MLB.com released their Top 100 prospects for 2012 on Wednesday, and the number and names of Phillies farmhands on the list will come as no surprise to anyone.
Right-hander Trevor May is the Phils top prospect, according Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com’s Draft and Prospect Expert. May will enter 2012 in the Reading Phillies rotation, and at just 22 years old, appears to be the closest to major-league ready of any of the Phils pitching prospects. Mayo wrote…
May is starting to develop into a more complete pitcher and not just a thrower. The fastball is up to 95 mph and it has plenty of sink. May has no trouble maintaining velocity deep into his starts. He complements his fastball with an above-average curve and a changeup that shows glimpses of being above-average as well. While he still walks a good number of hitters, he lowered his walk rate considerably and showed better overall command. He’ll keep refining his stuff and command, eventually settling in as a very durable No. 2 or 3 starter.
Last year in Clearwater, May went 10-8 with a 3.63 ERA, striking out 208 in just 151.1 innings (12.4Ks/9) and walking 67 (4BBs/9) with a WHIP of 1.242. Opposing hitters batted just .221 against him (stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com).
Up next is 20-year-old Jesse Biddle, the Phillies #1 draft pick (27th overall) in 2010. Biddle came in at #78 on Mayo’s list, and as the organizations’ top left-handed prospect, will likely start 2012 in Clearwater for the Threshers. Mayo’s scouting report on Biddle…
A strong and durable southpaw, Biddle has the makings of three above-average to plus pitches in his arsenal. He’s shown the ability to run his fastball in the low 90s. He has a changeup that could be plus when all is said and done, and although his curve is inconsistent, it’s tighter and has a harder break than when he was in high school. He needs to improve his command, not rare for such a young arm, but he did lower his walk rate in the second half of 2011. Even if he moves one station at a time, Biddle profiles as a sturdy, innings-eating lefty who will have a long career in the middle of a big league rotation.
Mayo also noted that Biddle got off to a rough start in 2011, posting a 7.16 ERA in April. He then posted an ERA of 2.65 in May, 2.54 in June, 2.17 in July and 2.13 in August, finishing the year at 2.98. Biddle held opponents to a .219 average, going 7-8 while striking out 124 in 133 innings (8.4Ks/9).
The last member of the Phils farm system to make the Top 100 is Brody Colvin, at #80. Colvin was the Phil’s 7th round draft pick in 2009, and at 21 years old, may start 2012 in Reading. Colvin’s stats were not as good as May’s or Colvin’s, yet Mayo thinks highly of him as well…
Despite the rough 2011 season, Colvin still has pure stuff, and a projectable pitcher’s body, that would be the envy of many a pitching prospect. His fastball is plus at times, up into the mid-90s with good sink that generates ground balls. Both his curve and his changeup have the chance to be very good secondary pitches, and he’s shown a better feel for the offspeed pitch in the past then many his age. His command suffered in 2011, something that will have to improve for him to move forward. He has the stuff to pitch near the top of a rotation. If the command doesn’t bounce back, his stuff would play well in the bullpen.
Obviously, the Phillies are hoping that Colvin’s career is not in the ‘pen, but as a starter. Last year in Clearwater, he went 3-8 with a 4.71 ERA, striking out just 78 in 116.2 innings, while walking 42 (1.483 WHIP). It’s possible the Phillies could hold him back and start his 2012 season in Clearwater once again, but the hope is that he’ll end up with the R-Phils at some point this season.
Perhaps more eye-opening are the number of ex-Phillies prospects in Mayo’s Top 100. Catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud (gone in the Halladay trade) at #25, Jonathan Singleton (#44) and Jared Cosart (#61), both dealt in the Pence trade, and Anthony Gose, (#57) who was traded away for Oswalt, were all former Phils farm-hands.
Not included in this list was outfielder Domonic Brown, who has accumulated too many Major League plate appearance to qualify as a prospect. Obviously, Phils fans are hoping he’ll eventually make the leap to big-league stardom.
Notable among the list of top Phillies prospects is the lack of positional players. All three prospects in Mayo’s Top 100 are pitchers. And while Mayo has Cesar Hernandez pegged as the 5th-best second-base prospect in all of baseball and Sebastian Valle as the 9th-best catching prospect, players with positional upside are few and far between. Outfielder Jiwan James and shortstop Freddy Galvis need to have big 2012 seasons if they want to prove they are legitimate prospects for the Phillies as well.
Make sure to check back in on Tuesday as we take a look at the Phils’ Top 10 prospects entering 2012. All season long, I’ll be tracking their progress as the baby Phils look to move their way up the organizational ladder.