I was really bored and the Phillies arent sparking up any exciting excpet wathcing the reverse standings. What do you think of the organizational depth and future of the Phillies.? I tried to be somewhat realistic and do my 5 year plan since Amaro doesn't have one. Sorry for being sooooooo long.
Since Rueben Amaro and the Phillies refuse to do it I have decided to take the task upon myself to take an overview of the Phillies minor league clubs and players and give my 5-year plan. This is going two-piece article with one focusing on the everyday players then another one analyzing the pitchers in the system. I am not a scout but just an avid Phillies fan which maybe spends a little too much time reading blogs and following stats.
As part of the first series, I will break down each position and go over the offensive players:
--Catcher- At their current state, there is no one on the farm ready to step up and also not much available in free agency so it only looks as if the Phillies have one option here and that is to resign Chooch for a 1 or 2 year deal. With the concussion problems to Tommy Joseph and his possible move to another position the Phillies may not have a possible starting catcher in the system. What they do have is a lot of depth and depending on some Low-A prospects plenty of steady backups. Cameron Rupp looks like the ideal backup at the position for years to come. If one of the prospects could develop such as Sebastian Valle, Gabriel Lino, Andrew Knapp or Deivi Grullon you may have a long term solution but it looks right now as that is a no and going outside the system or in the draft might be the answer.
--First Base- Unfortunately, you are stuck with Ryan Howard for awhile, at least until the 2016 season, unless something can be working out and I do not see that as an option. That being said I still think he is capable of putting up 25HR’s and 85 RBI’s as long as he is half healthy. Howard does have his faults such as his struggles against lefties, inability to throw to 2nd base and his clogging up the base paths to name a few but batting in the 6th or 7th hole he can still be a contributing factor. You do not have many other options anytime soon besides moving Darin Ruf into a platoon at 1st base in the near future. Down the line an option of moving another player from a different position maybe come to fruition, such players that come to mind that will be given an opportunity may be Kelly Dugan, Dylan Cozens, Mikael Franco or Zach Green)
--Second Base-With the resigning of Chase Utley, you have to hope he stays healthy. If so, he is a top 5 2nd basemen in the MLB for the next couple of years and his leadership value can not be overlooked. In the future, you have Cesar Hernandez ready to step in as he is having a great year in the minors however does anyone really think he can put up close to the production Utley would? If that is the case and the Phillies felt the same way, I don’t think they would have resigned him to more than a 1 year deal. That is why Hernandez taking a lot of games this year in center he will be a valuable bench player starting next year for the next 5 years. Some other prospects down the line that could help are Andrew Pullin and maybe Roman Quinn. I really like Quinn but his position has yet to be determined, I think when he comes back from injury it will either be 2nd base or centerfield as the shortstop experiment may/should be over. He is a top of the order hitter and with him and Ben Revere they could torture other teams with their speed. I like him better at 2nd base just because I think we have multiple other options at center and again this is why we are doing the 5 year plan to see.
--Shortstop-Jimmy Rollins looks as if he is finished and I think him for all he has done but hopefully last year will be his last and that next years manager lays down the law and puts in at the end of the lineup. Let all hope that JP Crawford is the savior he is showing he is, albeit being in low ball and only over a short period. Let’s hope he continues dominating every league he enters and is ready to go by start of 2015 or 2016. He looks to be your future shortstop and if he can add some power maybe the 3-hole hitter for the next 10 years. As for other guys in the system, I love Freddy Galvis’ defense but I just don’t think he will hit enough in the majors. Add him to the bench for the next 5 years with Hernandez.
--Third Base-Believe it or not this is where the Phillies actually have a surplus and luxury. You currently have Cody Asche playing on the big team with a lot of players on his heels. Is Asche the future third basemen for the Phillies or just an average fill in? Time will tell and I think no matter what Franco will continue to hit and play above average defense in the minors and then majors and am their All-Star third basemen for the next 5-7 years. Zach Green or newly sign international player Luis Encarncion may pan out and either move to Franco to first or move to first themselves. Mitch Walding is struggling right now but he adds more depth for the Phillies #1 stocked position in the minors.
--Left Field- Domonic Brown, with his breakout year will be a middle of the order bat for years to come. He could make a move to right field or could stay here. It is nice that it looks like he will be a staple for the next 5 years. The Phillies depth in left is mostly in low ball with Cameron Perkins, Cord Sandberg, and Larry Greene Jr. maybe being a solid bench player if they can develop.
--Centerfield- the first most of the year the Vance Worley/Trevor May trade looked like a disaster for the Phillies. Revere eventually settle down and established himself as one the best table setters in baseball. He ignited the Phillies offense in June and July and pretty much single handedly got them back to .500% mark by the All-Star break. He is younger and under control for cheap so look him to man centerfield for a few more years. He does need to work on his defense a little bit. In the minor, the Phillies have a prospect they are high on in Carlos Tucci. He is still extremely raw and young but has the ability to develop into a star. The anemic Tyson Gillies and “toolsy” Aaron Altherr are other options for backups if they can develop.
--Right Field-This is another position with limited depth or potential, Dugan may be ready to start in majors by 2015 but is he an above average player. They have some potential projects in low ball in Cozens and Jose Pujols but who knows if they will develop. This may be a position where a righthanded bat is needed and may be another spot other than catcher that the Phillies may have to go outside the organization to take them to another level making them a “World Series’ contender. Free Agency lacks the star power and guys like John Mayberry and Delmon Young won’t suffice unless you want to be a second class organization.
OPPORTUNITIES AND OPTIONS
This is where my article is going to get a little ridiculous and maybe too much of a dream but I would solve the Phillies starting nine by doing two things. Now, even after doing these things for as unrealistic they may be everything still has to fall into place with everyone fulfilling their promise with no majors injuries and even at that point it still does not guarantee a World Series parade but standing here looking at this roster today I do not see much optimism.
---------Move #1-The Phillies with their ineptitude in the 2nd half of the year will be drafting around the 5th,6th, or 7th pick. As long as they don’t go on a hot streak I still think they will be right around that spot. There is a high catcher around where they will be picking who would have star potential; here is the scouting report from throughthefence.com that has Alex Jackson going around 7th overall:
“7. Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)
The best catching prospect in the draft, the 6’-2”, 210-pound right-hander has a plus arm and, mixed with his footwork and athleticism, should stick at the premium position. His power is some of the best in the class, and he should hit for a high average with his approach and plus bat speed. He hit .343/.479/.806 over 35 games as a junior with 14 home runs and 29 walks. Committed to Oregon”
----------Move#2-I am really going to get heat for this one and a few things have to fall in place for this to occur. First of all, I am hoping Texas does not make the playoffs therefore I would need this to at least have a chance. If so I hope then they get desperate and go all in for Cliff Lee in the offseason. I know it would take eating some of his contract but maybe a 3 way trade with the main pieces being Jurickson Profar to Miami, Giancarlo Stanton to Philly and Lee to Texas. Phillies could then add in a few prospects that would be expendable like an Asche, Pettibone or Dugan type players plus cash to offset Lee’s contract. I know, I know, but need to find a way to get a power right fielder and now is the time because we are not contenders with Lee and need to take advantage of what value he has left. I know Stanton may cost even more and I am open to another power hitting, righty hitting right fielder but none come to mind that fit the mold and would be available.
LINEUP around 2016
1. Revere CF-we all saw a glimpse of what he can do, hopefully that is not a mirage
2. Quinn 2B-Utley’s spot now, a switch hitting speedster whom with Revere can cause havoc on the base paths reminding me days of Pierre and Castillo(Marlins)
3. Crawford SS-needs to develop some power and hopefully will consistently be around top of batting average title every year
4. Stanton RF-raw power in middle of lineup does have flaws but gives this team guaranteed RH power
5. Brown LF-this year is a start of what is to come for at least the next 5 years
6. Franco 3B-hopefully he continues to develop and translates to the majors, maybe moves to 1B when Howard’s contract ends with bringing up Green to play 3B
7. Howard 1B-It is what it is, you are stuck with him. You just have to hope he gets healthy and is able to contribute a little offensively and be just ok defensively.
8. Jackson C-your hope for Jackson or whomever plays catcher, if everyone else develops, is that he hits for average, plays great defense and calls a good game
Amongst a group of Kratz, Rupp, Ruf, Hernandez, Galvis, Asche, Dugan, Mayberry, Gillies and maybe this is where you sign a solid free agent.
Is the Phillies future as bleak as everyone thinks it is? The answer is….it could be. I believe they do need to rebuild as don’t think under their current structure they can win a World Series anytime soon and isn’t that is their ultimate goal???? I believe on offense they need a few youngster to maintain their future promise (Brown and Revere), a few to step up and fulfill their promise and maybe exceed it (Crawford, Quinn and Franco) and the Phillies need to add at least 2 really good players to their core at catcher and right field (Stanton and Jackson). I know they will have money to spend as the new TV contract will give them a dramatic amount of spending cash but free agency is not the same as it was with most high profile players resigning and if the last 10 years has told us anything by watching San Francisco and St. Louis win titles is that you build through draft and trades and plug holes through free agency.