Philadelphia Phillies: Spring Training Grades for Every Top Prospect

Joe GiglioContributor IMarch 27, 2013

Philadelphia Phillies: Spring Training Grades for Every Top Prospect

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    In a bit of a spring training twist, the Philadelphia Phillies' minor league system has become a major story.

    No, their low organizational ranking isn't the talking point this time.

    Instead, their Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, have introduced an interesting concept to sell tickets.

    Meanwhile down in Florida, some of those IronPigs, future IronPigs and one day Phillies are about to complete a full spring training regimen in full sight of Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel.

    Here are spring training grades for the top Philly prospects.

Jesse Biddle, LHP

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    Spring Training Grade: B+

    The 6-4, 220 pound left-handed pitcher is ranked as the top Phillies prospect by MLB.com heading into 2013.

    He's continued to work on his command in minor league camp after being reassigned there in early March. If he can make this season a third consecutive year of lowering his walk rate, then odds are that Biddle will have an opportunity to make a mark in big league camp next season.

    The 2010 first-round pick may not have made a big impact with the major league club, but the organization honored him with the franchise's yearly Bill Giles Award. The honor is for the members of the organization that exemplify "love and respect for the game."

    Showing that, moving forward, Biddle is on the radar of the Phils' brass.

Ethan Martin, RHP

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    Spring Training Grade: B+

    According to PennLive.com, there's a chance Phillies fans will see Martin in the big leagues this summer.

    "Martin came to the Phillies in the Shane Victorino trade last season. Has some rough edges, but is a possible second-half or September contributor."

    In one spring training appearance outside of minor league camp, Martin showed the kind of poise and stuff that makes him a future next-level arm.

    In two innings, Martin allowed one hit, struck out one batter, and maybe most importantly, didn't walk a batter.


Tommy Joseph, C

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    Spring Training Grade: A

    Joseph, a 2012 Futures Game participant, certainly looks to have a bright future in Philadelphia, a future that may come sooner than expected.

    The power-hitting catcher showed off his bat in limited duty (6-for-13) before being reassigned to minor league camp.

    Perception of spring training numbers, stats and achievements can be flawed based on when and who a fan actually has the opportunity to watch.

    If you were watching on March 6 against the Washington Nationals, then you are probably a Joseph fan.

    From that game: 3-for-4 at the dish, including two hits off Stephen Strasburg. Nine innings behind the dish, including four shutout innings from Roy Halladay and one National caught stealing.

    Joseph for Hunter Pence could turn out to be a steal.

Jonathan Pettibone, RHP

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    Spring Training Grade: C

    The release of Aaron Cook didn't just cement the Phillies' big-league rotation; it opened the door for Pettibone to be one of the five starters in Triple-A to open the season.

    Considering the small sample size, fans shouldn't fret over Pettibone's four runs allowed in two innings of work against some big league hitters this spring.

    His sinking fastball needs work, but Lehigh Valley will give him the opportunity to find it.

    Had his spring training been great, then he might have raised eyebrows in a competition for Charlie Manuel's fifth-starter spot.

    It wasn't, and he just wasn't good enough to keep himself finding himself on the outside looking in.

Roman Quinn, SS

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    Spring Training Grade: B+

    There's fast, and then there's Roman Quinn fast.

    A second-round selection of Philadelphia in 2011, Quinn is shooting up prospect rankings because of elite speed and tools.

    Scouts use a 20-80 scale to grade players on skills such as power, defense, speed etc. Using that scale, it's rare to see a prospect grade out with an 80 in any category.

    Skills need time to develop.

    Quinn was rated an 80 in the speed department.

    Baseball America ranked Quinn the 100th best prospect in baseball heading into the season.

    Jimmy Rollins is entrenched at shortstop for the next few seasons, but the Phils' brass may have caught a glace to the heir apparent this spring.

Larry Greene, OF/1B

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    Spring Training Grade: B

    Greene, the 39th pick of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, has been picking the brain of Ryan Howard over the last two camps.

    "You have to keep adjusting and take it day by day," Greene told The Morning Call. "You can't just say to yourself 'Yeah, I'm going do this, and be here and go there,' You have to really work day by day and they really emphasize that to us."

    Much like Howard, it's Greene's bat that will one day land him in the majors.


Adam Morgan, LHP

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    Spring Training Grade: B+

    Morgan enters 2013 with high expectations. Last year, the lefty led the organization in strikeouts, placing third overall in minor league baseball.

    His ability to throw past bats carried over into spring training.

    Over the course of 9.1 IP, Morgan has dazzled. His 11 Ks show the strikeout ability that can make him a valuable pitcher down the line in Philadelphia.

    On the other hand, Morgan has allowed five walks, so refining his command and control will be vital in 2013.

Sebatastian Valle, C

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    Spring Training Grade: D

    According to Bleacher Report's Greg Pinto, Valle disappointed in what should have been a competition with fellow Top-10 catching prospect, Tommy Joseph.

    "Came into camp in what should have been a depth chart battle with Tommy Joseph, but wasn't particularly close. Nothing is confirmed, but it looks like he'll open the season in Double-A Reading, with Joseph in Triple-A."

    Valle was heralded as a future star, advanced for his age just a few years ago at Low-A Lakewood, and thought to have the build for an emerging power bat.

    So far, the progress has been slow.

Cody Asche, 3B

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    Spring Training Grade: A

    Philadelphia's third baseman of the future made the present worthwhile this spring, bashing five hits in 14 at-bats with the Phillies before being reassigned to minor league camp.

    Asche left an impression.

    A major reason for his improvement and play in his second spring training with Philadelphia?

    Preparation.

    "I felt like I was ready; I felt like I came in prepared," Asche said Monday in an interview with The Morning Call. "I got myself down here early so I could prepare and go out there and show them what I could do. The most important thing in spring training is to be ready to play Day 1, and when you do that, you put yourself in a position to make things easier for the [front office] guys at the top."

    If Philadelphia is looking to expedite a rebuilding effort this summer, then it would be wise to see what Asche can provide on the big league level.

Austin Wright, LHP

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    Spring Training Grade: B

    Wright has taken the path less traveled to his spot on the list of top Phillies prospects.

    The Pirates first selected the 23-year-old lefty in 2008. After failing to reach a contract agreement, he was selected by the Red Sox in 2010.

    Once again, he didn't sign.

    Finally in 2011, Philadelphia selected and signed Wright.

    Now, after a solid spring in Clearwater, he told the Toronto Observer that his goal is to make the Eastern League All-Star team.

    “I’d like to make the All-Star team in the Eastern League and I’d like to just get better each day. In spring training I go out there each day and just try and make strides towards becoming a major leaguer.“

     

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