Jul 142012
Possible Phillies trade target 3B Mike Olt of the Texas Rangers

Possible Phillies trade target 3B Mike Olt of the Texas Rangers

After reaching the World Series in two straight years, the Rangers appear to be a franchise that could be on top for a while. With an aggressive and smart front office, they’ve been able to make big trades at the deadline in both of those years while still maintaining one of the best, if not the best farm system. They hope to make it back a third year and win it this time, but with some injuries, they could certainly bolster their rotation to improve their chances. Cole Hamels is certainly the top player that could be available on the market this year, and the Rangers are rumored to be interested.

Despite leading the league in runs scored, don’t rule them out for an outfielder. This may be something they put off until the offseason, but lately they’ve wanted to get Josh Hamilton out of center field. I think they’ll be more than fine with Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin, but don’t be surprised if Texas is on the radar when Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence rumors start circulating. Obviously Pence isn’t a center fielder, but they could look to add some more right handed power to their lineup.

Who are some prospects that could be coming the Phillies’ way? The changes in compensation pick rules decrease Hamels’ value a bit. However, this could be mitigated if teams realize they’re competing with potential playoff opponents for the same player. This isn’t a list of the team’s top prospects. It’s meant to be a sampling of players the Phillies could be receiving if they decide to sell. The ages I list will be how old the player is in 2013.

Elite Tier

SS Jurickson Profar, 20: Sorry fans, unless Jon Daniels is negotiating this trade in a hotel bar and has a few too many, Profar is going to remain a Ranger. He could be the top prospect in baseball and nearly ML ready now. He’s a great defender, makes consistent contact with power and an advanced approach, and he’s a smart baserunner. Even though the Rangers already have Elvis Andrus at shortstop, they’ll either trade Andrus or shuffle around some players to fit Profar in.

Really Damn Good But Not Jurickson Profar Good Tier

3B Mike Olt, 24: Olt could be in reach if a real bidding war develops, but the Rangers would probably prefer to hang onto him. He’s a big rightywith power and a really good glove, and he could be the first long term solution the Phillies have had at the position since they traded another big righty with power and a really good glove 10 years ago. He could be ready for the majors very soon and be a fixture in the heart of a big league lineup for a long time.

Very Good Tier

LHP Martin Perez, 22: If not Olt, Perez could be at the front of a prospect package for Hamels. He comes with more upside, but there’s also a lot more risk. He has some of the best stuff in the minors, but he often struggles throwing strikes. When he’s on, he uses his top-notch changeupto strike batters out and work off his low 90’s fastball. If the Phillies could get him to throw more strikes and improve his efficiency, they could have a new pitcher to plug into the top of the rotation soon.

Good Tier

RHP Cody Buckel, 21: These players couldn’t lead a package for Hamels, but they’d clearly be quality additions to any farm system. Buckel works out with Trevor Bauer in the offseason, and the two share some similarities. Of course, Buckel doesn’t have the stuff of Bauer, but he’s a smaller righty with a unique delivery to get the most out of his stuff and throw as many innings as possible. He’s a pretty safe bet to make the majors in some role and has the upside of a #3 starter.

RHP Justin Grimm, 24: Grimm is having an outstanding season in AA, and it earned him some ML duty when the Rangers were in a pinch. His stuff is better than Buckel’s, and he has a more traditional pitcher’s frame at 6’3 and 195 pounds. His fastball comes in a bit harder than Buckel’s, and his curveball is his best breaking pitch. His ceiling may be a touch higher, but he has a bit more risk.

3B Christian Villanueva, 22: He had a bit of a rough start to the season, but Villanueva has started turning it around as of late. He’s not even six feet tall which means he doesn’t fit the typical third baseman physical profile, and it’s possible he doesn’t develop the power expected at the position. He’s a good contact hitter with a solid approach though, and his defense at third base is above average.

2B Rougned Odor, 19: He’s still a pretty long way away from the majors in low-A, but he’s proving himself as a pretty polished young player. Odor has an impressive hit tool that should allow him to hit .300 up the ladder, and it looks like he’s developing solid power for a middle infielder. He’s a reliable fielder with a good arm, and while maybe nothing he does stands out, he does a lot well.

Lottery Ticket Tier

C Jorge Alfaro, 20: Alfaro’s ceiling is as high as any other catcher in the minors, but he’s very, very far away from reaching it. He has great potential power and one of the strongest arms, but he’s incredibly raw and may never put it all together.

LHP Will Lamb, 22: Lamb was a reliever at Clemson, but the Rangers believe he can start. He has above average velocity with potential for an above average slider. What determines his future role will be the development of his changeup.

RHP Ramon Mendez, 22: He’s starting now, but he’ll probably end up in the bullpen. His mid 90’s fastball and potential plus slider could fit in the late innings.

SS Luis Sardinas, 20: Sardinas was actually signed the same year as Profarand nearly got as much money, but obviously he’s not as advanced. He’s a smooth fielder with a good feel for contact, and he could develop a bit of power down the road.

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Scott Grauer writes for PSC and Bus Leagues Baseball – check him out! Scott also regularly updates the PSC 2012 Minor League Thread with player stats, game results, and more…