Since Sickels and BA have released their top prospect list, I figured it was time to release mine.
My Top 30:
1. LHP Jesse Biddle – Very refined delivery, easy mechanics that generate solid velocity, which I also think he’s holding back a tad at the Phillies request to work on his command, and if that’s truly the case, and he adds a few more ticks to his fastball, already possessing a plus curveball and a change/slider that shows flashes as well, we’re looking at a guy with high end #2 upside. Biddle’s not a bonafide blue-chipper, but he’s a solid bet to be in the Phillies rotation for years to come.
2. SS Roman Quinn – This was a tough one, I had two guys that could go either way, Quinn or Joseph, but I went with the guy who already has a truly plus-plus tool, and that’s Quinn’s speed. He already has a very high walk rate, and is JUST learning to hit left-handed, which I think is amazing, and I think some people severely underrate. If he can cut down on his strikeouts a tad, and stick at SS, we’re looking at a true blue-chip prospect.
3. C Tommy Joseph – Acquired in the Hunter Pence trade, Joseph was raved about by scouts, though his scouting report didn’t necessarily translate to results in his first time around at Reading, I think he just wore down towards the end of the season, coming to a new team and adjusting to a new pitching staff. I think Joseph has a strong 2013, and will be the guy in Philly for years to come. I love his arm, and his plus power potential, you gotta remember the guy’s quite young to be in AA, and by all accounts is a true leader and has great makeup. I’d take Joseph at catcher all day in my system, I really think this guy has Mike Napoli offensive upside assuming he can stick at catcher (which I think he will).
4. LHP Adam Morgan – Morgan opened eyes in 2012, mine included, I always liked Morgan’s delivery, really free and easy, but I always thought his stuff lacked to truly be any more than a low end #3, high #4, but hearing all these comps to Cliff Lee has me really excited, especially with his sudden uptick in velocity. Morgan doesn’t have any particular devastating pitch, but I think his command and control will compensate for his lack of truly elite stuff. I think Morgan will be the first of the pitching prospects aside from Pettibone to make it to the bigs.
5. RHP Ethan Martin – Acquired in the Victorino trade, Martin has a pretty solid pedigree, but was sort of overlooked for lack of command. Martin has a nasty slider, that is truly a plus pitch along with a hard but mostly straight fastball that he can get up to 95-96 mph, if Martin can ever harness his raw stuff, I think he could truly challenge Biddle to be the #1 prospect in the system. Which I’m encouraged will happen, because his BB/9 decreased in the last 3 years from 6.5 to 4.1 for 2012 which is still pretty high but is a solid decrease for a 3 year period, while also increasing his K/BB ratio up to 1.94. Unfortunately his K/9 has also decreased the last 3 years, though I think it might be due to coaching telling him to pull his velocity back a little bit to work on his control. If he can stay around an 8.0 K/9 with a 3-3.5 BB/9, Martin will be damn good, possible #2 upside.
6. 3B Maikel Franco – Some people might say Franco is a little high, but I love the guy’s bat, and he’s pretty young for his league at only 20 years old. This guy has truly plus raw power, and by all accounts a pretty solid glove at 3B, so if he sticks, I see a guy with a higher upside than Asche, even though I like Asche a lot, he doesn’t have the possible game-changing power that Franco has. His ETA is fairly far away, so he could just as easily flame out, but a solid 3B prospect with power, I feel, should be high on anyone’s list.
7. OF Carlos Tocci – This guy is the most intriguing guy in the system in my eyes. He’s so far away, that it’s possible he burns out before he even sees AA, but man is he fun to dream on. The guy’s got solid baseball instincts, a fantastic outfielder with a cannon arm, and a good eye at the plate. The debate is really whether he’ll ever develop power, or just be a speedster with a fantastic glove. I personally think he falls somewhere in between power-wise. He’s the ultimate boom or bust prospect, with superstar potential or total flameout possibility.
8. OF/1B Darin Ruf – The most discussed thing on PhuturePhillies the last couple months or so is what to do with, or how to judge Darin Ruf. At first I was extremely skeptical, ala LarryM, but I’ve became a believer over the last few months, after seeing Ruf’s minor league clips, and watching him in his 2012 cameo in Philly, I really believe in the bat. He came out of nowhere, and yes, he’s not a prospect with a pedigree, and was old for his league, but he can rake. And seeing how the Phillies have had a history of slugging, slow-footed LF’s, I think Ruf gets his shot in LF for the Phils, and realistically I could see Ruf hitting somewhere between .275-.280, and slugging around .500+ with 25+ homers. Some will say I’m a bit optimistic, but in my eyes, Ruf deserves a shot, and I think he’ll run with it. I realize I could very easily be eating my words come June, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take, because guys with his kind of power don’t grow on trees.
9. 3B Cody Asche – Asche is a fun guy to follow, and I love how he always seems to prove scouts and haters alike wrong. I also love his ability to adjust to higher levels, which translates into possible big league success. I don’t think Asche will ever be a superstar, but a solid everyday regular is not out of the question, especially if his crazy work ethic is true, I’d take a guy like Asche any day on my team. The glove worries me a bit, but the scouting reports have been improving, and I love his swing, really effortless, and if he develops any more power, he’ll rank even higher on the list.
10. RHP Jonathan Pettibone – Pettibone could rank anywhere from as high as 7 or as low as 15 to me, I love his command and overall mound presence, but by all accounts, the only pitch he has that could possibly be plus is his sinker, and having no true out pitch, he’ll almost have to be perfect with his command, or he’ll get hit around. His proximity, and safe bet to eat innings while keeping his walks down makes him a nice low end #3, high end #4, which is nothing to sneeze at. I’m a Pettibone fan, and I hope he can develop a solid out pitch, because that could be what he’s lacking to truly hold down a major league job. I would love for him to beat the odds and be more than that, but I’m tempering my expectations for now.
11. RHP Shane Watson – I’m going out on a limb here, and basing this ranking on pretty much scouting reports alone, being that I haven’t really seen much of Watson. He has a solid fastball, and a plus curve already for a young age, so that’s a great thing to have going forward. He’s far, far away, but I like his potential, especially if the scouts like him so much.
12. CF Tyson Gillies – I might get berated here a little bit, but I’m still a Gillies believer, injuries be damned! There’s just something special about this guy to me, I love his patience, and overall effort, he goes all out, and although he relies on his speed, he has surprising pop at a premium defensive position. I know injuries should be taken into account, especially for a guy whose speed is probably his greatest asset, but I try to not take being injury prone into my prospect rankings as much. And anyway as far as pure CF’s in the system, who on talent and proximity alone is better than Gillies, you could make a case for Tocci, but as promising as he is, he’s still VERY far away. See what I mean?
13. LHP Austin Wright – The 4th of the solid pitching prospects the Phils are churning out lately, Wright has a solid fastball, that sits 91-92, and occasionally touches 94, and pairs it with a devastating overhand curveball, kind of reminds me of a poor man’s Barry Zito. He’s a little far away, and needs one more true out pitch, but this guy has the tools to be a starter, and while Sickels and BA have him possibly being converted to a power reliever, I think the Phils give him every chance to prove he can start before they move him to the ‘pen.
14. OF/1B Larry Greene Jr. – Greene’s a bit raw, considering he was set to play football at Alabama before ultimately signing with the Phillies. People will have to give this guy time, he’s adjusting to a new sport, but has a fantastic eye, and prodigious power, though it hasn’t been shown in games quite yet, he still mashed a few doubles, and once he learns to actually drive a pitch he’s looking for instead of just taking pitches to take, he’ll become even more deadly. This guy’s an athlete, give him some time to get used to baseball and let his natural instincts take over and we’ll have a solid prospect on our hands.
15. CF Zach Collier – Injuries and lost time aside, I still think Collier has a very high upside, and even though he seems like he’s been in the system for years, the guy’s still only 22 years old, and could possibly be bumped to Reading where he’ll be more age appropriate. A nice AFL showing, and scouting reports about his improving defense have me hopeful Collier can still put it together, sometimes these toolsy guys tend to take a little longer than most. If he can stick in CF, I’ll feel comfortable ranking him here, but if he has to move to a corner OF spot, he’ll fall down the list, because he doesn’t have the bat to be a corner OF.
16. RHP Mitch Gueller – Again, between him and Watson, all I really know is what scouting reports show me, and seeing that they’re high on both guys, I feel like I should include him in the top 20. He’s not quite as refined as Watson, but they say he’s the better athlete, and possibly has more upside. As for now though, he has just a solid fastball, with improving secondary offerings, very high upside though.
17. RF Kelly Dugan – I personally feel Dugan’s a bit underrated, yes he has his flaws, but the guy knows how to take a walk, has pretty decent plate discipline, and surprising pop. He’s not the best outfielder in the world, but does have a pretty good arm. Now that he’s gave up switch hitting, I think he can really consolidate his focus, and will be better for it. The strikeouts worry me a bit, but as long as he can take walks like he has in his short career, he should be fine. Needs to move through the system quicker though.
18. RHP Phillippe Aumont – One of my personal favorites, Aumont has hands down, the best stuff in the system, with a filthy sinking fastball the can get up to 98-99, while sitting at 95. And a plus plus curveball that has huge strikeout potential. Aumont’s problem has been and always will be command, he can either make hitters look silly, or embarass himself by walking the bases loaded. I fear Aumont will always be an enigma, but I still hold out hope that he can put it all together and become a devastating late inning arm. Should get the trial by fire in Philly this year.
19. RF Jose Pujols – This is another guy I don’t know much about, other than vague scouting reports and a short video of him tracking down balls and firing home, and taking some BP. Pujols looks to have a cannon arm, and a wiry frame that could possibly add muscle and power. I also really like his swing, short and compact and creates great loft without too much uppercut. Complete lottery ticket being so far away, but is pretty much Domingo Santana 2.0, they even look and have scouting reports that are eerily similar.
20. LHP Jake Diekman – This one might be a bit controversial to some too, but I really like Diekman, with his fastball velocity and filthy sidearm delivery, he’s an absolute nightmare for lefties, and while he was hit around a bit in the majors, and struggled with command, I still have faith that he can be a very effective late inning guy, mostly used as a LOOGY, but able to handle an entire inning if needed as well. I have a good feeling about Diek and I think he’ll be a fixture in the pen for a while.
21. C Sebastian Valle – Valle’s stock has fallen a lot in a year, and while I was never a huge believer in Valle to start with because of his atrocious walk rate, scouting reports about Valle’s defense, and his pop should get him some time in the majors, but I can’t see him any more as a full time starter, his free swinging mentality will be exposed in the majors. He’s still very young and in AAA, so it’s still possible he learns to be more patient and work the count, but the odds aren’t on his side in my opinion, especially with Joseph, and the other catchers in the system nipping at his heels.
22. RHP Justin De Fratus – De Fratus has a live arm, with a fastball that can touch 96, but sits in the 93-94 range, and nasty slider, he’s the ideal 7th/8th inning guy. The signing of Mike Adams makes me wonder about De Fratus’ spot on the 25 man, but live arms like his don’t grow on trees, and I think if he doesn’t start in the majors, he’ll see time there soon if he’s tearing it up in AAA. I’d love to see the Brad Lidge comps come to fruition.
23. OF Dylan Cozens – Cozens put up impressive numbers in the GCL, and while there are questions about his makeup, I like his bat and his athleticism. The Phillies seem to think he has really raw power as well. He put on quite a show at the Bank when the Phils worked him out. Him and LGJ compare favorably, although Greene was in the tougher league, I still like Cozens and am excited to see how he progresses next year.
24. RHP Kenny Giles – Best fastball in the system, and an improving slider, Giles runs it up to triple digits, apparently without going full out either, from what I’ve seen, his mechanics are fairly solid, and he doesn’t look like he puts a lot of strain on the arm, really uses his legs to generate velocity, kind of reminds of Joe Blanton strangely enough from the stretch. Quick riser through the system, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a jump to AA if there was a spot available.
25. 3B Mitch Walding – Although he didn’t have the year he, or any of us were expecting, the guy still oozes with athleticism, and he has a lot of tools to dream on. He was fairly raw when drafted, and is still learning to man 3B, but I like his bat, and athletes can turn it around quicker than players that aren’t athletic. I have faith for now, it’s way too early too give up on him, but another year like 2012, and he’ll be dropping down the list.
26. RHP Kevin Brady – That K/BB ratio alone warrants this guy a spot in the top 30, freaking fantastic no matter what league you’re in. Brady’s a college guy, so he’s probably overmatching some of the younger guys in his league, but this guy could rise through the system pretty fast, as he’s already a fairly polished pitcher. Would rank him higher but I feel he’ll be a reliever, and is farther away than any of the other relievers in the system.
27. LHP Franklyn Vargas – While we don’t have much on this guy, a LH that can throw in the mid 90′s is a nice luxury to have. Small sample size to go on but I love that K/9, and he apparently has a free and easy delivery. Unclear how the Phillies are planning on using him, but if he’s a starter, by this time next year, he could be even higher. Check back in 2014.
28. RHP Tyler Cloyd – Cloyd is one of those guys who seems to outperform his peripherals, always has a nice ERA, but his FIP and xFIP don’t really see it that way. He does have a very good BB rate, but also a pretty poor K rate. He doesn’t have good velocity either, and relies on movement and trickery to get outs. I admire the hell out of the guy for making it to the majors with a somewhat lacking arsenal, but I fear he’ll be exposed when teams start to really get to see him. He has a solid K/BB ratio, and he keeps the ball in the ball park (0.7 HR/9 in 632 2/3 professional IP) though so he has that going for him. Will have to constantly prove himself.
29. OF Brian Pointer – Pointer’s got one of the smoothest swings in the system, and after tearing it up early in his career, he’s struggled as of late. He’s still young, and has time to figure it out, and having success early on, hopefully he can get back to that. Still like his athletic ability, and hoping he can put it all together.
30. RHP Brody Colvin – Still gotta show Brody some love, we all know 2012 was a horrible year for him, I don’t think anyone would argue that, but there was a lot of bad luck in Colvin’s season as well. He’s had his mechanics tinkered with, and been sent up and down the minor league ladder, but this guy still has big league stuff, and a good pedigree. The Phillies are probably getting a little antsy after doling out a huge signing bonus for Colvin, but their’s still hope because he’s fairly young. I see 2013 as his last chance to start, and if that doesn’t work out, I think he will be either converted to a reliever permanently, or released. Make or break year for Brody.
I'm more of an upside over proximity kind of guy, so I think my list kind of reflects that.
Thanks for reading!