Up the middle positions (catcher, short, second, and center field) are some of the hardest positions to fill because the defensive requirements force many players off to the corners. Shortstop and second base have been filled at the major league level for the past decade by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, but they have moved past their prime and the organization needs to look to future at the positions.
Again for those that haven’t read it or would like to refresh themselves on the end of season discussion, here is gregg’s end of season report card
Second base is a tweener position, often second baseman are short stops that don’t have the range or arm or third baseman who have the defense to play second and do not have the offensive profile for third. Teams recently have been moving players in from the outfield to second base early in their careers with some success. Second baseman have to hit, because there are no back up second baseman on the major league level. In order to be a back up a player has to be able to handle short stop to have a utility profile.
Cesar Hernandez (22): Hernandez is a solid player but he lacks the tools to profile has a first division regular at second. At the plate Hernandez makes good contact and hits with a high average with a decent walk rate, but it is a relatively empty average has Hernandez’s power is limited to the gaps and while he has good speed he is a poor base runner and he doesn’t steal bases at a successful enough rate to add value. In the field Hernandez is a good defender at second. The good news is that Hernandez is almost in the majors right now and scouts think he can handle shortstop enough to be a utility player as long as you aren’t relying on him at short for an extended period of time.
Alejandro Vilalobos (21): An under the radar middle infielder who put up good numbers in both 2011 and 2012. Not a lot of power but little swing and miss with a good approach at the plate. He will need to keep hitting to continue to move up but his numbers so far indicate that he will continue to get that chance.
Tyler Greene (20): Greene got an above slot bonus in 2011, and then made his debut in the GCL where he showed good all-round skills but with a very high strikeout rate. Greene’s 2012 was a disaster starting in Lakewood and then dropping back to Williamsport. He has good power but there is a ton of swing and miss in his game, otherwise he has good raw tools. He can play shortstop right now but he likely fits at second or third base long term. Greene’s future will depend on his ability to make contact, if he can’t his future in the organization may be very short.
Andrew Pullin (19): Pullin was the Phillies 5th round pick in 2012. He is a classic tweener in the outfield, he just barely lacks the speed to play center, and doesn’t have the arm for right, and doesn’t have the bat for left. The Phillies plan on moving him to second base where his profile should play. Pullin does not have star level tools but could be a solid to above average regular at second base if he can stick there defensively. At the plate Pullin is a polished hitter who can generate good line drive power to all fields, and on the base paths he adds average speed. There are few reports on how Pullin’s defensive transition is going but he has the tools to be good there defensively.
Jairo Cardoza (18): Typical light hitting fielding middle infielder, it will take another year to see if there is anything there or if he is not long for the organization.
Shortstop is the most demanding defensive position in the majors. Outside of a few examples the bar to play shortstop defensively at the highest level requires that a player not just be average defensively but you need plus defense at short to stick in the majors. Shortstop is thin in most systems across the majors, often players can either hit or field at the position and a prospect that can do both is very special.
Edgar Duran (21): Duran was signed as a defense first shortstop. He has made small improvements each year and he is still young. He will likely move up to Reading where he will have a chance to keep improving. There are not a ton of reports on him but the Phillies have moved him up each year and given him the primary shortstop ABs at each level.
Roman Quinn (19): Quinn is the probably the most exciting player in the system. In the field Quinn is still learning how to play shortstop and there have been growing pains. There are mixed reports on whether he can stick there but he has all of the tools to be good. At the plate Quinn has good discipline and a good contact rate (which plays up due to his speed) and has line drive gap power that plays up with his speed. The speed is the difference maker, it is a true 80 tool and Quinn knows what to do with it on the base paths. The speed can be game changing and if he is forced off short, could make him a plus defender in center field. Quinn has plenty of room for projection as he matures, additionally 2012 was his first year switch hitting and he should continue to improve with reps.
Angelo Mora (19): Mora made good contact in a small sample size and played decent defense at shortstop. He will likely move to Williamsport where there will be a chance to see if he can repeat his numbers as well as better scouting reports on his approach and defense.
Just because a player is no longer rookie does not mean the developmental process is over. For some positional groups there are players in the majors who fit into the developmental outlook of the system.
Freddy Galvis (23): Galvis is a tremendous defensive player, at short he is one of the best in the majors and in his short time at second base he was arguably the best in the league there. The question has always been can he hit. At the plate Galvis is weak on secondary skills in that he does not draw a ton of walks and he is not a burner who is going to steal a ton of bases. The good news is that Galvis showed more power than expected even if his average was very poor. At short Galvis does not need to be anything more than replacement level at the plate but at any other position his bat will have to improve to be anything more than a utility player.