Philadelphia Phillies: Top 10 Prospects Chat With John Manuel

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, 2009.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Is Mike Durant still on your prospect radar? What are your thoughts on his career thus far?
 A: 

John Manuel: Not too highly but yes, he's on the radar. That really translates to "on the depth chart." I was reading up on his amateur reports, and he's shown some power, but not much consistency or fielding ability. He's going to have to do more to be considered a regular.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Did Savery fall in the 11-20 range this year? What was the main reason for his regression?
 A: 

John Manuel: He's in that range, and the main reason he fell was "lack of stuff." He showed some glimpses, touched some 92s according to one pro scout from another club that I talked to, but his conditioning was an issue. He lost arm speed, which affects your fastball, your changeup, your breaking ball—all of it. He *could* be better and back on track to being a No. 3 kind of starter; it's pretty much up to him. I've written it before, I think the way pitchers are used at Rice is different than how they are used in pro ball; I happen to think that the Rice way might actually be the better way, because most of those pitchers have better stuff when they pitch at Rice than they do as pros.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
What are your thoughts on D'arby Myers?
 A: 

John Manuel: He's a classic Phils draft pick in that he was a raw, toolsy player in 2006 when he was picked. The consensus on the West Coast that year (I did our draft coverage in SoCal that year) was that Myers was very talented and not ready. The Phillies probably thought the same thing but that they like those kinds of players when they have premium athletic ability. His initial success in the GCL may have been the worst thing to happen to him. He and the Phillies got ahead of themselves. Looks like he's headed back to Lakewood in 2009, and there's a raft of young, toolsy outfielders who could pass him soon, starting with Zach Collier.

 Q:  Katie from RI asks:
How close did Gose come to your Top 10, and what excluded him?
 A: 

John Manuel: He came quite close, but basically there are 10 guys who I thought either (a) had higher ceilings, which is not that many but definitely the top 5 to 7 guys, and (b) guys who are quite close to their ceilings or are quite sure things. If Jason Knapp stays healthy—admittedly a big if—that guy could be a monster, either as a starter or more likely at the back of a bullpen. It's a big league arm. Gose already has had arm issues, he's been more of a pitcher for most of his amateur career . . . it's a high ceiling but more unknowns for me. He's just behind Hewitt for what that's worth; both are in the top 15.

 Q:  Paul from Philly asks:
Is Michael Taylor the second coming of Ryan Howard? Why or why not?
 A: 

John Manuel: I don't think I would put it that way; he's got more well-rounded tools, and less power. He's similar in that he's a massive human being, and obviously both are black, but it's a pretty superficial comp. I'm a big Taylor fan; I met him at a 2003 Perfect Game showcase, and he was more impressive as a person then than he was as a player. That's right when people were starting to notice that he was not performing as you'd expect a dude with that size, strength and athleticism to perform. He didn't have Ryan Howard's draftitis; he'd never really done it in high school. He was a projection pick as a prep senior, and projection picks who have diabetes don't get huge bonuses, especially when they are committed to Stanford. Scouts were very content to wait and see on him. I got on board the Taylor bandwagon last year since his strong finish for Stanford, when he seemed to turn a corner and started turning on pitches. He had a huge year; for me, he needs to hit for more than one year in A-ball for me to fully buy in. Part of me fears he might turn into another John Mayberry Jr.; that's more likely than him leading the majors in homers & RBIs on multiple occasions.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Do you realistically see Collier developing 20-25 HR power one day?
 A: 

John Manuel: Well, I do, because I've talked to many, many scouts who do, most of them outside the Phillies org. Most of my info on Collier came from doing draft preview work on him, and the Phillies merely confirmed most of those reports. He is who they thought he would be. Dude can hit, but he is not just a hitter, he has other tools that are at least average. He is not, however, an athlete in the class of Hewitt or Gose.

 Q:  Warren from Texas asks:
Any word on what happened to Heitor Correa this year? Where does he rank, if at all, in the Top 30? Where does he now stand as a propsect? Thanks for the chat!
 A: 

John Manuel: He was sent back to Brazil as a disciplinary measure this year; I never got any information that was authoritative enough to print or put online this year as to why, but a club official did confirm that he was disciplined by being sent home for the year from spring training. He's on the depth chart and he pitched for a Brazilian national team in a tournament this year, but he's got to make up for a lost year. Still a guy, but hard to know what kind of guy he is.

 Q:  mookie from BC asks:
where is Scott Mathieson on the list - rehabing from surgery - what is your projection for him this year? Thanks
 A: 

John Manuel: Not on the list, had a second Tommy John surgery. Rooting for him, dad's a great guy, hear nothing but good things about Scott, but two TJs is tough. That's a lot of lost time to make up.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Your thoughts on the Mayberry-Golson trade? Who benefitted the most, in your opinion?
 A: 

John Manuel: Honestly, I like Golson more than most. I have no reason to believe in his hit tool, but I do believe he'll be useful. That said, I thought it made sense for both teams to give both players fresh starts, and the Rangers need a CF more than they need another corner bat. Conversely, the Phils could use a big RH-hitting corner OF, and if Mayberry comes through, then that's what he is. It probably winds up being a wash but it will be a nice test to see if one player-development group can get more out of one player than the other org does (or did).

 Q:  Warren from Texas asks:
How close was Julian Sampson from making the list? How does he profile as a prospect? Thanks for the chat!
 A: 

John Manuel: So close . . . three years ago, he probably makes it. I probably put more stock in the stats than I should have. I just needed to see more fastball command out of him than he showed, but he had a great year for his age and experience level, and I probably should have been more forgiving on the walks. The fact he didn't tells you it's a strong system; he's quite good, has a real chance to be a stud if the slider becomes a swing-and-miss pitch. Thing is, most sliders are NOT swing-and-miss sliders, they are groundball sliders, and it's just not common to see a plus, two-plane slider. He's shown one; he also needs to work on a changeup. I think he'll need time to develop, which ultimately led me to rank him out of the 10; I think he has time to climb into the 10 and the Phillies have the depth to be patient with him.

 Q:  Shawn from Rochester asks:
What's the deal with Edgar Garcia? He was fairly solid in the FSL, but got shelled in the hitter friendly EL...is it his stuff? Was there more behind getting rocked? Presumably he'll repeat AA this year, but will he fare any better? Is he still on track, being only 21 in AA?
 A: 

John Manuel: The Phils are a split camp on Garcia, but most agree that his problem was just that he doesn't throw enough quality strikes. He throws a lot of fat pitches, and he had zero confidence after getting knocked around in Double-A. He had his defenders in the system, but he has fewer of those than he used to have. He is still young, and he has solid stuff, but he doesn't have Carrasco's stuff.

 Q:  Rayn from PA asks:
Was Mike Cisco's success a fluke or was he a steal in the 36th round?
 A: 

John Manuel: I think he was a steal. I've heard from multiple sources that Cisco's velocity was way up in pro ball, jumping from 84-88 in college to 88-92 as a pro, touching 94. He used his fastball a lot more as a pro and the fastball took off, going from below-average to average. With his command, feel and secondary stuff, he made the top 30. He's a back-end guy or a middle guy if it pans out, but he has command, he has big league bloodlines (Galen Cisco is his grandaddy), and he knows how to pitch. I like him.

 Q:  JAYPERS from Springfield asks:
Which facet of Drabek has developed more last year, in your opinion - his mechanics or his maturity?
 A: 

John Manuel: I'll say maturity; his mechanics weren't so bad, really. I mean, he had first-round stuff with those mechanics. The game and life slowed down for him while he rehabbed, and that helped him grow up some and channel his competitiveness and some of his mischievousness. The Phils are quite high on him; wouldn't shock anyone in the system if he reached the majors in 2009 as a reliever, it really wouldn't. It would shock me, so I didn't put that in his report, but there are those who believe stuff is stuff, and if you have big league stuff and throw it for strikes, don't waste those bullets in the minors. Drabek's improved changeup makes him a better bet to stay in the rotation long-term, but if he hits the ground running in '09 and has a big year, and gets some big league time in the bullpen, he may stay there. His fastball and curve might be just too good in a relief role, and some in the system think that would suit his mentality better than starting.

 Q:  Warren from Texas asks:
Who are the sleepers in the organization who we may not yet heard of but who still have achance to impact MLB in the future?
 A: 

John Manuel: Cisco for starters; a 36th-round pick who didn't sign an over-slot bonus, and he made the 30. I like 3B Cody Overbeck out of the '08 draft; he didn't make the 30 but he's got a chance to hit and defend at an average MLB level. My personal cheeseball in the organization is SS Troy Hanzawa, who basically should have a Jorge Velandia kind of career — longtime minor leaguer thanks to his glove, should have an up-and-down big league career. He's a special fielder, great college reputation and then played very well as a pro defensively, will push Freddy Galvis in the system, which will be a good thing for Galvis. I also like RHP Chris Kissock, who was a big game pitcher at Lewis-Clark State and took well to a relief role this year, he's a sinker-slider guy, not a huge impact guy, but a fairly live arm who has a chance.

 Q:  Skrip from Chicago asks:
Thanks for the chat. What can you tell me about Kyle Drabek and the progress he has made from shoulder surgery? Is his fastball all the way back? Does he still have possibility to be a #1-2 starter? I have heard that he has has matured a great deal the last couple of years and the Phillies are very pleased about it. Is this true? Thanks!
 A: 

John Manuel: You're welcome, but it was elbow surgery (Tommy John), not shoulder. The rest of this ground was covered, just wanted to correct this misperception, if others share it.

 Q:  ScottAZ from Phx, AZ asks:
With the Phillies stable of young OFers, why isn't Anthony Gose being groomed as a pitcher? Pitching seems to be a much greater need and the fact he throws 98mph LEFTY and in the OF he is a toolsie longshot makes it hard to believe he isn't on the mound
 A: 

John Manuel: The Phillies like him better as a hitter; they have faith in his ability to hit. They weren't drafting for need or organization strengths or weaknesses in the first two rounds for sure. They believe in Gose's bat and love the fact that he has other tools that grade out as average or better. They don't believe he's a toolsy longshot at all. Also, keep in mind he didn't throw 98 as a prep senior, because he was too hurt to pitch. Sorry to say Scott that it's not as simple as you made it out to be.

 Q:  Tom from Sewell asks:
Did Mike Stutes make the top 20? What would you see as his future potential?
 A: 

John Manuel: He is in the top 20 and could be a top 10 guy soon. He's got No. 4 starter potential or perhaps eighth-inning reliever potential — he's good. He just stunk up the joint at Oregon State because he got away from using his fastball. Forgive me if I sound like I'm giving a clinic at the ABCA Convention, but Stutes threw too many sliders as a senior at Oregon State, lost faith in his fastball, lost command of his fastball and got hammered when he had to come with fastballs in fastball counts. He got very predictable and lost some velo. As a pro, his fastball was his primary pitch once again, he hit a lot of 94s, some 95s, and showed electric stuff. He's still got to show more pitchability and refine his fastball command, but he could be a four-pitch guy. No. 4 starter might be conservative. I'm bullish on the Phils' '08 draft and on Stutes in particular.

 Q:  Ryan from PA asks:
What does Jared Cosart's future look like with the Phillies? Also how do scouts view his ceiling?
 A: 

John Manuel: The Phillies love that guy, and saw him hitting 95s and 96s late in the summer, just before the signing deadline. He's fairly athletic, but he's raw as a two-way guy in high school. I think his future is filled with long minor league bus rides and a probably start in extended spring this year, with a summer at Williamsport or perhaps the GCL. He probably doesn't hit full-season ball until 2010.

 Q:  ScottAZ from Phx, AZ asks:
How big of a disappointment was Anthony Hewitt's 1st 1/2 season? Do the Phillies already regret the pick?
 A: 

John Manuel: No, I don't think they do. I would hope they would not judge him based on a half-season in the GCL. That was a historically bad half-season in the GCL, so I'm sure they wish he performed better. But they knew he was raw when they took him. If he's still striking out in every other plate appearances a year from now, then I think the Phillies would start to get worried. But they had extra picks, so they decided to roll the dice. They love Hewitt's athletic ability and raw power specifically; one source in the org said if he hits .250 in the majors, he'll hit 30-35 homers doing it. That's the kind of thunder they think is in his hands.

 Q:  cjb from madison, wi asks:
Does Drabek's profile for being a hot head somewhat similar to Cole Hamels at a similar age? How about in terms of stuff as well, does Drabek have number 1-2 type stuff?
 A: 

John Manuel: I had forgotten about Hamels' hot-headed past, punching a guy in a bar . . . sure, if you want to make that comp, go right ahead. Also, Hamels was somewhat injury prone in the minors, as Drabek has been. I will mention again that some people think Drabek should be a closer, and Hamels is a No. 1 starter. I think Drabek could be a front-line guy but there's more to it than stuff.

 Q:  Bryan from San Francisco asks:
What is the timeline on Colby Shreve's return, and what type of ceiling does he have? Thanks!
 A: 

John Manuel: He had surgery in May, so he'll start the year in extended spring; perhaps if Lakewood were a warm-weather spot, he'd have a chance to go there. Keep in mind that Shreve has never finished a JC season, so he needs to be kept on a short leash anyway, even if he weren't coming off TJ. He's got a pro body and a pro arm, I love the pick, but 2009 will be a slow year for him; I'd expect GCL or Williamsport when he's ready.

 Q:  Kyle from Philadelphia asks:
Donald more valuable as a potential third baseman or trading chip, given the offense they have already with Howard, Utley, and Rollins?
 A: 

John Manuel: More at 3b for me. With that infield, and with him being a righthanded bat, he seems like a perfect, complementary fit as long as Howard is there. Obviously that's a whole separate issue.

 Q:  Michael Stern from Rochester, NY asks:
I was very surprised to see Brown listed ahead of M. Taylor, and of course really shocked to see him as the # 1 overall prospect. When looking at my recently received new 2009 BA Almanac (great book by the way!) I see you have Taylor as the Phillies 2008 Minor League player of the year, not Brown. When I looked at the Sally League rankings Taylor was considered the 15th best prospect in the league. Brown didn't even make the top 20. Where did all the sudden love for Brown come from, and why is he ranked now ahead of Taylor, and # 1 to boot? Was it just the good performance in the HWB league? I find it hard to believe that such a small sample size of play would take precedence over a full season's worth. Could you please explain further? Thanks so much for the great chat!
 A: 

John Manuel: Michael, I'll just tell you why I ranked Brown over Taylor. First, the top 7 prospects in this system are all quite close, and the order is almost interchangeable in some cases. I could make a case for Drabek at No. 1, or Marson. I do like Brown more than Taylor but not by a ton. I rank him higher (a) because his hit tool is better; (b) I believe in the power coming on because the swing and hand-eye coordination are good, and he will get stronger; (c) he's more athletic and a better defender; (d) he's younger. Taylor could very well develop into a star; I'm more confident that Brown will. It's not all just Hawaii, but in doing the HWB list, that's when I heard how much other teams regretted not drafting Brown, and how other teams believe in his power. His swing and setup could be problematic for some scouts, but for others, they are reasons why they believe the power will come as he gets stronger.

 Q:  Mike from Horsham, PA asks:
Having read that Greg Golson would rank in the mid 20's in the Rangers system after spending years in the Phillies Top 10 made me wonder about the overall state of the Phillies' farm system. Would Golson have ranked in the Top 10 this year, or is the Phils farm system better, even without Cardenas and Outman. Where would those two have ranked?
 A: 

John Manuel: Again, I like Golson more than most; he might have been No. 10 for me on this list, maybe No. 9 actually. I am a fan of his but I realize I'm in the minority. I didn't really talk to anyone about Cardenas and Outman specifically, but Cardenas would have been in the running for No. 1, certainly top 3 or so, and Outman wouldn't have been too far behind. Those are both prospects on par with the top 7 that I mentioned that I consider to be quite strong and almost interchangeable.

 Q:  Phil from Chandler, AZ asks:
What do you think about the Australian Drew Naylor? What's his chances of being a big league starter?
 A: 

John Manuel: I'm not sure about any other Drew Naylors, but the Aussie one had a really nice year, and he's in the top 15, which is an aggressive ranking. He's probably a No. 4 starter at best but I like guys who throw true curveballs, and he's got one, and it's a good one. I especially like how he adjusted and improved after first getting hammered after his promotion to high A. He only gave up one homer in his last six starts. He should reach Double-A next year and we'll see if moving him up so high on the list was justified.

 Q:  Dale Berra's Stash from Pittsburgh, PA asks:
How does Knapp compare to Quinton Miller, who was signed at the last minute by PGH for a $1M bonus?
 A: 

John Manuel: Dale Berra's stash . . . does anyone even know what you're talking about? I do but talk about obscure . . . Anyway, I like Knapp better even though he's probably going to be a reliever. He's got a bigger arm and bigger body. Miller's no slouch, and my esteemed colleague Aaron Fitt had Miller 1, Knapp 2 in New Jersey in our draft preview this May. Miller got $900k, I believe.

 Q:  Kell Varnsen from Upper East Side asks:
Kind of a disappointing year for Travis Mattair. Is he still in the 30? Does he repeat Low A Lakewood(with Cody Overbeck to High A) or does he got to High A Clearwater?
 A: 

John Manuel: It was a middling year for him, no doubt, and his 2009 placement will be up to him. Overbeck could jump him, no doubt. The Phils love Mattair's athleticism and hope it translates to helping him adjust more to wood bats; he had a longer learning curve than was hoped, and was less experienced with wood.

 Q:  Emmett from Fayetteville, GA asks:
I'm pretty surprised to see Taylor as low as he is, especially behind guys like Marson and Donald. What was the reason for ranking him behind those guys?
 A: 

John Manuel: Marson plays a premium position, and plays it fine. His arm is fringy at best, but he has good feet and a quick transfer, and he's fine with the running game. He'll never be Pudge Rodriguez, but he's a good receiver and is getting better at it. He's going to be an average big league defender at C, if not a tick above, and he can hit. I have more faith in Donald's bat; he has a lower offensive ceiling than Taylor, but he's much more of a sure thing, having done it in Double-A. Also, Donald's an infielder, and frankly I think he can be a solid regular at 3b. If Taylor's a solid regular in LF or RF, I'll take the regular at 3b over the regular in the OF corners. That was my thought process.

 Q:  Karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
What sort of outfielder is Steve Susdorf? He seems to have a pretty good bat. Where does he start in 2009?
 A: 

John Manuel: He's a left fielder, but a good left fielder. It's a left-field arm. He can hit; he's an old-school run producer. Susdorf never has shown profile power for left field. To become a "prospect," he'll have to hit for more home run power, but he's not a bad sleeper to look out for, because he can hit.

 Q:  Karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
Shortstop Troy Hanzawa is good at bat as well as defense - did he break the top 30 prospect list? Where is he from?
 A: 

John Manuel: Again, I love Troy Hanzawa as a player. Real quick — he's a Hawaii prep product, went to U of H for a year, redshirted. Then he transferred to Yavapai (Ariz.) CC to play, played two years there, pushing Milton Loo (much-hyped Reds guy, I think I'm the one who hyped him) to 3B. Hanzawa helped lead the Rough Riders to the 2006 NJCAA World Series (runner-up to Walters State — Alan Matthews won that bet), then played two years at San Diego State for Tony Gwynn, now in pro ball.

 Q:  DB from Princeton asks:
For a 21 year old to pitch as well as Carlos Carrasco did in AAA last year, it seems as if he doesnt get enough respect. Doesn't he have the potential to be a dominant major league starter at the top of a rotation? And did Antonio Bastardo just miss the list? Does he have potantial to crack the Phillies rotation?
 A: 

John Manuel: Bastardo just missed the list, I think he's got too much competition to crack the '09 rotation but he came very close to getting called up in '08 so you never know.

John Manuel: As for Carrasco, he was the No. 1 guy for two years; that's plenty of respect. I also have to have healthy respect for opposing managers and scouts who say he "folds up" under pressure, or describe him as "soft." He rarely gets results that match his dominant stuff and remains prone to giving up the big inning. Ultimately, I think Brown's ceiling is higher, and because his hit tool is so advanced, I consider him a good bet to reach his ceiling, even though he's in low Class A. Carrasco certainly could have ranked first; two people in the org had Carrasco 1A, Brown 1B. But others in and out of the org were pretty high on Brown, and that's where I wound up.

 Q:  Brett from Boston, MA asks:
In reading draft write-ups, it appears that both Knapp and Tyler Sample from the Royals are very similar in terms of arm strength, body-type, and upside - do they have similar ceilings, or what separates the two?
 A: 

John Manuel: Maybe, Brett, though I think one big difference is size — Sample's a beast at 6-7, 245, and he's also already had Tommy John surgery. It sounds like Sample has a better breaking ball right now, and Knapp has a better fastball, but both are physical power pitchers who have shown the ability to spin a breaking ball. There are some similarities; wonder how many scouts have seen both? Probably very few if any.

 Q:  Curt from Marlton, NJ asks:
John, who do you see as the two most likely prospects to make big splashes as AA and AAA respectively?
 A: 

John Manuel: I suspect Marson and Bastardo will head to Triple-A, and the IL is a tough league; not sure I'd bank on either to make a big splash, but Marson is the better bet there. Taylor is the logical Double-A candidate, and we'll see how he performs making that leap. The SAL to the FSL was no problem for him, but the jump to Double-A is tougher. He has the power to hit it out of any park, though.

 Q:  Curt from Marlton, NJ asks:
John, do any of the Philles prospects make it into the Top 100?
 A: 

John Manuel: I think all the top six guys are candidates, but no one higher than the top 30 or 35 for me. I think Taylor, at No. 6, is a top 100 kind of guy. Heck, d'Arnaud could be at 7, even with his initial defensive struggles.

 Q:  Troy Bolton from East High asks:
I know Freddy Galvis is a crazy good defensive wizard SS but what are his long-term hitting prospects?
 A: 

John Manuel: He can be a 2-hole guy, an old-school 2-hole hitter. He's got some bat control, he makes contact, he just has no power. The big problem for him, that I see, is his lack of speed. He can't make an offensive impact with his running, like an Omar Vizquel did. I think more realistically, he's an 8-hole hitter in the Adam Everett mold.

 Q:  Burke from Columbus, OH asks:
Hey John, am I correct in comparing Zach Collier to Desmond Jennings of the Rays system? They both seem to have speed and plate discipline which for some reason, seems rare amoung minor leagures at the lower levels.
 A: 

John Manuel: Jennings is a better athlete and runner, and Collier's a more polished hitter at a comparable stage of their careers, who's also more likely to get to his power early on. Jennings' ceiling is higher, but Collier's got a bit more polish than Jennings had coming out of a Mississippi JC. Not really that comparable for me in terms of tools.

 Q:  Matt Skripsky from Chicago asks:
John, Thanks for another great chat! What can you tell me about J.A. Happ? I played against him in the big ten and he was quite impressive while at Northwestern. What is his ceiling? Is he relegated to be a 4-5 starter? thanks John.
 A: 

John Manuel: You're welcome, it is a great chat, isn't it? Anyway, I think Happ is done improving his stuff, everything from here on in is refining his command. He improved his breaking ball and throws more strikes now than ever, and he works off his fastball, a plus for me if you're paying attention. I like him in that 4-5 role but wouldn't think a major league team could rely on him for more unless the breaking ball suddenly becomes plus (unlikely) or the fastball gains a few ticks in velo (also unlikely).

 Q:  Burke from Columbus, OH asks:
What level does Kyle Drebek start at this year?
 A: 

John Manuel: Most likely Clearwater due to the salubrious waters . . . oh, and the warm weather, good for guys coming off arm injuries, even those as far removed from TJ as he is. He'll hit Reading as soon as it warms up in PA.

 Q:  Kyle from Philly asks:
Higher ceiling D'Arnaud or Marson? Who will be catching for the Phils in 5 years?
 A: 

John Manuel: D'Arnaud, because he has more power potential. Marson has a lot more polish and athletic ability and is ready to help a big league club in '09 if needed, so I gave him the edge in the rankings. Again, not a huge difference among the top 7 guys, and at 8, I love Collier. Everyone ahead of him plays a premium position or has really big tools, like Brown and Taylor. I think it's a pretty darn good top 10 the org has going.

 Q:  Petey Pablo from Carrboro asks:
What do you think of Schwimer as a sleeper and does he have the repetoire to start?
 A: 

John Manuel: Not a bad choice, big year, big breaking ball, don't think they think of him as a starter though.

 Q:  Burke from Columbus, OH asks:
What type of player do you see Jeremy Hamilton becoming and did he make the top 30?
 A: 

John Manuel: He didn't make the 30, not a profile kind of a player so he's going to have to be really good at everything else — hit for average, draw walks, be a plus defender at 1b, etc. . . . Best-case maybe he's Doug Mientkiewicz? I bet he won't be as good of a quote . . .

 Q:  Steve from Va asks:
Just how good can Jason Donald be as a SS? Where would he rank among shortstop prospects?
 A: 

John Manuel: Not very good, I haven't found a scout or manager who thinks he can be an average big league SS. So he'd fall down a ranking of SS prospects, because defense matters a lot at SS, more than at most positions. He's better suited as a 2b or 3b and fits better at 3b for the Phils.

 Q:  Steve from Wilmington asks:
What can you tell me about Catcher Sebastian Valle? Have the Phillies found a bargain?
 A: 

John Manuel: I'm not as high on him as former BA staffer Matt Blood was in the GCL rankings, where he ranked ahead of Zach Collier; incidentally, not sure if we've mentioned it here at BA.com or not, but Matt was hired in November as a scout by the St. Louis Cardinals. Anyway, Valle is an offensive receiver, there are some doubts about his ability to stay behind the plate, he's quite raw for some scouts, but the Phillies can be patient with him behind D'Arnaud.

 Q:  Glen from Philly asks:
Quick thoughts on Garcia, Bastardo, and Sampson? Who's the first to the majors (if any)? Thanks.
 A: 

John Manuel: Quickly, Bastardo is much closer to being in the majors, not really that close. Sampson probably has the highest ceiling.

 Q:  Alex from Philadelphia asks:
John, where does Jason Donald compare in terms of tools with Chase Utley
 A: 

John Manuel: Not fair, but also not close. Donald would need two or maybe three years to hit 30 homers in the big leagues, more like two in Citizens Bank Park. I like Donald's bat a lot but Utley is freaking Chase Utley. That guy is a top 25-30 player in the majors, isn't he? He is for me.

 Q:  Kyle from Philadelphia asks:
True or False Jason Donald will be the Phillies starting 3B in 2010.
 A: 

John Manuel: I'll wager "true."

 Q:  Mike P. from Arizona asks:
Give me your prediction on the type of player Lou Marson will be in Philadelphia. Will he get there this year or next and what type of career?
 A: 

John Manuel: He already got there for one game, and believe he'll be similar to Don Slaught offensively but with better defense. There's an outside chance he could be a Russ Martin, though I don't think he's that good. Don Slaught was a nice offensive player, but Marson's athletic enough to be an average defensive C while also being a league-average offensive player (not for a catcher, for any player). Slaught did a great hitting clinic at the ABCA convention over the weekend, so he's in my head right now.

 Q:  Coach Tony Gwynn from San Diego asks:
How close was SDSU product Quintin Berry to making this list? The guy was a Paul Owens winner, had a 30+ game hit streak in 08 and seems to have held his own in the AFL, any love for my guy?
 A: 

John Manuel: He's in the 30, looks like an extra OF like Coach Gwynn's son Anthony. More offensive upside, less defense than Anthony. Possibly a second-division regular if he improves his feel for hitting.

 Q:  Greg from Davis, CA (Go Aggies!) asks:
Where does Vance Worley rank? 11-20? Does he project to be a nice set-up man (Scott Shields-esque)? He seems to be fast tracking since the 2008 Draft.
 A: 

John Manuel: Wrapping up . . . Worley's in the 11-20 mold, he's got a chance to be a durable innings-eater, so he won't be moving to the pen anytime soon. Not a Scot Shields type at all, he's a hoss. I think you're confusing him with fellow Dirtbag alum Andrew Liebel.

 Q:  rob from yardley asks:
any thoughts on Trevor May or J. Pettibone?
 A: 

John Manuel: May made the 30; Pettibone came close, just not quite, both have good, young arms but May has more present power and a big, physical body that gives him a leg up, at least in my eyes.

 Q:  Ben from in asks:
Where would J. Mayberry Jr. rank in the Phils system? 10-15, 16-20 or 21+?
 A: 

John Manuel: He's 21+, I'm just not a huge fan, don't know many huge fans of his, or at least I haven't spoken to them.

John Manuel: Thanks for coming out! That's going to wrap up my first Phillies chat. I enjoyed it, stay tuned for the Nats tomorrow.