Jan 262012
Phillies catcher prospect Sebastian Valle

C Sebastian Valle is the Phillies top position player prospect...

After reviewing the top 15 hitters and pitchers in the organization, it’s time to combine them into an overall top 30. However, it’s not quite a 15/15 split; there will be 16 pitchers. There is a lot of talent in the lower levels, but it’s still going to be a few years before those guys could make an impact for the Phillies, or more accurately, become trade bait. With each player, I’ll include a 2012 outlook which will include where I think that player will start the season.

30. Joe Savery, 6’3 215 LHRP, high-A/AA/AAA/MLB, 26 (1.50 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 8.0 H/9, 1.5 BB/9, 10.2 K/9)

2012 Outlook: After Savery’s incredible rebound season in 2011, he should have a chance to compete for a spot in the Phillies‘ bullpen in spring training. Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes, Dontrelle Willis, Kyle Kendrick and if healthy, Jose Contreras should all have spots open when the team comes north. That would leave one more spot, and he’ll be competing with Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, David Herndon and Michael Schwimer. He’ll likely start the season in AAA.

29. Cesar Hernandez, 2B, high-A, 21 (.268/.306/.333) 5’10, 160 S/R

2012 Outlook:
Hernandez struggled in Clearwater last year, and he’s still very young. He could repeat the level since no second baseman from Lakewood will demand at bats at a higher level, so there’s no rush in that regard. Last year, he was placed on the 40 man roster, so there may be some pressure to advance him through the system because it will burn his second option year.

28. Harold Martinez, 3B, short-season, 21 (.256/.357/.346) 6’3, 210 R/R

2012 Outlook: Martinez didn’t perform too well at Williamsport, but it’s possible he gets double jumped to Clearwater to be sure he doesn’t have to share third base at Lakewood with Maikel Franco. It’s not out of the ordinary at all for college hitters to go to high-A in their first pro year, but it could be risky for Martinez because he’s more raw than most college guys drafted as high as he was.

Michael Schwimer, 6’8 240 RHRP, AAA/MLB, 26 (2.40 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 82.1 IP, 7.2 H/9, 3.2 BB/9, 11.2 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Like Savery, Schwimer should have a shot to earn a spot in the major league bullpen in spring training. There aren’t many openings, and he’ll have to pitch better than he did in the majors last year to earn it. It’s likely that he’ll go back to Lehigh Valley to start the year and get a chance if there are injuries.

Kevin Walter, 6’5 215 RHSP, N/A, 19 (did not play)

2012 Outlook: Because he didn’t pitch at all in 2011, where Walter starts could be up in the air. The most likely option seems to be going back to extended spring training, especially if the missed time was injury related. He’s still really young, so it wouldn’t be a huge deal that he’s not in Lakewood yet. Hopefully he’s able to get into games at any level in 2012 and get back on track.

25. Adam Morgan, 6’1 195 LHSP, short-season, 2.01 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 53.2 IP, 7 H/9, 2.3 BB/9, 7.2 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Morgan didn’t get out of the New York Penn League last year, but he could just skip over Lakewood. It might be a bit aggressive, but they have a lot of young arms between the short season leagues and high-A, and a lot of them need to be in a rotation to get innings. As a third round pick, he should be good enough to handle high-A.

24. Ervis Manzanillo, 6’2 160 LHP, low-A, 20 (5.02 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 118.1 IP, 8.7 H/9, 5.4 BB/, 8 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Manzanillo is another guy caught up in their lower level pitching depth. Because of his struggles, he could start 2012 back in Lakewood. At 20 years old, it wouldn’t be a big deal to repeat the level. If they wanted to accelerate his progress, they could move him to the bullpen, but there’s no reason to do that so quickly. While that may be his ultimate destination down the road, he could use the extra innings to work on his pitches.

23. Harold Garcia, 2B, AA, 25 (.300/.327/.480) 5’11, 190 S/R

2012 Outlook: He should be recovered from his injury and ready for spring training. Although he didn’t get much experience in AA before he got injured, he could advance to AAA to start the year. A lot of it will depend on what’s going on in AAA and high-A. If they want to move Cesar Hernandez up to AA, Garcia will be in AAA to make room. That would mean some minor league veterans would need to take on some other positions at Lehigh Valley.

22. Larry Greene, 1B, N/A, 19 (did not play) 6’2, 230 L/R

2012 Outlook: The Phillies usually don’t hold back high draft picks in extended spring training, but usually they also make their pro debut after signing. Greene is among a few high Phillies picks that didn’t get into game action in 2011. To compound the problem, he suffered an injury in the instructional league, so he could be a bit behind at this point. It wouldn’t be surprising for him to start in extended spring training, but he could always join Lakewood later if he shows he’s ready.

21. Roman Quinn, CF, N/A, 18 (did not play) 5’9, 165 S/R

2012 Outlook: Like Greene, Quinn doesn’t have a professional at bat. He’s on the raw side, so it seems like he’ll be headed to extended spring training. There’s also a bit of a numbers game at his position in the lower levels, no matter where he settles in. There’s probably no room in Lakewood’s outfield, and Tyler Greene, Gustavo Gonzalez and Mitch Walding are among the other shortstops in those levels of the organization.

20. Brian Pointer, COF, rookie, 20 (.278/.353/.503) 6’0, 190 L/L

2012 Outlook: Pointer had a very good showing in the GCL last year. For a high school draft pick, he’s a pretty polished bat, so it’s possible he could move ahead to Lakewood. With Aaron Altherr, Kyrell Hudson and Kelly Dugan likely bets to occupy Lakewood’s outfield, Pointer might have trouble finding a spot. They rotated four players in and out last year, so it is possible.

19. Leandro Castro, COF, high-A, 22 (.277/.304/.481) 5’11, 175 R/R

2012 Outlook: Castro was hitting well at Clearwater before he lost the second half of the season due to injury. Because of his aggressive nature at the plate, it might be best to get him some more at bats in high-A before testing him at a higher level. With Zach Collier’s suspension, he could fit in Clearwater’s outfield for two months and head up to Reading if he’s healthy and hitting. He could also just start in AA with a lack of corner outfield depth expected to be at that level.

18. Perci Garner, 6’3 225 RHSP, short-season, 23 (1.20 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 30 IP, 8.7 H/9, 2.7 BB/9, 9 K/9)

2012 Outlook: It might be a risk to have Garner skip Lakewood due to his inexperience as an amateur and pro, but it might be necessary to accommodate other starters in the organization. If he’s healthy, his stuff should allow him to succeed though. His health is the most important thing. With only 34 innings in his career, it’s time for him to start developing.

17. Aaron Altherr, COF, short-season/low-A, 21 (.243/.291/.339) 6’5, 190 R/R

2012 Outlook: Altherr will head back to Lakewood where he struggled last year. It’s a make or break season for him. He can’t hit poorly and go back to Williamsport, and he’s going to have to sink or swim in low-A. The Phillies still love his tools, and now it’s time for those to translate to performance. As mentioned earlier, the Lakewood outfield will also include Dugan and Hudson, two more athletic players the organization is hoping can finally hit.

16. Ethan Stewart, 6’5 210 LHSP, rookie, 21 (3.62 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 63.2 IP, 9.3 H/9, 3.8 BB/9, 8.5 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Stewart could head up to Lakewood to start the season, but it’s also possible that he’s held back in extended spring training for another year. Although he’s 21, he has such little experience that there shouldn’t be any rush for him to get to full season ball. Because he’s a smart pitcher, he could probably have success in low-A even if his stuff isn’t fully developed yet. They have enough pitching that it’s not a big deal if he’s not ready though.

15. Carlos Tocci, CF, N/A, 16 (did not play)

2012 Outlook: At 16 years old, it’s really early to think about Tocci’s destination. The Phillies are one of only a few teams left in the league that have an affiliate in the Venezuelan Summer League, but it’s not unheard of for even those teams to send Venezuelan players to the Dominican League just to get them out of the country. If he played well in instructs and has a good showing in spring training, he could even make it to the Gulf Coast League. Domingo Santana played in the GCL as a 16 year old, so it’s not uncommon.

14. Austin Wright, 6’4 235 LHSP, short-season/low-A, 22 (3.03 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 68.1 IP, 7.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 11.2 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Wright made it up to Lakewood last season in his pro debut and was even able to make seven starts. Although they only amounted to 33.2 innings, it should be enough for the Phillies to have confidence in him to handle Clearwater next season. He could be the breakout player of the 2011 draft with the progress he’s shown early in his career so far.

13. Tyler Greene, SS, rookie, 19 (.276/.386/.379) 6’2, 175 R/R

2012 Outlook: Greene will either stay in extended spring training and play for Williamsport eventually, or he could go right to Lakewood to start the season. He squeezed in 17 games and 70 plate appearances after signing last year, and that could be the difference between starting in spring training and being ready for Lakewood. What could keep him ticketed for Williamsport is Gustavo Gonzalez, another name to watch at shortstop. He’s two years older than Greene, so they might consider it a priority to get him to Lakewood first.

12. Julio Rodriguez, 6’4 195 RHSP, high-A, 21 (2.76 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 156.2 IP, 5.9 H/9, 3.2 BB/9, 9.7 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Reading will be the big test in his career. If his deceptive delivery and average stuff works, his prospect stock will rise dramatically. It’s always possible that he’s still able to improve his fastball too. If he struggles, his biggest problem might be the home run ball. He’s a fly ball pitcher, and Reading is a hitters park. If he succeeds here, there probably won’t be any more doubt that he’s a legitimate prospect.

11. Lisalberto Bonilla, 6’1 164 RHSP, low-A, 21 (2.80 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 106 IP, 7.7 H/9, 2.5 BB/9, 8.1 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Last year, Bonilla started the season in the bullpen before transitioning into the rotation to carefully maintain his innings count. That may be unnecessary this season since he’ll be closer to being able to handle a full workload. He should be stronger and more durable this season, and that’ll allow him to get in the neighborhood of 150 innings if everything goes well.

10. Jiwan James, CF, high-A, 22 (.268/.327/.363) 6’4, 180 S/R

2012 Outlook: This is a big year for James. He remained in the Phillies organization after not being taken in the rule 5 draft. This will be his third full season as a position player, and it’s time to hit. For a player that should be able to make good contact, he hasn’t really hit for a high average and strikes out a lot. Hitting at Reading should help, but in his third year, if his tools don’t translate into success, they probably never will.

9. Justin De Fratus, 6’4 220 RHRP, AA/AAA/MLB, 24 (2.99 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 75.1 IP, 7.5 H/9, 3 BB/9, 11.8 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Like Savery and Schwimer, De Fratus should get a chance to compete for a spot in the bullpen in spring training. He’s major league ready, but since only two spots are expected to be available, it seems like he’ll go back to AAA until someone gets hurt.

8. Maikel Franco, 3B, short-season/low-A, 19 (.247/.318/.360) 6’1, 180 R/R

2012 Outlook: Franco performed too well at Williamsport to have to go back there again, but Harold Martinez didn’t exactly prove he’s ready for Clearwater. It’s possible that both end up in Lakewood where Mickey Morandini will have to find a way to make sure both are in the lineup every day. Martinez could play left field, but with Lakewood’s logjam in the outfield, there might not be room for him there either.

7. Brody Colvin, 6’3 195 RHSP, high-A, 21 (4.71 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 116.2 IP, 10.1 H/9, 3.2 BB/9, 6 K/9)

2012 Outlook: There’s a lot of speculation that Colvin could repeat high-A, and he probably deserves to. As I’ve mentioned with a number of players on this list already, they have so many starters down there that he might just head to AA so Clearwater can use five new starters. Just performance wise, he should be back in high-A, but if he rebounds to be the pitcher people expected him to become after 2010, he’ll finish the season in AA.

6. Freddy Galvis, SS, AA/AAA, 22 (.278/.324/.392) 5’10, 170 S/R

2012 Outlook: With Jimmy Rollins locked up for a few more years, it seems unlikely that Galvis could ever be the Phillies‘ starting shortstop. If he proves his hitting is for real, he could have a bit of trade value to a team looking for a near major league ready shortstop with great defense. If the Phillies want him to be Rollins’ successor, he’ll have to spend some years on the bench as a utility player, and that could hinder his offensive development.

Jonathan Pettibone, 6’5 200 RHSP, high-A, 21 (2.96 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 161 IP, 8.3 H/9, 1.9 BB/9, 6.4 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Pettibone will advance to AA. Of all the starters that will be arriving in Reading this year, he’ll probably be the first to reach the majors because of his polish. He entered last season as the least heralded starter in Clearwater’s rotation, but fans should be paying attention closely now.

4. Phillippe Aumont, 6’7 255 RHRP, AA/AAA, 23 (2.68 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 53.2 IP, 7.4 H/9, 4.2 BB/9, 13.1 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Unlike the other relievers on this list, Aumont hasn’t made his ML debut and is a long shot at best to make the team out of spring training. If he stays healthy and continues pitching well, he’ll make his ML debut sometime this season.

3. Sebastian Valle, C, high-A, 21 (.284/.312/.394) 6’1, 170 R/R

2012 Outlook: Valle will advance to AA where he’ll face some challenges. More experienced pitchers will be able to exploit his glaring weakness at the plate, and he’s going to have to make adjustments. Hitting at Reading will help his power and not suppress it like at Clearwater.

2. Jesse Biddle, 6’4 225 LHSP, low-A, 20 (2.98 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 133 IP, 7 H/9, 4.5 BB/9, 8.4 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Biddle will move up one level to Clearwater. His 133 innings last year are likely much more than he’s ever thrown, so the Phillies hope he worked diligently in the offseason to avoid the sophomore slump that Colvin experienced. The warm weather and heavy air are conducive to pitching, so he should be able to have a successful campaign.

1. Trevor May, 6’5 215 RHSP, high-A, 22 (3.63 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 151.1 IP, 7.2 H/9, 4 BB/9, 12.4 K/9)

2012 Outlook: Last time May moved up a level, he really struggled and had to be demoted again. It could take him some time to adjust again to Reading. He may start slowly, but fans should be patient because his stuff should eventually come through. I’m not making any comparisons here because May will never be as good as him, but AA is the level where Matt Moore went from effectively wild to having command of his great fastball and curveball. Perhaps May can do the same.

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Scott Grauer writes for PSC and Bus Leagues Baseball – check him out!  Scott also regularly updated the PSC 2011 Minor League Thread with player stats, game results, and more, and will be doing the same for the PSC 2012 Minor League Thread as well…