Ranking Philadelphia Phillies' Depth at Every Position
Baseball teams are made up of much more than a 25-man roster. Beyond the regular, everyday roster there are dozens of athletes filling the minor leagues. There's prospects: the guys that will be the superstars of the future like Trevor May and Sebastian Valle. There's also the replacement players like Scott Podsednik and Joel Piniero, who are waiting in the minors until a space needs to be filled.
This look at the Phillies' depth is not solely prospect based (if you want to see a prospect-based list, here is my story ranking the prospect depth in the organization), but instead takes into account everyone in the system from Chase Utley to Chace Numata.
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The Phillies will be good for a while at catcher. First off, they have Carlos Ruiz, the fan favorite who is signed through next season. Add a decent backup in Brian Schneider and top prospect Sebastian Valle, and the position seems to have some depth.
Besides Valle, though, the Phillies do not have many prospects, one of them being Cameron Rupp (seriously, read my previous story on prospects if you don't know who he is). In terms of minor leaguers who could fill in short term, the Phils do have Tuffy Gosewisch and Australian catcher Tim Kennelly, who recently tore it up in the Australian League during the regular season.
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If Ryan Howard was healthy, this would be an A- or an A. He's an incredible player, and will continue to be the centerpiece of the team for years to come. On the MLB roster, the Phillies have Ty Wigginton and Jim Thome as options at first base, but they are very shallow in their farm system.
Matt Rizzotti and Darin Ruf are a bit too old to only be playing in Double-A and High-A, respectively. Rizzotti will be in Lehigh this year and might be able to come up in an emergency situation, but I wouldn't call him an MLB-ready player.
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Chase Utley is another franchise player. Coming back from a subpar 2011 campaign, he'll look to reignite the league as one of the best offensive second basemen.
Philadelphia also has a plethora of MLB-ready replacement players who can step in if needed. The list includes Michael Martinez, Pete Orr and Kevin Frandsen, all of whom have major league experience.
Down on the farm, the Phillies have 21-year-old Cesar Hernandez, 25-year-old Harold Garcia and new draft pick Roman Quinn (These players are looked at in depth in the previously mentioned article).
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The Phillies aren't well off at the hot corner. Placido Polanco is aging and there aren't many guys that are ready to fill in if he goes down. Ty Wigginton and Michael Martinez can, but neither would be great fits. Their farm system is also devoid of third baseman, with Maikel Franco being the only prospect of note.
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The Phillies spent much of their 2011 draft picks on shortstops. From Mitchell Walding to Tyler Grenee to Taylor Black, the club has a few options in the very distant future. In the immediate situation, the Phillies recently signed Jimmy Rollins to a three year deal, and also have 22-year-old Freddy Galvis, who is MLB ready, waiting at Triple-A.
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Philadelphia has an outfield that looks good at every level. They have a dynamite team of Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and John Mayberry Jr in the MLB, as well as Jiwan James, Tyson Gillies, Larry Greene and others in their system.
They even have good bench players. Laynce Nix, Scott Podsednik and Juan Pierre, all candidates for a spot on the 2012 roster (though Nix's spot is almost guaranteed), have all started at the Major League level and can contribute to the team.
And don't forget Domonic Brown. The 24-year-old has been in the MLB before, but a lack of polish and fielding ability sent him back down to Triple-A. A full year there in 2012 will help mold him into a much better player, and an option as a starter in the future.
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If there's one thing better than the Phillies' outfield, it's their pitching. The three aces, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels all placed in the top five for Cy Young voting in 2011, and will return in an attempt to recreate their success again in 2012.
Vance Worley is a question mark, as many are unsure if he can have another great year like he did in 2011, but no matter what he'll be serviceable. Having Kyle Kendrick (who could easily be a fourth starter on a less-endowed rotation) in the bullpen is a great asset, as is the Phillies' farm system complete with the Baby Aces.
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The bullpen was a huge question mark coming into this offseason, but the acquisitions of Jonathan Papelbon, Chad Qualls and Dontrelle Willis helped round out what looks like a strong relief corps in 2012.
If any problems arise, the team has a handful of players that can step in including Brian Sanches, Jeremy Horst, Michael Schwimer, Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont. Their future looks bright, as Aumont is only 23 but throws a fastball in the high 90s and has the frame of a power-closer.