Scouting Notes: With Steady Talent Pipeline, Phils Can Swing Blockbuster
The Phillies traded some pieces from their farm system to obtain players Cliff Lee this July, so they are not currently as strong as they have been at the upper levels. But, upon further examination, there is plenty of talent lurking at the lower levels of the Philadelphia system. So, can they afford to further thin out their crop of upper level prospects if they elect to chase a star player on the trade market this winter? With another wave of prospects on the way, the answer is yes.
Here are some of the prospects, like Jonathan Singleton, pictured, who could soften the blow of losing someone like Kyle Drabek or Domonic Brown in another blockbuster trade.
Anthony Gose, CF: The Phillies' scouting department has long been in favor of drafting athletes. Few athletes are as intriguing as Gose. Blessed with blistering speed that grades out as an 8 tool on the 2-8 scouting scale, Gose has the skills to wreak havoc on the basepaths. His times to first base are consistently under four seconds. Very few players come along that have the skills to be an elite big-league base-stealer, but he is one of them. He also shows an outstanding, plus throwing arm in center field. As far as his skills at the plate, he's still quite raw. The bat speed is well above average, but he gets caught over-swinging and doesn't yet embrace his speed and the approach he should be taking to utilize it.
The raw power is there, as is the speed and throwing arm, but Gose plays far from mistake-free baseball. He can be sloppy in the outfield, and he frequently gets burned because he plays so shallow. His ability to become the elite all-around player he can be will hinge on whether he can continue to learn the nuances of the game and make adjustments on the fly.
Carlos Monasterios, RHP: Remember when C.J. Henry was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Bobby Abreu to the Yankees? As it turns out, Monasterios, who looked like a small part of that trade at the time, may be the piece of the trade that the Phillies can be proud of. Monasterios' raw arm is intriguing all by itself, as he can run the fastball up there around 91-94 mph. His best pitch, though, may be his plus changeup. At 74-77 mph, the differential is superb and he is able to produce a big dead fish, fading action. He also mixes in a small cutter at 83-86 mph but he relies heavily on his first two pitches.
Monasterios is able to repeat his delivery and has some deception, as he jumps at the hitters out of his balance point. With an athletic frame and two above-average pitches, the only thing left for him is to master his command in the strike zone. At 22 years old, he's not as young as you'd like to see for a prospect with limited experience above advanced Single-A ball, but the stuff is undeniable.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B: Anyone who has watched enough Gulf Coast League action will tell you that seeing a patient, advanced hitter is a rare sight. That is why Singleton stuck out as one of the GCL's elite hitters at the age of 17 (he turned 18 in September). At first base, Singleton is about as athletic and rangy as you'll find at the position. The left-handed first baseman has a well-proportioned frame and figures always to be one of the more athletic players on the field.
His work at the plate is what could make Singleton an elite prospect, however. His plate discipline stands out, as his numbers indicate; he walked more than he struck out, which is an incredible feat for a first-year 17-year-old. He hits from a wide base at the plate, and relies on his fast hands, letting the ball track deep and taking the ball to left field with authority. The feel for hitting is really what stands out among his set of tools, and it will be interesting to see how his power develops as he matures. He may be young, but with his ability to hit consistent line drives and take pitches, Phillies fans should expect this sweet-swinging lefty to move up the ladder quickly.
Domingo Santana, OF: The Phillies' GCL squad was well stocked with high upside-talent in 2009, and possibly the best pure talent of the bunch was one of their top international signings of the year, Domingo Santana. Unlike Singleton, Santana is very raw, but has the long, wiry frame and plus raw power to give him star potential. He didn't turn 17 until August, yet still managed to have an impressive first taste of professional baseball.
Although raw, Santana does not expand the zone much, and produces big loft off the bat. The power plays well to all parts of the park, and he only figures to get stronger as he fills into his 6-foot-5 frame. Santana will likely have his struggles as he makes changes to his sometimes long swing, but the finished product could be a potent home run threat.
Jarred Cosart, RHP: Few pitchers in the low levels of their system excite the Phillies' player development staff as much as Cosart. The 19-year-old right-hander had an impressive 2009 campaign in the GCL, but it was the stuff he showed in his strong performance that has the organization intrigued. Cosart lived around 91-94 mph with the fastball, touching 95. He also mixed in a curveball at 74-79 mph, as well as an occasional changeup. For a young man with limited experience, his feel for three pitches was interesting to watch.
With a strong frame and some room to grow, Cosart will be one of the most fascinating young arms to watch in the Philadelphia organization. He's got a lot to learn about location and how to mix his pitches, but the big arm and secondary pitches are in place. The way his raw stuff grades out, this is a pitcher with front-line starter-type ability.
Frankie Piliere spent the last three seasons working as a scout, most recently in the professional scouting department for the Texas Rangers in 2009. He now serves as the National Baseball Analyst here at FanHouse.