Philadelphia Phillies Top 10 Prospects With 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, 2011.

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Philadelphia Phillies

For a team that has lost more games than any other in major league history, the Phillies are in heady territory. Though they fell short of their third straight National League pennant in 2010, it would be hard to argue that this isn't the best era in franchise history.

Philadelphia finished with the best record in the majors for the first time in franchise history, despite injuries to Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, and looked on track to reach a third consecutive World Series before tripping up against the Giants in the NL Championship Series.

Long-pursued trade target Roy Halladay finally came over from the Blue Jays in an offseason deal that cost the Phillies three of their top prospects in righthander Kyle Drabek, catcher Travis d'Arnaud and outfielder Michael Taylor. Halladay won Baseball America's Major League Player of the Year award after pitching a perfect game in May and finishing 21-10, 2.44. In his playoff debut, he no-hit the Reds in the Division Series opener.

The Halladay trade continued the Phillies' recent habit of sending away prospects for elite pitching help, which continued when they went out and got Roy Oswalt from the Astros in July, in exchange for J.A. Happ and minor leaguers Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar. Deals for Joe Blanton in 2008, Cliff Lee in 2009 and Halladay and Oswalt in 2010 sent away a significant amount of young talent, but accomplished the goal of keeping the team on top while its nucleus of everyday players is at its peak. Philadelphia tried to recoup some young talent by trading Lee to Mariners after acquiring Halladay, but righthanders Phillippe Aumonth and J.C. Ramirez and outfielder Tyson Gillies all had forgettable seasons.

The one player the Phillies steadfastly have refused to deal is outfielder Domonic Brown, No. 1 on this list for the last three years. There isn't much upper-level depth behind Brown, but the system does have lower-level talent with upside. Said one scout last summer: "No team has more talent in A-ball than the Phillies."

Low Class A Lakewood has won back-to-back South Atlantic League titles. After Brown, the next six prospects on this list all played for the BlueClaws in 2010, including sweet-swinging first baseman Jonathan Singleton and hard-throwing righthanders Brody Colvin and Jarred Cosart.

Assuming he takes over from departed free agent Jayson Werth as the everyday right fielder in 2011, Brown will be the first homegrown position player to join the Philadelphia lineup since Howard in 2005. The organization hopes he's the beginning of a wave of youngsters who will reinvigorate an aging team. The 2010 lineup—roughly the same one that has won four consecutive NL East titles—was by far the oldest in the league, with an average age of 31.9 years.

Whether because of age or the growing payroll that accompanies trading for proven major leaguers, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. may have to tweak his approach going forward. For now, the Phillies have become a model of consistency: a major league core of stars signed for the foreseeable future, with a commitment to player development. If the current group can keep winning for another year or two, the talent in the lower minors should arrive just in time.

One veteran scouting director said it's possible that the Phillies could go on a Braves-like run of division titles.

1.  Domonic Brown, of   Born: Sept. 3, 1987B-T: L-LHt: 6-5Wt: 200
 Drafted: HS—Redan, Ga., 2006 (20th round)Signed by: Chip Lawrence
Domonic BrownBackground: A football and baseball star in high school, Brown had the opportunity to play wide receiver and outfield for Miami. He moved from Pasco (Fla.) High to Redan (Ga.) High before his senior season because of a messy custody dispute between his mother and father, but still dominated the competition—in both sports and both states—in two of the nation's most heavily scouted areas. Still, he never was considered an elite prospect despite playing in several top showcases. Scouts kept their distance since Brown was raw and had lofty bonus demands, but area scout Chip Lawrence tracked Brown closely and persuaded the Phillies to take a flier on him in the 20th round of the 2006 draft. The team's top scouts evaluated Brown during the summer before signing him away from the Hurricanes for $200,000. He broke out by winning the Hawaii Winter Baseball batting title (.386) after the 2008 season, and has ranked among the game's top prospects ever since. Brown played in the Futures Game and set career highs in most offensive categories in 2010, and he might have won Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year award had he not earned a big league promotion in late July. He played sparingly in Philadelphia, though he did hit his first two major league homers and made the postseason roster.

Scouting Report: Brown is the prototype of the high-risk, high-reward players the Phillies like to take. He reminds some scouts of Carl Crawford, who turned down a Nebraska football scholarship to sign with the Devil Rays in 1999. Brown is a physical specimen, with a lean, lithe and powerful frame that draws comparisons to a young Barry Bonds and Darryl Strawberry. He has five-tool ability, with his bat has getting the most attention. Brown creates incredible bat speed with his whip-like, uppercut swing and has eliminated previous questions about his power. He developed a good eye for the strike zone in the minors, though he was overly aggressive during his first stint in the big leagues. For a player with such long arms, he has a relatively short stroke with few holes. Assuming he eliminates a tendency to open his front side too early in his swing, he could hit .300 with 20-25 homers annually once he gets established in Philadelphia. He also has above-average speed and the strongest outfield arm in the system. The biggest question about his game revolves around how talented a defender Brown can be in right field. He has plenty of athleticism but needs to improve his route-running and footwork. He went to the Dominican Winter League to work on his defense.

The Future: Brown drew rave reviews during his first big league camp last spring, working hard and showing no fear. With another spring like that following the departure of free agent Jayson Werth, he'll take over as the Phillies' everyday right fielder in 2011. Manager Charlie Manuel likes to break in youngsters slowly, so Brown could start the year platooning with Ben Francisco or even get a little more time at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He's a future all-star, but he's not a finished product.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Reading (AA) .318 .391 .602 236 50 75 16 3 15 47 29 51 12
Lehigh Valley (AAA) .346 .390 .561 107 15 37 6 1 5 21 8 23 5
Philadelphia .210 .257 .355 62 8 13 3 0 2 13 5 24 2
2.  Jonathan Singleton, 1b/of   Born: Sept. 18, 1991B-T: L-LHt: 6-2Wt: 215
 Drafted: HS—Lakewood, Calif., 2009 (8th round)Signed by: Demetrius Pittman
Jonathan SingletonBackground: Singleton impressed on the showcase circuit in 2008, but his summer performance didn't carry over into his senior year, when he pressed and hit .321 with just four home runs. The Phillies still saw him as an advanced high school hitter and signed him for $200,000 as an eighth-rounder. The youngest regular in the low Class A South Atlantic League last year, he rated as the circuit's top prospect and ranked third in on-base percentage (.393) and fourth in slugging (.479) at age 18.

Scouting Report: Singleton has uncanny balance and rhythm at the plate, as well as solid pitch recognition. His swing is simple and compact, and the strength in his hands, wrists and forearms gives him easy plus raw power. As with most young hitters, his swing can get long at times. He's not as athletic as his father Herb, a former quarterback at Oregon, but Singleton is light on his feet. He has a solid-average arm.

The Future: With Ryan Howard signed through 2016, Singleton will have to find a different position to crack Philadelphia's lineup. He started working out in left field in July and continued in instructional league, showing enough promise that he'll play there at high Class A Clearwater in 2011. He could be ready for the big leagues in 2013.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Lakewood (Lo A) .290 .393 .479 376 64 109 25 2 14 77 62 74 9
3.  Brody Colvin, rhp   Born: Aug. 14, 1990B-T: R-RHt: 6-4Wt: 195
 Drafted: HS—Lafayette, La., 2009 (7th round)Signed by: Mike Stauffer
Brody ColvinBackground: Though Colvin was considered a sandwich-round talent coming out of high school, his Louisiana State commitment scared teams off. Area scout Mike Stauffer did a good job getting to know Colvin, however, and the Phillies drafted him in the seventh round and signed him for $900,000, by far the most they spent on a 2009 draft pick. He had an 8.40 ERA after seven outings last year, then posted a 2.00 ERA in his final 20 starts, adding velocity along the way.

Scouting Report: Scouts love Colvin's live arm and strong frame. His fastball sits at 92-94 mph and he can reach back for 97 when needed. He shows signs of two above-average secondary offerings, an upper-70s curveball and an 83-85 mph changeup. His competitiveness helps him maximize his stuff. Philadelphia worked to clean up Colvin's delivery, but it still needs some refinement. He throws across his body from a high three-quarters arm slot and sometimes gets on the side of his curveball. Some scouts have questioned Colvin's makeup and he was arrested on three misdemeanor charges last February, but the Phillies aren't concerned.

The Future: Colvin has No. 2 starter potential and took a giant step in his first full pro. He'll open the 2011 season in high Class A but could finish it at Double-A Reading.
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Lakewood (Lo A) 6 8 3.39 27 27 0 0 138 138 7 42 120 .258
4.  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: Negotiations between Cosart's father Joe and Phillies brass went down to the wire during an American Legion game that ended less than an hour before the 2008 signing deadline, with the team prying Cosart away from a Missouri commitment for a $550,000 bonus in the 38th round. A talented two-way player, he broke Clear Creek (Texas) High's batting average record (.506) previously set by Jay Buhner. Shoulder and back pain delayed his pro debut in 2009, and a tender elbow shut him down in mid-2010 and kept him out of the Futures Game.

Scouting Report: Cosart is tall and lean, and scouts regard his arm as one of the most electric in the minor leagues. His fastball sits at 94-98 mph, usually at the top end of that range, with good life. His 77-79 mph curveball is a solid-average pitch, while his low-80s changeup is a work in progress. His command is advanced for his age and lively stuff. The biggest concern with Cosart is his health, though his arm action and delivery raise no red flags. His maturity and work ethic also have been called into question.

The Future: Cosart pitched without pain in instructional league and should be able to begin the 2011 season in high Class A. He has the potential to become a No. 1 starter or closer—if he can stay healthy.
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Lakewood (Lo A) 7 3 3.79 14 14 1 0 71 60 3 16 77 .224
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: May rated as Washington state's top prospect in the 2008 draft before signing for $375,000 as a fourth-round pick. He has been part of Lakewood's back-to-back South Atlantic League titles, allowing just one run in four playoff starts. He wasn't supposed to be in low Class A last year, but when his mechanics and control got out of whack, May got demoted at midseason at the suggestion of senior adviser and former GM Pat Gillick.

Scouting Report: Scouts love to project on May's sturdy 6-foot-5 frame. His best pitch is his 91-95 mph fastball, which has heavy life and great angle. His high three-quarters arm slot also produces armside run. May's 76-79 mph curveball could become a plus pitch as it gains consistency. His changeup sits at 81-84 mph and has similar promise. The Phillies have worked to simplify May's delivery, which he struggles to repeat. He often flies open with his front side and drops his elbow on offspeed pitches. He also has a tendency to fall in love with strikeouts and overthrow.

The Future: May got back on track in the second half, setting the stage to take another crack at high Class A in 2011. A potential No. 2 or 3 starter, he'll pitch alongside Brody Colvin and Jarred Cosart on what should be a loaded Clearwater staff.
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Clearwater (Hi A) 5 5 5.01 16 14 0 0 70 53 7 61 90 .212
Lakewood (Lo A) 7 3 2.91 11 11 0 0 65 51 3 20 92 .214
6.  Sebastian Valle, c   Born: July 24, 1990B-T: R-RHt: 6-1Wt: 170
 Signed: MexicoSigned by: Sal Agostinelli
Sebastian ValleBackground: Phillies international supervisor Sal Agostinelli runs a budget-minded department that signed Valle for $30,000 out of Mexico in 2006. Since struggling at Lakewood to start 2009, Valle has taken bigger strides than any other player in the system. He was named short-season Williamsport's MVP that summer and impressed in the Mexican Pacific League that winter, then conquered low Class A last season.

Scouting Report:  Valle has the tools to hit for power and play good defense. He employs a high leg kick to keep his weight back, and his strong wrists that generate pure bat speed. He must work on making more contact and showing more discipline, as he gets pull-happy and is a free swinger. He looks overmatched at times against premium pitching. Valle's arm strength and release improved in the second half of 2010, and he threw out 33 percent of basestealers last season. His receiving skills also are also solid. He moves well behind the plate, though he's a below-average runner.

The Future: The Phillies had enough confidence in Valle to include backstops Lou Marson and Travis d'Arnaud in trades for Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. With Carlos Ruiz entrenched in Philadelphia, Valle doesn't have to be rushed. He'll manage  Clearwater's deep pitching staff in 2011.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Lakewood (Lo A) .255 .298 .430 447 51 114 28 1 16 74 27 101 3
7.  Jiwan James, of   Born: April 11, 1989B-T: B-RHt: 6-4Wt: 195
 Drafted: HS—Williston, Fla., 2007 (22nd round)Signed by: Chip Lawrence
Jiwan JamesBackground: James was an all-state football, basketball and baseball player in high school before turning pro for $150,000 in the 22nd round. He was signed by the same scout, Chip Lawrence, who wouldn't quit on Domonic Brown. James spent his first two years in pro ball as a pitcher until he came down with a stress reaction in his forearm, then moved to the outfield in 2009. He put together a 24-game hitting streak last summer in his first taste of full-season ball.

Scouting Report: An incredible athlete, James draws comparisons to Brown with his long, lean frame. A switch-hitter, James is much better from his natural left side. From the right side, he's more defensive and slaps at the ball. James doesn't use his lower half in his swing and he has poor pitch recognition. He's not going to hit many homers, but he should be able to collect extra-base hits with his plus-plus speed. Defensively, James has incredible range and gets good reads off the bat. Combine that with his solid-average arm, and he has the potential to be a top-notch centerfielder. The Phillies also love his makeup.

The Future: It's hard to ignore James' four-tool package, but how much he hits will determine how far he goes. He'll advance to high Class A Clearwater in 2011.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Lakewood (Lo A) .270 .321 .365 556 85 150 26 6 5 64 35 132 33
8.  Jesse Biddle, lhp   Born: Oct. 22, 1991B-T: L-LHt: 6-4Wt: 225
 Drafted: HS—Philadelphia, 2010 (1st round)Signed by: Eric Valent
Jesse BiddleBackground: Biddle didn't pitch much as a junior at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, but he emerged on the summer circuit. No one followed him more closely last spring than his hometown Phillies, who scouted every one of his starts. After Philadelphia selected him 27th overall and signed him away from an Oregon commitment for $1.16 million, he reached Williamsport during a successful pro debut.

Scouting Report: Biddle is a projectable lefty whose frame evokes Clayton Kershaw's. Biddle's fastball easily sits at 91-94 mph with armside run, and he could add more velocity with time. Biddle's 77-81 mph changeup shows flashes of being a plus pitch. He throws a low-70s curveball, which is in its nascent stages, and scouts are encouraged by his ability to spin the ball. During the spring, he flashed a slider that some scouts thought had more potential than his curve. More than anything, the Phillies rave about Biddle's makeup and competitiveness. He'll have to smooth out his delivery, which features a small head jerk. He'll also need to improve his fastball command and be more consistent with his offspeed pitches.

The Future: Biddle has frontline-starter potential, and some scouts compare him to Brian Matusz. He'll spend his first full pro season in low Class A.
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
GCL Phillies (R) 3 1 4.32 9 9 1 0 33 35 2 9 41 .263
Williamsport (SS) 1 0 2.61 3 3 0 0 10 5 0 11 9 .152
9.  Domingo Santana, of   Born: Aug. 5, 1992B-T: R-RHt: 6-5Wt: 200
 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2008Signed by:
Domingo SantanaBackground: The Phillies don't often give six-figure bonuses to international prospects, but they signed Santana for $330,000 in 2008. Born in the Bahamas and signed out of the Dominican Republic, he wasn't ready to handle low Class A pitching last year as a 17-year-old. His numbers picked up when he went to Williamsport in June, though his inexperience still showed.

Scouting Report: All the pieces are there for Santana to be the player Philadelphia hopes he can be—a power-hitter who plays above-average defense on an outfield corner. He's athletic and physically imposing. Fundamentally sound at the plate, he has a natural load and incredible raw power. He works the center of the field well and doesn't get pull-happy. He'll have to do a better job of recognizing pitches, as he struggles with hard stuff inside and breaking balls away. He has the plus speed and arm strength to be a quality right fielder, though he needs more game repetition to improve defensively.

The Future: When scouts fall in love with his upside and tools, Santana summons Vladimir Guerrero comparisons, but he's still very raw and a lot has to go right for him to reach his ceiling. The Phillies don't want him to get in over his head again, so he'll have to earn a return to Lakewood in spring training.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Lakewood (Lo A) .182 .322 .297 165 27 30 10 0 3 16 29 76 5
Williamsport (SS) .237 .336 .366 186 28 44 9 0 5 20 23 73 4
10.  Aaron Altherr, of   Born: Jan. 14, 1991B-T: R-RHt: 6-5Wt: 190
 Signed: HS—Buckeye, Ariz., 2009 (9th round)Signed by: Brad Holland
Aaron AltherrBackground: Altherr is yet another toolsy Phillies prospect, and no player in the system improved his stock more last year. Born in Germany, he was better known in high school for his basketball talent. He hit .446 as a senior in 2009 while starring as a shortstop and a pitcher, showing enough to earn a $150,000 bonus as a ninth-round pick. He began 2010 year in extended spring training before repeating the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, where he made enough progress to merit a promotion to Williamsport.

Scouting Report: For such a big, young hitter, Altherr takes a relatively short path to the ball, allowing him to make consistent hard contact. His lanky, fast-twitch frame doesn't produce many home runs now, but he should have at least average power once he fills out. Currently an average runner, he could develop plus speed once he gets more body control. Altherr is still raw and needs more time in the outfield, where he can play all three positions now but profiles best in a corner. His arm strength significantly improved last year and now grades as average.

The Future: The Phillies have plenty of projectable outfield prospects, but only Brown has a higher all-around upside than Altherr. Like Brown did, Altherr will open his third professional season at Lakewood as a breakout candidate.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
GCL Phillies (R) .287 .350 .426 94 11 27 7 3 0 10 8 13 2
Williamsport (SS) .304 .331 .400 115 12 35 6 1 1 15 3 22 10

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Photo Credits:
David Schofield (Brown, Singleton, Valle, Cosart, Colvin, James)