Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Newly Added Prospects from Halladay Trade

As I said on my previous post I am now going to go in depth on the prospects that the Phillies received in the Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee trade. The Phillies received three of the top 10 prospects in the Seattle Mariners farm system which is a fair return for Cliff Lee. It is important to note that the Mariners farm system is one of the top farm systems in the league as they have many prospects that project as successful to all-star caliber major league players. The players that the Phillies received in return are centerfielder Tyson Gillies, and pitchers Phillippe Aumont and Juan Ramirez.

In this trade the Phillies were amazingly able to acquire Jimmy McGinty, the deaf tight end from the Replacements. OK, really I am talking about Tyson Gillies, as Gillies is legally deaf, he is 30% deaf in one ear and 60% in the other. Gillies appears to be by far the most impressive of the prospects that the Phillies received. He is a 20 year old centerfielder who was drafted in the 25th round in the 2006 draft out of a Vancouver high school. At first glance he appears to be an elite top of the lineup prospect with an incredibly high ceiling. In 2009 he played in the advanced A-ball league where he absolutely dominated. In 124 games he hit .341 with a .430 on-base percentage while hitting 9 homeruns and 14 triples. Gillies also stole 44 bases and had a .916 OPS. A .916 OPS is incredible for a batter at the top of the order and shows that he has the potential to be a leadoff hitter with some serious pop. Gillies has shown the ability to play great defense in centerfield as he only committed 2 errors compared to an amazing 18 outfield assists in 2009. It is important to note that at the single-A level, most leagues are considered pitcher friendly leagues. Posting the numbers that Gillies had in 2009 is extremely rare and very promising. It is very difficult to not get excited with the possibility of Gillies in the future Phillies lineup. At this point in his minor league career, Gillies appears to be an amazing leadoff hitter as he has incredible speed and a good knowledge of the strikezone as he has posted a .420 obp in his 3 years in the minors. Based on what I have seen thus far, Gillies could potentially become a 5-tool player if he develops a little more power. This isn’t a major need as he is a leadoff hitter, but it’s always nice to have homerun hitting ability. Gillies does not seem to vary too much compared to top Phillies prospect, Domonic Brown. The only difference is that Brown projects to have more power down the line. I guess we’ll see in due time. As Gillies is added to the Phillies farm system, he immediately becomes the Phillies best centerfield prospect, and as I see it, the second best position player prospect only behind Brown. Gillies will start the 2010 season in Reading and could be expected to see Philadelphia by 2012 depending on the needs of the major league squad.

Phillippe Aumont was the most highly touted prospect that the Phillies received as he was the Mariners first round draft pick in 2007 and the 11th overall pick in that draft. He is currently a 6’7” 20 year old righthanded relief pitcher who projects as a potential closer. He throws a mid-90s fastball and has been very impressive in his two years in the minors. He has posted a 3.29 ERA through 2 full seasons since being drafted and has pitched 102 innings while only giving up 91 hits compared to 109 strikeouts. Aumont finished the 2009 season at advanced-A ball as well and should start the season at Reading along with Gillies. Aumont appears to be very polished for his very young age and could be promoted very quickly. The only thing that may hold Aumont back from a quick promotion is that the Phillies’ system boasts multiple quality relief pitching prospects at the AAA and AA level. I can’t see that as an issue from the Phillies perspective, just for Aumont as he could get bored pitching to lesser talent. An interesting situation could occur in the development of Aumont as he did start his minorleague career as a starter but was converted to a reliever half way through the 2008 season. It is very possible that the Phillies have thoughts on converting him back to a starter. It will be interesting to see what happens with Aumont.

The third prospect that the Phillies received in the Halladay trade is 20 year old righthanded pitcher, Juan Ramirez, who was signed out of Nicaragua. Ramirez is the pure definition of a power arm as he throws a hard fastball that sits around 97 mph, a hard slider, and an improving changeup. Ramirez can be erratic at times, but he is 20 years old, most 20 year old pitchers are erratic. He hasn’t quite put it all together as a pitcher because he is still very raw. In his 4 years in the minors, Ramirez has posted a 4.12 era in 406 innings. Even though Ramirez is a bit erratic, batters still have a difficult time hitting him as he has only given up 369 hits in those 406 innings. Ramirez is currently a starter in advanced single-A, but with his power fastball he projects as a good reliever down the road. Ramirez is likely to start in Clearwater and could see a promotion to Reading if he develops his pitches well, especially his slider and changeup.

I was fairly distraught when I became aware that Michael Taylor, Kyle Drabek, and Travis D’Arnaud were traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, but after carefully researching the prospects that the Phillies received in return, I am not quite as devastated. As much as I loved Taylor, Gillies appears to be just as good of an outfield prospect even though he is a different type of prospect as his game is more concentrated on speed than power. Between the loss of Taylor and the addition of Gillies, it appears to be a wash and has no real affect on the farm system in terms of value of prospects. When comparing Drabek to Aumont, both seem to have produced about the same in terms of era, hits per 9 innings, and strikeouts per 9 innings. Drabek possesses much better off speed pitches as he might have the best curveball in the minors, but Aumont has a great fastball and is an intimidating presence on the mound as a 6’7” closer. Both have great abilities but Drabek probably holds slightly more value as he is starting pitcher. Comparing Ramirez to D’Arnaud is pretty pointless as one is a pitcher while the other one being a catcher. Anyways, both have not quite produced to their capabilities but both also have high ceilings and are very raw. Overall, the Phillies lost a marginal amount of value in their farm system, but it was equivalent to the difference in quality between Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. So all in all, the Phillies stayed about the same but get to keep their ace pitcher for a much longer period.

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