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  1. Don’t get how a list that contains all Low A ball or Rookie league prospects from last year (excluding Brown) can rank among the top 5 farm systems in all of minor league baseball

    Comment by Mike — March 8, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

  2. I think Biddle makes the biggest jump this year. One of the reports on him already had him reaching 97. As a lefty with this size, that’s outstanding.

    Comment by Nik — March 8, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

  3. Because they are all really really good prospects?

    Comment by Nik — March 8, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  4. I’m sure they are, but there’s too much volatility that goes along with having a list of prospects that haven’t even seen a true breaking ball yet in A+ or AA ball

    Comment by Mike — March 8, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  5. Yes, but they also have more upside than many of the other team’s guys who are closer to the majors.

    Comment by Nik — March 8, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  6. True. But they also have a greater chance to not reach their ceiling than the guys at AA or AAA do

    Comment by Mike — March 8, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  7. Like the list, but I’d probably not have Santana on there. I’d probably put a couple of the lower ceiling, but higher probability of reaching it guys on there.

    Worley & Defratus or even Gillies although he’s not such a safe pick either.

    Comment by B — March 8, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  8. I agree. Scouts always say the hardest jump other than to the majors is from A ball to AA. So for a system ranked this high you’d like to see more guys who have at least gotten a cup of coffee at the AA level.

    Comment by Preston — March 8, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  9. It’s exactly what a good team needs. The lower you go the better prospects there are

    Comment by Ian — March 8, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  10. Biddle is LH. And Altherr is moving to 3B this season.

    Should be exciting to watch these kids evolve over the next few years

    Comment by Utley26 — March 8, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

  11. Question about Brown: I always see him listed as their top prospect, and I think I’ve seen that he’s considered a top-5 prospect in all of baseball. But at 22 years old last year, he spent half the season in AA, looked overmatched in the majors, and I read articles this spring (pre-injury) that he wasn’t quite ready to be a MLB regular. Shouldn’t a top-5 prospect be ready to make a meaningful contribution by the time they’re 23?

    Comment by vivalajeter — March 8, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

  12. Because you could extend this list to 18-20 players and not have a huge drop off in upside/talent. Even assuming an average amount of attrition, there is a huge pipe line of talent in the organization.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — March 8, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  13. Interesting that, with the exception of Biddle, all these top prospects were late (or relatively late) rounders or non-drafted free agents. The Phillis did a great job. They’re like the anti-Tigers in this regard.

    Comment by Cecil Fielder Jr. — March 8, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  14. 23 is still solidly young enough to make a debut for sure. Remember many college players dont even get drafted until 22 or so

    Brown also killed triple A last year, putting up monster lines. As you said, Keith Law had him ranked 3rd, but noted that he was so athletic that he would overwhelm any minor league talent, and needed alot of refinement at the big league level and might start off slow.

    That said, wrist injuries are BRUTAL, and I am less high on him as a result, especially if he starts out extra cold, presses, gets into a rut, and draws the ire of impatient philly fans.

    Comment by TheUnrepentantGunner — March 8, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

  15. I agree with the confusion… A ranking this high might be more indicative of the many significant young player graduations we’ve seen the last few years. They are deep, but I’m not seeing it.

    Comment by baty — March 8, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

  16. Blue Jays are 4th!!! In your face most of America!

    Comment by Matty Brown — March 8, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

  17. The guys in the system aren’t THAT young. It’s not like they were all in rookie or short season last year. Colvin, Singleton, Cosart, May, Valle and James will all be at High A Clearwater next year with Colvin and Singleton having decent shots at AA by the end of the summer. The Phillies will, HOPEFULLY, have two cheap rotation, two OF spots (possibly three with Gillies), and closer (Cosart?) in the next three years supplementing the massive payroll spots of Lee, Halladay, Howard and Hamels. This will leave them some nice flexibility to make moves for a 3B and possibly SS. Sorry Mets fans, but the Phillies are going to be in contention for a while, albeit chasing the Braves starting in 2012.

    Comment by chomO — March 8, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  18. I guess we should discount Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Or Jason Heyward or Mike Stanton last year. Or any innumerable amount of prospects I can name who are considered strong prospects from the low minors.

    Comment by JoeDE — March 8, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

  19. LOL, so in 3 years you expect this team to produce 2 solid OF, 2 solid SP and a solid closer? You do understand that many prospects don’t pan out, right? Any one of those prospects can develop into a solid player, but the odds of producing 5 of them are pretty slim.

    Comment by vivalajeter — March 8, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

  20. There’s a big difference between “strong” and “prodigious”. I wouldn’t compare anyone on this Phillies list to that yet.

    Comment by baty — March 8, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  21. As far as wrist injuries, this is the best kind to get.

    Tulo didnt have much of a problem with this same injury in the middle of last season.

    Comment by Nik — March 8, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  22. You think it will be more than 5? Ok, I’ll take it.

    Comment by Nik — March 8, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  23. Jiwan James has a ton of potential but he lost a ton of development time. He’s a longshot at this point as a result of that lost time. #7 is way too high for him.

    On Singleton: He played LF a bunch in the fall development league and the scouting reports on his defense were very positive.

    Comment by NEPP — March 8, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

  24. Optimistic view of course. The Phillies have done a great job at developing talent over the past decade, I wouldn’t be surprised if four or five from this group turned into productive major leaguers. Or not and they are bogged down by huge contracts to older players and stink for a long time. Either way Citizens Bank Park is a great time. Better?

    Comment by chomO — March 8, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

  25. Way too much projection going on here. I don’t think you can justify ranking a system this high when so many of its best prospects haven’t even played in the high minors yet. I don’t see a single player here of the “can’t miss” variety. Those kind of players are few and far between but it seems to me that a club’s system would need to have at least one of them to make a legit argument for a top 5 ranking.

    Comment by CubsFan — March 8, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

  26. Can’t miss prospects don’t exist. Ask Mark Prior, Delmon Young, or Jesse Fopert.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — March 8, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

  27. I just can’t buy into the notion that the .Phillies system, where most of their best prospects are just too sly in the low minors warrants a top 5 placement. The #11 ranking that Baseball America gave the system seems more accurate.

    Comment by Pachoo — March 8, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

  28. Watson said Toronto was a U.S. city. It must be true.

    Comment by Bill — March 9, 2011 @ 6:43 am

  29. The bottom of this list looks pretty weak. I’m a Jays fan, and I’d take A.J. Jimenez over Sebastian Valle, Moises Sierra over Jiwan James, and Jacob Marisnick over Altherr. I don’t expect any of those Jays farmhands to make their top ten list.

    Comment by gabriel — March 9, 2011 @ 7:29 am

  30. This is purely speculation, but it seems to me that the last few years have seen a larger than usual graduation of top prospects to the big leagues and it’s possible that there aren’t as many top prospects in AA and AAA as there were in past years. Of Keith Law’s top 60 prospects, only 30 (1 per MLB team on average) have reached AA or higher. Further, the teams typically ranked ahead of Philly in the organization rankings all have multiple top prospects who have played at AA or above. Therefore, Philly’s team ranking does make some sense considering that they have a top 5 prospect who’s reached the bigs and a lot of depth in the lower levels.

    Comment by hk — March 9, 2011 @ 7:42 am

  31. Delmon Young just came off the best season of his career posting an OPS+ of 121. He just entering his Age 25 season so its hard to call him a bust yet. He’s never going to be an on-base machine but he hits for average and his power is developing finally.

    Comment by NEPP — March 9, 2011 @ 8:20 am

  32. Its definitely a depth thing. There’s another 10 guys who could easily fill out the last 3 spots on this list with good arguments in their favor. Most systems simply dont have that level of depth with high ceilings. Even if 1 in 4 of their projection guys make it, they have a bonanza of talent in the minors. Couple that with a sudden willingness to spend and a great MLB roster and they’ve gone from laughingstock to premier powerhouse in the last decade.

    Comment by NEPP — March 9, 2011 @ 8:23 am

  33. “Its definitely a depth thing.” I agree. It’s the same reason that the Indians are getting surprisingly high marks. I think people are confusing system rankings with a ranking of just Top 10s.

    Comment by blackoutyears — March 9, 2011 @ 9:35 am

  34. There’s a number of nice arms in the Phillies upper levels that are close to MLB ready that were not put into this particular top ten. Vance Worley, Justin De Fratus, Scott Mathieson, Michael Schwimer, Antonio Bastardo, etc. Their WAR projection peaks are relatively low, which puts them out of the top 10. But there is a lot of pitching depth. Prospect lists emphasis high ceiling guys, while overall system rankings include all athletes.

    Comment by Abreutime — March 9, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  35. Mike I agree with you – most of these Fangraphs prospect rankings tend to have 7-8 prospects at least in A ball or rookie ball.

    That’s like saying, when a baby is born – that is MLB’s top prospect because it “could” have a 10.0 WAR if everything goes according to plan…or according to the plan dreamed up by that baby’s supporters.

    75% at least of these A ball super prospects probably don’t even make it to the majors.

    Comment by MC — March 9, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

  36. Well isn’t the probability higher since these guys are rated pretty highly?

    By all means there will be busts, but you can literally go into any teams top 10 list and say the same thing.

    Who’s your favorite team? Because I can guarantee people can pick their system apart at the seam if they want to as well.

    Comment by B — March 9, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

  37. Cool that’s also why you’re some anonymous guy posting on a messageboard.

    I’m going to go ahead and agree with Keith Law, Scouts, BA, BP, etc. over some guy sitting on his couch who believes he’s a minor league expert.

    Comment by B — March 9, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

  38. Don’t forget: if you follow closely all the other MLB teams, you’ll inevitably find plenty of high draft picks that don’t make it to the bigs. The cliche is true: it’s always a gamble based on the speculative narrative culled by scouts and others.

    The Phils have been picking “late” in the first rounds for several years and have tried to make up for their pecking order by drafting highly valued high school prospects who are strongly committed to one or another colleges. Cosart, etc.

    They end up paying a signing bonus equivalent to early round money. That’s a good plan in consideration of their choice placement. So, comparison with other teams choices should factor this in.

    This plan requires scouting over and above that of other teams. Dedicating good funding for the scouts together with rewards for “finds” and accountability works. Amaro has not, to my knowledge, tried to save money by cutting back on scouting and player development. Other teams don’t place as great a value on all that perhaps to save some money, a counter-productive approach.

    Given the high ranking of their minor lg prospects from “knowledgeable” pundits is a recognition that the plan is and has been working. It seems to me that their scouting team is among the best; credit to Amaro and Gillick!

    Should Lidge not be re-signed, and perhaps Madson too, who hit free agency at this year’s end, they could have several early compensatory draft picks in ’12.

    In the 2011 draft, look for the Phils to try to answer the impending need for a SS and 3bman; we DO have one extra draft choice in the first 2 rounds for the loss of Werth. Following the draft and its consequences is another satisfying way to enjoy a team, especially THIS team.

    Comment by Art D. — March 9, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  39. 2 years ago, the Giants had one of the top farm systems in the league and 6 of the their top 10 prospects were all headed to High-A, San Jose. 2 years later, Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner helped the Giants win a WS, and Tim Alderson was traded for Freddy Sanchez.

    Thomas Neal is still one of their top prospects, and Brandon Crawford still has a shot to be at least a bench player. (Angel Villalona shot some one tho, so he’s not gonna make it to the bigs)

    Just because a system is young, doesn’t mean that they can’t be good and contribute to the big league squad in a couple years.

    Comment by Azmanz — March 9, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  40. Others are making good points about organizational depth in AA & AAA pitchers and high-upside position players in the lower levels. Ad hominem adds nothing to the conversation.

    Comment by gabriel — March 9, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  41. The other thing they seem to do, systematically, is look for guys who *were* very highly regarded a year or two before the draft but whose stock fell due to injury/attitude problems/poor performance and try to buy low.

    Obviously there’s a pretty high bust rate with a strategy like that but given the huge number of rounds in the baseball draft taking flyers on a few of those kind of guys seems to be paying off.

    Comment by don — March 9, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  42. B, that’s kind of my point. You can go through any team and say that they won’t produce 5 meaningful players within 3 years. So why would we expect Philly to buck the trend? If 3 of their prospects can contribute within 3 years, then they should be thrilled.

    Azmanz, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. The giants produced a true stud (Posey) and it looks like they might have a very good pitcher on their hands (Bumgarner). They traded a 3rd prospect for an average 2B. So in two years, they’ve had 2-3 of their prospects make an impact at the major league level. They’ve done very well for themselves, and they haven’t produced 5 meaningful players.

    Comment by vivalajeter — March 9, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

  43. Teams have been targeting potentially NCAA bound HS players for years, and sometimes you convince them, sometimes you don’t (Gerrit Cole could be pitching in the Yankees rotation for opening day… guys like Austin Wilson, Matt Purke, etc..) It’s nothing new.

    There really isn’t proof yet that their draft history the last several years has been more or less successful than other organizations. Over a decade ago, the Phillies had a monster stretch through the draft. Right now they have a deep system. How that translates to the major leagues, who knows… So far the greatest success over the last couple years has been with the Phillies commitment to exchange these prospects for better talent. The tough part for them will be transitioning beyond 2012. I see more prospect trades in the near future. I imagine that’s what this depth will be used for most.

    Comment by baty — March 10, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  44. A guy who wasn’t mentioned in this list of prospects that I’m surprised not to see is Freddy Galvis. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the kids Defense. I noticed other Phillies fans have stated the Phills will address needs at Shortstop via the draft basically writing off Glavis

    Comment by MikeEMik — June 1, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  45. That’s partially b/c Galvis can’t hit a lick. Apparently the guy could be a top major-league defensive SS right now, but simply has no offense.

    I would guess they will target a SS in the draft; I’d be shocked if Rollins doesn’t re-sign.

    Comment by Mike B — June 4, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

  46. Right now, Galvis in AA was batting .276. In limited at bats in AAA (5 games with 19 at bats – because he is a sept. call up) he is batting .316 which is an offensive explosion for him. He’s also shown up a little bit more with his power. Last year in AA he had 16 doubles, 4 triples, 5 homeruns. This year in AA/AAA he has 22 doubles, 5 triples, 8 homeruns.

    If this continues, the Phillies will have a very nice offensive and defensive replacement for Rollins (if Rollins dosn’t resign.) He’s had only 16 errors in AA, in 5 games in AAA he has 0. Rollins has only 5. If Galvis can improve his defense even more, he would be Rollins type, better bat.

    Comment by PhilsPhan6 — August 8, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

  47. Stock Affiliate

    Comment by Hosting Affiliate Program — August 31, 2011 @ 6:55 am

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