Philadelphia Phillies: Top 10 Prospects With Scouting Reports

Philadelphia Phillies: Scouting Reports

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, 2008.

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Philadelphia Phillies

Jimmy Rollins predicted it in spring training, but the Phillies' chances of overtaking the Mets and winning the National League East seemed bleak on Sept. 12. Philadelphia stood seven games back with 17 to play and looked destined for its fifth straight season with a winning record yet no playoff berth.

But as New York stumbled down the stretch, the Phillies went on a 13-4 run to lock up their first division title since 1993. The impetus behind the playoff push was a trio of homegrown infielders, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Howard won the 2006 NL MVP award and Rollins is a favorite to take home the same hardware this year. Utley was a leading contender in the MVP race until he missed a month after an errant pitch broke his right hand.

Howard, Rollins and Utley have formed the heart of the franchise since mid-2005. The farm system made more contributions in 2007, most notably with Kyle Kendrick. Signed away from a Washington State football scholarship as a seventh-round pick in 2003, Kendrick stepped into an injury-riddled rotation in mid-June and won 10 games with a 3.87 ERA that ranked second among Philadelphia starters.

Carlos Ruiz, who signed for a mere $8,000 out of Panama in 1998, took over at catcher and provided steady offense and defense. Michael Bourn provided defense and speed off the bench, and he could take over in center field in 2008 if Aaron Rowand leaves as a free agent. Philadelphia also used lefthander Matt Maloney, a third-round pick in 2005, to plug a rotation hole by trading him to the Reds for Kyle Lohse.

The Phillies led the NL with 892 runs in 2007 and have all of their key hitters with the exception of Rowand locked up for the near future. On the other hand, their 4.76 ERA was the fourth-worst in the league and their rotation is full of long-term questions behind Cole Hamels and Kendrick. So their player-development focus is going to be on pitching.

In the next two years, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman should be able to help the rotation. Both finished last season in Double-A and figure to return there to open 2008. Carrasco ranks as the system's No. 1 prospect for the second straight year, while Outman is more advanced and could beat him to Citizen's Bank Park. Shoulder issues were the only reason that Joe Savery fell to the 19th pick of the 2007 draft, and if he's healthy he should rush through the minors.

Philadelphia took home one championship in the minors, as high Class A Clearwater won the Florida State League behind the continued emergence of catcher Lou Marson and the strong pitching of Drew Carpenter. The Rookie-level Dominican Summer League club also put together an impressive run, winning an unprecedented 22 consecutive games.

The 2008 season figures to be the last for general manager Pat Gillick, who now has reached the playoffs with each of the four franchises he has run. Gillick, who won two World Series titles with the Blue Jays, signed a three-year contract to become GM of the Phillies in November 2005. When it expires, his likely successor will be assistant GM Ruben Amaro, who interview for the Astros GM opening that went to former Philadelphia GM Ed Wade.

1.  Carlos Carrasco, rhp   Born: March 3, 1987B-T: R-RHt: 6-3Wt: 190
 Signed: Venezuela, 2003Signed by: Sal Agostinelli
Carlos CarrascoBackground: Phillies international supervisor Sal Agostinelli signed Carrasco for $300,000 out of Venezuela in 2003, and the young righthander made a successful debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League a year later as a 17-year-old. Philadelphia admittedly rushed him in 2005, pushing Carrasco to low Class A Lakewood, where he was hit hard, allowing 11 homers in 13 starts and posting a 7.04 ERA. But after honing both his mechanics and his mental approach during instructional league, Carrasco turned the corner in a return trip to Lakewood in 2006 and blossomed into the best starter in the system. He also added the Futures Game and the organization's minor league pitcher of the year award to his résumé. After going through a dead-arm period last April when his velocity was down and his secondary pitches lacked their normal bite, Carrasco hit a groove in 2007 and was promoted to Double-A Reading in June. He was inconsistent as a 20-year-old in the Eastern League, however, mixing brilliance (a six-inning no-hitter against Altoona in August) with inconsistency (he allowed five or more runs in five of his 12 starts with Reading). He struggled to get ground balls and command the strike zone.

Strengths: Carrasco has the makings of two plus pitches with the potential for a third. His fastball has outstanding late life, and is at its best when he works between 89-93 mph. When he needs it, he can touch 94-95. He complements the fastball with the best changeup in the system, and he commands it to both sides of the plate with good depth and fade. His curveball continued to make strides in 2007, ranging from a soft 71-72 mph breaker to a harder 76-78 mph offering that more resembles a slider. His body allows him to unleash all his pitches from a steep downhill plane, and when he's on, he pounds the strike zone.

Weaknesses: As good as Carrasco's pure stuff is, he struggled with runners on base in 2007. When he'd get into trouble, he'd rush through his delivery with his lower half and drag his arm behind his body. That would cause his front shoulder to fly open, costing him command. The Phillies attribute these problems to Carrasco's youth, though he did show signs of improvement later in the year. He'll need to make quicker adjustments as he moves along, especially with pitch selection. With the quality of his secondary pitches, Carrasco should profile as a groundball pitcher with enough power in his fastball to miss bats when he has to. Yet in Double-A, his groundout/airout ratio was a mere 0.7.

The Future: After a half-season of learning in the Eastern League, Carrasco likely will return there to begin 2008. Some Phillies officials believe that Carrasco was rushed again in 2007, but they were also impressed with how much he responded in instructional league afterward. With Cole Hamels entrenched as the Phillies' No. 1 starter, Carrasco could make a nice complement as a No. 2 by 2009.
2007 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Clearwater (HiA)
6 2 2.84 12 12 1 0 70
49 8 22 53 .199
Reading (AA) 6 4 4.86 14 13 1 0 70
65 9 46 49 .247
2.  Adrian Cardenas, 2b   Born: Oct. 10, 1987B-T: L-RHt: 5-11Wt: 190
 Drafted: HS—Miami, 2006 (1st round supplemental)Signed by: Miguel Machado
Adrian CardenasBackground: Baseball America's 2006 High School Player of the Year, Cardenas had little trouble adjusting to pro ball and switching positions in his first full season. A supplemental first-round pick as a shortstop, he moved to second base and his way into the Futures Game. He also earned low Class A South Atlantic League all-star honors after doing the same in the Gulf Coast League in his debut.

Strengths: Thick and strong, Cardenas has an easy, compact stroke from the left side that produces consistent line drives with good loft power. He squares up breaking balls and fastballs equally well, and he makes hard contact to all fields. He exhibits above-average arm strength at his new position.

Weaknesses: Cardenas moved off shortstop because his range was just adequate and figured to diminish as he filled out and grew older. He doesn't cover a lot of ground at second base and his footwork needs improvement. A fringe-average runner, he lacks first-step quickness and his lateral movement also leaves something to be desired.

The Future: Cardenas will move to high Class A Clearwater for 2008, but his bat could push him to Double-A by midseason. He has middle-of-the-order potential, though the Phillies already are set at second base with Chase Utley.
2007 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Lakewood (LoA)
.295 .354 .417 499
70 147 30 2 9 79 47
3.  Joe Savery, lhp   Born: Nov. 4, 1985B-T: L-LHt: 6-3Wt: 215
 Drafted: Rice, 2007 (1st round)Signed by: Steve Cohen
Joe SaveryBackground: After starring as a freshman at Rice in 2005, Savery looked like he'd be a top-five draft pick just like fellow Lamar High (Houston) alumnus Jeff Niemann. But like a lot of Owls pitchers, Savery came down with medical issues. He had minor surgery after his sophomore season to shave down a bone growth in the back of his shoulder that was causing some fraying in his labrum. He wasn't at his best last spring, which allowed him to slide to the Phillies at No. 19. He signed for $1,372,500.

Strengths: As a lefty two-way player in college, he garnered comparisons to Mark Mulder. While his fastball velocity was down for much of the spring, Savery flashed 90-94 mph heaters by May and pitched at 88-92 mph in his pro debut. He also can be effective at 86-89 mph. His changeup has the potential to be an above-average pitch and his slurvy breaking ball grades as average to plus. The Phillies rave about his work ethic.

Weaknesses: Just a year removed from surgery, Savery predictably struggled with the command of all his pitches in his pro debut. He didn't repeat his delivery well, in part because he was worn down. The last four Rice starting pitchers drafted in the first round have had major arm surgeries, a track record that scared a lot of clubs.

The Future: Philadelphia sent Savery to the Arizona Fall League because they thought his makeup was well-suited for the challenge, which should expedite his development. He'll open 2008 in low Class A and could move quickly if he performs well and shows the ability to maintain his mechanics and velocity deep into games. He could make his big league debut by 2009.
2007 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Williamsport (SS)
2 3 2.73 7
7 1 0 26
22 0 13 22 .214
4.  Josh Outman, lhp   Born: Sept. 14, 1984B-T: L-LHt: 6-1Wt: 190
 Drafted: Central Missouri State, 2005 (10th round)Signed by: Jerry Lafferty
Josh OutmanBackground: After transferring from St. Louis CC-Forest Park to Central Missouri State, Outmane underwent an extreme makeover in his mechanics and starred as a two-way player for the Mules. A key contributor to Lakewood's 2006 championship run in 2006, he set the tone early for Clearwater's 2007 title run. Outman won 10 of his 18 starts before being promoted to Double-A.

Strengths: Despite his revamped delivery, deception remains Outman's biggest strength on the mound. Hitters can't get good reads on his 90-94 mph fastball, his late-biting, 83-84 mph slider or his changeup. He scrapped his curveball in 2007, and his arm speed and his location with his changeup improved dramatically as he concentrated on a three-pitch mix. He's a good athlete and fields his position well.

Weaknesses: The patience of Double-A hitters was a wakeup call for Outman, who walked six in his Reading debut. He fell behind in counts after often overthrowing his fastball and elevating it in the strike zone. While he repeats his mechanics well, he throws with some effort and has a slight head jerk, especially when he throws his slider.

The Future: Outman will begin 2008 back in Double-A, but he could make his debut at Citizen's Bank Park before September. He profiles as a No. 3 starter.
2007 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Clearwater (HiA)
10 4 2.45 20 18 0 0 117 104 7 54 117 .236
Reading (AA) 2 3 4.50 7 7 1 0 42 38 5 23 34 .242
5.  Kyle Drabek, rhp   Born: Dec. 8, 1987B-T: R-RHt: 6-1Wt: 180
 Drafted: HS—The Woodlands, Texas, 2006 (1st round)Signed by: Steve Cohen
Kyle DrabekBackground: Several clubs thought Drabek had better stuff than any pitcher in the 2006 draft, but makeup concerns scared them away until Philadelphia took him 18th overall and signed him for $1.55 million. The son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, he had a rocky pro debut as field staff and scouts criticized his lack of composure. He kept it together on and off the field in 2007, but Tommy John surgery ended his season prematurely in June and he won't pitch again before August 2008.

Strengths: Drabek has better raw stuff than his father, starting with a mid-90s fastball that touches 97 mph. Despite all that velocity, his best pitch remains an upper-70s spike curveball with hard, late, downward movement. He made strides with his changeup before going down with the elbow injury, both with arm speed and command. He lowered his leg kick in his delivery between high school and pro ball, and now incorporates more of a turn as he goes into his windup.

Weaknesses: Drabek's makeup is the biggest concern, as his drinking and temper have gotten him into trouble in the past. The Phillies believed that he'd mature like any other teenager once they got him into a routine. Having to overcome elbow reconstruction may help his cause, as he'll have to develop better work habits. The track record of pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery is strong, so that's not a huge worry.

The Future: A potential frontline starter, Drabek has been right on schedule with his rehab program. He should return to the mound with short-season Williamsport, and Philadelphia won't push him.
2007 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Lakewood (LoA)
5 1 4.33 11 10 0 0 54 50 9 23 46 .239
6.  Dominic Brown, of   Born: Sept. 3, 1987B-T: L-LHt: 6-5Wt: 205
 Drafted: HS—Redan, Ga., 2006 (20th round)Signed by: Chip Lawrence
Dominic BrownBackground: Brown is a product of Redan (Ga.) High, the same school that produced 30-30 man Brandon Phillips. Brown first emerged as a prospect as a pitcher and was an even bigger star as a wide receiver, turning down a football scholarship from Miami to sign for $200,000 as a 20th-round pick in 2006. But his future now is as a slugger, as scouts have compared him to a young Darryl Strawberry.

Strengths: While Greg Golson, Quintin Berry and D'Arby Myers can match or exceed his above-average speed, Brown has a bigger and more physical presence. He has gap power now and plenty of home run potential for the future. He's not one-dimensional at the plate, as he uses the whole field and has advanced plate discipline and pitch recognition for his age. He's also adept at bunting. A plus defender with enough range and closing speed to play center field, he fits in right field with his above-average arm strength.

Weaknesses: Brown is still raw in some phases of the game. He needs to improve as a basestealer (he got caught in seven of 21 attempts), and he can take better routes and make more accurate throws in the outfield. As he continues to grow into his huge 6-foot-5 frame, he's likely to slow down somewhat and lose his plus speed.

The Future: He opened 2007 with three games in high Class A, and Brown might return there to begin 2008 based on how he handled the initial experience. He's Philadelphia's right fielder of the future, though he's probably at least 2-3 years away from the majors.
2007 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Williamsport (SS)
.295 .356 .400 285 43 84 11 5 3 32 27 49 14
Clearwater (Hi A)
.444 .545 .889 9 2 4 1 0 1 7 2 0 0
7.  Greg Golson, of   Born: Sept. 17, 1985B-T: R-RHt: 6-0Wt: 190
 Drafted: HS—Austin, 2004 (1st round)Signed by: Steve Cohen
Greg GolsonBackground: The Phillies have preached patience with Golson since signing him for $1.475 million as the 21st overall pick in 2004. While he still has a long way to go before he's a finished product, he took another step in the right direction in 2007. He finally reached Double-A in late July, and set career in hits, doubles, homers, RBIs and steals.

Strengths: Golson's five-tool package makes him the system's top athlete. His plus-plus speed stands out the most, as he can get from the right side of the plate to first base in less than 4.0 seconds. He also provides above-average raw power, center-field defense and arm strength.

Weaknesses: Golson's ability to recognize pitches remains his biggest liability. He especially struggles with breaking balls, and tends to get tangled up thinking about what he should do at the plate rather than just seeing the ball and cutting loose. His 49-2 strikeout-walk ratio in Double-A is indicative of his problems, and he led the minors with 173 strikeouts.

The Future: Golson possesses the tools of a young Ron Gant, but he'll need to show he can make consistent hard contact and take pitches if he's going to move beyond Double-A. The Phillies think he can play a big league center field right now, and if everything clicks offensively, he could move extremely fast.
2007 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Clearwater (HiA)
.285 .322 .450 418
66 119 27 3 12 52 21 124 25
Reading (AA)
.242 .255 .359 153
20 37 5 2 3 16 2 49 5
8.  Lou Marson, c   Born: July 26, 1986B-T: R-RHt: 6-1Wt: 195
 Drafted: HS—Scottsdale, Ariz., 2004 (4th round)Signed by: Theron Brockish
Lou MarsonBackground: Marson had dreams of playing quarterback in college until he broke his collarbone as a high school senior. He struggled for most of his first three years in pro ball, not hitting for average or power and showing just average defensive tools. Diligence and hard work paid off for him in 2007, when he broke through with the bat and was part of a second straight Class A championship.

Strengths: Marson has an easily repeatable stroke that produces line drives to all fields. In 2007, he shortened his swing and developed a much more consistent two-strike approach. Defensively, Marson's game-calling and receiving skills are above average. His arm grades as average to slightly above, and he ranked third in the high Class A Florida State League by throwing out 36 percent of basestealers.

Weaknesses: Marson's footwork and lateral movement behind the plate need improvement. His arm action sometimes can get long, as he'll lead with his elbow—likely the result of his days as a high school quarterback. He's a below-average runner, though not bad for a catcher.

The Future: He'll be an everyday catcher in Double-A in 2008 and could move up to Triple-A if Jason Jaramillo claims a big league role. The Phillies suddenly have several options behind the plate, so there's no reason to push Marson.
2007 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Clearwater (HiA) .288 .373 .407 393 68 113 24 1 7 63 52 80 3
9.  Drew Carpenter, rhp   Born: May 18, 1985B-T: R-RHt: 6-3Wt: 230
 Drafted: Long Beach State, 2006 (2nd round)Signed by: Tim Kissner
Drew CarpenterBackground: Carpenter transferred from Sacramento CC to Long Beach State for the 2006 and improved his draft stock considerably under 49ers pitching coach Troy Buckley, going to the Phillies with the 65th overall pick. Philadelphia limited his workload in his first pro summer but turned him loose in 2007. He tied for the minor league lead with 17 wins, including a seven-inning perfect game, and the organization named him its minor league pitcher of the year.

Strengths: A finesse righthander, Carpenter makes his pitches more effective because he throws them on a steep, downhill angle. He commands his 89-92 mph fastball to all four quadrants of the strike zone. He has two breaking balls, a plus slider with good tilt and an average curveball, and has added a changeup and splitter since turning pro. His splitter has quickly emerged as his out pitch. He has an easy, simple delivery he repeats well.

Weaknesses: Carpenter's changeup still has a long way to go to be consistently effective. His arm speed lags behind his body at times and his command of the changeup can be erratic. The Phillies aren't looking to take a pitch away form him yet, but if his changeup doesn't improve, he may just use his splitter to keep hitters off his fastball. Carpenter can get stiff on his front side, which makes him fly open in his delivery and elevate his fastball.

The Future: Many Phillies officials compare Carpenter's rise to that of Kyle Kendrick, and he could wind up in the big leagues as early as 2008 if the need should arise. Until then, Carpenter will head to Double-A, just like Kendrick did in 2007.
2007 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Clearwater (AA)
17 6 3.20 27 24 3 1 163 150 16
53 116 .242
10.  Jason Jaramillo, c   Born: Oct. 9, 1982B-T: B-RHt: 6-0Wt: 200
 Drafted: Oklahoma State, 2004 (2nd round)Signed by: Paul Scott
Jason JaramilloBackground: The Phillies first took Jaramillo out of a Wisconsin high school as a 42nd-round pick in 2001, then signed him three years later as a second-rounder out of Oklahoma State. He hit .304 in his first full pro season, then had 2006 ruined by a broken right hand. He bounced back in 2007, holding his own offensively and defensively at Triple-A Ottawa.

Strengths: A solid hitter from both sides of the plate, Jaramillo has gap-to-gap power and sprays line drives to all fields. He also has a sound approach. Defensively, he has slightly above-average arm strength and quick feet. He threw out 30 percent of basestealers in the International League.

Weaknesses: Jaramillo has below-average power and well below-average speed. His receiving and game-calling skills got sloppy in 2006, but he righted the ship in Triple-A.

The Future: He doesn't have the offensive or defensive ceiling of Lou Marson, but Jaramillo can become a reliable backup in the major leagues. He has a chance to serve in that role behind Carlos Ruiz in 2008.
2007 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Ottawa (AAA) .271 .350 .361 435 52 118 13 4 6 56 50 79 0

Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
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Photo Credits:
Cliff Welch (Carrasco, Outman, Drabek, Golson, Marson, Carpenter)
Rodger Wood (Cardenas)
Mike Janes (Savery, Brown, Jaramillo)