Top 30 Accountability: 21-25

This is a retrospective back on the Top 30 prospects list I wrote before the start of the season.  My opinion is that anyone who puts their opinion out there should be accountable for that opinion, in this case rather than just ask whether I was right or wrong, but more why was it right or wrong.  The goal is to explore things in the development of a prospect that can point to growth or regression.  Additionally just because a prospect fails to live up to or exceeds expectations does it mean the base analysis was wrong when it was written.

Continuing on with the next group of 5 players including a pair of HS SSs turned third basemen who are trending in the opposite directions.  As always the original list lives here

25. Tyson Gillies

So the good: Gillies is a great defensive center fielder with good range and a plus arm. Gillies makes good contact and currently has good plate discipline. The bad: Gillies cannot stay healthy and there seems to be a consistent hamstring problem. Unless he develops better game power (and a swing to pair with it) his on base and running ability (if it comes back) will be severely reduced. Overall it is a package with some upside, but it is limited by the large injury risk.

I cannot disagree with what the Phillies did with Gillies in 2013. Seeing that he wasn’t really going to make it with his current profile and they went to move him towards a more power oriented swing. The swing showed promise, but largely the production wasn’t there and at this point the risk well outweighs any upside left.  When it comes to prospects it is better to give a guy one year too many than give up early, the opposite is probably true in the majors.

24. Kenneth Giles

Giles’ calling card is a fastball that routinely touches triple digits. Giles made giant improvements in both strike throwing as well as scrapping all of his secondary except for the slider which now flashes as a plus pitch. Giles could move quickly once he has a feel for his pitches and could be a dominant closer on arrival. His value is driven down by his reliever profile as well as my concerns about how quickly he will move.

It is hard to evaluate a pitcher who missed most of the season to non throwing injuries. The stuff is still there and command still isn’t great. A good AFL could put him into the position to get him to the majors quickly, and he may move up a little as I reevaluate how I treat elite upside relievers, because while a middle reliever may be fungible an elite back of the bullpen arm is similar in value to a #4/#5 starter or major league regular.

23. Zach Green

Green is in many ways a mirror image of Walding right down to them being a righty and lefty. Green has more power but less hit than Walding. Walding has a better approach, and Green took better to the defensive transition. I rate Green so high because I believe in the defense, and if he can continue and build on it, he can take pressure off the bat to be ready immediately.

I had a feeling going into the season that only one of Green and Walding would have the breakout year. Green’s numbers look great but there are still a lot of weaknesses, but it is good to see the power projection play in games. Green and some other 2012 guys ahead of him on this list help reaffirm my belief in ranking talent regardless of how much experience it has.

22. Mitch Walding

Despite his terrible finish to the season the scouting reports on Walding remain positive. Like Larry Greene, Walding may be too passive at the plate and needs to really work on recognizing pitches and choosing his spots. He has plus raw power to go with a good bat, but it will need some work. In the field, much like at the plate Walding has all the tools. He just needs to put it together. He is a definite breakout candidate if he can put it all together

I give up, I have no clue how to evaluate Mitch Walding.  There is bat speed and batting practice power but he can’t hit for power in games, the approach and swing are good but he strikes out at a high rate.  I realize he is raw and there is a ton of potential but there is still plenty to be done.  In the end I will always go with a guy like Walding though, and it might be my biggest weakness, because there is something to work with there.  If you look at his spray chart ( he hits everything on the ground and the opposite way.  People who write about prospects will always be criticized for there use of the word “if”, but if Walding is healthy next year he will still be my sleeper because he is athletic enough that he may only be a couple of adjustments away from squaring up the ball more and showing some more of his potential.

21. Cesar Hernandez

Hernandez has many of the pieces to start for a team but is missing the raw tools to be an average regular. His power is poor and despite plus to plus plus speed he is a poor base stealer. Hernandez is limited to a slap hitting approach that gives good contact but does not allow him to draw walks at a high rate. He is average to slightly above in the field and may be able to play shortstop in short stints to have use as a utility player, but otherwise his use is limited.

Hernandez continues to inch closer to a major league future. The centerfield reps don’t let me put a higher ceiling on him, but it does make me feel more confident that he has a major league job. Hernandez made some improvements in strength and in the run game. I still don’t think there is enough to be a regular and that still doesn’t leave a clear path to the majors.

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

20 thoughts on “Top 30 Accountability: 21-25

  1. Giles is one of the guys that I was intrigued by going into 2013. A pitcher with one obvious plus pitch, and a slider that approaches plus status surely can get you to day dream. However, after an injury plagued 2013 season, and mediocre season when he was out there pitching, I view him as a lottery pick – if he can bring it together, he could be a really good pitcher. Likelihood of it coming together – not high.

    This year, the numbers indicate that he continued to struggle with control – 19 walks in 25.2 innings. He is one that I will continue to watch – hoping the lottery ticket pays off.

  2. There really is a huge variance in opinion on Hernandez. I think you still rate him a little too harshly, while Gregg has him as his #4 prospect in the system. To me he is in the low teens, with the ceiling of an average starter. His biggest boosters think he can be an All Star and his detractors see him as nothing more than a utility IF, who can’t even play SS or 3B. The guy seems to be a lightning rod for different schools of prospect evaluation.

    1. I had him at 15 in the lastest set of rankings. I don’t think I can go higher than that unless he magically finds power or proves to be a plus plus defender in CF.

    2. Will the, so called, bat be taken out of our hands? What is the level of Plate Appearances before he’s no longer a minor leaguer? He has 54 PA right now. If they continue to bat him leadoff, could he get over that threshhold?

    3. Basically he’s never impressed scouts with his tools, and his success the past two years has been mainly due to BABIP with poor peripherals. Thus neither stat guys nor tool guys think much of him, but he impresses people who value on-field production.

      You can probably guess where I fall.

      1. Ramsey – you’re obsessed with BABIP to the point of tunnel vision. There’s a hell of a lot more to prospect evaluation than BABIP

  3. Walding is a hard sell. You gave up, I give up also. After 750 plus PAs his periperals are all average to below average, and I am being generous.
    I hope not, but he could be, at this time next year, if he has another poor year, be headed elsewhere, since 3rd base seems to be his only position and it is getting crowded there with all the talent..

  4. I’ve never really been able to see the big deal about Giles. I get that he has high upside, but he’s a little old for the levels he’s been, has control issues, and it seems like he doesn’t have a real 2nd pitch that’s a weapon- at least not consistently. We’ve been watching guys with good fastballs and poor control get killed in Philly for the last two seasons, and he’s 22 and still trying to figure out A ball. He bears watching, for sure, but I don’t see him as a top 30 guy.

  5. only 655 at bats for walding , not 750 – has only played for 2 seasons. And Zach Green is top 15 minimum. Do you all realize he lead the league in home runs, doubles, runs, slugging, and total bases, plus his defense continues to improve. All you people talk about is his strikeouts. The kid can hit anybody’s fastball, and with more and more experience he will lay off those sliders down and away.

    1. I also have Green top 15. Whether or not he learns to lay off the sliders is anybody’s guess. A lot of guys never do, so we certainly have to view the K-rate as a big red flag.

    2. “The kid can hit anybody’s fastball, and with more and more experience he will lay off those sliders down and away.”

      Like Ryan Howard?

      No one is saying he is a bad prospect, but don’t just assume he will fix his problems. Hope that he does, but also realize what will happen if he doesn’t.

        1. He only said Howard is an example of a player who has trouble laying off sliders low and away, which is true.

  6. Look, I think Zach Green is interesting, but scouting is wary of his overall hit tool, and his K Rate is a big red flag. If he sticks at third and can manage to mash his way up the levels and keep that K Rate in the upper 20s instead of the 30s, I’m fine calling him a Top 20-25 guy now and higher the whole way from here on up. He’s got maybe one and a half to two years before he gets to AA, and the stuff he’s going to see there on a consistent basis will start to tell the tale of whether he’ll ever be more than a power bat off the bench, hoping to crush a mistake.

    For now, I’m not completely sold, but it was a hell of a year for him, power wise, and there’s not doubting that tool at all.

    1. Something I will likely talk a lot about with regards to Green over the offseason is the power. I think a lot of people are looking at his HR numbers and seeing elite power and power projection. He certainly has plus power, but he is not someone who is going to continue building on that power to have it be an elite tool. This is Zach Green’s power, and that is great but there isn’t more projection lurking somewhere, he just actualized his power as opposed to showing it just in BP. (He still has less power projection than Franco, Cozens, Greene, and Pujols)

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