Yankees have some prospects that would interest Phils

Posted: July 09, 2012

As rumors of a Phillies fire sale swirled last week, the flames raged hottest around pitcher Cole Hamels.

Will the Phillies trade Hamels, who will be a free agent at the end of the season? Or will they keep him and try to re-sign him? And if they do trade him, will they get the treasure trove of talented prospects they are reportedly seeking?

And who wants him most? The New York Yankees, the American League East front-runners, could be a contender for Hamels. Here is a look at whom they could offer:

The team's top prospect, as listed by MLB.com, is 21-year-old Manny Banuelos. He is a strikeout pitcher with three above-average pitches: fastball, curveball, and change-up.

However, the lefthander has spent most of the season on the disabled list, first with a back injury in April and later because of pain in his left elbow. Banuelos has not pitched for triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre since May 18.

When healthy, he can be dominant (8.2 strikeouts per nine innings last season) but also wild (five walks per nine). In six starts this season, Banuelos is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA.

Righthanded pitcher Dellin Betances, 24, is the Yankees' next highest-rated prospect. At 6-foot-8, 260 pounds, Betances commands great power. But, like Banuelos, he at times struggles to locate. This year, his walk rate (8.3) was about as high as his strikeout rate (8.6). On June 27 the organization demoted him to double-A Trenton, where he is 0-1 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts.

The organization's next two prospects are moving in the opposite direction. Catcher Gary Sanchez, 19, and centerfielder Mason Williams, 20, were recently promoted to advanced-single-A Tampa. Sanchez, known more for his offense than his defense, hit .297 with 13 home runs and 19 doubles with low-single-A Charleston for the first half of the season. He hit .308 in his first three games with Tampa.

Scouts say Williams, who hit .143 in his first three games at Tampa, could be a five-tool outfielder. He is an above-average defensive player, runs well (19 steals), and hits for average. As he matures, scouts say his power may increase. Before his promotion, Williams hit .304 with 19 doubles, four triples, and eight home runs.

Sanchez and Williams were both named to the South Atlantic League all-star team.

The Charleston RiverDogs still have a top prospect on the roster in righthanded pitcher Jose Campos, a 19-year-old with a solid curveball and a fastball that touches 95 m.p.h. Also, the RiverDogs have actor Bill Murray as an owner. But he is not on the trading block.

Brown rehabbing

Outfielder Domonic Brown flew to Clearwater, Fla., on Friday as he continues to rehab his right knee. Brown, 24, has not played for triple-A Lehigh Valley since straining the knee June 14. In 47 games with the IronPigs this season, he is hitting .266.

Brown began taking batting practice at Lehigh Valley last week, according to the Allentown Morning Call, and while in Clearwater he is expected to play in some Gulf Coast League games before returning to the IronPigs.

Reading set for all-stars

Double-A Reading will host the Eastern League All-Star Game on Wednesday night, and the Phillies will be well- represented with six players: outfielder Leandro Castro, shortstop Troy Hanzawa, third baseman Cesar Hernandez, first baseman Darin Ruf, catcher Sebastian Valle, and pitcher Jordan Whatcott.

Pitchers Justin Friend and Julio Rodriguez were also named to the team, but Friend was called up to triple-A Lehigh Valley last week, and Rodriguez will pitch in the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City. Reliever Lisalverto Bonilla will join Rodriguez at the game.

Duffy honored

The Phillies named Chris Duffy their minor-league player of the month for June after the 24-year-old first baseman batted .420 with three home runs and 19 RBIs. Duffy hit safely in 19 straight games before the streak was snapped Wednesday.

Contact Tyler Jett at 215-854-4550 or



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