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Top 10 Prospects: The Philadelphia Phillies

Posted By Marc Hulet On March 8, 2011 @ 4:00 pm In Minor Leagues | 47 Comments

The Philadelphia Phillies
2010 MLB Record: 97-65 (first place, NL East)
Minor League Power Ranking: 5th (out of 30)
Click for: Last Year’s Top 10 Prospect List

The Prospects

1. Domonic Brown, OF
Acquired: 2006 20th round (Georgia HS)
Pro Experience: 5 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: AA/AAA/MLB
Opening Day Age: 23
Estimated Peak WAR: 5.5

Notes: Brown had an impressive showing in the minors in 2010 by posting a wOBA of .427 in 65 double-A games and .417 in 28 triple-A contests. He was also able to sustain his ’09 power outburst and saw his ISO rate stay above .200 for the second straight season (peaking at .284 in AA). Although he strikes out a fair bit (21.6 K% in ’10), Brown shows good patience and posted a walk rate of 10.7 BB% in double-A. He showed the rough edges of his game during a brief MLB trial in which he produced a triple-slash line of .210/.257/.355 in 62 at-bats. His strikeout rate also skyrocketed to 38.7 K%. To be more consistent at the plate, I’d like to see the prospect stay back a little more; if he can avoid getting out of his front foot so early, he may be able to drive the ball more. Defensively, Brown has a strong arm and good range in right field; he just needs more experience to sharpen his overall skills in the field. Despite his struggles in The Show, Brown is the favorite – and deservedly so – to replace the recently-departed Jayson Werth, although he’ll likely miss at least the first month of the 2011 season after breaking his hamate bone. He won’t post Jason Heyward like numbers in 2011 (sorry, Bill James projections but I think The Fans are a little closer to reality) but Philadelphia fans will be happy that the organization refused to part with Brown during the Roy Halladay trade.

2. Jonathan Singleton, 1B
Acquired: 2009 8th round (California HS)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-
Opening Day Age: 19
Estimated Peak WAR: 5.0

Notes: After being overlooked as an amateur by most clubs, Singleton has reward the Phillies organization with outstanding pro results. The first base prospect – who is working out in left field due to the presence of incumbent Ryan Howard – had a solid first full season in the minors while hitting .288/.392/.477 in 375 at-bats at low-A ball. His power output was solid for his age and level of play (.189 ISO). What’s even more impressive about Singleton is his willingness to take a walk and solid pitch recognition. His walk rate sat at 13.8 BB% while his strikeout rate was below 20.0 K% at 19.7%. He has a nice set-up at the plate with a strong, well-balanced base. He also shows good bat speed and a nice, level swing. Defensively, Singleton has the potential to be average or a little above-average at first base. The prospect will move up to high-A in 2011 but be cautious of his 2010 splits. He hit .423 in May and .294 in June before slipping to .252 in July and .253 in August. His power also declined significantly. It was his first full season so he may have just been tired.

3. Jarred Cosart, RHP
Acquired: 2008 38th round (Texas HS)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-
Opening Day Age: 20
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.5

Notes: Cosart or Colvin… pick your poison. You could flip these two in the rankings and I wouldn’t argue to hard. Cosart gets a slight edge in my books because I’m a sucker for velocity+ground-ball rates. The right-hander posted a 59 GB% in low-A ball in 2010 and produced a 2.47 FIP in 71.1 innings of work. Cosart showed above-average control with a walk rate of 2.02 BB/9 and he missed more than his fair share of bats with a strikeout rate at 9.71 K/9. On the list of accomplishments for 2011 will hopefully be surpassing the 100 inning mark and showing improved durability; Less than two years into his pro career he’s already missed time with elbow, shoulder, and back issues. He has the ceiling of a No. 1 starter and his repertoire includes a mid-to-high-90s fastball, curveball and changeup. Cosart has a low-three-quarter arm slot and there is definitely some effort to his delivery. He doesn’t use his lower half as much as I’d like to see; he generates much of his velocity through his arm action. His actions are stiff. If healthy, he should spend the year in high-A ball.

4. Brody Colvin, RHP
Acquired: 2009 7th round (Louisiana HS)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-
Opening Day Age: 20
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.5

Notes: Colvin is a slightly safer choice than Cosart but the former’s ceiling is more of a No. 2 starter or workhorse No. 3. The right-hander has proven much more durable than Cosart to this point and he pitched 138.0 innings in low-A ball in 2010. To be honest, his large workload in ’10 is a little worrisome given that he was one year removed from high school (However, his numbers were actually improved during the second half of the year). Colvin showed solid control last season with a walk rate of 2.74 BB/9 and his strikeout rate was good – but not great – at 7.83 K/9. He also produced average ground-ball rates. His repertoire includes a low-to-mid-90s fastball, curveball and changeup. His delivery is smooth and includes a three-quarter arm slot. Colvin’s secondary pitches are move advanced than Cosart’s at this point and he should spend the majority of the season in high-A but could reach double-A at some point later in the year.

5. Trevor May, RHP
Acquired: 2008 4th round (Washington HS)
Pro Experience: 3 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-/A+
Opening Day Age: 21
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.0

Notes: Often overlooked thanks to Cosart and Colvin, May is a very impressive pitching prospect in his own right. The right-hander opened the 2010 season in high-A but posted a 4.76 FIP and saw his mechanics explode. Lack of control was the main culprit during his high-A struggles. His walk rate improved significantly after a demotion to low-A, going from 7.84 to 2.77 BB/9. His strikeout rate remained strong at both levels (12.74 and 11.57 K/9). His repertoire includes a 90-95 mph fastball, curveball and changeup; the delivery is pretty standard with a three-quarter arm slot and he generates power from his lower half, as well as a quick arm action. Like Colvin, May projects to develop into a No. 2 or 3 starter if he can solid his control issues.

6. Sebastian Valle, C
Acquired: 2006 non-drafted free agent (Mexico)
Pro Experience: 4 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-
Opening Day Age: 20
Estimated Peak WAR: 3.5

Notes: Full-season ball hasn’t been quite as kind to Valle as short-season and rookie ball was in ’08 and ’09. After posting wOBAs of .351 and .390 at the lower levels, he slipped to .301 in a partial season in ’09 and .325 in ’10 at low-A ball. The backstop, though, did show good power this past season with an ISO rate of .174. What Valle needs to do is display a little more patience at the plate (5.6 BB%) and make a little more contact (22.6 K%). He has a lot of movement at the plate and a pronounced leg quick. Defensively, he has the potential to be an above-average catcher with a strong arm. Even if he doesn’t produce great batting averages or huge walk rates, Valle will have significant value with power and defense. Just 20, he has time to address his shortcomings.

7. Jiwan James, OF
Acquired: 2007 22nd round (Florida HS)
Pro Experience: 4 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-
Opening Day Age: 22
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.0

Notes: A two-way player in high school, James originally entered pro ball as a pitcher but quickly converted to an everyday player after injuries struck and threatened his future on the mound. The outfielder oozes tools and showed flashes of his immense talent during his first full season as a hitter in 2010. James hit .270/.321/.365 in 556 at-bats, while playing for the prospect-laden A-ball squad. He used his athleticism to nab 33 bases but was caught 20 times, which highlights his need to polish his skills. After posting an ISO rate of .095, he needs to get stronger but has the frame (6’4” 180 lbs) to do so. James has a very quick bat but he needs to swing with a little more control. He also needs to use his lower half to help generate line drive pop. Defensively, James could develop into a plus defender in center field.

8. Jesse Biddle, LHP
Acquired: 2010 1st round (Pennsylvania HS)
Pro Experience: 1 season
2010 MiLB Level: Rookie/SS
Opening Day Age: 19
Estimated Peak WAR: 3.5

Notes: Biddle was signed out of high school by his hometown Phillies. The right-hander showed a lot of potential in his pro debut and received a promotion to short-season ball after nine successful starts in rookie ball. Despite command issues, Biddle showed good control and walked just nine batters in 33.0 innings prior to the promotion. He has a good fastball that sits at 90-94 mph. His four-pitch repertoire also includes a curveball, slider, and changeup. Despite his youth, he already has a mature frame and a clean delivery. He utilizes a high leg quick and a three-quarter arm slot. He shows a similar look with each type of pitch that he throws. With a strong spring, Biddle could open 2011 in low-A ball; he has the ceiling of a No. 1 or 2 starter.

9. Domingo Santana, OF
Acquired: 2008 non-drafted free agent (Dominican Republic)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-/Short-season
Opening Day Age: 19
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.5

Notes: Just 18, Santana already stands 6’5”. He is still learning to control his frame and had a rough 2010 season, which was split between low-A and short-season ball. He opened the season in low-A ball but was over-matched with a line of .182/.322/.297 in 165 at-bats. Moved down to short-season ball, he hit .237/.336/.366 in 186 at-bats. Santana has major contact issues and has yet to see his strikeout rate dip below 37.3 K%. The raw player needs work on his pitch recognition. He holds his hands very high so lowering them might help level out his swing. He also has a lot of unnecessary movement in his stance. In the field, he looks like a prototypical right fielder with a strong arm. Santana has immense potential but he’s a long way from realizing it.

10. Aaron Altherr, OF
Acquired: 2009 9th round (Arizona HS)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: Rookie/SS
Opening Day Age: 20
Estimated Peak WAR: 3.5

Notes: Like Brown and James, Altherr is another athletic outfielder. A two-way player in baseball and a multi-sport star in high school, he’s been brought along slowly. After two seasons in short-season ball, Altherr should open 2011 in low-A ball. His skills are developing nicely. His ISO rate almost doubled in ’10 over ’09 and he has enough speed to steal 20+ bases in a full season. He’s shown solid walk rates in his first two pro seasons and also made strides with his strikeout rate in a small sample size in short-season ball. In the field, Altherr is somewhat raw but he looks like he could develop into a solid right fielder with a good arm and range that could allow him to play some center field, as well.


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