Jul 102010

 July 10 Philadelphia Inquirer

“The all-star break is always a good check point for what’s happening with a baseball team and organization. The Phillies’ struggles have been well documented, so here’s a look at how things are going down on the farm as the Phillies’ Lehigh Valley affiliate prepares to host the triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.

Let’s start with one man’s opinion of the organization’s top 10 prospects. The last time Baseball America put together one of these lists, it included pitcher Kyle Drabek, outfielder Michael Taylor, and catcher Travis d’Arnaud. All of them are gone as part of the deal that brought the Phillies staff ace Roy Halladay from Toronto.

The top-10 list before that included pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson, and infielder Jason Donald. All four were sent to Cleveland in the Cliff Lee deal that Phillies fans liked.

With all those prospects gone, here’s one man’s opinion of the latest top-10 prospect list, with each player’s position and current team: 1, OF Domonic Brown, Lehigh Valley. 2, RHP Jarred Cosart, Lakewood. 3, 1B Jonathan Singleton, Lakewood. 4, OF Anthony Gose, Clearwater. 5, SS Jonathan Villar, Lakewood. 6, C Sebastian Valle, Lakewood. 7, P Justin De Fratus, Reading. 8, P Phillippe Aumont, Clearwater. 9, P Matt Way, Reading. 10, 1B Matt Rizzotti, Reading.

Here’s a more detailed, team-by-team analysis of the Phillies’ four top minor-league affiliates through the first three months of the season:

Single-A Lakewood

Best player: 1B Singleton. After starting the season in extended spring training, Singleton arrived at Lakewood on May 13 swinging a hot bat, and it has not cooled since. The 19-year-old entered the weekend hitting .339 with 16 doubles, 10 home runs, and 48 RBIs in 51 games.

Best pitcher: Cosart. The 7-3 record and 3.79 ERA are good. The high-90s fastball and the 77 strikeouts in 711/3 innings are what make Cosart the best pitching prospect in the organization. Cosart, however, is sidelined by a strained elbow and probably won’t pitch again until August.

Most disappointing: OF Anthony Hewitt. The Phillies’ 2008 first-round pick batted .233 last year at short-season Williamsport and is hitting just .217 with 105 strikeouts in 277 at-bats this season.

Other prospects: SS Villar, C Valle, P Nicholas Hernandez, P Brady Colvin, P Joshua Zeid.

Single-A Clearwater

Best player: OF Gose. He’s still unpolished and strikes out too much, but his combination of speed and gap power is exciting to watch and project.

Best pitcher: Justin De Fratus. An 11th-round pick in 2007, the 22-year-old righthander pitched so well at Clearwater that he was promoted to Reading.

Most disappointing: P Trevor May. He was fifth on Baseball America’s last list of top-10 prospects, but after a tremendous struggle with his command at Clearwater, he recently was sent back to Lakewood.

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