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.
Hello and welcome, baseball fans and
prospect followers alike to the Phillies Top 10 chat, as we continue to
make our way through the NL East in this season of prospect-y goodness.
As noted in the organization overview, the system is down from last
year, but it's for all the right reasons, and there's still plenty of
intriguing players to discuss. There are already a good number of
questions lined up in the queue, so let's get right to them. I'll try to
hit all of the highlights, but if I miss anything or if you have any
follow-up questions, you can find me on Twitter @matt_forman.
Jon KK (Elkhart, Ind.): If Domonic Brown was still prospect-eligible, where would you rank him on the Phillies list?
This seems like an appropriate place to
start, as there are several questions about Brown, who didn't qualify
because of his 246 big-league at-bats. To me, there's little doubt Brown
would have ranked as the No. 1 prospect for the fourth consecutive year
if he was eligible. Let's give him some time — the tools haven't
disappeared — and he has only had about 600 at-bats above A-ball, plus
he showed progress in Philadelphia this year.
Ben (Leland Grove): Had they remained, about where would Cosart, Singleton and Santana have slotted in on your list?
A good question, considering all the
players the Phillies have traded the last few years. Without giving away
John Manuel's Astros Top 10 list, and he may have a different take on
this than me, here's how I would rank those three: Singleton, Cosart and
Santana. Where they would have slotted? I didn't ask any executives or
scouts explicitly about those players, so it's hard to say, but my gut
reaction tells me Singleton at No. 1, Cosart at No. 3 and Santana in the
@Jaypers413 (IL): What was the consensus opinion on Williamsport's Perci Garner? How close did he come to the top 10?
It's hard to reach a consensus opinion on
34 innings of pro ball, as Garner has been slowed by nagging injuries
during his first two professional seasons. He wasn't particularly close
to making the top 10, though he'll definitely make the top 30. There's
still a lot to like. He has the stuff (92-94 mph fastball that touches
96, downer low-80s curveball and a developing changeup), it's a matter
of harnessing it, along with staying healthy and being consistent. For
me, Garner is a gut-feel guy, and I think he has a chance to take a
significant step forward next year at low-A Lakewood. It's worth noting
that the Phillies were stretching him out a little more than they
normally would during instructional league, say five- or six-inning
outings every fifth day, to make up for lost time.
Kyle (Philadelphia): Why does BA hate Freddy
Galvis?? Hes still very young, has proven that he can hit at upper
minor league levels, has shown improvement every year, has a very strong
glove, and plays a premium position. What gives? I could see the 8th
hitter projection if he was 24-25.
I don't think anyone at BA hates Freddy
Galvis (or any prospect, for that matter) — you provided a nice pithy
scouting report, though. Galvis went through a rigorous offseason
training program last year and put on some weight, which was a big
concern in the past. He started to pack a greater punch at the plate,
and he continued to show some pop at Triple-A Lehigh Valley after a
late-season promotion, albeit in a small sample. But Galvis will always
be slight of build, and he's not going to hit for anything more than
gap-to-gap power. He's a below-average runner, he strikes out a decent
amount and he doesn't draw a lot of walks, so he's not a typical
top-of-the-order hitter. All that said, there's plenty of value in an
up-the-middle, elite-level defender, especially given the status of
big-league shortstops in today's game.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Your opinions of Lakewood's
Lisalberto Bonilla? He put together some real eye-opening starts this
year. Was he in the 11-20 range?
Several questions about Lisalberto
Bonilla, who makes the All-Name Team... To answer the question, Bonilla
just missed making the top 10, and he was included in several early
iterations of the list. After moving to the rotation, there were some
outings last year where Bonilla performed among the best pitchers in the
South Atlantic League. He shows flashes of three above-average pitches:
a 91-94 mph fastball, a 78-82 slider and a 82-84 changeup. The change
is Bonilla's best secondary pitch, but the Phillies told him to use it
sparingly during starts in order to work off his fastball and rely his
slider, which should help his development in the long run. As a result,
it was difficult to find scouts who saw Bonilla use all three pitches in
game action; several reported back that his changeup was a plus
offering in warm-ups but wondered why he didn't use it. But Bonilla is
very athletic, repeats his delivery well and has a loose arm. If that
slider continues progressing, Bonilla has a chance to be a mid-rotation
Dara (San Diego): Ethan Stewart - one to keep an eye on? Thoughts on his performance?
Stewart is definitely one to keep an eye
on, as he ranked as the Gulf Coast League's No. 16 prospect. He has a
fringe-average fastball from the left side but has touched 92, and some
scouts think there could be more in there given his physical frame.
Stewart didn't get much consideration for the top 10, but he's certainly
interesting and could end up at Lakewood next year.
sig (philly): Is it safe to say that the more
interesting prospects are in the 11-25 range?? How different could this
top ten list look next year?? Everyone but the top three could be
I guess that depends on your definition of
"interesting." This Top 10 isn't flooded with high-ceiling players,
which Phillies prospect followers have been accustomed to seeing the
last few years with Domonic Brown, Anthony Gose, Jonathan Singleton,
Jarred Cosart and others. But the Top 10 is a balance of each player's
upside and their probability of reaching that upside — Aumont, De
Fratus and Galvis are going to contribute sooner rather than later. But
that's also why guys like Aaron Altherr and Kyrell Hudson or 2011
draftees Roman Quinn and Larry Greene fall into the 11-25 rang, even if
they might be considered more interesting because of their impact
potential but higher risk level.
Frank (Philly): What are the prospect statuses of Leandro Castro and Anthony Hewitt, meaning, are both still Top 30 guys to you?
Leandro Castro is still a prospect and a
definite top 30 guy, more in the 20-25 range. He's a tough one to
profile; doesn't have enough speed to stick in centerfield and probably
won't hit for enough power to consistently play in the corners, so he
fits best as a nice fourth outfielder. That being said, I know there are
some talent evaluators who like Castro more than Jiwan james, for
As for Hewitt, he's not a top 30 guy. He wasn't last year either. But I
did talk to one scout who still gave Hewitt a shot and noted his growth
this year, and you can't blame him. if you were grading Hewitt's tools
on the 20-80 scouting scale, it would look something like this: 55
power, 60 arm, 60 run, 60 field. See what I did there? His hit tool is a
present 30, if you like him. So if you're the Phillies, you never, ever
give up on the tools. Send him to high-A Clearwater next year and see
what he can do.
Tom (NJ): I'm sure you're getting lots of
questions on Julio Rodriguez, so I'll just add one more! I keep hearing
about his stuff and I read different reports. Do you have actual
reports on his pitches and their speeds?
You're right, Tom, definitely getting a
lot of questions about Rodriguez. The reason you've heard differing
reports on Rodriguez's stuff and velocity is because he was consistently
inconsistent — some starts (or innings within each start) his fastball
would be 90-93 mph, others it would be 85-88 mph. He did a better job
this year of pitching with an average fastball, mostly sitting in the
87-91 range. If you like watching the radar gun light up, Rodriguez
isn't your kind of pitcher. But it's hard to argue with Rodriguez's
results: He won 16 games, struck out more than a batter an inning and
held opposing hitters to a .186 average. His stats stand out more than
his stuff, though. None of his secondary pitches grade out better than
average. He has a herky-jerky delivery that creates deception, and he
routinely pitches up in the zone with his fastball, which could be
problematic as he advances. Lower-level hitters have had a hard time
picking him up, and there's certainly something to be said for that.
Everyone I talked to said the same thing: Send him to the next level
until he proves it's too much, because he has been very effective thus
Kyle (Philadelphia): Last year Ceasar Hernandez seemed to be the hot prospect in the system, what is your evaluation of him going forward?
Hernandez did have some helium last year,
and I'm still a big fan — he was included on several late machinations
of the top 10. You have to consider Hernandez's season in context. He
double-jumped from Williamsport to Clearwater as a 20-year-old after
being added to the 40-man roster. He struggled mightily early on, which
should have been expected, and then rebounded to hit 296/.333/.371 after
mid-May. Not overwhelming numbers, but he more than held his own. The
increased strikeout numbers were a tad worrisome, if only because he was
known as a guy who always put the bat on the ball, but he improved in
that regard as the season wore on. He's a quality defender at second
base with an above-average arm, though he tends to rely on it too much
and becomes stationary in the field. He's a plus runner and a
base-stealing threat. One scout called him the "quintessential leadoff
hitter," so he's got that going for him, which is nice. Moving forward,
it'll be interesting to see whether the Phillies think Hernandez can
handle Double-A Reading, or if they let him get his feet wet in
Clearwater before making the jump. He still has a chance to be a solid
Matt (Cleveland): Any pitchers from the Williamsport or Lakewood teams intrigue you or scouts (excluding Biddle)? Any breakout candidates there?
Several questions about breakout
candidates, and there are quite a few from Williamsport and Lakewood.
Arguably my favorite sleeper prospect in the system is lefthander Ervis
Manzanillo, who spent the year with the BlueClaws. The numbers aren't
exactly staggering — 5.02 ERA and 71 walks in 118 innings — but he's
going to be a good pitcher. Interesting back story on Manzanillo: He
didn't start pitching until he was 16, then he signed nearly a
year-and-a-half later out of his native Venezuela. If you're grading
pure stuff, Manzanillo might rate out close to or better than No. 2
prospect and 2010 first-round pick Jesse Biddle. Manzanillo shows a
durable, live, loose arm, sitting 90-93 mph with his fastball and
running it up to 95. He also throws a slurvy curveball and a changeup —
both are presently below-average offerings, which is understandable
given how much he has pitched. One veteran talent evaluator said
Manzanillo compared favorably to Antonio Bastardo at this stage of
development. He's one to keep an eye on next year, and he's a top 30 guy
that not many people know about. Other names to look out for from
Williamsport: Austin Wright and Adam Morgan, both 2011 draftees.
Kyle (Philadelphia): Thanks for the chat, Matt.
Where would you place the Phils farm overall?? I would think they
would still be in the 15-20 range, even with their trades.
Without having seen all the top 10's and
top 30's, and without sitting down to compare systems, that seems fair
to me. Middle of the pack, maybe slightly below. The system lacks that
blue-chip, high-ceiling kind of prospect, but there are several players
who could make progress next year and change that status, most of which
have been mentioned already: Roman Quinn, Larry Greene, Carlos Tocci,
Aaron Altherr, Kyrell Hudson, Perci Garner, etc.
Kyle (Philadelphia): Do you see Joe Savery and
Jacob Diekman has possibly 40 man players as Lefty Specialists??
Diekman is throwing very well, according to numbers, in the AFL.
Lots of good questions from Kyle in
Philadelphia, and several questions about Savery and Diekman.... Savery
is already on the 40-man roster and Diekman has a chance to be added,
and I'm sure the Phillies are taking a close look at him during the
Arizona Fall League. If Diekman isn't added, he would be a prime Rule 5
To be blunt, Savery didn't get much consideration for the top 10, but
he's certainly one to root for and is in the top 30 this year after
missing the last two Handbooks. How can you dislike his story? He went
from the organization's hitter of the month in April at Clearwater to
its pitcher of the month in August at Lehigh Valley. Savery's fastball
velocity returned during an emergency appearance in a 23-inning game. He
had continued throwing side sessions for Clearwater, but he never
really expected to get back on the mound. A little time away from
pitching full time helped his arm recover, and he shortened up his arm
action to be more like the throw a first baseman needs to make to second
base on a double play. Based on what he showed late in the season,
Savery can be more than a lefty specialist and could contribute in
Philadelphia in 2012.
I was a fan of Diekman's last year when he just missed the top 30, and
he's a borderline top 30 candidate this year. Since moving into the
bullpen and dropping his arm angle, Diekman has taken off. It's just a
matter of repeating his delivery and working on command/control, but
he's just nasty on lefty hitters. He has a good chance to be a lefty
Dave (Philly): Who ends up having a better
major league career—May or Cosart? In other words, did the Phillies
ultimately end up keeping their best pitching prospect?
Everyone seems to enjoy comparing this
year's top prospect against last year's group. I'm sure this answer
would draw mixed reviews from across the game. Personally, I would give a
slight advantage to May because he has a better chance to stay in the
rotation. Cosart has louder stuff, but his performance hasn't matched
his stuff and there are concerns about his durability and arm action. At
least one scout and one veteran talent evaluator outside the Phillies'
organization said they preferred May, but I don't think that's a
Zack (San Diego): I'm shocked to see 2011 (1s)
Draft pick Larry Greene didn't make your top 10. Having a big athletic
frame and potential for plus power, how did he not crack the Phillies
depleted Top 10?
Larry Greene was close to making the top
10, as was fellow 2011 draftee Roman Quinn, who was actually a little
closer. Greene signed late and didn't get any pro experience under his
belt, then he was hampered by a groin injury during instructional league
and didn't see live game action, which largely limits us to using
Greene's amateur reports. As you mentioned, Zach, Greene has incredible
raw power and an athletic frame, but he struggled on the showcase
circuit against premium velocity. The level of competition in rural
Georgia wasn't much of a challenge, though the Phillies were encouraged
that Greene didn't swing and miss much. Let's give Greene some time to
earn his way into the top 10, and honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if
he was in consideration for a slot among next year's top five.
Rich (NJ): What are people saying about the speed, or lack thereof, Biddle's fastball.
It's not much of a concern right now. He
just finished his first full professional season as one of the youngest
pitchers in the South Atlantic League, and despite the decrease in
velocity in the second half of the year, his numbers actually improved.
My guess is the velocity will slowly return to the 92-94 mph range that
he showed in high school.
Matt (Cambridge, MA): Thanks for hosting this
chat! Can you talk a little bit about Aaron Altherr? I've read that his
conversion to 3B in instructs didn't go particularly well, but it's
tough not to be excited about him when you think of the success that the
Phillies have had with these types. How raw is he? How would you grade
his tools? Thanks!
Alterr is still pretty raw, Matt, but
you're right in that there's a lot to be excited about. He was in over
his a little bit to start the year at Lakewood, then he settled in at
Williamsport and showed the same kind of tools that made him rank as
this list's No. 10 prospect a year ago. The reports out of instructional
league this year were equally as positive as last year, when Altherr
had incredible helium. Not unlike many athletic high-schoolers, Altherr
played shortstop as a prep player in Arizona, and the Phillies thought
they would try to revisit that last year by trying Altherr at third
base, but the transition didn't go as planned. He's back in the
outfield, which is probably the best fit in the long run. He'll probably
outgrow centerfield, but he profiles nicely in right. On the 20-80
scouting scale, Altherr would grade out like this presently with future
grades in parentheses: 30 hitter (chance for future 50), 40 power (55),
50 arm (60), 60 run underway (60) and 50 field (60).
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): True
or false? Sebastian Valle is the Phillies catching star of the future,
and Cameron Rupp will be his backup in the years to come.
I don't know if I would go as far to say
Valle will be a star, but he certainly looks like the catcher of the
future and a first-division regular. The approach and strikeout totals
make scouts temper their expectations for him, and he's likely not going
to be a high on-base kind of player. But Valle has continued to improve
defensively and he has some raw thunder in his bat. Rupp's ceiling is
that of a big-league backup, and he's a borderline top 30 guy. As for
other catchers in the system, don't lose sight of 2011 ninth-round pick
from a Colorado JC Logan Moore, who looked impressive during
David Scwimmer (A Cafe in NYC): My brother,
Michael, was left off. Was this a product of being relatively inferior
to De Fratus and Aumont, or am I just not that good?
Thanks for the question, David, though I
assume you're not actually Michael's brother given the spelling of your
last name. Michael Schwimer had a nice season for Triple-A Lehigh
Valley, saving 10 games and striking out 86 batters in 68 innings. De
Fratus and Aumont have the potential to be back-end relievers, while
Schwimer is more of a sixth or seventh inning kind of guy. That's not to
say your "brother" doesn't have value, and he'll make the top 30.
Kyle (Philly): Should we write off Zach Collier
as a viable prospect, or does he still have the chance to put it
together, once he's served his suspension?
I wouldn't write off Collier quite yet,
and he had a better year than most people expected, both inside and
outside the organization. Collier didn't play in 2010 due to an injury
and will miss 50 games in 2012 after testing positive for amphetamine,
which has hurt and will hurt his development. But Collier showed flashes
last year of the player the Phillies thought they were getting when
they drafted him in the supplemental first round in 2008. He probably
won't play centerfield in the long run, but he's an athletic,
high-energy player with a smooth swing and good rhythm at the plate.
Kyle (Philadelphia): Can we expect a bounce
back year from Colvin?? Being rated above May & Cosart is fairly
high praise from last year. If you compare May's Scouting Report last
year to Colvins, they are very similar.
If you're the Phillies, you have to hope
Colvin has a bounceback year in 2012 similar to the way May did during
his return trip to the Florida State League. It was really a lost season
for Colvin, but when a pitcher has his stuff and upside, it's worth
giving him a mulligan. When talking to scouts, though, there were
significantly more questions about Colvin's future role because of his
delivery and arm action this year. It was also a little worrisome that
some suggested Colvin bought into his own hype last offseason after
ranking as this list's No. 3 prospect.
Allen (Allentown): It looks like Aumont is turning into something from the first Cliff Lee trade. What about the other two, Gillies and Ramirez?
Obligatory Cliff Lee trade question, since
I haven't answered any about Aumont, Gillies or Ramirez yet... First
off, there were a few people wondering Aumont and the scouting report
mention of his attitude/competitiveness — I'll get back to that in a
second. Let's get this clear: I'm a big Aumont supporter, and he has the
system's best fastball and curveball, both of which grade out as 70 or
better on the 20-80 scouting scale. He has the stuff to be dominant
back-end pitcher and a chance to be a closer in the future. After
spending time in the rotation last year, which was probably best for his
development, Aumont took off last year in the bullpen, where he said he
was most comfortable all along. Now, relating to the
attitude/competitiveness, this is not really anything new. There was an
issue that happened during Aumont's time in Seattle's system, and
several scouts have identified Aumont's less-than-steller body language
on the mound since then. If the biggest knock on a guy is his attitude
— and it's not even a big knock — that says enough about him. Assuming
he can command it, Aumont's stuff isn't going to hold him back at all.
As for the other two, they're both borderline top 30 guys. Gillies has
totaled only 130 at-bats since being acquired in the Lee deal while
dealing with nagging leg injuries and some off-the-field issues, but
it's good to see him healthy again and playing in the Arizona Fall
League. Ramirez was up and down last year, and his stuff took a step
back toward the end of the season. The key to Ramirez's progress will be
the development of his secondary stuff. Right now, he looks like more
of a middle reliever.
Sam (Connecticut): With Halladay, Lee, Hamels,
and Worley pretty much set in stone as the Phillies' first four in the
rotation, which of their top arms (May, Pettibone, Rodriguez) will be
able to reach the big leagues the fastest? Also, what becomes of the
other two? The bullpen?
Someone else asked a similar question
about which of the top pitching prospects would reach the big leagues
first. It should be close between May and Pettibone, but I'll give May a
slight edge. Despite his polish, Pettibone might need a little more
seasoning at Double-A, especially with the development of his slider. As
for the second/third questions, I don't think anyone is going to
complain about having too much starting pitching depth. It's a good
problem to have, and it's not something you worry about now. So much can
change in five years... Think about the Phillies' projected 2011
rotation in 2008, which included: Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Carlos
Carrasco, Joe Savery and Josh Outman. But to play along, some scouts
have suggested May could be nasty in a relief role with his stuff
playing up in short stints. Other top prospects have been used in
trades, and Ruben Amaro Jr. wouldn't shy away from doing that again.
Kyle (Philadelphia): I can only speak for
myself but I was presently surprised with the Scouting Report on
Pettibone.. Topping out at 95 is very impressive to go along with his
overall feel for pitching. How close do you feel he is to May &
To piggyback on the last answer,
Pettibone's stuff did tick up this year, as he added strength and his
velocity improved. Pettibone's polish and feel for pitching make him
very attractive. He surpassed Justin De Fratus for the best command in
the system this year, and he spots the ball to both sides of the plate
with both a two- and four-seam fastball incredibly well. His changeup is
his best secondary offering, in the 81-84 mph range, and he has fiddled
with different grips on his slider. May was the clearcut top guy, but
there's not too much separating Biddle and Pettibone. Biddle is
lefthanded and has a higher ceiling, whereas Pettibone is a low-floor
pitcher, settling in as a nice mid-rotation starter.
allentown (allentown): I haven't seen any mention of Overbeck, who has started to hit well in Arizona. Is he viewed as a serious prospect?
Cody Overbeck had a solid year splitting
time between Reading and Lehigh Valley, but he's not considered a
"serious prospect." He's a borderline top 30 guy, largely because he
doesn't have a position. He's not a third baseman, and it's pretty hard
to be a bat-only first base prospect. Righthanded power is becoming an
increasingly scarce commodity in the big leagues, though, and Overbeck
has always had the ability to hit a fastball a long way. He struggles
with offspeed stuff and doesn't run well. Take all Arizona Fall League
stats with a giant grain of salt, but he'll be another one to see
whether the Phillies include him on the 40-man roster.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Of the Willliamsport pitchers who will be moving to Lakewood in 2012, who is your favorite prospect?
I've already mentioned my optimism for
Perci Garner, but I only briefly touched on Austin Wright and Adam
Morgan, whom the Phillies were both high on and fit their draft
philosophy of stocking lefthanded pitchers. Wright has been on the
prospect radar for several years now, dating back to high school when he
was taken in the 23rd round. He's always had big-time stuff and
big-time arm strength, and he seemed to put it all together at
Williamsport and Lakewood last year before his time in instructional
league was cut short for personal reasons. Wright has a chance to move
quickly, and depending on the development of his changeup, could remain
in the rotation. Morgan, on the other hand, has a better chance to stay
in the rotation but doesn't have as overpowering stuff. He sits at 88-92
mph and has two breaking balls to go along with a changeup. He needs to
work on ironing out his delivery, working downhill and commanding the
ball. Outside of those guys, there's also an interested story with
undrafted free agent lefty James Birmingham, who was turning some heads
during instructional league.
Kyle (Philadelphia): Any thoughts on the upper
level Pitchers?? Namely JC Ramirez, Austin Hyatt, and Tyler Cloyd.
Hyatt seems to be in the Vance Worley mold of getting no attention due
to his pure stuff, but ends up being a back of the rotation innings
I mentioned Ramirez already, but wanted to
cover Double-A Reading pitchers Austin Hyatt and Tyler Cloyd. Hyatt was
the Florida State League pitcher of the year in 2010, and he led the
Eastern League in strikeouts last year. He's not a high-upside guy, but
he continues to have success by adding and subtracting to his 87-93 mph
fastball and relying on his changeup with parachute tumble. Hyatt
probably has the best chance of any pitcher in the system to make a spot
start in the big leagues next year. As for Cloyd, who's in the Arizona
Fall League right now, he's a four-pitch mix guy without an
above-average offering. His fastball operates at 86-89 mph, while his
curveball and changeup grade out as fringe-average. His slider is his
best secondary pitch, though he uses it too frequently. Some scouts have
compared Cloyd to a poor-man's Kyle Kendrick.
Kyle (Philadelphia): Buchanan & Claypool had decent seasons at Low A, product of facing younger competition or are they legit prospects?
They're both good college pitchers who had
success in A-ball and are borderline top 30 candidates, though Buchanan
is a slightly better prospect. Buchanan is another guy who has been
compared to Kyle Kendrick, nice sinker-slider mix and relies on
pitchability. Claypool doesn't have as much velocity and his secondary
stuff isn't quite as advanced.
Henry (NYC): No question. Thanks for the chat! Great read!
This seems like a fitting way to wrap
things up — I appreciate it, Henry. I hope you all enjoyed reading
about Phillies prospects as much as I enjoyed answering your questions.
There are still more than 75 left in the queue, but I tried to address
most of the pressing topics. As I mentioned earlier, you can find me on
Twitter for some quick-hitters @matt-forman. Be sure to check back on
Monday for Matt Eddy's always-entertaining Mets list and chat, and as
always, thanks for subscribing to Baseball America.