With a lefty heavy pitching class, the Phils hope they have struck gold with the next Cole Hamels in this year's draft.
In just two short years the Philadelphia Phillies went from being a team known for their intimidating offense, to a team defined by their historic starting rotation.
Even on the minor league level, the Phillies had a quartet of "baby aces" in Jared Cosart, Brody Colvin, Trevor May and Jesse Biddle. Cosart has been dealt now, but not before Biddle and possibly May had surpassed him on the organizational depth chart.
In addition to the "baby aces" the Phillie farm system has done a great job of producing talented relievers. Phillies fans are already familiar with the successes of Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stutes, while they will soon be getting to know Michael Schwimer, Phillippe Aumont and Justin De Fratus as well.
With the signing deadline for the 2011 draftees having passed, the Phillies draft has been regarded as a success. Many people are suggesting this is the best draft the team has had since 2008.
As has been previously covered, the Phillies made a strong effort to target infield prospects in this year's draft. Given the previous lack of infield depth in the farm system, that is a large part of why this draft is considered so successful.
Additionally though, the Phils did a good job supplementing their already pitching rich system. This is a ranking of the top five pitchers entering the farm system from the 2011 draft.
The 20-year-old was selected by the Phillies in the seventh round out of Vavapai College, and eventually signed for $250,000.
The book on him is simple. An incredible arm but very raw, the right-hander has a fastball that routinely sits in the low-to-mid 90s and can occasionally touch 99 mph.
The downside is that he is still working on developing any secondary pitches to go along with it. He has shown glimpses of potential working with a slider and splitter.
Giles future with the Phils is likely in the bullpen. While he is a little less polished than the typical bullpen candidates the Phillies take, he has mountains of potential as a back of the bullpen type guy.
He has been assigned to start his pro career in Rookie-ball with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. He will likely start next year in extended spring training before joining the Williamsport Crosscutters in June when the NY-Penn league season begins.
When the Phillies used their eighth-round pick on the 21-year-old left-hander, he was seen as something of an enigma.
Austin Wright had all the tools and body of being a big-time pitcher, yet he was unable to ever fully put it together.
After transferring to Ole Miss after two years in Junior College, he disappointed with only a so-so season in the SEC. On the surface he has good stuff, a fastball that sits 90-94 and a quality curveball to complement it. The problem was that his pitches were getting hit because he was getting too much plate with them.
Despite the struggles, he was still seen by many teams as a top 10 rounds draft pick. The southpaw signed right away with the Phillies for $125,000 and has not disappointed one bit since.
Initially assigned to the NY-Penn league, the left-hander at times seemed like a man among boys. After eight games, he was given a promotion to Lakewood.
Since joining the Blue Claws he has been absolutely dominating. It is still a small sample size but so far in only four starts he has a 1.64 ERA while striking out 9.4/9 IP and walking only 2.9/9 IP.
Wright's performance has turned some heads this year. Expect him to start next year right back in Lakewood.
The Phillies made Adam Morgan the first pitcher they drafted this year when they selected the Alabama junior in the third round of the draft.
Morgan's college career reads very much like Wright's. The potential is there, however, he just has been unable to consistently harness it.
Morgan's bread and butter is his low 90's fastball that is complemented by a solid changeup. In addition, the 6'1" southpaw has an arm slot and effortless delivery reminiscent of fan favorite Cliff Lee.
Morgan signed early for $250,000 and was assigned to begin his pro career with the Williamsport Crosscutters.
In nine NY-Penn league starts, he has a 2.11 ERA and 1.055 WHIP. In comparison to his draft-mate Wright, Morgan's 7.0 K/9 IP means he does not strike out as many hitters. However, his 1.7 BB/9 IP means he walks less as well.
Morgan's strong season since joining the organization likely has him ticketed to anchor the Lakewood starting rotation next year along with Austin Wright. Being both were left-handed, enigmatic college juniors from the same draft class, these two are destined to be constantly compared as long they remain in the organization together.
The Phillies plucked this French-Canadian in the 17th round out of Ahuntsic JC in Quebec. The Phillies followed him throughout the summer before handing him $100,000 on signing day to join the organization.
In many ways, Dygestile-Therrien represents the classic Phillies pitching selection. He is a tall, right-handed 18-year-old with room for projection.
His fastball is around 90 mph currently, but scouts expect that to improve as he matures. Additionally, he already has a very smooth delivery to the plate that limits the stress on his arm.
While JDT has yet to debut in the Phillies minor league system, he does already have valuable experience beyond that of most teen prospects. He has pitched internationally for his native Canada.
Additionally, a fun fact about JDT that Phils fans will love: The rival New York Mets drafted him out of high school last year, but failed to sign him. Just a year later the Fightins not only drafted him, but they also successfully signed him.
At this point, it would appear the Phillies are just rubbing salt in an open wound when it comes to the Mets.
He has yet to debut in the minors for the Phillies, but it is likely he will start next season in extended spring training before joining the Williamsport Crosscutters roster in June.
If there was a name to remember out of the 2011 pitching draft class, this would be it. It is also a name that is the very definition of an 11th-hour signing.
Phillies fans went to bed shortly after midnight on August 16th thinking the deadline to sign prospects had come and gone, and the Phils had a solid but not great draft class.
They awoke the following morning to an early Christmas present. High School southpaw Braden Shull apparently beat the clock and signed a late deal for $137,500 to join the Phillies organization.
The 6'6" Iowa native was considered the state's best left-handed pitching prospect and until signing, was committed to attending college at Kansas State.
Shull's repertoire consists of a low 90s fastball with movement, decent cutter, good curveball, and a still developing changeup. The good news is that the Phillies as an organization place a high emphasis on changeups and will likely spend a lot of time helping him make his changeup a legitimate weapon.
Shull is a player who has seen his stock rise tremendously this spring. Less than a year ago he had a fastball in the low to mid 80s that has since jumped up in speed. His secondary pitches were also lacking at the time but have since improved quite a bit.
Now being provided the opportunity to play on a daily basis with professional instruction, the sky is the limit for the 27th rounder. As it is, he probably slots in behind Jesse Biddle as the organization's second best left-handed pitching prospect.
Like Dygestile-Therrien, Shull has yet to make his professional debut. It depends on how much he shows the Phillies he could be fast-tracked to start next year in Lakewood, or be held in extended spring training until the NY-Penn league starts.