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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Comments

This prospect lists is just a ranking of potential without looking at the time attitude. I'd like to see a list of the top prospects to make the major league team in 2007. That would bump guys like Carrasco and Drabek off the 2007 list. They could be on the 2010 list. I'm not going to get excited about guys who are four years away. You could have a 2008 list, etc. to show how far away in a time sense these guys are.

The lists should be limited to bonafide prospects. If only one guy qualifies, make it a list of one. That would be a better gauge of the state of the team's farm system.

Another note: Between this season and last, five position prospects fell out of the top 10: Harman, Baez, Costanzo, Moss, Jaramillo. Golson also went from No. 2 to No. 10. This is a combination of pitching stepping forward, and the position players taking a huge step back.

I don't think we should be down on Costanzo yet, he had an awful two months to begin the season, but still managed a respectable line of .258/.364/.411.

Remember, he played at Clearwater last year, not Lakewood, and he is only 22. He also seems like the kind of player who will take longer to develop - he doesn't have the raw athleticism of someone like Stephen Drew or Robinson Cano, so he will need some time to adjust his swing.

48 extra-base hits in 500 ABs is nothing to sneeze at for a player so young. The Ks are obviously a concern, but if he continues to walk around 75 times a year and (presumably) work deep counts, you have to expect some Ks.

He will be an intersting player if he reaches Philly - a local guy whose assets (plate discipline and gap power) are not easily appreciated by Phils fans. I can already see the complaints!

How is Mathieson not a top 5 prospect? The guy dominated Clearwater and Reading at the ages of 21 and 22 (look at the peripherals, not the ERA). So he's hurt...when he gets back, he will stronger, only 24, and ready to go in the bigs while guys like Drabek and Maloney are still screwing around in AA.

I mean, look at him in comparison with Outman (#6), who last year at 21 was walking over 4 batters per nine in Lakewood (although his HR, K-rate, and Hit rate were downright Hamelsian!) Outman may develop some control, but Mathieson strikes out nearly as many batters with a FAR lower walk rate and has demonstrated an ability to get real minor league hitters out, not Lakewood guys...almost no team sends their top offensive talent to that level, it is a complete pitchers league.

Who else are you going to rate higher? I can see an argument for Happ based on his numbers, but scouts (the kind of people BA relies on) don't neccesarily think his stuff translates to the bigs. I can maybe see Happ at 5, and Mathieson at 6, but I wouldn't put him any lower. Anyone like Bourn over Mathieson?

Unfortunately, Tommy John couldn't have happened at a worse time in his development. Mathieson was on a roll. Maybe he's top 5, maybe he isn't. I say no based on his lack of secondary pitches and his injury. I like his size, and his fastball looks heavy. Looks like a back-end reliever to me.

What is most intersting about your list Jason is that almost all of the hitters were rated high after playing at Lakewood or Batvia, similar to this year's crop of pitchers, and either stuggled after making a leap (Jaramillo) or even repeating the same level (Baez...ugh!)

Minor league players can have career years just like major leaguers, and it is another reason to value guys like Mathieson or Happ (or, for that matter, guys like Coste or Ruiz) that have consistently succeeded in states other than Florida.

there's an interesting question - has there ever been a study on whether career years are more likley to occur earlier/later in a player's career? Lack of experience initially made me think it less likely with young minor league players, but I guess athleticism can overcome that when you're playing at a lower league against a lot of players of a similar age.

The jump from Lakewood to Double-A Reading is huge. You're right: Mathieson made the jump smoothly at a young age. Maybe I'm selling him short a bit.

That's actually why I've been hesitant to back these Lakewood pitchers. Look at Gio last season. He stumbled. In Double-A, they start to see some veteran hitters like Gary Burnham who can punish mistakes.

I don't have a link to any study O, but it is generally believed that hitters peak around 27-28 and pitchers in their early 30s (though with pitchers, there is A LOT more variation).

I agree with your point about low levels though. On most Sally league rosters, teams will maybe have a prospect out of high school or two, but there is a ton of filler, and guys looking to get a job are not going to be as disciplined hitters as you see later in the minors. That is what worries me about high walk rates in the minors - if young and desperate players are laying off your stuff, what a major league hitters going to do?

"if young and desperate players are laying off your stuff, what a major league hitters going to do?"

well said.

Uh, yeah, sorry, that should read "what ARE major league hitters going to do."

I got what you meant. Good points on that, and a strong case for Costanzo.

I can't help but look at JW's last two posts as a set. First the Phillies are painfully slow to make a financial commitment to Utley and Howard. Next, BA reports that there are no replacements in the pipeline. Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing?

Oh, sorry Jason, I thought you were being sarcastic because of grammar! I should have realized that isn't your style.

f4e, let's wait till spring training before we criticize the Phillies on not signing Howard or Utley. Howard, as was discussed in the previous thread, will almost certainly be taken care of, but will most likely be treated similar to Pujols or Wright (and every single other player who is not yet eligible for arbitration) now, meaning an extension won't be given until sometime either late in the '07 season or just after the season.

On Utley, however, I think there will be room to criticize if they let him go to arbitration. At a similar point in their careers, Wright and Reyes were locked up at this point and Utley is pretty comparable to them. If you look around the league, 2B is an offesive black hole, close to level of SS in the 80s. I think Utley may regress in the next few years if he continues to play like he does, but he will likely remain as one of the top 2 or 3 2B in baseball. I would try to go 5 years, so that you cover two years of FA in addition to buying out his arbitration years, topping out at around $13 or $14M.

I agree with Jason, until Mathieson develops more of a repetoire, he is a bullpen man at best.

Is there a link to the BA rankings? I hate navigating their site - everything is protected.

Carasco is an exciting prospect, so is Outman and Happ. Good to see quality young pitching come up through the ranks.

Carson, only Happ can really be said to be comming "up through the ranks," Outman and Carasco have a long way to go.

If you look at Mathieson as a starting pitcher prospect, I'd agree with JW's original assessment. If you look at him as a bullpen prospect, I'd rank him higher. With such a premium on bullpen pitching, a young developing bullpen arm may be very valuable.

Kdon- I guess you and I differ on our meanings for the phrase "through the ranks". Anybody in the minor league system that is progressing is considering to be up-and-coming in my book. But I understand what you mean as well, we're just looking at things differently.

Will, good point on Mathieson, making the distinction as a starting prospect or a bullpen prospect. No brainer he slips as a starter.

kdon and Carson, these rankings have no rating for how far away they are in making the team. In the NFL, on draft day, they all look great. Drabek looked great on draft day. A year or two later, the rankings change. That's why I'm not investing too much excitement about a high ranked prospect in the rookie league. I'm more interested about the ranking of the AA or AAA prospects.

Couple of names baffle me on this site -

1. Mathieson shouldn't even be considered a Top 10 prospect at this point. Tommy John surgery has become pretty routine at this point, but it will still be 2008 until Mathieson is probably back to full strength. Plus, Mathieson showed nothing as a starter last season. At best, he winds up a useful bullpen arm in '08 and beyond.

2. Putting Golson on this list was gracious. I would be shocked at this point if Golson makes any kind of contribution to the Phils in the future. Another Reggie Taylor or Jeff Stone here.

3. Carrasco and Drabek as 1 and 2 really point to the weak state of the Phils' farm system. Both are incredibly young and it is incredibly difficult to project how an 18 or 19-year old pitcher will do facing higher minor league competition.

I echo MG and some other posters on this list:
1. Golson projects as Reggie Taylor and probably not even that. He should have no place on the list.

2. Carrasco has suddenly become flavor of the month (year?), topping 3 lists I've seen. He had a great year at Lakewood, but his prior stats and his walks make me dubious. If he repeats '06 at Lakewood this season, I'll be a believer.

3. kdon is totally right about Costanzo. Too many Ks but a lefty 3B with nice pop is rare and I'd want to see him in AA before I gave up on him.

4. From what I saw last year Mathieson doesn't have the command of enough pitches to be a starter. Plus there's the TJ surgery. I do think he'll contribute some day as a reliever. But I think Outman and Drabek, for example, have higher ceilings.

5. I like that they put Garcia in top 5. When you post a K/BB ratio like that at age 19, you're going places.

I just stumbled onto a website that is dedicated just to Phillies prospects at phuturephillies.com. It looks pretty good.

Speaking of Tim Moss -- Is he still with the Phils organization ? I know he's no longer on the 40 man roster. He was still at Clearwater at age 24 and striking out 1/3 of the time. I am also surprised to see Golson ranked so high, considering how poorly he has hit (high strikeouts and no power). Also as MG points out it is a telling sign about your farm system when your high ceiling prospects are all teenagers at least 3 years away from contributing. Rollins, Utley, and Howard will all be in their 30's by then. This is the age gap that concerns me about this organization.

OK, since everyone who has seen Mathieson agrees he only has one pitch, I'll defer for now (and, I guess, for about two years!), because I'm only going on stats and have never seen him pitch (I was out of the country during his brief Phils run) However, I'm not sure who in the bottom I would rank above him, other than Happ. I also wouldn't put much stock in his ML performance, the guy was only 22 and had only pitched a handful of innings above AA.

I agree LF, I;m concerned that we don;t have many AA or AAA guys on the list. The Phillies, however, are pretty much set for at least the next two years at C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF (hopefully!), and CF. It would be nice to have some position player depth other than Sandoval and Bourn in case of injury, but if we had a stud prospect, there wouldn't be any place to put him, and NO team has prospects that could come in and give the team production equivilent to Howard, Burrell, Utley, or J-Roll - if they get hurt, we would likely be screwed anyway.

Losing Mathieson is really a killer, though, because what we really need are a few hard throwing bulpen guys and I'm concerned about guys like Sanches or Condrey stepping in.

Carson, my point about "through the ranks" was mostly the same as LFs, that basically, there is no point in getting excited about a guy who hasn't been above low A ball, unless they put up video game numbers (on the easy level!) like Hamels did. I would imagine that if you went through the Sally League stats, there are probably more than a dozen guys with similar numbers to Carrasco or Outman, and only a few will ever even sniff the majors, let alone be a big contributor.

Don't write Golson off just yet. I think mentally he's weak, and thus is still very raw. Imagine hearing you're the next coming of Reggie Jackson and are expected to start in Center for the Phils in 2007 or 2008 soon after being drafted. I'm sure Golson's aware of how shitty the Phils farm system is, and he probably feels the pressure to be the best possible, rather than being the best he can be. I think he's a superstar if he gets his head on straight.

The only thing Golson has in common with Reggie Jackson is his propensity to whiff at a high rate.

Ace, Golson has played 2 1/2 years of pro ball. Prospects should be dominating at the lower levels. Golson hasn't hit at Rookie level, A, and high A. I don't see any reason that this will change. The Phils minor leagues seem loaded with low power, high strikeout guys. I realize Golson is only 21 years old, but he needs to start showing something soon to be considered a prospect.

Ace: Regarding Golson, you're right on the raw, wrong on the mentally weak.

Golson is a marvelous athlete with strength and speed and poor baseball skills, but those can be developed. He is the classic Phillies position player draftee.

After 3 seasons you'd like to see some progress in terms of acquiring those skills. In Golson's case we see that he has the skill to steal bases and play defense, but is clueless at bat.

He's way too young to quit on, but based on his performance, you can't call him a prospect. The single best indicator of whether a young player will eventually hit major league pitching is his K/BB ratio. In Golson's case it is 66/320. This is remarkably similar to Reggie Taylor's after his first 3 seasons: 62/326.

Taylor, as a lefty, had more value and eventually topped out as a 5th or 6th outfielder with mild pop, decent speed and glove. His career OPS of .655 is passable for a good-field, no-hit utlity infielder, but unacceptable for anyone else, which is why his career was brief.

Golson reminds me more of another famous Phillie draft bust, Jeff Jackson. Jackson was the 4th player taken overall in the 1989 draft. The Phils selected him ahead of Frank Thomas, Mo Vaughn, Jeff Bagwell, Jim Thome and Tim Salmon. I believe he actually made it as far as Reading before slipping back to A ball.

If Carrasco is considered one of the top RH pitchers in the minors - tip of the cap to the Phils.

The philosphy has changed in regards to fast-tracking pitchers if the stuff is there so maybe we'll see some of these guys sooner than we think.

Just saw that Joel Pineiro signed with Boston for 1 year, $4 million to be their closer. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

I agree with those who see Mathieson's future in the bullpen. Unless he develops another quality pitch, he's not going to make it as a starter, but he has the stuff to contribute in the 'pen. Let's put it this way, I think he'll be a more imposing bullpen presence than Geary.

There have been a lot of good posts out there concerning this list in rating the Phils prospects. So, I will defer to those who are far superior to myself in evaluating prospects. I have what I hope is not a stupid question regarding how pitchers are rated as good prospects or not relative to their projected role in the major (starter v. bullpen). Aren’t most pitchers rated on their ability to start only or are they rated based on the role which they are performing in the minors. Furthermore, but what criteria are pitchers rated? It seems to me that there would be some subjectivity and, therefore, inconsistency as far as how different scouts rate a pitcher. Let’s take Scott Mathieson as an example (injuries aside). One scout may rate him highly based on his raw talent which means he projects to be a major league pitcher in some capacity. Meanwhile, another scout might rate him lower because he does not have starter “stuff” and will be relegated to a bullpen role. Therefore, pitchers are harder to judge and rank. Am I reading to much into this? Can somebody help clarify this for me?

the phuturephillies.com site is very good; I see Jason has it in the link list already.

phuturephils is run by one of the moderators -- "flopped the nuts" -- from the philaphans.com board. he knows his minor league stuff.

I just read the Phils are interested in Tomo Ohka. Now these rumors have a tendency to get blown out of proportion, but that's Wells and Ohka now on the Phils radar...and we already are one extra starter. That leads me to believe Gillick may be trying to do something besides moving Lieber...possibly Myers...but I hope not!

Golson should be playing WR or DB at Texas. He was blown away by the signing bonus and should have went to college first.

Why are we so quick to throw Mathieson in the bullpen? The guy has 8 career starts and he's 23. How many 23 year olds have the abilty to throw 3 quality pitches in the big leagues? Does John Lieber have 3 quality pitches? He doesn't even have 2. His slider is a meatball and his fastball is 89 mph.

Tony:
Mathieson has a quality fastball and an OK changeup. What is his third quality pitch?

A few comments, having read the print edition of the BA report. BA has fun projecting the 2010 lineup. and it includes RF- Adrian Cardenas and Closer-Scott Matthison. Guys who could help in 2007, Happ, Bisenius and Segovia. The Future notes: Outman, "a solid middle-of-the rotation starter in the majors." Happ, "projects as a No.3 or 4 starter." Maloney, "could be a No. 4 starter...more likely ending up being a middle reliever." I was surprised by the high rating of Mathieson based on his injury, and Golson's continued rating is a bit of a surprise.

Thanks, martin.

One more Future notes quotes, Bourn, "could become Phils's version of Juan Pierre, with better plate discipline and a stonger arm."

clout -

Mathieson also throws a nasty, nasty slider.

Martin that was a nice post. It's interesting to read about their projected arrival times and projected roles with the big team. Please share more if you got it.

Joe:
I sure didn't see that slider being thrown near the plate.

That's like Madson and his curveball. If he could harness that a little better, he could be a good starter.

Lake Fred, Not much new to add. BA will release the report online Jan10, with a live chat. For some of the young guys, they only project where they will be in 2007. So, Carrasco and Golson at Clearwater, Drabek, Cardenas and Garcia at Lakewood. Carrasco majors ETA is 2009. Costanzo also makes their 2010 projection team at 3B. Another quote, "Live-armed righthanders Jim Ed Warden and Alfredo Simon could claim spots in the bullpen." !!??!!

Jim Ed Warden might just be a good pick-up Martin. I know counting on a Rule 5 pick for the bullpen is not enticing, but this guy could really end up becoming a good 1-inning guy especially against righties (a la Chad Bradford).

Thnks, Martin. Despite all the analysis and number crunching, there is still a lot of foggy crystal ball gazing in this prospect projection business.

clout

That came out the wrong way...I didn't mean he has 3 good pitches, all I'm saying is that let's let the kid develop a bit before we abandon him as a starter. He's only 23, he could develop a major league slider and changeup.

What do we know about Drabek? I know he harldy pitched at the end of the season. Is he pitching in the winter or did they want him to take the winter off so as not to overuse his arm?

Also, I saw Costanza play at Clearwater last yr (Bright House is a BEAUTIFUL Class A stadium) and he does strike me as a guy who will have to work hard to get to the Show, but potentially could do it. NOt alot of raw talent.

clout: you've got mathieson's pitches mixed up. he has a fastball with no movement, a hard slider, and a changeup equal to that of gavin floyd's. that is to say, his changeup is nonexistant. both pitches he throws regularly sit in the 88-94 range which means he can't change speeds and keep hitters off balance. all this means is that he comes up with an off-speed pitch or a curveball (which he abandoned last year, i believe) and he can start. if he doesn't, he's probably not a guy who can get guys out a second time. jason's right, its the same basic deal as madson. some pitchers get away with being two-pitch pitchers, but most of the time one of those pitches is off-speed/bender. who knows what happens to him now, however. he needs a year of rehab plus the year of develoment he needed anyway. that puts us in the offseason of 2008-9 when he's got six-years of services and is a freee agents (if i understand the rules correctly). he's a wild card at this point.

gr: Changeups and sliders both move, with the changeup being the slower of the 2 obviously. I saw him throw a pitch with movement that I thought was a change, since it was slower than his fastball, but I'll defer to you if you say it was his slider. I never saw him throw a curve but I did see him throw breaking pitches (which I thought was his slider) that he could not get close to the plate. Either way, I agree he needs a third pitch to be a starter.

Thatdude: I think your assessment of Costanzo is right. He's the rare Phillies position player who isn't a dazzling natural athlete but actually has some baseball skills. A .775 OPS in the pitching-biased FSL is not too shabby at age 22. He should move up to Reading this season (I hope) and if he cuts his Ks, I think he'll make it. He reminds me of a lefty version of Casey Blake, another average-looking athlete who had good baseball skills and worked hard.

Lake Fred asked about whatever happened to Tim Moss, the Phils 3rd round pick out of U of Texas in 2003. He is a speedy little secondbaseman who could get on base (supposedly) and seemed a natural leadoff hitter.

He began the season at Reading last year and was hopeless at bat, got returned to Clearwater, where he put up decent numbers.
This is probably make or break season for him since he turns 25 this month. If you can't hack it in AA by age 25, you're unlikely to make it. I think Jason has some insight on Moss.

Yeah, he was god awful.

From my archives, Moss, the Phillies third round pick in the 2002 draft, began his Double-A career in a 0-for-25 slump, including a stretch that included 13 strikeouts in 18 at bats. He was demoted to Single-A Clearwater midway through the season. He finished Double-A hitting .180 with a brutal 82 strikeouts in 206 at-bats with Reading.

His only saving grace is that he hits the ball very, very hard when he manages to make contact.

yeah I saw one of his home runs in Reading, very impressive. His propensity for whiffing every other time, however, was not impressive. 82 strikeouts in 206ABs. At least nunez put it in play.

"Sweeny Murti, who covers the Yankees for WFAN radio in New York, is the lead candidate to become the Phillies' new pregame and postgame host on radio broadcasts. Murti, talented and likable, is a native of the Harrisburg area."

I think Tim Moss' biggest claim to fame is that he played at U. of Texas. He probably won't ever make it to the big team. I agree with Carson on Jim Ed Warden. He will probably make a good reliever to come in and get out right handed batters with his sidearm style and long arms. Of course Cholly will have to be bright enough to use him correctly...Naaa, that won't happen!

Totally awesome site maintenance:

A "Rumors & Notes" section has been added to the right sidebar, using the feed from Ben Maller's hot stove blog on FoxSports.com.

anyone see who is missing from this list? Former No1 pick of the yanks CJ Henry.
I watched him play alot in Charleston last yr...CJ should be CP (cant Play)

Also, any1 know whats up with Drabek?

I found this LOL. Not liking him too much thats for sure. He didn't even think himself as a 1st round totally.

Greetings sports fans and fellow "Bird" lovers!

I spent a few brief moments looking up mock MLB amateur drafts for 2005 to see where (or if) our recruit, CJ Henry, is listed or projected to be drafted.

I reviewed both ESPN.com and MLB.com and their resepctive experts' draft projections. Neither had CJ Henry slated for the 1st round with each listing several pitchers and a few shortstop amateurs, mostly college players, going in round 1. Neither source had a 2nd-round prognostication (that I could find a link to anyway).

If any of you has seen another mock draft list or has a membership to a pay-service site that offers these types of things, I would appreciate any insight, updates, or information you can provide into the subject at hand.

Of course, odd things happen in sports drafts as we've all seen. Even young Mr. Henry noted in an interview recently he could go in the middle of the first round or all the way down to the 5th, 6th, or 7th round. Only time will tell.

So, if there are any baseball afficianodoes out there with more in-depth info on the June 7th draft, please share. Otherwise, I'll wish CJ Henry well and hope he gets a nice, phat baseball contract. If not, I'll keep my fingers crossed he follows through with wearin' "Kansas Blue!"

JW, that truly is a totally awesome addition. Now all you need to do is get multimedia rights and this site will be hands-down better than Phillies.com. I already visit here much more often.

It's really unfortunate that Mathieson had Tommy John surgery. He probably would have had a great shot this season to become one of the dominant arms out of the pen. Now, he won't be back until 2008 and will probably lose a few MPH on his fastball.

Weitzel should add a Phils' BS translator for comments made by Amaro or Montgomery and at times, Gillick.

That would be a good idea MG, but so much of what they say isn't even worth translating.

Well we can cross Reitsma off the list of possible arms for the pen. Seattle just signed him to a one year deal with a club option for a second season.

Who's left to help the pen? Veteran lefty Ron Villone? Local Philly guy Mike Koplove? Old man Seanez? Over-rated Schoeneweis? The pickings are indeed getting slim.

What's the latest on Cliff Floyd? Did he sign with the Cubs, or has it stalled? And should the Phillies look at him?

One item in Rumors & Notes indicates Bernie Williams time with the Yankees is over because of the Mentkiewicz signing.

Is he the "left handed" option off the bench, or do you platoon him? This assumes the Mets stick to the Newhan plan and don't try to nab Bernie.

And, would he come down the turnpike for a couple of years?

There has not been anything new on Cliff Floyd since GM Jim Hendry said the Cubs were not in fact close to siging him on Dec. 21. Does this mean you've lost interest in Trot? The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story that the Phils are pursuing Tomo Okha has now made it onto mlb.com, so maybe PG is thinking of Okha the way the BoSox are thinking of Pineiro - a faltering starter destined for late game greatness - I don't think his numbers justify that - we'll see.

Ohka - I'm going to have to learn to get this right if we do get him, but perhaps Gillick is just trying to drive up the price for the Mets the way he must have been doing in relation to Wells before he declared he would go to the Padres or nothing....

Floyd . . . no thanks. If Werth is healthy, he is a better option than Floyd.

It is sad that the Phils will probably struggle again for a wild card just because they haven't been willing to spend some money on upgrading their bullpen. Can't excede that $85 or $90 million threshold.

From Phillies.com -

Righthander Anderson Garcia was claimed off waivers today by the Phillies from the Baltimore Orioles, Vice President & General Manager Pat Gillick announced.
Garcia, 25, pitched for five different minor league teams between the Mets and Orioles organizations in 2006. Overall, he went 4-6 with one save and a 3.84 ERA in 42 games.

Between stops at single-A Gulf Coast, double-A Binghamton and triple-A Norfolk, he posted a 2-5 record and a 4.23 ERA in 33 relief appearances with the Mets organization.

After being claimed off waivers by Baltimore in August, Garcia combined to go 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA over nine games in stints with double-A Bowie and triple-A Ottawa.

Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Garcia was originally signed by the New York Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2001.

With the addition of Garcia, the Phillies now have 37 players on their 40-man roster.

In other Phillies news, the team invited infielder Brent Abernathy and outfielder Lou Collier to spring training.

At least he's already comfortable in Ottawa - I guess this is the best they could do with the spot they were going to use on Bobby Livingston. I also prefer Werth to Floyd, health withstanding.

OK gentlemen,

I get it not Cliff Floyd. Suppose Bernie Williams is available and willing?

What's the preliminary verdict on Drabek?

Head case, or just excitable ("excitable boy they all said...")?

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