The Philadelphia Phillies have made a name for themselves in recent years, reaching the NLCS the past three seasons. However Ruben Amaro Jr. seems to always make mid-season trades to give them the extra boost they need to make a run.
Many critics say that the Phillies are only a good team in the present time and are not a team of the future. Fans often argue that the team has an excellent farm system and develops players to become great players in the majors. One such case of this is the development of Ryan Howard.
Here are the top 10 players in the Phillies farm system right now.
Carpenter is a strong right-handed pitcher who has made three appearances with the Phillies since 2008. Carpenter has great control and features a fastball in the low 90s, a good slider and a split-finger fastball to go with a change-up he's developed since making his big league debut.
Carpenter has a tendency to record more fly-ball outs than ground-outs, which could pose a problem as Citizens Bank Park is a "hitter-friendly" ballpark.
Santana is a young a promising outfielder who has shown he has power and speed on the base path. He made his debut in the rookie league as a 16-year-old and was with the Phillies' Single-A team by the time he was 17.
Given years to mature and improve his game, Santana could be the next big outfielder to come through the system.
While Gillies has faced some difficult times in the past year, facing criminal charges for drug possession, He is still a promising young outfielder in the farm system. Gillies produced significant numbers in AA.
Gillies is a proven base stealer and is strong defensively. His hitting needs improvement but he will have plenty of time to work on this aspect of the game before he gets to the Majors.
So where do we start with this 26-year-old. Mathieson has had a few stints in the Majors but three Tommy John surgeries have plagued his career to this point. Mathieson made a brief appearance with the Phillies last season and expects to be called up at some point again this season.
Even after three surgeries he still features a fastball in the mid to upper 90's, with an arsenal of off-speed pitches to compliment it.
Mathieson should be back with the Phillies at some point this season and if he stays healthy could make an impact in the back of the bullpen down the stretch.
There's no denying the fact that the Phillies will need a new catcher in a few years. Carlos Ruiz is 31 and Brian Schneider is 34. Valle is trying to prove that he is the catcher of the future in Philadelphia.
At the age of 20, Valle had a breakout season in A ball. He hit 16 home runs with 74 RBI's. and had an impressive .990 fielding percentage. Should Valle stay healthy, he should move up the system and could be the next catcher for the Phillies in a few years.
Singleton is another young and promising prospect with the Phillies. At the age of 18, Singleton hit .290 last season with 14 home runs and 77 RBI's. Singleton also had an impressive .995 fielding percentage.
While he may have a long way to go to replace Ryan Howard, he has a lot of time to work on his game and prepare himself to replace the big guy at first should he get that opportunity.
Ramirez was acquired in the very controversial Cliff Lee trade at the end of the 2009 season. However he has quickly become one of the top prospects in the farm system.
Ramirez has a very live fastball that tops out around 96 MPH. He also features a slider which has great movement, but he needs to work on control in order to be effective with it. Ramirez is working with coaches to develop a change-up as a third pitch in order to make him effective in the future.
The Phillies would like to see him as a starting pitcher, but Ramirez still has a lot of work to go in order to prove he is a strong starter. Ramirez could easily become a part of the bullpen before he becomes a starter.
In 2010, Worley pitched 13 innings with the Phillies and in that time only gave up two earned runs. This 23-year-old has plenty of potential and has a great work ethic.
While Worley did make two starts last season, it is hard to say where he will wind up with the Phillies in 2011. Worley should be on the active roster at some point, but really has no where to fit in the starting rotation after the acquisition of Cliff Lee. Charlie Manuel will most likely not trust a young guy filling in the fifth spot in the rotation once a trade is worked out for Joe Blanton.
Worley will most likely end up in the bullpen and may get an occasional start on days of doubleheaders, or should an injury arise in the starting rotation.
Aumont was acquired in the Roy Halladay deal in 2009 and struggled in 2010 in AA. The Phillies felt he was ready for that level and Aumont showed he wasn't at the time. After coaches tried to improve his delivery, Aumont could not get the ball over the plate. Averaging over five walks per nine innings pitched, Aumont clearly struggled with his control.
Aumont comes in at 6'7" and features a hard sinking fastball that tops out around 96 MPH. He also has a good slider. He attempted to develop a change-up in 2010 but could never get a real feel for it. Aumont should be a starter to begin the season in Single A but should be moved to the bullpen soon. Because he has two strong pitches and is struggling to master a third, Aumont should focus on these two pitches and develop them to the point where he is unhittable out of the pen.
If the Phillies realize this, Aumont could be brought up to the Majors as soon as next season. The Mariners did project that he would be a reliever in the Majors by 2009, so he can't be too far away from proving himself.
This is an obvious choice in my opinion for the No. 1 spot. Where can you even start to describe a guy like Brown? He became an immediate fan favorite when he laced a double off the top of the out-of-town scoreboard in right fielder in his first major league at bat.
Brown has tremendous speed and power at the plate, a somewhat rare combination now a days. One of his best features however is his extremely strong arm in the outfield. Brown showed off this arm several times in 2010, gunning runners down at home plate from right field. While Brown is projected to start the season in AAA next year, expect him to be on the active roster somewhere around the all-star break.
With Jayson Werth out and Raul Ibanez getting older, Brown is no doubt the outfielder of the future for the Phillies and is ready to make his case again in 2011.