Trade Value Projections for Phillies Prospects

Phillies catching prospect Sebastian Valle at the MLB Future's Game

Phillies catching prospect Sebastian Valle at the MLB Future's Game

Coming into the season, the Phillies’ farm system was a consensus top 10 system in the league. Keith Law of ESPN was the most bullish on the organization, ranking them 5th. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus had them 8th, and Baseball America had them 10th. It’s impressive to have a farm system in great shape after making several high profile trades in recent years. It’s a testament to the great work of the scouting and development staff to find the talent they do with a limited draft and international signing budget.So the talent is there, but there is one problem: just about all of it is in the lower levels of the system.

Because of the recent trades for Joe Blanton, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, the upper minors are depleted at the moment. Among the players sent away in those trades, Josh Outman, Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ are in the majors or have been in the majors. Adrian Cardenas and Michael Taylor have reached AAA. Matt Spencer, Travis d’Arnaud, Anthony GoseVillarand Jonathan have made AA. Some of those guys don’t have much of a future, but that’s still a lot of talent in the majors and in the upper levels of the minors.

While they have great talent and more than most other teams, it often doesn’t help in trades with few exceptions. Jason Knapp was the big piece in the Cliff Lee trade, and he was only in low-A at the time. Of course, the Phillies also gave up three near ready, solid prospects to compliment Knapp.

It’s extremely unlikely the Phillies will be able to make another big trade like they have in recent years, but they have the ability to get some quality players. I thought I’d try to evaluate the trade value of their best prospects. It’s not easy since every organization values different players differently, and the prospect return a team receives can vary if they’re trading a star, very good player or someone coming off the bench. It’s important to note that this isn’t really a ranking of prospects. A player with lesser potential in the upper minors usually has more value than someone less developed. I’ll use the format Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus used in a post on Baseball Time in Arlington.


RHP Jarred Cosart

Potential impact:  #2 starter or great closer

Present value:  Top 50 prospect in baseball; primary piece in trade for 2-3 starter or #5 hitter

Attributes: Cosart has the frame to build up strength and handle a 200 IP workload in the future. He has one of the best fastballs in the minors in the mid 90’s, and he’s shown the ability to throw a lot of strikes in the past. His curveball has plus plus potential, and his changeup is developing with a nice velocity difference from his fastball. He was one of the most impressive players at the Futures Game.

Red flags: Cosart has shown injury concerns as an amateur and professional; could end up as a reliever in the long run; performance hasn’t matched the stuff this season despite health.

1B Jonathan Singleton

Potential impact: Middle of the order hitter

Present value:  Top 50 prospect in baseball; primary piece in a trade for a very good starter or hitter

Attributes: Singleton has a huge frame listed at 6’2 215, but he’s probably actually much bigger than that. That means he has the potential to hit for very good power in the future. He’s a complete hitter that can make very good contact too. For a 19 year old, he has a very advanced plate approach and has the ability to take a lot of walks. He’s a pretty good athlete and could handle a corner outfield spot in the future.

Red flags: Incredibly streaky and can run extremely hot and cold at any time; needs to cut down on strikeouts; power hasn’t developed as expected this season; may have less value if he has to stay at 1B.


RHP Trevor May

Potential impact:  #3 starter

Present value:  Top 100 prospect in baseball; secondary piece in a trade for a 2-3 starter or #5 batter

Attributes: May is showing improvements in 2011 after a disastrous stint in Clearwater last season. He has a big frame that can handle a full starting workload in the future. His fastball can get up to the mid 90’s with movement, and his above average curveball makes him one of the minor league’s leading strikeout pitchers. He can also throw an effective changeup to limit left handed batters. He could be promoted to AA soon.

Red flags: Inconsistent mechanics can result in an extreme loss in command; better this season but still prone to terrible outings; despite movement on his fastball, he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher.

RHP Phillippe Aumont

Potential impact:  Late inning reliever

Present value:  Near ML ready reliever; secondary piece in a trade for a 2-3 starter or #5 hitter

Attributes: After a terrible 2010 season, Aumont is in a relief role for good, and so far it seems to suit him best. Out of the bullpen, his fastball can touch the high 90’s, and his slider is another potential plus pitch. At 6’7, he throws on a downhill plane and can get a lot of ground balls too. Even last year when he struggled, he was still able to strike a lot of batters out. If his command keeps improving, his potential as a closer increases.

Red flags: Back injuries were a factor in him no longer starting, and he has to prove he can handle a full season’s workload.

C Sebastian Valle

Potential impact:  Starting catcher

Present value: Fringe top 100 prospect in baseball; secondary piece in a trade for a 2-3 starter or #5 hitter

Attributes: Valle is one of the better hitting catchers in the minors. He has more power than most catchers, and despite his aggressive approach, he makes good contact and puts the ball in play without striking out too much. Behind the plate, he has a pretty good arm, and he’s a good receiver with decent athleticism. Despite some inconsistencies over the years, he’s showing improvement in all aspects of his game.

Red flags: Has so few walks it’s almost like he specifically avoids taking them; hitting for less power this year, but that may just be a side effect of playing in the FSL; still has a lot of work to do as a defensive catcher.


RHP Justin De Fratus

Potential impact:  Set-up man

Present value:  Near ready ML reliever; secondary piece in a trade for a very good starter or hitter

Attributes: De Fratus was moved into the bullpen full time last year to get on a faster track to the majors. Despite great numbers as a starter, his arsenal wasn’t deep enough to make it in the rotation. His fastball runs into the mid or high 90’s, and he commands it well, making it a plus or better pitch. He has a developing slider that could become an above average pitch, and that pitch’s progress will determine how good he becomes.

Red flags: If his slider doesn’t develop, he probably can’t become an 8th inning pitcher; Control and command haven’t been as good this season as in prior years.

LHP Jesse Biddle

Potential impact:  #3 starter

Present value:  Top 10 in Phillies system; secondary piece in a trade for a very good starter or hitter

Attributes: Like Brody Colvin last year, Biddle got off to an awful start with Lakewood but showed a lot of improvement after one month. His size and potential fastball velocity are rare from the left side, and his fastball has some nice movement too. His changeup is better than most of his peers’, and he’s working on another breaking pitch. He’s competitive and works hard to improve.

Red flags: Still young and not close to the majors; needs to work out mechanical flaws to improve command; throws two breaking pitches, and at least one of them needs to get better.

RHP Brody Colvin

Potential impact:  #2 or 3 starter

Present value:  Top 10 in Phillies system; secondary piece in a trade for a very good starter or hitter

Attributes: A back injury cost Colvin a month of starts earlier in the season. Despite the injury, he has the frame for a workload in the rotation. He has great fastball velocity, sitting in the 92-94 range and can fire it harder if necessary. His changeup and curveball have the potential to be above average, giving him the arsenal necessary to pitch in a rotation. He gets ground balls and is extremely competitive.

Red flags: Strikeout rate has dropped this season; has some mechanical issues to clean up but has shown improvement in that area; was arrested for participation in a bar fight last year.


RHP Julio Rodriguez

Potential impact:  #4 starter

Present value:  Top 10 in Phillies system; additional piece in any trade

Attributes: Rodriguez has posted great strikeout numbers in his brief pro career. He has a deceptive delivery that can fool hitters in the lower minors but may not have the same results once he gets to AA. He has a fastball that sits around 90 and has touched higher in some outings. He has an extremely slow curveball that allows him to rack up the strikeouts he does. He may still have a little fastball projection left in him.

Red flags: May not have enough velocity to be more than a middle reliever; needs to improve secondary pitches; strikeouts have dipped a little with Clearwater; needs to prove himself at every level.

OF Domingo Santana

Potential impact:  30 home run hitter; solid everyday player

Present value:  Top 10 in Phillies system; additional piece in any trade

Attributes: Santana has some of the best tools in the system. He has huge power, a great arm and good athleticism, and he’s shown all of those things in game action. The Phillies are extremely high on him, signing him for over $300,000 and starting him in the GCL at only 16 years old. He can hit to all fields and has shown the ability to improve on his plate discipline. With his athleticism and arm, he can be an above average defender in right field.

Red flags: Incredibly raw and a huge project; not anywhere close to the majors; still strikes out far too much and needs to identify pitches better; fewer walks this season.

This was very hard to write. The trade value of prospects is very subjective, and it’s very hard to avoid the pitfall of overvaluing them, which I admit is a possibility in this piece. I don’t consider anyone untouchable, but it absolutely takes the right deal to get rid of a pitcher like Cosart. While I may say a player could be the primary prospect in a trade for a #5 hitter, not all #5 hitters are created equally. It’s obviously much more difficult to part with top talent for an aging rental than a young player under contract that can become a part of the team’s next core. It’s an aging ML roster, and at some point, the team needs to start using prospects to get cheap production on their own roster instead of everyone being traded away. That point could be this trade deadline with no major deals.

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Scott Grauer writes for PSC and Bus Leagues Baseball – check him out!  Scott also regularly updates the PSC Minor League Thread with player stats, game results, and more…

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