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2011 Philadelphia Phillies Top 10 Prospects

Every season I rank the Philadelphia Phillies top 10 prospects for the upcoming season. While the Phillies farm system has been ravaged the past couple of years thanks to trades for Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and most recently Roy Oswalt, it does not mean there isn’t great talent still left.

The Phillies have done a great job getting their draft picks signed and as a result, still have a solid system with its best talent at the lower levels.

I now present the 2011 Top 10 Phillies prospects.


1)      Domonic Brown-OF-Last Year’s Rank: 1 ETA: he’s arrived (Will be 24 in September) 

The future is now in Philadelphia when it comes to 23-year-old outfielder Domonic Brown. By now most of you know the story of how Brown came to be a Phillie, but if you’re unaware I will refresh your memory.

Brown was drafted out of high school in the 20th round of the 2006 MLB Draft. While most scouts knew Brown was a first-round talent, they were scared off by a football scholarship from the University of Miami.

The Phillies however took a gamble and hoped to change his mind. They did. Brown turned in his Hurricane uniform for a Gulf Coast League Phillies uniform and signed with the Phillies for $200,000.

After signing with the Phillies in 2006 he was placed on the Gulf Coast League Phillies for rookies and had a respectable .287 batting average and was tied for the team lead in stolen bases with 13.

After a successful first pro season, he looked to duplicate his success in 2007 as he was given a hefty promotion to High Class A Clearwater

While Brown started the 2007 season in Clearwater, he finished the season in short season Williamsport, which is one step above the GCL Phillies. He led the Williamsport Crosscutters in batting average (.295), hits (84), runs (43), triples (five) and stolen bases (14).

His 84 hits were the third-best in the entire New York Penn league that year. Brown looked towards 2008 to once again carry his success over to another year.

In 2008, Brown received a call up to Class A Lakewood where he led the team in hits (129), runs (77) and stolen bases (22) He had a .291 batting average and was able to smack nine HRs. His 54 RBI weren’t too bad either, and it was becoming apparent that Brown was one to watch going into 2009.

2009 brought Brown a first in his baseball career. He was voted by Baseball America as the Phillies top prospect going into the season. I was hesitant to put him on the list because he was so young and placed him on the honorable mention list but he proved me wrong and Baseball America right with the season he had 09.

In 2009 Brown started out the season for High Single A Clearwater. Unlike in 2007, Brown would play most of the season in Clearwater but did receive a call up to AA Redding and finished the season there playing alongside another great outfield prospect, Michael Taylor.

Brown played the 2009 season for Clearwater, Reading and had a brief rehab stint in his old stomping grounds, the GCL Phillies.

Last season, 2010, was a year that ended with Brown in Philadelphia. Starting out in AA Reading, Brown torched Eastern League pitching hitting .318 with 15 HR, 47 RBI in only 236 AB. It wasn’t a matter of if Brown would receive a promotion to AAA Leigh High Valley but when.

Brown’s promotion came on June 25th as the Phillies put their No. 1 prospect one step away from the major leagues. While some prospects struggle with the call up to AAA (Carlos Carrasco), Brown’s torrid pace through the Eastern League was carried over to International League.

In his short stint in AAA (Only 107 AB) Brown hit .346 with 5 HR and 21 RBI. The dominance Brown was showing in the minors had fans talking. Talking about when Brown would get called up and if the Phillies would trade Jayson Werth to open up a spot for Brown.

While the Phillies never did trade Werth, now a Washington National, they did call up their prized rookie outfielder on July 28th. On that same day, Brown made his major league debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks where in his first at-bat, he nearly hit his first home run.

Brown finished his first major league game with a two-hit day, scoring two runs and driving in two RBI. Not a bad first impression.

Unfortunately for Brown his hot start didn’t continue. Brown struggled getting acclimated to major league pitching and finished the season in the majors hitting .210 with two HR, 13 RBI and two SB.

His rough start was enough to have some fans worried that Brown might not be the guy in 2011, and his winter league numbers didn’t help his case. Brown went to play for the Liga De Beisbol Dominicano baseball club where he left after just nine games where he hit .069.

COMBINED 2010 STATS (AA, AAA, MLB) .269 BA, 25 2B, 4 3B, 22 HR, & 81 RBI. In 405 AB he scored 73 runs while swiping 19 bags and being caught 8 times. He had a .796 OPS

Brown will now split time with Ben Francisco in right field. With the absence of Jayson Werth, it leaves a big hole to fill, and while many fans would like that guy to be Brown, expect Francisco to face lefties and Brown to face righties.

While many managers would feel pressure to play a top prospect like Brown, Charlie Manuel isn’t your typical manager. If you remember back to 2005, he decided to start Placido Polanco instead of the fan favorite and top prospect Chase Utley.

Many fans are also extremely worried about Brown’s winter ball numbers and concerned with him leaving the team just after nine games. I wouldn’t worry too much Phillies fans. Brown knows success and has tasted it.

Being worried about Brown’s winter ball numbers and not looking at the big picture (his minor league and major league numbers) is similar to focusing on a pitchers walk ratio after the pitcher wins 20 games.

Expect big things from this kid for a very long time. Brown was voted the No. 4 overall prospect by and Baseball America. Brown however will start the season off on the DL thanks to wrist surgery, but should regain a platoon role once he returns.  Brown was the player the Phillies refused to give up in any Roy Halladay deal. The future is now for Phillies fans and he is wearing No. 9.


2)      Jonathan Singleton-1B/LF-Last Year’s Rank: Honorable Mention ETA: 2013 (Will be 20 in September) 

I remember when I first saw film of Singleton. It was shortly after he was selected in the eighth round of the 2009 draft. When I saw the slugging first basemen, my first thought was, “I’m looking at a younger Ryan Howard.”

He was a pure hitter but also a high school senior who had the option of putting off his major league aspirations and attending Long Beach State. Luckily for Phillies fans, the team signed him and his first sighting was during a Pedro Martinez simulated game.

Singleton then started his career with the Gulf Coast League Phillies where he put up pretty decent numbers for a kid who was in high school a few months ago. Singleton showed that natural hitting ability in 2009 hitting .290 with two HR and 12 RBI in just 100 at-bats.

It was just a quick taste of professional baseball for the then 18-year-old Singleton who would look to carry over his successful 2009 into 2010.

I had the privilege of attending a banquet in early 2010 where Phillies GM Rueben Amaro Jr. spoke. Most of the talk had to do with the Phillies trading Cliff Lee for Roy Halladay, but I went up to Amaro and asked about Singleton.

“So Singleton will be in Williamsport right?” Amaro was a little taken aback by the question and just answered, “Yea that’s the plan.” He then was about to walk away before he turned back and just said “good hitter.”

The reason I bring this story up isn’t to start dropping names, because Amaro wouldn’t remember any of this story, but to tell you the original plan for Singleton at the beginning of 2010.

If you follow the Phillies farm system, you may know that Singleton never set foot in short season Williamsport but instead spent the entire season in single A Lakewood.

The Phillies had planned on putting Singleton in Lakewood (they’re season starts before Williamsport’s) to get experience and get the young slugger some at-bats and then move him down to Williamsport when the Crosscutters season began.

But Singleton’s great season in Lakewood made sure he would only don the Lakewood colors.

2010 STATS: (Single A Lakewood) .290 BA, 25 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, & 77 RBI. In 376 AB, he scored 64 runs while swiping nine stolen bases while being caught seven times. He had a .872 OPS

You may look at those numbers and not be impressed, but to put it in perspective, when Ryan Howard played at Lakewood during the 2002 season he hit .280 with 19 HR and 87 RBI in 493 at-bats. If Singleton would have had the amount of at-bats Howard had back in 2002, odds are good that he would have surpassed Howards HR and RBI numbers.

Singleton’s name was talked about during the trade deadline a lot this past season. When the Phillies traded for Roy Oswalt, Singleton’s name was one of the players rumored to be on the move, but luckily the Phillies were able to keep this young slugger.

During that time though, ESPN baseball expert Jayson Stark said of Singleton, “I had one scout tell me he’s the best young hitter since Manny Ramirez.” That’s pretty high claim for anyone, let alone an 18-year-old kid.

Singleton will be switching positions for the 2011 season, moving to left field since first base is blocked by the $125 million man. Jared Cosart, a teammate of Singleton last season, said via Twitter that he expects Singleton to make the switch with ease, adding he’s a great athlete.

Singleton will most likely start the season out in high A Clearwater. It will be a big test for the kid who was ranked the 30th best prospect in all of Major League Baseball. Singleton has given me no reason to think he won’t continue his success into 2011.

3)      Justin De Fratus-RP/CL-Last Year’s Rank: Not Ranked ETA: 2011 (Will be 23 for the 2011 season) 

Many people are probably going to think that ranking De Fratus this high is an idiotic move considering he is a relief pitcher. But when you look at what De Fratus brings to the table and then you look at the Phillies big need, it makes perfect sense.

De Fratus was drafted in the 11th round of the 2007 draft out of Ventura College. When he signed with the Phillies, they used him primarily as a starter until they switched him to full-time relief in 2010. That’s when De Fratus really started making a name for himself as both the closer of the High A Clearwater Threshers and AA Reading Phillies.

COMBINED 2010 STATS (A, AA) 3-0 Record with a 1.94 ERA. He had 21 saves and only let up three HR in 65 innings. He struck out 71 batters while only walking 16. Batters hit just .208 off him

De Fratus did most of his work in Clearwater where he pitched 40.1 innings before getting the call to AA Reading. The promotion didn’t seem to faze the 22-year-old De Fratus who continued his dominance out of the pen. All season he showed great control averaging 4.44 strikeouts for every walk he surrendered.

De Fratus was recently sent down to minor league camp, and he will begin the season in either AA Reading, or AAA Leigh High Valley. I would expect the Phillies to start De Fratus out in Reading, as he only pitched in 24.2 innings for the R-Phils in 2010.

It shouldn’t be long however before De Fratus is called up to Leigh High Valley. When De Fratus is called up to the Iron Pigs he will likely have competition for the closers spot as it looks likely that Scott Mathieson will not make the Phillies 25-man roster.

With Brad Lidge in the last year of his contract, De Fratus will have a lot of eyes on him this summer. Scott Mathieson is a possible option for the Phillies in 2012, but as of now the main option has to be De Fratus. De Fratus is another exciting young arm who should be turning heads in the Phillies pen in the very near future.


4)      Brody Colvin-SP-Last Year’s Rank: NR ETA: 2014 (Will turn 21 in August)

Brody Colvin heads the list as one of many exciting young arms in the Phillies system. Colvin was selected in the seventh round of the 2009 draft out of high school. While he had first-round talent, most teams thought he would attend LSU, and thus he dropped in the dropped in the draft due to sign ability issues.

The Phillies were able to convince Colvin to forgo college, for reportedly around a $1 million signing bonus, and he signed with the 2008 champs. By the time Colvin signed however, the Gulf Coast League’s season was winding down, and Colvin was only able to pitch in two innings in 2009.

Unable to truly judge a player after two innings, Colvin was one of many young players who were sent to Lakewood to start the season. I think Colvin was in a situation like Singleton’s where the Phillies sent him to Lakewood with the idea of sending him to Williamsport when the Crosscutters started their season.

Colvin however made it tough for the Phillies brass to send him down as he dominated South Atlantic League hitters.

2010 Stats: (Single A Lakewood) 6-8 Record with a 3.39 ERA. He let up 7 HR in 138 innings. He struck out 120 batters while walking 42. Batters hit .258 off him

Colvin’s 3.39 ERA ranked eight in the South Atlantic League, while his 138 innings pitched ranked seventh. Colvin led the Blue Claws in innings pitched, ERA for a starter who had more than 12 starts, games started and strike outs.

He was arguably Lakewood’s ace last season, although they had a plethora of great young talent (best ERA in the SAL).

Colvin has a low 90’s fastball that can hit around 93. His breaking pitches have a strong bite to them. He should be staying in Florida and report to the Florida State League to pitch for the High Class A Threshers. He will be joining a lot of his Lakewood teammates in Florida for the 2011 campaign.

I don’t expect the Phillies to rush Colvin along because he’s young and because they won’t need starters for quite some time. I wouldn’t expect to see him in Philly until 2014, but he could make a spot start in 2013 or even win a rotation spot if he continues this success.


5)      Tyson Gillies-OF-Last Year’s Rank: 3 ETA: 2012 (Will be 22 for the 2011 season)

Tyson Gillies went from being on every Phillies fans radar to being forgotten. Gillies was a part of the big trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle back in December 2009. He came to Philly along with Phillippe Aumont and JC Ramirez.

At the time of the trade, Gillies was ranked as a top 10 prospect for the Mariners, and he made my top 10 Phillies list last season at No. 3. This is why I’m so shocked that people have written the speedy Gillies off, at the ripe old age of 22.

After ranking second in all of minor league baseball in batting average in 2009 (.341) Gillies started out his Phillies career in a forgetful 2010 stint in AA Reading. It was a season I’m sure Gillies would like to forget as he failed to live up to the lofty expectations put upon him by Phillies fans who watched Cliff Lee flourish with both the Mariners and Rangers.

COMBINED 2010 STATS (AA, GCL) .243 BA, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, & 7 RBI. In 107 AB he scored 18 runs while swiping 2 stolen bases while being caught 2 times. He had a .638 OPS

Simply put, Tyson Gillies blew a tire in 2010 and never recovered. The speedy outfielder dealt with a hamstring injury that lingered throughout most of the season and ultimately resulted in a bad stat line for his Phillies debut. But even after his bad 2010 (which was still just 107 AB’s), I’m not concerned at all.

This is a kid who hit .341 and also swiped 44 bases just a season ago. You don’t just lose that type of talent. Gillies isn’t a .238 hitter (his Reading totals), so expect his batting average to go up in 2011. Gillies is also just 22 and is still quite young for AA. So don’t let his 2010 numbers fool you.

It’s a shame that Davey Lopes is no longer the first base coach for the Phillies because if there is one knock on Gillies it could be his decision making when it comes to stealing bases.

No question about it; this kid is fast, but in 2009 he was caught stealing 19 times. Lopes’ tutelage would have lowered that number, as he was able to turn Shane Victorino into a good base stealer. Hopefully Gillies will learn to pick his spots better. If he can, he projects as a good leadoff hitter.

Last year I heard Phillies fans saying, “We gave up Cliff Lee for this?” But I guarantee those same fans will be saying soon enough, “I can’t believe we got this kid for Cliff Lee and then got Cliff Lee back!” Don’t sleep on the kid.


6)      Jarred Cosart-SP-Last Year’s Rank: NR ETA: 2014 (Will be 21 in May)

Jared Cosart was a star at Clear Creek high school in Texas. Playing both the outfield and pitcher, he broke former Mariners All-Star Jay Buhner’s school record for batting average in a season. He also was an ace on the hill and demanded to be paid like one by any team that drafted him. His financial demands scared teams off, which led the Phillies to take a flier on Cosart in the 38th round of the draft.

Cosart had stated that he wanted to be paid like a third-round pick, and if he wasn’t, than he had no problem fulfilling his letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Missouri. Just an hour before the deadline for teams to sign draft picks, the Phillies came to terms with Cosart’s father on a deal, while Cosart was busy pitching in an American Legion game.

He wasn’t informed of the agreement until after the game. Cosart was reportedly given a $550,000 bonus to sign, which is slightly less than Jason Knapp, the team’s second-round pick that year. Knapp you may remember was a key piece in the Cliff Lee trade.

So Cosart joined the fold of one impressive draft class for the Phillies. While the Phillies paid over slot for a lot of the players they took in the 2008 draft, they are reaping the benefits of it just a few years later. Cosart didn’t make his Phillies debut until the 2009 season when he pitched for the Gulf Coast League Phillies. In 24.1 innings the righty went 2-2 with 2.22 ERA. He had 25 strike outs and batters hit just .143 off him.

After his impressive 2009 season, Cosart was promoted to Single A Lakewood for the 2010 season. The righty was able to carry over his solid performance from the 2009 season and become a staple in the best rotation in the Atlantic League. While he was hampered by an elbow injury midway through the season which limited the amount of starts he made, when he came back he was as advertised when he was drafted in 2008.

2010 Stats: (Single A Lakewood) 7-3 Record with a 3.79 ERA. He let up 3 HR in 71.1 innings. He struck out 77 batters while walking just 16. Batters hit .224 off him

So far Cosart is earning his money, becoming one of the bigger successes from the 2008 Phillies draft class. He was recently ranked as a top 100 prospect by Baseball America (70), joining his Lakewood teammates Brody Colvin (56) and Jonathan Singleton (40).

Cosart possesses a power fastball that routinely hits in the mid 90’s and a devastating 12-6 curve. His ability to keep the ball in the park will help for when he pitches in the hitter friendly Citizens Bank Park.

Like many of these prospects though, Cosart is young and thus won’t be making an impact in Philly anytime soon. He should however start out the season in Single A Clearwater joining many of his 2009 Lakewood teammates.

He could possibly make an impact as early as 2013, but I would expect the Phillies to take their time with him thanks to their current historic rotation and no need for starting pitching for a few years.


7)      Sebastian Valle-C-Last Year’s Rank: 5 ETA: 2014 (Will be 21 in July)

Sebastian Valle is making his second-straight appearance on my top 10 prospect list, as he came in at No. 5 in 2010. Valle, thought of as the catcher of the future for the Phillies, played the entire 2010 campaign at Single A Lakewood and helped them win its second-straight South Atlantic League title.

Valle was signed as an amateur free agent back in 2006, and he’s flourished in the system since that time. In 2008 he had a .281/2/18 stat line for the GCL Phillies in 167 AB and was arguably the team’s best player. He played the entire season for the rookie ball team and received a promotion in 2009 to Short Season Williamsport.

In 2009, while playing with the Williamsport Crosscutters, Lakewood BlueClaws, and winter ball, Valle had a breakout year. The catcher hit .275 with 36 2B, 7 3B and 18 HR.

He drove in 84 RBI and had an OPS of .824. His strong play in 2009 helped the Phillies feel comfortable trading catchers Lou Marson and Travis D’Arnaud. Valle solidified himself as the Phillies top catching prospect in 2009 and looked to build off his strong season and carry it over in 2010.

Valle received a call up during the 2009 season to Single A Lakewood and didn’t fair too well. The 2010 season he had his chance to prove that his brief 2009 call up was a fluke, as he was given the starting catchers job for the BlueClaws.

Valle put up solid numbers in 2010 and was the Claws second-best hitter behind Singleton, while also handling one of the best pitching staffs in the South Atlantic League.

2010 STATS: (Single A Lakewood, Winter Ball) .268 BA, 36 2B, 2 3B, 24 HR, & 101 RBI. In 607 AB he scored 75 runs while swiping 4 stolen bases while being caught 4 times. He had a .763 OPS

You have to figure that the Phillies will try to hang on to current catcher Carlos Ruiz as long as possible. While Ruiz is 32, he hit the majors late in his career and still has good years left. Because of this, the Phillies will take their time with Valle and watch his progression from a far.

The good thing about the Phillies approach with Valle is that as he progresses, so does the pitching staff he handles. When Valle does end up making an impact in South Philadelphia he should do so with fellow teammates Brody Colvin and Jared Cosart. He will already be comfortable with two out of the five pitchers on the team.

Valle should start the season out in High A Clearwater, where he will be the team’s everyday catcher. He will be with an exciting group of prospects that are all progressing through the minors together.

The group includes most of Lakewood’s 2010 staff, outfielder Jiwan James and first basemen Jonathan Singleton. Don’t expect to see Valle in Philly anytime soon, but when he does arrive expect the ball to be flying off his bat.


8)      Trevor May-SP-Last Year’s Rank: 10 ETA: 2013 (Will turn 22 in September)

May was taken in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. Another pick that was criticized, May was drafted out of high school where he played ball in the state of Washington. While he was regarded as one of the better high school pitchers in the state, the question was how good was the competition he was facing.

The Phillies obviously didn’t seem too concerned about the competition May was facing and selected him in the fourth. After he signed, he was sent to the Gulf Coast League Phillies with most of the other Phillies 2008 draft picks.

In a limited role with the GCL Phil’s, May pitched well compiling a 1-1 record with a 3.75 ERA in 12 IP. He only pitched in five games, starting just two of them but had enough success that the Phillies sent the then 19-year-old to Class A Lakewood for the 2009 campaign.

In 2009 the Lakewood BlueClaws were the best team in the South Atlantic League winning the championship, and Trevor May was a huge part of it. The Trevor May, Mathew Way connection was a 1-2 punch that Greenville couldn’t stop. May was exceptional in 2009 going 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 77.1 innings.

For the 2010 season the Phillies sent May to High A Clearwater, but the righty didn’t fare as well as he did in Lakewood. In 16 games (14 starts) for the Threshers, May went 5-5 with a 5.01 ERA. He pitched in 70 innings for Threshers before being sent back down to Lakewood. While his ERA sky rocketed while pitching for the Threshers, it’s easy to see what Mays Achilles heel was; walks.

In 2009 May walked just 43 guys, but during his time in Clearwater, May had given up 61 walks. That’s almost a walk per inning. Batters were still having trouble hitting May’s stuff as they batted just .212 off of him, but he simply let too many runners reach on the free pass.

May fared a lot better on his demotion to Lakewood as he was back to his dominant ways. He went 7-3 for the BlueClaws posting a 2.91 ERA in 65 innings of work. He also earned his second straight championship ring with the BlueClaws helping them win the championship again.

2010 Stats: (High A Clearwater, Single A Lakewood) 12-8 Record with a 4.00 ERA. He let up 10  HR in 135 innings. He struck out 182 batters while walking 81. Batters hit .213 off him

May’s big issue is just walking guys. He’s got lights out stuff, which is evident by his opponents’ batting average and strike out numbers. He simply needs to lower his walk number, which he did upon his demotion. In Clearwater in 2010, May had a strike out to walk ratio of 1.48 but in Lakewood it was 4.6.

May should once again start the season out in Clearwater with a goal of staying there the entire season. If he can do that than you should expect to see him on this list again next year.

But if May struggles again at High A and gets demoted again to Lakewood than you could be looking at a ship that’s sailing away. But then again he’s starting the season out in High Class A for the second time at the ripe old age of 21. I would expect May to prosper in 2010 and possibly see a call up to AA Reading at some point.


9)       Matt Rizzotti-1B/DH-Last Year’s Rank: NR ETA: 2011 (Will be 25 for the 2011 season) 

You’re not going to find Matt Rizzotti on many, if any Phillies top 10 prospect lists. Maybe because some consider him too old (25) or because his defensive range limits him to first base or the designated hitter position. Whatever the case may be for those folks, I couldn’t keep the pride of Manhattan College off the list.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, Rizzotti was an under achiever for most of his Phillies career. That however, was until the 2010 season where Rizzotti broke out in a big way.

He started out the season at High Class A Clearwater where he proceeded to hit .358 with one HR and 10 RBI in 109 at-bats. He was then promoted to AA Reading where he pummeled Eastern League Pitching. Rizzotti hit .361 at Reading, with 16 HR and 62 RBI.

He finished the season in AAA Leigh High Valley. In one season, Rizzotti went through three different levels and was invited to play in the Arizona Fall League.

COMBINED 2010 STATS (High A, AA, AAA AFL) .338 BA, 38 2B, 1 3B, 17 HR & 88 RBI. In 483 AB he scored 73 runs while swiping one stolen base and being caught one time. He had an amazing .925 OPS

The big thing for Rizzotti is that he has to prove that his 2011 season was no fluke. By his play in the Arizona Fall League it looks as if it wasn’t. Still he hit only .200 in Leigh High Valley when he was called up, and that is where he will begin the 2011 season.

The other thing is age. The clock is ticking on Rizzotti, who will turn 26 in December. Rizzotti needs to show that he can carry his successful 2010 campaign, over to the 2011 season. Rizzotti won’t get a regular job in Philly, barring injury, so he will need to show scouts around the league that he can hit at a high level.

I would expect Rizzotti to get traded at some point this season. If he starts out the 2011 season like he did in 2010, than the Phillies could be forced to call him up which would enable Rizzotti to show the league what he can do.

I would expect some team to take a look at the kid but most likely an American League team. Expect his name to be circulated throughout the year when the Phillies need to fill a void.


10)  Jesse Biddle-Last Year’s Rank: NR ETA: 2015 (Will be 19 for the 2011 season) 

Any Phillies fan has to feel good for the Phillies 2011 first-round draft pick, Jesse Biddle. Biddle was drafted 27th overall in the 2010 MLB Draft out of Germantown Friends high school, located in Philadelphia.

He grew up cheering for the Phillies as a kid, and last June he was selected by his favorite team directly out of high school. It didn’t take long for Biddle to decide if he would go to Oregon or start his professional career.

A lot of times, drafting high school players is tough because of signability issues. A few members of this list dropped in the draft because of that very reason. High school players have the leverage of college to hang over pro team’s heads, which usually results in them getting above slot money, signing late and not starting their career until the next year. That’s why the drafting of Biddle was so smart.

The Phillies took a local kid, who grew up as a Phillies fan. When he was taken by his hometown team, he wasn’t thinking about driving the price up, he just wanted to put on the uniform. Biddle signed as soon as he was able too, for his slot projected figure.

The Phillies were able to get their first-round pick in the Gulf Coast League immediately, and by the end of the year he had gone from pitching on a little field for the Germantown Friends Tigers, to pitching is Short Season Williamsport.

2010 Stats: (Gulf Coast League, Short Season Williamsport) 4-1 Record with a 3.92 ERA. He let up two HR in 43.2 innings. He struck out 50 batters while walking 20. Batters hit .241 off him

The good news for Phillies fans is that Biddle’s numbers improved upon his late season promotion to Williamsport. As a Crosscutter his ERA was 2.61 and batters hit just .152 off the lefty. The bad news is that Biddle walked more batters than he struck out (11 walks to nine K’s) and had more walks than innings pitched (11 walks to 10.1 IP).

As a lefty, Biddle can hit around 94 with his fastball. He has a good slider and a great changeup. His location could use some work, but the Phillies have plenty of time to work with the kid. When he was drafted, the Phillies compared Biddle to current Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Not a bad comparison to hear for Phillies fans.

Biddle should start the season in Class A Lakewood. If he has success, he will stay there for the whole season. But if he struggles than expect him to be sent to Short Season Williamsport when the Crosscutters season starts.



-2B Cesar Hernandez (Best second base prospect in the system. Had 33 steals in Willaimsport)

-SP Jonathan Pettibone (Another Lakewod pitcher. Had 3.41 ERA for the Claws)

-OF Aaron Altherr (Athletic outfielder. Phillies brass said hes ready to breakout)

-OF Domingo Santana (Raw young power hitter who needs to raise his average)

-OF Jiwan James (Five-tool speedy outfielder. Needs to pick his spots better on the basepaths)

-SP Julio Rodriguez (Went 7-3 with a 1.89 ERA. Willl make the top 10 next year)

-SP JC Ramirez (Has lights out stuff, now that stuff needs to lead to results on the field)

-CL Phillippe Aumont (Big piece of the Cliff Lee deal needs to get back on track in 2011)

-RP Michael Stutes (Should make noise this season as a reliever. could take Danys Beaz spot if hes cut)

-SP Vance Worley (If anyone on the staff goes down he should recieve the call to filll in)








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NLDS 2010: Like A Man Possessed, Can Anyone Stop the Phillies?

This three game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds wasn’t so much of a series as a statement. Like a man on a mission the Phillies, along with 25-year-old postseason veteran Cole Hamels, finished off the NLDS sweep and head back home to await their opponent.

The Phillies allowed the fans of Cincinnati to view just one home game after a 15-year wait without one. Not only did Reds fans wait 15 years for the team to get back into the playoffs, they were then forced to watch their team get no hits, blow a lead in game two, and get shut out in game three to cap it off.

This Phillies team is on a mission. They showed up to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati with their bags packed, ready to return home to Philadelphia. A sign of extreme confidence from a team, who if they would have lost, would have had to unpack and stay another night in Cincinnati. Obviously, Hamels wanted to return to Philadelphia as he pitched like a man who was double parked. The 2008 World Series MVP went a complete game not giving up any runs while striking out nine Reds batters.

At one point, I made the comment that if this Phillies team were to play the 2008 Phillies team in a playoff series, the 2008 Phillies team would have gotten smoked. Little did we know in 2008 that the best of times for Phillies fans was ahead. Names like Eric Bruntlett, Geoff Jenkins, Jamie Moyer, and Joe Blanton all made huge impacts in 2008 but are either no longer on the team or won’t play a factor at all.

What can you say that hasn’t already been said about Roy Halladay? The future National League CY Young award winner waited his whole career for October 6th and didn’t disappoint, as he became just the second pitcher in major league baseball history to pitch a postseason no hitter.

After the game, he tipped his cap to the fans, did a few interviews, and then got back to work doing his postgame work outs. Just business as usual for the Phillies ace who said during a December press conference that he wanted to come to Philadelphia to pitch in the postseason. Making history is one way to make your postseason debut.

Not only did Halladay turn down several interview requests from major media figures but showed up to the ballpark on Thursday morning at 10 am. It was also his son’s birthday. Halladay’s work ethic has seemingly brushed off on a lot of the Phillies players and one of them has been Cole Hamels.

Hamels came into camp in shape and has matured a lot from the Cole Hamels that showed up in 2009. That Cole Hamels was out of shape and still soaking in 2008 instead of focusing in on 2009, and it showed with his results on the field. The Cole Hamels that was on the mound Sunday night in Cincinnati however was a Cole Hamels who is trying to back up what he said to fans during the 2008 World Series Parade. “I want to go down that street again, and again, and again.”

A funny thing has happened to a city that was once considered cursed. People walk around with a confidence in a team that has either never been there or hasn’t been in quite a while. The days of being worried about matchups are seemingly over. The days of being down late in ball games and knowing the game is over are over. The days of being disappointed by a team’s promises are over. This Phillies team has done nothing but instill faith in a city that has never had it from any of its other pro sports teams.


This Phillies teams has mended the broken hearts of Eagles fans who came so close in 2004 but fell just three points short. This Phillies team is making the Patrick Kane goal easier to accept with every pitch. This Phillies team has changed the mindset of an entire city that had started to believe it would always be the bride’s maid and never the bride.

Philadelphia will never be New York. We will never get the national recognition that New York does and will always be looked down upon by those who live in the big apple. But the Phillies have a chance to push their way into the national spot light with their postseason success. The Phillies became just the fourth team in National League history to play in four straight post seasons and if they can reach the World Series they would become the first National League team to reach three straight World Series since the 42-45 St. Louis Cardinals.

The word Dynasty is being talked about, and when I brought it up to a recent Yankees fan, they laughed. Spoiled with 27 championships, many of which they never saw, they said “call me when you win more than two rings.” But what defines success?

In 2007, success for the Phillies was just making the postseason and for many teams success is just that, a postseason berth. You get to display a flag for clinching a division title, and it’s not the easiest thing to make four straight postseasons. Many Yankees fans forget that, in 2008, they didn’t make the playoffs, but with a bolstered staff, they did indeed make it back to the Fall Classic and win No. 27.

The Yankees are a dynasty all to themselves and to compete with the Yankees when talking about Dynasty is like a midget competing with Dwight Howard in a dunk off. But when looking at the rest of the 28 teams in MLB the Phillies recent run of post season success might be classified as just that. It’s hard to get on top, but it’s even harder to stay there yet this Phillies team has managed to do just that.


While most teams fold under the bright lights that October baseball brings, it appears like this Phillies team shines under them. Bobby Cox and the Atlanta Braves are about to once again disappoint a fan base in Atlanta by making the playoffs and getting eliminated in the first round. If they are able to come back and win the next two games against the San Francisco Giants, I ask you Phillies fans, do they scare you? Do the Braves scare you more than the Giants or vice versa?

Call it confidence, call it being foolishly cocky, but neither scares me. The days of being scared of other teams is over, and it’s thanks to the team that plays in Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies are headed to their third straight National League Championship Series, and there is no doubt in my mind that I will soon be writing about how they are awaiting to see who their opponent will be for their third straight World Series. Like the Blues Brothers, this team appears like they are on a mission from God, and I can’t see anyone stopping them…can you?



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The 10 Best Moves the Philadelphia Phillies Never Made

“You remember when they traded Bobby Abreu for Matt Smith, CJ Henry, Carlos Monasterios, and Jesus Sanchez?”

“Yeah, that was bad but they got Shane Victorino in the Rule 5 draft so it makes up for it”

People remember the good trades and the bad trades but no one ever seems to talk about the moves that didn’t happen. Most of the moves that you will read about led to a World Series Championship in 2008 and a World Series appearance in 2009.

Without some of these moves, the people in this picture would have had no reason to congregate in Center City, Philadelphia on October 31, 2008.

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Ryan Howard Returns To Lakewood and Meets the Future

On Friday Night in Lakewood, New Jersey, the present met the future. Phillies slugger Ryan Howard was scheduled to play in a game for the Class A Lakewood Blueclaws, a team he played with in 2002 before everyone knew his name. In pure coincidence, Lakewood had planed to retire Howard’s No. 29 and because of the timing they were able to have the former NL MVP there for the ceremony.

Howard went 1-for-2 in the game with a double as the Blueclaws fell to the Greensboro Grasshoppers, 4-1. While many people were focused on Howard, one Blueclaws player hopes to follow in his footsteps.

“My eyes will be open watching everything he does.”

This was a quote from current Blueclaws first basemen Jonathan Singleton, who ended up in the DH spot because of Howard. If you’re a Phillies fan, that is exactly what you want a kid like Singleton to be doing.

Singleton was drafted eighth round of the 2009 draft out of Robert A. Millikan High School in, ironically enough, Lakewood California. He had committed to University of California Davis but chose instead to sign with the Phillies.

His first sighting was during the Pedro Martinez simulated game and that’s when message boards started buzzing about this mystery man with “Singleton” on his back. The Phillies finally announced the signing of the first basemen and he jumped right into the Gulf Coast League Phillies finishing the season strong.

In just 100 at bats for the GCL Phillies, Singleton hit .295 with two home runs and 12 RBI. While it wasn’t much time, it was just a taste of things to come.

Ryan Howard took a very different path to the majors. Howard failed to get drafted out of high school and chose to go to Southwest Missouri State. The Phillies chose Howard with their fifth round pick in the 2001 draft and he reported to the Phillies short-season club, the Batavia Muckdogs.

Howard climbed the minor leagues and had a breakout year in 2004 when he hit a staggering 46 home runs between AA Reading and AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre. He has since gone on to win the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year, 2006 NL MVP, 2006 Home Run Derby, 2006 Silver Slugger, 2006 Hank Aaron Award, 2006 All-Star, 2009 All-Star, 2009 NLCS MVP, and 2010 All-Star.

He has led the league in home runs two times (2006, 2008) and he has led the league in RBI three times (2006, 2008, 2009). He is also the fastest player in major league history to reach both 100 and 200 career home runs. That’s one impressive resume.

So back to Friday, where the veteran meets the future in front of 10,000 people in First Energy Park. If Jonathan Singleton is able to have half the career that Ryan Howard has had so far, he will be considered a success for sure. When you compare the two players’ first year in Lakewood, it’s quite impressive for the 18-year-old.

Singleton is hitting .293 with 14 HR, 69 RBI, and 19 doubles. He also has added 8 steals although he has been caught 7 times. He has done all of this in 331 at bats.

Howard, way back in 2002, hit .279 for the Blueclaws while hitting 19 HR and 87 RBI in 493 at bats.

When looking at the two first basemen’s stats side by side, you would think that Singleton has a shot to actually have a better first year with the Blueclaws then Howard did. It’s even more impressive when you factor in the fact that Singleton is only 18, while Howard was 22 years old back in 2002.

I had the fortune of meeting Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr back in December. The first thing I asked him was not regarding Cliff Lee but instead about Singleton. He was a little taken aback since the talk of the town was the swap of one former Cy Young award winner for the other, but he was more then happy to answer my question.

“So Singleton is going to be headed to Williamsport right?”

“Yes, that’s the plan…Great hitter.”

Plans certainly change when you have a season as great as Singleton. He was able to avoid the demotion to Williamsport when they’re season started because he has become a catalyst for a Blueclaws team that is looking for the second consecutive South Atlantic League title. One National League scout said of Singleton:

“He is the best 18-year-old hitter I have seen since Manny Ramirez.”

If you’re a Phillies fan, that kind of praise has to excite you. On Friday, Singleton wasn’t just watching one of the best power hitters in Phillies history, but he was also watching his road block to the majors.

Ryan Howard, and his six year extension, brought many to speculate that Singleton was included in the package for Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt. It reminded me a lot of 2004 when a slugging first basemen named Ryan Howard was blocked by Jim Thome and because of this was mentioned in trade talk that regarded the Phillies.

For now, Singleton is still a Blueclaw, and hopefully one day a Phillie. He may have to change positions to reach Citizens Bank Park if he wishes to one day share the field with the man he did tonight. Singleton is only about an hour and a half drive from Citizens Bank Park, but in baseball he’s still a long way away.

In 2002, many Phillies fans had no idea what was coming, but in 2010 we do and his name is Jonathan Singleton.


Make Sure To Check Out Cracked Bell Sports for more Philly Sports related Articles!

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Why Every Other Pitcher in the NL Plays Second Fiddle To Roy Halladay

I work for the texting company KGB. You may have seen the commercial about two Heisman trophy winner Archie Griffin .

Basically for 99 cents you text any question to 542542 and I research and answer it. I jump at the chance to answer sports question and on Sunday night I got a text that just made me smile. Who is the best pitcher in the NL?

When Johan Santana was asked in March who was the best pitcher in the NL East he quickly replied “Santana.” He didn’t even think about it and when this question came to me I too didn’t take too long to respond. Roy Halladay is hands down the best pitcher in the NL. 5-1, 1.47 ERA, 49 IP out of a possible 54. Many would possibly make the case for other pitchers and honestly I may be a bit biased as I am a Phillies fan but as of now Roy Halladay is not just the best pitcher in the NL, but the entire majors.

If you were to compare Roy Halladay’s first 5 starts to Johan Santana’s first five starts in the NL it doesn’t compare. Santana joined the Mets in 2008 and in his first 5 starts he had a respectable 3-2 record with a 3.12 ERA. Halladay had a 4-1 record with a 1.80 ERA. Santana pitched in only 34 2/3 innings while Halladay went 40 IP out of a possible 45. When compared to each other Halladay is simply a better pitcher.

Now those stats were comparing a 2008 Santana to a 2010 Halladay. When you look at the body of work that Roy Halladay has put together this season, Santana isn’t even mentioned. Santana got rocked on Sunday night against the Phillies giving up a career high 10 ER in only 3 2/3 IP. The outing raised Santana’s ERA to 4.50 while only pitching in 34 innings for the Mets. He hasn’t been bad but Santana hasn’t exactly been as good as Mets fans expected. Halladay however has.

In 6 starts this season Halladay has a 5-1 record. After his complete game shut out on Saturday he lowered his ERA to an amazing 1.47 and has only walked 4 batters. His 49 innings pitched is impressive but considering it’s out of a possible 54 innings pitched it’s that much more impressive. His 3 complete games and 2 shut outs are best in the majors.

While Halladay’s 1.47 ERA rank fifth among NL pitchers the reason why it’s so impressive is when you look at his innings pitched. His 49 innings pitched rank best among all NL pitchers with Dan Haren in second place a full nine innings behind Halladay. When you look at the guys in front of Halladay in the race for the ERA crown in the NL make sure you take a look at the amount of work they have done this season. Ubaldo Jimmenez with 34 1/3, Livan Hernandez with 31, Jamie Garcia with just 26 innings, and reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum with 35 1/3.

Obviously the more you pitch, the more chance you have to give up runs and raise your ERA. The fact that Halladay has been able to give up just eight ER in that amount of time on the hill is impressive. Santana gave up more ER on Sunday then Halladay has all season.

With a shaky bullpen Roy Halladay has been the Phillies rock. He has gone at least 7 innings in each of his six starts this season and has composure on the mound like I have never seen. Batters are hitting .220 off of him and while he doesn’t walk many batters (4 all season) when guys do get on Roy is able to bear down and get the out.

Tim Lincecum is a stud and Adam Wainwright is one of the best in baseball. But right now they all play second fiddle to Roy Halladay.


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