Philadelphia Phillies Top 10 Prospects
Well I’ve just sort of decided to take over the site today. Prepare yourselves, this is quite long. One thing to keep in mind is that this list will be obsolete by mid-May. Things change, players develop or get hurt or regress or get traded. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section. I’ll get to as many as is humanly possible. You may proceed.
#1 Adam Morgan
Height/Weight: 6’1’’ 195 lbs.
Drafted: 3rd round, 2011 draft, University of Alabama
My sources: My eyes (in person and on video), scouting sources
The Stuff: 55 Fastball that sits 88mph to 92mph but will touch as high as 94mph in spurts. Terrific movement on the heater. A Slider that receives 60 grades from everyone you talk to. 55 Changeup that I’ve seen better and has a chance to grow into a legitimate plus pitch. 40 Curveball that maybe becomes a reasonable fourth pitch.
The Delivery: Repeats the delivery well thanks to decent athleticism and simple mechanics. Works with good rhythm. Maintains fastball arm speed on changeup. Will no doubt get ridiculous Cliff Lee comparisons because he happens to have a similar little glove tuck in the delivery, but you won’t fall into that trap now, will you? Three quarters arm slot that, when you also factor in his modest height, can limit the downhill plane he gets on his pitches and could potentially make him flyball prone. Plus control and command.
What Can Go Wrong: Morgan’s fastball velo settles into the average range and the changeup doesn’t take that step forward. He becomes a back end starter.
Overall Projetion: #3 Starter, I think what we saw from Morgan’s arm strength last year is emblematic of what we’ll see for his career. He’ll mostly sit 89-91mph with command and wiggle and amp it up in spots while dialing it down to fringe average speeds in others. I do think that changeup improves. He becomes a better pitcher than he was last year but won’t reach his ceiling because the fastball velocity is just ok.
#2 Jesse Biddle
Height/Weight: 6’4’’ 225 lbs.
Drafted: 1st round, 2010 draft, Germantown Friends High School
My sources: My eyes (in person and on video), scouting sources
The Stuff: 55 Fastball, 50 Curveball that projects as plus, 50 changeup that also has a chance to improve.
The Delivery: Arm comes through a little late. Lands on stiff front leg and will cut himself off a bit once in a while. Still growing into his body. Uses hips well. Good arm acceleration. Height and arm angle generate good angle on the ball. Average control, command projects to average as well. Again, don’t settle for the lazy Andy Pettitte comparisons you’re going to hear because they look sort of similar at a point or two during their respective offerings.
What Can Go Wrong: Biddle has suffered with strange periods of poor velocity where he’ll end up sitting in the mid to high 80s. It’s possible these have just been the growing pains of an arm from the Northeast who’s getting used to a pro pitcher’s workload or they could be a sign of approaching disaster.
Overall Projection: #3/4 starter, Biddle offers little risk for someone so young but lacks the insane upside that most other 21 year olds at Double-A will offer in 2013. At his best, he’ll sit 90-93mph with the fastball. If that sticks, he learns to command it and the changeup comes along (he’ll need it to to keep righties at bay) then we’re looking at a #3 starter. I think two of those developmental goals will come to fruition and he’ll fall somewhere beneath that ceiling.
#3 Tommy Joseph
Position: C (Hopefully not 1B)
Height/Weight: 6’1’’ 215 lbs.
Drafted/Acquired: 2nd round, 2009 draft (Giants), Horizon High School (Scottsdale, AZ) then sent to the Phillies in the Hunter Pence deal.
My sources: My eyes (in person and on video), scouting sources
The Tools: 60 raw power, 40 hit that has a chance to get a little better, 60 arm, 45 defense, who cares how fast he runs.
The Swing: Plus raw power created by grown man strength in the arms and hands. Nice leverage in the swing, bat speed is usually ok (though I’ve seen it look tired and sluggish in Fall League). He’s not great at adjusting and controlling the bat to make sold contact with balls in different locations. No two-strike approach. Poor eye-hand coordination, he doesn’t track the ball well. Maintains beautiful balance through his finish despite a longer, heavy stride.
The Defense: Joseph will hose you. His plus arm is slowed a bit by his footwork but it’ll play just fine in the big leagues. The rest of the defense is just okay, but that’s saying something considering that a few seasons ago our friend at BP, Jason Parks, couldn’t find a single scout that thought he’d stick behind the plate. He’s got an old body for someone just three months older than Jesse Biddle and it shows when it comes time for him to block balls in the dirt. He’s going to struggle with passed balls, it’s a foregone conclusion at this point. The game calling and receiving are ok and should improve as he works with more pitchers. Keep in mind catchers and pitchers teach eachother about the nuances of sequencing and Joseph hasn’t exactly worked with any well traveled veteran arms during his career. That should come when he gets to Triple-A.
What Can Go Wrong: Joseph’s hit tool never matures and he doesn’t hit enough to tap into that juicy, God-given thunder. His body ages to the point where he can’t catch anymore and he has to move to first base where the stick won’t profile as more than a below average regular.
Overall Projection: Average everyday catcher. ToJo’s career rests on his ability to keep on the mask. I won’t bet against him. He has the best makeup in the system and will do what it takes, conditioning wise, to squat. As long as he’s back there, he’ll be useful. Modest averages, modest OBPs and above average slugging numbers likely await his major league future. If the approach somehow miraculously improves then maybe we’re looking at a little more.
#4 Maikel Franco
Position: 3B (Maybe an OF corner if things go bad)
Height/Weight: 6’1’’ 180 lbs.
Acquired: International free agent, 2010, Dominican Republic
My sources: Scouting sources, my eyes (video only)
The Tools: 60 potential hit thanks primarily to ridiculous bat speed, 60 raw power that he’d certainly tap into if his hit tool reaches its ceiling, 60 arm, 45 defense that’ll be good enough to play at the hot corner as long as he doesn’t eat his way off it, 30 runner on a good day.
The Swing: Quiet feet, sound weight transfer and balance, Sort of a two-part load that could use some polish. Electric hands, strong and explosive. Bat path just fine. I really think this kid is going to hit.
The Defense: Strong arm. Glove should play as average thanks to feel and instincts. The body will need to be monitored closely as he moves up the organizational ladder. Worst case scenario is that he has to move across the diamond to first where the bat might not profile. Might not. I think they’d toss him in an outfield corner before it came to that so they’re not wasting the arm. If you haven’t been keeping up with our prospect conversations here (shame on you) you should know that some opposing scouts want to see him get a look behind the plate. Learning to catch at this stage could negatively impact the bat and would certainly prolong his gestation. If it paid off though….
What Can Go Wrong: The approach could be the death of him. He’s over aggressive at times and will swing at bad pitches. He also needs to work on breaking ball identification. He has time to do it, at least, but we’ve seen talented players come undone because they lack a sound plan at the dish. Diversify y’all bonds.
Overall Projection: The ceiling is that of a comfortably above average everyday third baseman, He probably won’t get there but I think he’ll approach it. That projection comes with a massive amount of risk given Franco’s age, proximity from the Majors, and the holes in his game which are among the most difficult to evaluate, project and correct.
#5 Roman Quinn
Position: SS (Maybe CF if that doesn’t work out. Fine.)
Height/Weight: 5’10’’ 170 lbs.
Drafted: 2nd round, 2011 draft, Port St. Joe High School (Port St. Joe, FL)
My Sources: Scouting Sources, My eyes (video)
The Tools: 50 potential hit that’ll likely depends on how strong he gets with the bat as he ages with 30 power that could limit his ability to get on base at the highest level. He’s a legitimate 80 runner who might be one of the fastest men in baseball not named Billy Hamilton (DeShields and Buxton can fly, too). 40 glove at SS right now that some think will improve enough that he can stick there and others don’t. 50 arm.
The Swing: A very common stride in which the front foot comes up into his body and then ends up right back down where it started. Sub-optimal for me, but plenty of guys succeed with that stride so, screw it. Generates impressive torque that makes me think he might hit for more pop than you’d think he would provided he adds overall strength. The hands drop during the load. That needs fixing. Arms and hands aren’t strong enough for him to hve great control over the bat. He just kind of whips it through the zone. Swings out of his shoes at times.
The Defense: The book on Quinn’s defense is all over the place. Some evaluators think he’ll stick at short and others think he’s going to have to move off. What Jim Callis told us was really sobering. Essentially, who cares? The fallback option is center field and that’s got plenty of sex appeal, too. Quinn is so young and has so much time to grow defensively that it’s almost pointless to say anything definitive about his future position. I will say that the arm is just good enough to play shortstop and it plays up because he has a pretty quick transfer. But his footwork had better improve. The arm accuracy needs to, as well.
What Can Go Wrong: Quinn never gets stronger, the defense at shortstop doesn’t improve and he has to move to center field where he becomes a light-hitting burner who never reaches the big leagues. This is a high-risk player.
Overall Projection: He could be an above average everyday regular but the he’s perhaps the most high-risk prospect on this list. SO much needs to happen for him to get there that it’s unlikely he will. Having said that, Quinn does a lot of things you can’t teach and his deficiencies are things that at least have a puncher’s chance to improve.
#6 Ethan Martin
Height/Weight: 6’2’’ 195 lbs.
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2008 draft (Dodgers), Stephens County School (Toccoa, GA) then acquired in the Shane Victorino deal.
My Sources: My eyes (live and video), scouting sources
The Stuff: 70 Fastball that sits mid-90s even when he starts. It’ll get up to 98mph and it moves, too. 60 Curveball that sits in the upper-70s, 55 Slider that’s really more of a cutter. He throws it hard, too. I saw it up to 88mph last year, though it usually sits mid-80s. No changeup or split to speak of. Usually you worry about guys like that having platoon issues. While it’s true the lack of such a pitch will likely limit Martin’s ceiling, we’ve seen plenty of guys carve out mid-rotation spots without el cambio. Martin will just have to learn how to work his breaking balls toward the back foot of left-handed hitters.
The Delivery: Martin is really athletic and his arm accelerates beautifully but for whatever reason he doesn’t maintain his delivery. Nothing about his mechanics are repeated with perfect consistency. The feet are all over the place, he doesn’t always finish and the release point varies like crazy. This mess is what’s held him back and what might force him into the bullpen at some point. It’s 40 control/command.
What Can Go Wrong: Martin’s control never improves and he’s forced into the bullpen. His stuff is still good enough that he becomes a late inning reliever.
Overall Projection: Martin’s either going to be a solid mid-rotation starter or a high-leverage (well, theoretically that’s when he’d be deployed) reliever. Unless Phillies player development people can fix him, I think you’ll see him become the Phillies closer one day. He has the makeup for it. That’s right, I believe in the whole “Closer Mentality” thing. But that’s podcast fodder. I wouldn’t make the move to the bullpen until it was absolutely necessary. I think that means he spends the entire year in Triple-A pitching in the rotation and maybe even repeating the level to start 2014.
#7 Jonathan Pettibone
Height/Weight: 6’5’’ 200 lbs.
Drafted: 3rd round, 2008 draft, Esperanza High School (Anaheim, CA)
My Sources: My eyes, scouting sources
The Stuff: Average across the board. 50 Fastball in the upper 80s that’ll creep into the 90s here and there. The Changeup is his out pitch. It moves and he maintains his fastball arm speed. He relies on it a little too heavily at times. I’d grade it at a 55. Average Slider which he commands well but it lacks sharp movement. He’ll show you a curveball or two per start.
The Delivery: Pettibone is a big boy and he uses his height to generate velocity and plane. It’s a schoolboy delivery, clean and quiet. He doesn’t show you the ball until very late. It’s great control and command with deception.
What Can Go Wrong: I’m not really sure anything can go horribly wrong for Pettibone at this point. I’m pretty confident that he is what he is. He does walk a tightrope of sorts, because Pettibone can’t afford for any of his positive attributes to vaporize. If he loses any stuff or his control somehow regresses, then he’s an up and down guy.
Overall Projection: An innings eating, back-end starter,
#8. Carlos Tocci
Height/Weight: 6’2’’ 160 lbs.
Acquired: International free agent, 2011, Venezuela
My Sources: Scouting sources, my eyes (video only)
The Tools: “All That” debuted on Nickelodeon before Tocci was born so keep in mind that all of these grades are essentially future projections. 50 potential hit tool, maybe more if he can add strength and drive balls with more authority. There’s very little raw power but the frame indicates he has room to put on strength so I’ll project it as a future 40. 60 glove in centerfield, 50 arm at present that could improve as he gets stronger, and he’s 65 runner which I think will stick for a long while. If “instincts” were a tool, Tocci would grade out at plus-plus. Everyone raves about how advanced this kid is. I can’t wait to see him in Williamsport this year.
The Swing: Has that same stride Roman Quinn has though Tocci’s isn’t as pronounced. Everything is clean and smooth but it’s clear he must add strength if he’s going to hit the ball out of a Major League infield with any sort of consistency.
The Defense: He’s a teenager so he has to hone the noble craft that is patrolling centerfield, but there isn’t a soul that thinks he won’t stick there. He can really run but his routes needs improving. I think his arm will develop into a commendable weapon.
What Could Go Wrong: I’ve seen guys that never add weight and just look like beanpoles forever. If Tocci’s biological chemistry prevents him from adding muscle, he’ll never reach Philly. The good news is that he’s reportedly gotten a bit meatier this winter. Oh, and don’t forget that he’s just a baby and any number of things can wrong over the next four years. Extremely risky.
Overall Projection: He has a chance to be an above-average regular. It’ll be interesting to see how the Phillies handle him. He’s quite advanced for his age but the Phils typically take the barbecue approach with their prospects, developing them low and slow.
#9 Shane Watson
Height/Weight: 6’4’’ 200 lbs.
Drafted: 1st round, 2012 draft, Lakewood High School (Lakewood, CA)
My Sources: Scout sources, my eyes (video only)
The Tools: 55 Fastball with a chance to add more (though I don’t think it’ll happen but it’ll work just fine) along with a 60 future Curveball that was one of the best hammers in the 2012 draft. If he develops feel for his changeup it could play at MLB average.
The Delivery: Watson is a big boy with lots of moving parts and it’s going to take some work to make sure he keeps his delivery in order. He uses what look like abnormally long arms to generate a lot of his velocity right now. I’d like to see him incorporate his lower half some more, especially when he’s in the stretch. Lots of work to do here but no signs of fatality.
What Can Go Wrong: Arms break. Lots of guys never throw harder than they do in high school and if that’s true for Watson then we’re looking at a fringe average heater and his future begins to look murky.
Overall Projection: He’s so far away that it seems frivolous to try to hone in on Watson’s future. We can at least see his ceiling is that of a nice, mid-rotation piece.
#10 Phillippe Aumont
Height/Weight: 6’7’’ 260 lbs.
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round pick, 2007 draft, Ecole Du Verant High School, Quebec, Canada then traded to Philly in the Cliff Lee
My Sources: My eyes (In Person)
The Stuff: The best pure stuff in the entire system, Aumont works with a dense 70 grade Fasbtall in the 94-98mph range and a 70 curveball in the low 80s. Yes, that’s a curveball.
The Delivery: Big and stiff, Aumont’s delivery is usually a mess. The arm comes through late and the angle is shallow enough that he loses some of the natural plane for someone who’s about as tall as Jon Runyan. He doesn’t repeat and his control can really suffer.
What Can Go Wrong: Aumont’s control will come and go for weeks at a time. He could suddenly go the way of Dellin Betances and be unable to recover.
Overall Projection: He’s an eighth inning guy and will probably get a shot to close someday.
Quick thoughts on other guys:
Cody Asche: I think he’ll hit but it’ll be without much power and the defense at third base is just sort of ok. He’s a below average regular for me.
Sebastian Valle: The defense is good, especially the receiving, but the bat went way backwards last year. His approach is too atrocious for him to project as an everyday regular but he could be a top shelf backup if he starts hitting more baseballs.
Tyler Cloyd: Fifth starter/up and down guy. No shame in that.
Jake Diekman: lefty up to 96mph with a decent slider is nice, but the delivery leads me to believe the platoon splits may be too extreme for him to be as valuable as the stuff indicates. He’s a big leaguer, though.
JC Ramirez: It’s mostly over.
Cesar Hernandez: He’s a good defensive second baseman and he can make contact but ther’ll never be power there. It’s enough that he could be a below average regular. If he could play SS he’d be a starter.
Steve Susdorf: He’s 27 but I’ve always liked the hit tool. It’s his only one as he’s terrible in the outfield and has no power. September bench bat. I hope he gets to put on the uniform this year.
Tyson Gillies: There’s no power in that swing. None. The on base skills won’t play in the majors. Defense in CF is just ok. His athleticism makes up for poor route running enough that he can play there but he’s not great. Fourth OF for me.
Darin Ruf: Not enough bet to play everyday at 1B or LF for that matter and the defense in LF will never be good.
Brody Colvin: I never ran into Colvin while he was at Reading last year. Hey, I’m not perfect.
Austin Hyatt: I thought the changeup might have been good enough that he could reach the majors but everything went backwards last year.
Leandro Castro: Tons of swing and miss there. Too much to get the the Show.
Jiwan James: Maybe the injury was why he looked so bad at the plate last year. I’m inclined to just move on.
Zach Collier: I’m intrigued. There’s enough raw ability there to think h could make it. Not more than a fourth OF but he could still make it.
Kenny Giles: I think he’ll make it to the Majors this season. That’s right, all the way from Clearwater. He is what he is already, which is a firebreathing righty with no command and average slider. That’s a big league reliever.
Cameron Rupp: No idea. Need to see him.
Anthony Hewitt: Yeesh
Hoby Miliner: Never put on the weight we all wanted him to. Time is running out to do it. This is a good time to tell you I’m not all that hot for Dee Milliner, either.
Gabrel Lino: Monster tools but little chance they translate from 5pm to 7pm. Perchance to dream.
Aaron Altherr: See Pointer, Brian
Austin Wright: A big young man with a big fastball but things in other areas need work, especially the command.
Brian Pointer: Athletic outfielder who they’re trying to teach how to play baseball. Watch and see while keeping in mind that this doesn’t often work out. When it does? It is sexy.
Larry Greene: Huge raw power but positional profile puts pressure on the bat. I think it’ll be too much but I need to see more than the two rain-shortened games I saw in Williamsport last year.
Dylan Cozens: Big time athlete that had offers to play FCS football is another guy to watch but don’t look at him wrong or he could physically accost you.
Mitch Gueller: Really interesting two way player in high school that could develop into a viable rotation arm. That changeup is advanced for his age and he’ll touch 95mph.
Andrew Pullin: An interesting bat who is working on a transition to 2B. If it sticks then he’s a guy to watch.
Jose Pujols- Might have had more raw power than any other Dominican teenager eligible to sign this past year. The Phillies love tool superlatives.
Deivy Grullon- The most expensive international signing the Phils made last year, Grullon is a polished defensive catcher whose future depends on the development of his bat.
That seems sufficient.