Not a lot of Phillies prospects at Futures Game

Posted: July 09, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The reality was not lost on Jonathan Singleton as he scanned the home clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium. There were more former Phillies prospects selected for Sunday's Futures Game than current Phillies prospects. He laughed.

"Things happen," Singleton said. "And things don't always turn out the way you want them to."

The hapless Phillies are hurtling toward selling off players in an attempt to reload for 2013. Right about now, they certainly would love the idea of possessing Singleton, Anthony Gose, and Travis D'Arnaud.

Instead, the Phillies sent two unheralded arms to this showcase. One of them, righthander Lisalverto Bonilla, injured his right thumb while clowning around with teammates in a hotel room Saturday night, according to a source. The other, Julio Rodriguez, allowed a three-run home run to the first batter he faced Sunday.

"I know now you don't need to be a 'top prospect' to make this," Rodriguez said, "so it makes me feel a lot better."

Last week, when Baseball America released its midseason top-50 rankings, there were no Phillies. D'Arnaud (19), Singleton (23), and Gose (38) all appeared.

"It's pretty cool," Gose said.

They were surrendered as pieces in packages to acquire Hunter Pence, Roy Oswalt, and Roy Halladay. Singleton, a first baseman, is destroying double-A pitching as a 20-year-old. Gose is 21 and has improved with each step up in competition; he is hitting .290 with 29 steals at triple A. And D'Arnaud, 23, posted a stellar .975 OPS at triple A before tearing a ligament in his left knee two weeks ago.

Gose and Singleton were active Sunday. Gose made his mark with a spectacular diving catch in center. Singleton singled three times, scored two runs, and played some left field - a position the Phillies did not think he could man.

The Phillies' system is barren; it was ranked 27th by Baseball America in March. Include D'Arnaud, Singleton, and Gose, and it would rank as one of the best in baseball.

Few of the organization's top prospects are having super seasons, which left Bonilla and Rodriguez standing next to some of the game's next superstars.

Bonilla's right thumb was so swollen Sunday he could not shake a reporter's hand. Scouts have lauded the 22-year-old's pitching in 2012. He began at single-A Clearwater and quickly earned a promotion to double-A Reading, where he became an all-star.

Over both levels, Bonilla has a 1.55 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 461/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .191 against him.

"It's a great experience," Bonilla said of being selected to the Futures Game. "Not everybody gets here. It's a very nice honor."

But he didn't pitch in it because of a boneheaded mistake.

Rodriguez has been overshadowed by fellow pitching prospects Trevor May, Jonathan Pettibone, and Brody Colvin. He has a 3.76 ERA for Reading, and while he has maintained his strikeout rate from 2011, he is allowing more walks and hits.

His fastball reaches 92 m.p.h. and typically hovers in the high 80s. He throws a slow curveball that he says is his out pitch. Detroit prospect Nick Castellanos mashed a 90-m.p.h. Rodriguez fastball for his homer Sunday.

"He can pitch," one scout said, "but the stuff just isn't there."

Rodriguez allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk in an inning. The U.S. team defeated the World team, 17-5.

While both Gose and Singleton downplayed the "what if?" game, they acknowledged the motivation of a trade.

"It's obviously something you think highly of, being traded for Oswalt, Jonathan for Pence, Travis for Halladay," Gose said. ". . . It's a tremendous honor to be traded for them and definitely adds some incentive. When you come back, you can say: 'I was traded for this guy.' "


Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @magelb.

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