Philadelphia Phillies: Top 10 Prospects Chat With Chris Kline

Philadelphia Phillies: Chat




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.

 Q:  Snapper Bean from Greater Kensington asks:
What can you tell me about the Phillies offshore prospects? Your chart indicates that the Phillies only signed 2 international free agents this year (Carlos Valenzuela and Gabriel Arias) which puts them towards the bottom of the league and last in their division with respect to those types of signings?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Greetings and salutations, everyone. Welcome to another Top 10 chat as we continue to snake our way through the NL East. Let's dig right in.

Chris Kline: True. They're pretty happy with what they got in Valenzuela, though and really think he's got a chance to hit. While I don't think they'll ever be spenders like the Mets in Latin America, they've been able to land several bargains in the last few years like shortstop Freddy Galvis (Venezuela, 2006). If you look at that market, rarely do the big money guys seem to flush out and make a large impact.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Heart of the Triangle asks:
Lou Marson jumps out at me as a breakout player. He combines a good short stroke with plate discipline (evidenced by his BBK ratio). He's got good size, and an athletic frame, he's throwing out base runners at a 36% clip, and he did all that has a 2021 year old catcher in the FSL. I don't suppose the Eastern or International leagues will lead him to any gaudy numbers ala Geo Soto in the PCL in 2007, but do you see this kid breaking out next year?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I do. Marson has progressed steadily over the last two years, and was a part of two championship clubs along the way. His game calling has especially grown leaps and bounds. I don't know about the gaudy numbers, but Marson is developing into a pretty nice player with great leadership skills.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
What are your thoughts on Mike Durant? Is he still within your Top 30, and do you really think Golson has more power than him?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I have to keep some secrets. After an injury-plagued 2006 season, Durant didn't exactly set the NYP ablaze this year. His swing is very long and struggles recognizing pitches. With Golson, I think there's a chance that if he puts everything together, he still has the chance to be very special. Durant has bigger power than Golson, but in terms of consistency with the ability to put the ball out of the yard, I'll take Golson.

 Q:  Nick Vasco from New York asks:
If Kyle Drabek had a good make-up, where would you have ranked him?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Difficult question, and really for me, I'm not as spooked about the makeup the way a lot of folks are. I really think you need to give him the benefit of the doubt. He hasn't done anything negatively as a pro, and the Phillies figured he'd benefit from getting into a routine. Going through the long rehab process could really help him in the end. I think if Drabek had off the charts makeup, he'd still be where he is. For me, his ranking reflects the surgery more than the makeup.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
How would you rate D'arby Myers' tools overall on the 20-80 scale, and how close was he to ranking on the list?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Myers still has big tools, but his athleticism is ahead of his development at this point. We're still talking about a lot of projection, so I would rather not give grades on his current tools. But in terms of projected tools: Hit: 55. Power: 50. Run: 65. Arm: 55. Field: 60. His performance in 2007 knocked him out of the top 10.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Surprising to see Golson lead in FIVE of your categories, yet be only 7th overall. Was it ceiling that made you rank him where he is?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I don't think it was ceiling. Really, it all comes down to his ability to control the strike zone that will determine if he's Ron Gant or if he's Reggie Taylor.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
What's the timetable on Mathieson's return, and did his injury knock him off the list, or was it something else?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Setbacks in his rehab and a second, minor surgery dropped him down some. There's still a lot of upside though.

 Q:  J.P. from Springfield asks:
If Savery remains 100% healthy, which lefty has a higher ceiling at present - him or Hamels?
 A: 

Chris Kline: See, I'm a weekly visitor to colehamelsfacts.com, so I have to go Hamels.

 Q:  Paul from DC asks:
How does the Phillies' farm system look compared to a year ago? It seemed pretty barren last year.
 A: 

Chris Kline: Pretty barren in terms of position players last year, yes. But deep in arms. It's still relatively deep on the mound and they're getting there with position players. It's still middle of the pack or maybe in the 20s though.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Where did Donald and Mattair land overall on your Top 30, and what can they do to improve their stock?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Not getting me to bite on the 'where do they rank' questions . . . sorry. Some in the organization aren't completely sold on Donald staying at short, and he might wind up as a utility guy who is an outstanding contact hitter. Mattair needs to get more comfortable hitting with wood.

Chris Kline: By the way, I forgot to mention it, but this chat is dedicated to Art in Fishtown.

 Q:  Dave B from Pittsburgh asks:
Adrian Cardenas, Matt Antonelli or Chris Coghlan? Does Cardenas have enough bat for the OF?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Great question, Dave B. Antonelli. I really think Cardenas could be the LF of the future and he does have enough bat. I think you'll see the power increase as he continues to move up.

 Q:  J.P. from Springfield asks:
Time for a somewhat humorous question: who has a brighter future in the bigs - Outman or Inman?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I'll take the lefty who throws 95 with a ton of deception.

 Q:  Andy from Sarver, PA asks:
CJ Henry? Is he still in the organization? He was really young when the Phillies acquired him from the Yankees. But never showed he could hit in the lower minors.
 A: 

Chris Kline: Out of baseball. Word is that he was heading back to Kansas to play hoops.

 Q:  Snapper Bean from Greater Kensington asks:
Jason Donald had an outstanding year in 2007 reaching High A in the year after his draft year yet didn't crack the Top 12 (if you include the now traded Costanzo and Bourn) in a pretty average system. He seemed to show more bat than I expected so I am thinking he can be an average major league starter at SS. Am I out of line?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I touched on Donald earlier. The jury is still out as to whether he can be an everyday SS in the big leagues and profiles to be more of a role player.

 Q:  J.P. from Springfield asks:
Your thoughts on the CostanzoBourn for Lidge trade? Which team will benefit most from it?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I like it from a Phillies standpoint. You got Lidge for very little. The Phillies didn't see Bourn as the everyday answer in center for 2008 and just about every scout I've ever talked to has said Costanzo is not a regular third baseman. It made sense to pull the trigger without giving up much.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Will Freddy Galvis hit enough to be considered more than a DEFENSIVE WIZARD?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Scouts seem to think so. Think Omar Vizquel. That's his ceiling and his profile as a hitter.

 Q:  John from NYC asks:
How about showing some love for my australian friends and telling a little about Drew Naylor. He supposedly just missed being the NY Penn League top 20 - where does he sit in the Philly rankings and what do you think his ceiling is?
 A: 

Chris Kline: They like Naylor a lot. He struggled in Hawaii Winter Baseball this offseason, but he can pound the zone with three quality pitches. Commands his 88-92 mph fastball to both sides of the plate, and his 12-6 curveball is average to above average. But the development of his changeup was extraordinary in 2007, as the pitch showed excellent depth and fade. He's athletic and repeats his delivery well. Still needs to work on his arm speed with the changeup, but this is an Aussie who could move quickly.

 Q:  Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
Which Rice pitcher will have the best major league career out of Jeff Niemann, Wade Townsend, Joe Savery, or Philip Humber?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Savery is the easy choice. Humber is inconsistent, ditto for Townsend and what is Niemann's ceiling now? A solid No. 3? I still think Niemann will have a solid career in the big leagues, but if Savery can command his secondary pitches, I like his ceiling better. While his numbers were good in the Arizona Fall League, he still walked 11 compared to just five strikeouts. He'll get a ton of ground balls, but the walks tell you how much trouble he still has commanding his breaking ball, as well as how much work he needs with fastball command.

 Q:  Todd from Chattanooga asks:
Thanks for the chat Chris! Where would have Mike Costanzo fit on this list if he still were a Phillie?
 A: 

Chris Kline: No. 8.

 Q:  Iron Pig from Lehigh County asks:
Baseball America had Edgar Garcia as the Phillies' #4 prospect going into the 2007 season. How far has he fallen, is he still a legit prospect, and what do you see as his future in 2008 and going forward for the Phillies?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Pretty far, unfortunately. His pure stuff is on par with Carrasco's, but his work ethic was a point of contention last year. His velocity was down early in the year, though he was back touching 94s during instructional league this fall. He still hasn't made strides with his changeup and might be better suited for the bullpen.

 Q:  Ed Wade's Twin from Allentown asks:
How good a prospect is Freddy Galvis and how is he recovering from his shoulder injury?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Ed Wade has a twin? Say it ain't so! Galvis' injury was a shoulder separation to his non-throwing shoulder. He's fine. And he's legit.

 Q:  Iron Pig from Lehigh County asks:
As you mentioned in the write-up, the Dominican academy team won 22 straight games and was a lot younger than recent Phillies' Dominican squads. Do you see any of the players on the team who are good enough to come stateside next year and crack our top 10 prospect list over the next couple seasons? How good are Correa, Matos, and Bastardo as prospects?
 A: 

Chris Kline: The best player on that DSL club was 17-year-old outfielder Leandro Castro. He runs a 6.7 60-yard dash and has an average arm in center. But his speed allows him to make up for any arm strength liabilities, and his bat features a line-drive stroke with emerging power. Also keep an eye on 17-year-old Mexican catcher Sebastien Valle, a strong catch-and-throw receiver with plus arm strength behind the plate. And I like shortstop Lendy Castillo as well--above-average defender with plus range and arm strength.

Chris Kline: As far as the arms you mentioned, I like Correa the best. He's got great late life to his fastball, which is something you can't teach.

 Q:  Richard from Ft. Lauderdale asks:
Any thoughts on Heitor Correa, the Brazilian prospect? Is this an abberation or will Brazil some day become a source of talent?
 A: 

Chris Kline: It already is a source of talent, though not even close with even the likes of Colombia let alone Nicaragua or Panama. Correa's fastball is 90-93 with a 73-77 mph curveball and has good feel for his changeup. And the Phillies rave about his maturity. He speaks three languages, is wiry strong and repeats his delivery well. He's got the makings of a frontline starter if everything falls into place. And that, of course, would be a first for Brazil. Not bad for a guy they signed as part of a four-player package in 2006 for $200,000.

 Q:  alexei606 from st jay, vermont asks:
How far did J.A. Happ fall (he was in the top ten last year). Can you elaborate on why he struggled this year?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Happ fell a little bit. Elbow soreness bothered him for much of the year. His slider is also too soft at times, which got him in trouble as his stuff tended to flatten out later in games. He needs more strength and endurance to repeat his delivery more consistently.

 Q:  Tony from Davidson,NC asks:
How worried are you about Carrasco's very poor control in Double-A this past year? Is it indicative of an issue he may have when reaching higher levels of competition?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I think it's more the biggest sign that he needs to grow up more than anything else. I saw him three times in Double-A and twice he was brilliant, once he was just awful and hard to watch. This is more mental than anything physically wrong. He has clean mechanics, but when he got in trouble in Double-A, the wheels came spinning off at an alarming rate. But when he was dealing, he was fine. He just needs to learn how to hit that second gear and do what he needs to do to get guys out with runner on base.

 Q:  John from Lakewood, NJ asks:
How far did Edgar Garcia fall out of the Top 10? For a 19 year old in the SAL, it looks like he held his own. I'm surprised he dropped out of the Top 10. Also, where did Antonio Bastardo come in in the top 30? I would think a 21 yr old LHP with a .193 BAA and more Ks than IP would be considered a prospect.
 A: 

Chris Kline: We already addressed Garcia, and let me reiterate that him falling out of the top 10 had more to do with his ceiling possibly being a bullpen guy and the fact that he just sort of cruised through the regular season in 2007. Bastardo is on the 30. He's an undersized lefty that pitches with his fastball at 87-91 mph and has good depth and action to his changeup. He also throws a slurvy breaking ball in the mid 80s.

 Q:  Karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
Williamsport had a .447 won-loss percentage last year. This is the source of most of the 2008 Lakewwod Blue Claws. Does this predict bad things for next year's Claws? Is there any correlation between the success of a team on a level, and the corresponding success of a team on the next level up in the same system the next year? What's your opinion on this?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I think you saw that this year with the guys who won at Lakewood in 2006 moving up to Clearwater and winning again, but I wouldn't say that just because the short-season club struggled that it's going to be all bad news for the 2008 version of the Lakewood club. I know for a fact that Lakewood's pitching staff is going to rock out, with Savery likely beginning there as its anchor.

 Q:  Tom from NC asks:
What is D. Brown's offensive ceiling and expected ETA? How does he compare to some other OF prospects like Fowler or McCutchen?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I think he compares better to Fowler because the bodies are similar. But Fowler has a better chance of staying in center field. I just think as Brown grows more into his frame that he's going to slow down some and fit that right field profile. He's at least two years away.

 Q:  Larry from Omaha asks:
hey will local kid Mike Zagurski make the big league club?
 A: 

Chris Kline: He was our organizational sleeper last year, so when he made it to the big leagues, I had to crack open a bottle of wine. His hamstring injury has lingered big time and I'm fairly certain he didn't pitch during instructional league, but he should be ready to go in the spring.

 Q:  Joe R. from Newport News, VA asks:
Players with speed and strike-zone judgment are hard to find. How does Quintin Berry project, overall?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Probably as a fourth outfielder, but one of the best contact hitters in the system. He's going to have to prove himself from level to level, but the Phillies love the bat and the athleticism.

 Q:  Karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
Welison Baez was ranked #7 of Phillie prospects in the 2006 Prospect Handbook. After batting .233 in 2006 he was dropped to #21 in the 2007 Handbook. Then in 2007 he hits .217. Is it time to give up, or does he get a third year at Lakewood with the hope that things finally 'click' for him?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I just wish the guy would hit somewhere other than during instructional league. I recently saw yet another story about how he raked during instructs again this fall . . . I'm kind of over it. He'll probably go back to Lakewood again. The tools are there, but for me, this is probably the most frustrating player in the organization.

 Q:  Ben Randall from Toronto, Ontario asks:
When can we expect Travis D'Arnaud, Julian Sampson andor Travis Mattair to crack the top 10? Which of the three is most likely to make the majors? Which of the three has the best chance of being an allstar?
 A: 

Chris Kline: All three have that chance next year. And I think all three are likely to play in the big leagues, but the best bet would be Sampson. If he stays healthy, he could be a dominant starter. Great body, pitches downhill and touches 94 mph with his fastball. Also throws a slider, curveball and changeup.

 Q:  Steve from Las Vegas asks:
What can you tell us about Carrasco that we might not already know...how good do you think he can be, and what's his ETA for the show?
 A: 

Chris Kline: He really, really likes plantains. His ceiling is a No. 3.

 Q:  Joe R. from Newport News, VA asks:
Greg Golson has a lot of athletic ability, but that 23-173 BBK ratio means he doesn't have a lot of baseball skills. If you were in charge of the Phillies, what would you do to help you get the most out of him? Develop him slowly with a full year of AA and another of AAA, or promote him quickly when he shows success?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I would keep him at Reading all year in 2008 regardless of whether he succeeds or not. I think it has to be station-to-station at this point. But again, if everything clicks, this is still a guy who could explode. I know I sound overly optimistic about that happening, but that's really just how special the tools are.

 Q:  Mark from FL asks:
Is there any scenario where Greg Golson won't be in the Phillies Top 10 in the next 4 years? If he puts up a .350 OPS at Reading? He has less than zero plate discipline, strikes out almost 30% of his plate appearances, and only shows modest power, yet he ranks ahead of guys like Jason Donald, Brad Harman, Drew Naylor and Heitor Correa? At what point do we start to admit there is more to a player than how strong his arm is or how fast he can run?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Well, he just turned 22. And you can't really discount how intelligent Golson is, which has worked against him at the plate. He could step in and play center field in the big leagues defensively right now. Believe me, I understand the plate discipline issue and I'm in no way discounting that. Donald is likely a utility player, ditto for Harman. Naylor and Correa are still pretty raw. If Golson can learn to control the zone and make better contact, he's an everyday center fielder in the big leagues. If you think we don't know that there is more to a player than simply his tools, then you're missing the point. It's just too early to give up on him. Yes, if he doesn't perform in Double-A this year then he gets banged, no question.

 Q:  Stef from Twin Cities asks:
With Mike Constanzo traded to Houston, is there anyone currently in the farm system who projects as the third baseman of the future?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Mattair.

 Q:  Todd from Milwaukee asks:
Chance to Plug: When can I expect the Prospect Handbook to reach my waiting arms?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I'm answering this only because you wrote, "my waiting arms." I can see you hugging the mailman now . . . I would guess by mid-January, but that's a better question for our resident Prospect Handbook guru, Mr. Jim Callis.

 Q:  John from NYC asks:
Was Brad Harman considered for the top ten? He really had a very strong last four months of the season and is still only 21 years old.
 A: 

Chris Kline: Yes, but he fell into the 11-20 range. Though he moved to second base this past season, he was back playing short and even some third during instructs. There is upside, but more for a future utility role.

 Q:  Krimpet from Royersford, PA asks:
Chris- Outman vs. Savery--Who has the higher ceiling?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Depends what you like, but I'll take the lefty that throws 95 with a ton of deception . . . again. I should get a bumper sticker that reads, 'I HEART VELOCITY."

 Q:  Tony from Durham asks:
Hi Chris, thanks for taking our questions. I'm intrigued by Dominic Brown. Coming into this season, it looked like he could go to the mound to take advantage of his arm and athleticism. Is he in the midst of a Desmond Jennings-like realization of self from athlete to ballplayer? If his stature is Strawberry-esque, is his upside similar? What separates him from D'Arby Myers in your rankings? Thanks.
 A: 

Chris Kline: I think that's fair. He's growing into his tools. I won't go as far to say he's the next Daryl Strawberry, but the power is definitely for real. So is the arm strength. What separates Brown from Myers, beyond sheer performance, is bigger power and is a better defender.

 Q:  Brian Westbrook from The Linc asks:
Who are your under the radar guys?
 A: 

Chris Kline: What the heck, I'll drop some Freddy Ballestas on you. Big numbers in the VSL this year, has a 90-93 mph fastball that touches 94 with an above-average breaking ball. He'll debut in the States in 2008.

 Q:  joe from deptford asks:
SAVAGE RP just another reliever or more?
 A: 

Chris Kline: More. Fastball is 88-92 with great command and a lot of deception in his delivery. As a college senior sign, he'll likely move straight to Reading next year.

 Q:  Tom T from Houston asks:
Chris, talk an Astros fan down off the ledge. I know that Lidge had his issues, but did we really trade him for a 4th outfielder and a AAAA third-baseman?
 A: 

Chris Kline: No. Bourn is basically Willy Taveras without the arm strength. With the two guys you have on the corners in Houston now, you need a burner in the middle. As far as Costanzo goes, he's truly an enigma. He'll make some brilliant plays at third and then struggle to make routine ones. He hits like crazy in August, but is just average any other time of the year. He hit lefties better later in the year at Reading, which is a good sign. It's just tough to see him as an everyday third baseman because of the inconsistency.

 Q:  Greg from Philadelphia asks:
You said in his write up that Carrasco would be a nice no.2 behind Hamels, now you just said his ceiling is no. 3, which is it?
 A: 

Chris Kline: That was written before the Lidge deal. With Myers going back in the rotation, Carrasco fits the No. 3 role in this system.

 Q:  Robbie Rugal from Harleysville Pennsylvania asks:
Does losing Mike Constanzo have a big effect on the overall quality of the teams prospects, especially from a position player standpoint?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Losing any position player hurts this system, though it's not what I would call a crushing blow or anything like that. Travis Mattair was getting Scott Rolen comps all over the place when I was making calls for the GCL Top 20 list, and those comps weren't from anyone in the organization. Those came later.

 Q:  Oreo from Montgomery County asks:
Better prospect, Carlos Carrasco the Top Prospect of 2007, or Carlos Carrasco the Top Prospect of 2008?
 A: 

Chris Kline: A lot of people would probably say 2007. And while he hit some bumps in the road this past season, I think he re-establishes himself at Reading as an elite guy in 2008.

 Q:  Lissi from Upper Providence, PA asks:
Chris- What are your thoughts on Travis Mattair? How close did he come to making the Top 10?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Again, he had trouble adjusting to wood in the GCL, but has outstanding leverage in his swing. Athleticism, arm strength, power and good work ethic--those three things, along with his 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame obviously led to the Rolen comparisons.

 Q:  Mike Schmidt from Philadelphia asks:
Chris, It appears the deal the Phillies have struck with the Astros is a great trade for the Phillies. Constanzo and Bourn appear to be just marginal players. How could the Phillies lose Maloney to the Reds in the Lohse trade.
 A: 

Chris Kline: Appears that way. They desperately needed another arm for the stretch, so you can't really blame them for pulling the trigger on Maloney, who only got better after he was dealt.

 Q:  Ryan Hagan from Charleston, Illinois asks:
What do you say the odds are that Kyle Drabek reaches his full potential or become as good of a pitcher as his dad was? Also do you think he will lay off the sauce a little and not pull a Cole Hamels by breaking his hand in a bar fight?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Well, he's got better stuff than his dad had, but with the surgery and makeup questions, it's probably 6040 that he reaches his potential. If anything, I think he has a much better picture of what's expected out of him now than he did in high school where he was the biggest fish in a tiny pond. Going to big league camp last spring really seemed to have a positive effect on him. And only Hamels could hit someone so hard that he broke his hand in a bar fight.

 Q:  Steve from Las Vegas asks:
so you don't think Travis D'Arnaud is going to reach the majors? Can he be an everyday player?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I never said that. He's got a quick line-drive stroke that produces good loft power. Defensively, we're talking about above-average arm strength and is overall a plus defender. He's just behind Marson and Jaramillo because of the experience level, and his game-calling still needs a lot of work. He'll get that chance working with polished college arms like Savery in Lakewood next season.

 Q:  Tommy M from Iron Pigs Territory, PA asks:
Lightning round question for you...Carlos Carrasco, Mike Pelfrey, Philip Humber, or Jurgen Jaairs? How about in order?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I'm not completely sure why, but I really like Jurrjens. So I'll go Jurrjens, Carrasco, Pelfrey and then Humber.

Chris Kline: Thanks for all the great questions--and sorry I couldn't get to them all. See you back around for some Arizona Fall League Top 20, as well as some Hawaii Winter Baseball Top 20. Not sure when that'll be, but it should be fun. Have a great weekend and an outstanding Thanksgiving.