End of July 2013 Phillies Prospect Pulse Check

John Mayberry's Junior bunts his way to First. - Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It's time for a look at how some Prospects aredoing as they head into the home stretch on the Minor League season.

I'm not going to touch on everyone, or even focus on Top Prospects. At this point, I assume everyone knows plenty about Franco's numbers and swing concerns. With the recent call-ups of Asche and Martin, I won't bother getting into their numbers either. I will start on Biddle though, who is challenging Ethan Martin for most bipolar starter (in terms of results).

Jesse Biddle - There's been good and bad with Biddle all season. The good is that when he's on and he can get into curveball counts, he can rack up a ton of Strikeouts (112 in 101.1 IP). The bad is a 5.09 BB/9 rate, which is really ugly. He's had serious trouble the last week and a half, as he's been unable to get out of the Second Inning. He's racked up a combined 9 BB in 2.0 Innings of work during that time, while allowing 6 hits and 9 runs. From June 1st on, he's been consitent in that he puts up 2 good starts and two awful starts, followed by 2 good and 2 more awful ones.

Aaron Altherr - No one was hotter than Altherr to start the season, but it would seem in more recent updates as though he was doing poorly to mediocre. He is, but a season line of .270/.334/.466 for an .800 OPS with 18 SB (3 CS), 10 HR is about where he should be. The .196 ISO and 8.6% BB rate are promising. The 28.4% K rate less so. Altherr's best tool currently is probably his success on the basepaths, as over his career he steals at an 80+% success rate. He doesn't run a lot, but he seems to have great technique and feel when he does. Altherr has improved every year in the minors, but it seems like he needs a breakout season to really be a serious prospect and be anything more than the next John Mayberry, Jr.

Zach Collier - .194/.271/.310, 7 HR, 15 SB (2 CS). Collier is currently on the 40 man to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Should the Phillies protect him? Good question and there are great cases that can be made both ways. But remember he's 23 years old, has a decent walk rate and his athleticism suggests he could be someone's Shane Victorino if he gets picked up. On the flipside? Good for him if that happens. Maybe a change of scenery and coaching is what will unlock it. I lean very slightly toward protecting him, but obviously there will be a bit of a numbers crunch on the 40 man this winter, so he may need to be risked.

Dylan Cozens - Cozens puts the "tool" in Toolsy, having been benched this past week for arguing too vociferously with an Ump about a call, on top of having to leave his High School baseball team after an altercation with a coach. Kid can hit though and seems to have good plate discipline. His current line is a very solid .260/.340/.458, 5 HR, 7 SB (2 CS), 22.7% K, 10.7% BB. Dylan's a Right Fielder now, but he's a massive young man who may eventually need to move to First. That move means he needs to seriously mash baseballs to be a real prospect.

J.P. Crawford - Essentially the other end of the temperment spectrum, this year's top pick has been a blast to follow. He's currently sporting a .356/.446/.471 line with 4 doubles, 3 triples, 14 BB and 14 K in 102 PA with 9 SB (4 CS). Could be a Top 100 Prospect by the end of the season.

Kelly Dugan - Dugan's adjusting some to Double-A. The overall line in Reading of .287/.333/.468 looks plenty good, but the 2.9% BB rate suggests he hasn't fully adjusted yet, as Dugan typically sports something close to 10% for his walk rate. A .181 ISO is great though and his K rate is in great shape. Dugan doesn't have any great skill that stands out, but I've been unreasonably high on Dugan for a while now and I think ranked him higher than anyone else this Winter. I think he can be a .280-ish hitter with 20-25 HR/per year. Not an All-Star, but that's a pretty usefull guy to have around.

Deivi Grullon - Not a guy I've talked about much, but these monthly updates and end of season updates are good places to discuss interesting guys in VSL, DSL and GCL. .203/.266/.254 is not the greatest of lines, but Grullon's walk and K rates are pretty reasonable and he's a 17 year old playing in the US for the first time and learning his position.

Anthony Hewitt - Another guy who people like to point to as evidence of busts the Phillies have drafted. Hewitt's eligible for Minor League Free Agency at the end of the season and the Phillies will need to decide if he's worth keeping. I would lean "no", but BradinDC and Mattwinks were discussing his splits on Twitter, and the guy is absolutely destroying LHP this year going .379/.417/.909 with a .326 BABiP and .530 ISO. It's a smallish sample size at 72 PA and he's well beyong incompetent against RHP, but as the future short side of an OF Platoon, he may have enough value to keep. Of course that mean playing him on Defense too and Hewitt has quite a history of throwing errors, but even there he's improved this year. He can play either corner (though, oddly he's much worse in Left) and has a handful of games in Center. Call me crazy, but I'd lean toward signing him and inviting him to camp.

Andrew Knapp - I think everyone was pretty excited about Knapp when he came out the gate strong in the NYPL. He's cooled off, but there's still some thing to like in his .228/.310/.333 line. 10 walks in 129 PA, for one thing is respectable. It's also a bit unusual to see 4 steals (1 CS) from a Catching prospect. Sadly, we haven't been able to jdge his defense as an injury keeps him from throwing and therefore has pretty much stuck him at DH (could also have some effect on hitting). We'll likely need to wait to see what he does next year, likely at Lakewood.

Gabriel Lino - Expect to see Lino move up a lot of prospect lists this offseason. He's not a Top 150 guy, yet, but he's more interesting now than he was last year. His Offense is still a work in progress with a .721 OPS, but his Power is somewhat suppressed by the cavernous confines of the NYPL parks. The real story is his Defense which appears much improved. Last year he had 28 Passed Balls in 715 chances and this year he's cut that rate nearly in half with 6 PB in 286 chances. Additionally he's thrown out 19 of 48 base runners. I'm suspicious of minor league CS%, but anyone that's gunning out 40% of base stealers is doing something right, and Lino has always been noted to have a strong arm and great pop times.

Wilmer Oberto - Oberto has been awesome, though this comes with a few disclaimers. First he's old for the GCL. Second, he's undersized for his position (splitting time between First and RF, at 5'11" he'd be a mighty diminutive First Baseman). That said he has a .253 ISO, so even when his BABiP adjusts down, he'll still be in pretty good shape right? Perhaps, his walk rate is half of what it wa sin the VSL, but I think he can maintain similar power. Ultimately though I think this is a guy succeeding against much younger players, and I'm not going to rank him very highly until he mashes in full season ball. There just isn't a huge market for sub-six-foot First Basemen, so he needs to seriously mash to be any kind of prospect.

Cameron Perkins - Perkins lost time to a broken wrist, but he was killing it before suffering the injury. He's a corner outfielder with good power potential. I'm going to completely ignore his stats from his GCL rehab, but even just looking at Clearwater is promising. .295/.341/.451 with .156 ISO. His walk rate is pretty bad (5.4%), but to his credit, he doesn't K a whole lot (13.7%), if he can maintain that K rate while increasing power, the Walk rate will be manageable.

Brian Pointer - Very few guys have higher ceilings, even fewer are as frustrating in showing that ceiling, then disappearing for long stretches. I hold out hope for Pointer for one reason: he has good plate discipline and I honestly feel like he may be a guy who suddenly just snaps on. That hasn't happened yet.

Jose Pujols - On my pereseason Top 30, I took a flayer on ranking Jose Pujols. I typically hate rating guys based on GCL stats alone, and the thought of rating them on no stats felt pretty risky. Reports on Pujols were pretty glowing though, mostly pointing to him being a more athletic Domingo Santana with plus-plus power potential. Hey, I love Santana, and I also love prospects with crazy raw power. Pujols has lived up to the power billing as he is just off the league lead in Homers. Good news is he ha sbeen hitting better every month (.174/.208/.261 in June, .188/.300/.362 in July, .500/.500/.875 in this insanely small August sample), his contact types have changed significantly as well, as he is producing nearly twice as many OFB in July/August as June and a far superior walk rate. One common problem he's having is an awful platoon split against Righties, but he's a 17 year old kid, so nothing too concerning yet.

Andrew Pullin - Pullin is converting from an outfielder to Second base. It's a mixed bag so far. He's had good and bad stretches with his glove, but thqat's to be expected. His walk rate is awfuller than Perkins' (though his K rate is even better). These aren't big isues yet, but Pullin is on a highwire. If his glove isn't good enough for Second, his bat isn't good enough for anywhere else. If his BB rate stays abysmal, then he needs to hit more Line Drives to boost his average or he also becomes pretty expendable. Even a strong glove isn't a guarantee if you can't get an OBP over .310.

Gregori Rivero - Another very young VSL kid (just barely 17 when the season started), the young SS, who is converting to Catcher, has work to do with 27% K rate and 2.2% BB rate. I'm not sure how to take VSL defensive stats, but 29% CS looks reasonable for a kid with no experience behind the dish.

Freddy Zorilla - With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound, he wades through the buildings toward the center of town. Go, go Zorilla. Another VSL guy whose name I enjoy (No, Taco, I don't care that's it pronounced in a less pun-able way in Spanish. I'm having fun with it anyway). Freddy's .290/.354/.415 line makes me curious to see what he might be able to do stateside next year.

Brody Colvin - Colvin has been beyond awful this year. In fact, he seems to get worse with every passing season. He's Rule 5 eligible this Winter and with the numbers crunch I don't know if he'll get protected. With a nearly 6 BB/9 rate and a 4 K/9 rate I'm not against letting him go. Maybe a change of scenery will make it easier to find the plate. If he succeeds elsewhere, good for him, but I think he's just getting worse here.

Perci Garner - Another Rule 5 eligible guy who has problems with Walks. Garner's future is in the bullpen, where perhaps he can hide his control issues and focus on 2 pitches and getting Strikes. Could be a high leverage bullpen arm.

Severino Gonzalez - His raw stuff isn't the greatest, but the guy just keeps racking up K's and he almost never walks anyone. He's not likely a future Ace, but he may be able to become a reliable middle of the rotation guy if this control holds at higher levels (that doesn't always happen). An interesting guy to follow in 2014.

Yoel Mecias - Up until his injury this summer Mecias was a revelation. 57.0 IP, 70 K, 25 BB, 3.79 ERA. We won't see him again for quite a while, as he rehabs, but anything close to that would make him quite a prospect.

Mauricio Robles - Cherrypicked off the Mariners Waiver Wire this Spring, Robles has racked up K's and BBs in nearly equal measure. We're probably seeing him at some point in Philly in the next 8 weeks. To his credit he doesn't give up a lot of hard contact, with 8 XBH in 50+ innings.

Shane Watson - Watson's stats aren't worth disecting too much as he has been overhauling his Pitching this summer. He's currently shut down to give his shoulder a rest. The good news is that while he was still Pitching his K rate improved every month, pretty dramatically, while his BB rate remained reasonable.Kind of a hold steady year for Watson as far as rankings go, but if the overhaul works, he may come out of it a far better prospect next summer.

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