By Bob Brookover, Matt Gelb and Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writers | Produced by Matt Mullin, Philly.com
It's time for the midseason installment of The Inquirer's list of the Phillies' top 25 minor-league prospects.
The biggest change from our preseason top 25 is that power-hitting third baseman Maikel Franco has jumped from third to first, replacing lefthander Jesse Biddle at the top.
Nine players on our preseason list - Jonathan Pettibone, Tyler Cloyd, Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Brody Colvin, Zach Collier, Tyson Gillies, Dylan Cozens, and Kyle Simon - have been removed. Some of them were deleted because of big-league service time and others because of poor seasons. Cozens is the one most likely to return at some point.
Our nine new players are J.P. Crawford, Cameron Perkins, Aaron Altherr, Zach Green, Mitch Gueller, Cord Sandberg, Mitch Walding, Severino Gonzalez, and Yoel Mecias.
Three scouts from outside the organization were willing to comment on the players, but only players who have performed at low-A Lakewood or above have comments from the scouts.
16. CAMERON RUPP, C | Reading/Lehigh Valley
Once behind Joseph and Sebastian Valle on the team’s catching depth chart, Rupp has steadily climbed to Lehigh Valley, thanks to his defensive ability and displays of power.
Scout’s view: “He has been coming on and he is much improved, especially his throwing. He still needs to work on running a game from behind the plate.”
17. ZACH GREEN, 3B | Williamsport
After putting up solid numbers — .284, 3 home runs and 21 RBIs in 47 games — a year ago in the Gulf Coast League, the Phillies’ 2012 third-round pick got off to a great start with the Crosscutters this season, collecting six doubles, four home runs and 12 RBIs in his first nine games, but has cooled off since. The 6-foot-3 Green still has a lot work to do in the field and likely will make a position change at some point on his way up the minor-league ladder.
18. MITCH GUELLER, RHP | Williamsport
After a rough introduction to professional baseball last year in the Gulf Coast League, the Phillies’ 2012 first-round compensation pick has pitched much better at short-season Williamsport so far this year. The Washington state native has a mid-90s fastball, but still has much to learn about pitching.
19. KEN GILES, RHP | Clearwater
A seventh-round pick in the 2011 draft, Giles has one of the best power arms in the organization, but he has spent most of this season on the disabled list because of a rib injury. He did return at the beginning of July.
Scout’s view: “I saw him last year throwing 93 to 97. He averaged 95. He has an excellent arm and attacks hitters like a Craig Kimbrel from the Braves. He needs to polish his secondary stuff.”
20. CORD SANDBERG, CF | Gulf Coast Phillies
A two-sport star at Manatee High School in Bradenton, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound center fielder decided to pass on a football scholarship to play quarterback at Mississippi State and sign with the Phillies for $775,000.
21. SEBASTIAN VALLE, C | Reading
A year ago he opened the season as the Phillies’ best catching prospect, but he has remained at double-A Reading this season after finishing last year at Lehigh Valley. He has struggled to hit for power and average in the hitter friendly Eastern League.
Scout’s view: “He’s heading in the wrong direction.”
22. LARRY GREENE JR., LF | Lakewood
The Phillies’ first overall pick in the 2011 draft has struggled in his first full professional season, but has shown recent signs of coming around. Drafted for his power, however, he has shown little this season.
Scout’s view: “He needs to get into better shape. In batting practice, he has as great a power as I’ve seen in anybody all year. It has not carried over into the game. I don’t know why, but it’s not being transferred from 4:30 to 7 o’clock.”
23. MITCH WALDING, 3B | Lakewood
The first two seasons have been humbling for the Phillies’ 2011 fifth-round pick, but most observers still believe the 20-year-old third baseman has a chance to be a solid big-league player.
Scout’s view: “He’s a good player. I like the way he grinds and he’s a kid with tools. Very good defensive player. For his age, he has an idea of how to keep the ball in the middle of the field.”
24. SEVERINO GONZALEZ, RHP | Lakewood/Clearwater
He was supposed to start the season in Williamsport after a long stint in extended spring training, but a need at Clearwater gave the 20-year-old Panamanian an opportunity much sooner than anticipated. He has taken it and run, posting a 1.65 ERA in 12 games at Clearwater before moving down and becoming a starter with Lakewood.
Scout’s view: “The best part about him is how well he can pitch for his age. He has a real good feel for it. He already has a nice fastball and he’s a quick work with good energy. I think he has a chance to be a backend of the rotation starter.”
25. YOEL MECIAS, LHP | Lakewood
The 19-year-old lefty from Venezuela performed well in the Gulf Coast League and was following that up with a solid season at Lakewood before going on the disabled list with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.
Scout’s view: “He has a good change-of-speed approach. He reminds me of Wandy Rodriguez at the same age. He still has to work on his slider, but he’s definitely a young lefty to keep on the radar screen.”