Top 10 prospects for 2010: Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves

With the Roy Halladay trade finalized, Philadelphia’s farm system has been shaken up. For those wondering, here is the top 10 I was expecting to publish, before the trade:

1. Kyle Drabek
2. Michael Taylor
3. Domonic Brown
4. Domingo Santana
5. Anthony Gose
6. Trevor May
7. Antonio Bastardo
8. Sebastian Valle
9. Travis D’Arnaud
10. Vance Worley

Now with Drabek, Taylor and D’Arnaud departing and Tyson Gillies, Phillippe Aumont, and J.C. Ramirez being brought over from Seattle, here is how the new top 10 looks, followed by arch-rival Atlanta’s (much better) system. It is interesting to note that Seattle’s No. 6 and No. 7 prospects, Gillies and Aumont, rank No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in Philadelphia’s system. It’s more of an indication of Philadelphia’s lack of blue-chip prospects rather than Seattle’s strong system.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Domonic Brown: I have been criticized for my low ranking of Brown in the past. And I admit it: If it weren’t for the trade of Drabek and Taylor, Brown would be ranked third in the organization. I feel that Brown has a good mix of skills, but nothing he does stands out as elite, leaving me a bit cold.
2. Tyson Gillies: Traded from Seattle. If it weren’t for Alex Liddi, everyone would be singing the praises of Gillies. Both starred for the High Desert Mavericks, but Gillies took a different approach. He demonstrated every skill necessary to become a good major league leadoff hitter. As with Liddi, though, I’m hesitating a bit until I see his performance against better competition in a more balanced league.
3. Phillippe Aumont: Traded from Seattle. Everyone loves the stuff that Aumont brings to the ballpark, but, when it comes right down to it, he is now strictly a relief pitcher. While he could become Philadelphia’s closer in short order, his bullpen status hurts his stock.
4. Domingo Santana: Call me bullish on Santana’s potential, but no one else in the organization really stands out from a skill perspective. The scouting reports are glowing and the initial numbers are promising.
5. Anthony Gose: Gose has terrific speed that shines both on the base paths and in his outfield range. His bat lags way behind at the moment, but Philadelphia has top-of-the-order hopes for this teenager.
6. Trevor May: May sports a low-90s fastball with strong movement and an average curveball that could grow into his out pitch. Just 20 years old with impressive strikeout numbers in the Sally League, the 6-foot-5 May has room to grow but much to learn when it comes to locating his arsenal.
7. Antonio Bastardo: Bastardo has a workable three-pitch mix that adds up to a middle- to back-of-the-rotation future. His inconsistent major league debut offered too little of a sample size to draw conclusions, but his control numbers were solid and spell at least minor success.
8. J.C. Ramirez: Traded from Seattle. Don’t let his California League numbers throw you off too much. Ramirez has good upside with his strong fastball and potentially plus slider. His questionable strikeout total in 2009 does raise an eyebrow, but I’m willing to ride it out for another year.
9. Sebastian Valle: There are questions regarding Valle’s ultimate ability to stick at catcher, but he is way too young and raw for that question to be answered anytime soon. Philadelphia will let him ride it out at catcher for now, where his immense power potential would be a huge asset.
10. Vance Worley: Worley posted some 2009 numbers that are hard to sugarcoat. But I trusted his strong right arm coming out of the 2008 draft, and I’m not going to fully downgrade him yet. Call me stubborn, but he has the poise to pull it all together in 2010.

Atlanta Braves

1. Jason Heyward: Heyward is the best hitting prospect in baseball. As a 20-year-old, his bat has no weakness and there is more improvement ahead in every facet. A dynamic, middle-of-the-order future is in store.
2. Freddie Freeman: While his bat is advanced for his age, his home run numbers dropped off in his second full season. Will his home run power return? His future value hinges on it. I’m buying into a good 2010 campaign.
3. Julio Teheran: It is amazing that Teheran’s 160-pound body is able to generate the type of velocity that has scouts everywhere drooling. His youth and inconsistent delivery have me worried about his long-term health, but his initial stats, promising repertoire and unbridled heat have been turning heads.
4. Mike Minor: Minor’s best attribute is his overall repertoire, with his change-up being his best pitch at this time. Minor certainly doesn’t blow people away, but he was a safe pick in the first round of the 2009 draft. If either his curveball or slider can take the next step, he could become an under-the-radar No. 2 starter when he hits the majors.
5. Randall Delgado: Atlanta broke character with Delgado in 2009 by aggressively allowing him to pitch a full season in the Sally League at the tender age of 19. He has strong velocity now, and the ability to add more, potentially making his fastball a plus offering. As a project, though, his secondary stuff has a long way to go.
6. Zeke Spruill: Spruill doesn’t have the fastball to be an ace, but his curveball has the look of a plus pitch at times. Youth and advanced control are on his side, and a No. 2 starter could be in the works.
7. Craig Kimbrel: A lively mid-90s fastball is Kimbrel’s best asset. His control took a step forward in 2009, backing up his closer pedigree. He could immediately become one of Atlanta’s top relievers as early as 2010.
8. Christian Bethancourt: Bethancourt has the defensive prowess to be a Gold Glover behind the plate one day. His bat is a long way off of that pace, however. He showed flashes of his power potential in his brief 2009 rookie league performance, but little else bat-wise.
9. Brett DeVall: Devall has No. 2 starter potential in his left arm. His fastball and change-up project as average offerings, but it’s his curveball that could become special. Concerns about his injured elbow downgrade him slightly.
10. Cody Johnson: It’s hard to find better raw power anywhere in minor league baseball. It’s also hard to find a more hole-ridden swing than Johnson’s. He’s the biggest boom-or-bust player in Atlanta’s system.

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Comments

  1. DonCoburleone said...

    Hey what’s your best guess as to what the Braves do with Heyward this year? 

    I’m guessing he tears up Spring Training and the Braves still send him down to work on his “defense” or some other BS reason (when of course its just to delay his arbitration clock). I think they end up trading D Lowe for a couple low level, high upside Minor leaguers and then sign Marlon Byrd (maaaaybe Vlad Guerrero, but I doubt they trust him in the field.) What do you think?

  2. ColonelTom said...

    Has Ruben Amaro Jr. said anything about Aumont’s role at Reading yet?  Seattle moved him into the pen (1) to protect his elbow, which was sore in ‘08, and (2) to fast-track him to the majors.  One has to assume his elbow checked out in the trade process, so why not put him back in the rotation at Reading this year?  He mainly needs to develop a changeup to be a front-line starter, and the Phils teach that pitch as well as anyone (Hamels, Madson).

  3. Marc Hulet said...

    Brown = good defense, .200+ ISO, wOBA of .404, good BB%, 30 SB potential… at the age of 22; I’m not quite sure what elite stats look like, then.

    That works out to a potential plus defender, with 20 HR-30 SB potential.

  4. John Miles said...

    Does anyone else think that the possibility exists that, if Bethancourt develops a bit offensively, the Braves might move McCann to first to hide his mediocre defense behind the plate?

  5. James Blakely said...

    McCann is not going to 1B anytime soon.  As for McCann’s “mediocre defense”, what games have you been watching?  I suggest you not drink so much during the games, lol. (just kidding)

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