I've got no clever lede for this week's prospect roundup, so let's jump right in by highlighting the local lefty that continues to impress at every stop.
Jesse Biddle, LHP, Williamsport: The bump to Williamsport has done little to slow down the organization's first round pick, who has allowed just 4 hits, 1 run, and 5 walks across 9 innings while whiffing 9. It's as successful a debut for a high school draftee as I can remember, and it should be noted that the Phillies are rarely aggressive with their recent draftees -- Biddle must have truly impressed the organization to merit a promotion to Williamsport. I'm really, really excited to see what Biddle can do at Lakewood next year.
Sebastian Valle, C-R, Lakewood: Back in June, it looked like Valle was turning a corner with the bat, but his pre- (.254/.303/.433) and post- (.257/.295/.427) All Star break splits actually show a remarkable consistency to his 2010 campaign. Before we consider the season a disappointment, however, let's listen to Mike Newman from Scouting the Sally, who knows a thing or two about catchers: "catchers with plus power are a rarity and many grow out of the position. Valle is likely to stick." Now, about that plate discipline...
Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Clearwater: After 15 appearances for Clearwater, Aumont sports a 3.94 FIP at the level with some solid peripherals (9.5 K/9, 0.57 HR/9) and some not-so-solid peripherals (5.3 BB/9, 39.1% GB). My biggest question at this point is how a guy lauded for his power sinker can get so few ground balls -- just speculating here, but I suspect that the innings jump (from 51.0 last year to 116.0 thus far this year) and role change may have worn down Aumont at this point. That doesn't necessarily mean he isn't cut out for starting, but it will certainly be interesting to see how fresh he looks next year.
Vance Worley, RHP, Lehigh Valley: Worley's stint in Double-A this year qualified as "good, not great," but his time in Triple-A was almost exactly what I envisioned when projecting a big bounce back year for the bespectacled one: 7.1 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.60 HR/9, 48.7% GB, 3.18 FIP (in a 44.1 inning sample, it should be noted). Despite being a college draftee two years back, Worley doesn't even turn 23 for another month, and given his age and the rapid improvement he's shown in the season's second half, he's looking like an increasingly good bet as a back end starter.
Jeremy Barnes, 2B-R, Lakewood: The Golden Domer had himself quite a week, going 8-for-20 with 5 doubles and a triple in 6 games. Barnes has split time at both second and third base this year, and he showed at least some ability to play shortstop last year (+5 Total Zone), so the organization is clearly projecting him as a utility man at the next level -- but he's shown enough with the bat (.296/.390/.447, 12.5% BB, 22.1% K) that we can envision him having some value in that role. For now, though, he's a college guy dominating Low A, and he'll need to prove himself at higher levels.
Drew Naylor, RHP, Reading: The 24-year old Aussie just keeps chugging along, and he fired a gem on Friday night (7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 11 K). Still, his season numbers aren't exactly overwhelming (5.9 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 0.71 HR/9, 40.1% GB, 3.97 FIP), and when our own Wet Luzinski saw him in person last month, neither was his stuff (a fastball topping out in the mid-80s). I'm inclined to agree with the TGP poet laureate: it's time for Naylor to shift to the bullpen to see if he can add a couple of ticks to his fastball, because I don't think he has a major league future in any other capacity.
Geancarlo Mendez, 1B-R, GCL Phillies: The 20-year old Dominican has been the best hitter on the GCL Phillies for much of the year, but we don't know a whole lot about him. We do know that he showed a very discerning eye throughout his two years in the Dominican Summer League (14.3% BB, 11.8% K), and that he's maintained decent plate discipline while exhibiting more pop this year (7.0% BB, 12.7% K, .217 ISO). We also know that he's played mostly left field this year, where the offensive standard is obviously pretty high. Mendez is an interesting player to flag as a potential late bloomer, but we'll have to see what he does next year (both offensively and defensively) before we get a grip on what kind of prospect he is.
Austin Hyatt, RHP, Reading: Hyatt's third outing in Double-A last Wednesday was easily his best thus far, as he surrendered 5 hits, 2 runs, and 2 walks across 5.2 innings while striking out 9. The 24-year old right hander has whiffed 20 over 15.2 innings for Reading thus far, so the early returns are fairly positive, though there are definitely adjustments that he'll need to make, as evidenced by the 10 runs, 3 homers, and 9 walks he's given up for the R-Phils.
Mike Cisco, RHP, Reading: Cisco one-upped Hyatt a day later, tossing a complete game, one-hit shutout in which the 23-year old former Gamecock walked just 1 and struck out 10. It was easily Cisco's best outing as a pro, and the strikeouts in particular are a pleasant surprise for a finesse righty whose ability to generate swings and misses has diminished as he's climbed the ladder. One statistical red flag to note: Cisco's ground ball rate, at just 41.4%, is way down this year.
Cesar Hernandez, 2B-S, Williamsport: Sometimes the Latin players the Phillies sign sneak up on you performance-wise, and Hernandez has certainly done that to me, as I'll admit I hadn't paid close attention to him until a helpful reader pointed him out last week. The switch-hitting Venezuelan pivotman has an intriguing profile, with excellent plate discipline (9.4% BB, 11.0% K) and speed (30 stolen bases in 36 attempts, 7.0 speed score) but virtually no power (.069 ISO). As a 20-year old flashing solid performance and playing an up-the-middle position at an age appropriate level, Hernandez is definitely one to keep an eye on going forward.