It's too early to write off Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez, the prospects acquired in the 2009 Cliff Lee deal.
In keeping with the spirit of the season, started yesterday with our celebration of Jimmy Rollins, down on the farm, Aumont, Gillies and Ramirez can look forward to fresh starts as they get set for their second Phillies season. Brought to Philadelphia in a deal doomed as a bust even before they laced up their red cleats, their inaugural campaigns ranged from disappointment to disaster. As we turn the calendar page to '11, we're reminded of this important point: They're only 22 and have valid excuses for falling flat last season.
Ramirez, who had the best season of the bunch, pitched through a labrum tear in his hip. The hard-throwing right-hander underwent offseason surgery and will likely repeat at Double-A, where he went 3-4 with a 5.45 ERA and 60/24 K/BB ratio in 13 starts. Aumont, who spent the previous season as an unreliable A and AA closer, started the year in Reading's rotation, where it was quickly determined that he was in over his head (1-6, 7.43 ERA, 38/38 K/BB ratio in 49 2-3 innings). He was shipped down to Clearwater for the rest of the season and wasn't much better there. His future, it seems, will be in the bullpen. As for Gillies, who impressed Phillies officials with his energy during Spring Training, his season was ruined by an April hamstring injury and was limited to 26 games. Then in August, the outfielder was picked up by police alongside a busy highway in Clearwater, shirtless, wasted and, according to police, in possession of a bag of cocaine. He was later cleared of those charges.
Undoubtedly, they can't wait close the book on '10. Neither can the Phillies, who strongly believe the best is yet to come from the big arms of Ramirez and Aumont and the multiple tools of Gillies. They've fallen out of most prospect top 10s, which may not be the worst thing. Cliff Lee is back, expectations are low and their careers are still young.