This is the second in a two-part series on the Philadelphia Phillies ' top ten prospects heading into 2010.
5. Phillippe Aumont
Often times, we get an opportunity to discuss the fine athletes from our neighbors to the north in Canada. Usually, they are gifted stars on the hockey rink.
It was never that way for Phillippe Aumont, who fell in love with baseball growing up in Quebec.
It's hard to miss the right-hander, who is 6'7", 220 pounds and has an impressive arsenal of pitches to back up his imposing frame.
He made his minor league debut in 2008, posting an impressive 2.75 ERA in 15 games (eight starts) in Single A Wisconsin.
He battled with a sore elbow in the second half of 2008, but it was not seen as a serious concern. However, some have said that Aumont will need to alter his mechanics to ensure long-term health.
Heading into 2009, the Mariners made a controversial decision to make Aumont a full-time bullpen piece.
Aumont responded well in High Desert, pitching 33.1 innings, allowing just 24 hits and striking out 35 while walking 12 coming out of the pen. It earned him a promotion to Double A West Tennessee, where he struggled with control, walking 11 in 17.2 innings pitched en route to a 5.09 ERA.
The good news? Aumont struck out 24 batters in those 17.2 innings, and had an incredibly unlucky .436 BABIP.
The Phillies have already stated that Aumont will be a starter this season, although it's unknown where he will begin in the organization's minor league ladder.
Aumont could become a premier strikeout pitcher, as evidenced by his minor league statistics and his blazing heater that can reach up to 95 MPH.
He also possesses a sharp spike curve, which he used effectively in the 2009 World Baseball Classic while pitching for Canada.
His third pitch, a change-up, will have to be improved this season for him to make an impact in the majors by 2011.
4. Trevor May
It's hard not to like what the Phillies' 4th round pick in the 2008 draft has done so far.
A meteoric rise up the Phillies' top prospect list is good news for one Trevor May, a 6'5" flamethrower out of Kelso, Washington.
Despite having a commitment to play college baseball at the University of Washington, the Phillies convinced him to sign. He debuted in rookie ball at the end of the 2008 campaign, pitching 12 innings, allowing 11 hits, striking out 11, and walking seven.
Despite a back injury which held him out for all of spring training and some of the 2009 season, the Phillies thought highly enough of May to have him skip Clearwater and head straight to High-A Lakewood.
The right-hander was at the top of the list amongst players available from Washington at the time of the draft, and it's not hard to know why.
May possesses a heavy fastball that sits in the 91-93 MPH range, along with a good breaking curveball. It's said that his change-up needs work, but he seemed to get by well enough in Lakewood last season.
May went 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 15 starts with the Blue Claws, striking out 95 batters in just 77.1 innings. He will have to cut down on the walks, as he gave up 43 bases on balls and struggled with his control at times.
That being said, May's minor league experiences thus far have been nothing short of excellent.
3. J.C. Ramirez
Juan Carlos Ramirez was said to be the one prospect that the Phillies had targeted highly when scouring through the Mariners' organization for potential talent.
Also acquired as part of the Lee trade, Ramirez comes into 2010 as the Phillies' highest rated pitching prospect.
Ramirez is a 6'3", 225 pound right-hander from Nicaragua and already has a lengthy track record in the minor leagues, having thrown 341.2 innings over the past three seasons.
Just 21 years of age, Ramirez will likely be assigned to Double-A Reading to begin the season.
That could be a bit of a challenge for a guy who posted a 5.12 ERA last year in 142.1 innings for High Desert of the California League.
While Aumont succeeded in High Desert, Ramirez did not. It is well known to skew towards hitters, however, and is considered one of the worst pitcher's parks in the minor leagues.
Ramirez's fastball usually sits in the low 90's, but is capable of hitting about 96 MPH on the gun. His slider is his best secondary pitch, but he lacks control of it at times.
ESPN's Keith Law has given Ramirez high praise, saying that he could become a steady front end of the rotation starter in the Bigs.
However, if he can't gain control of his slider or develop his change-up any further, Ramirez could be looking at a career in the bullpen.
2. Tyson Gillies
Tyson Gillies has gotten used to people underestimating his abilities on the baseball field.
A 25th round pick by Seattle in the 2006 draft, Gillies is the third and final piece that came to Philadelphia in the Lee trade.
Playing at a disadvantage has been a storyline of Gillies' career, seeing that he is legally deaf. He wears a hearing aid in both ears and reads lips to assist him on the base paths.
Oh, and he's pretty good, too.
At 21 years of age, the Canadian-born Gillies is getting ready for takeoff in the minors.
Another 2009 High Desert product, Gillies, who can play all three outfield positions, took advantage of the fact that the Mavericks had one of the best hitter's parks in all of the minors by posting a .341/.430/.486 season.
Speed is a big part of Gillies' game, and he proved that last year with 14 triples in 124 games. He also had 44 steals, but was caught 19 times. If there's one thing Phillies first base coach Davey Lopes has stressed over the past few years, it's that patience and picking spots is important to base stealing.
Should Lopes get his hands on Gillies this spring, they will have a lot to talk about.
He has become a very good line drive hitter and, at 6'1" and 200 pounds, has a very strong lower body. However, those who have watched him play say he needs work using that lower body to the best of its ability.
He has drawn comparisons to Curtis Granderson from Seattle scouts.
Those comparisons may be a little baseless considering the fact that Granderson has proven he can hit anywhere between 20 and 30 homers, but Gillies does still have time to fill out his body for some extra power.
1. Domonic Brown
Every team hopes they have one.
Every team wishes for that crown jewel in their minor league system that makes all of their other prospects seem trivial.
The Phillies have that man in the form of Domonic Brown, their tall, lanky, stud outfielder who has drawn comparisons to Daryl Strawberry.
Seeing outfielder Michael Taylor in person was impressive, but seeing Brown is equally, if not more so, impressive and intriguing.
At 6'5" and 204 pounds, Brown, who bats and throws from the left, has made a name for himself since the Phillies called it in the 20th round of the 2006 draft.
It's funny that, even though he had made a name for himself, people still got it wrong.
See, halfway through this season, after a mammoth effort in a game in Reading, it was pointed out by Reading Phillies PR man Rob Hackash that Brown's first name is spelled "Domonic", not "Dominic", as many had been using throughout his minor league career.
He had never taken the liberty to correct it until this season.
Point taken, Mr. Brown.
So often, teams will take a flier on a player in a later round, even if they feel they have a snowball's chance in Hades to sign him.
While there was a very good chance Brown was on his way to Miami to play football, he ended up signing a relatively hefty $200,000 bonus with the Phillies to pursue his baseball career. It was a small price to pay to get Brown into the system.
Now crowned as the Phillies' top prospect, Brown has a lot on his plate.
Thus far, his minor league career has seen him post a .288/.368/.430 line, but he did have a .517 slugging percentage in Clearwater last year, with plenty of hope that he can become a true power hitter in the Majors.
He earned a promotion to Reading towards the back end of the minor league season, and hit .279/.346/.456, showing he could hang with the big boys.
He will be 22 come opening day, and will likely start the season in Reading.
Often the subject of trade rumors, the Phillies made it clear to everyone and their mothers that Brown was never available.
He is a unique talent and, should he fill out his body and continue to improve on his power numbers, he could be a true middle-of-the-order threat for the Phillies in the near future.
How near is that future for Brown? If he does have a breakout year and Jayson Werth decides to walk in free agency, it would come as no surprise to see Brown patrolling the outfield in 2011.
Until then, Brown will continue to toil in the minors, making life miserable for opposing pitchers.
Oh, and make sure you spell his name right.
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