- Full name Tyson A. Gillies
- Born 10/31/1988 in Vancouver, BC, Canada
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Iowa Western CC
- Drafted in the 25th round (741st overall) by the Seattle Mariners in 2006.
Organization Prospect Rankings
It has been a long, strange journey for Gillies, acquired from the Mariners in the December 2009 Cliff Lee trade. Gillies, who is legally deaf, played only 31 games in his first two seasons in the organization as he dealt with injuries and off-the-field difficulties. When rehabbing a nagging hamstring injury in 2010, he was arrested on charges of cocaine possession, which were later dropped. The hamstring issues lingered into 2011, when he played just three games. He missed about half the 2012 season due to a concussion, hamstring problems and a suspension after an altercation with a team bus driver, but he finally showed signs of the talent that got him selected for the 2009 Futures Game. He's an exciting, toolsy center fielder who's a plus-plus runner, gliding defender and top-of-the-order catalyst. He has a quick, strong swing and makes solid contact, though he occasionally gets pull-happy. Depending on the situation, Gillies will bunt or employ a slap-and-run approach to get on base. He has the tools to project as a regular in center field, though he has to answer questions about his health and makeup. Gillies played for Canada in September's World Baseball Classic qualifier in Germany. He'll start 2013 in Triple-A and could contribute in Philadelphia later in the year.
One of three players acquired from the Mariners in the Cliff Lee trade after the 2009 season, Gillies is also one of three Canadians on this Top 30 list. He first drew the notice of scouts in the British Columbia Premier Baseball League, which also spawned Ryan Dempster and Justin Morneau. Gillies didn't get real widespread attention until the 2009 Futures Game, when he stole two bases and got to first base in 3.4 seconds on a bunt. The Phillies had high expectations for him in 2010, but a lingering hamstring injury limited him to 28 games. He also ran into off-the-field problems, getting arrested in August on charges of cocaine possession in Clearwater, Fla. When prosecutors examined the evidence against him, they dropped the case. None of what happened in 2010 has changed Philadelphia's opinion of Gillies, who has been noted for his high character and makeup. He was born with hearing impairments in both ears and is legally deaf, though he's an adept lip reader. Gillies has a quick, strong swing and uses a slap-and-run approach in order to take advantage of his plus-plus speed. He still needs to cut down on his strikeouts and improve his basestealing proficiency, but he had good feel for the strike zone and profiles as a potential leadoff hitter. Though he's not known for it, he also has average raw power. With well above-average range and a strong arm, he has the tools to be an exceptional defender in center field. Outside of Domonic Brown, Gillies is closer to the big leagues than any of the Phillies' outfield prospects. He'll look to rebound when he returns to Double-A this year.
A native of Vancouver, Gillies joins fellow Canadians Michael Saunders and Phillippe Aumont on this Top 10 list. Gillies skipped over low Class A on his way to High Desert last year, when he led the California League with 44 steals and ranked third in the minors in hitting (.341) and triples (14), fourth in runs (104) and fifth in on-base percentage (.430). Hearing deficiencies require him to wear hearing aids in both ears, and he has adapted by learning to read lips proficiently. A high-energy sparkplug, Gillies burst onto the national scene by stealing two bases at the Futures Game, where he also blazed a 3.4- second trail to first base on a bunt attempt. The top athlete in the system, his speed earns 80 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale from some evaluators. His quickness, hand-eye coordination and feel for the strike zone give him a chance to hit .280 or better. His speed translates into well above-average range in center field, where he boasts the system's top outfield arm. After Gillies was thrown out 19 times last season, the Mariners had him work on his basestealing technique during a two-week tutorial in Arizona. At the plate, he deploys a slap-and-run approach that rules out power almost completely. He homered only once away from High Desert. Hungry and talented, Gillies is eager to tackle the Double-A Southern League, where a combination of better defenses and more neutral ballpark conditions will put his tools to the test.
A native of Canada like Phillippe Aumont and Michael Saunders, Gillies attended Vancouver's Mountain High and played for Team Canada's youth national team as an amateur. He signed as a draft-and-follow with the Mariners after spending a year at Iowa Western CC, where he helped the Reivers reach the Junior College World Series. With 30 percent hearing in one ear and 60 percent in the other, Gillies wears hearing aids and reads lips, but it hasn't affected his play in the outfield or on the bases. He gets down the first-base line in 3.8 seconds, making him an 80 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale as well as a true stolen-base threat. Gillies puts his top-of-the-scale speed to good use in center field, where he has the plus-plus range to rob hits in the gaps. He also has a plus arm. Gillies has a chance to be an above-average hitter because of his feel for the strike zone, his all-fields approach and his bunting skills. Though he's sturdily built, he doesn't generate much power with his line-drive stroke. If anything, he relies too much on slapping the ball to the opposite field, and Seattle began stressing the importance of driving the ball into the gaps during instructional league. The Mariners rave about his makeup. If he develops, Gillies has a future as a top-of-the-order batter.
Minor League Top Prospects
Gillies showcased his blistering speed at the Futures Game in July, where he stole two bases and was clocked in 3.4 seconds to first base while beating out a bunt. He's one of the fastest players in all of baseball, with scouts giving him a rare 80 speed grade (the highest on the 20-80 scouting scale), and he led the Cal League with 44 steals. Gillies, who has hearing deficiencies that require him to wear hearing aids in both ears, also had a breakout season at the plate. He ranked second in the league in runs (104), hits (170) and on-base percentage (.430). He's a fine defender in center field, with above-average range and arm strength. His game does have some holes. After getting caught stealing a league-high 19 times, he must improve his reads and jumps. He doesn't have a lot of power and hit just one homer away from Mavericks Stadium. One scout lauded his intensity but said it also can work against him. "He's a great competitor, always plays hard," the scout said. "I never have a problem getting a running time on him. Whenever he hits the ball, he runs it out all the way. He has a tight body and is very intense. He has a 120 pulse when it should be 60." "He has a chance to be special. I see him as a sort of Curtis Granderson type, but maybe not as much power."
Clearly overmatched in a brief stint in the high Class A California League, Gillies looked much more comfortable in the NWL. His raw speed rates an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale--he can go from home to first in 3.8 seconds--and he'll be a huge basestealing threat once he improves his technique. He also covers a lot of ground in center field. "Our corner guys love him," Everett hitting coach Henry Cotto said. "They don't have to go in the gaps for balls. He has one speed--fast." At the plate, Gillies has a line-drive stroke, uses the whole field and shows a knack for drawing walks. He needs to make more contact so he can use his speed, and while he has some deceptive strength, he's not going to be a power hitter. He's hearing impaired, with 30 percent hearing in one ear and 60 percent in the other, though it rarely creates issues on the bases or in the outfield.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the California League in 2009
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Seattle Mariners in 2009
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Seattle Mariners in 2009