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Phillies Top Prospect Lists: A Look Back

The Phillies are a team loaded with prospects for the first time in a long time. What has the past taught us?

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a prospect-y week here at The Good Phight. As you may have seen, Baseball Prospectus released their top ten Phillies prospect list earlier this week as covered here. (Baseball America had theirs in November, which you can find here.) Some of those prospects have been invited to spring training. There are some, uh, hot young prospects you might not have been thinking about too. The Phillies, after a painstaking few seasons, have finally built a farm system being recognized as one of the top ten in the game.

Of course, prospects are a funny game. Patience is preached. Frustration is expected. Payoffs can seem to be few and far between. That being said, truly, for the first time in a long time, there are some signs of life in Clearwater, Lakewood, Williamsport, Reading, Allentown and beyond.

So there's no better time than a sleepy week in January six weeks out from pitchers and catchers to dig out the archives and jump into some old prospect ranking lists just for the fun of it, right? Do you want to see some names you probably haven't thought about in a long time? You know you do. For simplicity's sake, we're using only the Baseball America lists here. Disclaimer: No former prospects were harmed in the making of this article.

(As a general rule of thumb, the BA lists came out in November of the previous year, so the 2005 prospect list is from November 2, 2004. And so on.)


1. Ryan Howard, 1b

2. Gavin Floyd, rhp

3. Cole Hamels, lhp

4. Greg Golson, of

5. Michael Bourn, of

6. Scott Mathieson, rhp

7. Jake Blalock, of

8. Carlos Carrasco, rhp

9. Edgar Garcia, rhp

10. Scott Mitchinson, rhp

Well, they got #1 right, that's for sure. The 2005 season was Howard's breakout, when he hit 22 home runs in in 88 games and posted a .924 OPS. A short time later, Jim Thome was gone, Howard was at first, and so began one of the best offensive seasons in Phillies history with Howard's mammoth 2006, where he hit .313/.425/.659 with 58 HR and 149 RBI.

That Cole Hamels guy wasn't bad either, and Michael Bourn turned out to be a valuable trade chip for the Phillies in helping to acquire Brad Lidge in the winter prior to the 2008 season.

Carlos Carrasco, at the back end of this list... also a trade chip. Trade chips for everyone! Scott Mitchinson apparently now pitches in Australia (not to be confused with Scott Mathieson, who at last check was making a name for himself in Japan), Jake Blalock was not as good as his brother, and Edgar Garcia... yeah.

BA also likes to go beyond the top ten rankings as well, for things like "best slider" or "best infield arm." The best fastball in the Phillies' system at the time? I could have given you 100 guesses and I'm not sure you would have come up with Eude Brito.


1. Carlos Carrasco, rhp

2. Adrian Cardenas, 2b

3. Joe Savery, lhp

4. Josh Outman, lhp

5. Kyle Drabek, rhp

6. Dominic Brown, of

7. Greg Golson, of

8. Lou Marson, c

9. Drew Carpenter, rhp

10. Jason Jaramillo, c

Three years later, Carrsaco found himself as the top prospect in the Phillies' organization. He never appeared in a Major League game for the Phillies, of course, being dealt to Cleveland in July of 2009. After a bit of a wait (there's that frustration we talked about), Carrasco has put together back-to-back strong campaigns, tossing 317 2/3 innings over the last two years, with a 3.17 ERA, 2.67 FIP, and 22.6 K-BB%, a number second-best in the American League for '14-'15 for those with at least 300 innings pitched.

Numbers two and four on this list were used to acquire Joe Blanton, a move that the 17-year-old version of me remembers despising. It turned out alright, I suppose.

Most names on this list never panned out. A name not on this list, Freddy Galvis, was graded as "best defensive infielder" and "best defensive arm." That has turned out to be pretty accurate.


1. Domonic Brown, of

2. Kyle Drabek, rhp

3. Michael Taylor, of

4. Travis D'Arnaud, c

5. Trevor May, rhp

6. Anthony Gose, of

7. Sebastian Valle, c

8. Jarred Cosart, rhp

9. Antonio Bastardo, lhp

10. Domingo Santana, of

And so this is when we believed that Domonic Brown was the Next Big Thing. Good times. Of course, it didn't really seem to matter much at the time. A month after the publishing of this list, the Phillies had acquired Roy Halladay, so prospects weren't exactly on everyone's mind. If they were, it was probably in regards to wondering which ones would be traded.

Drabek, #2 on this list, was indeed dealt in the Halladay trade, along with Taylor and D'Arnaud.

Trevor May was eventually dealt to Minnesota for Ben Revere. The back end of this list has been surprisingly productive in Major League Baseball. We'll probably never know the true story behind the Domingo Santana trade snafu, but that deal brought Hunter Pence to the Phillies. Cosart has dealt with some injury issues, including a long stint on the DL with vertigo, though nothing too crippling. He's probably on his way to getting a surprisingly large contract some day.

Best change-up, in case you were wondering? Yohan Flande. Best slider? Mike Stutes. Yowzers.


1. Jesse Biddle, lhp

2. Roman Quinn, ss

3. Tommy Joseph, c

4. Jon Pettibone, rhp

5. Adam Morgan, lhp

6. Ethan Martin, rhp

7. Cody Asche, 3b

8. Maikel Franco, 3b

9. Darin Ruf, 1b/of

10. Carlos Tocci, of

Yes, Jesse Biddle was once highly thought of enough to be #1 on a prospect list. Injuries and general performance issues have slowed the former first-round pick, and if you take a gander at any prospect list this time around, there's a good chance you won't see Biddle in the top 10, 15 or even 20.

These were pretty lean times, here. Quinn has progressed enough and is still considered a top-five guy in my mind, albeit now at a different position. Joseph has had his fair share of injury issues. Pettibone and Morgan are back end of the rotation guys at best, Martin's no longer in the organization, and Asche looks like he'll be nothing more than a platoon/bench bat for his Major League career.

This was the time that Franco began popping up on the radar, and his climb has been welcomed. This also shows just how long Tocci has been on these lists. He was at age 17 for his 2013 campaign. The Phillies were able to keep him this off-season despite being exposed in the Rule V Draft. The jury is still out on him, but we can assure you he is still just 20 years old.

So there you have it. Maybe a decade down the road we'll look back at the 2016 list and say that those names were the building blocks of a dynasty. Or, maybe we'll be wondering where it all went wrong. Let's hope for the former.