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Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of Philadelphia Phillies’ Top 10 Prospects

Although the Philadelphia Phillies are in the midst of their longest winning streak in over a year, they are still one of the worst teams in baseball at 28-36. They sit dead last in the NL East, and despite being just a half-game behind the fourth-place New York Mets, they have shown no promise of contending this year.

As pessimistic as that sounds, it’s the unfortunate truth. With that said, perhaps the most exciting part of the Phillies is not who’s playing for them now but who’s inclined to don a Phillies uniform in the future.

Now that the 2014 MLB draft is in the rear-view mirror, the focus can return to whom the Phillies have in their system at this present time. While the Phillies have not yet signed all of their draft picks—they have until July 15 to do so—all but two of their first 10 draft picks, including first-rounder Aaron Nola, have signed as of the publishing of this article.

Even though the best part about discussing prospects is their upside, all prospects have their downside as well, which isn’t always considered. In order to accurately gauge a prospect, one must take both sides of the spectrum into account.

Here are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the Phillies’ top-10 prospects.


All prospects on this list have yet to make their MLB debuts. All prospect commentary courtesy of the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook and/or’s Jonathan Mayo.

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Philadelphia Phillies Prospects Who Never Lived Up to the Hype

The Philadelphia Phillies have not been the most successful franchise. They were the first team in MLB history to reach 10,000 losses, their all-time record is below .500 and as one of the oldest teams in baseball, they only have two World Series titles to their name.

On top of that, the Phillies don’t have too many homegrown All-Stars throughout their history. The recent run of success has been a large exception—in fact, of the team’s five players with retired numbers (six including Jackie Robinson), two of them were acquired in trades: Jim Bunning and Steve Carlton.

Consequently, the Phillies have had plenty of prospect busts. While it would be impossible to name them all, some stick out like sore thumbs.

Here are five of the many Phillies prospects who never lived up to the hype.

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5 Early-Season Philadelphia Phillies Stats That Tell You All You Need to Know

As it stands, the Philadelphia Phillies are in a bit of a funk. After finding a way back to a game above .500 at 15-14, they lost four straight games to the Toronto Blue Jays—two at home, two on the road—to fall to 15-18. For the record, that places them dead last in the NL East.

Forget that the Miami Marlins are tied with the Washington Nationals for first place. The Phillies are in dead last. That’s just flat-out embarrassing.

Although the Phillies are entrenched in a discouraging stretch, they have had their share of ups and downs this year, and the stats support this fluctuation. As the adage goes, the stats don’t lie. Some stats are more significant than others, but there are clear front-runner statistics that have defined the Phillies’ season.

Here are five of those statistics that tell you all you need to know about their season to date.

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Early Grades for All of Philadelphia Phillies’ Offseason Acquisitions

While not nearly as flashy as past offseasons, the Philadelphia Phillies made a plethora of moves this past offseason. And as they finish up the first sixth of the season with an even 13-13 record, the Phillies are at the point where their offseason acquisitions can be graded with a relatively decent sample size.

All acquisitions will be graded on an A+ to F scale. Hitters will primarily be graded on batting average, on-base percentage and slugging, while pitchers will be graded on ERA, FIP (now found on and WHIP.

Other stats, such as home runs and RBI for hitters and wins/losses and strikeouts for pitchers, will be included, but will factor less into the player’s grade.

Carlos Ruiz will be excluded since this slideshow does not include players who were re-signed by the Phillies.

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Breakout Performances from Phillies’ First Two Weeks of Spring Training

It’s already been a long spring for the Philadelphia Phillies, and it may be the start of an unbearably long season. While spring training usually isn’t a full indication of the regular season to come, all games are taken into account by some measure.

At this point in time, the Phillies’ spring training record is 4-10. They’re the worst team in the Grapefruit League, the worst National League team in spring training and the second-worst team in baseball this spring. Only the 3-9 Texas Rangers are worse. Simply put, spring has been a disaster for the Phillies thus far.

The offense has not looked sharp. The rotation continues to thin out due to injuries. And while bullpen pitching has been surprisingly decent, the relievers have had their moments of surrendering hits and runs.

However, there have been a few bright spots worth mentioning. Here are the breakout performances from the Phillies’ first two weeks of spring training games.

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Spring Training To-Do List

Spring training is finally upon us. After a long offseason, baseball is back, and more specifically, Philadelphia Phillies baseball is back.

In some ways, the Phillies are stepping on new ground this spring. It’s their first spring training without Charlie Manuel in almost 10 years, and already manager Ryne Sandberg has turned up the heat in workouts. It’s a promising start for a manager who’s taking charge following one who didn’t always enforce such rigorous exercises at this point in spring training.

While there’s still plenty of time for Sandberg and the Phillies to make roster decisions, they still loom over the heads of the players until said decisions are made. Competitions will boil down to performance and expected performance during the season; and with certain wild cards like Cole Hamels’ shoulder injury giving more players a shot at making the Opening Day roster, the battles for roster spots should be that much more intense.

The Phillies’ to-do list isn’t extensive in 2014, since many of the team’s position players are set in stone. Pitching is always up in the air, as is the bench. Keeping this in mind, here is the Phillies’ spring training to-do list.

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Odds for Each Phillies Player on the Roster Bubble Making the Final 25-Man Cut

It’s been a big week for the Philadelphia Phillies. More specifically, it’s been a big last couple of days for the Phillies.

After news emerged on February 12 that homegrown ace and 2013 Opening Day starter Cole Hamels would not be ready for the opener in 2014, the Phillies’ rotation immediately lost depth. Behind Hamels and Cliff Lee, the rotation stood as a bit of an enigma, with the final two spots not even cemented as of yet.

Consequently, hours later, the Phillies and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. went out and signed right-handed starter A.J. Burnett to a one-year, $16 million contract with an option for 2015. And a day later, on February 13, minor league signee Chad Gaudin was released after allegedly failing his physical, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

With that all in mind, some of the Phillies’ spring training battles have changed. Now that the first four rotation spots are firmly in place, three starters will vie for the fifth starter’s job. A couple of other players also will have a stab at making the major league squad, although they may not be in the starting rotation.

Having said that, here are the odds each Phillies player on the bubble has of making the 25-man roster.



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Scouting Reports, 2014 Projections for Phillies’ Pitchers and Catchers

The Philadelphia Phillies‘ offseason is mercifully coming to a close. After a winter that saw a few too many bad contracts signed, fans would like to see what this supposedly-revamped team is capable of doing.

With pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training by February 12—just 13 days from now—some familiar and new faces will head down to Clearwater to show the team what they’ve got. Some of these players will make the team, while others will head to the minors for the start of the season or be cut from the organization altogether.

Keeping that in mind, here are scouting reports and 2014 projections for the Phillies’ pitchers and catchers.

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Why Bronson Arroyo Would Be Bad Signing for Phillies’ 2014 Plans

Despite a relatively quiet offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies have not necessarily filled all of their holes. Outfielder Marlon Byrd might be a bust, while starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez is an unknown in a shallow stadium like Citizens Bank Park.

Although the Phillies have not been connected to many rumors since early December, one rumor recently emerged that was rather interesting. According to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the Phillies were still potentially interested in signing starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo as of January 12.

The only appeal to Arroyo for the Phillies is that he doesn’t have a draft pick attached to him and doesn’t get hurt. But at what price will that cost the Phillies, both on the books and on the mound?

While it’s indisputable that the Phillies need some sort of starting pitching help, it shouldn’t come in the form of Arroyo by any means. Here’s why.


All advanced statistics used courtesy of FanGraphs.

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Philadelphia Phillies: Would Cliff Lee-Matt Kemp Trade Make Sense?

Now that baseball is in the thick of the winter meetings, rumors and potential signings and trades will be heard out the wazoo. Plenty will be going around throughout the next two days or so, and Bleacher Report’s Adam Wells has done a fantastic job of keeping track of them so far.

Among the rumors involving the Philadelphia Phillies are that closer Jonathan Papelbon is being shopped, as is young outfielder Domonic Brown. These came to light thanks to tweets from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, respectively.

However, the most intriguing Phillies rumor emerged on Tuesday when ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted the following concerning the Phillies’ pitching staff:


Considering that the Phillies are still seemingly immersed in a “win-now” mode, it’s strange that they’re contemplating trading the two most reliable cogs of the team, let alone the rotation. What makes this even weirder is that it completely contradicts the signings of Marlon Byrd and Carlos Ruiz. Then again, so does the notion that Domonic Brown could be dealt. So what is the Phillies’ strategy, exactly?

It’s becoming more and more apparent that the Phillies may not have one. But they’re not wrong for listening to potential deals. It’s simply due diligence, though ESPN’s Jayson Stark provided an interesting update on the Lee/Hamels front not too long after Olney‘s tweet: 

The prospects of a deal under those circumstances are slim to none. It’s pretty clear that that’s the case. But have the Phillies considered a deal in which established major leaguers, not minor league prospects, are the return?

That possibility lingers in only a few instances. It would involve two high-priced stars being swapped for one another, with each filling holes for the two teams involved. That’s not so easy to find.

However, one instance in which this is a possibility is with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers, who have been connected to Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price, per CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, are hesitant to trade away top prospects in their barren farm system to get him. This tidbit comes from Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Where does that leave the Dodgers? It means that they’re still likely interested in acquiring an ace starter, though they would prefer to give up pieces on the major league team as opposed to within the minors. This is where they could match up in a trade with the Phillies.

Hernandez of the L.A. Times provides even more information, this time coming from Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart. Stewart believes that Kemp is likely to be traded, even with six years and $130 million remaining on Kemp’s extension signed before the 2012 season.

That’s a hefty price to pay for Kemp, who’s been meddled with injury woes since signing the deal. Such a drawback may not appeal to the Phillies. But the ability to upgrade at a position of need while dealing away another large contract? It’s at least thought-provoking.

The Dodgers want Price, a left-handed ace with two years of team control left. Is Cliff Lee not the same caliber of a pitcher, with two guaranteed years left on his deal and is a southpaw ace?

There is a difference, and that’s cost. Price is still arbitration-eligible, so his salaries will spike from year to year, yet still remain below those of Lee. Lee has two years and $62.5 million guaranteed on his contract, though he could earn $15 million more if his 2016 vesting option kicks in.

The perk to Lee, though, is knowing his cost and knowing that he’s got that potential third year of control left. That may be appealing to the Dodgers if they seek longer commitment than two years, since Price will more likely than not pursue free agency as one of the top starters on the market after the 2015 season.

Kemp appeals to Philadelphia because he’s still a top-flight player when he’s healthy. He’s right-handed and has power, which would be even greater at Citizens Bank Park. His defense is extraordinary. And he’s flashed speed on the basepaths to the point that he nearly achieved a 40-40 season in 2011.

But the kicker? Kemp’s only 29 years old. Lee is 35. For a Phillies team looking to get younger, it doesn’t get any better than this.

The good news with Kemp’s deal as well is that it’s not back-loaded like Lee’s. According to Cot’s, Kemp makes a consistent $21.5 million for each of the last four years of his deal, whereas Lee makes $25 million in 2014 and 2015, with the potential to make $27.5 million as a 37-year-old in 2016.

Per season, Kemp’s average annual value would actually be $4 million less on the Phillies’ payroll than Lee’s, providing some slight wiggle room under the luxury tax. The Phillies wouldn’t have to eat any of Lee’s contract, which is what they’re looking for in any deal involving him. And they’d be receiving an All-Star center fielder who’s a game-changer when on the field.

This trade would have some ramifications on the rest of the Phillies’ outfield, of course. It would mean that Ben Revere would likely be a fourth outfielder, a role which doesn’t utilize his speed enough. In that regard, it isn’t the most practical trade, unless Revere was shipped off with Lee. Given that the Dodgers have an outfield conundrum as well, though, that’s unlikely to happen.

Such matters can be resolved later, though. In many ways, a Lee-Kemp swap makes a ton of sense. But will it happen? Probably not, unless Phillies and Dodgers general managers Ruben Amaro Jr. and Ned Colletti get creative. But given that Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler were traded for one another this offseason, nothing can be ruled out.

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