Prospects On Opening Week

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With the first week of the 2012 minor league season officially underway, we’re finally getting a chance to see some of the Phillies’ top prospects get some game action against competition similar to their own talent levels. Of course, there is no single blue-chipper in the Phils organization right now (unless you count Dom Brown, who is no longer considered a prospect because of his Major League service). Even the Phils’ top prospect, Trevor May, could only manage a high ranking of #53 in all of baseball, with most experts putting him somewhere in the 60s.

Still, what the Phils lack in star power, they make up in depth. The Phillies have a lot of players with tantalizing tools who haven’t been able to put it all together yet, Dom Brown included. For the guys at LeHigh Valley and Reading, now is the time, especially with the Major League lineup aging, the bullpen falling apart, and star players having limbs fall off. A few good months to start the season could result in some quick promotions. After all, Freddy Galvis is the every day starting second baseman for the big league club. Who saw that coming?

Starting with the Iron Pigs, Domonic Brown is off to a bit of a rough start, hitting only .111 with an OPS of .384. He’s appeared in just three games and has had nine at bats, so it’s way, way, way to draw any conclusions from Brown’s first week (or anyone else’s for that matter). What is a little disturbing is that he’s struck out six times in those nine at bats, and has walked twice, with no extra base hits. Still, Brown’s job is to focus on his defense, and so far, he is error-free (not that errors mean much anyway).

On the mound, many of LeHigh’s bullpen pieces could be called into service in the next few days, given the injury troubles (and general ineffectiveness) that has plagued the Phils’ bullpen. Joe Savery has already joined the big club, making his first relief appearance of the season in Monday’s home opener. He gave up a home run to Omar Infante, but otherwise  pitched well in his 1 2/3 innings of work. Phillippe Aumont has pitched two innings for the Iron Pigs so far, giving up just one hit and collecting a save. He’ll be with the Phillies sooner rather than later. Jake Diekman and Michael Scwhimmer both have pitched just one inning thus far, and neither have given up a run yet.

In Reading, the toolsy outfield and highly touted catcher have gotten off to hot starts at the plate. Jiwan James has played in four games, collected 12 at bats, and has an OPS of 1.107. Tyson Gillies has had 13 at bats and is sporting an OPS of .769, hitting his first home run of the season on Monday. And catcher Sebastian Valle has had 10 at bats and has an OPS of 1.383, also with a HR. But again, SMALL SAMPLE SIZE. So, fairly warned, be thee, says I.

Top prospect Trevor May, meanwhile, didn’t have a terrible first start. He went five innings, giving up four earned runs on three hits. The strikeouts were there (6 in 5 innings) but so were the walks (3). And Jonathan Pettibone, the Phils’ #4 prospect per Baseball America, went six innings in his first start of the year, picking up the win. He gave up a lot of hits (10) but walked only one and gave up just one earned run. They guy just keeps throwing quality starts game after game over his brief career.

In Clearwater, Jesse Biddle (who most believe is the Phils’ #2 prospect overall) started his first game of the season, going just four innings and giving up three runs (only one was earned) on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. That’s too many baserunners. Brody Colvin, one of May’s former rotation mates, also made his first start of the season, picking up the loss in his debut. He went five innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits. And youngster Jose Contreras has been getting lit up so far… OK, just seeing if you were still paying attention.

Finally, in Lakewood, youngsters Tyler Greene and Mikael Franco are both getting their feet wet, with both players hitting under .235 in limited playing time thus far.

Now… onto the week that was in prospect Twitterville…

Apparently, there seems to be some disagreement between @Trevmay54 and @TysonGillies21 over whose job it is to clean their room. Naps are involved as well. I’m confused.

I guess confusion is my just reward for eavesdropping on the tweets of others. Trevor is also happy for all the run support the red-hot R-Phils offense has given the pitching staff thus far…

Hey, is there any way the big club could swap rosters with the Reading Phils… you know… just as an experiment? I mean, they couldn’t do any worse than the Ty Wigginton/Juan Pierre-led fiasco of the first four games, right?

And one last one from Trevor…

Yep. That’s pretty much been how I’ve felt about every day from the last three weeks. They just keep comin’. Jonathan Pettibone echoed a lot of the same sentiments I had in college…

The good people at my local IKEA were receiving payments from me for about, oh I don’t know, a scillion years after I moved into my first place. Luckily, the Ektorp couch I bought is still kicking.

Jiwan James got a bit of a rude awakening this week when he tried to order a traditional Easter dish…

Welcome to Berks County, PA, my friend. Be sure to check out The Pagoda.

And that’s it for this week. Try not to gouge your eyes out watching Freddy Galvis fail to outhit Steve Jeltz.

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