Philadelphia Phillies: Top 25 Positional Prospects in the System
The Philadelphia Phillies know the importance of developing a strong core of positional players as prospects.
After years of losing and en route to setting a new mark for losses by a franchise in sports history, the Phillies began to develop a strong farm system, and a couple of years later, watched the cream of that crop hoist a World Series trophy over their heads.
There are simply no two ways about it. Drafting and developing great positional prospects won the Phillies the World Series title in 2008. That team was a potent offensive group led by the exploits of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Pat Burrell, to name a few.
With Burrell being long gone and the rest of that core of players aging, it is never too soon to look to the farm system and take a look at which prospects may make up that next core. Though the Phillies' system is thin at some positions and has plenty of question marks, this organization is oozing potential.
The Phillies love to draft and sign players with excellent raw tools and a ton of upside, and those types of players are numerous in this farm system. The real question is: Which players have the best chance on donning red pinstripes in the MLB? Who are the best of the best?
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25. Carlos Alonso, INF
Carlos Alonso is more of a sleeper prospect than anything, but after a solid offensive season at two different levels of the Phillies' system in 2011, is worth a mention.
A right handed infielder, Alonso was drafted way back in the 32nd round of the 2010 Draft, and after spending that season with the Williamsport Crosscutters (and the beginning of the 2011 season,) Alonso was promoted to A Lakewood, where he showed a great eye at the plate and posted an OBP of .425 in 194 plate appearances.
24. Jeremy Barnes, INF
Jeremy Barnes is another sleeper prospect at the back end of this list who has dealt with a couple of injuries over the last couple of seasons but has a solid amount of upside.
After attending the University of Notre Dame, the Phillies selected Barnes in the 11th round of the 2009 Draft. After a disappointing start to the season in A Lakewood, the Phillies sent Barnes to A+ Clearwater where he really turned his season around.
In 100 games, Barnes hit nine home runs and 23 doubles, posting an OPS of .738.
Photo via Jay Floyd/Phoulballz.com
23. Kyrell Hudson, OF
Kyrell Hudson is yet another prospect in the Phillies' system with a number of excellent, raw tools and a lot of potential, but after dealing with injuries and a bit of inconsistency, has yet to show any of the promise that made him a third round pick in the 2009 Draft.
With that being said, however, Hudson spent the entire 2011 season with A- Williamsport and had a much better season in his third professional year. He boosted his OPS to .679 and used his speed much more effectively on the base paths.
If he can figure things out at the plate, Hudson has the potential to be a good, two-way, MLB player.
22. Cody Asche, 3B
Despite spending most of the 2011 Draft to stock up on middle infielders, catchers, and left handed pitchers, the Phillies found an opportunity to pick Cody Asche, a third baseman, in the fourth round.
Drafted out of the University of Nebraska, a lot of scouts believe that Asche has the potential to be a very good hitter at the MLB level. A left handed hitter, Asche has a balanced approach at the plate and excellent power. A slight uppercut motion gives him a nice looking swing that you see in a lot of left handed power hitters.
Most pundits believe that he'll be able to stick at third base. Coming out of college, a third baseman that can move through the system quickly is just what the doctor ordered for the Phillies, and though Asche struggled at A- Williamsport in 2011, there are many people who believe he'll be on the MLB's doorstep soon enough.
21. Darin Ruf, 1B
Darin Ruf is the type of prospect that a lot of expert scouts and prospect gurus find reasons to disagree over. The Phillies drafted him in the 20th round of the 2009 Draft out of Creighton University, and after a couple of disappointing seasons, it seemed as though Ruf was able to figure something out in 2011.
He spent the entire season in A+ Clearwater and logged a ton of plate appearances (554) and posting an OPS of .894 with 17 home runs.
With a season like Ruf had in 2011, it is easy to like his potential as a hitter for a number of reasons, and with his struggles also in the recent past, it is easy to see why scouts struggle over just how good of a prospect he is.
A solid 2012 campaign would do wonders for the first baseman, and may force the Phillies to consider a position change. He did log a couple of innings at third base and left field last season, but those are terribly small sample sizes.
20. Carlos Tocci, OF
When assembling some of the players for this list, Carlos Tocci was a guy that I had considered leaving off of the actual rankings and making an honorable mention, for a number of reasons. However, he wound up being a last minute addition, the reason being this: He has some of the best tools in the Phillies' system.
That's saying a lot. After all, the Phillies' draft strategy in recent years has seemingly been to draft a lot of very athletic outfielders with great raw tools with a ton of potential, but also need a ton of work in regards to development.
Tocci fits that bill to a tee. The Phillies made a somewhat uncharacteristic move last season when they signed the talented outfielder as an amateur free agent for quite a bit of money. I wasn't going to rank him because he has no experience in professional baseball, but I couldn't ignore his skill-set and potential.
It shouldn't be long before Tocci is near the top of this list. He has the potential to be the best positional prospect in this system—it's just too soon to rank him any higher.
If you're interested in reading more about Tocci, here's the article I wrote about him when the Phillies signed him back in August.
19. Cody Overbeck, 3B
Cody Overbeck is the type of player that most experts would consider a "fringe" prospect. He has okay potential, but isn't likely to contribute to the MLB club in as an everyday player. I'm putting him on this list because I believe that over the last couple of seasons, Overbeck has shown that there is more than meets the eye to his skill-set.
Drafted in the ninth round of the 2008 Draft, Overbeck has progressed through the system rather quickly, and in 2011, found himself playing third base for AAA Lehigh Valley. For the second season in a row, Overbeck hit 24 home runs, and in each of his four professional seasons, has posted double digits in the home run column.
All in all, he is a solid offensive player. He doesn't have the bat or the glove to stick at third base as an everyday player, but is the type of prospect that can find ways to contribute.
18. Matt Rizzotti, 1B
Matt Rizzotti is another fringe prospect with some upside.
Drafted by the Phillies in the sixth round of the 2007 Draft out of Manhattan College, Rizzotti is a big, powerful first baseman that has taken quite a while to develop in the system. Though the Phillies promoted him to AAA Lehigh Valley in 2010, he struggled and played the entire 2011 season with AA Reading.
A left handed power hitter, he is blocked at the MLB level in the Phillies' organization, and thus, isn't quite as valuable as he should be to other teams. Unable to play any other positions on the diamond, Rizzotti may be most valuable to the Phillies in a trade, but even then, his value is minimal.
17. Harold Martinez, 3B
The Phillies drafted Harold Martinez out of the University of Miami in the second round of last summer's draft and were extremely happy to get him signed. A third baseman by trade, he has the potential to be a very good two-way player, and for a system that lacks depth at third base, that is excellent news.
Just by taking a look at his batting stance, it isn't hard to surmise that Martinez's best potential tool is the ability to hit for power. With that being said, however, the third baseman doesn't have many obvious holes in his game, though he'll never hit .300 and needs to work on base running.
Two of Martinez's traits that often go unnoticed are his character and work ethic, both of which make him a prospect the Phillies really like. Because he'll stick at third base, he should be a guy that shoots way up this list with a bit more professional experience.
16. Harold Garcia, 2B
Signed as an amateur free agent several seasons ago, once upon a time, Harold Garcia was a player that the Phillies had high hopes for. At the time, depth in the middle infield was an obvious hole in the farm system, and it looked as though Garcia would help replenish some of the depth that was lacking.
For a few seasons, Garcia was certainly on the right path. Then the injury bug took over. The big one was a torn ACL that sidelined him for most of the 2011 season.
While injuries have slowed him down, one thing working in Garcia's favor is that lack of middle infield depth, particularly in the upper tiers of the farm system. If he's healthy, Garcia has excellent speed and the ability to hit for contact and work his way on base.
He's a good fielder and, overall, a very solid second baseman. He'll stay in AA Reading, at least to begin the 2012 season, and once again the question will be whether or not he can stay healthy.
Photo via Jay Floyd/PhoulBallz.com
15. Kelly Dugan, OF
After losing their first round selection to the Seattle Mariners as compensation for signing Raul Ibanez, the Phillies made a curious selection with their first pick in the 2009 Draft by selecting Kelly Dugan out of Notre Dame High School in the second round.
After struggling in rookie ball in his first go-around, Dugan caught fire in 2010 and was promoted to A- Williamsport before dealing with injuries. In 2011, he went back to Williamsport and had a very solid season, posting an OPS of .730.
The one thing that Dugan has yet to do is show that he can hit for power, which was one of his best tools coming out of high school. His bat in general is well liked by scouts, and though he was drafted as a first baseman, the Phillies have used him in the outfield, where he has been more than solid defensively.
At just 21-years-old, Dugan has time to grown. He could move up this list quite a bit with a solid, healthy 2012 season.
14. Aaron Altherr, OF
Aaron Altherr is easily one of the most intriguing prospects in the Phillies' system. From a sheer tools perspective, he should be near the top of this list. He is very talented and extremely athletic, but from a baseball standpoint, has yet to put any of it together.
The Phillies drafted him in the ninth round of the 2009 Draft out of Aqua Fria High School, and some scouts were worried about just how raw his tools were. That proved to be the case, as he struggled in rookie ball and has been slow moving through the system.
He has the potential to be a very well rounded player. He plays defense well, throws well, and runs well. At the plate, he has the potential to hit for contact and hit for some power. The question is whether or not he can put it all together, and so far, that has been a real cause for concern, though he is just 21-years-old.
13. Zach Collier, OF
Zach Collier has been a nightmare for the Phillies.
The Phillies selected the talented outfielder in the first round of the 2008 Draft, and sent him to rookie ball soon thereafter. Those 37 games in rookie ball would, arguably, be the most successful of his career to date.
From there on out, Collier has struggled with a number of issues. He has faced numerous injuries, battled with inconsistency, and was even hit with a suspension for use of a banned substance.
It's easy to forget about Collier's lofty potential, but even that is fading fast. His best tool is great speed, and he has the potential to be a very solid contact hitter. He is a good defensive outfielder with an arm that is just above average, and his only tool that should be classified as below average is his ability to hit for power.
Photo via Jay Floyd/PhoulBallz.com
12. Brian Pointer, OF
Brian Pointer is one of those prospects that no one is talking about. The fact that he hasn't played an inning above rookie ball may have something to do with that, but there is a lot to like regardless.
The Phillies drafted Pointer in the 28th round of the 2010 Draft out of Galena High School. Scouts rave over his raw tools, and the Phillies liked them enough to throw him a signing bonus big enough to keep him from fulfilling a college commitment.
Just 19-years-old, there is a lot to like about Pointer. He has the potential to be a very good hitter with above average contact skills and good power. He is an excellent outfielder with good speed, and for now, profiles as a center fielder with the ability to stick at that position.
11. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
Heading into the 2012 season, it seems as though Cesar Hernandez has been in the Phillies' system for what feels like forever, so it is easy to forget that he is just 21-years-old.
Signed as an amateur free agent, Hernandez was once hailed as Chase Utley's heir apparent at second base, and though there is still a chance for him to take over at second base at some point in the future, it doesn't seem as though he'll do much offensively, let alone, provide the same firepower Utley does.
With that being said, however, there is still a lot to like. Hernandez has three tools that scouts believe could be above average at the MLB level. The ability to hit for contact and run could make Hernandez an on-base machine, but he has very little power.
He's also a very good defensive second baseman, but his arm will likely keep him there throughout his career.
10. Gauntlett Eldemire, OF
Gauntlett Eldemire is one of the most promising prospects in the Phillies' system and no one is talking about him. Drafted in 2010 out of Ohio University, the outfielder fell to the Phillies in the sixth round because of a wrist injury, and because that wrist needed surgery after he signed with the club, he missed all of 2011.
Eldemire is the type of prospect that a lot of scouts, particularly in the Phillies' system, can't wait to see. Now 22-years-old, missing the entire season hurt his progression a lot. However, most people believe that he has the skill-set to overcome those injuries and be successful.
An athletic guy with a great build, Eldemire's bat is his greatest tool. He has the potential to hit for average and his power is above average. His speed tool should give him the ability to stick in center field, although scouts have disagreed about the strength of his arm.
All in all, Eldemire has the tools to be a great center field prospect in the near future, should he be able to stay healthy, and power hitting center fielders are a rarity.
9. Jiwan James, OF
Jiwan James is a difficult prospect to rank. Nine out of ten times, you will see him listed among the top ten Phillies prospects overall, and that his because he has a vast amount of talent. Some scouts, however, question whether or not he can put it all together.
A converted pitcher, James is the best defensive outfielder in the Phillies' system. He has excellent speed, good baseball instincts, and a very strong arm, making him an excellent candidate to play center field. No one is going to question his defense.
His hitting, on the other hand, is a sight for sore eyes. Short and sweet, James is never going to be an above average hitter, for average or power, at the MLB level. With A+ Clearwater in 2011, James posted an OBP of .327 and that was progress.
With a cannon for an arm and excellent defensive tools, James will play in the MLB someday, but one must wonder whether or not his poor hitting tools will keep him from becoming an everyday player.
8. Tyson Gillies, OF
Tyson Gillies is a player that is easy to forget about on a list like this, but in my personal opinion, there is a lot to like. Originally drafted in the 26th round of the 2006 Draft by the Seattle Mariners, the Phillies acquired him as part of the deal that sent Cliff Lee west.
His first couple of seasons in the Phillies' system have been disastrous. Gillies hasn't been able to stay healthy, and in total, has played in just 31 games as a member of the Phillies' organization.
With that being said, he has the tools to be a very good center fielder, and is closer to the MLB, despite the injuries, than most players in the system. He has the potential to be a very solid contact hitter with average power, and his defense is top notch.
Though he has just an average arm, Gillies has tremendous speed, which is his best tool, and excellent range in center field. With Shane Victorino primed for free agency following the 2012 season, one must wonder whether or not Gillies can throw himself into the mix with a solid, rebound year.
7. Mitchell Walding, SS
The Phillies' approach to the 2011 Draft was fairly simple to understand. The club set out with the intention of improving depth at catcher, left handed pitching, and the middle infield, and by selecting shortstop Mitchell Walding, the club had an interesting shortstop prospect on their hands.
Walding was selected in the 5th round by the Phillies and his story revolves around potential. Though just 19-years-old, Walding stands at six-foot-three and has the potential to develop very good power at the MLB level.
Defensively, he has all of the tools to stick at shortstop. Though he'll need a few different tweaks to his game, Walding's upside is tremendous.
At the very least, the Phillies have an interesting bat to keep an eye on, but at the most, Walding can be a powerful shortstop with an excellent, two-way skill-set.
On his blog, Phighting On, fellow Phillies writer Bryan Sheehan caught up with Walding, where he answered questions about his hitting approach and a possible move to third base. Give it a read!
6. Tyler Greene, SS
A couple of rounds after selecting Mitchell Walding, the Phillies made a bold selection by picking Tyler Greene in the 11th round out of West Boca Raton Community High School. A tremendous talent, Greene had a college commitment to the University of Georgia that scared most teams away, but he was a third round talent slipping into the 11th round, and the Phillies were willing to go over-slot.
It isn't hard to understand why the Phillies really wanted to get him signed. Greene is a tremendous athlete with two plus tools at age 19—speed and power, though raw.
If he can put it all together, Greene has the potential to be an excellent shortstop at the MLB level. He has the glove and athleticism to stick there, and can be an above average hitter. He has very quick hands and developing power, which should make him a top prospect as soon as he gets some professional at-bats under his belt.
5. Roman Quinn, OF / SS / 2B
After losing Jayson Werth to the Washington Nationals, the Phillies gained an early pick in the second round of last summer's draft and used it to select a guy with a ton of talent, Roman Quinn, out of high school.
Though he roamed the outfield for Port St. Joe's High School, the Phillies view him as a middle infielder thanks in large part to a small frame—Quinn stands at just five-foot-ten.
Regardless of that, Quinn is one of the best athletes in the Phillies' system and has the talent to be very successful at whatever position he plays. According to most scouts, Quinn was the fastest player taken in the 2011 Draft, and that obviously will be his best tool.
Quinn is also impressive at the plate. A switch hitter, Quinn has great bat speed, some lift to his swing, and the potential to hit for power, despite his size. He sprays the ball to all fields and can change the outcome of a game with his speed, drawing painfully obvious comparisons to the likes of Jimmy Rollins and Michael Bourn.
4. Maikel Franco
Maikel Franco is an interesting prospect that made tremendous strides in 2011. Signed as an amateur free agent, Franco cruised right into the New York Penn League at age 18 and more than held his own against tough, older competitors.
A third baseman by trade, Franco was impressive with the Williamsport CrossCutters in 2011, and though he struggled in a brief promotion to A Lakewood at the end of last season, Franco's future is promising.
First and foremost, he is one of the few legitimate third base prospects in this system and has a great chance to stick there as he progresses. Scouts rave about his plate discipline, and he has a nice swing that, combined with his frame, gives him power potential.
At just 19-years-old and heading into his first full season at Lakewood, Franco is certainly a player to keep an eye on.
3. Freddy Galvis
Freddy Galvis is the type of guy that scouts will debate over until they're blue in the face, and as such, he is the type of prospect that I have a terrible time trying to find a fair spot for on a list like this.
After spending most of the off-season speculating about whether or not he would be the heir apparent to Jimmy Rollins, most of us know the story of Galvis. He is a supreme defensive shortstops with great range and a strong arm, and if it were necessary, Galvis could step onto the MLB diamond and be a positive contributor with his slick defense.
The problem is that he has struggled at the plate for years, and while most scouts believe that he can be an average contributor offensively, he has yet to put it all together. With that being said, he is just 22-years-old and showed signs of improvement at both AA Reading and AAA Lehigh Valley last season.
So what do the Phillies actually have in Galvis?
Well, that is difficult to say. We know he can play defense. There's no doubt about that. But with below average hit tools and just average speed, and with Rollins locked in at shortstop for the next four seasons (most likely,) one must wonder just how valuable Galvis is to the Phillies.
2. Larry Greene Jr.
Larry Greene Jr. may not be the perfect prospect, but he is certainly the type of prospect that scouts are easily excited over.
Those still upset over the loss of Jayson Werth should take comfort in knowing that the Phillies turned compensation for losing him into Greene and Roman Quinn—two excellent prospects with the potential to have a profound impact at the MLB level.
The name of Greene's game is power. An excellent athlete at six-foot-one, his left handed power is well above average, and though he was a pull hitter in high school, scouts love his swing. He has a very balanced approach and an uppercut with a two handed finish, generating terrific power.
He has enough athleticism to play left field, and if you want to dream a little bit, he profiles as an athletic, outfield version of Ryan Howard. There is still some work to be done with his swing, but Greene is a guy the Phillies are thrilled to have aboard.
1. Sebastian Valle
After sending Jonathan Singleton to the Houston Astros last summer as part of the deal that landed the Phillies Hunter Pence and with Domonic Brown having too many MLB at-bats to qualify, the top positional prospect spot opened up this winter, and Sebastian Valle is, more than likely, the unanimous choice.
A sweet swinging catcher, there is a lot to like about Valle. Signed as an amateur free agent, Valle's progression has been very promising. He is a very athletic catcher and has been working hard on his defensive skills, which some scouts believe will be better than the numbers say.
Valle has a strong arm and a growing confidence in his catching, and because he has worked with guys like Trevor May and Julio Rodriguez throughout his career, he'll be moving to AA Reading this upcoming season—a huge test for his development.
What makes him the top positional prospect is the fact that, while being a solid defensive catcher, he has the ability to hit as well. Scouts love his potential to hit for power, and he has been growing into his six-foot-one frame more and more each season. He has a balanced swing and a solid approach, but still needs work.
All in all, if Valle turned out to be the next Carlos Ruiz, the Phillies would be satisfied, but there is potential for more with Valle.