The Phillies have to be excited about the crop of talent arriving at Clearwater. The Threshers will be loaded with players who just picked up their rings from the 2010 South Atlantic League championship. And with a rotation boasting Brody Colvin, Trevor May and Jarred Cosart, they may be calling the jewelers again soon.
In addition to that trio, Clearwater boasts first baseman Jonathan Singleton, who last summer was voted the Sally League's best Major League prospect.
Here's a look at 10 of the Florida State League's top prospects heading into 2011:
Brody Colvin, RHP -- Clearwater Threshers
Colvin went 6-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 120 strikeouts over 138 innings in 27 outings last season and is considered the Phillies' top right-handed prospect entering the season. That's high praise, considering he's part of a pitching staff that includes Jarred Cosart and Trevor May. The Louisiana native was a 2009 seventh-round Draft pick and was part of Class A Lakewood's South Atlantic League championship club last summer.
Jarred Cosart, RHP -- Clearwater Threshers
Cosart, a former 38th-round pick, finished 7-3 with a 3.79 ERA over 14 starts, including a complete-game shutout, at Lakewood last year. He allowed only three homers in 71 1/3 innings, struck out 77 and held opponents to a .224 batting average after posting a tidy 2.22 ERA in the Gulf Coast League. The 20-year-old Texan should thrive alongside Colvin and May.
Zack Cox, 3B -- Palm Beach Cardinals
The third baseman was the Cardinals' first-round pick last June and appeared in four games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. St. Louis sent him to the elite Arizona Fall League, where he was named a Rising Star and made a case to begin his first full season at Class A Advanced. A former college pitcher, Cox has a great compact swing with excellent bat speed that he perfected in the Cape Cod League. He makes solid, consistent contact and uses the whole field.
Matt Harvey, RHP -- St. Lucie Mets
Harvey boasts a mid-90s fastball that convinced the Mets to select him seventh overall last year out of the University of North Carolina. Command has sometimes been an issue, although he's tough to hit when he works in his curve and slider. He improved his mound presence and worked on maintaining the same approach, regardless of what happens around him.
Kyle Heckathorn, RHP -- Brevard County Manatees
The 2009 supplemental first-round pick went 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA in eight starts to finish the 2010 season with the Manatees, but he'll probably be back -- at least to begin the year. He recorded 90 strikeouts and allowed only three homers over 124 innings last year, most of those coming at Class A Wisconsin, where he went 6-6 with a 2.96 ERA in 17 outings (13 starts).
Aaron Hicks, LF -- Fort Myers Miracle
The 21-year-old switch-hitter was the Twins' first-round pick in 2008 and ranks No. 39 among MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects. He and Ben Revere can slug it out for bragging rights as the organization's top outfield prospect, but Hicks possesses good speed, decent power and knows how to reach base -- he drew 88 walks last year to produce a .401 on-base percentage. The 2010 Midwest League All-Star has good strike zone discipline and is an excellent defensive outfielder, too.
Chad James, LHP -- Jupiter Hammerheads
The Marlins' 2009 first-round pick went 5-10 with 5.12 ERA and 65 walks last year at Class A Greensboro, but he's still considered the team's top pitching prospect. James allowed only three homers and struck out 105 batters over 114 1/3 innings. A southpaw with good stuff, he may like pitching in Jupiter's Roger Dean Stadium, one of the more pitcher-friendly venues in the FSL.
Trevor May, RHP -- Clearwater Threshers
May was a FSL All-Star last year, so why is he returning? The 6-foot-5 right-hander went 12-8 with a 4.00 ERA in 27 outings last year between Clearwater and Class A Lakewood, although his ERA in the Sally League was 2.91, compared to a 5.05 ERA at the higher level. The Phillies obviously want him to experience some more success under the Florida sun before thinking about Double-A for the former fourth-round pick. He's always had great strikeout numbers, but his 61 walks over 70 innings last season at Clearwater are troubling.
Shelby Miller, RHP -- Palm Beach Cardinals
The Houston native is considered St. Louis' top prospect and should face a good challenge in Florida. Ranked No. 20 among MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects, the 2010 Futures Game participant was the Cardinals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season after going 7-5 with a 3.62 ERA and 104 strikeouts over 104 1/3 innings at Class A Quad Cities.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B -- Clearwater Threshers
It's starting to sound like Bright House Field won't be a friendly place for teams to visit. Singleton is a 215-pound 19-year-old who enters the season as MLB.com's No. 30 prospect. The former eighth-round pick was voted the Sally League's Most Outstanding Major League Prospect after breaking out with a .290 average, 14 homers and 77 RBIs in 104 games at Lakewood. He even stole nine bases and recorded an on-base percentage just under .400.