We move on to a group of guys that were 2011-2012 draftees out of big college programs and have thus far been starting pitchers in the Phils organization. I could include Adam Morgan in the group, but there’s not much to debate with him. He’s a top 5 prospect easily after his incredible season and the concensus of the scouting community seems to project him as a mid-rotation starter in the relatively short term.
So who does that leave? I have 3 guys in or near my top 30: Austin Wright at 17, Kevin Brady at 24, and Hoby Milner at 32.
I guess Wright is the least surprising. He had a pretty good year after a double jump, holding down his walks and keeping his K rate fairly high. He didn’t do much to hurt his stock, but he didn’t shine like Morgan through the whole season. He may still wind up as a reliever if he can’t get advanced guys out a second time through a lineup with a third pitch beyond his fastball and curve. AA will be a test of that, for sure.
Milner is a strange case. He was a swingman at Texas his senior year, and BA had him destined for the pen. The Phils ultimately may do the same, but they had him transition back to starting in 2012 and he excelled after he got himself stretched out. In six August starts, he raised his K rate considerably and lowered his walk rate to a similar magnitude. See below from FirstInning.com:
|Split Statistics with Lakewood in 2012|
If you don’t out of practive already, remember to ignore the ERA, as he clearly got some fair luck on batted balls in August. Whether he’s stretching out to get innings for an eventual return to the pen, we’ll likely find out in the next year or so, but with increased K numbers, good control, and what BA called good command of his curve (which they called his best pitch), and his change-up, the Phils would be doing themselves a disservice to not stick with the lefty in the rotation as long as he produces.
And so, as promised in the comments on the last one of these, I will now get really excited over Kevin Brady, (everyone go read Mitch’s article from the summer if you haven’t already). RHP, touches 94-95 with his fastball, throws what BA described as an inconsistent change and hard breaking ball. He’s an injury flag, from the start; he was drafted in 2011 but didn’t sign after a forearm strain left him out of action for a while, and in 2012 he was picked in the 10th round after a hamstring issue allowed him only 59 innings.
The thing about Brady that first caught my eye was towards the end of July when he struck out 8 men in three innings. By the end of his Williamsport season, he’d walked 5 and struck out 49 in 39IP. That kind of dominance will easily earn him a double jump, and if he’s healthy, and he can reproduce in 2013 the kind of season Austin Wright produced in 2012, he’ll stay on the radar as a starter in the middle of a very crowded top of the system by the end of the year.
And if he does what Adam Morgan did in 2012, we’ll be seeing what kind of room there is for him in Reading’s rotation come July. That seems a little crazy to me, but I sure did just write it. And I’m not taking it back. And in July, you’ll all have forgotten about this, or I’ll delete it in disgrace, or if it comes true, I WILL LINK TO IT IN EVERY SINGLE BOXSCORE RECAP AS A REMINDER OF MY AWESOMENESS.
Anyway, should be a fun year to watch Lehigh Valley and Reading. Add in the likes or Perci Garner, David Buchanan and Tyler Cloyd, and you likely won’t go more than one game in a row without seeing a prospect or an otherwise interesting name on the hill at either place.
So, tell me what you think. First off, does anyone have another similar pitcher in the top 30, outside the clear top 10 guys like Biddle, Morgan, Pettibone, and Martin, plus 2012 HS kids? I like Vargas about on par with Brady, but they’re at different points in their development for sure – anyone high enough on Manny Martinez, (a mellow buzz, from what I hear), to put him ahead of Milner? Anyone think Milner’s a teeny little man who will never make it as a starter? Anyone still have Garner in their top 30?
Enjoy, and I’ll be back at this next week with advanced level outfielders, then young starters, and finally low-level infielders leading into the weekend before the top 30, and as always, follow me @bxe1234 on Twitter.