Disclaimer (sort of): No idea if this topic has been done before, I'm just really passionate about the Phillies. If it's been done before, my apologies.
For the past few seasons, the Philadelphia Phillies haven't had the prospect firepower comparable to the likes of the Rays, Red Sox, or Yankees. While the team still isn't in the "elite" territory amongst ML teams, strides have been made.
Let's take a look in the minor-league system to see which prospects could be worth something in the future or potential trade bait.
AAA-Lehigh Valley IronPigs: For the past few seasons, the Phillies haven't exactly had the youngest of AAA teams. In fact, most of the lineup is comprised of 26-year-old (and up) players or minor-league journeymen. However, there are two notable prospects pitching in Allentown.
Happ was recently called up to the Phillies to pitch tonight's game against Johan Santana and the New York Mets. Before his call-up though, Happ was starting to regain some of his value and confidence after a rough '07 campaign.
Happ entered last season as a potential starter if injuries were to occur. While Happ did make his ML debut (coincidentally on June 30, against the Mets in a doubleheader), he struggled, and his return to Ottawa didn't fare much better.
Happ battled elbow stiffness and it seemed like his confidence took a hit in the process. The lanky lefty, Happ's got a solid arsenal of pitches, including a nice changeup. He seems to be the lefty version of Ryan Madson, who also was a nice starting pitcher prospect before being converted into the bullpen.
Happ could be a nice end-of-the-rotation pitcher.
At one point, he was considered a potential starting catcher. However, as his bat hasn't improved enough, it seems his ceiling will be as a backup catcher. While he is a solid backstop in the defensive and play calling aspect of the game, Jaramillo will probably be trade bait.
AA-Reading Phillies: The R-Phils have perhaps the best arsenal of prospects for the Philadelphia Phillies. It's fairly difficult to pick just three or four prospects, but others will be mentioned.
He continues to be the crown jewel of the Phillies' organization. When LHP Cole Hamels graduated to the majors, the countdown was on for the debut of Carrasco. After impressive performances at single-A Lakewood, and a dominating half-season at Clearwater, Carrasco was called up to Reading as a 20-year old.
While flashes of promise were displayed, as expected by someone of his age, inconsistency was shown at a higher level of play. However, in his second season, Carrasco is knocking on the Phillies door.
His 4.18 ERA in AA isn't phenomenal, but Carrasco is showing to be a solid groundball pitcher. A good fastball, curveball, and changeup will turn Carrasco into a potential No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the bigs.
Lou has evolved into perhaps the top hitting-prospect in the Phillies' organization. While athletic behind the plate, Marson's hitting is what's getting Philly excited. Batting at a .331 clip, with four HRs and 43 RBI, Marson is being touted as the catcher of the future for Philadelphia.
While his game behind the plate is improving dramatically, he probably won't win a Gold Glove, but expect a solid performance there.
Outman entered the season as a starter for the Phillies, but has recently been "sent" to the bullpen. While the move has caused some controversy amongst fans, Outman's had inconsistent results. It seems that his future lies in the 'pen, but Outman does have a solid repertoire of pitches. Others to keep track of include Antonio Bastardo, Jason Donald, former No. 1 pick Greg Golson (batting .299 after an inconsistent start of career), and Jeremy Slayden.
A-Clearwater Phillies: After losing a few of its prospects to Reading, Clearwater continues to showcase top prospects annually.
Adrian is widely considered the best positional prospect in the Phillies' organization. Cardenas has been a very solid hitter throughout his career, and he is consistently batting over .300.
However, as a 2B, he doesn't have the range to be a SS or arm strength to be a 3B. His future may be in the OF, but he could turn into a valuable trading chip for Philadelphia as Chase Utley will remain in front of him for quite some time.
Joe was the Phillies' top pick in the 2007 MLB Draft. After an impressive performance at short-season Williamsport and a nice season in the Arizona Fall League, Savery has struggled a tad at Clearwater.
It was slightly expected that Savery wouldn't be lights out, his ERA in May was over seven and his June wasn't much better. Whether it's a confidence, injury, or just a rough patch remains to be seen, but his last performance was a 6.2 IP, four-hit shutout.
Others to keep an eye on include Drew Naylor, Michael Taylor, and Tuffy Gosewich.
PART TWO includes Lakewood Blueclaws, Williamsport Crosscutters, Gulf Coast Phillies as well as Latin leagues.