Reader Top 30 #1 – Jesse Biddle

Welcome to the Reader Top 30, I will be releasing a new poll every day Monday-Friday until we are done.  Each poll will contain the names of nine prospects and a space for a write-in answer.  The top write-in vote receiver (or popular request from the comments) will be added to the next day’s poll to replace the winner.  For the initial poll I have used the Top 9 from Baseball America’s Top 10 (the order should be randomized every time the poll appears).  Feel free to give a reason for your choice and please post if you added a write-in vote.  I will post the winner in the next day’s poll as well as update the title of the poll to reflect the winner.

So without further ado your first Reader Top 30 poll.

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

124 thoughts on “Reader Top 30 #1 – Jesse Biddle

  1. It is a pleasure to see the development of a young man who takes seriously the tasks he needs to master. Biddle is doing just that. I think he will surpass expectations.

  2. Clearly Biddle is the closest thing the Phillies have to a Top 50 prospect as he is right now. I think every other prospect you would even consider for the top spot has a caveat attached to them, i.e., if this, then that. Biddle on his current projection I think is at worst a No. 3 starter in the bigs.

    1. I toyed with writing in Hewitt but decided on Biddle. On 57 more slots until I get to write in Hewitt.

    2. There are 2 other votes now, mine is for Tocci as #1. I know I’m the odd man out here and I understand that for most everyone he just hasn’t had the chance in game action yet to demonstrate performance for a ranking that high, but I love his skills and think they are so far superior to our other prospects that time will prove that out. I’m also very big on prospect rankings that give favor to the guy you can’t easily acquire just anywhere, i.e, Trout, Strasburg, etc. I think Tocci has a chance to be a superstar for a long time, therefore I have him #1.

      1. Hey, maybe in a few years this looks like genius. I just never really trust GCL stats. I’m certainly rooting for Tocci though.

      2. If I were to follow the argument that vastly superior skills even at much lower levels and not entirely seen merit the Highest ranking I’d still be very interested on how much higher you could possible have his potential (should everything go right) than you do Roman Quinn’s (should everything go right).

        1. That’s a good question and I can’t answer it completely accurately due to the fact that I’ve seen far more of Tocci than I have Quinn personally. Having said that, I have followed quite a bit of what Mitch Rupert and others have reported on Quinn.

          The differences I see between the two players, non-statistically speaking are as follows:
          – Last summer, at the age of 16, Tocci looks to me to be a near ready MLB OF defensively, with skills to make him a top 3 defensive CF in the big leagues after getting more experience. I believe that potential is very likely to be realized as his instincts in CF are outstanding, which is probably the most difficult thing to teach a young player, or anyone. Quinn on the other hand I believe has the upside to be a gold glove SS from what I’ve read, but you also see many more SS’s with exceptional skills never turn out to realize their defensive potential at the big league level.
          – I believe when Tocci is Quinn’s age, his base stealing skills will be equal or better and Tocci’s speed is either equivalent to Quinn’s or very, very close. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Tocci’s speed now compares to 2007 Michael Bourn. So I believe Quinn’s single biggest strength, could be equaled by Tocci.
          – Offensively, I believe Tocci at 16 has a very advanced approach at the plate and his only real limiting factor is his current size does not give him much power at all. I believe being as young as he is, that if his body doesn’t develop any between now and 19 years old (Quinn’s current age), they will likely be equivalent prospects. However, if he develops size and strength at all that is typical of someone his age and with his build, then I believe his offensive potential far outweighs Roman Quinn’s with the bat. My rationale for thinking he will develop size is I asked 3 scouts the specific question of “do you think his body will develop into a much stronger hitter?” and one answered “who knows, time will tell” and the other two answered “oh yeah, I would think so”. These scouts look at high school players all the time so I give their responses at least some merit.

          As for my rankings, I personally have the Phils system at 1 Tocci 2 Franco 3 Biddle 4 Quinn so I do hold Quinn in pretty high regard based on his stats and what I’ve heard about him, but I just believe that Tocci has very unusual potential that warrants this ranking.

          1. Why are you so sure that Franco was 19 years old this year? You must be since he wasn’t very impressive if he was really 21.

            Both Quinn and Tocci are going to have to do a lot of developing in the power department if they are to be special the way many are making them out to be.

            Toothpick bats up the middle are not going to be acceptable. Rollins, Utley, Victorino. More than 55 HR a season there in 2008 and 2009.

            1. I disagree. If Quinn developed into a gold glove shortstop, stole 50 bases a year, hit 300 with an obp of 400, and scored 100+ runs in a season, but hit less than 5 Home Runs, I’d consider that very special. Not saying that’s my projection for him, but for a SS those numbers would be very special and we would all be very happy.

            2. A .400 OBP projection for Quinn is psychotic.

              Not only is that an elite OBP but achieving it without having real HR power is basically unheard of. I don’t care how good Ben Revere’s plate discipline is, with his total lack of power he’ll never have a good walk rate never mind elite since pitchers will attack the zone knowing that realistically all he can do is hit a single.

              If Roman Quinn is a 5 HR guy than a .300 BA would yield at best a .350 OBP.

              There is no realistic substitute for power.

            3. First of all, just log in as Free AEC so we all know who you are. Second, there are plenty of examples of players historically that have done that, such as Brett Butler who never hit 10 HR’s in a season in his career but had 7 seasons of OBP .387 or greater, 3 years over .400. Chone Figgins, hardly an elite player, had 2 seasons within the last 10 years with an OBP of greater than .390 and he hit 3 and 5 HR’s in those two seasons. Third, I never said Quinn would do that, I said “IF” he did he would be an elite player. If you want to pick at it, change what I said to having an OBP of .370 and with those other statistics I would say he’s an elite player.

      3. I have Tocci in my Top 10 thanks to his impressive centerfield defense. The bat has a LONG way to go yet. With that defense, he can be close to a 4 WAR player without developing any power, but to do so, he needs to cut down on the strikeouts.

        For someone who’s seemingly so far from the big leagues, he has a very high floor. It’s one of the highest in the system outside of Ruf. Injuries could change that.

  3. I voted for the big lefty starting pitcher who has handled the great pressure and high expectations of a hometown top pick. Easy, compact, repeatable motion. Real competitor. So much to like in Biddle, I had to pick him over Roman Quinn.

  4. Not a difficult choice here. As if I wasn’t sold enough, I had the good fortune of seeing Biddle’s two consecutive late August starts which were AWESOME. In even better news, I recently purchased a condo in Clearwater, so I will be able to give many more Thresher and GC game reports this summer! Sadly, I still have a real job so I can’t be there all the time…

    1. That’s one reason I voted Ruf. Biddle hasn’t dominated a level yet, his walk rate is a bit high for my tastes, and he hasn’t pitched above A ball. Also, he’s a pitcher and pitchers are always more unpredictable than positional players, partly because of how hard pitching is physically on an arm. Unlike most others on this site, I think Ruf has huge upside as a power hitter, a skill that is becoming rare in today’s game.

      1. Biddle struck out 9.5/9 in A+ as a 20-yr-old. He improved his K/9 by 1.1 over last year and improved his BB/9 by 1.0 over last year. He has the stuff to back up the stats.

        Ruf had a great year but he was 25 and in AA. The final decision tool I use is “which player would bring back more in a trade?” It is obviously Biddle.

    1. My quick and dirty methodology is roughly .65*expectedWAR + .35*ceilingWAR. Call that X and Y.

      Let’s say X = 7 for Ruf and 5 for Biddle and Y = 16 for Ruf and 30 for Biddle. I think those are reasonable numbers I pulled out of the air, no? Biddle gets a 13.75 score and Ruf gets a 10.15.

      But let’s instead say that I prefer an 80/20 ratio and I believe the correct numbers for Ruf are X=8, Y=20 (still reasonable, right?). Ruf then gets a 10.4 score versus Biddle’s even 10.

      So it doesn’t take a lot of massaging to rank Ruf out ahead of Biddle with a formula. Now that said, the shortcomings of using said formula are obvious (the inputs are entirely guesses) and my own 65/35 ratio of expected/ceiling is probably on the conservative end.

        1. Statistics my dear Anonymous, Statistics.

          If you’re going to bother ranking people, you have to have a methodology. Otherwise you’re just pointing at names. James’ top 30 lists relied on a more complex methodology than mine, including his stat SONAR. The complexity was designed to add objectivity to the subjective points in the simple equation I used.

          The weighting is still simple preference. But the expected WAR and ceiling WAR can be calculated objectively with enough effort (like with Brian Cartwright’s OLIVER projection system). And ideally you can break out of WAR into components.

          Some might prefer to add an extra step and calculate a range of outcomes for Expected and Ceiling rather than just pick an arbitrary guess at the average value for each. That would likely remove some of the error related to subjectivity, but there still would be fundamental biases based on the individual user.

          1. If the methodology you are using is completely subjective than you might as well be just pointing at names. Its the same premise unless you start bringing something objective into your methodology.

            1. To an extent, but the framework can at least shave down the margin of error.

              I should probably note that the values I place on expected and ceiling aren’t entirely subjective. They’re based (roughly) on historic values derived from various studies. I could spend 10 hours a year and formally derive objective numbers, but I do not find that a worthwhile use of time.

            2. I see, I thought you were just putting your best educated guess into the equation and going from there. As long as you are basing the numbers on something objective then I think it is sufficient for your purpose and I don’t think there is and need to spend hours trying to derive objective numbers.

    2. Based on the most recent data (last year in minors, majors & fall league) no one in the phillies system had a better year (at such a high level) as Ruf. He will get the first opportunity to make the major league club. Projections on the various player’s future success is nothing more then an educated guess.

    3. I seriously voted for Ruf because he might win rookie of the year this year. If he plays every day Ruf might hit 30 homers with a 260/340/460 slash line. Optimistic, yes! Of course, because isn’t optimism what ceilings and upsides are all about? Everybody who hasn’t played above A ball, are just projections.

        1. If Ruf makes the Phillies out of spring training, he would not be the first player to skip triple A. The jump from A to AA is a much bigger jump than from AA to AAA. Clearly, older guys like Ruf who never played AAA but who had great AA success and limited success in the majors need less projection than guys who never appeared in the majors or AAA. Ruf is 2 years younger than Olt who is considered a top prospect who has not played above AA. I say that Olt requires more projection then Ruf because Ruf did great for a dozen major league games while Olt has not proven he can succeed even a little bit in the majors. I’ve read on this site that short season ball is pass-fail. Most people would give 12 MLB games an incomplete, and I agree with them, but with a 1.079 OPS in 38 plate appearances he’s on his way to passing as a hitter. At least nobody could say he’s failed yet (in contrast to Brown, Mayberry, Francisco, or Nix). His outfield grade is an incomplete though, and unless Howard goes on the DL Ruf may need to stay in AAA to gain experience there this year.

          1. What Olt are you talking about?

            Mike Olt is a 24 year old 3rd baseman, who is more than two (2) years YOUNGER than 1B Darin Ruf. Mike Olt IS a top prospect. Ruf doesn’t have near his value. If he did, the Phillies would be using Ruf as a centerpiece in a deal for Justin Upton.

      1. Ken, I may disagree with many of your assessments but I love your unbridled joy and optimism. May all your rosy predictions come true!!!

  5. Biddle. Who else could it be? He has the best combination of talent and proximity to the majors within our system.

  6. Biddle. I don’t think he’ll ever be a Cy Young candidate but I see his upside as that of an Andy Pettite.

  7. I went with Biddle, although I do think several guys could leap-frog him this year even if Biddle has another typical solid year. I love his intangibles and he is a great guy to have in the organization.

    1. This is certainly a good point. Biddle is more solid than spectacular and if Asche finds some power or Quinn cuts down the rrors as he learns Short or Morgan continues to improve. There’s a lot more upside visible in the Org than there was a year ago.

    2. I would like to point out that Biddle did not just have a typical solid year. He improved greatly from 2011 to 2012. His K/9 started to enter an elite status.

      I hope he can continue to improve in 2013, though it might be tough in Reading as he is a slight fly ball pitcher.

  8. Gotta soon be adding Tocci, DeFratus and Aumont, and Watson, I think. I also imagine there are a fair number of people who still have Valle in their top 10, though I don’t personally. I think with the guys up on the board plus those 5, we’ll get through the top 10 without any large group of people griping about any one guy. Maybe Gillies. A fair number in the discussion last week had him pretty high on their lists, still.

    Anyway, Biddle here. Hard to argue against him at this point aside from maybe saying Morgan is as good and a step closer, which I don’t buy. Morgan’s a step closer with a slightly lower ceiling, IMO.

    1. I’ve read a number of posts that believe Tyson Gillies is a top 10 prospect, so he should be a choice. He is not in my top 15, due to his injuy issues, but I can see why others believe he is still top 10.
      I’m not sure I agree with your assessment that Adam Morgan has a lower ceiling than Jesse Biddle. I actually think Morgan has the much better shot at becoming a #2 pitcher. He already has the plus command, plus change-up and potential plus curve. Biddle is still developing all of that. I still have Biddle #1, due to age and expectations of improvement, but I do not believe that Biddle clearly has a higher ceiling than Morgan.

      1. I would disagree that Biddle still developing that stuff pushes his ceiling below Morgan’s, but I take your point.

      2. I agree with this. It looks like John Sickels was a little torn as well. Biddle’s age, expectation of improvement, alleged easy motion (I haven’t really seen him pitch), good make-up and large frame give him more projection, but Morgan could easily end up being the better pitcher even if Biddle improves. What’s interesting about Biddle is that I think he may intentionally not be tapping out his velocity in an effort to improve his technique and command and master new pitches. If Biddle has a little unused/untapped velocity in his arm it is certainly possible that he maxes out as a #1, although agree that, currently, it is more reasonably to expect him to be a #2 or #3. When I think about Biddle, I think about a poor man’s Clayton Kershaw. When I think of Morgan, a Cliff Lee type pitcher comes to mind.

        1. Let’s hope you’re right because if Biddle and Morgan become Kershaw and Lee, we’d all be pretty happy and we’d win quite a few games. Unfortunately, so few of these guys we follow become major league regulars, let alone stars… Think of all the guys we’ve been following on this site over the years and how few of them have reached starter status. Bourn comes to mind quickly but who else? Cardenas, Taylor, Costanzo, Happ, Drabek, Marson, Donald, Outman, Brown, etc, etc, etc.

          1. I was thinking this weekend how interesting it would be if the Phillies ended up with a rotation of Hamels(L), Morgan(L), Biddle(L), Wright(L) and Lee(L) in 2016. It’s unlikely, but an all Lefty rotation would have to be a first, I’d assume.

          2. The Vanimal, of course.

            I’m not sure exactly when the site started (I found it in 2008) but a lot of the guys we’ve followed over the years are still young enough to be considered prospects, too.

            1. I agree, guys like Singleton and Cosart are certainly still prospects, and D’Arnaud might haunt us for 10 years as a Met, but the list of successful graduates to date is small.

          3. Bourn, Floyd and Gio Gonzalez are good young players we’ve traded in the last several years. d’Arnaud is likely to become a stud as will Singleton. The jury is still out on Drabek, Gose, Villar, Carassco and Cosart, but none appear particularly great right now. Happ may be due for a minor come back – his stuff is not bad at all. Outman, Cosatanzo, Taylor, Outman, Knapp, Marson, Donald and Zeid are either failed prospects or nothing much to write home about. Knapp had a truly great arm but is just another minor league pitching category. The only results that truly surprised me are Taylor and Gio Gonzalez. Nobody thought Taylor would do so poorly or Gonzalez so well. Gonzalez is a classic case of a pitcher rising above his supposed ceiling (projected as a #3 when we had him) – as far as I can tell, the dude’s an ace and could be a thorn in our side for years to come. Damn Nationals!

            1. Gio and Happ both suffer from the same issue control. Gio is far from a #1 and this became more evident as his BB rate rose closer to his career average the 2nd half of the season. If Gio can hold on to the control he had the first half of last year he is a #2 and it will be interesting to see how his ERA is affected going forward by playing in more hitter friendly parks in the NL east as the years move forward. Just to clarify I am not saying he is bad just not close to a #1, but to bring this back to topic I agree with Biddle as #1 as he is showing an ability to throw strikes and miss bats while keeping a smooth effortless delivery. Really reminds me of Hamels with holding back on the FB speed to ensure of location, but you can see there is more there if needed.

  9. I went with Biddle. He looks to be a workhorse middle-of-the-rotation lefty starter at a minimum, high-end No. 2 at the ceiling. That doesn’t grow on trees.

    Interestingly, Ruf with the second most votes in the early going (he has nine right now). I thought it would be controversial simply to name him as a candidate.

    1. Trolls. Nobody serious about the rankings has anyone else at #1, at least based on these comments. Expect Ruf to get similar percentages throughout the process until one could seriously consider voting for him (in the back half of the top ten, I guess, though he won’t be in mine).

      1. I imagine there are a couple people out there who honestly think Darin Ruf is going to hit 25-30 HR in the big leagues for the next 5 years.

        And, yes, there’s probably a couple trolls in there, too.

        1. I think he’ll hit 35 some year if given full time play. I don’t see 5 years of success, however. He’ll be below 25 HR by year 4.

        2. Even if he does hit 25 HR, there’s more to the game than HR totals. If that’s all it was Josh Fields, Brandon Moss, Dan Johnson and several others would have regular MLB jobs. I think it’s more about buying into Ruf being able to hit above .250, OBP above .320 and play a competent enough Left Field that he doesn’t entirely wipe out his offensive value. I think he could likely hit 25 HRs in a season.

          1. I think it’s assumed he’ll get on base a fair amount, as well. I’m not agreeing that anyone should have him as their #1. Just saying I could see someone looking at him in the abstract and thinking he’s going to be a really good hitter for a good while and not being blown away by the rest of our prospects and voting that way. He’s #18 or #19 on my list, (depending which day you ask me), as I don’t think his glove will ever play as a regular, but I recognize he may have enough power to stay on the field if the team needs said power, especially in a platoon role.

            1. The Defense concerns me less. If his glove is absolutely abysmal, but his bat is real, he should be a fairly tradeable commodity. I mean the O’s sent us a few decent prospects for a 42 year old who could barely jog, nonetheless play in the field. I can’t mention yet where I have him ranked, I was more commenting on people’s focus on the HR totals.

            2. That 42 year old was a known commodity former superstar who had a fine 2011 as a DH and a fine couple weeks as a DH with Philly right before the trade. Just saying the return for Darin Ruf versus Jim Thome might not be all that similar.

            3. I wouldn’t expect it to be, I was merely trying to state that even a terrible fielding Ruf may still have some value in trade (on the flipside the Orioles knew they’d basically get the remainder of the season of Thome, a trade partner for Ruf, if they buy into the bat, may be willing to pay more for 6 seasons of him).

      2. I honestly think you’re being the troll by saying he won’t be in your rankings. I see Ruf as a 20-25 HR guy with a .280 average for the first couple years in the bigs, and with a 90% chance of realizing that potential. Clearly most scouting services agree with me by ranking him in the Phillies top 10. (The best I saw I believe was 6 or 7 and considering he came from no where, that’s an extremely aggressive ranking).

        I agree that he shouldn’t be voted anywhere in the top 5, but come on, no need to over-react to the Ruf fanboys and skip him all togeather. He’s a rookie, regardless of age, and will give the phillies more value next year then 60% of our top 10. That’s something to think about.

        Personally I have Ruf at 9, and Biddle at 1, though I don’t consider Morgan all that close just yet, I want another half year of last year before I’m willing to even entertain the competition between the two.

      3. I am very serious about my rankings. I’ve voted on this site every year since 2009, which I believe was the first year. I’ve posted my individual list when asked, and I still have all my rankings, which I will match up against anybody’s. In 2009 I had Happ 4th ahead of Drabek, Taylor, and Brown–whom PP Readers placed 4, 5 and 6–based a little on Happ’s brief success in Philadelphia in 2008, reminiscent of Ruf now. He did well in a small sample size, which beats doing poorly in a SSS. Has Brown ever had any stretch of 37 plate appearances with the Phillies (Ruf’s 2012 total) where he put up 1.079 OPS? In 2010 I lobbied for DeFratus over Ramirez, Bastardo, Mathieson, and Colvin. From 2010 to 2012 I lobbied against the grain on this site for Galvis. In 2011 I had him 14, the reader’s had him 25, last year I had Galvis #2 ahead of Biddle, Valle, and Colvin who the readers had 2-4.

  10. My general thoughts on rankings: I think you can do it all with the “P” words: projection, potential, performance, proximity, and proof.

    I do not think the general characterization of projection (upside) vs. proximity is valid. It is often used as a strawman in discussing how to evaluate prospects, and I think it can be misleading. First, the weight between those two criteria is wildly different for different people, which Brad illustrates above. And second, I don’t think proximity as a concept should be a general factor, Certainly a minor factor, but not a general one.

    In contrast, I see it as projection/potential vs. performance/proof s the correct broad concept..

    It may seem a small point to some, but not to me. I don’t care if a player takes 2 years in high minors to become fully ready or unblocked and thererfore is not as close as someone who is fully polished at present or unblocked at his position. In evaluating, I am only interested in the relative value of the player in majors: star? solid starting player? valuable platoon or role player? 5th outfielder at best? top of rotation vs. #5? high-leverage reliever vs. middle reliever. Proximity itself, as an isolated concept/criteria, does not nail down the key attributes, which are potential for dominance or success AND strong proof that is likely to happen.

    How does this manifest. For example: Clear proof can be consistent performance over multiple years into high minors, dramatic improvement in performance at higher levels (Howard, Ruf), dominant performance at lower levels for 2 or more years. All of these do not guarantee anything, but can put a player into a much higher ranking group if the scouting (projection/potential) reports indicate the dominant skills/talents.

    One final point: After the first few ranking positions, it does not make much sense to me to argue who is #13 vs. #15. The variables are so great, it is essentially meaningless. For me, if you have a guy in the first ten or second or third ten, that is all that matters.

    1. This year it is hard to argue #2 vs #20! The system has a lot of depth but no blue chipper. I prepare by looking at other people’s lists. John Mayo on has Colvin #2 on his Phillies top 20. The Reading Eagle Poll has Cesar Hernandez #4. Gillies, Cloyd, Tocci, and Ruf are all over the place.

      We have seen failures for highly touted prospects like Knapp and Taylor and early success for guys like Stutes, Worley, and Happ. On Nov 27, 2009 PhuturePhillies (James) called both Worley and Stutes “Organizational” pitchers, “basically the non-prospects”. I still remember it because I was surprised since I liked them both and both had just been double jumped to Reading. I lost some respect for James’ opinions that day, but it shows how divergent opinions of prospects can be. Experts can be wrong. How many times was Curt Schilling traded? How about David Ortiz, Dave Stewart, Gio Gonzalez, and Ryan Vogelsong? I read a lot, read between the lines, evaluate my sources, and go by my gut, which has a good track record in fantasy leagues and such.

      1. Hate to break it to you but Worley and Stutes still are just fillers. Even though Worley had a great rookie season, all the indicators pointed to the type of pitcher he was last year. Stutes is no more than 7th inning guy.

        1. It’s hard to pitch when you have bone chips in your elbow… Early on in the season before the bone chips started hurting him he was pitching like 2011 Worley.

        2. Org fillers don’t win 17 games in their first two major league seasons. Worley may profile as a back of the rotation starter, but he has a long big-league career ahead of him.

          1. Frankly even if he moves to the bullpen at some point the next few years (which is possible), that’s still more than Org. filler. Org filler is somebody like Cody Overbeck. Or, to stick with Pitchers, Jordan Whatcott.

        3. ‘Hate to break it to you but Worley and Stutes still are just fillers’…just not org fillers but MLB fillers.

          1. Even “MLB fillers” are valuable. Everybody needs midle relievers and 5th starters. A 5th starter isn’t a failure, that’s a success for most prospects.

    2. So true, but it is extremly important to a lot of these guys and I enjoy readng their comments. Some have value some themore theyexplain the more you realize they are lost . Like the guy that argued Ruf but completly dismissed Biddle. Or the guy who said Quinn was going to be gold glove..

  11. I picked Biddle due to combination of ceiling and proximity. I think greatest ceiling goes to Quinn, but we’ve been burned on a good first year before. I keep back and forthing on how high to put Quinn — somewhere #2 to #5.

    1. Agree, if Roman Quinn was going to AA this would be a difficult choice but Jesse Biddle has progressed through more levels. I hope he will be MLB ready by late 2014 or 2015.

  12. The other night, I had the MLB network on the radio and they were discussing potential trades. Duquette, a former GM, discussed the trading of Upton or Stanton for Bundy of the Orioles. I expected him to say the usual about how the big bat playing 5 days a week is better than a pitcher but he surprised me and said that there’s nothing more valuable than a true #1 pitcher and that every team needs one to become a champion. He said he thought Bundy was a future #1 and he wouldn’t trade him for Stanton or Upton. It got me thinking about our system and whether any of our top arms are true #1 type guys. Unfortunately, they’re probably not. However, Biddle, Morgan, and Martin all have a chance at becoming #2 starters (certainly #3). Will Watson or Gueller get to that level? Based on their draft spots, and some of the commentary we read, they have a chance to be very good but who knows. We’ll learn pretty quickly what the team thinks of them by where they start them. If Watson starts at LWood, that’s a good sign. They might hold Gueller back but maybe not. I don’t have either guy in my top 10 but a year from now, I’m hoping that both guys are in my top 5. That’s what would push the system’s overall value towards the top, star caliber players.

    1. Agree completely on Watson and Gueller; one of those guys needs to be a “hit” for this organization to move into the top tier. But it’s awful hard to get a guy like Bundy (who was a top five pick) when you’re consistently picking in the middle to end of the first round.

      1. At best. The Phillies have had a number of years with no First Round pick at all. 3 of the last 4 drafts the team had no First Rounder and the 2 First rounders they’ve had the last 5 years were in the last half dozen or so picks of the round, a traditional wasteland. It looks like they’re holding onto the 16th pick this year, which is nice, since there’s good history with picks in that area having some success in the Majors.

  13. I felt like I had to vote for Ruf since he is eligible and obviously is much closer to the majors than Biddle and the others. If ranking the prospects isn’t about the chances of a) getting to the major leagues and b) having success in the major leagues, then I have misused my vote and I apologize.

    1. It’s also about the level of success a guy might have in the major leagues. At best I think Ruf can be a solid regular, because his defense will hold him back from being above average even if he hits well. Biddle has a better chance of being a real impact player, even if his floor is also lower.

    2. The thing about prospect ranking is it’s inherently subjective. One person may make a list entirely based on ceiling and someone else entirely on floor. Most are in between, but people weight them (floor and ceiling) much differently.
      The only useless prospect lists are ones with just a bunch of names of guys who the person has seen personally and ranked with no particular consideration of floor vs. ceiling (not to mention current standing statistically, defensively, age, level, etc.).

  14. The Ruf argument is an interesting one, he is major league ready the question is, what is his value in the majors (varying opinions on the bat and the defense doesn’t look good right now)? I personally ding him for his age, not because of his numbers against younger competition, but because he is already in his prime, he will turn 27 during the next season, having him under control for the next 6 years (ages 26-32) is much different than having Biddle’s 6 years (likely 23-29) because you are going to likely get some decline on the back end. There is no more projection for Ruf he is what he is and will become very clear early what that player is.

    I view a Top 30 as a trade value list, who has the most value to another organization without factoring positional needs. This combines likely value with the chances of achieving it.

    1. I guess that I am devaluing Biddle and the other young players because they face such long odds of even getting to the major leagues, let alone being successful. Biddle, for example, although he projects well as a starter for the Phillies, has yet to even pitch at AA, which everyone says is a big jump from high A. From there it is even a bigger jump to the major leagues. A lot of promising prospects never make it through these last few steps, let alone becoming successful major league pitchers. In addition, there is always the fear of injury with any pitching prospect. As MattWinks writes, having a healthy Biddle starting from ages 23-29 for the Phillies would be worth a lot, but I would have to put the probability of that happening under 50% based upon where he is now. The probability might be even less favorable for a Roman Quinn who is even further away from paydirt.

      1. Under 50% is really pessimistic, Biddle has the tools and lack of questions that suggest that right now he could be a #4 or #5 starter in the big leagues, that is still a valuable commodity. There are no questions about Biddle the way there was about May (the delivery and the control) that suggest he will fall apart. It is likely a greater than 80% chance that Biddle will pitch as a starter in the majors. The question is how good a starter he will be.

        1. Historically, “under 50%” is a good estimate for prospects like Biddle to complete 6 major league seasons. That’s why TINSTAAPP exists. Injuries happen and sometimes pitchers just run into a wall.

  15. So how can you have Biddle #1 now,if he’s still at best two years away from the major league?

    Especially with some of other good prospects,That will probably play there this year?

    1. Basically, because Biddle has a chance to be much better than the other prospects who are likely to play in Philly this year.

    2. What does it matter if the prospect is closer to the majors, but projects to be no more than a replacement level player?
      De Fratus will definitely play in the majors this year, but will probably max out as a 1.5 WAR player, (Ryan Madson was a 2.0 WAR in his best year).
      If Roman Quinn continues to progress at the rate expected, he will probably be at least a 3.5 WAR player during his peak years. As a comparable, Jimmy Rollins was a 6.0 WAR player at his peak.

      Honestly, I see Darin Ruf as no more than a Kevin Mench (2.5 WAR at his peak) type player.

      Basically, it all depends on how you project the player, once he gets to the major leagues. The guys who think Ruf is the next Matt Holiday, are obviously rank him #1. The guy who think he is Kevin Mench or Casey Mcghee, will rank him lower.

        1. Why would you like a comp between Ruf and Mench when Mench was a size smaller than Ruf who is listed as an inch taller than Josh Willingham, though I would buy Ruf as 6′ 4″.

          Josh Willingham is clearly the best comp for Ruf.

          Ruf might even be better.

    3. Because this isn’t a list of who will contribute in 2013, if that is the list then Ruf is #1. The question is who will provide the most value to the Phillies in their play or in trade. Their are no prospects who profile as anything more than average regulars who should make major league debuts this year (Morgan and Martin could if they progress above average or there is injury in front of them). Biddle has the ceiling and safety to be better than any of them. (Biddle is likely a year and a half away but enough to not use up a year of eligibility in 2014).

      1. I have a slightly different take. I consider this list to be an evaluation of a player’s total career value and his club controlled value. Trade value does not directly factor in my rankings.

  16. When a pitching prospect who has been promoted to AA gets comps to Cliff Lee he has to be considered the best, that’s why I voted for Adam Morgan.

    So when do we get to discuss the upcoming June draft? That’s the interesting topic, getting some real hitting talent into this farm system with the first pick and two second round picks. Three high school bats.

    Who will they be?

    1. Keep in mind it is Morgan’s delivery is being compared to Lee’s. Morgan doesn’t have the same caliber stuff or control. Lee is an ace, while Morgan has a good shot at being a #3, which is extremely good return for a third-rounder.

      1. Not only his delivery but a 94 mph fast ball. Morgan will be my no. 2 very slightly behind Biddle.

        1. Morgan is my #2 as well. I forgot to give him credit for the fastball. Just trying to point out that he is not expected to come out of the minors and be an ace like Lee is now, because some people seem to think that.

      2. Will…Lee’s approx. first 375 iPs in the minors (2000-2003) he varied from outstanding at times to average…WHIP, BB/9. Not sure if he was considered a future ‘ace’ in 2003.

        1. Lee is the exception to all the caveats about aces. He is the only guy who never looked like an ace coming up and only became one when he went down and developed the best command since Maddux.

          1. “So when do we get to discuss the upcoming June draft? That’s the interesting topic, getting some real hitting talent into this farm system with the first pick and two second round picks. Three high school bats.

            Who will they be?”

  17. I’m a data guy. And based on the just numbers, Ruf has the biggest chance to surprise us all. A Greg Luzinski career is the high end. Not Hall of Fame, but definitely Hall of Very Good. Because his numbers this year were a huge surprise. His numbers were historic, unprecedented. He has something nobody realized he had. We can’t just brush it off saying he’s a non-prospect. And his numbers didnt evaporate when he got to the major leagues.

    Biddle seems like a great prospect, but he hasn’t demonstrated the sort of potential we saw with Cole Hamels. More of a Carrasco, if you ask me. Maybe Bruce Ruffin is a good comp- he was the opening day pitcher in 1993. So I’ll take Luzinski over Ruffin, anyone disagree?

    1. Luzinski is a much different player than Ruf. The Bull was drafted out of high school and showed very early. Look up his minor league numbers at Reading and his age.

      Ruf looks very much like Josh Willingham though Ruf could be better. What Ruf showed against LHP was at a different level then what I have seen before. He had trouble pulling the trigger against Mark Buehrle for some reason but every other LHP it seemed their only hope was to walk Ruf. Anywhere they threw the ball within his reach Ruf would kill it, and he did that against pitches thrown to every area, low and away, low and in, waist high away (smashed into RF gap) and most amazingly the high and inside pitch, which until Ruf pulled his hands back smoothly and then turned and barreled the chin high pitch into the LF seats well, that was a pitch that was unhittable.

    2. I disagree in that i think Biddles ceiling is so much higher, his proximity is close enough where it does not hurt him like Quinns does, and the fact he is a lefty starter means he blows the doors off Ruf. I can not in good conscious put them in the same class of prospect since there are still so many questions Ruf needs to answer even with proximity in his favor. When i look at it, Biddle will start at the minor league level Ruf just finished with age very much in favor of Biddle. Also, both of these players are both all projection right now as Ruf does not have enough AB’s in the pros and all we can do is guess how he will produce in the same way we do with Biddle. I just don’t see how Ruf is more valuable. On a side note, i am also a ceiling over proximity guy for prospect rankings so take that into consideration.

    3. Terry Mulholland was the opening day starter in 1993. Ruffin was in Colorado’s bullpen…

    1. Hitting with power is a tool.

      It would be nice if Phillies farm personnel recognized that in up – the – middle prospects.

  18. Went with Quinn. Very long way to go but speed at SS with extremely positive switch hitting debut.
    Biddle seems safe but I doubt he ever get huge buzz. Probably has more value for Phillies than trade value due to being in that slightly lower tier.
    Tocci also huge upside but even longer away and could grow and lose his coordination.

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