There is always a bit of a lull between the end of the minor league playoffs in September and the start of the annual top prospects lists in early November. Because of that gap, I’m breathing new life into an old feature that I wrote for the site in FanGraphs’ infancy back in 2008 and 2009.
The series ‘A Minor Review of 2013’ will look back on some of the major happenings in each MLB organization since the beginning of April as a primer for the upcoming FanGraphs Top 10+5 prospects lists. This series will run throughout September and October. I hope you enjoy the series and are eagerly anticipating the start of ‘Prospect List Season.’
The player listed in the sleeper section was featured in a pre-season series that looked at one fringe prospect in each organization that was expected to take a big step forward during 2013, chosen by myself, a scout or a front office talent evaluator.
The Graduate: Jon Pettibone, RHP: The loss of innings-eating-veteran Roy Halladay really hurt the club but Pettibone stepped up and helped fill that void until the end of July. The rookie then fell victim to an injury of his own and didn’t pitch in the Majors again in 2013 thanks to a wonky shoulder. He’s not overpowering, but Pettibone has a chance to develop into a solid back-of-the-rotation starter — assuming his body holds up.
The Riser: Maikel Franco, 3B: The Dominican native is a polarizing prospect. Those who see his numbers instantly fall in love with his potential. Others who watched him play, though, were less than impressed with how he looked in the field and in the batter’s box. First-year player and fellow third baseman Cody Asche has a head-start to his big league career but he doesn’t come close to matching Franco’s raw talent. Franco should open 2014 in Triple-A and could be one hot streak away from seeing his first big league action.
The Tumbler: Adam Morgan, LHP: Morgan entered 2013 looking to build upon his breakout ’12 season. Unfortunately, he suffered a tear in his rotator cuff. The good news is that he was able to avoid surgery and the injury is expected to heal with rest. He’ll return to Triple-A in 2014 and look to stay healthy for when the Phillies come looking for a fill-in starter at the big league level.
The 2013 Draft Pick: Cord Sandberg, OF: The Florida native also played football in high school so he’s not quite as advanced on the baseball diamond as most top draft picks. His most attractive tool is his raw, left-handed power but he also showed a good eye in his debut with 24 walks in 48 games. Like many of the Phillies’ top prep hitting prospects, he’s a long-term project.
The Sleeper: Zach Collier, OF: The Phillies love to draft raw, toolsy prep athletes and Collier fit the bill when he was selected 34th overall in the 2008 draft. Six years later, though, he’s looking back on a disappointing season — his first taste of action above A-ball. A strong August really saved his season after he hit below .200 in April, June and July.
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