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, 2011.
Matt Forman will answer Phillies questions beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Greetings, baseball fans and prospect
followers alike to the Phillies Top 10 list. I'm happy to be starting
the National League chats with what's sure to include some solid
questions and, as Will Lingo likes to say, "prospect goodness." I
enjoyed putting together the Phillies list this year, and it proved to
be far different from the doing the Diamondbacks a year ago. Seven of
Arizona's top 10, and 17 of the top 30, were 2009 draftees, and the
early versions of the Phillies top 30 includes four 2010 draftees. And
that's not an indictment of the 2010 draft—it speaks to the
organization's depth. I had a list of about 45-50 players that were at
least considered for the top 30. With that, how about a question?
Everything Phillies-related is fair game.
Jasen (FLL): Excluding Brown and Singleton,
which player in the top ten do you expect to make the biggest stride in
2011? Thanks for the chat!
John Manuel put together the Phillies list
last year (and for the last couple of years), and though I had several
discussions with him about the system, we never specifically touched on
the helium Jiwan James had last year. I imagine it was similar to what
Aaron Altherr had this year when making calls for the top 10. Outside of
Phillies fans, he's more of an under-the-radar type among prospect
followers, but I think that'll change next year. The support he received
both inside and outside the organization was incredible, and I expect a
big year from Altherr at Lakewood in 2011.
Ken (Lakewood CA): Hi Matt. couple of
questions. Though Rizzotti seems a bit old for a prospect, he had a good
2010. Where does he fall short? Also, with Polanco projected as the
future 3B, does this mean the Phillies are lacking for solid prospects
at the 3B position? Thanks.
I figured there would be quite a few
questions about Rizzotti, who seemed to be the focus of much discussion
among Phillies prospect followers throughout the summer, especially in
the blogosphere. More of a suspect coming into the season, Rizzotti
turned himself into a prospect by moving from Clearwater to Lehigh
Valley, and he tore up Reading along the way. For a big guy, Rizzotti
has more of a line-drive approach, and his most impressive power numbers
came in Reading, a hitting-friendly environment. He's never going to be
fast or a great defender, and he's susceptible to hard stuff on the
inner half. That being said, Rizzotti put up loud enough numbers to get
consideration for the top 30, and he'll slot somewhere into the last 10
As for the second question, the Phillies
don't have a great in-house option for their third baseman of the
future; Cody Overbeck had a solid year between Clearwater and Reading,
though scouts have serious questions about his ability to play the hot
corner, and offensively he thrives on hitting fastballs. The projected
2014 lineup is more of a fun way to see what a team would look like if
it relied completely on its farm system and the players currently on the
major league roster.
Ty (FL): Did Perci Garner get consideration for the list? What's the word on him?
A few questions about Perci Garner...
Garner, a 2010 second-round pick, will definitely make the top 30, but
he didn't receive much consideration for the top 10. The Phillies shut
him down after his second appearance at Williamsport for precautionary
reasons, but there's no reason to suggest any long-term health problems.
For a college draftee, Garner hasn't pitched much, since he went to
Ball State as a football player before walking onto the baseball team.
He had some first-round buzz during the spring because he has two
major-league quality pitches, his fastball and curveball, and a ton of
upside, though most teams viewed him as maybe a third- or fourth-round
selection. He's still raw and it's going to take time, but there's
reason to be excited. He's likely to spend 2011 at Lakewood.
Ryan (Abingdon, MD): If Cosart had not missed
half the season with an elbow injury, would he have ranked #2 on this
list? His stuff and performance definitely point to an exciting future.
Good question, Ryan. It's worth noting
that Domonic Brown was the clear-cut favorite for the top spot on the
list, but there was little separation between No.'s 2-4. You really
could rank and argue Jonathan Singleton, Brody Colvin and Jarred Cosart
in any order and be happy with the outcome. With that, I think you're
right about Cosart being No. 2 if he had stayed healthy. After July,
Colvin ranked second in the South Atlantic League in ERA while Cosart
didn't pitch. Cosart has a slightly higher ceiling than Colvin, though
Cosart's a riskier bet to get there. And Singleton's the most likely of
those three to reach his ceiling.
Ian (Miami, FL): It would be nice to see him miss a few more bats, but did Jonathan Pettibone land in the 11-20 range?
The only real knock on Pettibone is that
he doesn't have premium swing-and-miss stuff. That being said, Pettibone
took some impressive strides and he's going to be a player to keep an
eye on in 2011. As one member of the Phillies front office put it to me,
"He became a man in the second half." I saw a few of Lakewood's playoff
games this year, and if you took background and numbers out of the
equation, you could have left thinking Pettibone was a similar-rated
prospect to Brody Colvin. He has an uncanny feel for pitching, and the
Phillies introduced a slider and two-seamer to him earlier than they
normally would because of his aptitude, giving him a four-pitch mix.
He's definitely in the 11-20 range, and he has the potential to be a
Jimmy (Charlotte): Julio Rodriguez put up some pretty impressive numbers. What's the scouting report on him?
Rodriguez was another one of the Lakewood
pitching prospects, other than Brody Colvin and Jarred Cosart, that I
came away impressed with. There were mixed reports on Rodriguez's
velocity throughout the season, but he definitely added some to his
fastball as the season wore on. In the South Atlantic League playoffs,
Rodriguez bumped a few 92s and 93s early in his appearances, though he
settled into the 87-90 mph range on his fastball. But as one Phillies
executive said, "If you're a radar gun guy, he's not going to impress
you. If you throw the gun away and let the hitters tell you how hard
he's throwing, he'll impress you." He's got great deception, and good
angle on his fastball. Rodriguez's strikeout numbers were impressive,
though he gets a lot of swings and misses on his upper-60s curveball
that needs to be tightened up as he moves up the ladder.
Sammy (TX): Can you give us a rundown on Leandro Castro? Top 30 guy?
Leandro Castro is a definite top 30 guy,
but he didn't receive much top 10 consideration as a few other questions
asked. The best way to describe everything Castro does is aggressive,
and he's probably going to have to play a little more under control at
the higher levels. Still, you'd much rather have to tell a player to
relax than the other way around. Castro has always hit, and that's going
to determine how far he goes. Most of his other tools are average, and
he probably fits best as a left fielder.
Kevin (Boston): Can Phillippe Aumont stick as a starter?
Lots of questions about the prospects the
Phillies received in return for Cliff Lee, and I'll touch on each of the
players. As for your question, Kevin... One of the more interesting
nuggets I came across when talking to Phillies front office folks for
the list was that Aumont officially is entering 2011 as a reliever. As
one executive said, there will be no more jockeying back and forth
between the rotation and the bullpen. It was intriguing that he pitched
for Team Canada in September as a starter, but the Phillies are
committed to developing him in a relief role. The nicest way to put it
is that Aumont went through growing pains mentally and physically in
2010: He was expected to be a starting pitcher at Double-A, which he
wasn't ready for. The positive to take away from it all? He pitched a
ton of innings and the Phillies still think his 90-94 mph sinker alone
will get him to the big leagues.
Nick (NJ): Can you give us some thoughts on Tyson Gillies? Has he completely fallen off of the radar screen?
Sticking with the Cliff Lee trend, Gillies
hasn't fallen off the radar screen completely, but he did have a rough
2010. He had trouble staying healthy, and when was able to get on the
field he struggled. For the Gillies doubters, they say his most
impressive numbers came in an extremely hitter-friendly environment at
High Desert. For the Gillies supporters, they say you can't ignore the
raw tools that were on display at the Future's Game last year. The
reports from fall instructional said that Gillies' hamstring was back to
100 percent, but that he wasn't playing the field in game action; he
just saw time as a DH. I think there's still reason to be excited about
Gillies: Assuming the hamstring issue is resolved, he can be an
above-average defender in centerfield and employ his slap-and-run
approach at the plate. He doesn't have the same upside as the other
toolsy outfielders that made the top 10, but Gillies is closest to the
major leagues of any outfielder not named Domonic Brown.
Shane (Miami): True or False, Jonathan Singleton is Dr. Dre's son? The resemblence is uncanny!
No comment—I just thought this was funny.
JH (Berkeley): Who's the highest-ranking player from the Cliff Lee trade? Man, I bet Amaro wishes he could have that one back.
The third component of the Cliff Lee deal,
and maybe the player who ranks the highest is J.C. Ramirez. It'll be
close between Ramirez and Gillies on who ranks higher in the top 30.
Ramirez is big, strong and durable as evidenced by his innings total the
last few years. He's got a heavy 92-94 fastball, and he's got a good
chance of staying in the rotation if he can continue to polish his
secondary pitches. The Phillies were impressed with his desire to pitch
through an injury that required surgery on his hip labrum after the
Tim (Jersey): Is this a top 10 organization in terms of prospects?
Thanks for the question, Tim. A lot of
prospect followers like to stack up the organizations against each
other, and that's a difficult task that Jim Callis, John Manuel and Will
Lingo tackle for the Prospect Handbook. When you do a top 30, you
either think it's better than other people do, or you think it's worse.
Just going off of the top of my head from the American League top 10s
that have been released so far, I'd probably put the Yankees, Rays,
Indians, Royals and Blue Jays (and the Red Sox before the Adrian
Gonzalez trade) ahead of the Phillies. My gut tells me the Phillies will
probably rank somewhere in the 10-15 range of the organization
Matt (Bristol, pa): In 2013, does the Phillies outfield look like this? Singleton LF, James CF, Brown RF?
That certainly could be the case, and the
Phillies would suggest that it's possible. Of course, at this time last
year it would have been reasonable to suggest a Phillies outfield with
Michael Taylor in left field and Anthony Gose in center field.
DB (Princeton): I have read that Justin
Defratus has a chance to make the Phillies bullpen this year. What kind
of stuff does have and was he considered for the top 10?
Quite a few questions about Justin De
Fratus, and he certainly deserves to be mentioned. De Fratus received
some consideration for the top 10, and he's definitely a top 20 prospect
in the system. There's reason to be excited, given the full-time move
to the bullpen and how much he has improved. Though De Fratus has
pitched only 25 innings above A ball, the Phillies let him pitch for
Team USA and then sent him to the Arizona Fall League. He's got a 92-95
mph fastball and a solid slider, but he needs to be more consistent with
it, and he has great command. But more than anything, scouts rave about
his bulldog mentality and fearless attitude about coming into any
situation. As one scout said, "He should have been left-handed, he has
that kind of mentality."
Sean (DC): How close were Defratus and Worley
from making the top 10? What kept them off the list? Do they have
potential to be impact players or are they both more #5/bullpen type
Just touched on De Fratus, though it's
worth adding that he should get a chance to compete for a job on the
major league team during Spring Training. My guess is that he'll end up
getting a little more seasoning at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he really
came on strong at the end of the year.
As for Worley, he just missed the top 10. In fact, he was No. 11. He has
the upside of a back-of-the-rotation starter, either a No. 4 or No. 5,
and he made significant improvements this year. He got in better shape
and impressed Eastern League scouts the second time through the circuit.
He'll likely battle Kyle Kendrick for the fifth starter's role in
Spring Training, or he could be used in middle relief.
Phil (Connecticut): Thanks for the chat. What
are your thoughts on my fellow CT guy, Josh Zeid? He was up to 97 in
the final championship game of the SALLY league, went 3-0 in the AFL,
and made the all-star team out there. Also, he is listed as having the
best slider— top 20? top 30? what's his ceiling?
Ahh, Josh Zeid. He's one of my favorite
under-the-radar Phillies prospects. He was highly recruited out of high
school, spent two seasons at Vanderbilt and transferred to Tulane before
being a 10th-round pick in 2009. I saw Zeid pitch in Lakewood and then
in the Arizona Fall League and came away impressed both times. He sits
more 92-94 mph as a starter, though like you said, Phil, his velocity
jumps out of the bullpen. The guess here is that Zeid will double-jump
to Reading in 2011 and will continue pitching as a starter to work on
his secondary stuff. But it's pretty hard to ignore the potential as a
power reliever, and that's ultimately where I see his role in the
Jesse (Allentown): I suppose Mathieson has MLB
time so eliminates him from the list, but I would rank him in the top 5
based on his comeback and lights out year at LV. Does he make the big
club out of spring training?
It's worth mentioning that both Scott
Mathieson and Antonio Bastardo still have prospect eligibility, and both
just missed the top 10. Neither has reached the 50 innings pitched
threshold. But both Mathieson and Bastardo should have a chance at
making the big club out of Spring Training.
Kyle (Philadelphia): Freddy Galvis, obviously he has the glove for the majors but will he ever have the bat?
You're right, Kyle, that's the real
question. Scouts have been aglow about Galvis' defense, and he could
play a solid shortstop in the major leagues today. The Phillies stressed
the importance of bulking up a little bit and adding strength to his
frame, which should help his offensive potential. And everyone I talked
to in the organization said they anticipated Galvis would hit about
.233/.276/.311 at Reading like he did, so the expectations weren't
overly lofty. I still give him a chance, since he's a switch hitter with
good hand-eye coordination and makes solid contact.
Beerleaguer (Philadelphia, Pa.): Where would Jonathan Villar and Anthony Gose rank on this list?
I did see both Gose and Villar play at
Lakewood at different times, but I didn't make the calls about them last
year and I didn't specifically ask about them this year, so it's hard
to say for sure. But they're both definite top 10 guys, and my initial
reaction was that they'd both slot in after Valle and beore James.
Steve (Sarasota): Should we cross Joe Savery off our list?
As a pitcher, yes. Otherwise, maybe not.
The Phillies have officially converted him to a hitter, and he spent
time as a DH and first baseman during fall instructs. Talking to one
scout who saw Savery in the fall, he said Savery definitely caught his
eye with some plus raw power and added that "it could get interesting
quickly." But he later added that if Savery could turn himself into a
major league hitter within three years, it would be very impressive.
Matt (MN): Where do you have Austin Hyatt on the list? I see he isn't projected in the 2014 rotation, where do you see him longterm?
Austin Hyatt is a top 30 guy, and he had a
very nice season. He was named the Florida State League's pitcher of
the year. More than anything, scouts love Hyatt's changeup, which is
often described as having forkball- or curveball-like movement for its
late tumble. He's got an average fastball, and he needs to work on his
slider. Pitching at Reading next year will be a good test for him.
Kyle (Philadelphia): What else does Harold
Garcia have to do to get some love? All he does is hit at ever level.
Do you think he could possibly see the majors by the end of the year?
I'd like to give Harold Garcia some
love... I'm a fan, and how could you not be after his 37-game hit streak
at Clearwater this year. The best-case scenario for Garcia is that he
develops into an everyday second baseman, but the most likely scenario
is that he develops into a super-utility player. The Phillies had him
spend time at every position except catcher and centerfield during fall
instructs. I suppose Garcia could get a taste of the big leagues in
2011, but the better bet is sometime in 2012.
Joshua (Annapolis, MD): Is Hewitt officially an epic bust?
I'm not ready to label Hewitt a bust quite
yet, though the Phillies have openly said he's not going to advance
based on his first-round pedigree any longer and he's going to repeat
Lakewood in 2011. For every Anthony Hewitt and Zach Collier in the
system, there's a Jiwan James or Aaron Altherr. You're going to swing
and miss when you're taking chances on toolsy, projection packages.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):
Lakewood had 7 of your top 10 Phillie prospects playing for them last
year! They won the league championship! I hate it - I am a Delmarva
fan. Who are some of the Phillie prospect guys that end up on Lakewood
this year? Not many, I'm hoping...
Karl, the run of prospects flowing through
Lakewood probably won't stop in 2011... Off the top of my head, you can
expect to see top 10ers Jesse Biddle, Domingo Santana and Aaron Altherr
for the BlueClaws next year, plus a slew of other prospects, including
Cesar Hernandez, Kelly Dugan and Miguel Alvarez in the field and Perci
Garner on the mound. And both Hewitt and Collier, assuming he's healthy,
could be there too.
Phil (Richmond): What are the thoughts on Michael Schwimer? He is a big, strong imposing force and had a great season between AA and AAA.
I like Schwimer, mostly because he's a
thinking-man's pitcher. He enjoys the finer aspects of the craft, and
has a scoring system to break down and evaluate his appearances. In the
late-game role he's been pitching in for Reading and Clearwater, he
needs to get to his velocity a little bit more to have success in the
big leagues. He likes to sit 90-91 mph, though he has been in the
mid-90s in the past. He has an awkward delivery that adds deception,
which should help.
Kevin (Boston): Any words from Instructs on how Kevin Walter looked?
Of the Phillies 2010 draftees we haven't
discussed, Kevin Walter and Gauntlett Eldemire received the most buzz
from instructs. Walter could make the top 30, and Eldemire is at least
in the discussion. Scouts speculated that as Walter grew into his
massive 6-foot-5 frame he would add velocity, and the reports from
instructs indicated just that.
Guy (Hawaii): Do you think the Phillies have enough prospects to make a trade for Greinke?
Absolutely, the real question would be how
many of the Phillies high-upside prospects would it take to make a
deal, and I'd imagine most conversations for Greinke would start with
Domonic Brown and/or Jonathan Singleton.
CT (Florida): What were scouts telling you about Singleton's progress in the OF?
I'm surprised I didn't get more questions
about Singleton's progress in the outfield, but I think it's an
important topic and worth discussing... The Phillies have played Pat
Burrell or Raul Ibanez in left field for the last decade, indicating
that they don't put much weight in defense from that position. That
being said, Singleton is a superior athlete to both Burrell and Ibanez. I
saw him play a handful of games this year, and I noted twice how he
almost "bounced" when he ran, highlighting his light feet. Every person
in the Phillies front office I talked to and two people outside the
organization gave Singleton a legitimate chance of playing the outfield.
He has a solid-average throwing arm, he'll just need time to work on
reading the ball off the bat and tracking fly balls. Maybe the most
important thing, though, is that he has the desire to get better
defensively. Singleton stayed in extended spring last year to get extra
time at first base, and then he was voted the best defensive first
baseman in the South Atlantic League by managers at midseason. So at the
very least, he's going to put in the effort to make trying left field
worth it. As one scout said, it's going to be about his aptitude.
Well, Baseball America subscribers, you've
now gotten scouting reports for 150 of the game's best prospects, and
there are still 150 more to come!
Thanks for tuning into the Phillies chat, everyone. There were a lot of
great questions, and I tried to hit all of the highlights. If I missed
anything or if you have any follow-up questions, you can find me on
Twitter @matt_forman. Be sure to check out Bill Ballew's chat on
Wednesday for the Braves Top 10.