Top 25 Phillies Prospects (11-15)
One day during spring training, the Phillies' coverage triumvirate of Matt Gelb, David Murphy and Bob Brookover sat down for a discussion about the top 25 minor-league prospects in the farm system.
By Bob Brookover and Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writers | Produced by Matt Mullin, Philly.com Sports Editor
Putting together a top 25 prospect list for a big-league baseball organization is like trying to predict who will be the next president four years before the election.
It’s guess-work at best.
“I don’t remember anybody having Darin Ruf on their list last year,” said Joe Jordan, the Phillies’ director of player development.
And still we try.
With just 10 days left before pitchers and catchers go through their first workout at the Phillies’ spring-training complex in Clearwater, Fla., the who is entering his second season in his player development role, had nothing to do with the compilation of the list, but he did agree to comment on each player on our list.
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The acquisition of Tommy Joseph from the San Francisco Giants organization made Valle the second-best Phillies catching prospect. It didn't help Valle that he had an inconsistent season caused by a lack of plate discipline.
Jordan’s comments: "It's unfortunate he had a tough September at Lehigh Valley because he did not have a bad year. He made progress at double A. He has to try to be a hitter and not a home-run hitter."
A lingering elbow injury robbed De Fratus from his chance to make the big-league roster out of spring training, but once he got back on the mound he restored his status as one of the best bullpen prospects in the organization.
Jordan’s comments: "He has such a healthy outlook on what he went through last year. He strikes me as guy who is absolutely convinced he belongs on the big-league club in the bullpen."
The 6-foot-4 righthander was the Phillies' first pick and 40th overall in last year's draft out of Lakewood High in California. The Phillies discovered he had Type 1 diabetes during his physical.
Jordan’s comments: "He handled the diabetes situation very, very well and once he got a handle on it, we started to see why [Phillies assistant general manager] Marti Wolever and the scouting staff liked him so much."
Hernandez, a 22-year-old switch-hitter, has emerged as the top second-base prospect and could one day be part of a double-play combination with Freddy Galvis, whom he played against growing up in Venezuela.
Jordan’s comments: "He has the physical ability to be an everyday player. We really challenged him in spring training to be a more focused and consistent player and he responded the way we hoped."
He showed up for spring training last year overweight, but after a dismal June with short-season Williamsport, he hit .280 over the final two months. The lefthanded slugger only hit two home runs, but his 22 doubles were the third most in the league. He was fifth in the league with 41 walks, which helped account for his .373 on-base percentage.
Jordan’s comments: "This kid is going to have power. He had more walks than I thought he'd have, and he played a pretty darn good left field."