With the annual depletion of the system at the trade deadline, the Phillies need new players to step into the places of the departed prospects. While it’s tough to replace the talent of players like Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart, rankings still have to be made, and players still have to fill those spots.
In every system, stocks rise and fall, and here are 10 players whose stocks are probably higher than they were at the start of the season. Two guys that won’t be found on this list that could’ve been made key contributions to the Phillies this year- Vance Worley and Michael Stutes.
Trevor May – Despite the down season in 2010, May’s stock was still pretty good because he still had the size and stuff to succeed. In his second go-around with Clearwater, he did succeed for most of the season. He finished the year with 208 strikeouts, good for third in Minor League Baseball. He walked only four batters per nine innings, which he still needs to cut down on, but it’s a sizable improvement. Next year, he’ll make the big jump to AA. Reading can be a tough park to pitch in, so it may take him awhile to make adjustments.
Jesse Biddle – Like May, Biddle’s stock was already very good due to his size, stuff and pedigree as a recent first rounder, and he pitched very well in his full-season pro debut this year. Like Brody Colvin last year, Biddle really struggled in his first six or so starts and then made adjustments. It’s fair to say that his season was better than Colvin’s South Atlantic League campaign as well. Biddle still has to work on commanding the strike zone, and his work ethic should help him avoid the disappointing follow-up season that Colvin had last year.
Phillippe Aumont – From the time of the trade until the night he re-signed with the Phillies as a free agent, the trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle was constantly debated among fans. After a 2010 season that probably couldn’t have been worse for the trio of minor leaguers, Aumont was moved to the bullpen permanently and resurrected his career. He struggled a bit after a midseason promotion to Lehigh Valley, but he showed that he still has the stuff to be a late inning reliever for the Phillies very soon.
Freddy Galvis – For several years, it appeared that Galvis wouldn’t have much of a major league career if he had one at all. As great as he was in the field, he was equally as bad at the plate. After an offseason that saw Galvis add strength, he went back to Reading for the third year and showed real improvement as a hitter. His statistics may not look impressive to some, but it’s clear he made improvements compared to previous seasons. He’s a potential gold glove winner, and he can hit eighth in a major league lineup.
Julio Rodriguez – Rodriguez has and probably always will have his doubters. For a second consecutive season, he posted some of the best numbers in all of minor league baseball. He struck out over a batter an inning and held opponents to a batting average less than .200, but he still won’t be found at the top of prospect lists. Until he improves his fastball velocity, he probably won’t be. For now, scouts agree that deception in his delivery and offspeed pitches are the keys to his success, and Rodriguez will need to prove he can still do that at higher levels.
Jonathan Pettibone – Pettibone was probably the least heralded of Clearwater’s rotation at the start of the season, but he emerged as a good prospect in his own right. After finishing 2010 with a strong second half, he continued the momentum in 2011 by posting his best months in April and May. His strikeout and walk rates both improved, but it would still be nice if he could miss a few more bats as he advances. He has an advanced feel compared to most pitchers his age, so he should be able to adjust to Reading quickly.
Lisalberto Bonilla – It’s hard to tell exactly what Bonilla is at this point. He started off the year in the bullpen but later moved into Lakewood’s rotation, likely a plan to manage his innings. In 106 innings, he struck out 95, walked only 29 and finished with a 2.80 ERA. His low 90’s fastball has movement, and his changeup is his best pitch. He’ll need to develop a third pitch down the road, but he’ll get on the radar if he repeats his success at Clearwater in 2011. He’ll need to avoid the late season fade he had this season.
Maikel Franco – Franco entered 2011 as a virtual unknown in the Phillies organization, but he finished the season as one of their more promising infielders. As an 18 year old in the New York Penn League, he hit .287 and showing some nice patience. He’s also a very impressive defender at third base, and he even earned a cup of coffee at Lakewood although it didn’t go well at all. The Phillies hope he can develop the power expected from most third basemen, but at 6’1 and 180 pounds, it’s not a guarantee.
Joe Savery – I went into detail on Savery’s career last week, and it should be clear that his future looks brighter than it did before the season started. When he went back to pitching full time over the summer, his stuff was much closer to where it was as an amateur. His strikeout rate went way up, and now he has a chance to be a major league reliever. In an extremely small sample size in the majors, his low 90’s fastball and slider combination generated a lot of swings and misses.
Tyler Cloyd – As a 24 year old that pitched in high-A and AA this season, Cloyd’s prospect stock still isn’t very high, but he had a lot of success at both levels. He gets it done with his command and control more than his stuff which means he doesn’t project as a difference maker, but this month he’ll have a chance to prove himself in the Arizona Fall League against tough competition. His 6.27 K/BB ratio ranked in the top 10 among minor leaguers who pitched more than 100 innings this season.