What to Expect in 2013: Center Field

Up the middle talent is always at a premium and center field is no exception.  Center field has not been a weakness for the Phillies up until the trade of Shane Victorino in July, this offseason the Phillies traded for a young center fielder in Ben Revere.  In the system there are some interesting toolsy players who have questions ranging from their hitting, to fielding, to their injury history.  Revere should give time for one of these players to unseat him as the center fielder of the future.

Like shortstop, it is not good enough to average defensively in center field and a player must be either plus defensively or plus at the plate.  If a player cannot stick in center field there hope is that they have enough bat that they can stick as a fourth or fifth outfielder that can play occasionally in center.

As always if you have not read gregg’s end of year recaps for would like the refresher here is the upper half and the lower half of all outfielders in the system.

Tyson Gillies (24) – Gillies was acquired in 2009 for Cliff Lee and his career with the Phillies has never really gotten off to a good start, having played only 129 games in those three years.  Gillies before the injuries had easy 80 speed and above average raw power, but his injuries have diminished both of those skills.  Gillies is still a plus defensive center fielder defensively, and he has a good approach at the plate.  Gillies still can drive the ball and has ok power for a center fielder (mostly gap and not home run power).  All of the tools add up to a major league regular but the injury history has hindered him from reaching his ceiling.  Gillies will likely be the CF in Leigh Valley to start 2013.

Jiwan James (23) – Jiwan James is the best defensive center fielder in the in the system, where he uses above average speed and an above average arm.  At the plate James has struggled with switch hitting, he has good raw power from his natural left side, but overall James struggles to recognize off speed pitches leading to poor contact rates and high strikeout rates.  James has made it through the Rule 5 draft unpicked twice and will be a minor league free agent after the 2013 season.  James will likely return to AA where he will once again be forced to an outfield corner in deference to a better prospect.

Zach Collier (22) – A former first round pick, Collier has struggled with injuries up until 2012.  Collier has started to show at least below average power to go with improving contact skills, additionally Collier has maintained good walk rates without sacrificing strike out rate.  Defensively Collier is adequate in center field but not a special defensive player.  Collier is still tapping into his potential and he had an impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League, earning himself a spot on the 40 man roster.  Collier likely profiles as a 4th outfielder but there is a chance that he could be a major league regular.  He will likely spend 2013 playing center field in Reading.

Aaron Altherr (21) – Altherr was raw when he was drafted in 2009 and is only now starting to show what kind of player he can be.  At the plate Altherr has some contact abilities but has some good plate discipline.  Altherr has below average power now but there is enough to profile as average to a little above.  Altherr has plus speed and steals bases at a good pace.  Altherr might not profile defensively in center long term but if he can develop power he can stick in a corner.  If Altherr can stick in center he can profile as a BJ Upton light profile in center field, if not there will be pressure on his bat to develop enough to be a a corner outfielder.  Altherr will move on to man center field in Clearwater during 2013

Guantlet Eldemire (23) – Eldemire was a 6th round pick in 2010 as a raw college outfielder, but injuries caused his debut to be delayed until 2012.  Eldemire is not burner but is a pretty good defensive outfielder.  At the plate Eldemire has shown below average power (despite reports saying that he may have plus raw power) and contact ability.  He did show a good walk rate against much younger competition before an injury ended his season.  Eldemire will have to prove a lot to stay in the organization let alone have a starting spot on any level.

Kyrell Hudson  (22) – Hudson has plenty of talent but injuries and inconsistencies have derailed his career so far.  Hudson has plus plus speed and is a plus plus defender in center with an above average arm.  In 2011 Hudson but up good contact numbers and little power but he regressed at the plate in 2012.  Hudson will have to come out strong in spring training to have a starting spot in the outfield in 2013, additionally Hudson will be eligible for the Rule 5 in 2013 so he will have to move quickly.

Carlos Tocci (17) – Tocci was one of the youngest players in all of minor league baseball in 2012.  Tocci is an incredible defensive player already with incredible instincts to go with plus plus speed and a good arm.  At the plate Tocci can drive the ball to all fields but not very far, with his power a 20.  There is plenty of debate on how much power he can add to his frame, if he can add average power he is a potential superstar if he can add enough power to not have the bat knocked out of his hand he could be newly acquired center fielder Ben Revere.  The lack of a center field in front of him coupled with an advanced approach could see Tocci start the year in Lakewood with a demotion to Williamsport if necessary.

The Recently Acquired:

Ben Revere (24) – The Phillies traded Vance Worley and Trevor May for Revere to fill their center field hole.  Revere has 20 power and a well below average arm, but otherwise he has plus plus speed which he uses to be a good defensive outfielder.  At the plate Revere makes good contact and steals bases at an efficient clip, and he has good plate discipline, which is undermined by the fact that pitchers are willing to challenge him due to his lack of power.

Ender Inciarte (22) – The Phillies Rule 5 selection in 2012, Inciarte has never played above A-ball.  Offensively Inciarte will be hopelessly overmatched as he doesn’t have the strength or experience to deal with premium velocity and his plate discipline which has been good so far will be irrelevant as pitchers will not pitch around him.  Defensively Inciarte is plus in all three outfield positions where he has plus plus speed and a good arm.  If he can make it through the year and get another couple years of minor league development he may be able to stick as a 4th or 5th outfielder long term.

Some Questions Facing this Group:

Can any of James, Gillies, and Collier bump newly acquired Ben Revere out of the center field job?

Will Eldemire, Hudson, or Gillies stay healthy for a full season?

Can Altherr or James but their tools into game action?

How good can Carlos Tocci be?

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

104 thoughts on “What to Expect in 2013: Center Field

  1. Great job, but shouldn’t there be something on Ender Incarte under ‘The Recently Acquired’?

  2. For me, regarding Gillies, pulling back from the particulars, and assuming for the sake of argument better health, the question for me is whether he can get anywhere close to getting his speed back.* If he can – and probably that ultimately is related to the health question – then maybe we will really have something here. But given his current speed – I haven’t seen him play, so I’m going by second hand reports and the numbers – it looks more like 55 speed. And that, with his other tools, IMO does not a regular major league player make.

    *Though was it ever really 80 speed, let alone “easy” 80 speed? The profile at the top of the page, written 2 years ago, assigns him a 70 speed score, which seems like where he was before his injuries.

    1. Especially coming off his performance at the 2009 Futures Game where he showed 3.4 home to first time many scouts gave him a 80 grade on the tool and Baseball America gave it an 80 as well. The profile at the top was updated in 2011 and 70 was optimistic with the injuries. I would say he is a 60 runner who can flash 70 and may return to that if he can stay healthy long enough to rebuild leg strength. His instincts have always been poor on the base paths so it remains to be seen if he can be effective even if the speed returns.

    2. He’s obviosuly a young player so I am not worried about him getting his speed back- whatever that speed may be. He’s intriguing. I’ve seen him a few times in person and he always seems to hit the ball hard and plays a fairly effortless CF. He really needs a full season though to put it together

  3. Gillies could push for playing time as early as September.

    The corner platoons of Ruf/Brown and Mayberry/Nix aren’t a sure thing, especially if one is injured or has to take over CF if Revere misses time.

    Promoting Gillies may just be the easy answer if he’s tearing it up in AAA.

    More likely we will see additions and possibly subtractions. Brown is more tradeable than Nix, who is also a buddy of Michael Young from their time in Texas. So if the Phillies snag Hamilton, Brown loses his spot and either heads to AAA or to another team.

    What’s more valuable to the Phillies? Brown in AAA or Soriano in LF? Tough call. Brown will likely have a few very good seasons.

    Charlie Manual likes to play his bench but he may not want a double platoon in the corners. He may want to write in Hamilton and Soriano every night, leaving Nix and Mayberry on the bench. Less fuss. Plus it’s a playoff ready lineup.

    Hamilton would be a great addition. The marketing buzz would pay a lot of that big money back. But If we can keep Brown in AAA and play Ruf, I’d be happy to pass on Soriano. I figure Brown will play his way back into the lineup by 2014 when Nix moves on.

    Still. Imagine an OF with Soriano, Revere, Hamilton then Nix and Mayberry backing up, with Ruf and Gillies in Lehigh Valley pushing for a callup. That’s a seriously good group even without Brown.

    1. This post is better meant for General Discussion despite its early reference to Gillies (remember this is first off a site with an eye on the minor league system, the big league club gives context but this is not meant as a discussion site of major league news so please keep that to the General Discussion threads)

        1. One more reason why “Anonymous” should not be such an easy handle to post with on this site.

    2. I love this comment. I want to print it out and hang it on my wall so I can see it everyday!

      Not even this team is idiotic enough to give Brown another year of exile in AAA.

  4. Gillies has excellent OBP tools. Even if his speed is down a bit, as long as he can handle CF and can put up a .360 OBP and .420 SLG in the bigs, that’s a hell of a player. Health is the only question I have with him.

    1. .360/.420 represents .. how can I put this? It’s generous for an upside at this point (wouldn’t have been 3 years ago, but a lot has changed in 3 years). It’s absurdly generous for a projection.

      As a minor league player in the Phillies system, Gillies has had an OBP of .333 and a SlG% of .378. As a rule, minor league performance does not translate directly to major league performance.

        1. The non-Phillies data is (a) in A ball and below and (b) mostly in an absurdly high offense context. His career numbers are still almost 40% from the one season.

          It’s NEVER true that the “only relevant stats” are career numbers and the most recent season, rarely even close to true, even more so when evaluating minor league prospects, but ESPECIALLY for Gillies, given his injury history and the hitting context of the one season that constitutes almost 40% of his minor league career data.

          1. Even though the Cal League, and I believe especially the High Desert park, are very offense friendly, Gillies was .001 points off the league lead in OBP. And the guy in front of him was a year older. So, judged against just the players in his own league, he still got on base an impressive amount. Even all the guys who drew more walks were at least a full year older. So even if the numbers themselves are skewed, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he was one of the best players in his league that year.

            1. Well sure. I was saying the same thing three years ago. But that doesn’t really speak to my points – it was three years ago before the injuries, it was single A, and, even if it was a really good year even in context, you STILL need to adjust the numbers.

              Look, unlike a guy like Mitchell, at least we’re talking about a guy who COULD develop into a decent major league regular. But there’s a couple people here – ame123 is one, nik is the other, maybe there are some others – who pretty explicitly state that Gillies, if healthy, pretty much is that guy now. I don’t see it. You get that, I guess, by (a) throwing out the 2010-2011 performance entirely, (b) putting inordinate weight on 2008-2009, ignoring the fact that it’s old, pre-injury data, below AA, and in a high run scoring context, (c) ignoring the fact that 2012 was partly driven by an unsustainable BABIP (yes, he could well be above average in that regard, but .362 is unsustainable) and ignoring some negatives on his 2012 resume (below average BB rate, poor SB performance), and (d) assuming a level of defensive play which, as far as I can see, is more wishful thinking than anything else.

              Now, the one thing I guess you COULD say about Gillies is that it’s at least possible that, if healthy, he COULD put it all together in 2013. Not something to count on, but it could happen. There is precedent – prospects derailed by injuries sometimes come back to have good careers (Werth, e.g.) – though more often (when as serious as Gillies’ problems) the careers fizzle out because of the injuries. But people who think that, heath aside, he is already there … that’s the kind of thinking that gets you 90 loss teams.

              In a way it’s a moot point. Revere is the centerfielder for the next several years. If Gillies is healthy and develops, he becomes trade bait. No, he’s not a corner outfield candidate; he loses signficant value there, and is even less likely to hit enough to be a regular. His best chance to be in the majors as a Phillie is probably is he DOESN’T reach his potential – as a 4th outfielder as early as 2014.

            2. David Freese is another recent player that comes to mind. His minor league career was plagued by injuries…

            3. My thoughts exactly. Don’t know why people label him the CF of the future. If he turns out to be something, great, but I think it would be a win if he turns out to be a 4th OF. The SB numbers are really concerning.

      1. I was impressed that Gillies was able to put up the numbers he did this season, given that he kept going in and out of the lineup. While it’s true that a .360 OBP in AA can’t be projected to the same in the majors, I think it’s possible that Gillies could have done even better if he were on the field more. But that’s the whole problem with Gillies- he can’t be trusted to stay healthy. And now if his speed is significantly sapped, it of course limits his upside.

  5. What kind of upside are we looking at for Tocci? I just don’t see the superstar potential, but feel free to sway me.

    1. At this point he’s so far away that it’s hard to tell and we don’t really have any clue about how his body will develop. But apparently he’s already an above average defender with some pretty good speed. He appears to have good contact skills and a pretty good eye for a young kid. Also when Brown was rehabbing in the GCL it was Tocci hitting 3rd and not Brown (he was 2nd). That’s love from the organization on his skills I think.

    2. The real debate comes down to his frame and how much strength he can add. Right now you can say he should be a 70 glove with 70 speed and a 60 arm without any projection, that alone is a very good major leaguer. He is only 17 and he knows what to do at the plate with good plate discipline and the ability to solidly get the bat on the ball. It is going to come down to how hard are those hits so lets just go through his ceiling as a function of power projection (assuming he just keeps up the other skills)
      20 Power: Can barely get the ball out of the infield – Ben Revere with less speed, but a much better arm
      30 Power: Hits 5-8 HRs a year with a good share of doubles – Cameron Maybin
      40 Power: Hits 10-15 HRs – Michael Bourn with slightly less speed
      50 Power: Hits 18-25 HRs – Austin Jackson with more base stealing and slightly more power
      60 Power: Hits 25-30HRs – Poor Mans Andrew McCutchen
      70 Power: Hits 30-40HRs – Mike Trout
      80 Power: Hits 40+ HRs – Legendary

      His frame to me says he is going to max out at 50 raw power regardless of how young he is and how much strength he can put on (and probability says it should end up in the 40 range). That is a ridiculously good player worth 6-7 WAR a year, I personally think his floor is Revere but he has to not have anything go wrong over the next 3-4 years.

      1. Bourn has never hit 10 Hrs in a season, and prior to this year his career high was 5. Bourn probably has 25 power.

        1. Yeah, the player comps weren’t the best but I wanted to give the range of outcomes that are there and just show what a plus defender who can handle a bat could become.

      2. Since we’re nitpicking, Cameron Maybin hit the longest HR in the majors last year. I know game power is different than raw power, and he obviously doesn’t show it often, but he may be able to develop into a guy who’s a little more of a power threat.

        1. Yup. That’s how he was scouted. He got Vlad Guerrero comps coming out of high school, I think.

          Matt’s post is great, though. The trouble with projecting Tocci is he’s too far away to really do it; he could turn into anything. To me, he’s almost not worth talking about at this point, as the speculation is just baseless. I do think his assignment this spring will show a great deal about how the Phillies see him.

          1. I am not even sure we will learn too much about his physical tools by where the Phillies send him, because they may have no clue on his future physical projection. He seems to have the mental aspect of the game down and is advanced enough to handle a higher level, but he is not build like how he will when he is finished developing. It may be 2+ years before we have any clue of his ceiling and he may stall for some time while he adjusts to new found strength, and in the mean time he is just going to have to hold his own with what he has.

      3. Well if that isn’t a player to “dream on” than who is… I’ll take anything from 40 on up gladly. Although “legendary” has a nice ring to it… When does the Lakewood season start again? I’m ready for some baseball..

      4. I know this is putting a lot on a 16/17 year old but with as easy as Tocci makes the game look he reminds me Andruw Jones or Ken Griffey, Jr. These are players that seemed to play the game on an instinctual level at a young age. Granted Jones and Grffey both showed more power than Tocci but they were also a year older in their first season of pro ball. I would love to see Tocci put on a fast track as long as he shows he is up to the challenge. As long as he continues to show an ability to handle the pitching at higher levels I think they should move him up even if the power doesn’t come right away (or at all).

        1. I would love for a teensy bit of power to start showing up this season. If he can get to 3-4 homers, I’ll take it.

        1. From the Baseball America write up for the Gulf Coast League Top 20. (there is no one on the outside that talks to more people on the inside whether they are scouts or managers than the guys at Baseball America)
          “Tocci’s best present tool is his speed, as he’s a plus-plus runner who picks his spots well when attempting to steal.”

          plus-plus = 70 tool

          1. I don’t care what they say, he is NOT a 70 runner. BA can be wrong also, and in this case they most certainly are.

    3. saw him at the minor league complex this spring and he is so slight that i thought he must be a ball boy. has excellent baseball instincts and skills at a very early age. key to his future is how his body matures. i wonder what his parents look like. maybe a clue as to his possible physical development. if, and it is a big if, he were to fill out fully, legendary is possible. chase utley also looked rather slight early in his pro career .

      1. True. He looks like a little kid. Has zero power. Instincts aside his “legendary” status will depend on how his body matures.

  6. Boy sometimes i just wonder. I have seen maybin a lot, and he imo is a terrible offense player.he is a strikeout machine too. i wouldnt touch him, unless you need a late inning defensive player,

    1. I don’t think so. He had a good season this year. If he has a healthy season I think he is a sleeper breakout prospect. If we can label him that.

  7. The amount of potential Gillies carries seems one of our greatest teases. His arm, speed (may return this season), power, and OBA makes him one of best prospects for some time…IF only he weren’t so injury prone. Thinking about him filling our RF hole w his strong arm and fielding ability, it would be our best RFing since Werth.

    I lust lust for Revere and Gillies covering 3/4 of the outfield and driving the opposition crazy as the two first hitters at the top of the lineup, i.e.,Revere then Gillies.

    Hope or pray, strongly! How exciting would that be?!! Let’s ask the Luck Gods to provide some……….

    1. My top 5 players I’m looking forward to following the most for 2013 are probably ranked Franco – Gillies – Asche – Biddle – Morgan.

      1. I am a sucker for the high upside guys, give me Tocci, Franco, Quinn, Morgan, and Biddle. I am really looking forward to what Tocci and Quinn will do has young projectable players.

        1. I am a sucker for upside and the long ball, give me Greene Jr. and Cozens. I would love a RF/LF combo of those guys hitting 3-4-5 with Joseph in the mix. Then sprinkle in some Quinn at SS and leading off with Franco hitting 6th?…… Also, proximity wise i am looking forward to Asche, Martin, Biddle.

            1. Nope…. call em all up…. On a serious note i just cant wait to see a lot of the younger guys in their first full seasons. We will learn a lot about our minor league talent next year. I have a funny feeling Cozens ends up in WP but maybe he gets to start at LKD.

    2. i have seen gillies play numerous times and if he can stay healthy, big, big if, i know, he is an every day major league center fielder and an occasional all star, in the same class as victorino. let’s all hope he can get and stay healthy for once.

      1. From having watched him, that’s my perception as well. I realize that the statistics do not necessarily support this but the guy lost over two years to injuries. When you watch him play in person, his talent really stands out. But now, with Revere in center, Gillies does not have to be rushed. He needs to stay healthy, keep his head screwed on straight and just play as often as possible. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he went to LhV and hit something like .325/.400/.440. – he has issues, but the lack of talent isn’t one of them.

        1. I hope the Phils dont try to flip him at the deadline if he’s having a fine season. I think he has a much higher upside than Revere.

  8. We’ve been having this same discussion about Tyson Gillies for a couple of years now. I think the Ben Revere trade speaks for itself: the Phillies went out and acquired a guy who is what Tyson Gillies was supposed to be by now.

    The 40-man roster is currently at 36. (Ruiz doesn’t count because he’s on the restricted list.) Based on their public statements, the Phillies are likely to add at least two, maybe three, more players (a corner outfielder, another starter, an experienced reliever to handle the 8th inning) before the end of the offseason, and they’ll have the usual number of nonroster invitees in camp at spring training. I imagine that Manuel, being Manuel, is going to want an experienced power bat off the bench to play the Dobbs/Thome/Stairs role. They will certainly sign a third-string catcher to back up Kratz with Ruiz out for the first 25 games. So, I think the 40-man will be full by the end of spring training.

    Who goes when Ruiz comes back? Joe Savery and JC Ramirez are the obvious candidates, but I think Gillies could be on the bubble too, especially if he isn’t healthy or a Pierre/Posednick type impresses in camp. He’s certainly done enough to frustrate the front office these last few years.

    1. Wait, I looked at the wrong web page: Ruiz isn’t listed on the active roster, but was listed on the 40 man. So, 40-man is at 37. The tough roster decisions will be at the end of Spring Training, not when Ruiz comes back. Same difference: I think Gillies could be in danger.

    2. Actually, thinking about it, the Phillies could quite conceivably sign 4 more players to major league contracts before the end of the postseason (corner outfielder, 5th starter, 8th inning reliever, catcher/bench bat/wild card), which would mean Savery or Ramirez might outrighted before Spring Training even arrives.

      1. I think Gillies is safe on the 40 man roster and that Savery and Ramirez are expendable. Unlike the guys we worried about losing before the Rule 5 draft, Gillies I see being attractive to more than a half dozen teams.

        1. nothing wrong with gillies as a corner outfielder. he has the arm to play rf and can be sufficiently productive offensively similar to victorino.

    3. Ok, one of the 40-man roster spots, it now occurs to me, is occupied by Ender Enciarte. Most likely he will end up going back to his team at the end of Spring Training. However, if he impresses, he is one more player who fits Gillies’ profile. Are they effectively competing for one 40-man roster spot?

      Ok, end of dialogue with myself.

  9. I love the High Risk/High Reward guys as well. I’ll be following 1. Tocci 2. Quinn 3. Greene Jr 4. Joseph 5. Cozens

    1. I love the young guys, but I dont really get REALLY excited about prospects until they can hack it in AA

  10. More of the same: Toolsy raw athletes. I guess center field is the place to stash them and dream. If were lucky, one of Gillies, James, Collier, Hudson, Altherr will emerge next season as a potential ML regular down the road. At this point there really is no one in house that has shown they will be able to give Revere a run in the next couple years given their current toolsets vs. his. Its always nice to have someone like Tocci to dream on though..

      1. Does he really offer anything better than Revere down the road? Besides the arm and power? I would just like to see Gillies get some more reps to be sure based on the fact he’s lost so much time in the past few years. It will be interesting to see how he looks in ST

        1. As I said above, I think it is a moot point. But I do get what people are excited about – Gillies power is mid-range, he’s not going to be a 30 or even 20 HR guy, but he has a big edge in power over Revere. I just don’t see that – at this point – nearly making up for deficits in almost everything else compared to Revere.

        2. “Besides the arm and power” — you’re kidding, right? Those are hardly insignificant advantages. The question with Gillies is health, as it has always been. The talent has always been there to be the full offense/defense/running package.

      2. How is Gillies close? He hasn’t even managed to play a complete season at AA yet, and he’s 24. Look, I love the guy’s talent as much as anyone, I’ve watched him play in Spring Training the last few years and he makes the run from the dugout to centerfield into a spectacle. There’s lots to dream on. But at this point, I’m not sure how he’s going to make up for the lost development time. Collier and Enciarte are both 2 years younger, though I admit Enciarte is a long shot to stick with the big club.

        1. He’s going to play in AAA this season. He handled AA last season splendidly while bouncing in and out of the lineup. If he has a healthy first half, he could be as close as half a season away.

          1. Look, I hope you’re right and he puts it all together. But the “healthy first half” part of that statement is a huge “if”–his numbers were great last year, but he only managed to stay on the field for half the season. As other posters have pointed out, its hard to know at this point how much all the injuries have sapped his raw tools. Like I said, I don’t think it’s likely he’ll be released, but I think he’s a guy who is running out of second (and third, and fourth) chances with this club. One thing is sure: this is a make or break season for him.

      3. He may be close, but IMO, Ruben and the Phillies FO may be very wary of his emotional maturity at this point and his continued off-the-field issues. And further a great April/May/June in LHV gives them better flexibility in a July deadline trade as he becomes a valued chip.

  11. And let’s not forget he was part of the Lee deal that RAJ cooked up. It would seem to me RAJ would not just give him up. I mean if you were him would you want that on your resume? He needs Gillies and Aumont to succeed in some fashion.

    He could get traded at some point but he will not be removed from the 40 man.

    1. I’m not saying that it’s likely to happen, just that it’s conceivable that he could be on the bubble this season, particularly if the Rule 5 pick makes the team.

    2. I think being a part of the Lee deal has worked in Gillies’s favor as well as the fact that he is very talented. I admit I have not seen him play but there has been more than enough cause for the organization to get rid of him, but they so far have stuck with him. That’s not something you do with a player unless you see major league quality.

  12. Personally, I love watching Gillies play. If he ever gets to play in Philly, he’ll be a fan favorite quickly due to his stye of play. He has the talent and interestingly, he hits lots of balls out in batting practice. Gillies is actually a really strong 6’1″ with power but he doesn’t play that way. The power might develop over time if he can stay on the field. He needs an uneventful year with good health and lots of at bats. Collier has a chance to be very good but he also needs to play all season. He definitely needs to become a better defensive CF but he’ll get to play there all season this coming year. Jiwan really is the best of the bunch defensively but it doesn’t look like he’ll ever hit enough to make it. To me Altherr looks like a LF so he really needs to raise his game. Having said that, he has lots of potential and this will be a big year for him. Hudson looks good one moment and then bad another. I can’t figure out which is the real Hudson. I think he’ll start in CF at LWood and we’ll see how he does over the first half. Eldemere, as I’ve said before, was my biggest disappointment last season. He’s a guy who flies around the field offensively and defensively and hits line drives all over the place. I can only assume he couldn’t hit the off speed pitching because he can hit a fastball. He’ll definitely get a chance in spring training to win a job. Lastly, as far as Tocci goes, I haven’t seen him play yet. When I saw him in spring training (he was hurt and not playing), I couldn’t believe how slender he was. He’s tall so there’s no way to know how he’ll fill out but he was 17 and he looked it. The hitting results in the GCL were pretty amazing initially. He cooled off eventually and finihsed under 300 but he had a nice run. I don’t see any way they start him at LWood, he wasn’t even playing full games in the GCL. I suspect they’ll keep him in Florida and then decide later whether to even send him to WPort based on how he does in the extended games. There’s always a huge ripple effect of moving guys around. The potential future major league propsects typically get slotted and then everyone gets slotted around them. Unfortunately, although we’ve drafted lots of CFs, I don’t think any of our CF prospects are future all star caliber and that’s a shame because its a very important position. Hopefully, Quinn can stay at SS or he’ll be on this list down the road. Have the Phils drafted a CF that became an all star since Richie Ashburn?? Bourn is close to being an all star I guess….

    1. Marlon Byrd and Michael Bourn both are 2 CF drafted by the Phillies who played for the NL in the 2010.AS game. Bourn played in his second AS game in 2012 and clearly has had a better career than Byrd, and even had a better season in 2010. Bourne, who turns 30 this month, has a 19 career WAR, all put up in the last 4 seasons. He was the 3rd best free agent this offseason by consensus. Why do you “guess” he is an all star”?.

  13. I’m really optimistic that one of the following players will emerge as a potential star player over the next year or two… I’m going to try and put them in order of “most likely to be a star”… feel free and debate! 🙂

    1. Franco 15 to 1
    2. Quinn 20 to 1
    3. Larry Green Jr. 22 to 1
    4. Tocci 23 to 1
    5. Biddle 35 to 1


    Franco gets the top spot due to tools, lack of 3B talent in the majors lately, and production in the last half the year in 2012. Could become a .290/.355/.470 player at 3rd.

    Quinn, plays a premium position, looks to stick, and has great tools, with plus speed, defense and average power. Could become a .300/.380/.440 player with steals and great defense at SS.

    LGJ – he’s an 80 power, with very strong athelticism for his size, but not showing it, and will need to realize atleast 70 if he’s to ever going to be a star.. Lot to like with that plate discipline. Could become a .300/.400/.550 player in either LF or 1B.

    Tocci – tough one… so young, and I think Matt posted above on this, could really become anything from Ben Revere to a Legend, but he’s just so far away.

    Biddle – Biddle is very likely a #2/3 pitcher in the majors with his current skills, but his odds of becoming elite are fairly low. I still put him on here becuase he’s advanced at a young age and is clearly our top prospect. If he can develop another plus pitch that really could change the game for him. (if kyle kendrick can do it, who knows…)

    Thoughts? Objections? Anyone want to add?

    1. The short list off the top of my head of guys with star potential (your odds actually seem to be way too good on the can become a star)

      Tocci (who knows what he could be)
      LGreene/Cozens (anyone with that kind of power can be amazing if they manage to put it together)
      Quinn (Must stick at short)
      Pujols (16 year old with projection, so long odds it is impossible to put a number there)
      Watson (plus curveball at 18 with some physical projection)
      Gueller (athletic pitcher who already has a plus to plus-plus fastball)

      One thing in common here is that they are all young and far enough away that they still have all of their projection and their risk is immense.

      The next group of Biddle, Morgan, Martin, and Franco don’t have star potential, they don’t have that tool you can point at and say that makes him elite. That said they all have much less risk and you could project them to be above average major league regulars who could make All-Star teams here and there. That being said there is a minuscule chance that one develops a tool that is previously unseen but that is something unprojectable and we just wait and see.

        1. I don’t see the tools for Quinn to be a star in CF (just personal opinion that might be changed by the fact that I think he is a shortstop long term and haven’t give much thought to it) and that is Franco’s ceiling but that isn’t a star to me.

          The definition of star might be the difference here (which is fine we all think about these guys differently). I am thinking of star here the way I would view pitching, a star in my mind is a #1 or top end #2 starter. It isn’t good enough to be an All-Star you have to be on the short list every year for Cy Young and MVP. For example on the free agent market only Hamilton and Grienke passed the star test, on this Phillies team I would say only Lee and Hamels are stars (with Halladay on probation until we see him healthy), I would say that Utley and Rollins were stars up until a year or two ago and Howard was a star for his first few seasons.

          You will see when I put out my Top 30 that have someone like Franco as a 60 player and Quinn a 65 but the risk makes them similar players. I still really like Franco but his ceiling is really good starter who goes to some All-Star games, not a star.

      1. Maybe I should have explained what i describe as a star… someone who makes 2 or more All-Star games in their career is a start to me. Now, some stars shine brighter, and some shine bright and dim quick, but, clearly, even with the AS team being a relative “popular vote” it tends to be a decent representation of being a star.

        As to my high percentages, I don’t know… IF we had 15 players of Franco’s skill, you honestly don’t think 1 of them would make 2 all-star games? Or 35 Jessie Biddles, 22 LGJ, 20 Quinns… not 1 of them? (I’m not being a wise ass, I’m just really curious what you think)

        1. As I just posted we have different definitions, by your definition I think you have it good and maybe a little too much the other way. I would then add the guys I have in my second group along with Colvin (at extreme odds) to that group.

          1. True and I have some questions for you, doesn’t Watson have a plus fastball as well? And does he throw a changeup or a cutter as well? why did Gueller get hit so hard in the GCL? And what are the reports on his secondary offerings? Thank you.

            1. (More on all of this in the next segment)
              Watson’s fastball sits 90-93 touching 96, Gueller sits 91-94 touching 96. There was some rumors of cutter but nothing substantial, he does have a change up but it is fringy (not surprising for a high school pitcher). Gueller has a change up and curveball that have both flashed above average but are still very inconsistent, I don’t know exactly why he was hit so hard but I thought I remember reading a report that the Phillies essentially limited him to his fastball only to work on his command and build arm strength (not an uncommon practice for pitchers from cold weather climates). That combined with facing poor competition up to this point contributed to his poor start. I wouldn’t worry about it, he had less strikeouts but a lower WHIP than Trevor May who was similar coming out (Gueller is much more athletic and should be able to repeat his delivery better).

    2. Unfortunately, we really don’t have those high upside type players in our system, certainly not in CF. We have lots of good pitchers but I don’t see any of them becoming stars either. I agree that Quinn has a shot and Franco too but, beyond that, who knows. I think Asche has a chance to have a 320/330 with 10-15 homers season in a few years. Is that an all star season? Probably not unless he hits 300 for several years before that and who knows how long he’ll be a 3B if Franco is only 2 years behind him. If Asche could hit that as a 2B, that could be all star worthy. Looking long term, after our infield retires in a few years, high level replacements don’t seem to be in our system… Just one more reason why we need to keep the 16th pick and turn it into a future starting position player with star potential.

  14. Now that the Phillies picked up Revere, I don’t see how they can entertain the idea of carrying Inciarte on the 25-man roster. Am I completely off-base in thinking that even if they like what they see in ST, they will offer Inciarte back to AZ sometime prior to the start of the season? And should they do end up with Inciarte (AZ declines), where does he go – Clearwater? – Reading?

    1. If AZ doesn’t want him back (which seems unlikely that they wouldn’t pay 25k to keep him) I would assume he would go to Reading where he would join the outfield of Collier, James, and Hewitt.

      That being said if Revere is your solution in CF it comes down to who the other OF are, if it is Ruf and Brown I could see them keeping him as the late inning defensive replacement with Mayberry. It is likely though that they will just have an OF of Revere-Brown-Nix-Mayberry-Ruf and send Inciarte back unless there is an injury (if there is, then there is a clear path for him sticking)

  15. Did you guys see that Center Fielder we just picked up as a minor league FA? Jermaine Mitchell is old, but is a late bloomer and had a breakout 2011 but played hurt last year.

    1. I guess he might be ok if a bunch of people go down. I’d personally rather not see him ever take the field. Also he’s another lefty and doesn’t seem to ever be considered a top guy. Not a lot to get excited about but I guess good to take a flier on for AAA depth.

    2. Looks like filler. Spent 3 years in A ball and I don’t think his 2011 numbers are special given his age and that it was in the PCL.

  16. I anticipate Revere winning (and deserving) multiple gold gloves in CF and hitting 300 with lots of speed and great base-running skills at the top of the line-up. His OBP is good and will improve as he conditions himself better for a 162 major league grind. I doubt that his OBP is a sufficient indicator of his on-base ability because his speed surely creates more than his share of forced errors by the opposition putting him on-base by error more often average by bunt or ground ball. Despite his lack of power and below average arm, it is unlikely anybody on this list will supplant him at CF in the next few years. i was actually surprised to see him profiled in this minor league prospect post. With over 1000 plate appearances over the past 2 seasons with the Twins. I consider him to be an established major leaguer. Then I realized that he was profiled just as a comparator to the Phillies minor league CFs and to create a discussion question.

  17. It will be interesting to see where James ends up and who the starter CF is in Lakewood.

    I think Gillies (AAA), Collier (AA), Altherr or Pointer in CLW are pretty much locks.
    I’d like to see James at AAA just to see what he can do. I think he could be a Quinten Berry type in that he hangs around in the minors and eventually gets some time for defense/speed.

    I’d like to see Eldemire given first chance at LWD. I think Hudson is now org filler (similar to D’Arby Myers) but he could get time at either LWD or CLW as a good defensive sub. Tocci to start at LWD would be a very aggressive assignment. The young age always gives these guys a pass if they perform poorly so it keeps his value high regardless. Agree that projecting him at this point is a huge wildcard but results so far are extremely encouraging.

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