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Prospect Roundup: Outfielders Galore

Another week in the books, and we rapidly approach the conclusion of the minor league (regular) season at the end of August.  What guys do from here on out is likely to have a negligible effect on their season numbers, but there's nonetheless something to hold our attention as the 2009 campaign wanes: the debuts of the late signees from the June draft.

So check below the jump for info on "The Big Three," plus Kyrell Hudson, Joe Savery, Freddy Galvis, and more.


Domonic Brown, OF-L, Reading: I mean, what else is there to say here?  Brown smacked a hit in all 6 games this week, finishing 9-for-28 to bump his Double-A slash numbers to .313/.367/.566 in 90 plate appearances.  Baseball America's "Best Tools" edition saw the FSL managers vote Brown the best defensive outfielder, and while some who have seen him say he still has work to do on his jumps and routes, the tools are clearly there for him to be a very good right fielder with the leather.

Michael Taylor, OF-R, Lehigh Valley: Taylor sat out the entire week with an oblique injury, and between health and the realities of a 40-man roster crunch, it's starting to look like a September call-up is doubtful.  It's no fault of his -- the Phils just happen to be ridiculously deep in the outfield.

Kyle Drabek, RHP, Reading: The organization's top arm turned in his best performance in weeks on Thursday, going 7 shutout innings against Portland, striking out as many (4) as he surrendered base runners (3 hits, 1 walk).  It's nitpicking a bit given the progress he's made this year, but two areas he can improve at the Double-A level are: (1) his strikeout rate, which is at 6.6 per 9 innings; and (2) his ground ball rate, which is down to 41.6%.

Kyrell Hudson, OF-R, GCL Phillies: Small sample size warning, but a pleasant early surprise from the Phillies' 2009 3rd round pick described by Baseball America in the following terms: "raw," "scouts aren't sure how much he likes baseball," and "struggles to square balls up even in batting practice."  He only went 3-for-13 in his first week of pro ball, but he drew 3 walks and smacked a double.  Just like "you can't teach height" in basketball, "you can't teach tools" in this sport, so Hudson could be a beast if he puts it all together.

Andrew Carpenter, RHP, Lehigh Valley: Carpenter was being hailed as the potential "next Kyle Kendrick" in Spring Training 2008 (and yes, that was a compliment back then), but he went off the rails with a 5.67 ERA in Reading.  This year, though, he's quietly reestablished himself as a legitimate future big leaguer, tossing a ton of starts just like Thursday's (6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) to post a 4.06 FIP and 7.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 numbers.  Ideally you'd like to see more grounders (just 38.3%) and less homers (1.1 HR/9), but he looks like a potential strike-throwing #5 or solid middle reliever, which is far more than he looked like at this time last year. 

Joe Savery, LHP, Lehigh Valley: The organization's 1st round pick in 2007, Savery was aggressively promoted to Triple-A at the end of July despite middling Double-A numbers.  More walks (17) than strikeouts (15) in 28.1 innings for Lehigh Valley has done little to justify the promotion, though he has battled to post solid outings like Thursday's (notching the win with a 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K performance).  Scouts say his fastball is back up to 88-92 (unlike last year), so maybe there's hope yet, but he's starting to look more and more like a reliever to me.

Leandro Castro, OF-R, Williamsport: Sure, it'd be nice to have a sleeper prospect develop at SS or 3B, but we can't pick and choose position, so yet another outfield prospect will have to do.  Phuture Phillies highlighted Castro a few weeks ago, and for good reason: after a rough go of it in Lakewood, the 20-year old has posted a .328/.372.534 line in 217 NYPL at bats.  His plate approach isn't the best (6.0% BB, 18.1% K), but it sounds like he should stick in center, and he's certainly intriguing as a power (.206 ISO) and speed (14 SB, albeit 9 CS) guy going forward.

Freddy Galvis, SS-S, Clearwater: Galvis has a major league ready glove, but a bat that looks like it belongs in the Gulf Coast League.  Currently at .247/.280/.307 in 261 High-A plate appearances, the bat has a long way to come if he's ever going to be a major league regular.  Three silver linings to note, though: (1) he's still just 19 years old, so he's young for the pitching-dominated FSL; (2) he's a natural left-handed hitter, so trying to switch hit (a paltry .186/.183/.229 hitting right-handed) is dragging down his averages; and (3) scouts like his glove so much that he really just needs to be a .260/.330/.350 guy in the majors in order to have value.

John Mayberry, OF-R, Lehigh Valley: Mayberry burst onto the major league scene with 4 HRs in his first 38 at bats, but earned a ticket back to Triple-A by going 1 for his last 15 with 8 punchouts.  He'll be back on September 1 as pinch runner, replacement outfielder, and additional right-handed power threat, and his 2 HR this week show the latter part of that equation.  His prodigious whiff rate (31.1% K) and struggles against RHP (.235/.323/.459) have him looking more like a 4th outfielder than a future regular, but as a guy who can crush lefties and can play all three outfield spots in a pinch, he's got definite value.

Domingo Santana, OF-R, GCL Phillies: While he hasn't launched a homer since last month, Santana is still doing enough to intrigue in the Gulf Coast League.  I get the feeling he's made a conscious effort to work on his plate discipline, demonstrating much improved contact ability in August (25.0% K) than he did in June and July (44.1% K).  He's still got 5 HR and a .213 ISO in 122 plate appearances, and having just turned 17 on August 5, Santana has plenty of time to develop as a hitter -- he's not a fast-track candidate, but the end reward of waiting could be great.