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Prospect Nation 2013

Prospect Nation 2013: #11 Catcher Sebastian Valle

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, February 17, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 8

Sebastian Valle, a righty hitting catcher, has proven himself worthy of high praise during his time in the Phillies’ minor league system. Displaying considerable power and crucial skills behind the plate, Valle could be an option to help the big league club in the near future.

After signing as an international free agent at the age of 16 in 2006, Valle began his pro career playing in the Dominican Summer League, where he batted .284 and sported an .802 OPS in 54 games. The following year, Valle played with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and posted a .281 average with two home runs and 18 RBI in 48 games, helping the team lock down a championship.

In 2009, Valle split time between Class A Lakewood and short-season A level Williamsport. In 50 games for the Williamsport Crosscutters, Valle shined, posting a .307 average with six home runs and 40 RBI in 50 contests. In addition, Valle sported an .866 OPS with the ‘Cutters. With Lakewood, where he backed up eventual Roy Halladay trade chip Travis d’Arnaud, Valle batted .223 with a homer and 15 RBI in 45 games. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #11 Catcher Sebastian Valle

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Prospect Nation 2013: #12 2B Cesar Hernandez

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, February 13, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 2

Venezuelan born infielder Cesar Hernandez was signed as an amateur free agent by the Phillies at the age of 16. Since then, the slick defender that primarily plays second base, has displayed solid progress and improvements in many areas of his game.

Hernandez, a switch-hitter, made his professional debut with the Venezuelan Summer League in 2007 at the age of 17. In two seasons there, he tallied a .296 batting average with three home runs and 45 RBI in 114 games.  He followed that effort with a campaign in which he batted .267 with five doubles and a triple in 41 games for the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2009.

The following year, as a member of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, Hernandez was voted as the Most Valuable Player of the club by his teammates and was an All-Star. He proved clutch with the ‘Cutters, posting a .400 average (16-for-40) with runners in scoring position and two outs. Overall that season, Hernandez sported an impressive .325/.390/.392 line with 13 doubles and two triples in 65 games and placed second in the New York-Penn League in stolen bases, with 32.

His remarkable season in Williamsport led to a complete skip of full season Class A Lakewood. Hernandez played the entire 2011 season with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, where his offensive production took a dip (.268/.303./.333). With just 15 extra-base hits and 98 singles that year, a power boost was something that the Phils’ brass and coaches were looking for when they assigned Hernandez a strengthening program for the following off-season. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #12 2B Cesar Hernandez

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Prospect Nation 2013: #13 RHP Kenny Giles

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, February 11, 2013 07:45 AM Comments: 0

Kenny Giles- photo by Dave Schofield

Right-handed pitcher Kenny Giles rose up these rankings more than any other Phillies prospect last year.  Armed with tremendous velocity, the 6-foot-2-inch 190-pounder has a bright future and could prove extremely valuable to the organization in the near future.

Drafted in the 7th round in 2011 out of Yavapai (Junior) College, although he was committed to transferring to Arizona, Giles began his professional career with the Gulf Coast League Phillies that year.  After facing a difficult decision to turn pro and leave college behind, Giles struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings over three outings with the GCL team.  Prior to making his debut in the minors, Giles, a big-time strike out artist, notched 67 punch outs in 38 innings during the 2011 college season.

The Albuquerque, NM native began the 2012 season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws where he went 3-3 with five saves, a 3.61 ERA and a .215 batting average against in 29 outings (6 starts).  Giles was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater in July and proceeded to pitch exclusively as a reliever for the Threshers, going 1-0 with three saves, a 3.07 ERA and a .183 batting average against in 10 appearances.  Combined at the two levels, Giles sported a 12.18 K/9 mark last year. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #13 RHP Kenny Giles

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Prospect Nation 2013: #14 RHP Julio Rodriguez

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, February 10, 2013 12:30 PM Comments: 9

In recent years, righty hurler Julio Rodriguez has quietly become one of the Phillies’ most promising prospects. Without the hype and buzz that has surrounded other well-regarded youngsters within the Phils’ organization, the Puerto Rican born hurler has proven himself worthy of being ranked among the team’s prospects with the greatest potential.

Selected in the 8th round of the 2008 amateur draft as a 17-year-old, Rodriguez made his professional debut that same year, throwing in seven games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. However, the 6-foot-4-inch 200-pounder struggled, as he posted a 12.19 ERA and a .383 batting average against.

He followed that up with a return to the GCL the following year.  Rodriguez added some strength and made some serious improvements, posting a 1-2 record with a 3.08 ERA and a .197 batting average against in 11 games (eight starts).

In 2010, as a 19-year-old, Rodriguez began the season in extended spring training, but joined the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in May. He spent time with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters as well that year, and finished with an overall record of 7-3 with a 1.89 ERA and a .175 batting average against in 20 outings (12 starts). As the season progressed, Rodriguez was a key contributor, helping Lakewood lock down their second consecutive South Atlantic League championship that year. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #14 RHP Julio Rodriguez

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Prospect Nation 2013: #15 LHP Austin Wright

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, February 08, 2013 07:30 AM Comments: 0

Selected in the 8th round of the 2011 amateur draft, lefty hurler Austin Wright quickly proved to be a fast rising prospect in the Phillies’ organization.  Out of the University of Mississippi, where he posted a 4.73 ERA and an 8.57 K/9 mark through 14 starts that year, Wright never tired, continuing on for another 15 appearances primarily as a starter in the Phils’ system.

After making his pro debut with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters and posting a 3-1 record along with a 3.38 ERA in eight games (seven starts), Wright was promoted to full season Class A Lakewood, where he continued to look strong, tallying a 1-2 record and a 2.67 ERA in seven starts.  Combined at the two levels, Wright, who grew up idolizing big league stars like Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, notched an impressive 11.2 K/9 mark.

In 2012, as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, the 6-foot-4-inch 235-pounder became an All-Star and was honored as the Florida State League pitcher of the year, as he posted an 11-5 record, a 3.47 ERA and an 8.11 K/9 mark.

Wright has a repertoire that features a low-90′s fastball (regularly clocked at 91-92 MPH, but can reach higher), a tough curve ball that can leave batters looking foolish, a solid slider and a change up.  As Wright climbs higher in the developmental ranks, that menu could be refined, but, for now, he’s sticking with the four-pitch selection. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #15 LHP Austin Wright

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Prospect Nation 2013: #16 OF Zach Collier

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, February 07, 2013 07:00 AM Comments: 0

Last year, outfielder Zach Collier finally made the kind of impression the Phillies had long hoped for since they made him their supplemental 1st round draft choice (34th overall) in 2008. As a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Collier put forth exceptional output and followed up the regular season with a tremendous campaign in the highly competitive Arizona Fall League, to display the type of skills that earned him high praise and a hefty professional signing bonus as a high school talent.

Following his 2011 season, it was announced that the 6-foot-2 185-pound Collier had tested positive for amphetamines and would have to serve a 50-game suspension to kick off the following season. That down time didn’t hold the Carson, CA native down, however. In the Florida State League last year, Collier, who once got a signing bonus of over $1 million from the Phillies, posted career highs in OBP (.333) and slugging percentage (.399). Despite missing time due to the suspension, Collier sported a .269 average with six home runs, 32 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 78 games for Clearwater.

In order to make up for some of that time missed, the Phillies sent Collier to play with Peoria in the Arizona Fall League, where he slapped four doubles, laced three triples and stroked four homers while placing in the league’s top five in batting average (.371) and OPS (.993).  Collier feels the time spent in the AFL was advantageous to him and he is grateful for the experience. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #16 OF Zach Collier

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Prospect Nation 2013: #17 RHP Shane Watson

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, February 04, 2013 08:30 AM Comments: 3

Last year’s top Phillies draft choice righty pitcher Shane Watson did not see much action during his initial pro stint.  Many in the organization and around baseball are extremely high on the 6-foot-4-inch 195-pounder, as he possesses skills that earned him considerable regard and made him the 40th overall pick.

Pitching for Lakewood High School, located in the suburbs of Los Angeles, CA, last year, Watson posted a 4-3 record with a 1.19 ERA in 11 games. In 53 innings of work, he allowed just 36 hits while striking out 79 batters.

Watson wasn’t the first player who attended Lakewood High School taken by the Phillies in the opening round of the MLB amateur draft.  Travis d’Arnaud, who played with Shane’s older brother, Scott, was the Phillies’ 1st round selection (37th overall) in 2007 out of Lakewood as well.

Although he was committed to pitch for USC, Watson signed his first pro contract, reportedly worth $1.3 Million, and later debuted with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in August.  Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #17 RHP Shane Watson

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Prospect Nation 2013: #18 OF Larry Greene Jr.

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, February 03, 2013 09:00 AM Comments: 8

Larry Greene Jr., quietly began his ascension upward in the developmental ranks last season, after being selected in the supplemental 1st round, 39th overall, by the Phillies in 2011.

In his senior year of high school, the lefty batting Greene became an All-American, posting a .536 average in 30 games with 11 doubles, 19 home runs, 52 RBI and 37 walks.

Greene worked out with the Gulf Coast League Phillies late in the 2011 season, after signing his first professional contract, which came with a reported $1 million signing bonus.  He also spent some time at the Florida Instructional League as well that year.

Despite sitting out a good deal of time at Instructs with a groin injury, the slugger was able to take in plenty of batting practice and put himself on display for the brass in attendance, who were there to see many of their newly drafted prospects.  The ailment resulted in some downtime through the winter months and Greene wasn’t in the best shape when he reported to spring training in 2012. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #18 OF Larry Greene Jr.

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Prospect Nation 2013: #19 OF Ender Inciarte

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, February 01, 2013 07:05 AM Comments: 6

Swift footed outfielder Ender Inciarte was picked up by the Phillies this past December in the MLB Rule 5 draft. The lefty batting Venezuelan looked extremely promising in his days in the Diamondbacks system, which drew the interest of the Phils.

Signed as a amateur free agent in 2008, Inciarte began his professional career in the Dominican Summer League, batting .300 with minimal power (seven doubles were his only extra-base hits) while stealing 22 bases in 28 opportunities in 62 games.

The 5-foot-11-inch 160-pounder then moved on to the rookie level Pioneer League, where he batted .325 with 14 doubles, a triple and a homer in 66 contests for Missoula in 2009. He also stole 10 bases in 14 chances. The following year, Inciarte split time at low A and full season Class A, posting a .229 average with 13 doubles, seven triples and one home run while utilizing his speed even less, swiping seven in 12 chances.

In 2011, Inciarte spent the entire season with Class A South Bend of the Midwest League and continued to make progress. At the age of 20, he sported a .262/.333/.333 line with 26 steals, but was caught 15 times. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #19 OF Ender Inciarte

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Prospect Nation 2013: #20 RHP Tyler Knigge

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, January 29, 2013 09:05 AM Comments: 0

Right-hander Tyler Knigge (pronounced kuh-NIG-ee) proved himself to be a fast rising pitching prospect last year, as he dominated with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers and later earned a promotion to Double-A Reading.

Selected in the 12th round of the 2010 draft out of Lewis-Clark State College, Knigge made his pro debut that year, pitching with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, sporting a 0-4 record along with a 5.28 ERA in 11 outings (four starts). He would pitch in the Florida Instructional League that year as well. The following season, Knigge was a strong performer with Class A Lakewood, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, where he looked tougher on opposing batters, tallying a 4-3 record, four saves and a 3.32 ERA.

In an effort to increase his own stamina, Knigge lost approximately 15 pounds over the 2011-2012 off-season. With improved conditioning, Knigge was amazing with Clearwater last year, posting a 0.60 ERA along with a 4-1 record and nine saves in 34 relief outings, and was recognized as a Florida State League All-Star.

In early July, the 6-foot-3-inch 225-pounder was promoted to Reading and would post strong numbers there as well, with no decisions, two saves and a 2.92 ERA in 21 appearances. If not for an oddity of an outing on July 20 in Trenton, in which he was charged with three earned runs without recording an out, Knigge’s ERA at the Double-A level would have been 1.82.

Knigge saw his batting average against go from .243 in 2011 to a much improved .204 in 2012, as he jumped two levels. Additionally, Knigge’s K/9 of 9.09 during the 2012 regular season was a nice improvement over the previous season’s 7.48 mark as well.
Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #20 RHP Tyler Knigge

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