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Monday, December 17, 2012

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No Valle, No Larry Greene.

Minor note, I believe Adam Morgan is a LHP.

Last year's BA list for reference:

1.Trevor May, rhp
2.Jesse Biddle, lhp
3.Sebastian Valle, c
4.Jonathan Pettibone, rhp
5.Phillippe Aumont, rhp
6.Freddy Galvis, ss
7.Justin DeFratus, rhp
8.Brody Colvin, rhp
9.Jiwan James, of
10.Maikel Franco, 3b

Darrin Ruf is on the list, but Jiwan James and Sebastian Valle aren't? BA may finally be coming to its senses.

Well, at least we can fill out a top 10 list without using a half dozen middling middle relief prospects. That should be counted as progress.

No Cesar Hernandez, either.

Paging Jiwan James' five tools....

It's a testament to Quinn's raw skills (and the farm system not being that great) that he's rated so high. Tocci, as well. Didn't he just turn 17 this year? It's not really a bad list, but no real "high end" guys that are major league ready. Could imagine Martin and/or Morgan really stepping up, but wouldn't count on it.

Darin Ruf? I thought he was too old and he sucked and wasn't a prospect! Damnit! What's Crashburn Alley going to do?

Wait, Roman Quinn was a toolsy high school player? And he's actually good?

If you listened to people on BL, you'd think the Phillies were idiots for drafting players like that.

Of those top 10 prospects, 5 were drafted out of high school (including the top 4), 3 out of college, and 2 were international signs.

Jack: I see you are learning Clout's ways. The strawman is strong in this one.

Lots of those guys were in Reading last year the final 2 months of the year which was probably the most overall talent Reading has had in a long time.

Curious to see where a couple of those guys are going to start the year including Morgan, Asche, and Joseph.

Any info on guys outside of the top 10?

There should be a metric for how useful these rankings actually prove to be as a predictive tool. I'm guessing not so damn much.

Wait Jack, let me see if I understand something. The Phillies are renowned for drafting raw, toolsy players (which means they draft a lot of raw, toolsy players), and and some of those raw, toolsy players within their very own system, which comprises, again, a lot of raw, toolsy players, made it into the top 10 list of the Phillies own best prospects.

Oh man, color me shocked!

Also, my above comment wasn't meant to be denigrating to the prospects themselves, about whom I know little. Just at the notion that the rankings of a prospect system filled with similarly acquired players says a damn thing about the success of acquiring that type of player.

The only thing that speaks to the success or failure of the Phillies approach is how the players they draft perform in the majors, not how their ranked within their own system.

Gtown Dave: It depends what you are trying to measure. If you're trying to measure how often these prospects succeed, then yes, the predictive power will be low--if only because most prospects don't succeed, generally. It's not really saying much to acknowledge that out of any given team's top 10 prospects list, you're only likely to get a couple major-league players.

But if you're trying to measure relative rankings (e.g., does the #1 prospect like Jesse Biddle end up more successful than the #7 prospect like Cody Asche), my guess is they end up being pretty predictive.

Being toolsy is a good thing, not a bad thing. My objection to the Phillies' drafting philosophy is that, very often, they spend their highest picks on guys who are toolsy but who otherwise lack any discernible baseball skills. Maybe they've learned their lesson or changed philosophies because some of their more recent high draft picks (Quinn, Greene, Walding, Cozens) actually seem to have the ability to tell a ball from a strike.

Gtown: BA is written by Journalism majors, not scouts. They talk to scouts and front offices so their rankings usually reflect industry opinions. Keith Law usually bases his list on 1st hand scouting and interviews with other scouts. I think Sickles tends to be more numbers driven. I'm not sure what kind of process Goldstein uses. That said, I don't think any of them come to radically different opinions. Law is probably the guy with the most outliers.

Pretty nice top 10 for the Phillies, i think their farm rating will be creeping out of the bottom third of the league when they rank the team against one another.

Surprised to see BA of all lists put Franco under Asche. Everyone is well aware that Asche hit very well in Clearwater, got promoted and went on a late season tear in Reading - but his 1 month onslaught (hitting next to Ruf) still wasn't even as good as Franco's.

Franco went .207/.269/.338 in the first half - and then finished .346/.395/.530 the rest of the way. Thats a 19yr old mashing in A ball too. He also is said to have a plus-plus arm over at 3B as well, but with limited range. Asche's arm is said to be a problem at 3B.

Jack: I see you are learning Clout's ways. The strawman is strong in this one.

Nicely played!

It's refreshing to see 3B/SS/C represented on this list for once, too.

I'm relatively confident in a few things on this list.

One is that Biddle, Morgan and Pettibone are on one tier, and there is a big gap to the next tier starting with Ethan Martin (in terms of pitchers). Martin basically had one decent half-season and shot back up the prospect lists. I'm incredibly skeptical that he can keep his poor command under control.

Another is that Cody Asche will not be a starting 3B in the major leagues. You can get away with either a lack of power or a lack of defense, but not both (unless you're Michael Young, of course).

I like Quinn and Franco a lot. Franco has longer to go (which is why he's ranked lower), but he projects to actually be a quality starting 3B, unlike Asche.

Nothing like experts who have never seen any of these players making a list. You have to love it.
Having seen Joseph and Asche,both have a long way to go.Joseph hitting .200 will never be an everyday cather even with his catching skills.Has plenty of time to improve offensively. Maybe Cooch can offer some advice.

"There should be a metric for how useful these rankings actually prove to be as a predictive tool. I'm guessing not so damn much."

To really do an intellectually honest study on this, you'd have to somehow control for the fact that the rankings, to a large extent, actually drive how a prospect is treated. If you're a top 50 prospect like Luke Hochevar or Travis Snider or Dom Brown, you'll be given repeated opportunities to improve your game & justify the wisdom of the prospect rankings. If you're Tyler Cloyd or Darrin Ruf, you'll be written off as soon as you have a couple of bad games. Or, in Ruf's case, you'll be written off just because.

Did folks actually write off Ruf? Only things I ever heard from BA or guys like Law was that his chances of succeeding were very low because there was no real precedent for what he has done. I don't think that's necessarily writing him off. I think it's more of being careful with how to project him going forward.

Any positive value you can get out of Ruf is good for the team going forward. Even if he ends up as a bench piece because he was such a late round pick and didn't come into his own until last season.

Jack: Given his history, I share your skepticism about Ethan Martin. But, in fairness, it was more than a "decent" half-season. He was good all year. Martin's problem has always been wildness. He walked more than 6 batters per 9 innings in both 2010 & 2011 & 5.5 per game in 2009. Last year, he got that number down to 4.5, which is still pretty bad but is a marked improvement. That is certainly a positive sign.

Martin's risk of failure is clearly higher than guys like Biddle, Pettibone and Morgan. But he does have a huge upside that none of those 3 really has.

I'd probably wait till Quinn has a year of full-season ball under his belt before breaking out the annointing oil.

Pelfrey (1yr $4M) and Kevin Correia (2yr $10M) to twins.

I'd take Lannan over both of them, straight up. Add in its only 1yr $2.5M and it looks like a steal.

lorecore - I would too. I can't believe Pelrey got $4M as a base with some incentive upside potential.

Going to miss him pitching for the Mets though. It was like an automatic payday betting against Pelfrey when he pitched in CBP.

I posted this a few threads ago, but someone did a study of BA rankings and prospect success that largely addresses Gtown's question (I think BAP overestimates the level of success non-touted MilB players would have if "given the chance"):

http://www.royalsreview.com/2011/2/14/1992424/success-and-failure-rates-of-top-mlb-prospects

Not to mention the fact that Pelfrey is coming off TJ surgery last May and is a question mark to start the season with them.

Sophist: From 1990-2003, the Phillies were 2nd most 'successful' team in baseball to convert their top 100 prospects into non-busts.

Haha, that doesn't bode well for those studies.

Darin Ruf? I thought he was too old and he sucked and wasn't a prospect! Damnit! What's Crashburn Alley going to do?

Posted by: Scotch Man | Monday, December 17, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Call fans racist and hope for more clicks?

lorecore - the author pretty much says the teams specific ranking has no real value and is there for entertainment purposes.

I was curious at how various organizations fared in developing successful prospects, but I think the data is worth little more than entertainment value. First, the sample sizes are all quite small. Most organizations have 20-40 prospects in this study’s population (for the purpose of this calculation, I counted players rather than rankings). Second, I don’t think the numbers tell us anything particularly meaningful. Some of the players were drafted by one organization and developed by another. Some were developed by one organization but played in the majors for another. But entertainment is worth something, so here are the numbers in descending order of success rate.

Would be interesting to take a look and see what happened to those guys, though. Also note that the N in the Phillies sample is 20. They rank high in the percentage but 20 is low on the total side. In fact, it is among the lowest of any team but the DBacks (who didn't really exist all that much).

I mean, the Braves had 12 non-busts of 43 in that time. The Phils had 8 of 20. And that's just their ranking with those teams. It doesn't say who they eventually played for or how successful they were, and leaves out the N for context.

I'm curious where May would have ended up. My guess is not in the top 10 since they seem to have reacted pretty strongly to last year's results. I'm pretty confident he would have been no higher than #9.

Sophist: Nope. I do understand that there is good reason why some prospects are drafted high and held in high esteem by scouts, while other prospects are drafted low & held in low regard by scouts. I also understand that if you gave 500 major league ABs to a top 50 prospect, and 500 major league ABs to a middling AA prospect with decent minor league numbers (let's say Steven Susdorf), the odds that the former would succeed are much greater than the odds that the latter would do so. Finally, I also get that one of the main reasons that highly regarded prospects tend to get more rope is because they tend to be young and likely to improve -- which is one of the very reasons they were on that "highly regarded prospects" list in the first place.

I'm just saying: the institutional bias does exist, and it does somewhat skew our ability to determine the accuracy of those prospect lists. You can't definitively say how accurate those forecasts are when the guys who never made in onto the list in the first place never get much of a chance. Without a control group, you're just comparing those prospect lists to themselves.

sophist: yeah i know, was just making a crack at how bad the 1990-2003 phillies were, so for them to show up on any list isn't usually a good one.

bap: You act like the institutional bias you speak of was some unwritten rule that was adopted by Abner Doubleday and untested throughout history. It was created from experience and tangible results. The Steven Susdorf's of the world can blame their similiarly talented predecessors for not performing well enough with the time they were given, not the system for never giving them the chance.

Shocked they even put a list out for the team. As everyone on here says the pharm is SH!t and we don't have anyone.

Sophist - Cool study. What grabbed my attention was:

1. The incredibly high rate that pitching prospects outside of the Top 20 are 'Busts' with that number around ~80%.

2. The very low likelihood of a Pitching Prospect outside of the Top 20 being 'Superior' (less than 10%).

Love to see what role (if any) injuries played in that especially significant ones (e.g., TJ surgeries, etc).

There's no way BA would concede their No. 1 from a year ago by taking him out of the Top 10. He's not a lesser prospect than Carlos Tocci for god's sake.

BAP: "Darrin Ruf is on the list, but Jiwan James and Sebastian Valle aren't? BA may finally be coming to its senses."

That shocked me too. BA has long been derided for being a "tools first, skills a distant second" evaluator. Maybe they are starting to use a more balanced approach. Greene didn't make the Top 10 either.

My guess is May would've been #5. He's a year younger than Martin, and they had similar numbers at the same level. Still, Martin's stuff probably projects as slightly better, so I could see the reasoning for May being behind Martin as well. Either way, right around 5-6 is where he'd likely be.

"Prospect success rates have not improved much over time and there is little data to support the contention that prospects are more likely to succeed now than they have in the past."

No surprised at this at all given that even in the early 2000s you didn't have wide spread access to some of the advanced scouting tools today (especially video), comprehensive numbers weren't as easy to access, advanced data sources were nonexistant (e.g., pitch f/x), and the advancement of methodologies to measure players.

Injury prevention and efficiency in prospect develop seem to be the two area in baseball that scream for greater developments and that even marginal efficiency improvements in an area would pay huge dividends for a team.

I don't know how the BA top ten list reflects the Phillies' toolsy approach. Of the players on the list, only Quinn qualifies and his main tool, speed, is an elite tool. Also, he seems to have very good baseball aptitude. He spent his first season learning both shortstop and switch hitting. And he showed more than tools in that season.

Tocci is not a Phillies toolsy project. He has real baseball skills to go along with his tools at a very young age.

The guys on this list are no Golsons and Hewitts, guys who look like they should be on the cover of the Spaulding Guide, but have near zero baseball skills and on field IQ.

Lots of very good comments too in this thread and you can obviously tell people with a serious statistical bent/training are reading it too.

Amazing just how much great information is available on the Web for free amidst the ocean of utter crap.

lorecore: Except a few of those not-so-highly regarded prospects actually do have good major league careers when they're actually given a sufficient chance.

I'm currently looking at BA's top 10 Phillies prospect list from 11-05. I see Cole Hamels No. 1 and Michael Bourn No. 3, so kudos to BA for those calls. I also see Greg Golson, Scott Mathieson, Welinson Baez (who?), Mike Costanzo, Brad Harman, Tim Moss, Jason Jaramillo, Edgar Garcia. Who's missing from that list? Hint: he plays catcher and he had posted an .804 OPS at AAA the previous year. But he was 26. 26! Washed up and, hence, not on the list.

Now skip ahead to 2006, when that same washed-up catcher, now 27, had an .894 OPS at AAA. Yet, when the 1-07 rankings came out, the list was comprised of Michael Bourn and nine stiffs, but still no Chooch.

lorecore: Totally agree with you on Franco. No way will Asche be an everyday 3B in the bigs. He lacks the reflexes and arm to play there. He could play 1B, but his MLB HR projection is 10-15 a year. If his bat is for real he may win a job, but as a bench guy at best. Franco has much higher ceiling.

BAP - That's not surprising. Even the best prospects wash out at a ridiculously high rate.

What I would love to know though is how much of that is due to injury especially significant injuries.

BAP: You do understand that the failure rate of non-prospects is far, far, far higher than the failure rate of top prospects, right?

If you do, then I don't get your point. Are you saying that because scouts sometimes misjudge players that their asessments are worthless? If not, what's your point?

Sophist: Thanks for the link. In many ways it confirmed my belief that, aside from those players at the very, very top of overall rankings, chances for success are fairly low ... & even that 60/40 edge for position players in the Top 20 isn't much better than a coin flip.

I also think b_a_p is correct in asserting that higher ranked prospects -- regardless of eventual success/failure rates -- are afforded a longer leash by which to prove themselves. Whether that ought to be so, however, is debatable.

It's interesting to me that in many cases prospects are more valuable as trade pieces than they ever will be as MLB players. Perhaps that's why I rarely get worked up when prospects are traded for MLB players, as the chances of the former succeeding are so low. *shrug*

bap: Icecream for Chooch.

Sophist, great link. I learned a lot. It's interesting to see the Phillies do so well,(second place) with the current World Series Champs - the Giants at the bottom. With free agency and trades, drafting is only one part of the success equation.

Really weird that they have Valle as the best defensive catcher in the system but not in the top 10. I thought Joseph was widely accepted as the better defensive catcher.

Sorry that this adds nothing to the conversation, but if you search on Google for "Toolsy McToolshed," there are only Beerleaguer results returned.

Here are the formers lists for the Phils:

2007:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2008/265168.html

2008:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2009/267393.html

2009:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2010/269125.html

2010:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2011/2611043.html

2011:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2012/2612564.html

It's amazing how many of these that Amaro traded:

2007 - 5 of the top 10 (Carrasco, Adrenas, Outman, Drabek, Golson, Marson, Jamarillo). Gillick traded Adrenas & Outman in the Blanton deal.

2008 - 8 of the top 10 (Carrasco, Marson, Donald, Drabek, Taylor, D'Arnaud, Happ, Knapp)

2009 - 7 of the top 10 (Drabek, Taylor, D'Arnaud, May, Gose, Cosart, Santana)

2010 - 4 of the top 10 (Singleton, Cosart, May, Santana)

2011 - 1 of the top 10 (May)

If the Phils start to fall of cliff and the window really closes this year on being a legit contender in '14, this is a key reason why. I was surprised it was so many players.

MG: At the same time, none of those guys turned into even legitimate role players, let alone stars.

I personally think D'Arnaud and Singleton will end up being very good everyday players, but still. You have to at least admit that the track record of trading away guys at their peak value seems to speak for itself.

And I'm rarely one to give Amaro credit, but let's be objective here.

MG: How much WAR,or whatever meaure of value you prefer, would those 12 or so players produce in 2014?

The best major-league players (so far) that we traded away as prospects in the recent past were Gio Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd, and Gillick was behind both of those deals.

Well, let's let RAJ's trades work their way through the minors first. Singleton is shaping up to be something of a beast, for example.

you mean, behind that 1 deal.

Jack and lorecore - Amaro did do a pretty good job of identifying prospects to move.

2014:
D'Arnaud - Overwhelming odds he would be the Phils starting catcher next year. Chooch is a free agent and should command probably a 2 yr north of the $5M/year he is making this year.

Carrasco - Showed some real promise as a solid backend starter for the Indians. He's likely be penciled in the 4/5 spot.

Gose - Decent chance he would have been the Phils' starter in CF this year and next.

Cosart - Another guy who likely would have been slated for a backend rotation spot next year.

Drabek - Unknown due to his injury status and what he looks like when he comes back.

Singelton - If progresses with another solid year, there is a good chance he would have competed for a starting job in a corner OF spot.

I understand the Phils wouldn't have had nearly the level of success the past few years if Amaro didn't make the deals he did.

Lack of draft picks and low-level draft picks has played a roll along with the horrendous return from the Lee trade. Could have had Morrow or Saunders and instead ended up with just Aumont really.

So basically 3 possible starters (Gose, D'Naurd, Singleton) and 2 backend starters (Carrasco, Cosart).

That's a lot even if the ceilings of some of the guys traded is limited (e.g., Carrasco)

"You do understand that the failure rate of non-prospects is far, far, far higher than the failure rate of top prospects, right?

If you do, then I don't get your point."

My point is that there is a significant confounding factor here: one of the very reasons that lesser prospects fail at a higher rate than top prospects is because not a lot of lesser prospects ever get the opportunity that top prospects get. When Tyler Cloyd puts up monumentally good AAA numbers, and then gets called up at the end of the year & pitches 6 so-so games, the Phillies sign a middling major leaguer to replace him. When Dom Brown puts up so-so numbers in 500 PAs spread over 3 seasons, he begins Year 4 as a starting outfielder.

I'm not saying any of this is necessarily unjustified. I'm just saying it is so. As such, let's not pretend that we are dealing with controlled scientific studies here. If middling prospects were given as many chances to succeed as Luke Hochevar or Justin Smoak or Desmond Jennings have been given, you would see a lot more success stories.

There were two trades that stand out as pretty much unmitigated disaster during Amaro's tenure:

Lee trade where he made a quick deal and got $.60 on the dollar (that's if Aumont develops into a solid backedn reliever)

Pence trade where the Phils gave up a truckload of prospects, Pence was a complete nonfactor in the NLCS such as scouts said he would be because he has so many holes in his swing, and was such a disappointment last year that the Phils shipped him for basically just a C prospect.

NLDS. If there is a single move that Amaro made that I hated the most, it was the Pence deal.

About the only good thing regarding that was that the Phils didn't end up signing him to a long-term deal. Instead they may get the awesome services of Ross for 3 years.

On Ross: When has signing a player who used to kill us ever come back to haunt us?

Other an Rod Barajas?

"It's interesting to me that in many cases prospects are more valuable as trade pieces than they ever will be as MLB players."


THIS.

MG: The value of what r00b traded for Pence is debatable. However, I maintain that r00b cut bait too soon & for too little. I know I'm pissing into the wind on this, but Pence has been bashed mercilessly for failing to be himself, plus Howard & Utley during the first half of the '12 season, an entirely asinine expectation. As it stands Pence wound up being the non-banned-substance-using offensive leader of the team during that period. Finally, while Pence's '11 NLDS was nothing to celebrate, it's hardly fair to single him out when players like Ibañez, Polanco & Chooch -- a 6-7-8 who went a combined 2-32 w/ 0 BB & 8 Ks in the Phillies' 3 losses -- were also crapping all over the batter's box. The amount of as yet unsubstantiated angst over the Pence trade makes no sense to me. Come back & complain if/when Singleton or Cosart make it in MLB.

"It's interesting to me that in many cases prospects are more valuable as trade pieces than they ever will be as MLB players."

Until you trade the wrong one and he becomes a hall of famer. Ryne Sandberg.

Or even just a bum like Julio Franco.

2 years/25 million to Dickey.

You only need "controlled studies" if your goal is to judge if the prospect lists are predicting some sort of ideal "true level of baseball potential in a vacuum."

However, that's not what anyone cares about.

If you are judging "Do prospect lists predict the future actual MLB contributions of a player," then all the biases are "controlled for" by actually looking at if said played contributed at the major league level. There's no need to factor out bias, because the bias is important in the actual outcome you're seeking to measure.

So the Jays basically get Dickey for 3 years/$30 million and give up Travis d'Arnaud?

For an "All In" trade, its not a completely terrible one. Dickey has a 129 ERA+ over the past 3 seasons now.

BAP: "If middling prospects were given as many chances to succeed as Luke Hochevar or Justin Smoak or Desmond Jennings have been given, you would see a lot more success stories."

Personally, I think you're FOS.

If a prospect, middling or otherwise, tears it up in the minors he will get a chance. But guys like that have an enormous failure rate. For every Chris Coste, there are 99 Randy Ruizs, guys that tear it up in the minors but just don't have the skills to make it in MLB.

Mick: Your first and third paragraphs make perfect sense, and are very well put. But I disagree with the premise of your 2nd paragraph.

I, for one, would be very curious to assemble an All Star team comprised of "non-prospects" with good minor league numbers, and see how that team stacks up against major league competition. My prediction:

1. The pitching staff would be wretched.

2. The offense would be much better than anyone thinks.

clout: Out of all the failed minor league journeymen prospects you could have picked to make your point, it is odd that you would pick one who actually proves MY point, instead of yours.

In 238 major league PAs, Randy Ruiz's career OPS was .820. In the one season where he actually got more than 100 PAs at the major league level, his OPS was 1.019. He is an absolutely textbook example of exactly what I've been arguing. He was an oldish non-prospect so, when he stunk it up for 40 PAs in 2010, that was the end of his career; never mind what he'd done in the 200 major league PAs before then.

This talk of prospects has compelled me to go back and look at recent drafts.

Am I off the reservation, or can we judge the 2008 draft as the most successful recent draft by the Phils?


Players of note( Round drafted, Names, Status):

2 - Gose - traded for Oswalt
2 - Knapp - traded for C____ L__
3 - Worley - #4 starter traded for Revere
3s - Pettibone - currently is syteem, BA #4 prospect
4 - Trevor May - traded for Revere
11 - Stutes - on 40-man, has MLB svc time
12 - Rosenberg - on 40-man, has MLB svc time
13 - Schwimer - on 40-man, has MLB svc time
18 - Cloyd - on 40-man, has MLB svc time
38 - Cosart - traded for Pence

The 2008 draft was the HOF of drafts for us.

except for Anthony Hewitt in 2008

And arguably Zach Collier too. They missed on 2 of the top 3 picks but did quite well on many of the other ones.

clout, to your point, it seems to me than in order for any prospect to "get a chance" he has to show SUSTAINED success.

Therefore, "one-year-wonders" in the minors peobably don't get much of a chance because they cannot sustain the success inthe minors.

Coste, I believe, was an unusual case, but even he eventually played his way onto an MLB roster.

Ruf, has actually been able to sustain his success in the minors, his worst year being his 2010 stint in Lakewood and Clearwater when he posted a line of .290/.363/.451.

And low-and-behold, he got a chance last September.

He'll get another chance, too, because if this team needs anything, at least according to BL conventional wisdom, it's a power-hitting RHB in the outfield.

It remains to be seen whether Ruf can sustain any level of success at the MLB level.

But he's going to get the chance because he's exactly what this team needs at this time.

flipping through old drafts on Baseball Reference (by team) it's striking to see just how few guys make the bigs much less have positive career WARs.

Ruf's problem is that he didn't show serious power until last season.

With the power, he's an MLB player, even with his other flaws. Without it, he's a AAA lifer or a Japanese league guy.

Yes, you got me on that one b_a_p. I stand corrected. :)

I just watched video from the Venezuelan league.

I can say this: If any Phillies prospects have success there, we can say with certainty that they are well-equipped to be difference makers if a trend of wildly-annoying horns of all shapes and sizes starts popping up in MLB parks. In that situation, with other players rendered incapacitated by the cacophony, the ability to perform with that racket going on all game long could prove to be advantageous.

Ethan Martin went 5-0 in 7 starts with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.185 WHIP for AA Reading in the regular season after coming over in the Victorino deal. He also pitched 7.2 innings in the playoffs against Trenton, giving up one earned run for a 1.17 ERA. Small sample size of course but I will be making it a point to follow his progress. He was a 2009 first round draft pick by the Dodgers out of high school. (15th overall) According to prospects361.com, his ceiling is as a number two starter.

So Quinn is reminiscent of Jimmie Rollins but with more speed and a better arm? That is extremely impressive. Rollins can fly and has a great arm. Wow.

Jack, the interesting thing to me when I look at Ruf's minor league numbers is teh fact that he had 5 tiples in 2010.

I thought he was supposed to be slow? Or, was he playing in huge ballparks where anything to the RF wall gives a guy a shot at 3B?

donc: It says Quinn has better speed and arm than Rollins did "at the same stage." So Quinn at 19 has better speed and arm than Rollins at 19, not Rollins at his major-league peak.

awh: I doubt we can tell much at all from the fact that he had 5 triples. Ryan Howard had 5 triples in 2010. Carlos Lee had 4 in 2011. It's a fluke thing.

Ruf is slow.

Quinn had a really nice year but it was still low A- in just 66 games. Hard for me to get that excited about that.

If Quinn can duplicate those numbers or even get close over a full season at Lakewood this year, then he is somebody real worth playing a lot of attention to.

Jack, I've seen him run. I guess I was ahlf-kidding.

Let me ask you this:

Since his MiL numbers seem to indicate he has decent OB skills, what, in your opinion, would Ruf have to do to maintain a job in LF in MLB, or more specifically, for the Phillies?

Does a league average BA with a slightly better than average OBP and 20 - 25 HR get it done?

Ie: .255/.340/.450 with 20-25 HR and 65+ RBI?

awh: With his (presumably below-average) defense and baserunning, that would make him probably no more than a +2 win player. Which means that would be passable as a starting player, especially a cheap one, but it would still be a position where the Phils would want to look to improve going forward. League-average is around +3 wins (because the baseline is replacement-level, not league-average).

Also, it depends on his platoon split. If he put together that composite line with a significant platoon split, I don't think he'd maintain a full-time starting job.

To put it in perspective, Josh Willingham was a below-average fielder and baserunner last year, and he hit .260/.366/.524 with 35 HRs, to be worth 4 wins. Andre Ethier was similar, with a .284/.351/.460 line and just below-average defense and baserunning, and was worth 3.4 wins. I would think (but don't know) that Ruf would be worse in terms of defense and baserunning than those guys, so to get to league-average of 3 WAR, he'd have to put up at least Ethier's offensive line.

I have that answer. Take Bill James' projections for Dom Brown from 2011 and extend that line to 2014.

Any particular reason they grade on a 20-80 scale? That makes no sense to me. Why not 17-82? 16.4-79.3? Just seems dumb.

awh, the slash you put up somewhat resembles what we came to expect from someone like Ibanez out there in LF with a slightly lower BA and a few less HR's. Though, if Ruf is going to hit 20-25 HR's I'd hope he has a few more than 65 RBI...

I guess the short answer to your question is that it may be palatable, albeit sub-optimal. Like everything else, if Halladay/Utley/Howard resemble some version of their previous selves, it should be passable without dragging down the team.

awh: But also think you could reasonably expect more average and power than that out of Ruf.

I think, especially if he sits against some tough righties, it's not out of the question to expect a .270/.350/.470 line out of him (I acknowledge that might be overly optimistic). Which, again, seems very good, but has to be weighed against bad defense and baserunning in a corner OF spot, where a lot of guys hit for power. 10 RF and 11 LF (qualified) had slugging percentages over .470 last season.

norbertods: 20-80 is a common statistical measuring scale. Think the SATs (200-800). It allows for three standard deviations on either side of the mean (50, or 500).

I also took notice that Quinn will be compared to jroll "even though" he's fast and has a strong arm.

Pretty odd wording since speed and arm strength were the bulding blocks of why Rollins was one of the top prospects in baseball when he came up.

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