It’s an exciting time in the Phillies minor league system, with the Roy Halladay sweepstakes bringing some of the top farmhands into the public eye over the past two weeks. The added attention makes each pitch, each swing that much more difficult for prospects from Lehigh Valley to Williamsport who are trying to impress scouts. So today let’s check in on the progress of some of the players who could be on the block as July comes to a close.
Michael Taylor – Four games into his tenure at triple-A with the Iron Pigs, Taylor has already had some ups and downs. He went hitless in his first two starts, including the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday in which he struck out three times. But the jump to Lehigh Valley is a maturation process, and in the nightcap of that twin bill Taylor adjusted and strutted his stuff. He went 2-for-3 with a single, a two-run homer, a walk and a stolen base. The coming weeks will go a long way toward determining Taylor’s future – both where he might play and how quickly he will arrive in the majors.
Kyle Drabek – Though he has only spent half a season above single-A, Drabek is the name everyone is talking about. He took his first loss with the R-Phils Friday, allowing 6 runs (5 earned) in 6 innings. He walked one and struck out one. Even after getting hit hard, Drabek’s ERA with Reading is 3.25 this season, and his combined average sits at 2.83 between Clearwater and Reading.
Joe Savery – Drabek’s double-A teammate is going through some growing pains on the farm right now. He has allowed 15 runs in his last three starts spanning 18.2 innings, giving up 26 hits and walking 10 batters during that stretch. He took just his second loss of the season against New Britain on Saturday, and his ERA is now up to 3.83.
Dominic Brown – After a month on the disabled list with a broken finger the Phillies 5-tool outfield prospect went on a short rehab assignment with the GCL Phils before rejoining the Threshers in Clearwater. The time off clearly didn’t hurt his swing, as he has hit in each of his three games since getting back to high-A ball. He was 5-for-12 this weekend with three RBI, raising his average to .307. Brown should be on track for a call-up to Reading shortly, and if Taylor is traded away Brown will become the outfield prospect all Phillies fans follow.
Lou Marson – The top catching prospect in the organization (or at least the closest to the majors) has been on a tear of late in Lehigh Valley. Marson has hit in 9 of his last 10 games, batting .469 (15-for-32) over that period with more walks (5) than strikeouts (4). Marson, though, has hit pounded out just two extra-base hits, both doubles, during that stretch. His inability to hit for power and knock in runs is a concern, but even a .300-hitting catcher with no power would be a drastic improvement over the offensive production the Phillies are getting right now from their catchers.
Drew Carpenter – The last two months have been stellar for Carpenter, who had his chance in the majors with a spot start earlier this season. In his last ten starts he is 7-2 with an ERA of 2.00. The last two have been particularly good, as he has lasted 7 innings in each start, allowing one run combined and striking out 17 while walking just three. He is one of the most major-league ready pitchers in the farm system, and though he may not have as high a ceiling as Drabek or teammate Carlos Carrasco, he could be an important trade chip to a team looking to plug a pitcher into their rotation immediately.
Carlos Carrasco – It seems that Carrasco has been knocking on the door of a call-up to the big leagues all season, and at some point the Phillies will have to answer. He pitched 6 innings Saturday, striking out 8 batters while allowing three runs and walking none. He may no longer be someone the Phillies can eye as a top-of-the-rotation starter, but Carrasco is ready to contribute at the highest level. With a bit of focus on his control he could likely step in and give the Phillies 6 innings and 3 runs most nights. A chance to shine under the lights of Citizens Bank Park might allow Carrasco to flourish and become the pitcher this organization expected him to be for the past several years.