Reader Top 30 #4 – Tommy Joseph

Adam Morgan takes the #3 spot, Watson and Greene have both been added by request.

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

118 thoughts on “Reader Top 30 #4 – Tommy Joseph

  1. Tommy Joseph.
    Again, Tommy Joseph is playing the most difficult position (catcher) almost two (2) years/levels ahead of his peers, while more than holding his own. That is enough to justify #4.
    It was mentioned yesterday, but I have long noticed the different level of support that ‘newly traded for’ prospects get on our board. There is no way, that Joseph comes in lower than #3 prospect in this poll, if the Phillies had drafted him.
    When the Phillies had much better “top end” prospects, Travis D’arnaud was voted in as a top 4 guy. Back then, the Phillies had multiple players in the top 100. D’arnaud was a lesser player (statistically) than Tommy Joseph, when he was in the Phillies organization. He didn’t take off, until he was gone over a year, and playing in AA, at age 22. Tommy Joseph is still 21, and even if he repeats the AA level, he will be young for the level, and will most likely put up ‘great’ numbers due to familiarity, if nothing else. Not a big leap, because he put up ‘good’ numbers, for a catcher, this past year.
    Tommy Joseph then M Franco for #5.

    1. In fairness, I think the scouting reports very favorable for D’Arnaud at the time of that top 30, more so than Joseph’s now (not that his reports are bad). D’Arnaud was seen as a very good defensive catcher. There are some questions about Joseph’s defense. D’Arnaud was Baseball America’s 36th ranked prospect even before his breakout 2011 season.

      I voted for Joseph here. Since I’ve never seen him play and he’s thrown out runners at a good rate, I’m hopeful the national scouts are just behind on their evaluation. There were legitimate questions about if he could stick at catcher when we picked him though, so his overall defense is probably way behind D’Arnaud at the same age.

      Also I think D’Arnaud pre-2009 would probably be #4 this year as well so we’re probably valuing them pretty evenly.

      1. I think your not remembering correctly. The Phillies traded D’arnaud before the 2010 season. He was not a top 50 prospect yet (Check the 2010 guide). Our last fan poll, before he was traded, was before the 2009 season.

        1. I was referring to the pre-2009 ranking. The reports at the time were very positive about his defense. I guess my point was that two years later his BA pre-2011 ranking of #36 was despite his offensive numbers still not being that great for a top 50 position player.

      2. Not just us, BA had Travis D’Arnauld as Phillies #4 prospect after 2009 season. He was #7 after 2008, when he had actually had a better season, but I guess proximity helped a little after 2009.

    2. I had Joseph #2 and Franco #3. I think Franco, like Joseph, has a high ceiling, and maybe even a higher floor.

  2. Pettibone here. Joseph needs to “show me” even though I’m not from Missou, the Show Me state.

    Next, for me: Asche. Then Gilies. And then Joseph…who so far is living only on the press clippings from the “experts” who are not embaressed by his post trade numbers. Behind the hype there might exist a player with hinted-at skills…but gotta see it first.

    1. LOL. I like Pettibone too, but you announce him as your choice, without making the case for him. Just a put down of Joseph. Can’t wait for the Asche vs Franco debates.
      I can make the case for Pettibone at #4, but since Joseph hasn’t been voted in yet, and I think he is the higher ceiling prospect, I’d take Joseph everytime. Starting Catchers, that can hit, are difficult to find. Number 4-5 starters (Kendrick/Lannan), are easier to get and don’t cost much money to buy, if needed.

    2. I like your Pettibone pick. If I couldn’t still vote Ruf, I’d vote Pettibone. I’m surprised he hasn’t garnered much support yet. I like him a wee bit better than Morgan, and better than all the pitchers except Biddle. Pettibone is younger than Morgan, has better control and command than Morgan, and finished the year in AAA, a level ahead of Morgan. Baseball America, Jon Mayo, and The Reading Eagle Poll all had Pettibone ahead of Morgan. Only Sickles, of my 4 source lists, have Morgan ahead of Pettibone. Pettibone throws in the low 90’s. According to Baseball America he has the best control and the best change-up in the Phillies minor league system.

      1. Morgan being lefthanded is a bonus, and so is his better ability to strike guys out. I don’t think their 5 month age difference is very significant.

        Pettibone struck out 6.43 batters per 9 innings in Clearwater in 2011, and Morgan struck out over 10 per inning. In his promotion to Reading, Morgan struck out about a batter per inning more than Pettibone. The signs seem to point to Morgan as the higher ceiling prospect, thus he gets the higher rank, at least on this site.

      2. I think in general Pettibone looks promising but voted Morgan ahead of him as Lefties seem to be more valuable all things considered. Hyatt has the best change but he has other challenges. It seems Pettibone has been around forever but he is still young. I may have him next and probably undervalued him.

    3. Wake up, what has Gilies proven that he can get hurt, cause trouble in the system and smoke weed, wake up get ride of the Bum….

  3. Jonathon Singleton was suspended for 50 games for failing a second drug test. I wonder if he failed the first with the Phils.

    I was looking at last year’s top 5: May, Biddle, Valle, Colvin and Galvis. Galvis has graduated and May was traded. Colvin’s falling off the face of the earth. That leaves Biddle (this year’s #1) and Valle who isn’t mentioned much. Aumont, Pettibone, DeFratus, Franco and Julio Rodriguez were the next 5. Only Franco and Pettibone are listed above. Have people soured on Aumont and De Fratus or have other guys jumped ahead? Is Julio going to be in the top 30?

    1. Honestly, I forgot that Aumont was still rookie eligible.

      Because relievers have such a reduced role, they have to be extremely dominant to figure in this early. That said, I have adjusted my list and both pitchers are in my top 10.

    2. I believe that since he was in the minors it was a first failed test. If he was on the 40 man roster, he would get the first time pass.

      1. incorrect. This is Singleton’s 2nd failed test. On the 40 man he wouldn’t get tested for weed at all.

    3. Colvin is still a very good prospect. Jon Mayo at puts him the #2 prospect in the Phillies system, behind only Biddle. He still has great tools and he is only 22 this year. The Phillies showed they like him by promoting him to Reading in his age 21 season. He mostly needs work on his command. To quote Jon Mayo, “Colvin still has pure stuff and a projectable pitcher’s body that would be the envy of many a pitching prospect. His fastball is plus at times, up into the mid-90s with good sink that generates ground balls. Both his curve and his changeup have the chance to be very good secondary pitches, and he’s shown a better feel for the offspeed pitch in the past then many his age. “

      1. The rankings really haven’t been updated, Colvin was behing May (and I think at least one other person) to start the season and has slowly moved up by process of elimination. By most accounts Colvin is now a borderline Top 30 prospect, expect to see that reflected when does a true reranking.

          1. Give it a rest. They’re old rankings that haven’t been updated for the 2013 season. If you notice at the top they say 2012.

            1. Baseball America’s rankings also came out in 2012. On Jan 11, 2013 Corey Seidman on phillies-talk lists and provides the average of 3 polls, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.COM. The rankings were published in September after the 2012 minor league season ended. The accompanying article discusses the changes. Why do you not believe the article? Did Jon Mayo publish a disclaimer somewhere?

            2. Because the rankings themselves did not change except to include 2012 draftees. It was a common sense lack of change. Mayo does a pretty good job at the beginning of the year but rankings between then and the beginning of the season tend to be more clerical than analytical (removing players and moving others up or inserting player rather than a true reranking)

            3. Moving players up and down is reranking. How else do you explain this section of the article? What is reranking versus “true” reranking?

              Rising/falling stock

              Outside of the newcomers to the list discussed above, no one had more upward mobility than Red Sox shortstop prospect Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts began the year at No. 76 and is now No. 35, a jump of 41 spots. The Tigers’ Nick Castellanos isn’t far behind, jumping 40 spots from 51 to 11. Javier Baez of the Cubs (plus-38), Andrelton Simmons of the Braves (plus-32) and his organization-mate, catcher Christian Bethancourt (plus-30) round out the top five of the biggest jumpers among players who were on the Top 100 at the start of the 2012 season.

              On the flip side, there were some precipitous falls, and not just from the group that dropped off the list completely. Yankees lefty Manny Banuelos began the year as the No. 13 prospect in baseball. But after he missed nearly all of the season with injury issues, Banuelos is now down at No. 98, a drop of 85 slots.

              Some members of the preseason Top 10 took a tumble as well. Right-handers Julio Teheran and Shelby Miller were at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, when that first list came out. The Braves’ Teheran dropped 22 spots to 26 and the Cardinals’ Miller slid 15 spots to No. 20, due largely to inconsistent performances in Triple-A this year. Miller turned things around late, which kept him from sliding further than he did.

            4. Look at what has been done on the team’s individual lists, I seriously doubt Mayo doesn’t think that Adam Morgan is a Top 20 prospect or that Franco and Asche should be as low as they are, or Colvin and J-Rod where they are. There has been some movement but they are by no means updated for 2013

            5. I took your advice and looked at what has been done to the Phillies list. The comments about the top 20 players were updated to talk about the 2012 season. The players’ statistics are only from 2012. Franco moved down from 9th in the preseason 2012 top 20 to 17th in the current postseason 2012 top 20, from ahead of Pettibone, Rodriguez, Quinn, Hernandez, Walding, Gueller, Watson and Asche, to behind them. Walding went from unranked to 14th. Hernandez went from 14th to 9th. Mayo builds a case for Colvin being highly ranked prospect, “Despite a rough couple of seasons, Colvin still has pure stuff and a projectable pitcher’s body that would be the envy of many a pitching prospect. His fastball is plus at times, up into the mid-90s with good sink that generates ground balls. Both his curve and his changeup have the chance to be very good secondary pitches, and he’s shown a better feel for the offspeed pitch in the past then many his age. His command suffered during most of two full seasons with Class A Advanced Clearwater, but the Phillies saw enough to challenge him with a promotion to Double-A Reading on July 30.” I see no sources or references anywhere except for your educated guess and knowledgeable opinion with any caveats to this list. You and I may not agree with Mayo’s rankings, but all this shows me that the list was in fact truly updated.

            6. Actually Mayo updated the MLB list after the July trade deadline…perhaps clerical by adding Martin and Joseph and plugging them in the top ten. Who knows if he put a lot of analytical thought into it!

            7. I don’t understand what is so hard to get. Mayo ranks the players at the beginning of the season and only removes or adds names when trades are made. He doesn’t change the original order, at all, other than the inserts.
              He makes the analytical changes once a year! Anybody who has followed this more than one season, should be able to see this.

            8. Well that is it…the inserts…how does he know where to put them in the ranking when prospects come from other teams or the draft…dartboard! There has to be some form of analytical reasoning behind his method.

      1. Get the connection…’Friday’ the movie, Chris Tucker, south LA, Singleton’s neck of the woods. Hope he didn’t use Chris Tucker’s axiom as a justification!

    4. The Phillies failed the test with both Singleton and Santana.

      Jonathan Singleton is a STUD bat, and I never thought otherwise from the time following the reading of his scouting report by Baseball America and success in the GCL followed up by the same performance at Lakewood at such an early age.

      Horrible trade for the Phillies. Stands out in their sorry history.

      1. Looking at the 125 years the Phillies have been around in total, you are justified in calling it “sorry”.. However for the past twelve years they have been at their worst average and at their best the best team in the majors. They won their division five times in a row from 2007-2011. They had a .548 winning percentage over those twelve years.

        Sneering that a trade of a minor leaguer from 18 months ago (I agree it was not a good trade for many reasons) stands out in their sorry history both shows a lack of understanding of historical context and ignores the team’s recent run of excellence.

        It is easy to whine and be cynical, but it does not make you smart or interesting.

        1. The thing I think I dislike most about Free AEC’s posts – and yes, I realize just how self centered this is – isn’t so much the nastiness or the wrongness of at least 70% of what he writes – bad as that stuff is – but that he manages to discredit what is a partially correct argument. That is, that the team does seem to be (this year at least) too conservative regarding the free agent market.

          The simple fact is that they could spend more without seriously hurting themselves going forward. Unfortunately it looks like the Cot’s site is gone – hopefully just temporarily – but looking ahead to 2014-2015, the team is going to have a ton of money to spend on saleries. With no young guys slated to get big paydays in that time frame, a couple of older players who MAY be resigned, but if so, at a likely lower AAV than their current contracts, and a lousy FA market next off season, missing out on the free agent market this year means that the team will be well under the luxury tax threshold in 2013-2014, absent a trade for a high salaried player. Probably 2015 as well. And if they make that kind of trade, it will be MORE costly to their long term prospects than a FA signing this off seasonw would have been.

          It remains true that extra money in the owners pockets does not help the team. AEC is wrong in two respects – lack of understanding of the costs of regularly exceeding the luxury tax threshold under the current contract, and over estimating the team’s resources (well, he’s wrong in many other ways, e.g., Hamilton’s value, but that’s another issue). But the simple fact is that the team has the resources to bump up against the threshhold every year, and to exceed it somewhat every other year (the worst penalties kick in if you exceed it 2 years running).

            1. Thanks.

              Had a long elaboration on this, but it was pretty off topic, so I will save it for the next general topic.

      2. Don’t see Singleton as a better bat than Ruf, and he has played the same positions. Singleton is younger, but his future is at first base and his bat will probably be pretty average. for that position.

        1. Singleton is much younger and has the better plate discipline (Singleton drew 88 BBs to Ruf’s 65). Ruf hit for more power in a better power environment (not to mention Singleton just turned 21 and is still growing into his power). Even with Ruf’s insane year here are their 2012 AA lines:
          Ruf (26): .317/.408/.620
          Singleton (20): .284/.396/.497
          In 2011 in Clearwater so same environment:
          Ruf (25): .308/.388/.506
          Singleton (19): .284/.387/.413
          The numbers say Singleton is a better defender at 1B (range wise at least) and Ruf is a better defender in LF (their sample sizes are way too small to really judge that). Singleton has time to grow into his power, you will get his prime on the major league level, and he has another plus skill (plate discipline) that should translate to the major league level. I would say Singleton has the skills to have a Joey Votto ceiling and Ruf profiles more as Ryan Howard (and the diminished version at that).

        2. See, here’s where the age thing really matters. RIGHT NOW Ruf may be the better hitter – or roughly equal – but, while being more optimistic than Brad or Matt about Ruf, I think that Singleton’s likely to end up a better hitter, maybe by a lot. BB rate is a lot better already. He’s also faster, or, maybe more accurate, less slow. Contact skills seem roughly similar, and I think Singleton will end up with as much power. There’s just a lot more room for development for Singleton. His ceiling is certainly higher.

          And while I think that Singleton is indeed likely to end up at first base, I think that, given an opportunity to play left field, he would be a better fielder than Ruf, maybe a LOT better.

      3. You’ve got miles and miles to go before you can make this statement. Drug use and whether Santana K’s 200 + times this season may correct your vision. That’s why these kids are “prospects” because that is what they are – pure projections.

      4. .’Horrible trade for the Phillies. Stands out in their sorry history’…not really…Cubs benefitted from separate deals…Ferguson Jenkins in the 60’s and a few years later Ryne Sandberg…both HOF guys.

  4. I went for Franco here because he has the projection of a major league third baseman who can hit with power. They seem to be a decreasing population in baseball. I saw Joseph last year. I must have gone on the wrong nights — weak ground balls, one of which got through the infield. It happens, but I am sticking with Franco here.

    1. I agree with this. I’ve heard at least one poster point out that his slow start last season was at least partially attributable to a request that he work on hitting the ball the other way. His strong second half shows he has the mental fortitude to put struggles behind him. I think he’s in for a big year and might earn a promotion to Reading by season’s end (taking Asche’s spot when he moves on to LHV).

  5. I really hope this team , uses aumont and de fraus, and stutes in the eighth inning some times. We need to develop a cheap closing option. I am so jealous of how the braves, and nats. have cheap bullpens,and we dont. if we have there closer, hamilton wouldnt have been a problem. saying all that bullpen money, we could have spent it on him. who imo was the best option, even though he was lefthanded. really think in the top ten right now its morgan, then biddle. then quinn. franco. and then i am lost.

    1. There is no problem with money. The Scammies simply refuse to pay bats.

      And then they trade them away two for oner for a guy that is not a star level bat in Hunter Pence. They tried to give the Astros Sebastien Valle for a bullpen arm, but Rosario’s arm was hanging limp at the physical.

  6. Matt, not a big deal now, but when you post the polls, could you list the current order? Like list 1-3, and we vote for 4?

  7. I voted for Ethan Martin because I voted for Pettibone at #3. Martin has a big arm and was a steal for two months of Victorino. Kevin Goldstein said that he talked to a scout who evaluated the Dodgers AA staff – that was mostly dealt – before the trade deadline and Martin was the best guy. He’s had a big arm since being drafted out of high school. If he doesn’t make it as a starter due to control and command issues he’ll likely be a 8th or 9th inning bullpen piece.

    ,b>Jim Callis rates the Phillies farm system at #26. That is not due to the talent of Morgan, Biddle, Pettibone and Martin. It’s due to the lack of talent exhibited by these position players being pushed on this site and in this voting process.

    A nice mock draft and discussion of the upcoming draft here:

    Phillies need to draft three high school bats with their 1st and two 2nd round picks this June.

    Who will they be?

    1. Since you voted for Pettibone at #3 and he lost, so you can still vote for Pettibone, then why did you vote for Martin?

      1. This thing is old and brain dead. Every thread is people reposting their same arguments about the same guy they voted for in the last thread who did not win. The threads are becoming unreadable.

        Let’s start working on the upcoming MLB draft and international signings. Talking about the guys the Phillies have now isn’t going to make their farm system better and it is painfully dull.

        Jim Callis has the Phillies system at #26.

        1. ‘Every thread is people reposting their same arguments about the same guy they voted for in the last thread who did not win. The threads are becoming unreadable.’…only 26 more listed positions….come back in a few weeks.

  8. I continue to vote Ruf. I know that defensively he’s a question mark in the outfield, but he already has the credentials at first. Ruf is the first and only NCAA player at any position ever to win two gold gloves. His prospect status should not hinge on Howard’s health and tradeability. It will improve if Ruf can stay in LF.

    For those who want recent precedence for a star player who played in AA at 25, never played in AAA, and was a rookie at 26-years-old, look at Dan Uggla. Ruf made a major leap last year. He learned to hit to HR at a high frequency last year. It’s a skill and talent he proved he has and a tool he’ll always own. Ruf is like a marginal starting pitching prospect who went from throwing 91 to throwing 95, and shined in a September call-up. His prospect status needs to be re-evaluated. Home runs and bad defense may not win a lot of games by themselves, but teams pay a lot for HR hitters because they make the team’s whole line-up better.

    1. I really like guys like Ruf, who are just good hitters. His power spike was amazing and I agree the concerns that he could maintain it.
      I still have concerns he is just a backup but some recent scouting reports posted here have me bumping Ruf from the teens to the Top10. I think he will at least be a marginal major league hitter (.750OPS, 20 HR) and the defense will be acceptable. It is the upside (.900OPS, 30HR) that has most excited.
      Of course I also think Mayberry could give .250AVG, 20HR with good defense and he is still a backup and was never highly ranked in Phillies prospects lists.

      1. There is no mystery about Mayberry; he simply can’t hit right handers.

        The interesting thing about Mayberry is that, given his extreme platoon split and good defense, evaluated purely as a platoon player, I would absolutely take him over Ruf. Considering defense and hitting both, Mayberry may be better in that role than even Ruf’s upside.

        Which is NOT a knock on Ruf. Judged solely as a platoon player, Mayberry is all star caliber (in the sense of value in that role – obviously platoon players are never all stars). The reason that Ruf MIGHT be a better playerr overall is that he does not have such an extreme platoon split, and, unlike Mayberry, could potentially be a full time regular.

        1. To be precise, Mayberry can’t hit right handers who throw sliders away. He actually hits their fastballs just fine. Its the hard stuff that moves away from him that he can’t judge. He’s not really alone in that weakness obviously but it really does limit his ability to be effective. Every closer throws that pitch…

        2. “The interesting thing about Mayberry is”

          The only thing interesting about STINKBERRY is that he is still on the team. The Stink is one of the worst players I have ever seen in MLB, a complete miss across the board. Clueless outfield defense, clueless base running, poor technique in base running that negates his speed since he slows down as he reaches the bag, and he cannot hit pitches over the inside part of the plate at all.

            1. No Dan, Anonymous hit on Stinkberry and Junior turned him down in a flash – something about hyperbole and bad breath…

      2. Ruf’s HR surge was impressive – but he did hit 40+ doubles in each of his previous 2 seasons (for perspective, only 7 batters had over 40 doubles in the NL last season). The potential for Ruf to recreate this success in the majors in what keeps me voting for him. I agree with the many limitations other posters have noted about Ruf, but I think his potential as a middle of the order bat for the next 5-6 seasons makes him a top 5 in this system. If he proves he can hit major league pitching, he will have value to this organization even if he can’t play LF. A good cost-controlled hitter has value – even if he is strictly 1B.

    2. I’m not super big on the “no precedent” argument (though that is only one aspect of the argument regarding his age). But if we are going there, Uggla is probably one of the better examples I’ve seen of the true late bloomer (most other examples people cite are players who advanced quickly to AA or even to the majors, but were stuck in the high minors or bounced back and forth between the minors and majors before finally achieving major league success).

      That said, a couple of points. First, Uggla is far from typical; he is an outlier himself. Secondly, he had just turned 26 before the start of his rookie year, as opposed to Ruf, who will turn 27 during his rookie year, AND he spent 2 years in AA, so he effectively he hit AA a year and a half younger than Ruf. That year and a half makes a difference.

      As I said, though, I agree that his 2012 was reason to reevaluate his prospect status – which pretty much everyone has. The question is, how much do we re-evaluate it? On that score, I tend to be an optimist, but a certain segment of the readership here has gotten ridiculously carried away on the point.

      I don’t really buy the “makes the whole lineup better” argument. If he doesn’t do much offensively other than hit HR, and if he is terrible in the outfielder (neither may be true), he is not a regular on a contending team.

    3. These days I sense more of a difference in tone than substance on this board when it comes to Ruf. As free agency has moved along, I sense a creeping realization that Ruf will be given a chance to show his stuff in left field and that there is nothing standing in the way of Ruf being the every day left fielder his most optimistic supporters think he can be. Even in Amaro’s talk of platooning in left as well as right, I think this is just to lower expectations and pressure on a guy with fewer than 40 MLB at bats. With Ruiz out and Kratz presumably batting 8th in the order, they can stick Ruf in the 7 hole if they have to and not depend on him for much at first except to show he knows what the bat is for. If Ruf proves within the first couple months that he can be the right handed bat behind Howard in the order, the Phils start looking a lot more like a playoff team.

      1. I don’t know, I see some pretty big differences in substance. Yes, I now think he will and should get a shot – but that’s as much because of misteps by the team in the off season than anything else.

        I don’t think that this team will look much like a playoff team even if Ruf hits his reasonable upside. The “most optismistic supporters” have always had unrealistic expectations. That hasn’t changed; all that has changed is he will have more of a chance to “show his stuff.”

        I have my quibbles with WAR, so I’m using it here for illustrative purposes only. I think the most bend over backwards realistic positive upside for Ruf is a 2.5 WAR. That reflects very good hitting combind with somewhat below average base running and defense. While that WOULD make him a good (even slightly above average) every day left fielder, it would make him … about one win better than (say) a Mayberry/Nix platoon. One win would would not likely make the team look any more like a playoff team.

        1. I’d say a 2.5 WAR is very optimistic. The year Raul Ibanez hit 34 HR’s and had a 130 OPS+ for the Phillies, he only had a 2.7 WAR.

          1. fWAR had Ibanez at 3.9 that year- in fact, fWAR is much kinder to Ibanez for his entire Phillies tenure. They have his second year in Philly at 1.7 fWAR with a 110 OPS+ and really crappy defense, and I could see Ruf improving a bit on that.

          2. My point was that that was his reasonable upside, so yes optimistic by definition. Apart from that, I think I remain marginally more optimistic about him that you are. And finally, I use fWAR, which is a little higher on average than the version, presumably because they set replacement level value differently.

            If you want a prediction as opposed to an upside, assuming full time play, it would be between 1.5 and 2 WAR.

  9. I like Tocci (had him at #2) next but voted Joseph since I think he is most deserving of the leading candidates for this spot.
    I am not a big fan of Joseph, but much like I was with Galvis (who I did not like due to his pitiful hitting for years), Joseph is performing at an average level while young for his league.

    It appears he will stay at Catcher, though I think his game calling will be a big deal for the Phillies. I am not sure how much that will slow his advancement in the minors. I’d like to see his plus power tool actually appear in his stats but am willing to give the scouts accounts more weight in his case.

    I can see a reasonable projection as an all star level hitting catcher with average defense. In a system without any close ‘stud’ prospects I can see him this high.

  10. I picked Martin here. He was lights out when I saw him in Reading, much better stuff than Trevor May, and we all know where the majority had May ranked previous.

    1. There seems to be a conscious and semi-organized effort to promote the Phillies position players way above their worth. The Phillies pitching is the strength of their farm system and the best position players are a level below those top pitchers Morgan, Biddle, Pettibone and Martin.

      Perhaps that will have changed by September, but right now that is where things stand.

      1. Those guys got 2 of the top 3 spots. Questions about ceiling (Pettibone) and a high beta (Martin, because of command/control issues) IMO justify lumping them in with the position propects. Martin especially might never pitch in the majors, whereas the position players ranked her almost certainly will (except of course Tocci possibly, but the ceiling on him is so high).

        Honestly, though, I favor ranking pichers and position players seperately. Apples to oranges comparision.

  11. I’m going Joseph…power hitting catcher is pretty impressive…then Martin…who has a higher ceiling than Morgan and definitely Pettibone

  12. I went with Joseph here. Very close with Franco and Asche for me but I gave it to Joseph based on proximity and the fact that he’s a catcher.

  13. I’m in the minority here and went with Pettibone. The reason being I’m far more excited about what he did in AAA — I know, small sample size — vs. what Tommy Joseph did in AA a year ago. Joseph I think is the logical choice here when you figure in age, level, position, proximity to the big leagues, etc., but I think the difference between the two players is actual performance. All of Pettibone’s numbers with the exception of walks improved as he made the jump from AA to AAA. There’s likely a familiarity factor there with guys at AAA just not having seen him. But his hits per nine innings fell drastically, his strikeouts per nine innings stayed relatively the same, and the big number to me, his percentage of runners left on base was higher and has drastically increased every year since he got to Williamsport. If Joseph can show production that matches the scouting reports, I’ll gladly eat more crow. But as Art D. said earlier, he needs to show me that’s who he really is.

    1. I’m with you on Pettibone. He’s done everything he’s needed to do and is right on track to slide into the middle of the Phillies’ rotation sometime soon. That’s very valuable in my mind and more than makes up for the higher ceilings of players who are farther away and/or riskier.

      1. That mid 6 K/9 shows a limit to his ceiling. Mid rotation pitchers, generally strike out more batters while in the minors.

        1. Yeah, I’m not sure what to make of it. He doesn’t strike out a lot of guys but he doesn’t walk guys either and he’s basically maintained his k rate across all levels. I’m hoping he can be a good major league pitcher based on his good control

    2. Joseph didn’t do it in AA a year ago, he did it in the high-A California league, a much more hitters’ league than any of the A Leagues the Phillies pharmers play in. Even with his 21 HR that year, he did not reach an .800 OPS. He has been young at each level, but the results have never been eye-popping for the league he has been in. In the Eastern League, he put up 11 HR and a .715 OPS. That certainly counts as holding his own, even a bit more than holding his own, at a tender age, but it scores real high only if you use a wicked age adjustment.

  14. Joseph again. Was #2 on my list. Quinn and Morgan were 3 and 4, so if Joseph goes, I’ll get to vote for my real #5, Maikel Franco, then Pettibone. Just eyeballing it from results the last couple days, I am going to guess that Ruf will go at about #8, just behind the trio of Franco, Pettibone and Martin, and ahead of Tocci and Asche and the two AAA/MLB relievers who I suspect will start to get a good number of votes when they are added. Ruf’s gaining support each round, and the skeptical among us (like myself), can only hold off popular sentiment for so long.

    I have Ruf at 18, because I believe that even if he gets himself 500PAs, he’s going to prove himself as useful as a slug in the OF, draining his offensive value to below replacement level, and I believe that due to his body type, his career, (especially in the National League), has maybe 3-5 years of peak in it, and 2012 was one of them. As always, I hope he proves me wrong.

    1. Ruf will get the #5 spot. Number 5 is where the vote will split. Pettibone, Franco and Asche will split the vote.

      1. Interesting point about Franco/Pettibone/Asche splitting the vote. My guess is that the Joseph voters are more likely to vote for one of those guys than Ruf. If, theoretically, those three split Jospeh’s votes, Franco wins. Obviously it won’t happen exactly that way, but I think that potential is higher than Ruf winning.

        I have Ruf in the top 10 because even if he gets 6 WAR for his career, the present value of that WAR is much greater than, say, Tocci.

    2. Brad, as you know I share much of your skepticism about Ruf. But 18? Obviously there is a chance of a complete flame out, and I agree his “peak” likely will be short given the late start. But let’s say he ends up being a 10 WAR player for his career – not certain by any means, but I think a reasonable ball park estimate. Are there really 17 players in the system whose “expected value” is that high? I don’t see them. I could see a ranking as high as 8 – 5 seems too high to me – I would probaly slot him just outside the top ten – but at 18 he would be behind some players who have at the same time lower upside and are much further away from the majors than Ruf is.

      1. Just to further engage your expectations regarding Ruf, even setting aside the possibility that he is better than terrible in left field, if he hits for power with at least a decent BA and BB%, he’s going to get a chance to play first base for someone. I don’t see him as a star by any means, but as a first baseman especially, 4 years of 2 WAR play followed by 2 years of 1 WAR play seems to me to be an entirely reasonable expectation. Heck, Morse, who we agree is nothing special, already has 6 WAR.

        1. I think 10 WAR is optimistic because the comp I see for him is Bryan LaHair, who put up a .327/.393/.525 line in AAA at age 23. Ruf is in the 14-18 range for me, and the answer do I see the guys in front of him who can do it, yes. I think he has near identical value in my mind to Aumont and DeFratus (who both could average 1-1.5 WAR a season for 4+ years), the AA/AAA starters aren’t spectacular but they all have a higher ceiling and then I will take the high upside arms and bats who could contribute my estimates of Ruf’s total value in a season or two.

          1. +1
            A career 10 WAR is very optimistic. On nearly every legitimate comp I’ve seen, the player had a peak season of 2.0 WAR and 2 to 3 more seasons of 1-1.5 WAR. I’d put him at about 6 WAR.
            Ruf is #13 on my list.

      2. I’m of the mindset that the lower system bats, (Greene and Cozens) beat him out because they are playing OF now and show a bit of athleticism on the base paths and scouting says they have big-time power – maybe Ruf should eb ahead of those two guys, and maybe Austin Wright because we aren’t sure he can stick as a starter, (and he would likely not be a closer at any point and hence not very valuable). But that puts him no higher than 15 on my list, behind Aumont and DeFratus, who can easily keep pace with what I think is a high estimate for Ruf’s WAR at 6, Waston and Gueller for their potential as starters based on scouting, Asche Franco Pettibone Martin Tocci who I think aren’t out of line to argue, and Valle, who is good enough on defense and will hit a couple HR, and is young enough and close enough that he’s probably got Ruf beat at 6 WAR.

        I see Ruf as being bad enough on defense early in 2012 and maybe always that he is kept off the field for any contending team – he could have more value to the Phillies as a trade chip if he gets a RyHo injury for a month and a half to show he can hack it at 1B. If his defense looks passable this spring, then I would absilutely move him up my list before opening day. We just have too little info about his OF defense other than people hoping he doesn’t spike himself three times a week.

        Ok, that last bit was harsh.

        1. On the last point, I’m reminded of a video snippet of his fielding someone posted in an effort to show that he wasn’t that bad. And he looked SO lost out there. I think he’s better than that (he looked somewhat better during his September call up), and it’s even possible that that initial image is burned overly brightly in my mind, but man he did not look like someone who belonged out there.

          1. Manager in Venezuela, cannot recall his name at this moment, said he is more then adequate in LF. Now if he has said he was a ‘work in progress’ or something like ‘it is a challenge for him right now but with his great work ethic…’, then I would be more worried.

            1. That’s a Phillies guy, though, is it not, who was managing his VZ league team? If it were another team’s guy saying that, I’d take it more at face value.

            2. Yeah, I put zero weight on that for that reason. Also I think there could well be a “soft bigotry of low expectations” thing going on.

              It’s not that it’s impossible that he has made a tremendous transformation as a defender. Just unlikely, and something where I want more evidence before I buy it.

              Put it this way – regarding range, which is the most important factor for an outfielder – for a guy with below average speed like Ruf to be average defensively, he would have to be ABOVE average in terms of positioning and/or route running. It just seems to me that those are learned skills. Most outfielders spend years learning those skills. And we’re supposed to believe that Ruf in a few months learned more than most players learn in several years? I guess it’s possible, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

          2. I think I know what you’re talking about. I remember one where he took a really weak route towards a ball in front of him. Maybe that’s my problem also, plus really we’ve heard nothing better from anyone scouting him.

  15. Forgot about martin. I really hope we get to see more of morgan,biddle and martin, reading and lvh games are sometimes on,and i really love to see the young kids. really depressing to hear we are 26 in our farm system. hope last year and this years draft, makes up restock some postion players. right now not to have any really high profile prospects in triple a and double a isnt good. i mean positon players ,not pitchers.

  16. Joseph is definitely top 5 and I have him at 4 although I can’t object to Pettibone who I have at 6, with Asche at 5. These guys are all pretty close together to me. They all have some warts but with lots of potential. Biddle and Quinn are the obvious 1-2 but there’s a nice large pack of guys after that who could all become very good or just be average depending on how they play this year. I love the vast potential although we really need one guy to step up to A status to really give the system some props. Who could become an A propsect a year from now? Quinn? Joseph? Franco? Greene? Cozens? Watson? Collier? Gillies? Others?

    1. To be actual A prospects you need someone with the ceiling and room to make the jump (and still have the projection left to go even higher). I think all of the AA/AAA guys really don’t have the projection room to get to A level (there are certainly some B+ guys there but even Biddle would have to make gigantic leap). I don’t see Franco making that big a jump based on his tools (again we are in the really good level just not the great level).
      I think you need someone to make the leap from the low levels (two examples would be the similar steps taken by Pirates prospects Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco this past year). I think the breakout time is that jump to full season ball so I think the list is Greene (power shows up big time), Watson (shows some semblance of a changeup while keeping HS stuff), Gueller (has the stuff that if he makes LKW in the spring he could shoot up boards with a good year), Tocci (puts on some weight and sticks in LKW), and Quinn (most likely to make the leap if he can answer the defensive questions).

      Cozens is likely destined for WPT so I would put him along with Green and Walding (who will be in LKW but likely needs a year to recover status) on the 2014 short list.

    2. My guess would be Biddle, Quinn, Joseph, and Watson are all players who have the ability to become “Blue chip” prospects in the next year.
      If Tocci is jumped to Lakewood and if Franco is jumped to Reading to begin the year, I could see them jumping into Blue Chip prospects if they perform.

  17. SABR Analytics Conference—Mar. 7-9, 2013, Phoenix, Arizona…register now. Presented by Bloomberg Sports. Go to

  18. Matt, Ruf was 25 last year. By convention, a player’s age as of June 30th is used to refer to his age that year. Ruf’s age 26 season is 2013. Singelton and Ruf are 5 years apart in age, not six (which, of course, is still a gigantic difference).

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