Baseball America releases their top ten Phillies Prospects on Monday, and let’s take a look at some of the pitchers that could be included on the 2009 list. We’ll look at the hitters over the next few days.
Early indications are that the majority of the top ten, in the Phillies case, will be position players. Remember, Matt Maloney (BlueClaws 2006) and Josh Outman (2006) were both in the top ten in recent years but both have been traded.
Carlos Carrasco (1.72 ERA over 6 starts in AAA last year): Carrasco started the year in Reading and earned a promotion to Triple-A. He started the Futures Game last year too, and will be #1 on the list for the third straight year. He has a chance to hold the #1 spot for four years, depending on how well he does in spring training. Expect him to get a look with the big club this year, but it might not come until the second half of the season.
Andrew Carpenter (5.67 ERA over 16 starts in AA last year): Carpenter, drafted in the 2nd round in 2006, skipped over Lakewood. Despite his struggles in AA, he did throw a good game in AAA at the end of the season. The Long Beach State product has been consistently mentioned in media reports that he’ll be in the mix for the 5th starter spot with the big club, but he’s the longest shot of the group also including Chan-Ho Park, Carrasco, Kyle Kendrick, and JA Happ. He went from 17 to 9 last year and will be somewhere around there this year.
Joe Savery (4.13 ERA over 27 starts in Hi-A last year): A first-round pick in 2007 out of Rice, Savery spent all of 2008 in Clearwater and is on track for a big league debut sometime in 2010. He debuted on the BA list at #3 last year, and his 2008 season was pretty good. He did stay healthy and start every five days, which is relevant. A preventive surgery was one of the reasons why he fell to the Phillies in the late part of round one in the first place. The Phillies bucked a trend of taking raw, projectable high school pitchers, so they like him. I would say top 6 or so.
Kyle Drabek (injured): Drabek did come back and have a strong Hawaiian Winter League. #2 and #5 on this list the last two years, even with the injury, he performed well enough in Hawaii to stay up on the list. The question is where does he go from here? He got hurt in Lakewood in 2007, and the former first-rounder could be back in the beginning of 2009. Not impossible.
Drew Naylor (4.85 ERA over 13 starts in Hi-A last year): Naylor earned a promotion from Lakewood where he had a sub-3 ERA. The 4.85 doesn’t look so good but he only allowed 8 runs in his last 35 innings in Clearwater. He was #29 last year. He’ll move up, but probably not enough to make the top ten.
Julian Sampson (4.33 ERA over 25 starts in Lo-A last year): He moved himself up from #19 last year. He’ll be close to the back end of the top ten list. Remember, he had a 7.33 ERA in April last year, and really finished the season strong. Another high school, projectable arm, he’ll likely go to Clearwater in 2009. I’ll say just outside the top ten, however.
JA Happ (3.60 over 24 games in AAA last year): Happ also had a 3.69 ERA over 31 innings with the big club. He’s only thrown 35 innings and it doesn’t appear he’s been on the roster for more than 25 days. So I believe he has rookie eligibility and thus will be included on this list. He improved last year, and either he or Kendrick lead the way in the race for the 5th starter. Happ was in AAA in 2007 and 2008, and last year he took a huge step forward in WHIP (1.21 vs 1.52), Ks/9 (10.1 vs 8.9), BBs/9 (3.2 vs 4.7), Hits/9 (7.7 vs 9), and thus ERA (3.60 vs 5.02). If he’s eligible I think he’s on the list.
Bowl Update: Last night Jason Jaramillo’s Oklahoma St Cowboys lost to Oregon and Ben Pfinsgraff’s Maryland Terapins beat Nevada.
Today in the Sun Bowl, Andrew Baldwin (2005) and Michael Stutes (2008), Oregon State alums, watch their team play Pitt, alma mater of 2004 BlueClaws Nick Evangelista, in the Sun Bowl.
We have two former BlueClaws on one team playing today: Kansas. Gus Milner (2007) and Mike Zagurski (2006) are both alums. The Jayhawks take on Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.
Also today, Kevin Shepard (2004) watches his Boston College Eagles take on Vandy in the Music City Bowl.
Tonight, before the ball drops, Jeremy Slayden’s (2006) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets meet LSU, alma mater of fellow 2006 BlueClaw Clay Harris, in the Peach Bowl.
There are more tomorrow.