Which Philadelphia Phillies Prospects Are Part of the Long-Term Plan?

Matt BoczarContributor IIIMay 11, 2012

Which Philadelphia Phillies Prospects Are Part of the Long-Term Plan?

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    Midseason and offseason trades in recent years have seen a number of prospects leave the Philadelphia Phillies’ minor-league system.

    However, despite 16 prospects being traded in deals for Joe Blanton, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence, the Phils' minor-league system still contains prospects projected to contribute at the major-league level.

    For every prospect, such as Travis d’Arnaud and Jarred Cosart, whom the team has traded in recent years, prospects such as Trevor May and Jesse Biddle have emerged as players with the potential to one day contribute for the Phils at the big-league level.

    Of course, that’s barring any future trades.

    And although he’s lost his prospect status after playing in 56 major-league games with 184 at-bats last season, Domonic Brown still has the potential to contribute for the Phils after rising through the team’s minor-league ranks.

    A number of these prospects may not simply be part of the group that is left following recent trades.

    Throughout their minor-league system, the Phillies have multiple prospects who may be part of the team’s long-term plan.

    Here are 10 prospects who may be part of that plan.

Trevor May

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    Following a number of trades in recent seasons, May has moved to the top of the Phillies’ list of prospects.

    And rightfully so.

    In six starts at Double-A this season, the 6’5” right-hander has gone 5-1 with 40 strikeouts and a 3.09 ERA.

    Through his first five starts of the season, May went 5-0 with a 2.57 ERA. He has also held opponents to a .208 batting average this season, including a .192 average against right-handed batters.

    Through his first four minor-league seasons, May had a 27-18 record and 3.49 ERA to go with 496 strikeouts.

    The 2008 fourth-round draft pick’s pitching repertoire includes a mid-90’s fastball, curveball and changeup. After walking 148 batters over the past two seasons, May has walked 12 batters in 35 innings this season.

    With Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton currently set to become free agents, May could find himself as part of the Phils’ long-term plan rather than part of another midseason trade.

Jesse Biddle

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    The Philadelphia area native moved up to High-A ball this season after posting a 2.98 ERA last season at the age of 19.

    In six starts at Single-A this season, Biddle has gone 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA and 25 strikeouts. However, after giving up ten earned runs over his first three starts, Biddle bounced back to give up three earned runs over his last 12.1 innings pitched.

    Last season saw Biddle go 7-8 with a 2.98 ERA and 124 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .219 batting average.

    The 6’4” left-hander had the fourth-lowest ERA in the South Atlantic League last season, as well.

    The 2010 first-round draft pick has a fastball in the low-90s, a changeup and a curveball. He has also struck out 199 batters in 200.1 career minor-league innings.

    Biddle’s age means the Phils may take their time with him as he progresses through the minor leagues. It also may mean that Biddle is a part of the Phillies’ long-term plan.

Larry Greene, Jr.

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    Position players seem to be overshadowed by pitchers when it comes to prospects in the Phillies’ minor-league system.

    But the Phils’ top pick from last year’s draft may have the potential to contribute at the major-league level.

    Greene has yet to play professionally, but his potential as a power hitter has already helped him become one of the Phils’ high-ranking prospects.

    The 6’0”, 235-pound 2011 draft pick may have to work on his contact, but his power potential could place him into the Phillies’ long-term plans.

Sebastian Valle

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    As the Phillies had multiple pitching prospects move up to Double-A this season, the team’s top catching prospect made the move alongside them.

    After signing with the Phils as an undrafted free agent in 2006, Valle has continued his progression through the minor-league ranks to Double-A this season, where he’s batting .250 with nine RBI and 22 hits to start the season.

    Last season at Single-A, in addition to being selected for the Futures Game and being named a Florida State League All-Star, Valle batted .284 with 40 RBI and 99 hits in 91 games.

    The right-handed batter hit 16 home runs while playing in the minor leagues in 2010, but has only hit six home runs during the past two seasons. Valle has also walked just 46 times in 883 at-bats during the past three seasons. His presence behind the plate, however, has continued to progress since his signing at the age of 16.

    The Phillies may currently be set with Carlos Ruiz in the lineup and behind the plate, but Valle may have emerged into the team’s long-term plan at catcher.

Jake Diekman

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    In 2008, Diekman had a 5.09 ERA in 27 minor-league starts.

    At Triple-A this season, Diekman has allowed one earned run while posting a 0.59 ERA in 13 relief appearances.

    And a call-up to the major leagues may occur as early as today.

    Diekman, a 30th-round pick in the 2007 draft, won over coaches during spring training after being added to the Phils’ 40-man roster during the offseason.

    Diekman has gone 1-0 with 22 strikeouts and a 0.59 ERA in 15.1 innings to start the season. The left-hander has held right-handed batters to a .190 batting average so far this season, as well.

    Diekman held opposing batters to a .193 average in 2010 and 2011 combined and has walked just three batters so far this season.

    Diekman has found success after altering his throwing motion to pitch with a side-arm delivery, and has a pitching repertoire that includes a low- to mid-90s fastball and slider.

    With the Phillies already having called up three different relief pitchers, Diekman could reach the major leagues this season, placing him in both the team’s short-term and long-term plans.

Phillippe Aumont

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    Aumont has not gotten off to the best start at Triple-A this season, but the 6’7” right-hander has still held opponents to a .188 batting average through 10 games.

    Aumont, a former first-round pick in the 2007 draft, was acquired by the Phils in a 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners.

    While pitching exclusively out of the bullpen last season, Aumont finished with a 2.68 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 43 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

    And he may have cemented his place in the Phillies’ long-term plan.

    Aumont throws a mid- to upper-90s fastball and a curveball, and has struck out 15 batters in nine innings so far this season.

    Aumont may have had a chance to reach the big leagues out of spring training, and may still have a chance of receiving a call-up this season. However, his 6.00 ERA and 12 walks in nine innings have kept him at Triple-A.

    Aumont hasn’t been called up to the major leagues, but he still may be a part of the Phillies’ long-term plan.

Maikel Franco

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    Franco may have a place in the Phillies’ long-term plan due to a lack of position players who are considered major-league prospects in the team’s minor-league system.

    However, after batting .287 in the New York-Penn league last season, the 19-year-old third baseman may have further increased his chances of being included in the Phils' long-term plan.

    Since signing with the Phillies as an undrafted free agent in 2010, Franco has 133 hits, including 36 doubles, in three minor-league seasons.

    This season in the South Atlantic League, Franco has 24 hits in 111 at-bats. The right-hander has hit six doubles and has driven in 10 runs, as well.

    Franco has the potential to become a power hitter, although his plate discipline could be improved. His defense at third base may enhance his chances of reaching the major leagues as he continues his progression.

    Franco’s .170 batting average in 46 games at Low-A ball may have slowed his progression, but the third baseman may have a place in the Phillies’ long-term plan.

Freddy Galvis

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    Galvis has already reached the major leagues this season and, although his status on the Phils’ roster may change once Chase Utley returns from injury, the 22-year-old’s ability on defense may keep him in the team’s long-term plan.

    Galvis is currently batting .213 with 20 hits and 11 RBI while making 23 starts at second base, a position he switched to during spring training after previously playing shortstop during his minor-league career.

    Although he has walked just three times, Galvis’ defense has been solid for the Phils, as he has made just one error and has a .992 fielding percentage at second base.

    Galvis, who signed with the Phillies as a non-drafted free agent in 2006, batted .278 combined between Double-A and Triple-A last season. The switch-hitter also had eight home runs, 43 RBI and 23 stolen bases.

    Although Galvis is currently tied for the team lead in doubles, he may wind up at Triple-A once Utley returns. However, his ability on defense, as well as improved offensive numbers going forward, could keep him in the Phillies’ long-term plan.

Justin De Fratus

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    De Fratus has only made one minor-league appearance this season due to an elbow injury.

    However, if healthy, and after being called up by the Phillies last September, De Fratus has a chance to claim a spot in the Phillies bullpen for the long-term.

    De Fratus pitched in five games for the Phillies last season, and went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and three strikeouts in four innings pitched.

    Prior to his call-up, De Fratus had gone 2-3 with a 3.73 ERA and 56 strikeouts at Triple-A, and 4-0 with a 2.10 ERA and 43 strikeouts at Double-A.

    With a fastball and slider in his pitching repertoire, De Fratus may have had a chance to make the Phillies roster out of spring training.

    However, if healthy, De Fratus may still have a place in the Phils’ long-term plan for the team’s bullpen.

Brody Colvin

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    Colvin has returned to High-A ball this season after witnessing his win total last season be cut in half while his ERA increased by over 1.30.

    However, his status as one of the Phillies’ top pitching prospects has continued, for the time being, as the right-hander attempts to remain healthy this year.

    A season that features performances similar to his third start of this season, in which he gave up two hits and had six strikeouts in six innings, could solidify his place in the Phillies’ long-term plan.

    Through his first six starts at Single-A this season, Colvin has gone 2-2 with a 3.73 ERA and 24 strikeouts. However, he also has walked 16 batters in 31.1 innings, which doesn’t ease concerns over his command. Colvin walked 42 batters in 116.2 innings last season, which is the same number of walks he issued in 138 innings in 2010.

    The 2009 seventh-round draft pick’s performances this season could go a long way in determining his future with the Phillies. If Colvin turns in performances that match his potential, the Phils may be forced to include him in their long-term plan.