Is Babe Ruf the real deal? John Sickels thinks so... - Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
John Sickels list of the Phillies preseason top 20 is out and there are a few interesting surprises.
John Sickels has posted his top 20 Phillies prospect list over at our sister site minorleagueball.com the complete article can be seen HERE.
In addition, here's
No surprise with number one as Jesse Biddle tops the list, as he did over at Baseball America and should likely continue to do on any other lists going into 2013. Biddle was ranked second last year, and interestingly enough, was the only top 5 prospect from 2012 to stay in the top five. Last years top prospect Trevor May was traded for Ben Revere (Sickels mentions that he would have had a B- ranking, putting him anywhere from #3 to #11 for 2013) and neither Sebastian Valle (3) Brody Colvin (4) or Larry Greene (5) cracked the top ten. Valle was the only one to make the top 20, at number 12. Not sure if that says more about how much the system improved, or how much those guys faltered, but I tend to think its more the former.
May and Biddle were both B+ guys last year, and we had another 6 B- guys. to give you an idea just how thin the system was going into 2012, Michael Schwimmer was number 9, with a C+ ranking.
In 2013, the first C+ player is Sebastian Valle at 12. So basically, Valle went from a B- to a C+ and dropped almost 10 spots. Thats organizational improvement for sure.
That said, there's some interesting discrepancies between the BBA top ten and Sickels.
1. Biddle 2. Quinn 3. Joseph 4.Pettibone 5. Morgan 6. Martin 7. Asche. 8. Franco 9. Ruf 10. Carlos Tocci
1. Biddle 2. Morgan 3. Quinn 4. Joseph 5. Pettibone 6. Asche 7. Ruf 8. Martin 9. Franco 10: Shane Watson
Both lists have the same players in the top five, with Sickels being much higher on Adam Morgan than BBA. Sickels on Morgan:
2) Adam Morgan, LHP, Grade B: This guy deserves more attention. Stuff kicked up a notch from college, into the low-90s, and he already knew how to throw strikes and locate his secondary pitches. Can also be a mid-rotation starter. This is an aggressive grade and ranking.
in the bottom half of the top ten, 6-9 on both lists show the subjectivity of individual prospect analysis, with Asche, Ethan Martin, Maikel Franco and Darin Ruf all taking the same slots in slightly different order, though Sickels also is higher on Darin Ruf, having this to say:
7) Darin Ruf, 1B-OF, Grade B-: I believe in the bat. Defense and age 26 keep him from elite prospect status, doesn't have further projection, but that's OK since he's already good. I felt Ruf was a nice sleeper pre-season but I did not expect 41 homers and he hit 10 more in winter ball. I thought he was more of a .260, 10-15-homer role player bat, but I can see him as a .280, 20-25 homer guy now.
Lets hope he's right.
The real interesting discrepancy, is in the 10 slot, where BBA has Carlos Tocci, While Sickels ranks 2012 first rounder Shane Watson there. Whats interesting, is that Tocci doesn't crack Sickels top 20.
I have to admit that as a former non believer in Darin Ruf, it's encouraging to see both BBA and Sickels list him in their top ten, and Sickels opinion and belief certainly makes me feel much better about his sleeper potential.
Between Asche and Franco at 3B, Biddle and Morgan in the rotation, and Joseph behind the plate, the phillies certainly have capable, close to ready talent provided the brass doesn't try and deplete the system between now and July 31st for this years Hunter Pence. And man, we've got some capable relief options both ready now (Aumont (13) , Defratus (17)) as well as a decent sleeper in Tyler Knigge Kyle Simon (19, acquired in the Thome trade) etc...
The NOT SO GOOD:
Sebastian Valle clearly is the number two catcher in the system now and continues his decline from top ten status. And as much as I love his twitter handle, Sickels feels Jiwan James is a lost cause at this point. Tyson gillies doesn't crack the top twenty, so two years after the Cliff Lee Trade, Philipe Aumont remains the sole top 20 prospect as a reliever. Gillies needs to have an injury free season to tap his potential for sure. But he may also be falling off the radar, especially after the off field incidents and the Ben Revere signing. but a solid first half from him could see his trade value rise at the deadline.
And man, Brody Colvin, Larry Greene both go from top 5 prospects to not making the list in a year.
All in all about what you should expect, but wow, what a difference a year makes.