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Philadelphia Phillies Top 20 2013 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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Jonathan Pettibone
Jonathan Pettibone

Continuing our farm system reviews, we move on to Philadelphia with a look at the PRE-SEASON Phillies prospect list. Remember, this is the pre-season list. This is NOT a new list. These are pre-season rankings and grades.

This list was originally published December 30, 2012. It was revised on January 15, 2013.

1) Jesse Biddle, LHP, Grade B+: 3.89 ERA, 117/60 K/BB in 106 innings for Double-A Reading, 79 hits. Command wobbles but he's excellent when he's on, remains a top prospect.

2) Adam Morgan, LHP, Grade B:
4.20 ERA with 42/17 K/BB in 56 innings, 58 hits combined between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Gulf Coast League rehab for "small" rotator cuff tear. Back in action now.

3) Roman Quinn, SS, Grade B-:
Hitting .238/.323/.346 with 32 steals in 67 games for Low-A Lakewood; out since late June with a broken wrist.

4) Tommy Joseph, C, Grade B-:
Lost season; hitting .179/.229/.285 in 36 games across four levels struggling with injuries and poor strike zone judgment.

5) Jonathan Pettibone, RHP, Grade B-:
4.04 ERA in 18 major league starts, 66/38 K/BB in 100 innings, 109 hits. He's not an ace, but he can throw strikes and eat innings, which has value.

6) Cody Asche, 3B, Grade B-:
Hitting .295/.352/.485 with 15 homers, 11 steals, 35 walks, 95 strikeouts in 404 at-bats in Triple-A. Ready for a major league trial. I like him. I think his glove is solid, too.

7) Darin Ruf, 1B-OF, Grade B-:
Disappointing .266/.303/.417 in Triple-A, but has picked up where he left off last year in the majors with a .310/.403/.517 line through 17 games. I don't see why he can't be a solid .260 hitter with decent power, a useable role player.

8) Ethan Martin, RHP, Grade B-:
4.12 ERA with a 107/67 K/BB in 116 innings in Triple-A. No problem with the stuff, still a matter of command.

9) Maikel Franco, 3B, Grade B-. Insane breakout season, .325/.365/.581 with 23 homers between High-A and Double-A. Some meme got started somewhere that he's not very good with the glove, but that's not true at all; his defense is very solid and was considered better than his bat until about a year ago. There's also the whole "arm bar" controversy. I wouldn't say his swing is conventional, but it works and if there is some sort of actual problem it hasn't been exposed yet. He's only 20; has become one of my favorite prospects.

10) Shane Watson, RHP, Grade B-:
4.75 ERA with 53/28 K/BB in 72 innings for Lakewood. On disabled list with sore shoulder. Not a great debut overall for '12 first rounder but he had pitched well in his last five starts before getting hurt.

11) Mitch Gueller, RHP, Grade B-: 5.63 ERA with 22/13 K/BB in 32 innings, 44 hits for Williamsport in the New York-Penn League. Nothing exciting in the numbers yet, but he's the equivalent of a college freshman.

12) Sebastian Valle, C, Grade C+:
Hitting .209/.239/.383 with 11 homers, 10 walks, 62 strikeouts in 253 at-bats for Reading. That won't get it done, even with good defense.

13) Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Grade C+:
4.50 ERA with 26/24 K/BB in 20 innings in Triple-A; 4.19 ERA in 19 big league innings with 19/13 K/BB. All a matter of command.

14) Kenny Giles, RHP, Grade C+:
5.40 ERA for High-A Clearwater with 21/8 K/BB in 13 innings; has missed most of the season with a back injury but is back in action now. Throws very hard.

15) Austin Wright, LHP, Grade C+:
Big lefty with live arm. 6.01 ERA with 56/45 K/BB in 71 innings for Reading. Alternates excellent outings with horrible ones; fanned 10 over seven innings in his last start for example, but control problems haven't been permanently resolved. May be more reliever than starter in the long run.

16) Kevin Brady, RHP, Grade C+:
5.47 ERA with 28/16 K/BB in 26 innings for Lakewood; was sent to extended spring training in early May. I'm not sure what's going on here.

17) Justin De Fratus, RHP, Grade C+:
4.88 ERA in major league bullpen, 20/15 K/BB in 24 innings. Seems likely to ride the middle relief bubble for the next decade.

18) Kelly Dugan, OF, Grade C+:
Hitting .307/.383/.515 with 12 homers, 27 walks, 76 strikeouts in 300 at-bats between Clearwater and Reading. Has reduced his strikeout rate this year, though patience remains an issue. Good season though.

19) Kyle Simon, RHP, Grade C+:
4.79 ERA with 22/17 K/BB in 36 innings for Reading. Sinkerball specialist with 3.88 GO/AO. Future middle reliever.

20) Hoby Milner, LHP, Grade C+:
4.40 ERA with 88/35 K/BB in 108 innings for Clearwater, 115 hits. I felt he was capable of better; command still gives him a chance to improve.

Carlos Tocci, OF; Larry Greene, OF; Julio Rodriguez, RHP; Seth Rosin, RHP.

Aaron Altherr, OF; Leandro Castro, OF; Tyler Cloyd, RHP; Zach Collier, OF; Brody Colvin, RHP; Dylan Cozens, OF; Tyson Gillies, OF; Zach Green, INF; Cesar Hernandez, 2B; Austin Hyatt, RHP; Ender Inciarte, OF; Tyler Knigge, RHP; Yoel Mecias, LHP; Andrew Pullin, OF, Cameron Rupp, C; Chris Serritella, 1B; Mitch Walding, 3B.

Seven under .500 and 11 games back is not where the Phillies want to be of course. There is a lot of age on the roster and unusually public defensiveness from the front office about the condition of the farm system.

The funny thing is, this isn't an empty farm system by any means. They aren't loaded like some teams, but this isn't a zero organization either.

It took time, but Domonic Brown figured out what he's doing this year. Jonathan Pettibone helped stabilize the starting rotation. Infielder Cesar Hernandez is having a good season in Triple-A. Cody Asche and Maikel Franco give the Phillies two third base prospects that any team would love to have. Jesse Biddle and Ethan Martin have some command issues, but again, any team would love to have them. Panamanian right-hander Severino Gonzalez has pitched great in High-A.

For all of their well-known focus on tools, the Phillies have also shown the ability to identify and get something out of marginal college draftees like Darin Ruf and Tyler Cloyd. I like what they did in the 2013 draft, mixing upside early with some polished college guys in later rounds. The Latin American operation has also shown the ability to find valuable players without breaking the bank.

Are there problems? Sure. Most of the heavy tools investments have not panned out; Brown is more the exception than the rule. There has been a lot of injury attrition among prospects. Five big league regulars are 33 or older. Change is needed and the system needs more depth, but they aren't starting from scratch. There is material to work with in the system.

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