Philadelphia Phillies: Ranking the Phillies' Organizational Depth by Position

Joe IannelloAnalyst IIIMay 2, 2011

Philadelphia Phillies: Ranking the Phillies' Organizational Depth by Position

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 27:  Manager Charlie Manuel of the Philadelphia Phillies watches from the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 27, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Phillies defeated the Di
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Phillies are in the midst of the greatest era of baseball in their entire 121-year history—a history that includes more losses than any other team in Major League Baseball.

    Phillies fans have sold out over 140 consecutive games at Citizens Bank Park and they are more than deserving to finally have a consistent winner.

    The Philly faithful had to watch slop like the Robert Persons and Omar Daals for far too long. They now have one of the greatest rotations ever assembled (albeit on paper) and a lineup that has a ton of postseason experience.

    While Philadelphia sits back and enjoys a top-20 pitcher in baseball start 80 percent of their games, the national media and fans' perspective is that the Phillies better enjoy their success now because their window is almost closed.

    After all, bringing in the top pitcher in the game in Roy Halladay does not come cheaply. Couple that with the fact that the core of this Phillies team (Utley, Howard, Rollins) are not getting any younger and maybe the national audience has a point. The Phillies' average age last season was 31.9 years of age, by far the oldest in the league.

    Are the Phillies the Boston Celtics of the NBA? No, of course not (I HATE the Celtics and Boston for that matter, Go Flyers!).

    The Halladay trade continued the Phillies' recent habit of sending away prospects for elite pitching help; while it looks terrific on the surface, how much do these type of moves deplete the farm system?

    The Phillies were gift-wrapped Roy Oswalt last season from the Astros in July, in exchange for J.A. Happ and minor leaguers Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar.

    Even smaller deals, (Joe Blanton in 2008) sent away a significant amount of young talent, but accomplished the goal of keeping the team on top while its nucleus of everyday players is at its peak.

    Is the cupboard bare? Absolutely not. In fact, the Phillies have a substantial amount of talent in the minors, especially at the lower levels.

    Class A Lakewood has won back-to-back titles, and many players have turned themselves into legitimate prospects over the past two seasons.

    It has been mentioned by scouts throughout baseball, "no team has more talent in A-ball than the Phillies."

    How does the future look for the Phillies? In this list, we will take a look at how set the Phil's are at each position by evaluating their current players and prospects down on the farm.

    Which positions need to be addressed via trade or through the draft? Which current players on the Phillies have their position locked down for the next five to 10 years?

    Which positions are in good shape for years to come? Here is a ranking of the Phillies' organizational depth by position.

Second Base

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 26:  Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies sits in the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 26, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Phillies 7-
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    This position is now under a microscope more than ever with Chase Utley's ailing knee. Utley is signed through the 2013 season at a hefty price tag of around $12 million per year, and he will be 35 when this contract expires. Will Utley retire after his contract is up with a possible degenerative knee affecting him?

    The Phillies may not need a replacement for Chase for another five years, or they could need an everyday second basemen by the trade deadline. Phillies fans have been kept in the dark for most of this injury to Chase. How in the heck does "pre" preseason soreness happen, and how does it keep a guy out for three months, Ruben?

    There is no denying that a healthy Chase Utley is a top-20 player in baseball today. There are not many middle-infielders who can hit 30 HRs, 110 RBI, have a .300 average and play a solid second base.

    Utley has been sprinting and doing agility work and looks to start a rehab assignment soon. If Chase can return to form, expect the beloved Utley to retire a Philadelphia Phillie.

    Here is what is stirring in the minor league system on the prospect front:

    Harold Garcia is a 5'11'' 164-pound second baseman who is currently playing for the Reading Phillies. In 2010, Garcia got Phillie scouts excited when he hit safely in 37 consecutive games in the Florida State League and posted a line of .335/.397/.492. After his promotion to Reading, he posted a line of .281/.340/.403.

    He also can run pretty well, as he stole 29 bases in 2010 at Reading. He can play almost any position except catcher, pitcher and center field. He projects to be a solid professional utility player because of his excellent speed, which benefits him immensely at the plate and in the field.

    If he can improve his strikeout rate and add a little more power, he could be a starting second basemen in the majors. He may not be talked about as much as the next prospect, but he is a solid fielder that utilizes his best tool (speed) very well...take notes Jimmy Rollins.

    Cesar Hernandez is probably the most talked-about heir apparent to Chase Utley. He is only 20 years old and is 5'10'' 160 pounds. He is another middle-infield prospect who was signed by the Phillies out of Venezuela.

    Hernandez burst onto the Phillies' radar in 2010 in Williamsport and established himself as a legit Chase Utley replacement down the line.  His .325 average placed sixth in the NYPL. He stole 32 bases and was a NYPL All-Star. He is a switch-hitter who can use the whole field and shows decent power.

    With all of the uncertainty with Utley's knee, don't be surprised to see Hernandez continue to rise through the ranks of Phillies minor-league ball. He has an above-average arm, speed, range and is a contact-hitter that the Phillies hope will take another giant step forward as he did in 2010.

    Heading into 2011, Hernandez is ranked 19th among Phillies prospects by Baseball America, and  In addition, MLB.com ranked him as the seventh-best 2B prospect in all of minor league baseball.

     

    Outlook

     The Phillies 2B situation has gotten cloudy in the past year and Hernandez may still be two-three years away from the big leagues. There is a lot of uncertainty here and it all depends on Utley's knee.

     

    Grade: Incomplete

Shortstop

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 26:  Jimmy Rollins #11 of the Philadelphia Phillies on deck during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 26, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Phillies 7-5.  (Phot
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    I believe it is a legitimate question as to whether or not the Phillies should bring back Jimmy Rollins next season. Obviously he has a TON to do with the Phillies' confidence and "swagger," and he can still play a very reliable (sometimes spectacular) shortstop. He has been a clutch hitter for the Phillies for a half-decade now and he is a former MVP.

    So how much money are we talking here, Jimmy? If Rollins expects a pay increase from the $8 million he has received each of the past five years, the Phillies will seriously consider letting him walk.

    That may be a shocking realization to some fans, but the Phillies may find a veteran shortstop (at a cheaper price) to fill in for a year or two until one of their homegrown guys are ready to go.

    Have the Phillies finally tired of Rollins' swing-for-the-fences/refuse-to-take-a-walk approach?

    The Phillies shortstop situation seems to revolve around J-Roll and...

    Freddy Galvis is a 21-year-old shortstop that is ranked as the "best defensive infielder" and "best infield arm" in the Phillies minor league system by Baseball America. The Phillies were impressed by the defensive stud at an early age; they were tracking him as a 14-year-old playing in Venezuela.

    He is only 155 pounds and has not been a good hitter while in the minors. In four seasons he has never hit higher than .240, but he does not strike out very often and he does manage to walk quite a bit.

    If Galvis makes it to big leagues, it will be because of his defensive abilities. Scouts have stated that if Galvis were in the majors right now, he would be an above-average shortstop. The 2011 season in Reading is a huge season for Galvis as the Phillies are hoping the young man can be just average at the plate.

    How about Michael Martinez? Yes, the Jose Reyes look-a-like Rule Five draft selection, Michael Martinez.

    Martinez is at the prime age of 28 and before this season, spent the entirety of his career in the Washington Nationals' minor league system. Don't expect him to be anything more than a utility player for the Phillies in the future.

    Not much on the prospects front at shortstop in the minors. Expect the Phil's to offer Rollins a contract around the $5 million range and if he refuses, they will look for someone else via free agency.

     

    Outlook

     Whether or not the Phillies give Rollins his last contract (what I anticipate he's looking for) will play a big factor in this grade.

    Defensively, Rollins and Galvis are Gold Glove-caliber players, but offensively Galvis leaves much to be desired and Rollins is not the same player he was when he won the MVP.

    If Galvis falls off the radar this season, the Phillies will have to look via free agency, as there is little to no depth at shortstop in the minors.

     

    Grade: C-

Third Base

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 08:  Placido Polanco #27 of the Philadephia Phillies against the Atlanta Braves during their opening day game at Turner Field on April 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    What elbow injury? I have to say this, Polly you are the man.

    Placido Polanco has been hitting the cover off the ball all season long. Big props to the man with the big head for making a seamless (self-less?) transition back to the hot corner. He is now 35 years old but he is on pace to have a career year in the RBI and home-run department.

    Polanco is signed through 2012, and their is a mutual option for 2013 at a reasonable $5.50 million with a $1 million buyout. How much longer can Polanco hit at a .300 level? Will some of Raul's old-man syndrome be rubbed off on our most consistent hitter?

    Either way, the Phillies need to have a backup plan when one of their MLB starting position players is as old as Polly. The Phillies' farm system has been very depleted at third base the past couple years, but they have switched a player's position just recently that could pay dividends in the near future.

    Slim pickin's on the farm at third base, but they are very excited about...

    Aaron Altherr is another young buck (20 years old) who is extremely lanky at 6'5'', 190 pounds, and he is an incredibly intriguing prospect. He was drafted right out of high school by the Phil's in 2009 and was a standout in both baseball and basketball.

    He struggled (as most players right out of high school do) in his first professional baseball action in the Gulf Coast League. His stock has risen greatly (10th-best Phillies prospect by Baseball America) after a stellar 2010 season where he hit above .300 in the Gulf Coast League.

    Scouts say that Altherr can drive the ball to all areas of the field, and as he fills out his lanky frame, will become an above-average power hitter. He has great speed and all the skills to be a solid five-tool player. He was an above-average outfielder but his switch to third base is still under review.

    It should be noted that he played shortstop in high school, so he definitely has the athletic ability to play third. He has produced at the minor league level faster than the Phillies expected, and hopefully he continues to take big steps forward.

    With not many prospects in the farm system at third base, the Phillies plan on switching Altherr to third, and it may fast-track him to the major leagues by switching from the talent-heavy outfield.

    Cody Overbeck is hitting .337 for Double-A Reading. He has hit an incredible eight home runs in 23 games. He is a bit older than the other prospects on this list but he is off to a tremendous start and that is good news for a position that lacks a lot of depth.

    He also was a FSL All-Star last season. If his hitting continues, will Overbeck get a promotion to the Lehigh Valley?

     

    Outlook

    Polanco looks like he can play until he's 40 and Altherr's stock has been on the rise as of late.

    Hopefully Altherr can make the switch from outfield to third and he can continue to develop, and Polanco can stay healthy.

    Keep an eye on Overbeck, who has been hitting the cover off the ball.

     

    Grade: B

Catcher

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 14, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Does anyone else think the Phillies are getting Chooch for a bargain at $2.75 million? How about before his back tightened up and his average dropped off the face of the earth?

    Carlos Ruiz is 32 years old and not the biggest guy in the world. He is listed at 5'10'' but Allen Iverson was listed at 6'...you get my point.

    Ruiz is signed through 2013 after signing a three-year contract extension in 2010 worth $8.85 million.

    Will 2013 be the fan favorite's last season in Phillies pinstripes? The Phillies have their sixth-ranked prospect according to Baseball America waiting in the wings.

    Sebastian Valle is only 20 years old, and he was signed out of Mexico for $30,000. He is a bit lanky at 6'1'', 170 pounds, but he has good raw power and a sweet swing.

    He still has time to groom in the minor leagues and that is a good thing, as his defensive play is still a question mark. He has improved significantly in the past year, evidenced by his 33 percent caught-stealing rate in 2010. An area of concern was his 12 passed balls in 2010. 

    The Phillies are hoping Valle continues to work his tail off, because he has the potential to hit around .280 with 15-20 HRs.

    Valle may be a few years away, but he showed last year in Lakewood that he has at least the potential to be a player. In 2010, Valle posted a .252/.295/.432 line. As previously mentioned, the kid has some power, with 25 doubles and 16 HR in 453 PA.

    His athletic ability, power and range all point to Valle having a significant upside, especially at the catcher position.

    Cameron Rupp is a big (6'1'', 240 pounds) 22-year-old that was an All-American at the University of Texas (everything really must be big down there). He was taken in the third round of the 2010 draft. Rupp was around the .300 range during his career at Texas and turned himself into a fabulous defensive catcher.

    Scouts worry that he may break down due to his larger frame behind the plate, and there is concern that his power numbers will not translate to pro baseball. These may have been legitimate concerns as he hit just .218 In the NYPL last season while adjusting to wooden bats.

     

    Outlook

     Ruiz is the guy for at least another three years and that should be enough time to determine if Valle has improved in his areas of weaknesses, and can be as good a player as the Phillies organization hopes he can be.

     

    Grade: B

    Ruiz is around for a while and Valle has scouts pretty excited. He has enough time in the minors to become an all-around player.

Relief Pitchers

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 27:  Relief pitcher Ryan Madson #46 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on April 27, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Phillies defeated the Diamondback
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    I really hope Ryan Madson's wife never said she hates Philadelphia and the fans, because he is the closer of the future for the Phillies in my mind. After all, Jose Contreras is probably 60 in American years.

    Madson has all of the talent to be a closer in the majors, but does he have the mental toughness? Brad Lidge's shoulder injury and Jose Contreras' old man injury may be blessings in disguise, as they give Madson the opportunity to show Ruben Amaro that he is worth closer money.

    Antonio Bastardo has been a pleasant surprise for the Phillies. His mid-90's fastball seems to baffle hitters at times and he obviously hides the ball extremely well.

    He is not the biggest guy and that may have something to do with the arm problems he has had in the past. He needs to develop his secondary pitches on the fly if he expects to be a reliable relief pitcher in the majors.

    People who follow the Phillies have expected Mike Stutes to make an appearance on the major league roster this season. He throws in the low to mid-90's and has a pretty good slider.

    He has only pitched in two innings with the Phillies this season, but he hasn't given up a hit while striking out two. Look for Stutes to log more innings as Charlie Manuel's confidence in him continues to grow.

    Michael Schwimer is a 6'8'', 240-pound right-handed relief pitcher who spent 2010 in Reading and in the Lehigh Valley. He has struck out 227 hitters and allowed 134 hits in 166 professional innings.

    He throws in the low 90's and it seems like he hides the ball well. He has an excellent slider and does not walk many hitters. Don't be surprised if the Phillies are calling Schwimer's name by season's end.

    Justin De Fratus is another young right-hander who at 6'4'' has the potential to be a reliever for the Phillies in the near future. Baseball America has him rated as the Phillies minor leaguer with the "best control."

    He projects to be a back-end-of-the-bullpen guy as he primarily is a fastball-slider pitcher. He has not shown the ability to keep his velocity up late into games, further evidence that a switch to the bullpen would be best.

    He is a strikeout pitcher with a mid-90's fastball and an excellent slider. A younger Brad Lidge? If players continue to get placed on the DL, Phillies fans may see De Fratus join the big league club.

     

    Outlook

     Madson moving into the bullpen was a great switch, and he has been stellar for the Phillies. Look for him to be the closer of the present and the future for the Phil's.

    Bastardo needs to stay healthy and pitch with the control he has shown this year and he will be a mainstay for years to come in Phillies red.

    This is a big year for Stutes and you have to like what you have seen from the kid in the early going.

    Schwimer and De Fratus both may be seen in Philadelphia before the season's end.

    The Phillies have a couple of guys down on the farm with big arms and big bodies that can contribute in the near future.

     

    Grade: B+

Center Field

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Shane Victorino #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies catches a fly ball during the game against the Florida Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on April 15, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Marlins won 4-3. (Photo by Drew Hallowel
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    The "Flyin Hawaiian" better not be taken out of the lead-off spot when Chase Utley returns, I'm just saying...Victorino has blossomed into an All-Star player who is one of the best outfielders in baseball. He covers a ton of field and has a cannon for an arm. He has been in the top 10 in assists the past three seasons.

    Victorino's contract runs through 2012 and it will be an interesting decision if Ruben Amaro wishes to keep his star center fielder.

    You'd have to think that Victorino is looking for his big-time payday as his good buddy Jayson Werth did from the Nationals.

    Victorino will not be getting anything close to the $126 million Werth received, but he still will be highly coveted due to his defense, power, speed and postseason experience.

    Sound familiar to another outfielder the Phillies once had?

    A big factor in determining if Victorino will be offered a new contract will be if the top prospect from the Cliff Lee trade can right his ship and become the player scouts think he can be.

    Tyson Gillies has outstanding speed, long range and a terrific arm. All things that the Phillies looked at when they traded Cliff Lee to the Mariners.

    He had a disastrous 2010 season where he was injured for much of the season and he was charged with cocaine possession. All of the charges were dropped on Gillies and he has always been thought of as a player with exceptional character.

    Gilles can hit for contact but has not shown much in the power department. He needs to stay healthy this season and continue to grow as a player if he wants to be on track to potentially replace Shane Victorino in CF in 2013.

    The Phillies are in good shape in center field with Gilles and Jiwan James. James is the seventh-rated prospect for the Phil's by Baseball America, along with the title of "best defensive outfielder."

    He is a converted pitcher (excellent arm in center) who has all of the tools to be an excellent center fielder. He is a switch-hitter who has shown power and contact capabilities.

    He is a bit behind the eight-ball after spending his first two pro seasons as a pitcher, but scouts are very optimistic about his skill-set. He is 6'4'' and can be a Gold Glove center fielder in the pros. James needs to continue to develop his discipline at the plate and overall hitting as his power should come around.

     

    Outlook

     Whether the Phillies keep Victorino around for 2013 or not, the position is in good shape (especially defensively) with Gilles and James.

     

    Grade: A-

First Base

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 27:  Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks up to the on deck circle during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 27, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Phillies defeated the Diam
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The $25 million-a-year man has first base locked up for the Phil's until 2016 (club option for 2017), so this position will be receiving a pretty solid grade consequently.

    Locking up "The Big Piece" was key for the Phil's, and he is looking even more valuable with the loss of Jayson Werth, the injury to Utley and the falling off the face of the earth of Raul Ibanez.

    Obviously no prospects in the minors are going to take Howard's job anytime soon (barring injury), so the Phillies' second-best prospect according to Baseball America has transitioned to the outfield.

    Expect that to be the case with any incoming minor leaguers who have the ability to play another position. Like it or not, Ryan Howard will be playing his career out on Broad Street.

    There is an interesting prospect currently playing first in the minors that is worth noting.

    Joe Savery (yes Joe Savery), the 6'3'', 215-pound left-handed pitcher out of Rice, has transitioned (kicked?) to first base after a not-so-stellar start to his minor league career.

    The good news for Savery is that I actually considered him to be a better hitting prospect than pitching prospect coming out of Rice. In fact, when he was originally drafted out of high school he was projected to be a big-time power hitter in the pro's.

    At Rice, he hit over .335 each year, not bad for a "pitcher." His pitching numbers were excellent as well, prompting the Phillies to take him in the first round. He was a top prospect in the Phillies organization as recently as two years ago, but you will not find him anywhere near the Baseball America rankings now.

    2011 is a big season for Savery to see if the big guy can hit over the course of a full season.

    Then there is Matt Rizzotti, the 6'5'', 235-pound 25-year-old who had a monster 2010. He started in Clearwater and ended up in the Lehigh Valley by the end of the year.

    He is a big guy who doesn't move very well, but he does project as a 20-25 HR guy who can hit for average. A switch to the outfield doesn't seem possible as he has very tight hips and little to no acceleration.

    Phillies fans can only hope that the big guy can have another big season with the Iron Pigs and become an enviable player to an AL team in need of a DH. With no skills to transition to another position, there is no chance Matt Rizzoti will ever be the guy for the Phillies.

     

    Outlook

     Howard will be around for at least another five years, and he has this position on lock and in good (huge) hands. He is one of the top players in MLB, you can't ask for much more than that.

     

    Grade: A

Starting Pitching

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13:  Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers to a Washington Nationals batter at Nationals Park on April 13, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Three of the Phillies' four aces may be in their 30s, but last time I checked they weren't playing football. A lot of pitchers do not reach their full potential until they are in their 30s.

    Halladay and Lee are in their prime, Oswalt has been terrific his entire career, and Cole Hamels may be considered a top-10 pitcher by the end of this season.

    There have been a lot of questions if the Phillies will be able to re-sign Hamels, but I don't think there is a chance that they let their youngest ace go. They have money coming off the books for Lidge and Ibanez and they will use that to bring King Cole back.

    Brody Colvin is the third-ranked prospect in the farm system according to Baseball America. He is also projected to be the fourth starter in 2014 for the Phillies behind Halladay, Lee and Hamels.

    He is a big 20-year-old right-hander at 6'4'', 190 who can throw in the mid-to-upper 90's with a good changeup, and he projects to be a number two starter in the majors.

    It seems the only question mark on Colvin is his character, as he was arrested in 2010 for a large fight in his hometown.

    He has a workhorse frame and the ability to dial up his filthy fastball when situations get tough. Look for Colvin to crack the Phillies starting rotation in the next three years.

    Jarred Cosart is the Phillies minor league pitcher with the "best fastball" according to Baseball America. He is also the fourth-ranked prospect in the farm system. He is another tall right-hander at 6'3'' who has great potential at only 19 years old.

    In 2010, the Phillies sent the young righty to Lakewood, where he struck out 77 batters in just 71 innings. He has had some arm issues and Colvin has bypassed Cosart a bit in prospect rankings because of this. You can't blame the Phillies for being overly cautious with Cosart as he is so young.

    Cosart can hit the high 90's with his fastball and he has shown the endurance to keep his velocity deep into games. He has shown excellent control in his short career and the ability to keep the ball low in the zone. A power pitcher that can keep the ball down has the ability to be a great big-league starter.

    His curveball has a lot of movement but he needs more repetitions before it is major league ready. His changeup still needs a lot of work before it is a reliable third pitch. Look for Cosart to crack the starting rotation with Colvin by 2014.

    How is our boy Phillippe Aumont doing in the minors? The 22-year-old 6'7'' 220 pound right-hander that was involved in the Cliff Lee trade. He is ranked as the pitcher with the "best curveball" by Baseball America in the Phillies system.

    The former first-rounder was switched back to a starter last season by the Phillies. He started in Reading but was terrible, posting an ERA over 7.00 and walking a ton of hitters, but was demoted back to Clearwater and has pitched much better.

    The Phillies obviously were intrigued by his 93-96 mph sinking fastball and his excellent curveball. He needs to be coached up well on locating his pitches and his arm angle before he can progress.

    I see him as a closer down the line, as he throws a high-90's fastball and a heavy sinker with the aforementioned curve. It seems that the Phillies are still up in the air as to where they see him pitching. 2011 is a huge season for Aumont.

    I'll throw in a left-handed pitching prospect who is ranked eighth in the organization by Baseball America, Jesse Biddle. He is the 19-year-old first round pick of the Phillies in 2010. He has a 6'5'', 225-pound frame and was reaching the low 90's in high school. ESPN also projects him as a number two starter if he can develop his secondary pitches.

     

    Outlook

    Obviously, the major league roster is loaded with one of the greatest rotations (on paper) ever assembled.

    Oswalt may be gone after next year, but expect the Phillies to lock up Hamels in the near future.

    Speaking of the future, it looks very bright with rising power arms like Cosart and Colvin. Will they continue to progress at the rate they have been and crack the rotation in a couple of years?

    Let's remember that Carlos Carrasco was once a valued commodity so these projections are just that, projections.

     

    Grade: A

Head Ball Coach

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13:  Manager Charlie Manuel #41 of the Philadelphia Phillies talks with the media in the dugout before the start of their game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 13, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Ca
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    The Phillies and Charlie Manuel agreed on a contract in spring training to keep Charlie in town for another three years.

    He has led the Phillies to four straight National League East titles. Since division play began in 1969, only one other NL manager, Bobby Cox, has accomplished that feat.

    Since Manuel took over in 2005, the Phillies' record (544-428) is the best in the NL. Manuel’s postseason record (27-19) gives him more wins than any active manager other than Tony LaRussa and that nerd Terry Francona. Hey Terry, thanks for nothing (I know he didn't have much to work with either).

    Triple-A Lehigh Valley has in all likelihood what will be Charlie's heir apparent in Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg was bypassed by the stinking Cubs in their search for their next manager and the Phillies organization will reap the rewards.

     

    Outlook

     The coaching position for the Phillies looks to be in good shape with Charlie Manuel and Ryne Sandberg.

     

    Grade: A

Left Field and Right Field

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 25:  Raul Ibanez #29 of the Philadelphia Phillies sits in the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 25, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Image
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    I have to admit, I thought if Raul Ibanez's intense offseason training regimen didn't help his hitting, his sweet beard would have. Wrong and wrong.

    I decided to combine the Phillies prospects in right and left together as many project to play either position.

    Ben Francisco may not be hitting the cover off the ball like he was in the early going, but he still has shown some solid power numbers and the ability to drive in runs.

    He provides a power right-handed bat who can hit lefties well. He has a good arm and speed and seems to be a guy that will hit in the .270 range.

    Are the Phillies confident enough in him to have him be the everyday right fielder the next three years?

    John Mayberry Jr. may never be an everyday starter for the Phillies if he can not take the reigns from Raul. He has shown that he can come off the bench and provide the type of pop expected from his large frame.

    He can hit left-handed pitching and he will have a spot with the Phillies as long as he continues to do so. He needs to improve his plate discipline against right-handers as his approach seems totally lost at times.

    Mayberry is definitely a serviceable player who will at the very least provide depth for the Phillies for the next five years.

    The Phillies' left-field (or right) situation still seems to be in good shape with Domonic Brown, who has been one of the top prospects in all of baseball the past three years.

    He has been the Phillies' top prospect for the past three years and it may be his time to shine before the season is over. In fact, he probably would be playing left field right now if he didn't break his hand in spring training.

    Brown is ranked as the Phil's "best hitter for average" and "best outfield arm" by Baseball America. Even though it seems he has lost his swing ever since changing his stance (then changing it back) Brown's return to the Phillies lineup can't come soon enough.

    He has tremendous power and speed and a cannon for an arm. He can play either right or left field and will be a middle-of-the-order power bat for the next decade. We saw last season with Brown in right that you better have great speed if you want to test his arm.

    This is the final year of Raul's contract and it will also be his last year as a Phillie. Don't worry, Philadelphia, left field it is in good hands (when they're not broken) with Domonic Brown. The Phillies must think he's pretty good if they wouldn't trade him for either Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee.

    The most intriguing prospect in the Phillies system is Jon Singleton. He was planted at first base, but he has some athleticism to his 6'2'', 215-pound frame, and was switched to left field.

    He is only 19 years old and is still a raw talent, but he has shot up the prospect rankings after a great 2010. He throws and hits left-handed.

    Singleton is the number two prospect in the Phillies minor league system. He is ranked as the "best power hitter" and "best strike-zone discipline" of all Phillies minor leaguers by Baseball America.

    How does a 19-year-old garner such acclaim? Last season in Lakewood, he hit .423 in his first month at A-ball. He was the youngest regular in the South Atlantic League. He finished with the BlueClaws by hitting .290 and 14 HRs. Consequently, he was ranked as the top prospect in the South Atlantic League.

    Scouts are already projecting him to be an All-Star player who will not be a liability in the outfield with his speed. He is not a burner, but he is no Raul Ibanez either. He is projected as a 35-40 HR, 100 RBI player but he is still very young and a few years away.

    All indications thus far are that Singleton is making a successful transition to left field, very good news for Phillies fans.

    Miguel Alvarez is another 20-year-old corner outfielder who has shown up on scouts' radars the past season. The outfield in Lakewood is loaded with talent and this season will play a huge role in determining if Alvarez is a real player or not.

    Scouts say that he has great hands and "the quickest wrists in the farm system." He has excellent speed and has the potential to steal 20-30 bases. His .329 average last season has a lot of people watching Alvarez closely this season.

     

    Outlook

     With Brown, Francisco, Mayberry and Singleton in the corner outfield spots, the Phillies have a nice combination of power and speed for the next decade.

    Hopefully Brown can return quickly from his rehab stint and fast-track his way back to the majors.

    Singleton is still a wild card because he is so young, but you can't help but get excited about what scouts are projecting from the guy.

     

    Grade: A+