Reader Top 30 #3 – Adam Morgan

Roman Quinn takes the #2 spot, Tyson Gillies has been added to the poll for #3.

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

179 thoughts on “Reader Top 30 #3 – Adam Morgan

  1. After much deliberation between him and Joseph, I went with Franco. I’m choosing to get excited about the big second half. I like Joseph, and I’ll vote for him next. I’m still not as excited about his upside as I am about Franco’s. By all accounts, he has big time power potential, and it’s been a whole since we’ve had that at 3B.

    I’ve said this a couple times before, but I feel like power has become such a rare commodity in the majors of late that I’m willing to give bonus points for to any legit prospect that shows slugging potential.

    Speaking of power, I vote for LGJr to be added to the list next (certainly over Cozens, whose name was mentioned in the last thread).

    1. I am generally a Franco guy too, but one has to be wary of strong second halves sometimes. The good minor leaguers get promoted halfway through a season meaning that those who are left are usually not as good. Hence Franco probably had some success in the second half against players who were not as good as those he faced in the first half.

      Then again, he is young and could have just gotten better. Hard to know! There are certainly worse picks than Franco at #3.

  2. I posted this on the #2 thread, so sorry for re-posting, but if anyone’s interested:

    My Top 30:

    1. LHP Jesse Biddle – Very refined delivery, easy mechanics that generate solid velocity, which I also think he’s holding back a tad at the Phillies request to work on his command, and if that’s truly the case, and he adds a few more ticks to his fastball, already possessing a plus curveball and a change/slider that shows flashes as well, we’re looking at a guy with high end #2 upside. Biddle’s not a bonafide blue-chipper, but he’s a solid bet to be in the Phillies rotation for years to come.

    2. SS Roman Quinn – This was a tough one, I had two guys that could go either way, Quinn or Joseph, but I went with the guy who already has a truly plus-plus tool, and that’s Quinn’s speed. He already has a very high walk rate, and is JUST learning to hit left-handed, which I think is amazing, and I think some people severely underrate. If he can cut down on his strikeouts a tad, and stick at SS, we’re looking at a true blue-chip prospect.

    3. C Tommy Joseph – Acquired in the Hunter Pence trade, Joseph was raved about by scouts, though his scouting report didn’t necessarily translate to results in his first time around at Reading, I think he just wore down towards the end of the season, coming to a new team and adjusting to a new pitching staff. I think Joseph has a strong 2013, and will be the guy in Philly for years to come. I love his arm, and his plus power potential, you gotta remember the guy’s quite young to be in AA, and by all accounts is a true leader and has great makeup. I’d take Joseph at catcher all day in my system, I really think this guy has Mike Napoli offensive upside assuming he can stick at catcher (which I think he will).

    4. LHP Adam Morgan – Morgan opened eyes in 2012, mine included, I always liked Morgan’s delivery, really free and easy, but I always thought his stuff lacked to truly be any more than a low end #3, high #4, but hearing all these comps to Cliff Lee has me really excited, especially with his sudden uptick in velocity. Morgan doesn’t have any particular devastating pitch, but I think his command and control will compensate for his lack of truly elite stuff. I think Morgan will be the first of the pitching prospects aside from Pettibone to make it to the bigs.

    5. RHP Ethan Martin – Acquired in the Victorino trade, Martin has a pretty solid pedigree, but was sort of overlooked for lack of command. Martin has a nasty slider, that is truly a plus pitch along with a hard but mostly straight fastball that he can get up to 95-96 mph, if Martin can ever harness his raw stuff, I think he could truly challenge Biddle to be the #1 prospect in the system. Which I’m encouraged will happen, because his BB/9 decreased in the last 3 years from 6.5 to 4.1 for 2012 which is still pretty high but is a solid decrease for a 3 year period, while also increasing his K/BB ratio up to 1.94. Unfortunately his K/9 has also decreased the last 3 years, though I think it might be due to coaching telling him to pull his velocity back a little bit to work on his control. If he can stay around an 8.0 K/9 with a 3-3.5 BB/9, Martin will be damn good, possible #2 upside.

    6. 3B Maikel Franco – Some people might say Franco is a little high, but I love the guy’s bat, and he’s pretty young for his league at only 20 years old. This guy has truly plus raw power, and by all accounts a pretty solid glove at 3B, so if he sticks, I see a guy with a higher upside than Asche, even though I like Asche a lot, he doesn’t have the possible game-changing power that Franco has. His ETA is fairly far away, so he could just as easily flame out, but a solid 3B prospect with power, I feel, should be high on anyone’s list.

    7. OF Carlos Tocci – This guy is the most intriguing guy in the system in my eyes. He’s so far away, that it’s possible he burns out before he even sees AA, but man is he fun to dream on. The guy’s got solid baseball instincts, a fantastic outfielder with a cannon arm, and a good eye at the plate. The debate is really whether he’ll ever develop power, or just be a speedster with a fantastic glove. I personally think he falls somewhere in between power-wise. He’s the ultimate boom or bust prospect, with superstar potential or total flameout possibility.

    8. OF/1B Darin Ruf – The most discussed thing on PhuturePhillies the last couple months or so is what to do with, or how to judge Darin Ruf. At first I was extremely skeptical, ala LarryM, but I’ve became a believer over the last few months, after seeing Ruf’s minor league clips, and watching him in his 2012 cameo in Philly, I really believe in the bat. He came out of nowhere, and yes, he’s not a prospect with a pedigree, and was old for his league, but he can rake. And seeing how the Phillies have had a history of slugging, slow-footed LF’s, I think Ruf gets his shot in LF for the Phils, and realistically I could see Ruf hitting somewhere between .275-.280, and slugging around .500+ with 25+ homers. Some will say I’m a bit optimistic, but in my eyes, Ruf deserves a shot, and I think he’ll run with it. I realize I could very easily be eating my words come June, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take, because guys with his kind of power don’t grow on trees.

    9. 3B Cody Asche – Asche is a fun guy to follow, and I love how he always seems to prove scouts and haters alike wrong. I also love his ability to adjust to higher levels, which translates into possible big league success. I don’t think Asche will ever be a superstar, but a solid everyday regular is not out of the question, especially if his crazy work ethic is true, I’d take a guy like Asche any day on my team. The glove worries me a bit, but the scouting reports have been improving, and I love his swing, really effortless, and if he develops any more power, he’ll rank even higher on the list.

    10. RHP Jonathan Pettibone – Pettibone could rank anywhere from as high as 7 or as low as 15 to me, I love his command and overall mound presence, but by all accounts, the only pitch he has that could possibly be plus is his sinker, and having no true out pitch, he’ll almost have to be perfect with his command, or he’ll get hit around. His proximity, and safe bet to eat innings while keeping his walks down makes him a nice low end #3, high end #4, which is nothing to sneeze at. I’m a Pettibone fan, and I hope he can develop a solid out pitch, because that could be what he’s lacking to truly hold down a major league job. I would love for him to beat the odds and be more than that, but I’m tempering my expectations for now.

    11. RHP Shane Watson – I’m going out on a limb here, and basing this ranking on pretty much scouting reports alone, being that I haven’t really seen much of Watson. He has a solid fastball, and a plus curve already for a young age, so that’s a great thing to have going forward. He’s far, far away, but I like his potential, especially if the scouts like him so much.

    12. CF Tyson Gillies – I might get berated here a little bit, but I’m still a Gillies believer, injuries be damned! There’s just something special about this guy to me, I love his patience, and overall effort, he goes all out, and although he relies on his speed, he has surprising pop at a premium defensive position. I know injuries should be taken into account, especially for a guy whose speed is probably his greatest asset, but I try to not take being injury prone into my prospect rankings as much. And anyway as far as pure CF’s in the system, who on talent and proximity alone is better than Gillies, you could make a case for Tocci, but as promising as he is, he’s still VERY far away. See what I mean?

    13. LHP Austin Wright – The 4th of the solid pitching prospects the Phils are churning out lately, Wright has a solid fastball, that sits 91-92, and occasionally touches 94, and pairs it with a devastating overhand curveball, kind of reminds me of a poor man’s Barry Zito. He’s a little far away, and needs one more true out pitch, but this guy has the tools to be a starter, and while Sickels and BA have him possibly being converted to a power reliever, I think the Phils give him every chance to prove he can start before they move him to the ‘pen.

    14. OF/1B Larry Greene Jr. – Greene’s a bit raw, considering he was set to play football at Alabama before ultimately signing with the Phillies. People will have to give this guy time, he’s adjusting to a new sport, but has a fantastic eye, and prodigious power, though it hasn’t been shown in games quite yet, he still mashed a few doubles, and once he learns to actually drive a pitch he’s looking for instead of just taking pitches to take, he’ll become even more deadly. This guy’s an athlete, give him some time to get used to baseball and let his natural instincts take over and we’ll have a solid prospect on our hands.

    15. CF Zach Collier – Injuries and lost time aside, I still think Collier has a very high upside, and even though he seems like he’s been in the system for years, the guy’s still only 22 years old, and could possibly be bumped to Reading where he’ll be more age appropriate. A nice AFL showing, and scouting reports about his improving defense have me hopeful Collier can still put it together, sometimes these toolsy guys tend to take a little longer than most. If he can stick in CF, I’ll feel comfortable ranking him here, but if he has to move to a corner OF spot, he’ll fall down the list, because he doesn’t have the bat to be a corner OF.

    16. RHP Mitch Gueller – Again, between him and Watson, all I really know is what scouting reports show me, and seeing that they’re high on both guys, I feel like I should include him in the top 20. He’s not quite as refined as Watson, but they say he’s the better athlete, and possibly has more upside. As for now though, he has just a solid fastball, with improving secondary offerings, very high upside though.

    17. RF Kelly Dugan – I personally feel Dugan’s a bit underrated, yes he has his flaws, but the guy knows how to take a walk, has pretty decent plate discipline, and surprising pop. He’s not the best outfielder in the world, but does have a pretty good arm. Now that he’s gave up switch hitting, I think he can really consolidate his focus, and will be better for it. The strikeouts worry me a bit, but as long as he can take walks like he has in his short career, he should be fine. Needs to move through the system quicker though.

    18. RHP Phillippe Aumont – One of my personal favorites, Aumont has hands down, the best stuff in the system, with a filthy sinking fastball the can get up to 98-99, while sitting at 95. And a plus plus curveball that has huge strikeout potential. Aumont’s problem has been and always will be command, he can either make hitters look silly, or embarass himself by walking the bases loaded. I fear Aumont will always be an enigma, but I still hold out hope that he can put it all together and become a devastating late inning arm. Should get the trial by fire in Philly this year.

    19. RF Jose Pujols – This is another guy I don’t know much about, other than vague scouting reports and a short video of him tracking down balls and firing home, and taking some BP. Pujols looks to have a cannon arm, and a wiry frame that could possibly add muscle and power. I also really like his swing, short and compact and creates great loft without too much uppercut. Complete lottery ticket being so far away, but is pretty much Domingo Santana 2.0, they even look and have scouting reports that are eerily similar.

    20. LHP Jake Diekman – This one might be a bit controversial to some too, but I really like Diekman, with his fastball velocity and filthy sidearm delivery, he’s an absolute nightmare for lefties, and while he was hit around a bit in the majors, and struggled with command, I still have faith that he can be a very effective late inning guy, mostly used as a LOOGY, but able to handle an entire inning if needed as well. I have a good feeling about Diek and I think he’ll be a fixture in the pen for a while.

    21. C Sebastian Valle – Valle’s stock has fallen a lot in a year, and while I was never a huge believer in Valle to start with because of his atrocious walk rate, scouting reports about Valle’s defense, and his pop should get him some time in the majors, but I can’t see him any more as a full time starter, his free swinging mentality will be exposed in the majors. He’s still very young and in AAA, so it’s still possible he learns to be more patient and work the count, but the odds aren’t on his side in my opinion, especially with Joseph, and the other catchers in the system nipping at his heels.

    22. RHP Justin De Fratus – De Fratus has a live arm, with a fastball that can touch 96, but sits in the 93-94 range, and nasty slider, he’s the ideal 7th/8th inning guy. The signing of Mike Adams makes me wonder about De Fratus’ spot on the 25 man, but live arms like his don’t grow on trees, and I think if he doesn’t start in the majors, he’ll see time there soon if he’s tearing it up in AAA. I’d love to see the Brad Lidge comps come to fruition.

    23. OF Dylan Cozens – Cozens put up impressive numbers in the GCL, and while there are questions about his makeup, I like his bat and his athleticism. The Phillies seem to think he has really raw power as well. He put on quite a show at the Bank when the Phils worked him out. Him and LGJ compare favorably, although Greene was in the tougher league, I still like Cozens and am excited to see how he progresses next year.

    24. RHP Kenny Giles – Best fastball in the system, and an improving slider, Giles runs it up to triple digits, apparently without going full out either, from what I’ve seen, his mechanics are fairly solid, and he doesn’t look like he puts a lot of strain on the arm, really uses his legs to generate velocity, kind of reminds of Joe Blanton strangely enough from the stretch. Quick riser through the system, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a jump to AA if there was a spot available.

    25. 3B Mitch Walding – Although he didn’t have the year he, or any of us were expecting, the guy still oozes with athleticism, and he has a lot of tools to dream on. He was fairly raw when drafted, and is still learning to man 3B, but I like his bat, and athletes can turn it around quicker than players that aren’t athletic. I have faith for now, it’s way too early too give up on him, but another year like 2012, and he’ll be dropping down the list.

    26. RHP Kevin Brady – That K/BB ratio alone warrants this guy a spot in the top 30, freaking fantastic no matter what league you’re in. Brady’s a college guy, so he’s probably overmatching some of the younger guys in his league, but this guy could rise through the system pretty fast, as he’s already a fairly polished pitcher. Would rank him higher but I feel he’ll be a reliever, and is farther away than any of the other relievers in the system.

    27. LHP Franklyn Vargas – While we don’t have much on this guy, a LH that can throw in the mid 90′s is a nice luxury to have. Small sample size to go on but I love that K/9, and he apparently has a free and easy delivery. Unclear how the Phillies are planning on using him, but if he’s a starter, by this time next year, he could be even higher. Check back in 2014.

    28. RHP Tyler Cloyd – Cloyd is one of those guys who seems to outperform his peripherals, always has a nice ERA, but his FIP and xFIP don’t really see it that way. He does have a very good BB rate, but also a pretty poor K rate. He doesn’t have good velocity either, and relies on movement and trickery to get outs. I admire the hell out of the guy for making it to the majors with a somewhat lacking arsenal, but I fear he’ll be exposed when teams start to really get to see him. He has a solid K/BB ratio, and he keeps the ball in the ball park (0.7 HR/9 in 632 2/3 professional IP) though so he has that going for him. Will have to constantly prove himself.

    29. OF Brian Pointer – Pointer’s got one of the smoothest swings in the system, and after tearing it up early in his career, he’s struggled as of late. He’s still young, and has time to figure it out, and having success early on, hopefully he can get back to that. Still like his athletic ability, and hoping he can put it all together.

    30. RHP Brody Colvin – Still gotta show Brody some love, we all know 2012 was a horrible year for him, I don’t think anyone would argue that, but there was a lot of bad luck in Colvin’s season as well. He’s had his mechanics tinkered with, and been sent up and down the minor league ladder, but this guy still has big league stuff, and a good pedigree. The Phillies are probably getting a little antsy after doling out a huge signing bonus for Colvin, but their’s still hope because he’s fairly young. I see 2013 as his last chance to start, and if that doesn’t work out, I think he will be either converted to a reliever permanently, or released. Make or break year for Brody.

    I’m more of an upside over proximity kind of guy, so I think my list kind of reflects that.

    Thanks for reading!

    1. After I put together a a little spreadsheet of my own, trying to objectively rate these guys, I came up with some surprises in my top 30:

      I have Lino ahead of Rupp, at #22, which I think is way different than most.

      I have Bielski in the Top 30, who I had never heard of before I started.

      I’m probably lower on Dugan than most, who I have near the end of the top 30.

      1. I’d be interested in the criteria for your objective evaluations. What do you know about Bielski? Jake Kaplan calls him a power arm but he is not as tall as most power arms. He also had a pretty unimpressive debut, and he wasn’t a particularly high draft pick. I am not criticizing your placement of him but I am wondering if you know something we don’t.

        1. Bielski went to Servite HS in Ca. A private school, very nice, very kind and gentle. He was the number two guy there behind a lefty, who I will not name, who is considered soft by a lot of fellow guys out here. So to put him at 30 might be a stretch although Bielski is young.

        2. I just used Matt’s last write-ups by position, and it sounded like he had a big arm and could stick as a starter. I definitely don’t know anything the rest of you don’t; I never even heard of him until I went through the low minor pitching post.

      2. Other than the Bielski ranking, I agree with you. I wouldn’t rank Bielski yet, because they used him exclusively as a Bullpen pitcher and didn’t give him multiple innings. That leads me to believe they have at least 5 HS or Latin pitchers that age better than him. If he would have gotten some starts, I could go along.
        Like you, I have Lino ahead of Rupp, and Kelly Dugan at the end of my top 30.

        1. There is a grown man squatting joke in there somewhere, but i will let it go.

  3. A few months ago my list looked entirely different and I had Adam Morgan at No. 5, had no problem putting him at No. 3 tonight. I remember charting one of his starts against State College two years ago and he topped out at 94 but only hit 90 on two other pitches. While I liked the command and the mound presence and especially the change-up, I just didn’t think it’d play up on higher levels if he was barely hitting 90. Now that he’s sitting low-90s, coupled with the success at two stops last year, I think he’s become a pitcher who has forced you to pay attention. He’s less than a hit per inning in his career and a pretty much 1.0 WHIP guy. I know he won’t continue to be a 10 Ks/9 guy, but he’s shown the ability to miss bats. Quality guy to have at No. 3 on my list.

    1. Mitch, I really appreciate you posting your thoughts and info on this site. You are a great resource!

      I rank Pettibone ahead of Morgan. They essentially had the same FIP in equally small sample sizes at the end of last year, but Pettibone was in AAA and Morgan was in AA. Morgan has better strikeout rates on the whole, but it was not all that much better for him in AA (7.3/9). Pettibone is younger. Pettibone has had better walk rates at comparable levels (though there are sample size issues here, and his walk rate in AAA was poor). They throw equally hard. It is close but I prefer Pettibone.

      1. I can’t argue that at all, BP. Five months ago when we did the media rankings of the Phillies’ system, I had Pettibone at No. 2 on my top 15 list and Quinn around 10. Studying the reports and the numbers more, that’s how much things change. Five months from now everything could change again. The different perspectives it what makes this so enjoyable.

  4. ToJo for me again. Proximity- check. Positive scouting reports- another check. Age appropriate- double check. Good positional value- Triple check. He’s got all the checks you could want in a prospect.

    1. I’m with you on this one. I also like Morgan, just not as high on him as Joseph. FTR, I had Joseph #2, Quinn #3 and Morgan #4.

    2. I think we are perhaps underrating ToJo a bit because he is not “our prospect”. If we had drafted him, we would all know far more about him. As a 20 and 21 yr old he had a wRC+ of 93 and 107 in AA. He has some pop. He does not have a history of striking out too much, though it was a problem in Reading. He is a catcher who can apparently stay behind the plate. I think this guy is great.

      One point if comparison, when D’Arnaud was 21 he had a wRC+ of 107, but in A+. He had an absolute monster year the next year in AA, and I’m not saying ToJo will do the same, but at the same age, ToJo compared favorably to Travis.

      1. “But as of now, what do you see as being so positive about his 2012 hitting results”

        Compare Joseph’s bat to Mitch Walding and Tommy Joseph looks better than Buster Posey.

    3. Well, the big check he doesn’t get from me is actual positive hitting results. He was very young for AA, but his bat was, at best, only average among the AAers. That just doesn’t scream #3 prospect to me, although he may stand out in 2013 when he repeats AA. But as of now, what do you see as being so positive about his 2012 hitting results, or doesn’t that matter to your grading?

      1. It matters, but a .715 OPS (.747 in Reading) is not at all bad for a 21 yo catcher in AA. As I said in an earlier thread, out of all qualifying catchers, only 1 guy in all 3 of the AA leagues had a better OPS than Joseph and he was 3 or 4 years older. He might not have torn the cover off the ball, but he definitely held his own. Compared to other top catching prospects, Joseph’s stats also hold their own against all but the most upper tier guys.

        1. Sebastian Valle had an OPS of .716 in AA in 329 plate appearances. I suppose he does not qualify for the AA leader. Defensively Valle is supposedly better than Joseph with no talk of not sticking at catcher, which I hold against Joseph for now. But Joseph is younger than Valle, so I agree he is a slightly better prospect. I rank Joseph #6 and Valle #9, both behind Franco, Pettibone, Morgan, and of course everybody’s top 2 and my #1, Ruf.

          1. Actually I actually have Joseph #7 just behind Quinn, so I should have written behind … everybody’s #1, Biddle.

          2. Fair, but I think Valle’s lack of plate discipline will be his undoing in the majors. More advanced stats than OPS weigh OBP more than slugging, which would indicate that Joseph was a better offensive player. And to me the age difference is a big deal. I’ve got Valle around 20th on my list.

  5. Thought about going with Roman Quinn again for #3, he deserves it. Instead I went with Franco as I see him as more valuable than Morgan (tons of pitchers) and I see him having a huge year next year. Mark my words. Franco will have a breakout year in 2013. Also thought about Tommy Joseph but I need to see that power return.

      1. “Plus Morgan kind of came out of nowhere last year.”

        Unlike Roman Quinn who has been tearing it up in full season leagues for years.

    1. Quinn got #2 right?
      I am so surprised people are voting for Franco already. I definitely agree he will have a breakout year, but it looks like he may only end being a 1B. He has no speed at all. Does that matter at 3B? You really want someone at 3B like Pablo Sandoval? Giants already moved him to 1B I think.

      1. You don’t have to move real far to field balls at 3B. Quickness is more important, so I don’t think his speed should hurt him much there. Most scouts seem to think he could be an above average 3B.

      2. Franco’s supposed to have a plus arm at third. I also don’t remember seeing anything about a limited range.

    1. I think Matt accidentally left Roman Quinn on the poll who should have been replaced by Gillies but he accidentally knocked Ruf off to accomplish that?

    2. I have gotten so used to writing out the Top 10 that I wrote Quinn in automatically and I had the right number when I checked so Ruf never made it into one of the slots, the problem has been fixed but it unfortunately reset the poll.

      1. Uh oh….Morgan was in the lead I believe. I hope all those that voted for him earlier come back and place their vote again!

  6. Joseph here…but thinking I have Franco and Morgan to low..I love doubting myself…luckily will only happen 27 more times….3 Joseph 4 Martin 5 Franco 6 Morgan

  7. One big problem with the appreciation of Franco : he is a “slug” on the bases. On the 20-80 scale Re: running, he earned a complete “20.
    Now, if you keep hitting the ball out of the park, nobody would notice. Since that ain’t gonna happen, we should note this negativity.

    I’ve moved Joseph down on my list since, until he actually lives up to his billing, he gets an “incomplete.” Both Gillies and Asche beat him out, for me.

    1. Hopefully someday, Franco’s future numbers in the majors comes somewhat close to another ‘slug’ in baseball, Cabrera from the Tigers.

      1. Miguel Cabrera is 6′ 4″ 240 lb

        At age 19 he played in the Florida State League (Clearwater’s league).
        .754 OPS (with 43 doubles in a harder to hit HR league than the Sally).

        Unlike The smaller Franco who is a Dominican, Cabrera hails from Venezuela. Players from Hugo’s country are believed to be their stated age.

  8. Tommy Joseph. I believe, many are not giving enough significance to the fact that Joseph played the most difficult position on the field, at age 20, while in Double A ball. At age 20, Travis D’arnaud, was in low class A, Lakewood. At age 20, Sebastian Valle was in high A, Clearwater. Tommy Joseph’s numbers are comparable to both players at age 20, except he was playing at the higher level.

    I think the fact that Tommy Joseph is playing the most difficult position (catcher) almost two (2) years/levels ahead of his peers, while more than holding his own, is enough to justify #3.
    Tommy Joseph, Adam Morgan then M Franco.

    1. I have no problem with your argument. He’s young. He plays a premier position and he has hitting skills. I have him rated above Quinn but I also had to cut him down a notch for the time he spent with the Phils last year. He gets traded to Reading, which is a hitters park, and he has hitting trouble. Then he goes to AFL and he continues to have trouble. Maybe he was tired. Maybe he got discombobulated. For now, he’s looking like a #4 or #5. A good year in AA with a finish in AAA, could launch him to #1 or #2. but other guys on the list will have a say in the matter. Plus we’ll have a high draft choice this year and he might take a top #5 spot. I personally downgrade the short-season guys but others voting here don’t.

      1. Tough crowd. So at an age where his peers are either Sophomores in college or playing in the SALLY, this guy is in Double A, throwing out 40% of SB attempts and hitting (OPS) over 700, as a catcher… and that still isn’t good enough.

      2. He did have some trouble in AFL, but he also had the flu right in the middle of the season. Hard to ding a guy for a slow start and then being on the sidelines for a week and a half or whatever it turned out to be and then not immeduiately turning it back on after being out.

        I said yesterday the one thing about Joseph’s time in Reading – he’s a catcher learning a new pitching staff on the fly. Catchers who have never done that before (i.e. never been traded before), might have a little bit of a hard time adjusting. I don’t know if this is the case, but either way, it seems like a really difficult thing to do. I would not be surprised if it led him to not focus as much on his hitting.

      3. ToJo had a wRC+ of 107 in Reading. That means he was 7% better than the average hitter in the Eastern League. I don’t think he had any hitting problems. He was also 21 and a catcher. He is a very valuable prospect.

        1. 7% better than the average EL hitter is not a huge vote of confidence for a guy to be our #3 prospect, although I know you have to adjust for age. Most of the hitters in the EL will never get even a cup of coffee in the major leagues and just a small percentage will become major league starting position players. Your wRC+ confirms my impression that he was about average with the bat among EL players.

  9. Tommy Joseph gets my vote here, mainly because his value was established in the Pence trade. As a catcher he rates high in positional value and I think he handled switching orgs as well as could be expected. Nothing about his season threw up red flags or diminished his value, despite his slow finish with the bat. Catchers have a lot of work to do in learning a new pitching staff and I think he’ll have an easier time focusing on hitting going forward.

    1. Oh hey – I should have kept reading…you made the same point I made five hour before I did.

      +1 to you for being awake a 4am.

      1. I was up at 4 am because I have a 3 week old son who clearly has the most upside of any prospect here. His big issue is proximity. Plus, like Valle, he can’t walk yet. Oh, and he would need a diaper change by the 7th inning. Still, if we can add him to the poll, he’s my #1.

        Otherwise, lets add Larry Greene, Jr.

        1. “Plus, like Valle, he can’t walk yet.”

          Your “yet” assumes too much about one of them. Hint: it’s not your son.

        2. I’m afraid you’re giving Ruben ideas of acquiring Vernon Wells for “a first born to be named later”.

  10. Went Morgan at no.2 so he again gets my vote.

    I don’t necessarily have any issue with Quinn at no. 2 since he would have landed at 4 or 5 on my list anyway. I do think it’s a bit of a stretch though and I’m not particularly fond of the argument that he’s the only guy in the system with an 80 tool. Anyway, with a no. 2 rank comes lofty expectations – I’m hoping for at least .280 avg, .350 ops and 45 steals in his first full season

    1. If he has a healthy season, he will easily pass 45 steals. Mike Newman over at fangraphs things he’ll be the next minor leaguer to swipe 100

    2. “I’m hoping for at least .280 avg, .350 ops”

      You want a .350 OPS from Roman Quinn? He might even slightly exceed your expectations.

  11. I won’t mind admitting I am wrong if and when the time comes but I’m not buying the Joseph hype. He is 12 on my list. The same thing many of you kill Valle for is also prevalent in Josephs game. And I’m not buying age/level.

    Your hit tool is your hit tool and a special offensive player will be able to demonstrate that almost from day 1.

    1. His 2010-2011 seasons were very good for a catcher at his age, (which I know you aren’t buying, but still). An OPS+ of 100 in 2011 in high A for a 19/20 yr old – that’s league average OPS, not adjusted for position, in a league where the average age was probably around 22. That’s big.

      1. My philosophy on catcher may be different than most. For instance I would not allow Posey or Mauer to catch anymore. When you are special offensively there is too much at risk to have them behind the plate.

        For me the ideal catcher is a fiery guy that calls a good game, controls the running game and gives my pitcher confidence he can block any ball in the dirt. He’ll grind out his AB’s and give me .250-.260 with some pop.

        That might very well be Joseph. I just don’t value it in the top 5. At 12 I think I leave him a lot of room to move the needle in Reading this year.

    2. People criticize Valle for his inability to take a walk. In AA Valle had a BB/9 of 3.3%. ToJo had a BB/9 of 7.7%. I don’t think that Valle and ToJo are comparable.

      I must say that your description below of an ideal catcher sounds very much like Joseph.

      1. “I must say that your description below of an ideal catcher sounds very much like Joseph.”

        Except for the blocking balls in the dirt. This is a big deal for a catcher and hopefully ToJo can improve it or his value takes a serious hit.

    3. When I think about Joseph, David Ross comes to mind. That might not be a fair comp, but it’s representative of my expectations for him – a very good backup or a mediocre starter.

      I agree that I’m not thrilled about his hit tool. He looks like a contributor but not a star.

      1. The Ross comp is an interesting one. Joseph of course advanced much more quickly through the minors, and also seems to have significantly better contact skills. OTOH it remains to be seen if he can match Ross in other respects. Still, given age/level, while it’s not a bad comp by any means, I’d say Joseph’s ceiling is higher.

        But assume for a moment that Joseph essentially turns into David Ross. One thing about Ross – and maybe there is an obvious answer here that I am unaware of as I haven’t followed Ross that closely – looking at his performance, the question is this: why hasn’t he had more of a chance to be a regular? Given a full time job, that’s a league average catcher. No, actually, Ross, on a per PA basis, is a BETTER than average major league catcher.

        The only thing I can think of is that maybe Ross is a worse defensive catcher than the metrics suggest (catching metrics are notoriously inaccurate). But his reputation is consistent with the metrics. In fact, if anything, his defensive reputation is better than the metrics (and the metrics miss entirely his excellence at framing pitches).

        1. Ross is a bit of a puzzle. The Reds were hesitant to cut him loose and for whatever reason, he went to Atlanta as a free agent where McCann blocked him. Could be a personal/physical preference for a lighter playing load? All I can do is speculate as he’s clearly no worse than an average starter.

    4. DMAR, the short answer is that he HAS demonstrated his hit tool. Obviously there is still a gap between his performance and scouting reports, but, especially considering age/level and his position, his hitting has been fine.

      I haven’t been commenting lately on this site, but I really want to say that I think that many of Joseph’s advocates, let alone his critics, have been selling his performance – as opposed to potential – short. One critic wants him to hit 30 HR in Reading next year to prove that he has some pop! That’s an absurd expectation. At his age/position, and given his other skills, if he hit 30 HR he would be one of the top 5 prospects in baseball. Heck, 20 HR in Reading (and at least maintaining his performance otherwise, and bringing his K rate back down to his career norms) would make him a top 50 prospect in baseball.

      Let’s break Joseph’s hitting performance down:

      (1) He is making consistent strides forward in plate discipline. Still room for growth, but last season’s 7.6% BB rate was decent and a career high. Unlike (for example) Valle, the trend line is in the right direction. (And to compare him with Valle in this regard is silly – his BB rate in 2012 was more than double Valle’s rate).

      (2) For a guy who has some pop – and is projected to have more – his contact rate has been fine – except for 114 PA in Reading. We’ll talk more about Reading in a minute.

      (3) People act like his power is all scouting projection at this point, but (a) you can’t throw out 22 HR and a .198 ISO in high A as a 20 year old in 2011, and (b) last year was a little better in that regard than acknowledged – one factor not mentioned is that the bulk of his PA occurred in a poor hitting environment (Richmond). Of course Reading is the opposite, but his power did tick up in Reading. Maybe not as much as people hoped (but see below), but a .170 ISO is pretty darn good. Not as a final destination, but he did show some pop in Reading.

      (4) Putting it all together, using wRC+, he was roughly an average hitter for his league in 2012. For a 21 year old catcher in AA, that’s excellent.

      Now, Reading. His BB rate was fine; as stated, his ISO ticked up. The one black mark was his K rate, which spiked. Here’s where I admit to a lack of certain knowledge – I seem to recall that the Phillies were tinkering with his swing, which could explain the spike in his K rate. But even if this is not the case, I’m not inclined to put much weight on such a small sample size. His K rate in Richmond was fine.

      There are no sure things with prospects. But of the Philies position players in the upper minors, he seems to have, at the same time, the highest ceiling and quite possibly even the highest floor (Asche gives him a run for the money there). In terms of proximity, he’s behind only Ruf. I think he is an easy choice for #3.

      Things get tougher starting with #4, with a group of 4 or 5 prospects all having decent arguments.

      1. Its good to hear from you Larry. I’ll defer on Joseph to those that know better. I just feel top 5 is a little aggressive for him.

      2. Larry, Why you say only Ruf is ahead of Joseph In terms of proximity? What about DeFratus, Aumont, Pettibone, Cloyd, Hernanez, and Valle? All are older than Joseph and all played in Philly or Lehigh Valley. Valle is better defensively than Joseph, which may be the first thing the Phillies would look for in calling up a catcher. Also, what about Martin, Morgan, Asche, and Gillies? All of those AA players are older than Joseph and are likely to reach MLB and even AAA ahead of Joseph.

        1. It is not as large a gap defensively between Valle and Joseph as you are making it seem. Valle is a better reciever (especially at blocking the ball in the dirt), but Joseph shuts down the running game much better than Valle. I don’t know about Valle’s game calling but Joseph has drawn great reviews from pitchers he has worked with. Larry was comparing him to position players. Hernandez does not profile as a regular, Asche is probably the same distance as Joseph (less AA experience), Gillies has injury problems, and Valle will be utterly exposed at the plate if he can’t learn to not swing.

          1. Since our top three starters throw in the dirt, you have glossed over a very important point. Much more important than the few % points that Joseph threw out runners. When is he going to hit. Rupp is comparable.

      3. Jimmy Rollins at Reading at age 20:

        .273 BA 11 HR .740 OPS

        Tommy Joseph age 21 same league:

        .257 BA 11 HR .715 OPS

        Rollins went to AAA the following year and posted a .798 OPS and got a call up in September. We need to see something from Joseph’s bat this year. He’ll be repeating AA unless Amaro gives Valle away to the Astros for 100 pounds of hot dogs.

  12. Voted for Morgan again under the assumption the gains in his velocity will be sustained.

    I’m on the fence with Joseph. He’s young, but he’s not that young for a good prospect in AA. If he was born three weeks earlier, he’d be listed as 21 on baseball-reference. He’s basically 6-9 months younger than your typical high end prospect. He finished 78th in the EL in OPS, one spot behind Valle. I think there’s enough questions where he’s behind Biddle, Quinn, and Morgan, but enough positives where he’s ahead of everyone else.

  13. I’m going with Ruf in this spot. There are plausible scenarios in which Ruf hits 30 bombs for the big club this season. I think putting Revere in center allows Ruf to continue the glorious left field legacy of Burrell/Ibanez. He didn’t follow the typical trajectory of a great prospect – but what he is now is a guy with a reasonable chance of being an impact player in the major leagues. His success in his short stint last year tells me that it is possible, if not probable. At some point, a guy who can mash is just a guy who can mash, regardless of his age, draft position, etc.

      1. If he is allowed to be the regular LF this season, I think it quite plausible that he hits 30 HR this year. The question is, will it be a Dave Kingman type approach with low BA or will he have a decent BA. The power most definitely is there.

        1. Agreed. I’m not even too worried about the BA. My biggest fear is that he’s so bad in LF that he gives most of his value back with his poor fielding.

        2. I think the plausible scenarios where Ruf gets enough PA to hit 30HR in 2013 all involve long DL stints for other players. He’ll possibly platoon in LF with Nix or Brown, depending where they decide to play Brown, (I imagine it’s RF). If he’s in a true platoon for 2 months, and he then somehow gets more regular time, he’s probably not going to get past 450 PA. And no matter if he’s in a platoon or not, he’ll miss some PAs at the end of close games when he’s (very likely) replaced for defense. Personally, I will be a little surprised if he sees even 350 PA.

          Cholly likes power, so there could be some concessions made if he feels they need the pop in the lineup. I guess that’s plausible, too. Aside from that, I can’t see a way Ruf plays his way into a starting role out of spring training, unless he lost a bunch of weight and got way faster.

          Now, if Ruf hits 30 HR in less than 450 PA, I will happily admit I was wrong. However, I will always maintain that anyone who was right was just lucky guessing. So there.

          1. Let’s say Ruf hits 8 HR in spring training with a fairly high BA/OBP (plausible) and his potential platoon partner Laynce Nix struggles but not quite enough to get the ax (plausible). And let’s say Mayberry and Brown are unimpressive and slotted for a straight platoon (plausible).

            In that case, you’re looking at Ruf coming into the season as the highest regarded corner OFer by Charlie. If he doesn’t backslide in April, then he’ll have an opportunity to build his share of playing time with each good game. He could, plausibly, be close to an everyday player by mid-May. Which might amount to 550 PA.

            It’s…plausible. Not likely, but plausible.

            Maybe we should be using a different word.

            1. Your scenario sounds similar to my second graph…it’s essentially tied to Ruf being better than his teammates in the spring. Could happen, I suppose.

            2. +1. In addition, I think Ruf is a better hitter than Mayberry or even Nix against righties. if Ruf has a good spring and makes the team then I think Nix is more likely to be defensive replacement/pinch hitter than a platoon starter. I can see Mayberry starting once or twice a week against lefties instead of either Brown or Howard (with Ruf playing 1B).

          2. “side from that, I can’t see a way Ruf plays his way into a starting role out of spring training”

            Darin Ruf is the Phillies starting left fielder. LF is his job to lose.

            1. Rube was just talking about platoons like two days ago. If we were talking about hitting only, and Ruf didn’t have to field LF, I would agree with you that it’s his to lose. It’s not.

        3. I’m skeptical of Ruf’s chances of being a major league regular, but nothing about his minor league numbers suggests he’s likely to turn into Dave Kingman. He doesn’t have tape-measure power and he doesn’t strike out a ton. His career BA is .305 and his career OBP is .386. I think the likely concern is that the power, a far more recent development, deserts him.

  14. I agree with you aluden! If that would happen,(and there is a very decent chance) he could be rookie of the year,how foolish would we look, if his pre-season ranking wouldn’ even be in the top three?

    Now of course it may not happen,but the ones ranked ahead of him,those projections may not happen either!

    1. If Ruf’s ceiling is Matt Holiday, he has to be in the top 5 and it is shaping up that way so we are good.

      1. Matt Holliday stole double digit bases for ten years in a row if you count MiLB and MLB, (and 28 in his 28 yr old season in the bigs). Ruf has stolen 7 in 4 years. That’s just part of the reason I don’t buy that comp at all.

        1. Agreed – he doesn’t have Holliday’s athleticism, speed or fielding ability. A better statistical comp – if all goes very well – may be our old friend, Pat Burrell.

            1. See, this is where I get my rep as a Ruf skeptic. Burrell is almost as silly a comp as Holliday.

              The simple fact is that THERE ARE NO good comps for Ruf. I am not rejecting the chance that he will succeed, but if he were to do so, he would indeed be something fairly unique in major league history. Which is possible. It does happen. As his advocates have pointed out (albeit in somewhat exaggerated terms) he ALREADY has done something fairly unique.

              And the comps that do exist tend to be first basemen rather than outfielders. Burrell – even setting aside the obvious fact that he had 1700 major league PA at Ruf’s age – was more athletic – yes, Pat Burrell – and had better plate discipline (how much better remains to be seen, but even assuming Ruf’s AA BB rate translates fully to the majors – a dubious assumption IMO – Burrell’s was much better).

            2. Okay, Larry, I hear you. I didn’t say he was Pat Burrell or that he had Burrell’s history or pedigree – he has none of those things. What I was trying to say (I probably did not say it all that well), is that, if Ruf achieves his full potential, what you are looking at is a guy who has very good power, decent plate discipline, an ok hit tool and who will be a horribly slow and negative fielder. In essence, I think if he achieves his full potential, a really fine Ruf season could look something like an average Burrell season – a 2-4 WAR season with quite good offense offset to a large degree by really bad defense. I actually believe this to be so, but frankly, I doubt, even if he does fine, that Ruf will get enough plate appearances for this to happen.

            3. I’m not trying to be mean here – sorry if the tone came off that way. Even on your grounds – i.e., what a “prime” year might look like, setting aside different career paths – I guess I disagree with you in two respects, one strongly and one tentatively. (With a caveat at the bottom which may make our “bottom line” closer than one might think.) The tentative one – maybe I’m wrong on this one, I hope so – in his prime Burrell was actually a decent player defensively. I’m thinking 2002-2005 (relying upon memory and defensive metrics). His early and late career very poor performances in the field tend to obscure that. I have my doubts that Ruf can even match that – he looks to me more likely to be the kind of fielder Burrell is better remembered for – his early/late career ineptness. I could be wrong about that and hope that I am.

              Where I feel I am on stronger ground is his BB rate, where there is a difference between decent plate discipline and very good plate discipline. So in that sense, I think Ruf’s upside offensively is lower than Burrell’s (otherwise the comp – as an UPSIDE for Ruf, but you know that if some other’s don’t – is probably not as bad as “silly” would suggest).

              The caveat – which makes us maybe closer than one would think at first glance – albeit, I still think a Burrell comp is not the best way to express it – is offensive context. Ruf hitting .255/.340/.500 (a typical Burrell season in his prime, minus about .020 points of OBP to reflect a lower Bb rate) would actually be pretty valuable. That is to say, on a VALUE basis, considering context, you might be correct. As an upside,w hich, as you say, he might not have a chance to exhibit. (On that point, I amyu actually be more optiomistic than you are – I think he gets a good shot at a full time job in 2013.)

            4. This is a good discussion. Your point about Burrell’s plate discipline is well taken – Burrell really had excellent plate discipline which enhanced his value. I think Ruf’s plate discipline is between average and above average but not any more than that. On the fielding, Burrell had a couple of years – early/mid portion of his career – where he was close to average (assuming 0 dWAR is “average”), other than that, from early in his career through the end, he was often between a negative 1 and 2 dWAR. It’s scary to think but I do believe he was generally a better fielder than Ruf is expected to be – not a plus for Darin.

            5. Burrell was a better minor lg hitter except thr last hopefully year. That was when Burrell hit hard to all fields. Before he became a pull everything and make hinself open to the low outside breaking ball that made him avg instead of great.

          1. I think Ruf could have better more power than Burrell, but almost certainly a lower OBP. I think Ruf could be closer to Howard of 2010-2012 then to Burrell.

      2. Ruf is nowhere close to Matt Holliday. Holliday played his first full MLB season at age 24. When Ruf was 24 he was playing in Clearwater.

        Dissuade yourself of the notion that Darin Ruf is anything like Matt Holliday. I think the best case for Ruf would be a player like Brian Daubach.

        1. “…player like Brian Daubach”
          Not bad. Decent comp, except was LH batter, which gave him a greater opportunity to get close to full-time abs. Even with that advantage over Ruf, Daubach was only good for 3 years.

    2. Bob Hamelin was a 26 year old ROY and finished his career with 1.9 WAR (BRef). Just saying, I won’t feel foolish at all if he wins ROY. I will still assume he’s a couple years from his decline. That’s a big part of the equation for me on Ruf. His career could be a platoon LF for 4 or 5 years and a 1B/DH a couple years thereafter. Is that really more valuable and rare than, say, Pettibone, who could quite easily be a 4-5 starter for the team for 7 years or longer if they extend him? I say not.

      1. I think your assessment is fair. I see Ruf’s ceiling as Kevin Mench type. If Ruf makes it, he could have a 6-7 year career, with the 1-2 years being close to a 2 WAR player and the rest being a less than 1 WAR player due to defensive liability. Even Mench made it to the Major leagues by 24. He was at his MLB peak at age 26-27 and on the downside after.
        If Pettibone becomes a decent #4-5 starter, that easily provides more value.

  15. Quinn at 2 was easy, I’ve got Morgan at 3. Morgan and Ruf are the two guys that advanced the most in 2012. I’ve heard RAJ mention Morgan’s name several times when naming pitchers that have impressed him and who are close. I’ve had Pettibone in my top 5 for 3 years now and I’ll keep him there but I moved Morgan ahead of him due to what I think is a slightly higher upside. I think both could pitch in Philly this year before its over.

  16. It’s interesting that I’m held up as the prime example of Ruf skepticism. I think I’ve actually been more positive that most with regard to him. Certainly true with regard to his hitting. I’ve just been very vocal as to disagreeing with some of his more extreme advocates.

    The fact that the team hasn’t signed an impact corner outfielder – IMO a mistake, but that ship has sailed, for this season anyway – indicates to me an intention to give Ruf a shot at a full time job. If given that shot, (a) I still have serious questions about his defense, and (b) I think his BA (and BB rate to a lesser extent) is probably going to disappoint some of his biggest fans. But given 600 PA – “plausible,” though not certain – is 30 HR a reasonable expectation? Yes, it is. Not certain by any means, but certainly “plausible.”

    Does not IMO make him the team’s third best prospect, though.

    1. I think Ruf’s full season BA would be in the .250-.270 range – any more would be a big plus and a little lower would not be a surprise. He has to hit for a ton of power and have good plate discipline for him to a net positive on the team.

      1. I think that’s a pretty reasonable BA projection, if maybe just a tad more optimistic than I would project. Maybe .240 to .260?

        I guess where I differ with the “reasonable optimists” – e.g., you – is mainly a somewhat higher degree of skepticism about how well his BB rate will translate. How much of that (and his BB rate was good but not great) was plate discipline, and how much was AA pitching? I honestly do not know the answer to that. His (admittedly SSS) major league numbers sugegst some reason for caution in that regard.

        1. If Ruf struggles with righties to much, he’ll lose at bats in a platoon which will lift hs average.

    2. I agree with that assessment. I don’t know who’s been jumping on you as a skeptic. I have basically the same thoughts about Ruf as you do and no one hammers me for it. Maybe because I’m some sort of “authority figure”. SPEAK TRUTH TO “POWER” PEOPLE!

      Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ruf gets 20-25 HR in the bigs if he winds up with 5-600 PA. He’s got power, no doubt. But are even 30 HR enough to outweigh just how bad he could turn out to be on defense? I don’t know. And I don’t think looking at a guy who might wind up being replacement level or worse for a relatively short stint of his career should inspire anyone to rank him ahead of at least the next group of high-level starting pitching prospects, the couple stud relievers who are hanging on to their prospect status, and the two third base prospects, or even the couple of 18-19 y.o. power hitting outfielders and the two top picks from 2012.

      People can make their case as they will, but he’s in the lower teens on my list because of his potential value over a big league career, not how many HR he might hit in 2013-2015, (when I think his legs could be done hauling his big body all over the outfield, if he lasts that long), based on a historic month/fantastic year at AA and a hot 2 weeks in Philly.

      Damn, them’s some run-on sentences.

      1. I’m willing to pretend he’s going to be “average” on defense for now. Everything I’ve read has said he is better in the field than people assume he is. I think we all just assume he’s going to be on defense but he’s kinda slow and was a first baseman.

        1. The problem is that no one outside of the Phillies has really said he is going to be anything other than bad on defense. This isn’t really a case of advanced metrics, you look at him and average even for left seems like a pipe dream. I am encouraged by the arm but I see no scenario where he is anything more than Raul Ibanez out there (catches and hustles to everything but physically does not have the range, arm is average to a bit above and plenty for left)

          The thing to keep in mind is that just because Rever makes it more palatable to have Ruf in LF does not increase Ruf’s value because if Ruf was a plus defender there is extra value being added (Revere could position himself to cover more ground elsewhere) it is not redundant value that would exist if Ruf was a good fielder.

        2. I do agree that some (not nearly all) of the reason people are down on his defense is that he is a slow first baseman who has played very few games in the outfield, not making the transition to the outfield until late in his age 26 year. But why is that a bad assumption? It seems to me that, even apart from the other abundant evidence of questionable defense, that’s at least a good place to start. Sure he could be better than that, but let’s see some evidence that he is. I don’t see any, apart from some rather dubious puffing by the front office.

          I wonder what the record is on first basemen making a switch to corner outfield in their mid twenties? I know there have been some, but I’d be surprised if there were many sucesses, and would think that most if not all of those successes likely were with players with more athleticism. Burrell of course made the switch, but in his early 20s, and the level of success was somewhat questionable.

      2. HR are at a premium. Even with bad defense 30+ HR are valuable in today’s game. Look at Soriano and some of the other trade candidates and free agents that the Phillies passed up this off season.

        1. You’re not wrong, but realize that some of the skepticism arises from the fact that many of us worry that the defense might be very bad, not just bad. And of course there is some skepticism about the hitting as well, though as I’ve said I’m fairly bullish on his hitting (while realizing that his BA and (probably) BB are going to be significantly lower in the major leagues than in the minors).

          If he hits 30 HR but doesn’t do much else offensively, and is a terrible fielder, then he has some value but not much.

          At this point, given the (IMO unwise) decision to not sign any decent free agents, even I am in the “give him a shot” camp. Just realize that the fact that the team appears ready to do so is a sign of slippage from contending status.

  17. Darin Ruf,Okay I admit that I love power hitters,especially when they hit for decent average,and don’t strike out excessively and use all fields.(Like Ryan Howard does lately) Afterall what do we watch on espn highlights?

    And if he would get close to some of the projections on here 30 Hrs,etc. This year,how many players have done that in their rookie season,in the last five years? Ten years?(and make sure that their batting average was no less than .265!

    And also how many of the (toolsy) outfielders have panned out for the phillies in the last five years?
    None,Why? Because they can’t hit good enough!

  18. Regarding a common Ruf comp, Michael Morse, not actually a good comp IMO but one you see a lot, as I’ve said before, the hope for Ruf fans is that he is BETTER than that. I don’t think much of Morse. And the conventional wisdom seems to agree with me. For a year of team control at a reasonable salary, speculation is that he’s going to net Washington no more than a relief pitcher.

    1. Having seen a bit more of Morse than I would like over the last couple years due to my location, I would take his production out of Ruf, but yeah, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he’s better than that. However, anyone who thinks a Morse type is worth being ranked this high on a list of prospects has a different set of priorities from me, I guess.

      1. Haven’t seen Morse practically at all. But he must be a truly awful fielder if you think that a guy who has a lifetime .295 BA, has averaged 23 HRs per 162 games in his career and finished in the top 20 in the MVP voting in 2011 wouldn’t be ranked among the top prospects in our system.

        1. If I thought Ruf would be anything close to Morse, I’d take it. I don’t see it though. Morse was a SS in the minors. He had better athletic talent.

          1. Someone told me just today that seen Darin Ruf recently….looks in pretty great shape, guns are exploding. Thats an optimistic bit of news.

        2. Morse will play 2012 as a 31-yr old who has thus far had one truly productive season. He has 5.1 WAR for his career. That’s not a top prospect, IMO. 162 game averages are nice for guys who can play close to 162 games, but for a guy who’s old enough already for his body to start breaking down at any moment, he may not play another 100 game season in his career.

  19. I get the rules why Ruf is on the ballot but personally I won’t be voting him, Aumont or any of the others that were called up last season.

    In my mind they move off the ballot once they have played any amount of time in the bigs whether they stay up or not. I think the goal of each seasons pre-season top 30 is to move guys up or move them out.

    Guys like Ruf, Cloyed, DeFratus, Aumont, Rosenberg, Galvis etc… are in some weird graduate prospect apprentice category you could say…

    1. Well, none of them are established major leaguers. They’re all still developing just as the guys in the minors are, and their futures are uncertain.

          1. First suspension, minor leagues first is 50, second is 100, third is out of baseball, you can wipe the slate by putting the player on the 40 man roster and making them subject to the CBA.

            1. Since MLB is not disclosing the first time is it possible he failed a 2nd test while waiting for suspension for first failed test? Maybe still had weed in system from first test?

      1. It’s just crazy that a guy in his position would do that. He has so much riding on the next couple years, seems insane to risk it for a little weed.

  20. The more I look at the numbers the more I worry about Ruf’s ability to make consistent contact on the major league level. All small sample size caveats apply here, but I think there is a lot to Ruf’s debut to worry about. In 37 PA he struck out 12 times and only unintentionally walked once, the .400 BABIP will fall and the question is will he walk more and strike out few enough times to be effective. If he is not going to make consistent contact and strike out (which he will if he continues to try and mash everything). Ruf only had a 11% BB rate last year (his OBP was inflated by 18 HBP), with that kind of rate he is similar to 2010-2011 Howard if he can keep his K rate under Howards ~25% rate of those years (keep in mind he was over 33% in his debut). That is a 3 oWAR player at best if he can slug ~.500 and get 600+ PA. So the question is, can he repeat that and not give back most of it in the field (Burrel/Ibanez was about -2 dWAR), so best case you are looking at 1-2 WAR over a full season of PAs.

    1. You’re looking way too hard at 37 PAs as far as strikeouts. He’s been under 20% in his minor league career, including last season when the serious mashing occured.

      1. HBP is a reproducible attribute (I don’t want to say skill). Ruf was hit 11 times in ’10 and 10 times in ’11.

    2. What I saw was a guy that can hit a good fastball and a guy who can hit a slider away to right field. He’s a power hitter and they strike out a lot and I’m sure he will too but he gets his barrel on the ball way more than many of you are giving him credit for. He hit 300 every year, not just last year. This guy can hit. Whether he can field is the big issue for me. If he plays an adequate LF, I don’t think 280 and 25 dingers is unrealistic at all. If he struggles against certain tough righties then he ‘ll sit for them. RAJ’s actions certainly make it look like they don’t want to block Ruf from playing.

      1. Well said. Add to that I saw him hit one high and inside in Reading. How he barreled it had people talking in the stands.

    3. Matt, just wondering what your thoughts are on Revere, who with his great defense is still probably around a 2 WAR CF considering his offensive limitations. Which 2 WAR player would you rather have?

        1. Playing a corner OF spot. His defensive rankings in CF, while still very good are nowhere near that. For example in 2011 when most of his playing time was in CF his UZR was an 8.5. Again, very good but with his bat translated into a 2 WAR player. Baseball-reference is actually less kind and has him at a 2.4 WAR with a .5 dWAR in 2012…..playing exclusively in a corner spot.

          Again, not trying to say he’s not a good defensive player, but all of his value comes from his baserunning and defense. So I’ll ask again, which 2 WAR player would you rather have? Not a knock on Revere, just asking preference. And sorry, I forgot my name in the above post.

          1. You are right. Revere is a 2 WAR player. The difference is, Revere is young player who may get better, and stay that way longer. There is no comp for Ruf, but everybody who is close, only had 2-3 good seasons of close to 2 WAR production. Revere could have 7 years of over 2 WAR production.

            1. I get that, really wasn’t trying to make this out to be Ruf vs. Revere but rather the type of players they were. Do you take the defense guy with no bat or the bat guy with lousy defense. Between Ruf and Revere, Revere is obviously going to have more value over the long-term.

      1. Revere is going to likely give you at least 2 WAR on defense and 1-2 on offense so you are looking at a 3-4 WAR player without much stretch of the imagination. Revere’s floor is likely higher than Ruf’s ceiling based on defense alone

        1. In 2011 BR gave him a -.2 dWAR playing CF in place of the injured Span and a .5 last year playing in a corner spot. We’re probably looking at a different set of stats but you think he’ll easily get you 2 WAR on defense? And even that it’s likely?

          And just to clarify, I’m not saying Ruf will be more valuable I’m just curious to what your thinking is. Two players who could have similar WAR’s (imo anyway) do you take the guy who’s value is all in defense or the guy who’s value is all in the bat?

          1. Depends on what position he plays and how old the two players are. Catcher, SS, CF, I take the defensive player. 1b, LF, RF, I take the offensive player.

            1. Another good point VOR and I probably should have scrolled down before replying to your first one. I just find the conversation about Ruf fascinating.

        2. I find it interesting that almost all of us tend to evaluate players completely in isolation. I have a feeling that most team management groups tend to evaluate them in the context of the team that they will be playing on. A lot of people were surprised- and some disappointed- when the Phillies acquired Ben Revere. I would hypothesize that the Phillies acquired Revere specifically for his range and speed in CF because they were already anticipating Ruf or a Ruf-like defensive player at one corner OF position and a shaky (at least initially) Dom Brown at another. That was partially the strategy years ago with Garry Maddox, considering his corners (“Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox”- Ralph Kiner). I am not trying to compare Revere to Maddox, as Maddox was a truly exceptional CF and a better hitter. However, I do think that teams tend to seek complementary skill sets, rather than redundant ones. The combination of Ruf + Maddox may be better than the additive value of their WARs.

  21. Went Joseph over Franco here. Like Franco’s upside and the age/level on both of them, but had to go with the catcher this time.

  22. Franco next, he keeps winning me back with his great second halfs. At his age I think I will stay with him steady now. As much as I keep trying to disprove him he settles down and fights back.

  23. Went Morgan here and will probably go Franco and Joseph after. Morgan because of the reports of increased velocity and improved secondary offerings to go along with excellent results, Franco for his great second half, being able to make adjustments as the year goes on and sticking at 3rd, and Joseph for his improving defense and offensive potential. Though if Joseph has a breakout year with the bat I think he easily jumps both guys.

  24. A lot’s been made of Ruf’s age (26), so I did a quick Google search for 26-year-old baseball rookies. Todd Frazier was third in the 1012 NL ROY voting. Yoenis Céspedes was 2nd for 2012 AL ROY. But the best comp for Ruf might be Dan Uggla who was 3rd for the 2006 NL ROY. Like Ruf, Uggla has never played a game in AAA.

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