And so the 2009 minor league season winds down. Reading and Lakewood will participate in the Eastern League and South Atlantic League playoffs, respectively, but everyone else is done (save for a final Lehigh Valley game this evening). It's been a markedly successful campaign for the organization's prospects -- The Big Three are all Top 50 (if not Top 25) prospects in all of baseball, and we've seen the emergence of guys like Anthony Gose, Trevor May, Domingo Santana, and more. It's crazy to think that the Phillies could deal Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco, and Jason Knapp, and still wind up with a better set of prospects at the end of 2009 than the group that ended 2008, but that is really, honestly the case here.
This will be the last Prospect Roundup for 2009, but never fear: I'll be back soon enough with offseason prospect stuff, including organizational rankings and some different pieces. I hope you've enjoyed this new feature on The Good Phight, and I welcome any suggestions you may have for improving it.
With all that out of the way then, let's get to the good stuff. Check below the jump for info on The Big Three, 2009 draftee Zach Collier, the next Antonio Bastardo, and the organization's best pitching prospect not named Kyle Drabek.Domonic Brown, OF-L, Reading: I mentioned it last week, but it bears repeating: Domonic's been whiffing a bit lately (12 this week, en route to a 9-for-35 week). That makes 36 in 144 Reading at bats, and while 25.0% K isn't bad, it's much higher than his career 18.9% K. He'll no doubt start next year at Reading, and we can chalk up the increased swing-and-miss to the Double-A adjustment period; the guy's still hitting .285/.348/.465 in 160 Reading plate appearances, so things are still proceeding as planned.
Michael Taylor, OF-R, Lehigh Valley: Still DL'ed with an obligue injury... but somehow he looks better and better than Raul Ibanez every day. (I kid, I kid).
Kyle Drabek, RHP, Reading: Shut down for the season, so will not be taking part in Reading's playoff campaign.
Trevor May, RHP, Lakewood: Speaking of playoff campaigns... May will get the chance to help pitch the BlueClaws to the SAL title. He was solid this past week, whiffing 13 in 10 innings across two starts, surrendering just 6 hits and 0 earned runs while walking 6. The 43 free passes in 77.1 IP is too many, but 95 strikeouts over that span is certainly encouraging, as is a 3.09 FIP. For my money, he's the organization's second best pitching prospect at this point.
Travis d'Arnaud, C-R, Lakewood: A 10-for-25 week for Travis, including 3 doubles, a pair of walks, 2 stolen bases, and only 1 strikeout. He's at .255/.318/.420 on the year, with solid 7.9% BB and 15.7% K ratios, and the scouting reports I've heard have been very positive. Chalk up the somewhat pedestrian looking line to bad luck on balls in play, and realize the truth about this guy: he's the best prospect in the system out The Big Three.
Zach Collier, OF-R, Williamsport: It's ironic -- I loved the selection of Collier (34th overall) in last year's draft, and was lukewarm on the selection of Anthony Gose (51st overall). Fast forward a year, and Gose is a Top 10 prospect, while Collier has struggled mightily across two levels. His .218/.275/.319 line in 321 Lakewood plate appearances got him demoted to Williamsport, where he's put up a nearly identical .226/.280/.336 line in 146 plate appearances. He's only 18 still, so just like Anthony Hewitt, there's plenty of time for the breakout to come -- but 2009 has been an abject disappointment under any light.
Michael Schwimer, RHP, Reading: Not sure if there are any Elias Sports Bureau wannabes out there, but I'd love to know the last time a pitcher won two games in the same day. Schwimer accomplished the feat last Monday in his Double-A debut -- not a bad first day at the office, huh? His final Clearwater numbers were just sick -- 12.3 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 1.95 FIP in 48.0 IP -- and while he surrendered 5 runs across his third and fourth games for the R-Phils, he's got what it takes to succeed at Double-A and beyond. If he keeps on chugging, a September 2010 call-up to the big league bullpen looks like a decent bet.
Mike Cisco, RHP, Reading: A control specialist, Cisco has struggled a bit making the jump to Double-A, but looked great this past week, tossing 12.2 innings while allowing just 1 earned run on 8 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7. A 36th round pick last year, Cisco is way ahead of the curve just having made it to Reading, and while his shrinking strikeout rate -- 5.7 K/9 across High-A and Double-A in 2009, compared to 8.6 K/9 across short season and Low-A last year -- may point toward Cisco ultimately winding up in the bullpen, his stinginess with the free pass (career 1.3 BB/9) and worm-burning tendencies (career 53.3% GB) should play up well there.
Darin Ruf, 1B-R, Williamsport: I know -- he's 23, he's a first baseman only, so he's not really a prospect. But I love the plate discipline Ruf flashed during his college career (125 walks to 112 strikeouts) and cling to the belief that he has some kind of shot at being a useful MLB player. After a 9-for-22 week that included 5 doubles and 3 walks, Ruf's Williamsport line sits at .301/.377/.496. File him away in the back of your mind as one of those long shots you root for.
Siulman Lebron, RHP, Williamsport: Lebron's a guy I've watched with interest this year, as he's mastered two very important skill sets: not issuing free passes (just 1.8 BB/9), and keeping the ball on the ground (54.6% GB). He's 22, and his 5-6 record and 4.48 ERA don't wow anyone, but a 2.98 FIP should certainly catch your attention. The Phils have had some success lately with Latin pitching prospects seemingly coming out of nowhere -- think Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona, and Yohan Flande -- and Lebron has a chance to follow in that line.