Philadelphia Phillies: Top 10 Prospects With Scouting Reports

Philadelphia Phillies: Scouting Reports

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.

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Philadelphia Phillies

The first Philadelphia entry in the National League, known as the Quakers, went 17-81 way back in 1883. The franchise became the Phillies in 1890 and took 25 years to win its first pennant. Before the franchise captured its first World Series title in 1980, it had won just two pennants and only one World Series game.

The tradition of losing included 13 losing seasons out of 14 from 1987-2000. In July 2007, the Phillies became the first franchise in pro sports history to reach 10,000 losses.

Well, those days are over. No organization transformed its image in the 2000s more than the Phillies.

After winning a second World Series championship in 2008, Philadelphia figured out how to put together a strong encore. The Phillies won the National League East for the third straight season, reaching three straight postseasons for the second time in franchise history, and the NL pennant, marking the first time they played in consecutive World Series. Their success came under new general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who replaced veteran executive Pat Gillick, who stepped down to make way for his former assistant. Gillick remains with the organization in an advisory capacity.

Amaro faced immediate challenges, and most of his moves worked well. He kept the roster mostly intact, replacing departed free agent Pat Burrell with Raul Ibanez, who paid off with 34 home runs and 93 RBIs.

Amaro held onto prospects last offseason and had plenty on hand when his rotation took a step back, allowing him to trade four of his best—righthanders Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson and shortstop Jason Donald—to the Indians for Cliff Lee. They ranked second, 10th, third and fourth on the Top 10 list last year. When Philadelphia needed more pitching late in the season, the club signed Pedro Martinez, who won five of his nine starts and pitched seven scoreless innings in a League Championship Series start.

The Phillies went 850-769 in the regular season from 2000-2009, good for a .525 winning percentage that's the franchise's best ever for a decade. They've sustained success by blending the added revenue from Citizens Bank Park with a commitment to player development that began in the 1990s.

Their homegrown core starts with Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, the heart of their explosive offense. Philadelphia also drafted and developed 40 percent of its rotation in 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels and rookie sensation J.A. Happ, while Ryan Madson has emerged as one of the game's best setup men. Panamanian Carlos Ruiz is an underrated, cost-effective product of the club's international efforts.

The Phillies also have used prospects in trades, as was the case in 2009 with Lee, 2008 with Joe Blanton and after the 2007 season with Brad Lidge. The deals have thinned out the system, yet Amaro made sure to keep his top position prospect (outfielder Domonic Brown) and pitching prospect (righthander Kyle Drabek) out of the Lee trade. Throw in emerging catchers Travis d'Arnaud and Sebastian Valle, Triple-A outfielder Michael Taylor and young, power arms Jarred Cosart and Trevor May, and Philadelphia still has impact talent on the farm.

Drink it in, Phillies fans. You just had your Best Decade Ever.

1.  Domonic Brown, of   Born: Sept. 3, 1987B-T: L-LHt: 6-5Wt: 204
 Drafted: HS—Redan, Ga., 2006 (20th round)Signed by: Chip Lawrence
Domonic BrownBackground: Brown attended Redan (Ga.) High, a big-time program in one of the most heavily scouted areas of the country. He'd attended top showcases—even playing with Stephen Strasburg on Team Baseball America at the 2005 World Wood Bat tournament in Jupiter, Fla.—yet wasn't considered an elite prospect. Brown's athletic ability was obvious, as he had an opportunity to play football (as a wide receiver) and baseball at Miami. But the fact that he was raw, combined with his bonus demands, prompted few clubs to even crosscheck him enough to consider drafting him with a early-round pick in 2006. Phillies area scout Chip Lawrence followed him closely, though, getting to know the family and bringing him to the club's predraft workout in Atlanta. After selecting him in the 20th round, scouting director Marti Wolever and national crosschecker Mike Ledna got a long look at Brown in an Atlanta-area tournament at the East Cobb complex and signed him for $200,000. Brown had a breakthrough year in 2008, won the Hawaii Winter Baseball (.389) batting title in the offseason and took another step forward last season. He shook off a broken finger on his right hand to finish with a flourish at Double-A Reading, then got off to a strong start in the Arizona Fall League.

Strengths: Brown is a physical specimen, long, lean and muscular, which earns him physical comparisons to Darryl Strawberry. While he doesn't have Strawberry's raw thunder, he has true five-tool ability. His work ethic has allowed him to translate his athletic ability into baseball skills, starting with above-average hitting ability. A free swinger as an amateur, Brown has developed a solid eye at the plate and recognizes pitches well. His buggy-whip swing and growing strength give him plus raw power, and he's starting to translate it into production. He has the bat speed and strength to drive mistakes and take advantage when he's ahead in the count. Brown's other tools grade out as well or better than his bat. He's a plus runner with an arm that grades out as high as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale.

Weaknesses: The biggest question on Brown's upside revolves around how much power he'll develop. Some Double-A Eastern League observers thought his power would be average at best and would limit him to hitting at the top of the lineup, rather than being a middle-of-the-lineup factor. He's still raw in several aspects offensively, compensating with his athleticism. He needs to keep improving with his pitch recognition and ability to lay off chasing pitches out of the zone. He also needs to take better routes in right field.

The Future: The Phillies have productive corner outfielders in Raul Ibanez (signed through 2011) and Jayson Werth (2010), but refused to part with Brown at the trade deadline in a deal for Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee because they consider him a future star. The presence of Ibanez and Werth makes it easy to give Brown another year of at-bats and experience in the minors. He should reach Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the first time and earn at least a September callup in 2010.
2009 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Clearwater (Hi A) .303 .386 .517 238 41 72 12 3 11 44 34 48 15
GCL Phillies (R) .500 .583 .900 10 4 5 0 2 0 1 1 1 0
Reading (AA) .279 .346 .456 147 20 41 9 4 3 20 14 37 8
2.  Kyle Drabek, rhp   Born: Dec. 8, 1987B-T: R-RHt: 6-0Wt: 185
 Drafted: HS—The Woodlands, Texas, 2006 (1st round)Signed by: Steve Cohen
Kyle DrabekBackground: The son of 1990 Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, Kyle blew out his elbow early in his first full pro season, costing him parts of 2007 and 2008. He used his off time to improve his body, refine his delivery and grow up a bit with the help of minor league veteran Mike Zagurski, his rehab roommate and fellow TJ alumnus. Drabek broke out in 2009, dazzling in the Futures Game and pitching well in Double-A.

Strengths: Drabek has the organization's best curveball, a power downer that he can bury or throw for strikes. Some scouts rate it a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. His fastball sits at 88-93 mph, usually at the top end of that range, and has solid-average life. His competitiveness helps him maximize his stuff. Athletic and coordinated, he's effective holding runners, fielding his position and hitting.

Weaknesses: Drabek's changeup is his third-best pitch and still needs refinement, as Double-A lefthanders showed by bashing him for a .924 OPS (compared to .521 by righties). He has to improve his arm speed and his command with his changeup.

The Future: Drabek could be a power reliever in the Tom Gordon mode, particularly if the Phillies need him in 2010. His aptitude and athleticism make it more likely that he'll improve that pitch and fulfill his profile as a No. 2 or 3 starter. He'll open the season in Triple-A.
2009 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Reading (AA) 8 2 3.64 15 14 0 0 96 92 9 31 76 .252
Clearwater (Hi A) 4 1 2.48 10 9 1 0 62 49 0 19 74 .218
3.  Michael Taylor, of   Born: Dec. 19, 1985B-T: R-RHt: 6-6Wt: 250
 Drafted: Stanford, 2007 (5th round)Signed by: Joey Davis
Michael TaylorBackground: Taylor played a season of high school baseball as Zack Greinke's teammate, and his size and athleticism made him a top high school prospect. His grades helped lead him to Stanford, where he came around as a college junior, and he's been unstoppable the last two seasons, clubbing 39 homers and batting .334.

Strengths: Despite his size, Taylor has few holes and has become an excellent hitter, squaring up balls consistently and smashing line drives to all fields. Pitchers try to tie him up inside, and while he can be vulnerable there, he has shown the ability to make adjustments. He has excellent raw power, average speed and good baserunning instincts. He's a solid defender with an average-to-plus arm who grades as above average in left field.

Weaknesses: Taylor could stand to be more selective to get to his power more consistently. He needs to learn to loft the ball to become a true 30-homer threat. Conditioning probably will be a long-term issue for Taylor, who does a good job of staying on top of his juvenile diabetes.

The Future: With Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth ahead of him and Domonic Brown coming on, Taylor seems like ideal trade bait. He also could be a replacement for Ibanez, whose contract doesn't expire until after 2011. He's slated for Triple-A in 2010.
2009 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Reading (AA) .333 .408 .569 318 59 106 22 4 15 65 35 51 18
Lehigh Valley (AAA) .282 .359 .491 110 15 31 6 1 5 19 13 19 3
4.  Travis D'Arnaud, c   Born: Feb. 10, 1989B-T: R-RHt: 6-2Wt: 195
 Drafted: HS—Lakewood, Calif., 2007 (1st round supplemental)Signed by: Tim Kissner
Travis D'ArnaudBackground: The 37th overall pick in  2007, d'Arnaud played against his brother Chase, a shortstop in the Pirates system, in two four-game sets in the low Class A South Atlantic League last May. Chase was caught stealing just three times in the SAL, twice by his brother in the second series.

Strengths: The strong-bodied d'Arnaud got better as 2009 wore on, clubbing 25 doubles in his last 224 at-bats. He led the SAL in doubles and is tapping into his plus raw power. He has strength in his hands and generates good bat speed. D'Arnaud understands the importance of defense for a catcher and works hard at managing a staff. He has above-average arm strength, soft hands and good agility.

Weaknesses: Footwork can get d'Arnaud in trouble in both blocking balls and with the accuracy of his throws. He threw out just 40 of 172 basestealers (23 percent) last season, though opponents ran wild on Lakewood's pitching staff. He needs more at-bats against good breaking balls, against which he tends to lunge and get long with his swing.

The Future: The Phillies were confident enough in their young catchers to include Lou Marson in the Cliff Lee trade. D'Arnaud is ahead of Sebastian Valle defensively and in his development, but will have to keep improving to maintain that lead. He's slated to move up to high Class A Clearwater in 2010 and should be ready for Philadelphia by 2012.
2009 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Lakewood (Lo A) .255 .319 .419 482 71 123 38 1 13 71 41 75 8
5.  Trevor May, rhp   Born: Sept. 23, 1989B-T: R-RHt: 6-5Wt: 215
 Drafted: HS—Kelso, Wash., 2008 (4th round)Signed by: Dave Ryles
Trevor MayBackground: The Phillies have gone to the Pacific Northwest well several times in recent years, and May has outpaced such prospects as third baseman Travis Mattair and righthander Julian Sampson from that region. After starting 2009 in extended spring training, May jumped into Lakewood's rotation and stumbled at first before becoming the Blue Claws' ace. He finished the season with 24 scoreless innings, 11 coming in the playoffs as Lakewood won the South Atlantic League title.

Strengths: Big and strong, May has gained fastball velocity as a pro and now ranges from 88-95 mph. His heater features heavy sink at times, and he uses its armside run to pitch inside effectively. He has solid command of his upper-70s curveball, which has solid if slurvy break. His solid-average changeup features fade when thrown down in the zone.

Weaknesses: Still raw, May can lose his command suddenly. He needs work on all facets of pitching out of the stretch, as he tends to fly open with his shoulder and doesn't hold runners well. His curve remains inconsistent because he gets under it at times, and it's easier to identify out of his hand than his changeup.

The Future: May has No. 3 starter potential and took a giant step with his strong finish last season. He still has a ways to go, however, and will begin 2010 in high Class A with the goal of surpassing 100 innings for the first time.
2009 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Lakewood (Lo A) 4 1 2.56 15 15 0 0 77 58 3 43 95 .211
6.  Anthony Gose, of   Born: Aug. 10, 1990B-T: L-LHt: 6-1Wt: 190
 Drafted: HS—Bellflower, Calif., 2008 (2nd round)Signed by: Tim Kissner
Anthony GoseBackground: Gose had as much arm strength as any high school lefthander this decade, reaching 97 mph at times, but had no desire to pitch as a professional. He also had a shoulder problem as a senior, so the Phillies popped him as an outfielder and paid him a $772,000 bonus. His tools were evident in 2009, as managers rated him the best and fastest baserunner, best defensive outfielder and most exciting player in the South Atlantic League.

Strengths: Gose earns 70 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale for three tools: his arm, his center-field defense and his speed. He led the minor leagues with 76 steals in 96 attempts, and he'll be even more dangerous as he gets on base more often and refines his basestealing instincts. His arm helped him rack up 13 assists, third among SAL outfielders. Despite hitting just two homers in 2009, he has solid-average raw power.

Weaknesses: His weakest tool is his bat, and Gose will need time to rework his offensive approach and improve his pitch recognition. His power gets him in trouble as he takes wild hacks at times. He gives away too many at-bats and lacks a two-strike approach.

The Future: The Phillies believe in Gose and will give him plenty of time to learn and improve, but he may need 2,000 minor league at-bats. Some scouts liken his offensive upside to that of Carl Crawford, and Gose would have more defensive value. He'll advance to high Class A in 2010.
2009 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Lakewood (Lo A) .259 .323 .353 510 72 132 24 9 2 52 35 110 76
7.  Sebastian Valle, c   Born: July 24, 1990B-T: R-RHt: 6-1Wt: 170
 Signed: Mexico, 2006Signed by: Sal Agostinelli
Sebastian ValleBackground: The Phillies saw Valle shine in international competitions for Mexico at the 16-and-under level, ripping hits against top pitchers from Cuba and the United States. They signed him for $30,000. Playing for his hometown team in Los Mochis, he was one of the youngest players in the Mexican Pacific League this winter and was the season's first player of the week.

Strengths: Valle has natural hitting instincts and plus raw power that stems from his pure bat speed. He has excellent timing and a good load in his swing, as well as the strength to drive the ball to all fields. He has a good plan at the plate for a teenager and is an average runner, though he figures to slow down. Valle's defensive tools are average across the board.

Weaknesses: Low Class A pitchers overwhelmed Valle a bit in 2009 as he got pull-happy and impatient, though he adjusted after a move down to short-season Williamsport. He needs to polish his footwork and throwing accuracy, and he'll never have a cannon for an arm. He threw out just 18 percent of basestealers last season.

The Future: With Travis d'Arnaud ahead of him, Valle could move a level at a time, working to polish his defense. Both players have taken grounders at third base as the Phillies look ahead. Valle will stay behind the plate and take another shot at low Class A in 2010.
2009 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Lakewood (Lo A) .223 .313 .331 157 16 35 12 1 1 15 16 37 1
Williamsport (SS) .307 .335 .531 192 25 59 15 5 6 40 10 41 0
8.  Jarred Cosart, rhp   Born: May 25, 1990B-T: R-RHt: 6-3Wt: 180
 Drafted: HS—League City, Texas, 2008 (38th round)Signed by: Steve Cohen
Jarred CosartBackground: Noted for his bat as much as for his arm in high school, Cosart committed to Missouri as a two-way player. The Phillies drafted him in the 38th round as a summer follow, then paid him $550,000 after seeing him dominate American Legion competition. His father negotiated the deal in the stands during a Legion game in Enid, Okla.

Strengths: The Phillies love Cosart's pitcher's frame, athleticism and quick arm. He generates the hand speed to have a power fastball and to spin a potentially above-average breaking ball. His fastball sits at 92-94 mph while touching 96, and there should be more velocity in there as he fills out. His 12-to-6 curveball is presently average but should be a plus pitch as it gains consistency.

Weaknesses: A lack of maturity has held Cosart back. He needs to prepare better in the offseason as well as between starts, and he must improve his work ethic. Shoulder soreness delayed his pro debut until July, and he needs innings to hone his command. His changeup is in its nascent stages.

The Future: With Trevor May and Cosart on hand, the Phillies were more comfortable parting with Jason Knapp's power arm in the Cliff Lee deal. Cosart has front-of-the-rotation potential and is a breakout candidate for 2010. He'll make his full-season debut at Lakewood.
2009 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
GCL Phillies (R) 2 2 2.22 7 5 0 0 24 12 0 7 25 .143
9.  Antonio Bastardo, lhp   Born: Sept. 21, 1985B-T: L-LHt: 5-11Wt: 195
 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2005Signed by: Sal Agostinelli
Antonio BastardoBackground: Bastardo earned a victory in his big league debut in June, shoving 92-95 mph fastballs past the Padres. A left shoulder strain cut his first big league stint short, but Bastardo returned to the majors in October and earned a spot on the Division Series roster.

Strengths: Bastardo has grown into a power repertoire. His fastball regularly sits at 91-93 mph, and he throws it for consistent quality strikes when he's going well. His changeup remains an average-to-plus pitch. His slider has its moments, as when he struck out Jason Giambi in the Division Series.

Weaknesses: Though it has its moments, Bastardo's slider usually is a below-average pitch and needs to be more consistent for him to remain a starter or succeed as a left-on-left reliever. Shoulder woes have interrupted each of his last two seasons, casting doubt on his durability.

The Future: While he could be a fourth starter, Bastardo has a better chance to fill the Phils' immediate need for a lefty reliever if he shows an improved slider in spring training.
2009 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Reading (AA) 2 2 1.75 11 5 0 3 36 22 1 7 41 .179
Lehigh Valley (AAA) 1 0 2.08 2 2 0 0 13 11 1 3 12 .234
Philadelphia 2 3 6.46 6 5 0 0 24 26 4 9 19 .274
GCL Phillies (R) 0 0 0.00 3 2 0 0 4 2 0 2 3 .133
Clearwater (Hi A) 0 0 27.00 1 0 0 0 1 4 3 0 0 .800
10.  Domingo Santana, of   Born: Aug. 5, 1992B-T: R-RHt: 6-5Wt: 200
 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2008Signed by: Sal Agostinelli
Domingo SantanaBackground: Philadelphia's instructional league program featured a plethora of athletic, high-upside outfielders such as Santana, converted pitcher Jiwan James and 2009 draftees Kelly Dugan, Kyrell Hudson and Alston Altherr. Santana still stands out in that crowd. Born in the Bahamas, Santana  signed for a $330,000 bonus—big money for Sal Agostinelli's budget-conscious international department—and had a strong debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League despite being its second-youngest player at age 16.

Strengths: Santana is a physical monster and yet can run the 60-yard dash in 6.7 seconds. He has reached 90 mph off the mound and has a plus arm in right field. His hitting tools are more advanced than even the Phillies expected. Add in his raw power, and his total package evokes Jermaine Dye. Santana also speaks English well.

Weaknesses: Santana may lose some athleticism, speed and looseness as he fills out physically. Mostly, he just needs at-bats to learn how to adjust to hard stuff inside and to improve his pitch recognition.

The Future: Santana's upside, performance and age give him a slide edge over his fellow toolsy outfielders. He should move up to Williamsport next season, but could jump to low Class A with a strong spring.
2009 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
GCL Phillies (R) .288 .388 .508 118 17 34 6 1 6 28 15 44 3

Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
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Photo Credits: Cliff Welch (Brown)
David Schofield (Drabek, Taylor, D'Arnaud, May, Valle, Cosart)
Rodger Wood (Gose)
David Stoner (Santana)