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Phillies international supervisor Sal Agostinelli signed Carrasco for $300,000 out of Venezuela in 2003, and the young righthander made a successful debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League a year later as a 17-year-old. Philadelphia admittedly rushed him in 2005, pushing Carrasco to low Class A Lakewood, where he was hit hard. But after honing both his mechanics and his mental approach during instructional league, Carrasco turned the corner in a return trip to Lakewood in 2006 and blossomed into the best starter in the system. He also added the Futures Game and the organization's minor league pitcher of the year award to his résumé. After going through a dead-arm period last April when his velocity was down and his secondary pitches lacked their normal bite, Carrasco hit a groove in 2007 and was promoted to Double-A Reading in June. He was inconsistent as a 20-year-old in the Eastern League, however, mixing brilliance (a six-inning no-hitter against Altoona in August) with inconsistency (he allowed five or more runs in five of his 13 starts with Reading). He struggled to get ground balls and command the strike zone. Carrasco has the makings of two plus pitches with the potential for a third. His fastball has outstanding late life, and is at its best when he works between 89-93 mph. When he needs it, he can touch 94-95. He complements the fastball with the best changeup in the system, and he commands it to both sides of the plate with good depth and fade. His curveball continued to make strides in 2007, ranging from a soft 71-72 mph breaker to a harder 76-78 mph offering that more resembles a slider. His body allows him to unleash all his pitches from a steep downhill plane, and when he's on, he pounds the strike zone. As good as Carrasco's pure stuff is, he struggled with runners on base in 2007. When he'd get into trouble, he'd rush through his delivery with his lower half and drag his arm behind his body. That would cause his front shoulder to fly open, costing him command. The Phillies attribute these problems to Carrasco's youth, though he did show signs of improvement later in the year. He'll need to make quicker adjustments as he moves along, especially with pitch selection. With the quality of his secondary pitches, Carrasco should profile as a groundball pitcher with enough power in his fastball to miss bats when he has to. Yet in Double-A, his groundout/airout ratio was a mere 0.7. After a half-season of learning in the Eastern League, Carrasco likely will return there to begin 2008. Some Phillies officials believe that Carrasco was rushed again in 2007, but they were also impressed with how he responded in instructional league afterward. He could debut in the majors in 2009.
Baseball America's 2006 High School Player of the Year, Cardenas had little trouble adjusting to pro ball and switching positions in his first full season. A supplemental first-round pick as a shortstop, he moved to second base and played his way into the Futures Game. He also earned low Class A South Atlantic League all-star honors after doing the same in the Gulf Coast League in his debut. Thick and strong, Cardenas has an easy, compact stroke from the left side that produces consistent line drives with good loft power. He squares up breaking balls and fastballs equally well, and he makes hard contact to all fields. He exhibits above-average arm strength at his new position. Cardenas moved off shortstop because his range was just adequate and figured to diminish as he filled out and grew older. He doesn't cover a lot of ground at second base and his footwork needs improvement. A fringe-average runner, he lacks first-step quickness and his lateral movement also leaves something to be desired. Cardenas will move to high Class A Clearwater for 2008, but his bat could push him to Double-A by midseason. He has middle-of-the-order potential, though the Phillies already are set at second base with Chase Utley.
After starring as a freshman at Rice in 2005, Savery looked like he'd be a top-five draft pick just like fellow Lamar High (Houston) alumnus Jeff Niemann. But like a lot of Owls pitchers, Savery came down with medical issues. He had minor surgery after his sophomore season to shave down a bone growth in the back of his shoulder that was causing some fraying in his labrum. He wasn't at his best last spring, which allowed him to slide to the Phillies at No. 19. He signed for $1,372,500. As a lefty two-way player in college, he garnered comparisons to Mark Mulder. While his fastball velocity was down for much of the spring, Savery flashed 90-94 mph heaters by May and pitched at 88-92 mph in his pro debut. He also can be effective at 86-89 mph. His changeup has the potential to be an above-average pitch and his slurvy breaking ball grades as average to plus. The Phillies rave about his work ethic. Just a year removed from surgery, Savery predictably struggled with the command of all his pitches in his pro debut. He didn't repeat his delivery well, in part because he was worn down. The last four Rice starting pitchers drafted in the first round have had major arm surgeries, a track record that scared a lot of clubs. Philadelphia sent Savery to the Arizona Fall League because they thought his makeup was well-suited for the challenge, which should expedite his development. He'll open 2008 in low Class A and could move quickly if he performs well and shows the ability to maintain his mechanics and velocity deep into games. He could make his big league debut by 2009.
After transferring from St. Louis CC-Forest Park to Central Missouri State, Outman performed an extreme makeover on his mechanics and starred as a two-way player for the Mules. A key contributor to Lakewood's 2006 championship run in 2006, he set the tone early for Clearwater's 2007 title run. Outman won 10 of his 18 starts before being promoted to Double-A. Despite his revamped delivery, deception remains Outman's biggest strength on the mound. Hitters can't get good reads on his 90-94 mph fastball, his late-biting 83-84 mph slider or his changeup. He scrapped his curveball in 2007, and his arm speed and his location with his changeup improved dramatically as he concentrated on a three-pitch mix. He's a good athlete and fields his position well. The patience of Double-A hitters was a wake-up call for Outman, who walked six in his Reading debut. He fell behind in counts after often overthrowing his fastball and elevating it in the strike zone. While he repeats his mechanics well, he throws with some effort and has a slight head jerk, especially when he throws his slider. Outman will begin 2008 back in Double-A, but he could make his debut at Citizen's Bank Park before September. He profiles as a No. 3 starter.
Several clubs thought Drabek had better stuff than any pitcher in the 2006 draft, but makeup concerns scared them away until Philadelphia took him 18th overall and signed him for $1.55 million. The son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, he had a rocky pro debut as field staff and scouts criticized his lack of composure. He kept it together on and off the field in 2007, but Tommy John surgery ended his season in June, and he won't pitch again before August 2008. Drabek has better raw stuff than his father, starting with a mid-90s fastball that touches 97 mph. Despite all that velocity, his best pitch remains an upper-70s spike curveball with hard, late, downward movement. He made strides with his changeup before going down with the elbow injury, both with arm speed and command. He lowered his leg kick in his delivery between high school and pro ball, and now incorporates more of a turn as he goes into his windup. Drabek's makeup is the biggest concern, as his drinking and temper have gotten him into trouble in the past. The Phillies believed that he'd mature like any other teenager once they got him into a routine. Having to overcome elbow reconstruction may help his cause, as he'll have to develop better work habits. The track record of pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery is strong, so that's not a huge worry. A potential frontline starter, Drabek has been right on schedule with his rehab program. He should return to the mound with short-season Williamsport, and Philadelphia won't push him.
Brown is a product of Redan (Ga.) High, the same school that produced 30-30 man Brandon Phillips. Brown first emerged as a prospect as a pitcher and was an even bigger star as a wide receiver, turning down a football scholarship from Miami to sign for $200,000 as a 20th-round pick in 2006. But his future now is as a slugger, as scouts have compared him to a young Darryl Strawberry. While Greg Golson, Quintin Berry and D'Arby Myers can match or exceed his above-average speed, Brown has a bigger and more physical presence. He has gap power now and plenty of home run potential for the future. He's not one-dimensional at the plate, as he uses the whole field and has advanced plate discipline and pitch recognition for his age. He's also adept at bunting. A plus defender with enough range and closing speed to play center field, he fits in right field with his above-average arm strength. Brown is still raw in some phases of the game. He needs to improve as a basestealer (he got caught in seven of 21 attempts), and he can take better routes and make more accurate throws in the outfield. As he continues to grow into his huge 6-foot-5 frame, he's likely to slow down somewhat and lose his plus speed. He opened 2007 with three games in high Class A, and Brown might return there to begin 2008 based on how he handled the initial experience. He's Philadelphia's right fielder of the future, though he's probably at least two or three years away from the majors.
The Phillies have preached patience with Golson since signing him for $1.475 million as the 21st overall pick in 2004. While he still has a long way to go before he's a finished product, he took another step in the right direction in 2007. He finally reached Double-A in late July, and set career in hits, doubles, homers, RBIs and steals. Golson's five-tool package makes him the system's top athlete. His plus-plus speed stands out the most, as he can get from the right side of the plate to first base in less than 4.0 seconds. He also provides above-average raw power, center-field defense and arm strength. Golson's ability to recognize pitches remains his biggest liability. He especially struggles with breaking balls, and tends to get tangled up thinking about what he should do at the plate rather than just seeing the ball and cutting loose. His 49-2 strikeout-walk ratio in Double-A is indicative of his problems, and he led the minors with 173 strikeouts. Golson possesses the tools of a young Ron Gant, but he'll need to show he can make consistent hard contact and take pitches if he's going to move beyond Double-A. The Phillies think he can play a big league center field right now, and if everything clicks offensively, he could make the final leap quickly.
Marson had dreams of playing quarterback in college until he broke his collarbone as a high school senior. He struggled for most of his first three years in pro ball, not hitting for average or power and showing just average defensive tools. Diligence and hard work paid off for him in 2007, when he broke through with the bat and was part of a second straight Class A championship. Marson has an easily repeatable stroke that produces line drives to all fields. In 2007, he shortened his swing and developed a much more consistent two-strike approach. Defensively, Marson's game-calling and receiving skills are above-average. His arm grades as average to slightly above, and he ranked third in the high Class A Florida State League by throwing out 36 percent of basestealers. His arm action sometimes can get long, as he'll lead with his elbow--likely the result of his days as a high school quarterback. He'll be an everyday catcher in Double-A in 2008 and could move up to Triple-A if Jason Jaramillo claims a big league role. The Phillies suddenly have several options behind the plate, so there's no reason to push Marson.
Carpenter transferred from Sacramento City College to Long Beach State for 2006 and improved his draft stock considerably under 49ers pitching coach Troy Buckley, going to the Phillies with the 65th overall pick. Philadelphia limited his workload in his first pro summer but turned him loose in 2007. He tied for the minor league lead with 17 wins, including a seven-inning perfect game, and the organization named him its minor league pitcher of the year. A finesse righthander, Carpenter makes his pitches more effective because he throws them on a steep, downhill angle. He commands his 89-92 mph fastball to all four quadrants of the strike zone. He has two breaking balls, a plus slider with good tilt and an average curveball, and has added a changeup and splitter since turning pro. His splitter has quickly emerged as his out pitch. He has an easy, simple delivery he repeats well. Carpenter's changeup still has a long way to go to be consistently effective. His arm speed lags behind his body at times and his command of the changeup can be erratic. The Phillies aren't looking to take a pitch away form him yet, but if his changeup doesn't improve, he may just use his splitter to keep hitters off his fastball. Carpenter can get stiff on his front side, which makes him fly open in his delivery and elevate his fastball. Many Phillies officials compare Carpenter's rise to that of Kyle Kendrick, and he could wind up in the big leagues as early as 2008 if the need should arise. Until then, Carpenter will head to Double-A, just like Kendrick did in 2007.
The Phillies first took Jaramillo out of a Wisconsin high school as a 42nd-round pick in 2001, then signed him three years later as a second-rounder out of Oklahoma State. He hit .304 in his first full pro season, then had 2006 ruined by a broken right hand. He bounced back in 2007, holding his own offensively and defensively at Triple-A Ottawa. A solid hitter from both sides of the plate, Jaramillo has gap-to-gap power and sprays line drives to all fields. He also has a sound approach. Defensively, he has slightly above-average arm strength and quick feet. He threw out 30 percent of basestealers in the International League. Jaramillo has below-average power and well below-average speed. His receiving and game-calling skills got sloppy in 2006, but he righted the ship in Triple-A. He doesn't have the offensive or defensive ceiling of Lou Marson, but Jaramillo can become a reliable backup in the major leagues. He has a chance to serve in that role behind Carlos Ruiz in 2008.
The Phillies thought Happ had a chance to make an impact in the big leagues last season, but elbow problems lingered throughout the year and his command was inconsistent throughout. His 5.02 ERA in Triple-A was more than double his previous career mark of 2.49. When Happ is healthy, hitters have a hard time getting looks at his low-90s fastball because of his natural deception. Happ's fastball has good life and finish through the zone with some armside run. His 82-85 mph changeup was his most improved offering in 2007, as he increased its depth and was able to locate it well against righthanders. Happ's slider remains too soft and loopy, and he really got into trouble when his stuff tended to flatten out late in games. He repeats his delivery well, but he needs to get stronger to maintain his delivery. Happ likely will return to Triple-A and could be a valuable spot starter if needed in Philadelphia this season. He projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter.
Mathieson had one of the most promising arms in the system, but an extreme workload caught up to him and he has had a hard time recovering. After pitching 122 innings during the 2005 regular season, he also worked at the World Cup, the Arizona Fall League and then the World Baseball Classic, giving him little time off. He piled on another 164 innings in 2006, making the jump from Double-A to the big leagues, before blowing out his elbow and needing Tommy John surgery in August. Mathieson returned late in 2007, but after just eight innings at three different stops, the Phillies had to shut him down for more elbow surgery, this time the transposition of his elbow nerve. Though Philadelphia considers the second surgery to be a minor setback, his future remains clouded. Before he got hurt, Mathieson pitched with his fastball anywhere from 90-97 mph and also featured a hard slider and a changeup. The Phillies planned on using him as a starter before he got hurt, but now his future role likely will come in relief. That way he would be limited to short stints and could concentrate on a two-pitch power mix. Mathieson is expected to be ready for spring training and probably will begin 2008 in Double-A.
Wherever the Phillies' minor league affiliates played during spring training, opposing field staffs gravitated to watch Galvis playing in the middle of the diamond. Since signing out of Venezuela in 2006, Galvis has achieved notoriety with his soft, quick hands, his outstanding range to either side and his plus arm. Scouts compare him to a young Omar Vizquel. Galvis didn't hit much in the short-season New York-Penn League as a 17-year-old making his pro debut, yet he still impressed the managers and scouts who saw him. He was shut down in late July after separating his left (non-throwing) shoulder trying to break up a double play. The question remains whether Galvis will hit enough, but Philadelphia believes he just needs more experience. He won't ever have much power, but he's a switch-hitter with a compact stroke. He has plus speed and some bunting ability, so his emphasis will be getting on base. He'll move up to low Class A this year and could be the South Atlantic League's youngest regular at age 18.
Ranked No. 4 on this list a year ago, Garcia showed up out of shape in spring training and encountered several minor injuries that nagged him at Lakewood and he never got fully untracked. Signed for $500,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2004, Garcia has pure stuff on par with Carrasco's. He has excellent life on his fastball and though his velocity was down for much of last season, it returned to its usual low 90s during instructional league. After throwing two variations of curveballs, Garcia settled on a hard-breaking 81-83 mph bender that resembles a slider at times. He hasn't made strides with his changeup, and might be better suited in a relief role. His delivery is simple and repeatable, allowing him to throw strikes with ease. That was a rarity for much of 2007, however, and Garcia needs to command the fastball more effectively. The Phillies have questioned his work ethic, and he'll have to maintain a strict work regimen if he's going to reach his ultimate ceiling of a middle-of-the-rotation starter. Still just 20, he should advance to high Class A at some point this year.
A 20th-round pick of the Angels out of high school, Donald turned down a reported $1 million bonus to attend Arizona. After signing for $400,000 as a third-round pick in 2006, he has proven himself with the bat. Last year, he raked in low Class A in the first half before playing a key role in Clearwater's Florida State League championship run. Donald has a short, compact stroke that produces gap power. He draws walks and has slightly above-average speed, though he won't be a basestealing threat. Scouts question his range and arm strength at shortstop, but Donald makes up for his deficiencies with outstanding positioning. The Phillies aren't completely sold on him staying at shortstop, and he might be better suited as a utilityman who can play both middle-infield spots and provide a line-drive bat off the bench. He'll move up to Double-A in 2008.
D'Arnaud's older brother Chase is a third baseman at Pepperdine and will be an early-round pick in the 2008 draft. Travis also committed to play for the Waves, but he never made it to Malibu because the Phillies took him in the supplemental first round last June and signed him for $832,500. One of the best defensive backstops in the draft, d'Arnaud has above-average catch-and-throw skills. He threw out just 24 percent of basestealers in his pro debut, but his arm strength is unquestionable as he regularly gets the ball from mitt to second base in 1.9 seconds. His game-calling still needs work, but he improved in that regard during the summer. Scouts weren't entirely sold on d'Arnaud's bat and he didn't light up Gulf Coast League pitching, but he did show some ability to stay inside balls and drive them to the opposite field. He has a quick swing with the potential for some loft power. He's more athletic and has more speed than most catchers. There's no need to rush d'Arnaud, who will begin the year in low Class A.
Of the four players the Phillies signed out of Brazil for a combined $200,000 in 2006, Correa is the best. He more than held his own in the Gulf Coast League last year, cutting his ERA from 7.83 in his pro debut to 3.74 while still being one of the youngest players in the Rookie circuit at age 17. Correa features a 90-93 mph fastball, a hard 73-77 mph curveball and good feel for his changeup. His fastball has outstanding late life and finish with sink that produces a lot of grounders. He's a strike-thrower who pounds all quadrants of the strike zone. He sometimes gets around on his curve, and while his changeup has above-average potential, he needs to refine his command to make it an effective third pitch. Likened by many in the organization to a young Carlos Carrasco, he might even show more maturity than Carrasco did at the same level. Correa speaks three languages and the Phillies rave about his makeup. He's wiry strong and repeats his delivery well. He could have the makings of a frontline starter if everything comes together. He'll start 2008 in low Class A.
Mattair was considered a better basketball player for much of his high school career, but once he decided to concentrate on baseball full-time, he took off and emerged as Washington's top prep prospect for the 2007 draft. A series of strong workouts for clubs helped his stock, and he went 83rd overall and signed for $395,000. Strong and extremely athletic, Mattair has outstanding leverage in his swing that could produce 25-30 homers annually. He has plus bat speed with a lot of strength. His lack of experience showed when he had problems hitting with wood bats during his debut, but he still has enormous upside. The natural comparison in Philadelphia is to that of Scott Rolen for Mattair's outstanding athleticism, arm strength, power and work ethic. He's a potential plus defender on the corner and could be the Phillies' third baseman of the future, though it could take him time to develop. Mattair's struggles offensively will play a part in where he starts 2008. He wasn't much better with the bat during instructional league, and might wind up in extended spring to open the season.
Clubs shied away from Sampson in the 2007 draft because of signability concerns, but the Phillies were able to nab him for $390,000 with their 12th-round pick. An outstanding athlete who also played basketball in high school, Sampson has a projectable body with good stuff already in place. Sampson's fastball sits at 90-92 mph, and his loose, easy arm makes it easy to project an increase in velocity as he physically matures. He touched 94 mph with his heater during instructional league. Sampson used two different breaking balls during his amateur career, but his plus hard slider has two-plane break and suits his arsenal better than his softer curveball. The Phillies are leaving both breaking balls on the table for now, and he made strides with tightening the spin on his curveball in instructional league. Sampson has feel for a changeup, but it's easily his fourth-best pitch. Philadelphia raves about his presence and poise, as well as his ability to repeat his relatively simple delivery. He works downhill well. Sampson will be in the mix for a low Class A rotation spot, though he could open 2008 in extended training.
Harman became the Phillies' top middle-infield prospect after a strong first full season in 2005, but he couldn't recapture that magic the following year. His poor numbers at Clearwater in 2006 are attributed to his inability to make adjustments as well as an illness his father was going through back home in Australia. Harman returned to Clearwater in 2007, switching positions to second base. A line-drive hitter with gap power, he handled high Class A much better the second time around, raising his batting average by 40 points and his slugging percentage by 144. Harman also proved himself at second base. He showed up in spring training in great shape and made all the plays. After going through intense core-strength training, Harman was back playing shortstop and some third base during instructional league. He has average speed and range, slightly above-average arm strength and good hands. The Phillies added him to the 40-man roster in November and have several different options with him for 2008. The most likely is that Harman will start at second base in Double-A.
After a surprising debut pro debut in 2006, Myers took a step back at Williamsport last year. He batted .391 in the first two weeks before pitchers adjusted and he couldn't counter. He hit just .145 the rest of the way before his season ended in mid-August with a slight fracture in his right pinky, though he was healthy for instructional league. His pitch recognition is a liability, as he scuffles with soft breaking balls away from him. Lefthanders exploited this weakness, holding him to a .458 OPS. He's similar to Greg Golson in that he has a huge ceiling but is a long ways from reaching it because he's still raw in many phases of the game. Myers is a plus runner with the potential to hit for average and emerging power. He also has the tools to become an above-average defender in center field, including a solid arm. He needs to improve his instincts in all phases of the game, however. He doesn't control the strike zone or bunt as well as he needs to if he's going to profile as a leadoff hitter. He also has to do a better job of getting jumps on the bases and in the outfield. Myers will work on those aspects of the game in low Class A this season.
One of four pieces the Phillies received in return from the Yankees in the Bobby Abreu trade in 2006, Monasterios has the most upside of the group. Infielder C.J. Henry asked for his release from Philadelphia and re-signed with New York; catcher Jesus Sanchez hit just .208 while repeating the Gulf Coast League; and lefthanded reliever Matt Smith had Tommy John surgery in July. Monasterios, meanwhile, won 11 games in his first taste of full-season ball. He has great life and sink on his 90-94 mph fastball and one of the best changeups in the organization. His breaking pitches remain under construction. He's inconsistent with both his hard slider and loopy curveball, and he might wind up scrapping the latter during spring training to concentrate on a three-pitch mix. His sinker gets a lot of ground balls, but he doesn't repeat his delivery very well, making all his pitches hittable when he flies open with his front shoulder and elevates them in the strike zone. Monasterios will continue to move one level at a time, opening this season in high Class A.
Berry has a lot in common with Brewers outfielder Anthony Gwynn. Both are wiry center fielders who standout out most with their quickness, and both played at San Diego State for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, Anthony's father. Speed is Berry's best tool, and he can get from the left side of the plate to first base in 3.9 seconds on bunts. He led the system with 55 steals in 73 attempts during his first full season, but the Phillies were more pleased that he honed his approach at the plate and topped their minor leaguers with a .312 batting average as well. Berry has a compact stroke and sprays line drives to all fields. He showed much better plate discipline in his debut, and some club officials believe he could move to Double-A in 2008 without missing a beat. His biggest offensive liability is his lack of strength, but Berry knows his focus is on getting on base and doesn't get caught trying to hit for power. For as much impact as he has on the bases, he's still considered a raw talent in reading pitchers and getting good jumps. His route-running in the outfield is suspect at times, though he has the closing speed to make up for mistakes. He has an average arm. Berry could see Double-A this year, but he'll probably spend at least half the season in high Class A beforehand.
The Phillies had tabbed Bisenius as a potential bullpen contributor in 2007 when they sent him to the Arizona Fall League after the 2006 season, and he didn't disappoint. He allowed just six hits and struck out 11 over 12 innings in big league camp in the spring and opened the season in Philadelphia. He was sent out when Tom Gordon returned from the disabled list in early April and spent the remainder of the year in Triple-A, enduring a six-week stint on the DL with elbow soreness. Some in the organization point to overuse as the potential cause for the injury, as he was sent to Venezuela after the AFL and had just a month off before spring training. When healthy, Bisenius regularly touches 95 mph and operates at 92-93 with his fastball. He also features a hammer curveball with devastating late action. His control and command were off in 2007, and he'll have to solve that issue before he returns to the majors. Bisenius went to the AFL for a second straight season to make up for lost time, and the Phillies will give him another look in spring training.
Mach isn't a tools guy, but he can hit and attracted the Phillies with his offensive ability. After beginning his college career with a year each at Washington and Edmonds (Wash.) CC, he transferred to Oklahoma State prior to the 2006 season. He hit .364 and led the Big 12 Conference with 16 homers, sharing league player-of-the-year honors with Texas outfielder Drew Stubbs. While Stubbs went with the eighth overall pick to the Reds, Mach wasn't taken until the 40th round by the Cardinals. He returned to the Cowboys for his senior season, hit .386 with another 16 homers and went in the fourth round of the 2007 draft, turning pro for $95,000. Mach has the plus bat speed to turn around fastballs at any velocity. He has good raw power and uses the whole field. But he struggles with quality breaking balls, both in recognizing them and making any kind of decent contact. A fringe-average runner, Mach is a question mark defensively. Though he played better at second base than Philadelphia expected, his footwork needs improvement and he has below-average range. He especially struggles with balls to his right. The Phillies put him on a core-strength program to loosen up his hips more to gain flexibility, something that ultimately could help his swing as well. He played third base as a college junior but his bat would have to pull even more weight at that position. Because he's 23 and polished at the plate, Mach could skip a level and begin 2008 in high Class A.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, Bastardo was slowed by shoulder tendinitis in his 2005 pro debut and by a pulled groin in 2006. Though he had pitched just 23 innings in the United States, the Phillies jumped him to low Class A in June, in part because he was 21. Despite his lack of experience, Bastardo put up the most spectacular numbers in the system last season. He went 10-0, 2.14 with 110 strikeouts in 97 innings while flashing promising stuff. His best pitch is a changeup with good action and depth, and he sets it up with an 87-91 mph fastball. His breaking ball is a slurvy mid-80s pitch, and he struggles to command it effectively at times. He's small and wiry, which combined with his injury history leads to questions about his durability. He ultimately may become more of a middle reliever than a back-of-the-rotation starter. He should remain a starter in the high Class A this year.
Assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle and the Phillies' staff refer to Zagurski as "Mini-Me" because his thick, barrel-chested body resembles Arbuckle's. That frame didn't create much pro interest in Zagurski until he shut down Texas in front of several scouts in May of his senior year at Kansas. Philadelphia still has lingering concerns about his body, but his arm works well, pumping out fastballs from 89-92 mph with good life. He also throws a plus slider with sharp, late-breaking action. After throwing shutout ball in 11 of his 12 outings in high Class A to open the 2007 season, he jumped three levels and made his major league debut on May 25. He doesn't have much of a changeup, a weakness big league righthanders exploited by tattooing him for a .340 average and a 1.051 OPS, but he was effective against lefties (.216, .502 OPS). Though he could nibble a little less at the higher levels, Zagurski is pretty much all that he's going to be. However, he has enough stuff to carve out a role as a lefty specialist. Shut down in mid-August with a severe hamstring injury, he's expected to be ready to compete for a big league job in spring training.
Spencer went to North Carolina for his first two college seasons, where he showed good athleticism despite his large frame and helped the Tar Heels finish second at the College World Series in 2006. But after he hit just .197 in the Cape Cod League last summer, he lost his starting job in fall ball, so he transferred to Arizona State for his junior season. In front of a crowd of scouts at the season-opening Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park, Spencer drilled two homers, and it was his power that attracted the Phillies. They drafted him in the third round in June and signed him for $261,000. Much like his college career, Spencer's pro debut was filled with inconsistencies. He hit for good power and a decent average, but didn't control the strike zone. Despite having slightly above-average speed, he wasn't much of a factor on the bases. With his above-average pop and arm strength--he topped out at 94 mph as a reliever for the Sun Devils--he best profiles as a right fielder. Spencer will begin his first full season in low Class A, and could move quickly once he adapts to the everyday routine of pro ball.
His father Geoff played professional rugby for the Balmain Tigers in Australia for two seasons, and Naylor was more interested in Australian rules football in high school before finally settling on baseball. Naylor pitched in the Australian Summer League in 2005 before making his U.S. debut a year later. He pounds the strike zone with three pitches, beginning with an 88-92 mph fastball that he commands to both sides of the plate. His 12-to-6 curveball grades as average to above-average at times. His biggest area of growth has come with his changeup, which has outstanding depth and fade. He still needs to improve his arm speed on his changeup, however. The Phillies rave about Naylor's body and athleticism, which allow him to repeat his delivery well. He has a strong lower half that he uses to get on top of his pitches and drive downhill. He could be poised for a breakout season in low Class A this year.
The Phillies hit paydirt when they were the second team to make Shane Victorino a major league Rule 5 draft pick, and they're hoping for similar good fortune with Holdzkom. Philadelphia plucked Holdzkom from the Red Sox at the Winter Meetings in December. A year earlier, the Astros had taken him from the Cubs, who had acquired him in a deal that sent Todd Wellemeyer to the Marlins. Holdzkom didn't last long in Houston's big league camp. He walked three batters in two innings and the final straw came when he wondered out loud if he could collect his major league salary if he quit, prompting his release. His spring experience was Holdzkom in a nutshell--he always struggled with his command and created headaches wherever he has gone. At the same time, he has a seductive arm that never fails to attract another suitor. At his best, he can sit at 93-94 mph with a fastball that has vicious cut at times and heavy sink at others. He'll also flash a wipeout slider. He has regained his stuff after missing the entire 2004 season because of Tommy John surgery. Batters struggle to lift the ball against him and he didn't surrender his first homer in pro ball until 2007, his sixth season. Holdzkom still needs to throw a lot more strikes and prove he can maintain his stuff for more than an inning at a time. Taking his considerable talent more seriously would be a first step. The Phillies were sold on Holdzkom when they scouted him in the Arizona Fall League, and they'll give him every chance to make their bullpen. If he fails, he has to be put on waivers and be offered back to Boston for half his $50,000 draft price.
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