Despite all the trades, system is not depleted

Domonic Brown is back in triple A,but he is still looked upon as as the Phillies' leftfielder of the future.
Domonic Brown is back in triple A,but he is still looked upon as as the Phillies' leftfielder of the future. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 07, 2011

The Phillies' minor-league system has played a major role in the team's being able to acquire Cliff Lee (the first time), Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Hunter Pence. Even after trading so many prospects, however, the system isn't depleted.

"The Phillies after these trades are probably in the middle of the pack in terms of where their farm system is," said Jim Callis, the executive editor of Baseball America. "Most of the best prospects aren't ready to step in next year."

Still, Callis said he was impressed by what the system has been able to accomplish.

"The farm system is doing its job," he said. "This is a team with a legitimate chance to win the World Series, as it has the last three to four years."

Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar also believes that, despite the trades, depth remains.

"I can honestly say I don't know of an organization in baseball that could still have the number of prospects we have after trading so many youngsters in the last five-six years," LaMar said.

Last week, Inquirer writer Bob Brookover ranked his top 10 prospects following the trade for Pence. Here is a look at the 10.

1. Domonic Brown, 24 years old next month, 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, LF, Lehigh Valley. After the Pence trade he was sent down to triple A to learn to play left after batting .246 with five homers and 19 RBIs in 183 at-bats as a rightfielder for the Phillies. Through Friday he was hitting .328 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 18 games over two stints this year at Lehigh Valley. With 39-year-old Raul Ibanez's contract expiring after this season, Brown is still considered the Phillies' leftfielder of the future.

2. Trevor May, 22 next month, 6-5, 205, LHP, Clearwater. May is nearing the career-high 135 innings that he pitched last season. Through Friday he was 8-6 with a 3.40 ERA. May had 169 strikeouts and 55 walks in 1241/3 innings.

"He has had ups and downs over the last couple of years mainly from command issues more than anything else," LaMar said. "Over the last couple of months he has pitched extremely well."

3. Sebastian Valle, 21, 6-1, 170, C, Clearwater. After batting .255 at Lakewood, he has blossomed at high-A Clearwater. Entering Saturday he was hitting .303 with five home runs and 37 RBIs.

LaMar said that Valle has made great strides receiving and throwing, but that his biggest improvement has been at the plate, where he is not trying to pull every pitch.

"This year he has learned he is capable of using right-center field, especially with two strikes, and because of that it has been his best year development-wise," LaMar said.

4. Jesse Biddle, 19, 6-4, 225, LHP, Lakewood. Last year's first-round pick is 5-7 with a 3.20 ERA. He has pitched much better after a difficult start this season.

"We're pleased with how he has competed," LaMar said.

5. Jonathan Pettibone, 21, 6-5, 200, RHP, Clearwater. The 2008 third-round pick is 8-9 with a 3.08 ERA in 1341/3 innings. He has 96 strikeouts and has issued 30 walks.

"He has outstanding command of a good fastball, shows an above-average change-up to lefthanded hitters, and the only pitch he has to continue to work on to gain more consistency is his slider," LaMar said.

6. Justin De Fratus, 23, 6-4, 220, RHP, Lehigh Valley. After starting the season with Reading, he is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA and two saves in 18 games for the IronPigs.

7. Phillippe Aumont, 22, 6-7, 255, RHP, Lehigh Valley. Like De Fratus, Aumont started the season in Reading and has moved up to the bullpen in Lehigh Valley. In eight games for Lehigh Valley through Friday he was 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA and two saves in nine appearances.

"I thought both would take a few lumps early [in Lehigh Valley] and they did, and now both of them are on a roll and pitching competitively," LaMar said of De Fratus and Aumont. "It's always a gamble to take two of the organization's top prospects, but we felt they were ready to compete [at triple A] and were right."

8. Domingo Santana, 19, 6-5, 200, RF, Lakewood. A free swinger who turned 19 on Friday, Santana was hitting .273 with seven homers and 31 RBIs entering Saturday, but he had struck out 114 times in 326 at-bats.

"He is one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League and continues to show the total package of running, throwing, hitting with power," LaMar said.

9. Michael Schwimer, 25, 6-8, 240, RHP, Lehigh Valley. Through Friday he was 7-1 with a 1.43 ERA and 10 saves in 621/3 innings.

"I think it's only a matter of time, whether this year or next year, he could be ready for the opportunity to be pitching in Philadelphia," LaMar said.

10. Freddy Galvis, 21, 5-10, 170, SS, Lehigh Valley. He was just called up in the last week after playing parts of three seasons at Reading. This year at Reading he showed his best offensive progress, batting .273 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs. He had 19 stolen bases but was caught stealing 11 times.

"He worked extremely hard in the offseason getting stronger and had his most productive offensive season," LaMar said. "We want to give him a taste of triple-A baseball."

Two Clearwater players Callis mentioned who are not in the top 10 are 6-foot-3, 195-pound righthander Brody Colvin and 6-4, 180-pound centerfielder Jiwan James.


Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, mnarducci@phillynews.com,

or @sjnard on Twitter.

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