The Phillies prefer hitting big home runs with one or two elite prospects. Instead, they’re making solid contact with a handful of next-tier prospects. That's not necessarily a bad thing.
There’s probably a way to determine if World Series winners experience Minor League improvement the following season. If you’re up to challenge of gathering the data, more power to you. In theory, you’d think they would. Baseball execs believe strongly that winning is a part of development, and what better way to motivate than having the cream of the crop up top. The electricity must travel down the chain, right?
Record-wise, there’s nowhere to go but up for Leigh Valley (55-89), Reading (53-89) and even Clearwater (64-76). I look at the group potentially ticketed for Triple-A: Lou Marson, Jason Donald, and one or all of the following: Carlos Carrasco, J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick. Toss in some veteran depth (Marcus Giles, Mike Koplove, Gary Majewski, Jason Ellison, Terry Tiffee), and I think fans in the Leigh Valley will get more bang for their entertainment buck than last year’s inaugural season. In addition, Double-A Reading will be the destination for Michael Taylor, Joe Savery and possibly Kyle Drabek later in the season. This will be an important year for each of those individuals.
Scanning the latest Baseball America, which rated the farm systems of the National League East, I was stuck by the nice things opposing scouts are saying about Dominic Brown, but I was equally struck by the labels they’re assigning to Carlos Carrasco. “Soft” was used. Each of their top seven choices - termed "interchangeable" by John Manuel, who wrote the piece - seems to have a major hook. Donald isn’t skilled enough to be a Major League shortstop. Marson doesn’t have the greatest arm. Drabek doesn’t have the maturity, etc.
Still, there’s always something. Cole Hamels was made of matchsticks.