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February 16, 2010

Future Shock

Phillies Top 11 Prospects

by Kevin Goldstein

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top 11 prospects

Five-Star Prospects
1. Domonic Brown, OF
Four-Star Prospects
2. Phillippe Aumont, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
3. Trevor May, RHP
4. Tyson Gillies, OF
5. Sebastian Valle, C
6. Anthony Gose, OF
7. Jiwan James, OF
8. Brody Colvin, RHP
9. Domingo Santana, OF
10. Scott Mathieson, RHP
Two-Star Prospects
11. Juan Carlos (J.C.) Ramirez, RHP

Four More:
12. Jarred Cosart, RHP: This long-armed projectable righty has the raw ability to rocket up this list should his secondary pitches develop.
13. Antonio Bastardo, LHP: For many, this changeup specialist projects simply as a nice middle reliever.
14. Freddy Galvis, SS: An outstanding defensive shortstop, Galvis still has a long way to go with the bat.
15. Leandro Castro, OF: The Dominican outfielder packs impressive tools into a small package, but scouts are unsure as to his value, since he profiles as a corner outfielder.

1. Domonic Brown, OF
DOB: 9/3/87
Height/Weight: 6-5/204
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: 20th round, 2006, Redan HS (GA)
2009 Stats: .500/.583/.900 at Rookie-level (3 G); .303/.386/.517 at High-A (66 G); .279/.377/.504 at Double-A (37 G)
Last Year's Ranking: 7

Year in Review: An ultra-athletic outfielder, Brown took a step forward in 2009, but maybe not the massive one many were expecting.
The Good: Brown's combination of size and athleticism make him extremely unique. He has strong wrists, good bat speed, and plenty of raw power when he gets his arms extended. He has slowly developed a good understanding of the strike zone. Unlike many left-handed power prospects, he has no distinct platoon disadvantage. Brown has above-average speed thanks to a long, graceful stride, and his arm is among the best in the organization.
The Bad: While Brown's power has improved each year, he hit just three homers in 147 Double-A at-bats. Many scouts feel that the 30+ home-run projection some put on him is far too strong, based on a swing that is on more of a single plane than one that provides loft and backspin. While he has the speed to play center field, he gets poor jumps and runs circular routs to balls. At times, he expands his strike zone when he's behind in the count.
Ephemera: Former Phillies closer Al Holland is the only player drafted 607th overall to reach the big leagues.
Perfect World Projection: He'll be an All-Star outfielder with power and speed.
Path to the Big Leagues: The Phillies' outfield situation leaves him significantly blocked.
Timetable: Brown will likely begin 2010 with a return engagement to Double-A. The hope is that he can compete for a job next spring, though there will be no opening for him unless Jayson Werth departs via free agency.

2. Phillippe Aumont, RHP
DOB: 1/7/89
Height/Weight: 6-7/220
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2007, Ecole Du Versant (QC) (Mariners)
2009 Stats: 3.24 ERA (33.1-24-12-35) at High-A (29 G); 5.09 ERA (17.2-21-11-24) at Double-A (15 G)
Last Year's Ranking: 2 (Mariners)

Year in Review: The Mariners' top pick from 2007 made a surprisingly early transition to the bullpen and held his own at Double-A before becoming a key part in the Cliff Lee deal.
The Good: Aumont is a pure power arm. He has a 92-94 mph fastball that touches 96, and yet the pitch earns as much praise for its sink as it does its velocity. His size adds a bit of deception, and his three-quarters arm angle also allows the pitch to play up. He'll flash a plus slider at times, and he pitches with a lot of swagger.
The Bad: Aumont's power breaking ball is inconsistent, as he has a tendency to get around on the pitch and flatten it out. He needs to control his emotions better, as he'll often engage in unproductive stare downs with umpires. Aumont is also known to frequently slam his glove when leaving a game. His changeup is below average, and it'll need to develop if he's to make a successful return to starting.
Ephemera: It's little surprise that Aumont is the only player ever drafted out of Ecole Du Versant (Versant Secondary School), a school of approximately 1,200 students located in Gatineau, Quebec, in which all classes are in French.
Perfect World Projection: Aumont projects to be a good third starter, and maybe a bit more.
Path to the Big Leagues: The Phillies plan to return him to starting, which could move his timetable back a year or so.
Timetable: Aumont had the ability to reach the big leagues this year if he stays in the bullpen, but the Phillies want to see if he can get there as a starter first. He'll begin 2010 at Double-A Reading.

3. Trevor May, RHP
DOB: 9/23/89
Height/Weight: 6-5/215
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 4th round, 2008, Kelso HS (WA)
2009 Stats: 2.56 ERA (77.1-58-43-95) at Low-A (15 G)
Last Year's Ranking: Not ranked

Year in Review: A high-ceiling high school pick, May was forced into a full-season league in the second half of 2009, but he was among the Sally League's top arms by the end of the year.
The Good: May surprised even Phillies officials with his ability to dominate. His fastball has above-average velocity at 90-93 mph, but he will also hit 94-95 on several occasions per outing, a figure many scouts think will be more common as he gains consistency. At times, he gets good spin on his curveball, and he has an advanced feel for a heavy, dropping changeup. He has a classic power-pitcher frame, and he maintains his stuff deep into games.
The Bad: May still needs to develop his breaking ball further, as it often flattens out. His big frame and multi-part delivery lead to inconsistent release points and ensuing control issues. More than anything, he just needs innings and repetition.
Ephemera: May never allowed more than three runs in any of his 15 starts; he gave up one run or less in eight of them.
Perfect World Projection: May has the raw tools to turn into a second starter, but there is still much to prove.
Path to the Big Leagues: He's likely still three years away.
Timetable: May will move up one level to the Florida State League in 2010, and many scouts feel he'll be a strong Top-100 prospect contender a year from now.

4. Tyson Gillies, OF
DOB: 10/31/88
Height/Weight: 6-2/190
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Signed: 25th round, 2006, R.E. Mountain SS (BC) (Mariners)
2009 Stats: .341/.430/.486 at High-A (124 G)
Last Year's Ranking: Not ranked

Year in Review: This speedster put up big numbers in the California League, gained some national attention with a strong showing at the Futures Game, and came to Philadelphia as part of the Cliff Lee deal.
The Good: Gillies is one of the fastest players in the minors-a true 80 runner with game-changing speed. He understands his role and focuses on working the count and slapping balls from line to line, but he also shows the occasional ability to sting one into the gap. He has very good range in center field, and he earns high marks for his makeup.
The Bad: Gillies has little power, nor any projection in that department. He needs to utilize his speed better for baseball, as he's doesn't have the instincts to be a big-time stolen base threat yet. His arm is a tick below average.
Ephemera: Gillies is legally deaf, and he wears hearing aids in both ears.
Perfect World Projection: He's an old school center fielder and leadoff hitter.
Path to the Big Leagues: Gillies might have to begin his career as a bench option due to the Phillies' depth.
Timetable: While Gillies had a breakout season, he still needs to prove to many that 2009 was more than a California League mirage. He'll begin 2010 at Double-A Reading.

5. Sebastian Valle, C
DOB: 7/24/90
Height/Weight: 6-1/170
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: Non-drafted free agent, 2006, Mexico
2009 Stats: .307/.335/.531 at Short-season (50 G); .223/.313/.441 at Low-A (45 G)
Last Year's Ranking: Not ranked

Year in Review: A Mexican star, Valle was overmatched in first exposure to full-season pitching, but he made adjustments and put on an impressive show in the New York-Penn League.
The Good: Valle has well above-average offensive potential for a catcher, with natural plus power and a good sense of contact for his age. Scouts who saw him at Williamsport noted an improved approach that included more of willingness to use all fields and as opposed to crushing them, a focus on simply driving balls.
The Bad: Valle can get over-aggressive at the plate, as he looks for fastballs early and rarely gets himself into a hitter's count. His arm is a tick below average, and his other defensive skills need refinement, although most think he'll have no problem staying at the position. He's a below-average runner, but he's far from a base clogger.
Ephemera: Playing in his hometown this winter for Caneros de los Mochis, Valle was one of the more impressive performers in the Mexican Pacific League this winter, batting .281/.326/.556 with 11 home runs in 160 at-bats against much older competition.
Perfect World Projection: Valle looks to be an above-average everyday catcher, but most of the value comes from the bat as opposed to the glove.
Path to the Big Leagues: With Travis D'Arnaud going to Toronto as part of the Roy Halladay trade, Valle becomes the top catcher in the system by a considerable margin, although he's many years away.
Timetable: Valle will get a second crack at Low-A Lakewood to begin 2010, but he could be at High-A Clearwater by midseason if he continues to hit.

6. Anthony Gose, OF
DOB: 8/10/90
Height/Weight: 6-1/190
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: 2nd round, 2008, Bellflower HS (CA)
2009 Stats: .259/.323/.353 at Low-A (131 G)
Last Year's Ranking: Not ranked

Year in Review: Gose, a speedster, made slow and steady progress throughout the year while also leading the Sally League with 76 stolen bases.
The Good: While Gose isn't as fast a Gillies, he's only a step behind, and he's ahead of Gillies in terms of converting his speed into baseball value. He's an excellent base stealer with good instincts in the outfield, allowing him to cover a considerable amount of ground. Scouts saw a rapidly improving approach, as he learned how to force pitchers to give him better pitches by working the count more effectively. He had early-round possibilities as a pitcher out of high school, and his arm is a canon.
The Bad: Gose doesn't have much power, but scouts do think he'll be able to hit 10-12 home runs annually down the road. His swing is a bit funky, and it needs to be smoothed out in order to allow for more contact. He still needs to refine his overall approach to fit at the top of a lineup.
Ephemera: Gose was the 10th (and highest) drafted player out of Bellflower High in Southern California, with reliever Eric Plunk the only other to reach the big leagues.
Perfect World Projection: He projects as an everyday center fielder with plus-plus defense and 50+ stolen bases per year.
Path to the Big Leagues: He could take more time than most to develop offensively.
Timetable: Gose will move up to High-A Clearwater in 2010, and he'll likely spend the entire year there.

7. Jiwan James, OF
DOB: 4/11/89
Height/Weight: 6-4/180
Bats/Throws: S/R
Drafted/Signed: 22nd round, 2007, Williston HS (FL)
2009 Stats: .264/.336/.372 at Short-season (30 G)
Last Year's Ranking: Not ranked

Year in Review: Given an over-slot $150,000 bonus in 2007, James flopped as a pitcher due to arm problems, but he left scouts drooling after a month-long showing as a center fielder in the New York-Penn League.
The Good: James' tools border on ridiculous. Similar to Domonic Brown in terms of build and athleticism, he's a switch-hitter with at least average raw power, with many scouts putting a future plus on him. His speed rates as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, just a tick below Gillies and Gose. He showed intriguing natural hitting ability last summer despite the rustiness, with a good idea at the plate, and he has the ability to use all fields. He's a good outfielder, and his arm is outstanding.
The Bad: James is very raw after spending two years primarily on the mound. He can look foolish at times against breaking balls. He needs to improve his reads and routes in the outfield, and he'll also need more accuracy with his throws.
Ephemera: James earned all-state honors in baseball, football, and basketball at Williston High in Florida.
Perfect World Projection: James' tools are unquestionably star level.
Path to the Big Leagues: One scout put it best by saying, "He could be the top prospect in the system next year, or could be completely off the list."
Timetable: James' full-season debut at Low-A Lakewood is among the most anticipated in the organization.

8. Brody Colvin, RHP
DOB: 8/14/90
Height/Weight: 6-3/195
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 7th round, 2009, St. Thomas More HS (LA)
2009 Stats: 0.00 ERA (2.0-0-1-2) at Rookie-level (1 G)
Last Year's Ranking: Did not qualify

Year in Review: One of the top high school arms in the South, Colvin's price tag scared off many teams, but he ultimately signed for $900,000 out of the seventh round.
The Good: Colvin is a prototypical high-pick high school right-hander with a big, projectable frame and plenty of arm strength. His fastball sits at 90-93 mph and touches 96. He also throws a hard power curveball that projects as an easy plus pitch that could be as effective as his fastball down the road.
The Bad: Colvin delivery is mechanical, and there's considerable effort to it. His command and control are below average due to his delivery, and he'll also need to work on his changeup. He had blister problems in high school, and he'll need to be watched under a heavy pro workload.
Ephemera: While Colvin is the only player ever drafted out of St. Thomas More in Lafayette, former big-leaguers Lyle Mouton and Scott Dohmann both attended the school, as did NFL wide receiver Javon Walker.
Perfect World Projection: Colvin could be a third starter, with an outside shot at being more.
Path to the Big Leagues: This one could take a while.
Timetable: Because of Colvin's lack of experience, there's a chance he could begin 2010 in extended spring training.

9. Domingo Santana, OF
DOB: 8/5/92
Height/Weight: 6-5/200
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009
2009 Stats: .288/.388/.508 at Rookie-level (37 G)
Last Year's Ranking: Did not qualify

Year in Review: Normally not huge players in the Dominican, scouts think the Phillies may have found something special in Santana.
The Good: Santana has a classic projection to play right field. He's a physically imposing figure at the plate, and he has a good approach and plenty of raw power. He's a good athlete for his size, a solid outfielder, and his arm is a plus.
The Bad: Santana's future value could revolve solely around his bat, due to his size, though most feel he should retain enough athleticism to stay in right field. He takes a healthy cut at all times, and while he will likely always rack up big strikeout numbers, he needs to develop a better two-strike approach.
Ephemera: Tigers righty Richard Zumaya (Joel's brother) gave up only two home runs in 25.2 Gulf Coast League innings, with both of them coming off the bat of Santana.
Perfect World Projection: Santana could be a prototypical power-hitting outfielder.
Path to the Big Leagues: Santana is eons away from the big leagues.
Timetable: Santana won't turn 18 until August, and the Phillies rarely rush their prospects. Santana likely won't appear in a box score until June, when the New York-Penn League kicks off.

10. Scott Mathieson, RHP
DOB: 2/27/84
Height/Weight: 6-3/190
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 17th round, 2002, Aldergrove Community SS (BC)
2009 Stats: 0.00 ERA (6.0-3-2-8) at Rookie-level (4 G); 0.00 ERA (7.0-4-3-9) at High-A (5 G); 1.40 ERA (19.1-19-7-17) at Double-A (13 G)
Last Year's Ranking: Not ranked

Year in Review: After pitching just eight innings over the last two years while undergoing a pair of Tommy John procedures, former top prospect Mathieson came back in the bullpen to put himself on the brink of the big leagues.
The Good: Mathieson's stuff upon his return was shocking, as he sat in the mid-90s with his fastball and touched as high as 99 mph during the season. He'll flash a plus slider at times, a 82-85 mph power pitch with two-plane tilt, while he still has a decent changeup from his starting days.
The Bad: Mathieson pitched less than 50 innings in 2009, so his arm has yet to be completely tested with a full-season workload. He can be guilty of overthrowing both his fastball and slider at times, leading to control issues.
Ephemera: Right-handed hitters facing Mathieson in the Arizona Fall League went 3-for-26 with 13 strikeouts.
Perfect World Projection: He's a late-inning power reliever.
Path to the Big Leagues: If he stays healthy, it's nearly over.
Timetable: Mathieson will get a long look in the spring and has a chance to break camp in the big leagues. If not, he'll begin the year at Triple-A.

11. Juan Carlos (J.C.) Ramirez, RHP
DOB: 8/16/88
Height/Weight: 6-3/225
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: Nicaragua, 2005
2009 Stats: 5.12 ERA (142.1-153-53-111) at High-A (28 G)
Last Year's Ranking: Not ranked

Year in Review: Another former Mariner farmhand who came over in the Cliff Lee deal, Ramirez continues to frustrate scouts with his lack of progress.
The Good: Ramirez certainly looks the part of a pitcher, drawing physical comparisons to Jose Contreras. He consistently sat at 93-94 mph with his fastball, occasionally touching 96, and he showed above-average command and control with the pitch. He has a clean delivery and a body built for stamina.
The Bad: Ramirez's secondary offerings lag well behind his heater. He throws a sweepy slider that lacks true bite, while his changeup remains a below-average offering. He can press at times with runners on base, turning bad situations into worse ones.
Ephemera: While Ramirez gave up 18 home runs in 2009, he surrendered only two in 64 innings away from High Desert.
Perfect World Projection: He's some kind of power arm, but some scouts wonder if he'd make more progress as a reliever.
Path to the Big Leagues: He's at least two years away, but even that is assuming that he finds a dependable second pitch.
Timetable: Ramirez will begin 2010 in Double-A where, for the fourth straight year, many think he's capable of a big step forward.

The Sleeper: Don't give up yet on 2008 first-round pick Anthony Hewitt. While he's struck out 132 times in 350 short-season at-bats, scouts saw considerable progress last year, and his tools remain obscene.

Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (Born 4/1/84 or later)

1. Domonic Brown, OF
2. Phillippe Aumont, RHP
3. Trevor May, RHP
4. Tyson Gillies, OF
5. Sebastian Valle, C
6. Anthony Gose, OF
7. Jiwan James, OF
8. Brody Colvin, RHP
9. Domingo Santana, OF
10. Scott Mathieson, RHP

At the big-league level, this is not a young team. It's one built to win now. The only big-leaguer even considered was righty Kyle Kendrick, who is more of an up-and-down talent.

Summary: The Phillies' system is down significantly after trading away a trio of top-five prospects in order to obtain Roy Halladay. Still, that's what a minor-league system is for-adding impact players to the big-league roster. As often as it's the players themselves, those additions often come via trade, and no trade this offseason was bigger than the Halladay deal.


Next up: the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

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