Jason Hunt takes a look at some of the top fantasy prospects in the Philadelphia organization.
Craig and I continue our look at some of the more relevant prospects in each of the 30 MLB organizations. We won't be looking at each prospect in every organization, but rather providing brief profiles of players that are either expected to make an impact as soon as next season, or are worth watching in dynasty and keeper formats. In general, they will be sorted in the order of when they are anticipated to be in the Majors, even though it is no guarantee that they will get there.
Our goal is to speak more to each prospect's fantasy value, so while we do look at a player's defense, it is really only in the context of where they will end up when they get to the Majors, and how that may affect their long term outlook. We will be going roughly in alphabetical order, and planning to have the series completed by the end of the year.
NL West: Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles
NL Central: Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee
NL East: Atlanta, Miami, New York
AL East: Baltimore, Boston, New York Yankees
AL Central: Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Minnesota
AL West: Houston, Los Angeles, Oakland
The Phillies haven’t exactly been known for keeping their farm system extremely well stocked, as they continue to trade away prospects to help the Major League team. In the past few seasons, we’ve seen prospects like Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart, and most recently Trevor May traded away to help fill gaps in the Major League team. Even with that, there are still prospects of interest to fantasy owners, although many of them are a few years away.
Graduates in 2012
AAA or Higher in 2012
These are players who reached the Phillies’ International League affiliate in Lehigh Valley in 2012. They will likely see time in the Majors in 2013, and could be a significant contributor there.
Valle was our #10 fantasy catching prospect this year, and was nearly dealt to the Astros as a part of a trade that would have brought Wilton Lopez to Philadelphia. He could be a decent source of batting average and some power at a position that doesn’t always provide a ton of players that do either. That said, he could see an opportunity to make the roster in 2013 while the Phillies await the return of Carlos Ruiz from his suspension. I would more likely imagine that Valle spends nearly all of the 2013 season at the AAA level.
AA in 2012
These are players who reached the Phillies’ Eastern League affiliate in Reading in 2012. They could see time in the Majors in 2013, but are more likely to arrive during the 2014 season.
Acquired from the Giants as a part of the Hunter Pence trade, we ranked Joseph as our #15 fantasy catching prospect. He has an interesting profile offensively, as he has shown excellent power at times, but is prone to strikeouts. It’s hard to tell whether he can continue to translate the power he showed when he was in the California League, and it also remains a bit difficult to see his exact path to playing time in Philadelphia at the moment.
Martin was the main player acquired by the Phillies in the Shane Victorino trade with the Dodgers, and has the potential to be an interesting pitcher for them in the long term. Martin has been right around 8 strikeouts per 9 innings or better in each of his stops in the minor leagues, but the control has really remained an issue. He improved his walk rate to its’ lowest per-9 number as a professional in 2012, but it was still over 4.
Long term, it will be interesting to see if the Phillies can find a way to improve that without losing some of the strikeout potential. I would imagine that if he does not improve, he could still be a useful bullpen arm. He has the repertoire to be a starting pitcher (likely a streaming or back-end fantasy option) if he can reduce the walks, and it will be interesting to see what he does in AAA this year.
High-A in 2012
These players reached the Phillies’ Florida State League affiliate in Clearwater in 2012. They are at least 2 full seasons away from contributing in the Majors.
Jesse Biddle (BBRef Statistics)
Biddle may be the top prospect in the Phillies’ system at this point after a solid season in High-A Clearwater. He improved his walk rate (from 4.5 to 3.4 per 9) while also increasing his strikeout rate to over 9 per 9 innings, and it sounds like Biddle has the potential to be a solid starting pitcher in the Majors. You’d like to see a bit more in terms of groundball rate from him (0.89 GO/AO last year), but it’s still a decent number there given the strikeout totals.
The reports on Biddle’s repertoire point toward growth in 2012, as he could have three average offerings which may play up slightly from the raw expectations. There is still work to be done for Biddle, but AA will be very interesting for him. I believe he could turn into a #5/#6 starting pitcher for fantasy purposes, providing solid ratios and a fair amount of strikeouts, but with the potential to have some inconsistency mixed in as well.
Short Season in 2012
These players reached one of the Phillies’ short season affiliates in the Gulf Coast or New York-Penn Leagues. These players are more than 3 full seasons away from contributing in the Majors.
Larry Greene (BBRef Statistics)
Greene was the Phillies’ top draft pick from the 2011 draft, and his calling card is his raw power potential. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to translate that power from BP to in-game particularly in his stint in the New York-Penn League, hitting just 2 home runs in 70 games. The main concern with Greene at this point is that while he is playing left field, it remains to be seen whether he can stay there or if he will be forced to move to first base long term. Greene remains an extremely raw prospect, with upside for power production, but a long way from Philadelphia at this point.
Others of Note
Drafted out of a California high school, Watson was the Phillies top pick in the 2012 draft. He threw just 7 innings in the Gulf Coast League, striking out 8 and walking 1. Watson’s profile sounds similar to many of the Phillies’ recent draftees: potentially high upside, potentially very raw at the moment. BA had him ranked as the #30 prospect coming into the draft.
Aumont is probably the most likely player to return value from the Cliff Lee trade with the Mariners after the 2009 season. A reliever exclusively, Aumont reached the Majors last year, and will likely be in the mix for a bullpen spot in 2013.
Ruf emerged as a top power prospect after hitting 38 home runs at AA in 2012, but it remains tough to see exactly how he fits into the Phillies’ long term plans. He played left field during his call up to the Majors, but it sounds like he is realistically a 1B prospect only. He could be interesting potentially if he is traded, but I don’t see regular playing time for him as of right now.
Morgan had an excellent season between High-A and AA, striking out 169 batters and walking 39 in 158+ innings pitched. Morgan is known specifically for his command, which helps his repertoire to play up above its’ expected level. It will be interesting to see whether Morgan can keep his strikeout rate up when he returns to AA for the 2013 season.
Colvin remains all projection at this point, as his performance to this point has left a lot of question marks. The reports on him are extremely mixed, as some see him as a potential middle of the rotation type while others worry he’ll never get there at all. It is a bit concerning to me personally to see a strikeout rate around 7 paired with a walk rate approaching 5 from him this year, but there is still upside potentially for Colvin that hasn't manifested in the performance just yet.