higher than I would have placed him and just about everyone on this board would have. This would seem to indicate that some folks think he still has a chance or they really hate 21 – 30 :>>

      1. I think I’m one of Galvis’s biggest supporters, but that’s mainly based on his age relative to level and having an MLB tool. PP said it best, so I won’t add anything else, but it looks like I might be proven wrong on him…we shall see…

  9. I presume you will have a “Round Up Article” shortly with a full summary.
    It would be interesting if next to your ranking numbers, you placed the Ranking for the Fan Poll. Then at the end list the players in the Fan Poll who did not make your list.

    I’m sure that could help stir some lively banter

  10. Lots of good stuff–I respectfully disagree with the complete omission of Michael Stutes. He did everything asked of him last year and earned a spring training invite.

  11. Great job as always, James. Thank you! Your insight and the discussion that follows is always fantastic. I agree with fact the system seems in better shape than ever and there has been so many trades of highly touted prospects for the ‘Fabulous Five’, one would think the system would be almost bare. Like a kid in a candy store I can’t wait for the season to start. Batter up!

  12. Taking the list as a whole,looks like exposing it to air has revealed an infection of CYA-itis. Meaning guys highly touted, or evaluations presumed, in the past are stuck with come Hell or high water. Example- Zeid , text states – old for level, dominates younger and inexperienced players and a mere reliever to boot, anybody else they are downgraded off the list, but because Zeid was touted the day after his draft day, he recieves more puffery. Hyatt, though text states as more of starter material, since not touted early was downgraded for these things below where he should be. Numerous other examples. But, if continuing the vein of continuing on in the consistency vein, Why is Damaurii Saunderson not still in the top 30? All those astute and reasonable observers , based on the wild-eyed extrapolation of mere stats, and passed along second or third hand scouting reports from paid for internet tout sheets, the little sir echos voted Damaurii Saunderson #20 (or something like that ) . Somehow , he was released before ever making another appearance for Philly and no other team picked him up. How do these things happen? Where is Damaurii Saunderson?

      1. Its comments like these that really beg us to have a Like button.

        If its a possibility, I’d definitely suggest it.

    1. “…But, if continuing the vein of continuing on in the consistency vein…”

      I will try and work this into polite conversation some time today. I love the train of thought writing style ‘continuing the vein of continuing’ that is classic. What color is the world you live in?

    2. As I recall, Saunderson made last season’s readers’ list, because one or more persons managed to stuff the ballot box. If you consult the individual readers’ or PP’s list, you’ll have a hard time finding Saunderson’s name. He wasn’t a prospect and everyone except his second cousin and girlfriend realized that.

      Zeid is as justifiable inclusion as Hyatt or Rizzotti. They are older, have little projection, but reasonable probability and they posted good numbers and showed some developed skills.

    3. I’m going to try to work with Marfis’s post. I think Marfis is saying that players who were highly touted out of high school or who have gotten one or two good scouting reports are given the benefit of the doubt more than guys who have actually performed well. I think Zeid was an odd choice for an example because he did perform well and hasn’t had any hype since high school. But the point remains – when do you start to rely on stats vs. tools or expectations of tool development? This is not easy to answer. I tend to come down more on the stat side, whereas some others come down more on the potential side.

      I personally think PP does a solid job of weighting both (except for Galvis!!! Ha ha), so no big complaints from me.

      1. I don’t see the evidence for guys with great stats, who were shorted by PP’s list. Some look at Rizzotti’s numbers for one season, and especially just the Reading part of that season, and think he’s our best hitting prospect since Howard or Utley. They forget that he can only play 1B and can’t play that particularly well. They forget how the Phillies have handled him, having him do a lot of DHing, because the don’t like his D at 1B. If the Phillies had regarded him as a big time prospect, the minor league manager would be required to give him all the time at 1B that he could possibly get, so that he could improve upon his deficiency. They didn’t do that. They probably think a bit more highly of him today, but doubtful they view him as a primo prospect. He has been old for all his stops, prior to breaking out at Reading. We’ll see what he does this year. Might be a guy like Ruiz who had a late breakout. The Phillies handling of Ruiz, where he was typically the backup catcher in the Phillies minors, indicated that they didn’t think much of him, until he broke out, also at Reading. Jacobson was the guy.

  13. Good list. I disagreed with 4-5 of the evaluations, but I haven’t seen a list yet that I totally agreed with. I appreciate the effort put into the evaluations though.

  14. Awesome work and knowledge. Loved how this list was broken up over 2 weeks. Got to really look at each group and compare them to other players in the organization.

    I really liked this format and the inclusion of the ongoing list at the top, which I think was done near the end, was very nice. Can’t wait for spring training!

  15. PP thank you for your great insight as always, this site is the reason I even know of many of these guys and keeps us all informed of the great minor league system that has developed here in Philadelphia.

    1. I generally agree with your list. I certainly understand not including Galvis. The guy I’m most curious why you didn’t include, even among those given consideration for #30, is Maikel Franco.

  16. Always can guarantee that this website will provide some awesome reading material in order to get me even more geared up for the season.

    I really enjoyed the new format; reading the comments throughout the day amuses me. Especially reading quotable masterpieces like the diatribe from marfis.

    Great job and look forward to the upcomiong mailbag.”People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” ~Rogers Hornsby

  17. Thanks James for the time you put into this. Your reasoning for your picks is always interesting reading. There’s no question that there are probably about 10 guys who could be considered for the final few spots and while its a lively debate with no real answer, just opinion, its very real that the system’s depth is greater than at any point I can remember. Factor in all the guys we traded and its mind boggling what a good job the Phils have done.
    As for Garner, he’s the definition of a toolsy guy with huge upside who could fail very easily. Btw, he’s 6’2″, not 6’3″. I saw him recently and he told me that even though he goes by 6’3″, he’s really not. He was standing next to another pitcher who is 6’3″ and he was definitely shorter than him. Garner said he loves football but knew he had no shot at making the NFL. He came across as very intelligent and seemed like a real nice guy. He’s built like a football player. He expects to pitch at Lakewood, PP’s prediction that he start in XST could happen though.

    1. I had read elsewhere Garner was going to start in Lakewood…maybe it was from you? Anyway, I took that as a positive sign, but it is more likely a sign of his age and where they want him.

  18. Galvis may never play in the major, but to say he will never hit, reminds me of the larry bowa people back in the day, and larry became a pretty tough out later on, and he was a great great shortshop.So there is still hope for this kid.

    1. Bowa had a .620 career OPS (vs. .637 in the minors). If you look at his stats, he had a career OBP of .300 (horrible) and walked in about 5% of his PAs (also horrible). Using OPS+ as a metric, he was a horrible hitter. Granted, he was tough to strike out, had good speed, and a good defensive reputaton. But offensively, he’s comparable (last year) to Alcides Escobar, Cesar Izturis, and Jack Wilson (i.e. starters on non-contenders).

      In terms of fielding, he got a reputation because he didn’t make errors, but I think Bill James and/or John Dewan have debunked the myth that he was anything more than an average fielder.

      1. Bowa was over rated as a player, but I don’t think he was over rated as a defender. I don’t have the metrics, but from my eyes he had more range than Concepción. His arm wasn’t as good as Rollins, but he seemed to have as much range.
        Agree he was a terrible manager.

        1. It should be noted here that Bowa managed to compile 22.4 career Fangraphs WAR, including four seasons of 3 or more WAR. That is despite a career .286 wOBA and career wRC+ of 72. Fairly remarkable.

    2. As an aside, Larry Bowa’s always been a hot button for me. Thought he was overrated as a player and loathed him as a manager. And I’m not a believer in Galvis (although, I hope he proves me wrong), so seeing the two of them linked together set me off.

      1. Bowa was a “pot stirrer. There are no stats on personality contributions. He was like Bob Kelly on the old flyers. You had to be there everyday to rate his overall contribution. I don’t think Glavis can be that or is it needed on this team.

        1. In the 70’s Tug McGraw used to work out the same place I did. I asked him why he did not use the Phillies facility and he said, “Bowa never shuts up.”

          So it is a double edge sword.

        2. As a lifelong Philadelphian, I’ve never quite gotten the city’s infatuation with the “underdog” or the “pot-stirrer”. I’d rather have a better player. Seems like sometimes the populace mistakes what’s important. Don’t get me wrong, I understand from a chemistry standpoint, you sometimes need that guy, but that’s not the skillset that’s going to make Galvis a major leaguer.

          It’s like a joke I made up in 2007: What’s the difference between the fence and the cutoff man? Aaron Rowand occasionally hits the fence. Running into that wall nosefirst gave him a free pass to do a lot of other things poorly.

      2. 30-40 years ago, Galvis would project as an everyday MLB player due to his glove at SS.

        Today, he’s John McDonald most likely.

        Teams simply can’t afford to hide a no-hit bat in the bottom of the lineup anymore.

      3. Regarding his fielding, one has to be a little cautious here – James’ original conclusions were based soley on range factor (where he was just average – not bad, but average), and we now know that that can be deceptive. We can’t evaluate him using some of the more modern feielding metrics because they are based on data that wasn’t being kept at the time. That said, the best statistical evidence we have at this point (those modern materics which are available) suggest strongly that he was NOT an exceptional defender. He was average at best as a defender.

        OTOH, he comes off better as a hitter than one might think, which is why his WAR totals are decent. Not great, but good enough to explain & justify his long career. The reasons for this are at least partially obscure – one of the problems that I have with WAR is that the stat is somewhat opaque. I THINK the reason Bowa comes off as an acceptable hitter is position adjustment, and it reflects the fact that shortstops at the time were as a group such horrible hitters. And of course looking soley at OPS (where he was indeed horrible) ignores his speed, which was a legitimate positive factor in evaluating him.

        The simple fact is that, which Bowa was a reasonably valuable player in his day (though overated), a player with similar skills could not be a long time regular player in the game today. If he even was able to make the majors at all.

        1. Agree with all of this.

          On WAR, even if Bowa’s was fueled by his offense adjsuted for position, it’s not particularly impressive compared to his contemporaries. Even guys like Freddie Patek and Chris Speier had higher career WARs. Like you, I’m not a WAR proponent, but no matter what site I go to and slice and dice stats (both offensive and defensive), I come to the same conclusion that he was basically an average player, and more to the point of this site, if Freddy Galvis tops out at a Bowaesque level, he’s a utility guy at best (and even that would take some improvement of his secondary skills).

          1. Indeed. He was an average player. 22.4 WAR in 2247 career games means a WAR/150 of 1.5, meaning he was right around league average. A big part of that, of course, is positional adjustment. WAR definitely rewards someone substantially for just being on the field at shortstop.

            1. I don’t think it rewards people – it just compares apples to apples. If you play shortstop, you don’t have to hit as much to be comparable to your peers. But, the rub is that not everyone can play shortstop. That’s why if you play shortstop or any other difficult defensive position and you can hit, you are worth your weight in gold and why the Phillies won’t be (and shouldn’t be) rushing to move Utley or Rollins to other positions. They are worth much more in the middle infield, particularly since they are also quite good fielders.

  19. Ryne Sandberg made some interesting comments on Brian Schlitter on phillies.com. He was his manager when he worked for the Cubs. We drafted Schlitter but traded him for Scott Eyre. Sandberg said that he was close to lights-out, was his closer as a Cub (Sandberg’s team was very succesful), is knocking on the door of the big leagues, and was throwing from 94-97 mph. He also said that he is working on a breaking ball and that he was a fine pick-up. Maybe this guy could have beat out someone on this list had he been here last year. I wonder particularly what implications Schlitter will have for Mathieson.

    1. That’s a nice little news item. I am genuinely excited about the way the Phillies are stockpiling relievers and have made other comments on the site to that effect. I expect, over the next year, there is going to be a lot of movement of these prospects and also of some of relievers that are currently in the Phillies’ bullpen. Inexpensive parts will replace more expensive players and, at some point in the next year, I expect another blockbuster trade with many of these relief prospects will be involved in that move along with, possibly one or more of Worley or Blanton (nobody wants Kendrick – or at least don’t think they do) and one more of the hot shot young starters in the minors.

      Keep your eye on David Wright – I think he ends up in Philadelphia in the next two years and the Phillies will gladly throw a bunch of these young relievers the Mets way to make that happen (of course, there will be other consideration going to NY).

      1. LOL,
        A Mathieson, Stutes and Worley for David Wright blockbuster. Might as well throw in BJ Rosenberg to close the deal.

        1. Did I say only those guys? No, read again (other consideration – that means other players) – I didn’t. I would fully expect the Mets to demand at least 4 or 5 players, and a few of them would be high profile guys like Cosart, May, Colvin or Biddle. I think the Phillies hold onto Biddle no matter what – but the other guys – and perhaps two of them – would be in play. They might also have to include Singleton if, for example, the pitcher is May.

      2. There is no way in hell the Mets would ever trade Wright to the Phillies. I dont doubt that they’d be willing to trade him but not to their biggest rival.

        1. Normally, I would agree with you. But there are a number of things going on right now that makes me think that it’s more than possible if the package is right. First, the Mets are damned near rebuilding mode as their good players are getting older and there’s little hope in sight. Second, the Mets have a horrible farm system. They are going to need to replenish, in part, from outside the system. Third, and this is critical, the team is undergoing a tremendous upheaval given the state of the crisis with the owners and the Bernie Madoff suit – things are in a great state of flux and selling off players just might be part of the reaction – we really don’t know. Fourth, David Wright absolutely gets killed by the long fences CitiField – if he doesn’t want out of there, he’s nuts. Fifth, Wright has the type of contract the Phillies love – two more years and another option year.

          So, yeah, it takes two to tango, and usually this dance never begins, but right now, the music is playing loud and the Phillies might be the team to make it happen.

          I’m just keeping my eye on it. You never know.

  20. Agree with the enjoyment of having this list discussed over 2 weeks. The only reason I have any knowledge of most of these prospects is from this site. Though I certainly have less knowledge on all these prospects and the minors in general than many others; it is fun to feel like I can make an educated ranking on my own and attempt to defend it with something better than ‘because I think so’.

    Much appreciation to PP and all the informed contributors and posters!

  21. Well, that was an enjoyable way to spend the most depressing part of the winter. Appropriate that today it’s 60+ degrees out and sunny–spring is coming…

  22. Fine family-baseball story on Nick H. We have been deprived of watching him pitch much because of his DL-ing most of the 2010 season. So, it’s hard to figure what he has as a pro lefty.

    Because of his few innings pitched in pro ball. it seems likely that he’d start at Lakewood with a good chance to move up to Clwtr mid-season…especially if one of the “ace”-potentialed pitchers there is moved up to Reading.

    [Lefty pitchers are always viewed as “special” since they seem to be more rare than righties…and seems especially able to get lefty hitters out more readily than righty pitchers get righty hitters out. Don’t know if stats back that up, but it would be interesting to find out.]

    Looking forward this season to checking out Nick plus so many interesting minor lg hopefuls. Almost as much fun as watching the guys on the big club; sometimes a refuge when the big club has a lousy streak.

    A large part of that pleasure is gained from this site .

    Congrats and thanks to all participants and mainly to PP and his associate helpers!

    1. I believe that lefty on lefty is the most difficult hitting situation, yes. From what I’ve gathered, it is because lefty hitters don’t see that many lefty pitchers until they reach the pros (or high level collegiate ball).

  23. puko you cant be serious the guy was terrific as a shortstop. set fielding records i believe, had tremodous range. and make himself a tough out later on in his career.Not saying he was a great hitter but a 260 hitter with his glove isnt bad.

    1. It’s not that he wasn’t a great hitter–he was a far below average hitter. Tough out late in his career? He had one season in his career where he was even close to a league average hitter (1975). His on-base percentage from 1979 on: .316, .300, .331, .302, .312, .274, .276. Yep, tough out.

      I won’t argue on defense because it’s really not quantifiable. Except that he led the league exactly once in range factor and in assists. He also finished his career hundreds of plays below average in range factor. But since he set fielding records of some sort, I’ll concede the point.

      But to your original point on Freddy Galvis–what exactly would the Phillies (or most other teams in 2012 or 2013) do with a .260 hitter with a good glove and no other discernable skill?

          1. I would take a shot and say a fantastic defensive SS could probably learn those two positions. Usually guys that can handle SS can handle 2B & 3B.

  24. james, can’t thank you enough for your work on this website. visit it every day and always find something worthwhile.

    will miss spring training for the first time in 10 years because our younger daughter is due to bless us with our first grand daughter in early march.

    really hate to miss it, because you can’t beat actually seeing these prospects in the flesh and in action. if you can go, do it. it’s worth the effort and the carpenter complex is very fan friendly. stats are very useful but it adds an important dimension to actually see the players in person. you see their physical stature, athleticism, demeanor etc. and often it changes the impression you had of the prospect dramatically.

    trying to convince the wife to go to florida in april and see the threshers start the season. they have an outstanding collection of prospects to watch; cosart, singleton, colvin etc. it would actually be more fun to watch them than the the big team. it’s gotten harder to enjoy going to the phillies’ games at brighthouse, as the crowds, traffic, parking problems and lack of ticket availability have increased tremendously with their success. i know it’s worth it to have one of the best teams in the game, but i miss the laid back days at the jack.

    i expect that extended spring training will still be going on at the carpenter complex in early april as well, with the opportunity to see a lot of the other prospects.

    1. Promise her bling and your in. We just had two grands six days apart. Nothing like it.

      Rose was another “Personality”. No stat for that. e.g. Alex Johnson a player with tons of tools but a bit lazy. Rose and Helms rode him hard to the point that he almost won a batting crown.
      The ability to teach or reach other player has no number either.

    2. I have similar thoughts Jim. Been living in Tampa for 10yrs now and I’ve never had so much anticipation for an upcoming Threshers season. I suspect am April trip will work out great for you and the wife, although it was difficult to beat 79 degrees at the Carp Complex yesterday.

      Had a chance to see a few youngsters. Saw Dom hit two over the wall and another two missed by a foot. Of note, his hands started noticeably lower than last season.

    3. “but i miss the laid back days at the jack”

      I don’t.

      The Phillies payroll is projected to be $164.6 million this year, second only to the Yankees. The last time this was so was in 1980 and you know who won the World Series that year.

      I’m looking for ward to the Phils payroll hitting $200 million as Scott Boras says it can go to. At mlbtraderumors.com the other day a poster referred to the Phillies as “Evil Empire 3.0” .

      If you would rather go back to the days of Doug Glanville starting for the Phils and Dave $$$ Montgomery, Bill Giles and Ed Wade describing Philadelphia as a “small market” then you belong in a straitjacket.

      Cliff Lee is the highest paid pitcher in MLB history. He is paid $24 million per year over the length of his five year contract. If he takes the ball 33 times he’ll be paid $727,000 for each start he makes for the Phils.

      That is a thing of beauty.

      Enjoy the season. The Phils should easily win 105 games.

  25. Other than Zeid, there hasn’t been much conversation about double jump candidates. Does anyone else think there is a possibility that Cesar Hernandez gets jumped to Clearwater?
    He has been placed on the 40 man. There are no real prospects blocking him. Barnes can play 2nd, SS or 3rd. With the plate discipline Hernandez showed last year, I would think it a possibility.

    1. I don’t think that Hernandez will be double jumped. I think that Stephen Batts, Jeremy Barnes, Micheal Dabbs, Jeff Lanning, and some of the older relief pitchers for Lakewood (Beal, Bolsenbroek, Massingham, McGuire, Wertz) have a shot though.

  26. On Hernandez: he is 20 yrs old and a gleam in Ruben’s eye as a serious candidate to fill Utley’s spot in 3 years. He, along with Gillies, would make a severe threat at the top of the lineup IF they progress as is hoped.

    With either of them on base, the pitchers will be obliged to slightly alter their concentration on the batter that many times causes a base on balls or a fast ball speed to counter the base-stealing threat. A long way away–2013 (?)–but a colorful, exciting, and speedy team in the making.

    Because of these kinds of baseball dreams, this seems to be the only sport that is designed for the present AND the future for fans to see.

    I see Hernandez moving up to Clwtr at mid-season if he continues to do well at Lkwd.

  27. Like allentown, the only guy you didn’t consider that surprised me was Franco. The Phils obviously love him (he got the most ABs last year at GCL), he held his own playing against older players at 17, he got a relatively big bonus from the Phils, and scouting reports have been complimentary.

    I’m not saying he definitely belongs in the top 30, but he’s the kind of guy I’d personally put on the list since his upside has yet to be limited (he hasn’t yet shown what he CAN’T do).

    1. In regards to Franco, I like the potential with him but based on a couple things from last year (his 23% k rate and .216 avg) he is a just-miss for me. Granted he was young for the league and had a fairly low BABIP (.270) and a relatively small sample size, just doesn’t quite make it on for me.

  28. First to Phuture Phillies…Thank you for all the hard work that you do. I concur with most of the posters that this is a great site. I wouldnt mind some advertising so you can get a little reward. It would be well deserved.

    Second to Catch…I guess you can chalk this up as just another post from an obnoxious “new guy” but have you ever thrown out your shoulder from patting yourself on the back?

    1. LOL!!!

      Fair enough – point well taken.

      I actually appreciate the comment, am duly humbled and will adjust my posts accordingly.

      Have a great weekend.

  29. Earlier statement regarding Rizzotti:
    “They forget that he can only play 1B and can’t play that particularly well.”
    That describes the current first baseman, who came up to the majors at age 25.
    I haven’t seen him play, but am impressed with the offensive numbers he put up last year. I hope to get up to Lehigh Valley this summer to see him.

    1. 1B is a power position. Matt Rizzoti isn’t in the current 1st baseman’s class.

      Current 1B: age 23, level A, HR 23,
      M. Rizzotti: age 23, level A, HR 13,

      Current 1b: age 24, levels AA and AAA, HR 46
      M. Rizzotti: age 24, levels A, AA & AAA, HR 17

      If Rizzotti had power he would be considered a little more legitimately.

  30. No one claimed Andrew Carpenter. He got outrighted to AAA and is reporting to Spring Training as a non roster invitee.

    1. Kinda tells you everything you need to know about Carp’s potential at this point. Not one team in all of baseball felt like using a 40 man roster spot on him…ouch.

      Entering his Age 26 season, he’s basically in Brian Mazone territory at this point. Though at least he’s actually had a couple of shots at the MLB level…something Mazone has never gotten to do.

  31. Brandon, I agree that some of the college guys that you mentioned have a great chance to make it. Alot of them should step up this year. If they hit well early I could see the organization moving them through quicker of even using them for trade bait with a big name player. You mentioned Dabbs, Looks like the Phils are going to have him report with the minor league catchers. Which makes sense were loaded in the OF, He has a strong arm, fresh legs, good stick and is mentally tough. Good enough athlete to make the adjustment. And catchers arent always judged by age, atleast not as much as the other positions. Most catchers have a shorter career.

    1. Christopher Duffy (not to be confused with Lehigh Valley’s Chris Duffy). Fared well in the Gulf Coast League though he was extremely old for the league. Next year will tell whether or not he really has any kind of status going forward, and he’s likely headed to Lakewood.

      1. I agree that a strong ST could get Duffy to Lakewood but once there he’ll be fighting with Dugan (who will be fighting with the OFs) for playing time. I haven’t seen him play but it seems like he projects more as a career minor leaguer than a prospect.

    1. That is weird, when I looked at Lakewood’s roster yesterday he was on the roster and when I just checked now, he was gone. He had good stats but I guess he didn’t feel like playing in Lakewood when he was 25.

  32. A guy that will look good on the LHV roster is 4A OFer, Brandan Moss (he hit a bomb for the Red Sox against the Phils two or three years back). Apparently, he was killing the ball in BP yesterday which shouldn’t surprise anyone that’s seen him play. I’m guessing the offspeed stuff is a bit more challenging for him… Either way, he’s a great guy to store at AAA in case of an injury or for a Sept call up because he has serious power and should hit at least 20 at LHV.

  33. Btw, to the comment that Castro had the most RBIs in the sytem last year, he was close but I believe that Cody Overbeck actually held that distinction with 24 HRs and 82 RBIs (one more than Castro). Overbeck remains a guy that none of us talk about but he hit very well at C Water and hit well late in the year at Reading too. I’ve heard comments that he can’t play 3B well enough but I think the jury is still out on that. He’s another guy to watch because another good year, at the higher levels this time, could put him on the map. He’s one of those guys trying to step above the current 4A ranking as to his ceiling.

  34. Agree on Oberbeck; if he can continue to improve he will have to be in the conversation.

    Too bad about Mike McGuire; he was overpowering the low A hitters when I saw him in Lakewood last year with a fastball topping out at 95-96. He is a local kid who is 6′ 7″ and will turn 25 this year. He needs to move quickly at this point and hopefully this injury won’t cost him too much time.

  35. The prospect that had the most productive Spring was never even mentioned by your rankings. I’m talking abot Michael Stutes who almost pitched himself onto the Phillies major league club with an outstanding Spring (E.R.A: 1.00). He is now in a good position to be called up in case one of the team’s relief pitchers gets injured. He is younger than Schwimmer and Rizzotti, who were ranked, so you can’t use his age (24) as an excuse. I guess his failure to make your Top 30 was an oversight on your part.

  36. Just now getting a chance to read this. Thanks for all your hardwork PP. Fantastic read.

    I really like the Phillies Top 5, but take Dom Brown out of the Top 30 and consider him part of the big league club (which he practically is), and I can’t help but feel that the Phillies farm system is as stacked as you and others believe it to be. Plenty of interesting, toolsy players with upside, but mostly question marks.

    My long time criticism is well known. I believe the Phillies don’t spend enough in the draft to back up their scouts. But we have time to see how this all pans out.

    One thing is for sure, with one of the best starting rotations since the Atlanta Braves of the early 1990’s it will be hard for the Phillies big league team to have a poor showing in 2011 or 2012. As long as the big league team isn’t under too much pressure to get immediate help from the minor leagues, we won’t really know how deep the farm system is…or isn’t.

  37. My previous post had a typo. It should read…

    I can’t help but feel that the Phillies farm system isn’t as stacked as you and others believe it to be.

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