hit counter

Philadelphia Phillies: Top 10 Prospects For 2013

Phillies ProspectsBefore 2012, the Philadelphia Phillies often shipped top prospects elsewhere to get impact players, like when they traded infielder Jonathan Villar and outfielder Anthony Gose to Houston for Roy Oswalt in 2010, and first baseman Jonathan Singleton and starting pitcher Jarred Cosart to the Astros for Hunter Pence in 2011. Last season brought a different strategy.

One of baseball biggest disappointments, mostly due to an array of injuries to key players, the Phillies struggled for much as the 2012 campaign and eventually traded veterans for prospects. They dealt Pence to San Francisco for a package that included catcher Tommy Joseph and right-handed pitcher Seth Rosin. Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton were shipped to the Dodgers in separate transactions for Josh Lindblom and minor league right-handers Ethan Martin and Ryan O’Sullivan.

Armed with a rotation that features Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, and newly acquired Michael Young and Ben Revere in the lineup, the Phillies expect to contend in 2013 as long as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz remain healthy. Last year’s disappointing finish could result in a long-term gain for Philadelphia because of bringing in Joseph and Martin.

Here are the top 10 prospects in the Phillies’ farm system entering the 2013 season:

1) A lifelong Phillies fan who hails from the area and a family of Phillies die-hards, 21-year-old left-hander Jesse Biddle was a first round pick (27th overall) out of high school in 2010. He has finished among the leaders in strikeouts and ERA in the South Atlantic League in 2011 and the Florida State League in 2012. Biddle is slated to open this season at Double-A Reading.

[divide]

2) A second round pick in 2011, 19-year-old Roman Quinn could be the successor at shortstop to Jimmy Rollins in Philadelphia. A switch-hitter with exceptional speed who knows how to get on base, Quinn swiped 30 bases and batted .286 in 66 games and 267 at-bats at Williamsport in the New York-Penn League last season. He could eventually move to second base or the outfield as well.

[divide]

3) A 21-year-old right-handed hitting catcher, Tommy Joseph was the centerpiece for the Phillies in last summer’s Pence trade with the Giants. He has improved behind the plate, and can generate power at the plate. Joseph spent last season at Double-A and will likely get his first taste of Triple-A in 2013.

[divide]

4) Selected in the third round out of the University of Alabama in 2011, 22-year-old left-hander Adam Morgan has an effective low 90s heater and respectable secondary offering, all of which he can throw with precision command and pound the strike zone. In his first full season of pro ball, Morgan logged a 3.35 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP with 7.3 strikeouts and 2.8 walks per nine innings.

[divide]

5) Also a third round pick, but in 2008, 22-year-old right-hander Jonathan Pettibone has excellent command of three pitches (a fast ball, slider and change-up). He is knocking on the Major League door after recording a 3.10 ERA and allowing 146 hits in 159.1 innings between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2012.

[divide]

6) A 22-year-old left-handed hitting third baseman, Cody Asche opened his first full season of pro ball at advanced Single-A Clearwater in the Florida State League, tough competition in ballparks which favor pitchers. He hit .349 in 255 at-bats and then batted .300 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI in 263 at-bats at Double-A Reading. The former University of Nebraska standout has a clear path to third base since the Phillies lack a long-term solution there. Veteran Michael Young was acquired from Texas this offseason to fill the position in 2013.

[divide]

7) The Dodgers’ first round pick (15th overall) out of high school in 2008, 23-year-old right-hander Ethan Martin joined the Phillies organization last summer in the Shane Victorino trade. He has struggled with command, but in 2012 he did record a respectable 1.24 WHIP compared to his previous single-season best of 1.48 in 2011. He also trimmed his walks per nine innings from 6.5 in 2011 to 4.5 last year.

[divide]

8 ) An obscure 20th round pick in 2008 out of Creighton University, 26-year-old Darin Ruf was not highly regarded out of college, but he has a .305 average, a .520 slugging percentage and a .907 OPS in four minor league seasons. Nicknamed “Babe Ruf,” he batted .333 with  three home runs, 10 RBI and a  1.079 OPS in 33 at-bats with the Phillies late last season in his Major League debut after clubbing 38 home runs and 104 RBI at Double-A Reading.

[divide]

9) A 20-year-old third baseman signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, Maikel Franco had a breakout season in 2012. Repeating low Single-A at Lakewood in the South Atlantic League, the right-handed power hitter batted .280 with 14 home runs and 84 RBI in 503 at-bats. He projects to hit for more power when he improves his plate discipline.

[divide]

10) A supplemental first rounder (40th overall) out of high school last summer, 19-year-old right-hander Shane Watson has five pitches – a fast ball, a curve ball, a change-up, a splitter and a slider. He is working on his command and has the potential to emerge as a frontline starter.

Jeff Louderback is a professional freelance writer and the founder and editor of BoSox Banter a site about the Red Sox, the Red Sox farm system and baseball-themed travel