Baseball America ranks Phillies Top 10 Prospects

Six of the top ten played for Cutters

Phillies 1st rounder Jesse Biddle ranks #8 in the BA prospect list. (Cutters/Dick Hostrander)

By Matt Forman | December 13, 2010 12:35 PM

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2011.

Phillies Top Ten Prospects as ranked by Baseball America (* played for Williamsport)
1.  Domonic Brown*  OF
2.  Jonathan Singleton 1B/OF
3.  Brody Colivn RHP
4.  Jarred Cosert RHP
5.  Trevor May RHP
6.  Sebastian Valle* C
7.  Jiwan James* OF
8.  Jesse Biddle* LHP
9.  Domingo Santana* OF
10. Aaron Altherr* OF

For a team that has lost more games than any other in major league history, the Phillies are in heady territory. Though they fell short of their third straight National League pennant in 2010, it would be hard to argue that this isn't the best era in franchise history.

Philadelphia finished with the best record in the majors for the first time in franchise history, despite injuries to Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, and looked on track to reach a third consecutive World Series before tripping up against the Giants in the NL Championship Series.

Long-pursued trade target Roy Halladay finally came over from the Blue Jays in an offseason deal that cost the Phillies three of their top prospects in righthander Kyle Drabek, catcher Travis d'Arnaud and outfielder Michael Taylor. Halladay won Baseball America's Major League Player of the Year award after pitching a perfect game in May and finishing 21-10, 2.44. In his playoff debut, he no-hit the Reds in the Division Series opener.

The Halladay trade continued the Phillies' recent habit of sending away prospects for elite pitching help, which continued when they went out and got Roy Oswalt from the Astros in July, in exchange for J.A. Happ and minor leaguers Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar. Deals for Joe Blanton in 2008, Cliff Lee in 2009 and Halladay and Oswalt in 2010 sent away a significant amount of young talent, but accomplished the goal of keeping the team on top while its nucleus of everyday players is at its peak. Philadelphia tried to recoup some young talent by trading Lee to Mariners after acquiring Halladay, but righthanders Phillippe Aumonth and J.C. Ramirez and outfielder Tyson Gillies all had forgettable seasons.

The one player the Phillies steadfastly have refused to deal is outfielder Domonic Brown, No. 1 on this list for the last three years. There isn't much upper-level depth behind Brown, but the system does have lower-level talent with upside. Said one scout last summer: "No team has more talent in A-ball than the Phillies."

Low Class A Lakewood has won back-to-back South Atlantic League titles. After Brown, the next six prospects on this list all played for the BlueClaws in 2010, including sweet-swinging first baseman Jonathan Singleton and hard-throwing righthanders Brody Colvin and Jarred Cosart.

Assuming he takes over from departed free agent Jayson Werth as the everyday right fielder in 2011, Brown will be the first homegrown position player to join the Philadelphia lineup since Howard in 2005. The organization hopes he's the beginning of a wave of youngsters who will reinvigorate an aging team. The 2010 lineup-roughly the same one that has won four consecutive NL East titles-was by far the oldest in the league, with an average age of 31.9 years.

Whether because of age or the growing payroll that accompanies trading for proven major leaguers, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. may have to tweak his approach going forward. For now, the Phillies have become a model of consistency: a major league core of stars signed for the foreseeable future, with a commitment to player development. If the current group can keep winning for another year or two, the talent in the lower minors should arrive just in time.

One veteran scouting director said it's possible that the Phillies could go on a Braves-like run of division titles.


 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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