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Top Ten Prospects: Philadelphia Phillies
Complete Index of Top 10s

By Will Kimmey
November 14, 2005


Chat Wrap: Will Kimmey took your Phillies questoins
Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2006.

Pushing the eject button on Larry Bowa’s managerial career netted the Phillies just two more wins in 2005 than the hyper-intense Bowa earned in each of the previous two seasons. Though Philadelphia won 14 of its last 20 games, it still ended up one game behind the Astros in the National League wild-card race.

The 88 wins marked the franchise’s most since it advanced to the World Series in 1993 and gave the Phillies three consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1975-80. But falling short of the playoffs for the eighth straight year under general manager Ed Wade ultimately cost Wade his job. Team president David Montgomery hired former Blue Jays, Orioles and Mariners GM Pat Gillick as Wade’s replacement, passing over in-house candidates Ruben Amaro Jr. and Mike Arbuckle, both assistant GMs.

Gillick inherits a club coming off its best season in a dozen years, highlighted by a number of good individual player performances. Jimmy Rollins finished the year on a 36-game hit streak. Double-play partner Chase Utley emerged as a team leader and offensive force. Rookie first baseman Ryan Howard replicated the power production of injured slugger Jim Thome.

Pat Burrell bounced back with his best offensive season since 2002. Brett Myers developed into a staff ace. Robinson Tejeda and Eude Brito popped up from the minors to deliver 18 solid starts after injuries to veterans.

Each of those feel-good stories came from a player 28 or younger who was originally drafted or signed by the Phillies. Factor in catcher Mike Lieberthal, Ryan Madson, Jason Michaels and Randy Wolf, and the thrust of the roster is homegrown, a fact not lost on a Philadelphia front office that’s been trying to knock the Braves, the ultimate homegrown franchise, out of first place since 1995.

Though he didn’t get the GM job, Arbuckle has helped acquire and/or develop each of those contributors and plenty more in his 13 years in the organization. He became the Phillies scouting director in 1992, added farm director to his duties in 2000 and became the assistant GM for scouting and player development in 2001. Arbuckle learned from two of the best organization builders in the game, working under Braves scouting director Paul Snyder for 12 years as a scout and then with Phillies GM and manager Paul Owens once he got to Philadelphia.

The system has been thinned out by a lack of draft picks (no club has had fewer picks in the first five rounds since 2000 because of free-agent compensation) and the use of prospects in trades. Each of the Phillies’ six U.S.-based minor league affiliates had a losing record in 2005, and their combined .429 winning percentage was the worst in baseball.

"We don’t have a lot of top-line guys down there," Arbuckle said. "We’ve been hurt by not having a lot of picks and we’ve traded about 20 guys in the last few years to get players like Billy Wagner. Not all 20 were big prospects, but somebody else wanted them, so that says something."


1. COLE HAMELS, lhp      Age: 22 Ht: 6-2 Wt: 185 B-T: L-L
Drafted: HS—San Diego, 2002 (1st round)   Signed by: Darrell Conner

Background: Hamels broke the humerus in his left arm as a high school sophomore, but despite a full recovery and rehabilitation work with noted pitching guru Tom House, his medical history scared off some clubs in the 2002 draft. He dropped to the Phillies with the 17th overall pick and signed for $2 million, and he hasn’t shown any effects from that injury since. However, an assortment of other maladies has limited him to just 28 appearances over three seasons. After holding out in 2002, he showed up out of shape to instructional league and thus wasn’t ready for a full-season assignment in 2003, which he began in extended spring training. He pulled a muscle behind his right shoulder at the end of 2003, knocking him off the U.S. Olympic qualifying team. He missed most of 2004 after pulling a right triceps muscle while throwing too hard too early during a stint in major league spring training, during which he struck out Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. The injury worsened when he failed to tell the organization about it in an effort to pitch through the pain. Hamels broke his left hand in a bar fight in January 2005 in Clearwater, Fla. He returned in June and made just six appearances before a stress fracture in his back ended his season and a chance at making up lost time in the Arizona Fall League. When healthy, Hamels has dominated, going 11-3, 1.54 with 208 strikeouts in 152 innings.

Strengths: Hamels is a lefthander with three above-average pitches and the command, feel and mound presence of a veteran. His changeup, which sinks and fades away from righthanders, is a plus-plus pitch that may be the best in the minors. His fastball hovers around 90 mph and tops out at 93-94 with good life, and he has shown a knack for being able to reach back for extra velocity when needed. His curveball has shown more consistency with its break and location. Hamels maintains an even keel on the mound, never letting his emotions tell the tale of his outing. He’s also a very good athlete with clean mechanics and the ability to field his position and hold runners well.

Weaknesses: Durability is a major concern with Hamels. The good news is that all his injuries have been unrelated and that only his high school break involved his arm. The bad news is that he has lost so much development time. Had he stayed healthy, he’d be a strong candidate for the major league rotation rather than having pitched just 19 innings above high Class A.

The Future: Hamels was working at Double-A Reading when his back forced him out, and he should start 2006 there. His 2004 spring-training success remains in the minds of the Phillies’ decision makers, however, keeping him on a very fast track. A quick jump to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and eventually Philadelphia are both possible. Despite the setbacks, the Phillies still envision Hamels as a top-of-the-rotation starter.

2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Clearwater (Hi A) 2 0 2.25 3 3 0 0 16 7 0 7 18 .137
Reading (AA) 2 0 2.37 3 3 0 0 19 10 2 12 19 .159


2. GREG GOLSON, of       Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-0 Wt.: 190
Drafted: HS—Austin, 2004 (1st round)   Signed by: Steve Cohen

Background: The consensus best athlete in the 2004 draft, Golson signed for $1.475 million as the 21st overall pick. Injuries hampered him in 2005, as a high ankle sprain cost him six weeks at the beginning of the year and a sprained knee sidelined him for more than a week in July.


Strengths:
Golson boasts five-tool potential, as well as solid baseball instincts and a willingness to learn. He has the bat speed to hit for average and the strength to hit 15-20 homers annually in the majors. His above-average speed makes him a threat on the bases, and that and his plus arm make him a plus defender.

  

Weaknesses:
Golson still must refine his overall plate discipline and his pitch recognition in particular. He did most of his damage against lefthanders in 2005, hitting .346 compared to .241 against righties. He continues to work on his reads in the outfield.

  

The Future:
Because Golson lost 150 at-bats to injury, he could begin 2006 back at low Class A Lakewood. If he dominates the South Atlantic League, he’ll move up quickly to high Class A Clearwater. There’s substantial center-field depth in the system, so he won’t be rushed even though he should become the best of the group.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Lakewood (Lo A) .264 .322 .389 375 51 99 19 8 4 27 26 106 25 9


3. MICHAEL BOURN , of       Age: 23 B-T: L-R Ht: 5-11 Wt.: 180
Drafted: Houston, 2003 (4th round)  Signed by: Dave Owen

Background: After Bourn posted a .431 on-base percentage in low Class A in 2004, the Phillies skipped him a level to Double-A. His offensive numbers weren’t as robust, but he handled the move well and made adjustments. Managers rated him the Eastern League’s most exciting player and he led the system in steals.


Strengths:
Bourn offers the quickness, aptitude and offensive approach required of a leadoff hitter. He’s the system’s best defensive outfielder and also has an above-average arm. The fastest player in the system, he outraced Greg Golson by a step in the 60-yard dash.

  

Weaknesses:
Bourn’s strikeout rate jumped in 2005, though the Phillies aren’t as concerned because he faced a two-level jump and pitchers with more advanced command than he had previously seen. His tendency to hit deep in counts also contributed, and he should be able to adapt with more at-bats against better pitchers.

  

The Future:
Bourn likely will return to Double-A to gain confidence before moving to Triple-A sometime in 2006. He could take over everyday duties in Philadelphia in 2007, though Greg Golson should press him for the center-field job down the road.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Reading (AA) .268 .348 .364 544 80 146 18 8 6 44 63 123 38 12


4. SCOTT MATHIESON, rhp        Age: 22 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-4 Wt.: 195
Drafted: HS—Aldergrove, B.C., 2002 (17th round)   Signed by: Tim Kissner

Background: Mathieson has pitched for several Canadian national teams, and he beat Sweden and lost to Cuba (after shutting them out for four innings) at the World Cup in September. He also served as Philadelphia’s Futures Game representative in 2005. His grandfather Doug tried out for the Philadelphia Athletics during the Connie Mack era.


Strengths:
A projection pick who threw 84 mph as a high school senior, Mathieson now reaches 95-96 regularly and works in the low 90s. He switched from a curveball to a slider midway through 2005, and his new breaking ball has a chance to become his second plus pitch. His down-breaking changeup is solid, as are his mechanics.

  

Weaknesses:
Though Mathieson showed solid progress in 2005, he must continue to improve his overall command. It’s not a question of throwing strikes, but of throwing better strikes.

  

The Future:
With the makings of three average-or-better pitches, Mathieson could emerge as a No. 2 or 3 starter if all goes well. He also could become a power closer if the Phillies need him to. He’ll pitch in Double-A in 2006.

2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Clearwater (Hi A) 3 8 4.14 23 23 1 0 122 111 17 34 118 .298


5. WILINSON BAEZ, ss/3b       Age: 21 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 190
Signed: Dominican Republic, 2002   Signed by: Wil Tejada

Background: Baez’ immense physical gifts, including a power arm that led some scouts to project him as a pitcher, earned him a $250,000 signing bonus. In 2005, he finally shed a reputation for hitting well in extended spring training before fizzling in actual league play. He was short-season Batavia’s most dangerous hitter while playing out of position at shortstop to accommodate second-round pick Mike Costanzo.


Strengths:
Filling out physically and recognizing breaking balls better allowed Baez to show the first signs of unleashing his plus loft power. His 70 arm strength on the 20-80 scouting scale rates as the organization’s best, and he makes accurate throws as well. He charges bunts well and shows soft hands.

  

Weaknesses:
Baez remains raw and will have to continue to make adjustments. His size means he must work to stay low in his defensive positioning to gather more groundballs.

  

The Future:
Baez owns one of the highest ceilings in the organization. The Phillies will try to separate him and Costanzo in 2006 so both can play third base, and Baez likely will go to low Class A.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
GCL Phillies (R) .267 .400 .533 45 6 12 4 1 2 6 8 14 1 0
Batavia (SS) .324 .408 .524 170 34 55 14 1 6 37 22 45 2 1


6. MIKE COSTANZO, 3b        Age: 22 B-T: L-R Ht: 6-3 Wt.: 215
Drafted: Coastal Carolina, 2005 (2nd round)   Signed by: Roy Tanner

Background: Costanzo grew up a Phillies fan in Springfield, Pa., and came home from the hospital when he was born in a tiny Phillies jacket. Before signing for $570,000 as Philadelphia’s top draft pick, he was named Big South Conference athlete of the year. He led Division I in walks (68) while blasting 16 homers and earning 14 saves.


Strengths:
The Phillies immediately changed Costanzo’s stance when he got to Batavia, making him more upright and open. He started slowly, but his hitting skills and bat speed ultimately shined through as he drove balls to all fields with authority. Defensively, Costanzo offers good body control and agility along with an above-average, accurate arm.

  

Weaknesses:
Costanzo split time between first and third base in college, so he’s still getting used to everyday action at the hot corner. His hard work should help him improve his reads and routes. He batted just .170 with 25 strikeouts in 53 at-bats against lefthanders.

  

The Future:
Because he’s older, Costanzo is more likely than Welinson Baez to open 2006 in high Class A. Costanzo’s maturity and approach should allow him to handle skipping a level.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Batavia (SS) .274 .356 .473 281 47 77 17 3 11 50 35 89 0 1


7. BRAD HARMAN, ss/2b       Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-1 Wt.: 175
Signed: Australia, 2003   Signed by: Kevin Hooker

Background: The Phillies have signed several players from Australia in the last three years, and Harman rates as the best. None have commanded bonuses of more than $50,000, a welcome change from the Latin American market the organization believes has become overpriced. Harman played for Australia in the 2005 World Cup, posting a .412 on-base percentage and playing eight errorless games.


Strengths:
An instinctive player, Harman has improved quickly because of his work ethic and ability to learn. His bat speed has increased and he now shows some loft power after filling out a bit. Harman fields balls with sure hands and smooth actions and offers a strong, accurate arm. He’s better defensively than Chase Utley.

  

Weaknesses:
Harman’s speed is average at best. This limits his range, so he’s working to improve his first-step quickness and reads on grounders.

  

The Future:
Philadelphia thinks Harman can play shortstop with average range, and he also has worked at second and third base. He’ll continue to play mostly shortstop in high Class A in 2006, and he’s at least two years away from the majors.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Lakewood (Lo A) .303 .380 .442 419 63 127 23 1 11 58 45 89 5 11


8. TIM MOSS, 2b       Age: 24 B-T: R-R Ht: 5-9 Wt.: 150
Drafted: Texas, 2003 (3rd round)   Signed by: Dave Owen

Background: The Phillies made Moss their top pick (third round) in 2003, a year after he helped Texas win the College World Series. Though he’s an excellent athlete, he was extremely raw for a player from a top college program. Some club officials were ready to write him off before he exploded in 2005.


Strengths:
Moss isn’t big but offers surprising power for his size because of his bat speed. His bat and foot speed actually increased in 2005, when he once again got down the first-base line in 4.1-4.15 seconds, as he had in college. He’s unorthodox in the field, but his speed allows him to make plays and he’s solid on the double-play pivot.

  

Weaknesses:
One Phillies front-office member questions whether Moss really made any significant improvement in 2005 other than building confidence after a hot start. He still strikes out too much and needs to do a better job of getting on base. He struggles on routine defensive plays and has awkward throwing mechanics.

  

The Future:
It remains to be seen whether Moss’ breakout was a fluke. He’ll move to Double-A in 2006 and try to show that a smallish second baseman can keep punishing baseballs.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Clearwater (Hi A) .269 .348 .463 469 87 126 30 5 17 61 45 129 28 10


9. JASON JARAMILLO, c       Age: 23 B-T: B-R Ht: 6-0 Wt.: 200
Drafted: Oklahoma State, 2004 (2nd round)   Signed by: Paul Scott

Background: The Phillies initially drafted Jaramillo in the 42nd round out of a Wisconsin high school in 2001. Three years later, they picked him 40 rounds earlier and were able to sign him for $585,000. Older brothers Frankie and Lee both played in the minors.


Strengths:
Managers rated him the best defensive catcher in the South Atlantic League, though his 20 errors led all minor league catchers. His agility helps him block balls well, and his above-average arm helped him throw out 34 percent of basestealers. He made strides in game-calling and handling pitchers. He’s a line-drive hitter who started switch-hitting in high school and is equally adept from either side.

  

Weaknesses:
Jaramillo doesn’t offer much power and may not hit more than 10-15 homers in a big league season. He projects as a bottom-of-the-order hitter on a contender, though his defense should make up for what he lacks offensively. He has below-average speed.

  

The Future:
Philadelphia’s catcher of the future, Jaramillo will open 2006 in high Class A. He reminds some club officials of former Phillies farmhand Johnny Estrada.

2005 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Lakewood (Lo A) .304 .368 .438 448 46 136 28 4 8 63 44 72 2 3


10. EDGAR GARCIA , rhp       Age: 19 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-2 Wt.: 190
Signed: Dominican Republic, 2004   Signed by: Wil Tejada

Background: The Phillies tracked Garcia for more than a year and signed him right before he played in the Perfect Game/Baseball America World Wood Bat Championship in the fall of 2004. He worked out for the Phillies, who were in nearby Clearwater, Fla., for their organizational meetings, and they signed him for $500,000 before he could boost his stock at the showcase. He made significant progress in his first year in the system.


Strengths:
Garcia features a lively 91-94 mph fastball along with smooth mechanics and a sturdy build that offer the promise of more velocity. Garcia’s changeup should emerge as a plus pitch, as he sells it with fastball arm speed and will throw it in any count. His feel and poise are impressive.

  

Weaknesses:
Garcia’s 12-to-6 curveball is still inconsistent. Given time, he should be able to refine it into at least an average offering.

  

The Future:
The Phillies will move Garcia slowly, with Batavia his scheduled stop for 2006. They believe he may be two years before starting to put everything together, after which he could ascend rapidly and ultimately wind up as a No. 2 or 3 starter

2005 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
GCL Phillies (R) 4 4 3.56 10 10 0 0 56 63 4 13 42 .284


Photo Credits:
Baez, Costanzo: Rich Abel
Hamels: Rick Battle
Golson: Mike Janes
Bourn, Jaramillo: Steve Moore
Garcia, Harman, Moss: Andrew Woolley

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