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.
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.