Snapshot: Ten Years of BA’s Phillies Top Ten

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, December 17, 2012 03:42 PM | Comments: 21
Analysis, Prospecting

With the launch of Baseball America’s Top 10 Phillies prospects today, a few folks have Tweeted me and asked me questions to the effect of “How accurate has this list been as a tool of identifying Major League players?” It has been very accurate for that one particular and very specific purpose. The graph below is mostly for fun but shows you that the Phillies generally get their highest-rated prospects to the Majors or traded to a team that can get them there. After you check out the graph below, please follow us after the jump for some cautious words.

If You Are a Bad Team, Like the Phillies Were Until About 2004, You’ll Get Players to the Majors Faster

Yes, the 2002 Baseball America list had all ten players reach the Majors. Yes, the list had Chase Utley, Marlon Byrd, Brett Myers, Gavin Floyd, and even Carlos Silva on the list. But it also had Jorge Padilla, who at age 29 in 2009, snuck on to a pretty bad Nationals team and Yoel Hernandez, the absolute definition of emergency bullpen call-up who saw time with the Phillies in 2007.

If You Are a Bad Team, Like the Phillies Were Until About 2004, You’ll Get Better Draft Picks

The very next year’s list, 2003, featured a who’s who of the 2008 championship team: Utley, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, and Ryan Madson. It also included Byrd, Floyd, and two players who were also emergency bullpen call-ups: Zack Segovia in 2007 and Elizardo Ramirez in 2004.

There Will Be More from 2010

2010′s list just three seasons later features five players who have already made the majors. The other five? Travis D’Arnaud, Trevor May, Sebastian Valle, Jarred Cosart, and Domingo Santana. I have a feeling that list will grow.

The Phillies Have, Generally, Made Solid Moves

Looking at the 2009 list, eight of the ten players from that list were pieces that turned into Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt, and only one of them, D’Arnaud, has as much promise left as he did when he was traded. For guys like Michael Taylor and Jason Knapp, it benefited the Phillies to sell high in those trades.

Some of of their other previous top 10 picks traded for good value included Greg Golson for John Mayberry Jr., Michael Bourn and Mike Costanza for Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett, and Josh Outman and Adrian Cardenas for Joe Blanton. One trade with BA Top 10 prospects that did not work out in the Phillies favor include Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez for Freddie Garcia. Another that appears to be headed in the wrong direction is the trade that brought Hunter Pence to Philadelphia.

Because Some Prospects Develop Faster Than Others, This List Can Take a While to Develop

With Roman Quinn‘s inclusion at number two on this list for 2013, the Phillies have a player who is coming off his first season in Low-A. Meanwhile, Darin Ruf has already seen Major League action but not enough to not be considered a prospect any longer, if that makes sense. Because of that, and other reasons, exercise caution with this list.

If You Are a Bad Team, Like the Phillies Were Until About 2004, You’ll Get Players to the Majors Faster

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About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 846 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    reading this article reminds me of how many great moves Ruben has made. it seems trendy these days for the low-informed average fan to want to pile on Ruben for the misfortune of the last two years, but he has made a ton of really great moves. the worst move the phillies have made in the past 5 years was easily floyd and gonzalez for Freddy Garcia. and that was a Pat Gillick move.

    • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

      Could you list the moves you consider to be great? I don’t think trading Anthony Gose for 35 Roy Oswalt starts will end up being favorable for the Phillies. I definitely don’t think the net return for Cosart, Singleton, and Santana (which now is Tommy Joseph) will end up being a great use of resources. I was never a fan of giving out three year deals to declining players (Ibanez, Polanco). The Howard and Papelbon contracts were bad ideas that will continue to limit payroll flexibility. Has he really made “a ton of great moves”?

      • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

        gose is the only good player we’ve given up. everything else is essentially a worthless bag of garbage. none of those players will ever be anything. ever!. I think we will have to let the howard deal play out before we assess it. other 1B with similar numbers have gotten way bigger and longer contracts. if howard returns to form (which is definitely possible if he stays healthy, and there is no reason to think he won’t) it could be a reasonable deal in the end.

        taking a shot at oswalt was fine. nobody had a problem with it at the time. they had an all time great rotation and were easily the best team in the game in 2011, it just didn’t pan out for them in the playoffs.

      • Posts: 0 hk

        “gose is the only good player we’ve given up. everything else is essentially a worthless bag of garbage. none of those players will ever be anything. ever!.Travis D’ Arnaud has now been traded for two Cy Young winners.”

        I don’t think too many baseball people consider him to be part of a worthless bag of garbage. The same could be said for two or even three of the players traded for Pence.

        “other 1B with similar numbers have gotten way bigger and longer contracts.”

        Prince Fielder is 5 years younger than Howard, had much better numbers than Howard in 2011 and got a lower AAV. If you consider Howard’s numbers to be similar to Pujols’s or Votto’s numbers, you have a different definition of similar than I do.

      • Posts: 0 psujoe

        Singleton, Cosart and Santana all have high end potential. I guess the good news in the Pence deals is one scout on the chat today said Joseph is a top 100 prospect.

      • Posts: 0 rc

        I will never fault them for that Oswalt trade. No player ever guarantees you a WS championship, not Oswalt, not anthony gose. Utley, Howard, Werth, Victorino, Rollins, Chooch were all 30ish. Oswalt performed great in 2010. It would have been a crime if they passed up that deal.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    To be accurate the Cosart, Singleton, Santana and Zeid was for 1/3 year of Scheirholtz, 1 year of Pence, Joseph and Seth Rosen. Still not good, but better than just listing Joseph.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    The Phils have been operating on win or bust for the past few years. The effects of this are starting to be felt. It will be worse in 1-2 years when the core(Howard, Utley, Rollins, Doc is gone/obsolete) and the farm system has a lack of good MLB ready talent.

    • Posts: 0 psujoe

      I don’t think the situation is that bleak. The Phils farm is probably ranked around 23rd. Not great, but winning does that.

      Pettibone will most likely join the rotation this year.
      Biddle to follow sometime in 2014.
      Galvis can take over for JRoll(if he’s playing like this he gets a qualifying offer).

      We need to see how the young guys do. RAJ was forced to go young in the Pen and the kids responded in the second half. lets see how Brown, Ruf, Revere…respond this year with increased roles.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H

    Here is the thing people forget about ryan howard: over a five year period, he put up the best power numbers of anyone in the history of the game not named ruth. Votto and fielder have had great seasons, but their numbers never approached the numbers howard put up. Pujols is an absolute machine, but id rather have howard with his contract than pujols with that ten year disaster. Pujols has nine years left on his deal and hes already on the decline
    Wait and see.

    • Posts: 0 chuck schreiber

      Ryan H is you the “Big Piece”?

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Ted – Do you think Amaro wanted to give 3 years to Ibanez and Polanco? No, the market forced him into it. If he had passed on those deals the Phils would have missed out on a lot of wins. Everyone can see the downside but you have to consider the market and the needs at the time.
    I think the worst deal was clearly the Howard extension. It was not necessary at the time. Of course if Howard had continued at his then pace it would have been a decent deal but not a great one. The fact is that for that many years extension Amaro needed a lower number in my opinion.
    Most other deals were reasonable and some very good.

    • Posts: 0 hk


      You are wrong that the market forced Amaro to give 3 years to Ibanez. That off-season was right after the financial crisis and teams – except the Phillies, who had just won the World Series – were showing fiscal restraint. RAJ rushed into the market and signed Ibanez before the market even became established. That off-season, MLB Trade Rumors ranked 5 OF’s in the top 15 available free agents, Manny Ramirez #3, Adam Dunn #8, Ibanez #12, Pat Burrell #13 and Bobby Abreu #14. Every other corner OF got fewer years than Ibanez and only Manny Ramirez, coming off a .332/.430/.601 season, got a higher AAV.Ibanez was the only one to get 3 years. Ramirez got 2 years and $45M, Dunn got $20M / 2, Burrell got $16M / 2 and Bobby Abreu got $5M / 1 after the Angels waited out the market.

      I haven’t looked as closely at the following season’s free agent market to see whether your claim about Polanco is true.

      • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

        all those players you listed? tyhe only one that would be a consideration to me was ramirez. and even with his numbers. you have to ask how would the teams chemistry have been affected? i think ibanez was the right choice! the player i would have rather had would be beltre over polanc! no one even brought his name up! we wouldn’t be seeking another RH power bat if he was signed.
        and let howards contract pan out. puhols contract is a real bad one! the worst ever. and fielder is a major knee problem from being just as bad! if howard comes back and performs close to his pre achilles injury, we won’t be bellyaching about his numbers. check with j. hamiltons numbers in 4-5 years. as for the players you listed none of them were stellar. and ramirez was on the juice!

      • Posts: 0 hk


        My contention was not that Raul was the right or wrong choice, it was that Bob was wrong about the market for corner OF’s that off-season. Heading into that off-season, Ramirez was clearly the top rated corner OF, but Dunn, Ibanez, Burrell and Abreu were all rated close to one another. Bob contended that the market called for RAJ to give Raul 3 years and I was pointing out that the market did no such thing as the other top corner OF’s all got 1 or 2 year deals.

        As far as whether Raul was the right choice or not, hindsight tells us that Washington got much more value out of Adam Dunn than the Phils got from Raul. Dunn provided an OPS’s of .928 in 2009 and .892 in 2010 while Raul provided OPS’s of .899 in 2009, .793 in 2010 and .707 in 2011. Dunn also had enough value at the end of his deal that Washington offered him arbitration before he became a free agent, thereby netting them a 1st round draft choice when he signed with the White Sox before the 2011 season. The Nats used that pick to draft Alex Meyer, who they just traded for Denard Span.

    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      you’re right bob! except for the howard extension. i think we should judge it when he’s in the 3rd or 4th year. his first year was marred by the achilles injury, and the previous year he injured his ankle against the nats if you remember. and i’m sure that affected his performance the rest of that year, and into the following year culminating in the achilles on the last at bat of the year. so i’m still hopeful that if healthy he’ll return to being a masher again. i think ruben should be given credit for locking him up early because just say he didn’t get injured could you imagine what the bidding would have been for him if he reached FA. howard still isn’t that old and doesn’t have abuse issues and he works out to improve himself. his injury kept wieght on him. i hear he’s in great shape. hamilton has issues, fielder will have a major injury, and puhols although roughly the same age as howard and not injured showed some decline and his contract is way too long in years! so i say lets wait and see how it pans out.

      • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

        let me add to my previous comment. if the phils deside in a year or two to actually rebuild with younger players and howard is back. don’t you think with onlt 2-3 years on his contract that he would net quite a few highly ranked prospects, along with lee?

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    the same people criticizing Amaro now for not signing Cody Ross or Nick Swisher will be the same people condemning him for overpaying them 3 years from now. its lose lose.

    • Posts: 0 hk

      That’s a wide brush with which you paint. Most of the comments that I read assessing RAJ’s moves are critical of those with which they disagree and complimentary of the ones they like. I am sure that there are small minorities at the extremes who blindly criticize or blindly support every move that he makes, but I think most people like some moves and not others. I can’t speak for others, but my personal opinion is that this off-season has been a mixed bag for RAJ. I am a big fan of the Worley / Revere trade, but not a fan of the Michael Young trade. I understand the Mike Adams signing, but I would have rather seen Adams’s $6M plus Young’s $6M plus Lannan’s $2.5M allocated towards one of the better free agent starting pitchers to provide insurance in case Halladay does not revert to his old self.

      • Posts: 0 psujoe

        I actually like the moves so far. However, I really wanted Uehata on a 1 year deal. Boston got a steal for Uehata at $4.5 million. I don’t think RAJ wanted to go 3 years on a Lohse type. Pettibone is expected in the rotation mid-season with Biddle excpected on board around 2014.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    the fact of the matter is there just wasn’t really alot out there this winter. and what was available is coming at way too steep a price. not worth it. better to stand pat.

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