Phillies Assistant GM Mike Arbuckle says the farm system is in much better shape than it was two our three years ago, but admits that forfeited draft picks and mistakes in the middle rounds have been costly.
“We went through a period in Philadelphia where we did sign a lot of free agents, trying to win, and we lost a lot of high picks in the draft,” Arbuckle said during Thursday’s Winter Tour stop in Reading. “At the same time, we, quite frankly for a couple years, we didn’t do as good a job on our middle round picks as I would have liked to see us do. We hit a stretch of about two or three years where we didn’t have the depth in the system that we had previously, or that we have coming now.”
Arbuckle verified that the club signed more independent league veterans than any other club last season, players heavily used to fill thin rosters in Double-A Reading and Triple-A Ottawa. However, Arbuckle believes the older crowd will soon be phased out for younger, more promising talent.
“I think this year, you’re going to see a much more homegrown club here (Reading) than what you’ve seen in the last year or so,” he said. “We’ve got kids that won in Lakewood two years ago, they won the Florida State League last year: A good number of those kids now - the Brad Harmans, the Jason Donalds, the Andy Carpenters. You’re going to see those kids in Reading this year.
“We are now in a situation – and again this year where we have a couple extra picks in the draft -- where we’ve been able to restock in the system,” he added. “We’re in a much better position than we were two years ago or three years ago. I think you’re going to see a reversal of that (veteran) trend, starting with this year’s club."