Looking Forward

August 22nd, 2012 by Mike H. | Filed under Baseball, General, Phillies.

Every year, Baseball America does their annual “Top 10 Prospects” reports for each team. Included in that article is a projected starting lineup and starting rotation for three years down the road. It’s really interesting when you look back on old organizational reports. For example, all but two of the Phillies top 10 prospects have been traded. In their projections, Baseball America thought that Jason Donald would be the third baseman of the future. Lou Marson would be the starting catcher, not Carlos Ruiz. Shane Victorino would be flanked by Domonic Brown and Michael Taylor. Cole Hamels would be the staff ace, but would be followed by Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Drabek.

Since then, all the players Sans, Collier and Brown have been traded. They’ve netted Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt. Not a bad haul for a bunch of guys who are now fringe players. The only player with a good amount of upside off this list is Travis d’Arnaud.

Heading into 2012, that list was obviously a lot different. 2013 may be even more drastic of a change, but not because of trading away players, but because of prospects being added via internal and external resources. It also marks the potential changing of the guard in Phillies baseball. We’ve been told that a lot of the talent the Phillies posess were all at the lower levels of the organization, but we are finally getting to a point where that talent is reaching the upper levels.

While the Phillies have four starting pitchers locked up for 2013, Roy Halladay’s 2014 option will most likely not reach its vesting points. Now, if Halladay pitches like he did in 2010, its pretty likely that the Phillies will pick up that option, but if he continues to breakdown with age, he may be finishing his career with a different team. For the sake of argument, I’ll speculate that the Phillies brain trust picks up that option year. So that leaves one potential spot open for one of Trevor May, Tyler Cloyd, Adam Morgan, Jon Pettibone, and Jesse Biddle.

As currently constituted, only Jonathan Papelbon has a guaranteed roster spot in 2014, which possible leaves as many as five open bullpen positions. I say five because I belive Kyle Kendrick may not be resigned after 2013, but Ruben Amaro may look to sign a veteran reliever this offseason. So if there are five open spots, that means that Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes, Phillipe Aumont, Jake Diekman, Michael Schwimer, Jeremy Horst, Justin De Fratus, and Justin Friend are all fighting for spots.

As far as position players go, only Ryan Howard and J-Hole have contracts guaranteed for 2014. Personally, I’d try to trade Rollins if possible, but I highly doubt anyone takes on that contract.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen fight out the opening day spot for 3B in 2013, but if the Phillies could move Rollins before 2014, you potentially could see an infield of Ryan Howard, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis and Cody Asche.

We all know how Ruben Amaro likes to make a quick strike, flashy signing in the offseason, so expect a potentially bad outfield signing that hinders the progression of at least one of Tyson Gillies, Jiwan James, Leandro Castro, D’arby Myers, and possibly recent outfield convert Darin Ruf.  If Ruf can play defense on par with that of Pat “The Bat” Burrell and Rauuuuul Ibanez, his power potential, and salary, could definitely fit in with this Phillies offense as soon as 2013.

While there are no Bryce Harpers in the Phillies immediate future, there is talent, and a considerable amount despite what the published prognosticators say. The word prospect itself is defined as a possibility of something happening soon: a chance or the likelihood that something will happen in the near future, especially something desirable. If this group of Phillies organizational talent can continue to progress at their current rate or better in some cases, the future definitely looks desirable.

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