Ruben's got his eye on these kids. - Chris Trotman
Last year coming up with a list of 30 top prospects for the Phillies was somewhat rough. There were 5 clear top prospects who were ranked in a fairly similar order. This year it was still really tough to come up with a list of the top 30, but mainly because I feel like I'm leaving 5 or 6 potential future Major Leaguers on the cutting room floor.
So, let's start by looking around the cutting room floor at the guys who just missed the cut.
Perci Garner - I really like Perci. I think he's a sleeper candidate and has the potential to be a mid to top of rotation starter. But, so far he's been derailed by injuries and rawness. It's quite possible he never makes it as a starter and he may need to get switched to relief before this season is over so he can focus on his stronger stuff, which includes 2 potential plus pitches. If he can get consistent control of his already plus Fastball and potentially plus Curve, he could be a high leverage, shut-down reliever. That's valuable, but given middling results as a starter I can't put him in the top 30 as a reliever until he has some performance there (or improves as a starter).
Tyler Cloyd - Cloyd was a nice story in 2012. I expect he'll be a fringe MLB guy for a few years, but with Biddle and Morgan possibly being to the Majors as soon as 2014. With Martin on a similar schedule and Pettibone probably getting some time in 2013 in the rotation, there isn't really a spot for Cloyd in the Phillies plans. Best case scenario for the Phils and Cloyd is he gets to start some games early in the season, looks fairly good/gets lucky and the Phillies can trade him for value as they did with Happ and Worley..
Zach Collier - Dude's still young and his numbers were solid, if unspectacular, this year in High A. Reading will be a big challenge and if he puts up similar or better numbers next year, he may well work his way onto this list and into the Phillies plans.
Mitch Walding - Scouting reports almost got him on here in spite of lukewarm performance in short season. Jiwan James spent a few seasons in the top 10-15 based solely on scouting reports, so until I see some full season stats for Walding and some performance to give hope, I'm leaving him off for now. It's not unreasonable that he could be a top 10 or top 5 guy next year though.
Brian Pointer - Similar to Walding, Pointer has awesome talent, but no concrete results yet. If he puts it together he could be a top prospect. It's not together yet, so I can't put him on just on hopes.
Chris Seritella - Good stats, but Seritella's a First Baseman and good stats aren't worth much there for a prospect, to really get on the radar you need GREAT stats to make up for the lack of defensive value. We could see those next year and he could shoot up this list. And, if I'm being honest, 6 HRs in the Grand Canyon of Williamsport is really, really close to impressive enough to include him here.
And now, the rankings (don't get too hung up on placement, these 21-30 guys are interchangeable depending upon what you think is more important. I'll explain ranking where I think they might be controversial)...
30. Cameron Perkins 1B/3B - Honestly, I lump him with Seritella, as they'll both be 1B in the future. Perkins has a slight edge, for now, because he can also play some Third, if needed. Perkins' stats weren't tremendous, but they were solid and he's supported by good scouting reports and the type of build and bat speed that suggests future power development. If it turns out he stays at 3rd and the glove can play there, he'll be much more highly ranked next year.
29. Jose Pujols, OF - That stuff to the left of this sentence constitutes quite a bit of my knowledge about Pujols. The Phillies international strategy is usually to sign a bunch of guys to $50-100K offers, instead of blowing all $800K (or whatever budget prior to the new CBA) on 1 player, so when the Phillies shell out half a million for a kid it raises some eyebrows. Pujols' scouting reports look somewhat similar to Domingo Sanatana: 16 years old, plus to plus-plus power potential with great bat speed and a tall, athletic frame. I hate to list a guy almost no one seems to have much info on, but the reports are glowing enough that I may feel like an idiot this time next year if I hadn't included him. This is the most volatile guy on the list, he could be #1 in a few years or out of baseball and I have no idea which is more likely yet. Here's some fun viewing, I like his swing, quiet, no big leg lift, really fast bat.
28. Aaron Altherr, OF - Okay, Altherr's here largely for potential. The scouting reports are fairly solid, he's got plenty of athleticism, his plate discipline and ISO are improving, he has good speed on the basepaths and generally seems to choose his spots well (over 75% success rate on the basepaths). On the downside his K rate is a little high and he's had bad BABiP luck. I vacillated for a few weeks on where to put Altherr on this list and I had him as high as 16, at one point. I think he can be special, but until the power really shows up or the Avg/OBP moves up a bit, I just couldn't move him up as high as I think he could go.
27. Tyson Gillies, OF - If Gillies could stay healthy he'd be closer to 10-15, but the injuries are concerning, no matter how fluky. Gillies biggest calling card was always speed, for that reason leg injuries are a rather large red flag. He had a rather unexpected power surge (for him) in Reading last year and the Phillies Center Field spot is virtually wide open (I'm not a Ben Revere fan), so if Gillies can stay healthy and make some improvements in plate discipline and regain some speed, he has a shot at playing in Philly.
26. Brody Colvin, RHP - I'm just realizing I've kind of created an island of misfit toys section of my list. I debated not including Colvin at all. He had an awful year. His walk rate is up, his ground balls are down (no pun intended), he got killed as a starter, he got killed as a reliever. He was bad in High A, he was atrocious in AA (partly thanks to some bad luck on HR/OFB). The only reason I kept him on, is that he's still young enough that if he can get control, perhaps he has a long shot at sticking in a rotation, but certainly could still, maybe, get his stuff to work in relief. 2012 was pretty ugly though.
25.Leandro Castro, OF - Castro is probably a future 4th or 5th Outfielder and that's what gets him on this list. He doesn't really excel in any one area, but he doesn't really suck in any area either (well, maybe OBP, Castro's a fairly free swinger). He has just enough power and speed that he might be useful coming off the bench and, after possibly Gillies, he'll be the first guy in line for a call up should the injury bug bite. Nothing to get too excited about, but I feel confident saying both that Castro is good enough to get a shot at a spot on an MLB team and that he's likely not good enough to be a regular, but could stick as a reserve.
24. Kyle Simon, RHP - If Simon were to return to starting and put up numbers like this year, he'd easily be top 20, but as a reliever he has a little less value, and with most of his time in A ball that makes it a little less still. Simon also doesn't have any particularly devastating pitches from what I see in scouting reports, so that also makes it hard to rank him very highly, since that might make him more of a middle relief/low leverage guy. Still, potentially a mighty nice return for a 40+ hitter who can't run anymore.
23. Larry Greene, Jr, OF - Fudgie still has a high ceiling as a power hitter, and it's admittedly hard to ht for much power in Williamsport. The best sign was his patience at the plate. His ability to take some walks is a big plus. I'd like to see the K rate come down ~5%, but he was known to be fairly raw when drafted, so there's time.
22. Mitch Gueller, RHP - He's here on ceiling alone. His performance in the GCL wasn't great. Too many walks, too few K's. But, hey he was known to be raw when he was drafted. Gueller was a two way prospect in High School and frankly was draftable as either an OF or as a Pitcher (though he was considered more raw as an OF). He basically is a Fastball guy right now, throwing a good sinking heater in the low to mid 90's. If he can develop his promising Changeup and Curve he has mid-rotation potential. I expect he'll have XST then NYPL next year, so it may be 2014 before he gets much higher on prospect lists.
21. Dylan Cozens, OF - Never make too much out of GCL stats. The only stat I pay much attention to is BB rate (even then it's with an enormous grain of salt), and Cozens had a mighty good one. He also has plus power potential. If he can carry his walk rate, power and perhaps improved K rate to full season ball he'll be flying up the list next year. Then again, as a raw 2 sport athlete, he may also go XST.