The Philadelphia Phillies are down to only a few questions on Domonic Brown. However, there are two spots open until Delmon Young returns.
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I will continue the process of the previous Monday’s approach, if appropriate. For early birds Sunday evening is post time. Due to a strong response and a complicated offseason, my reviews will be weekly until spring training ends. The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, but there will be an updated calendar included with each feature: Posts involving commentary, polls and stats will be listed for the upcoming 7 days.
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Rube Amaro kept his bluest chip after 4 campaigns of wheeling and dealing for proven stars.
Everything begins with quality, which means your yesterday influences your today. Since 1965, New York (AL) no longer has had first choice of talent, because the amateur draft was designed to benefit the worst clubs first. With the exception of only the 70‘s Dodgers who were approximately a .500 squad before their run, some franchises acquired their main pieces for a dominate stretch through this process. Those basement-to-penthouse organizations include the 70‘s Athletics, 70‘s Phillies, 70‘s Reds, 90‘s Yankees and today’s Phillies with the current Nationals on the horizon.
The Phils of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels still have that core four intact. That, however, equals a farm system with late-round picks after the best have been selected. The red pinstripes had one of the top-ranked minor-league organizations, but did not have a centerpiece, like Mike Schmidt. In other words, those traded prospects were excellent complimentary additions at best.
At each level one of six drafted players doesn’t make the cut, and only one eventually becomes a major leaguer, which means being on the 25-man roster before call-ups. Six signed youngsters enter rookie ball, 5 reach Single-A (Lakewood), and 4 make it to the more advanced Single-A (Clearwater). Three achieve the Double-A mark, which would be Reading. Two arrive at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and one plays considerably in the friendly confines of the Bank before September.
After that first ring in 2008, the first swaps for a repeat performance meant enhancing the foursome with more championship-caliber athletes.
The following year there was the necessity for Cliff Lee, and 4 chips were shipped to Cleveland. The key to the barter was fireballer Jason Knapp, 19, who hasn’t pitched since 2010 with a bad wing. The most successful player has been Carlos Carrasco, his 2011 tour was 8-9 with a 4.62 ERA, and this spring he is fighting for the 5 slot in the rotation after missing ‘12 due to Tommy John surgery. The other two are backup C Lou Marson and reserve INF Jason Donald, who got the infield hit against Armando Galarraga to break up his 26-out perfection in 2010–a missed call.
The next winter Doc Halladay became a Phillie in exchange for 3 potential stars, including the receiver who was recently dealt to the Mets. That highly ranked catcher is now approaching the major-league threshold. Michael Taylor is still trying to complete the jump from Triple-A, even though he was the 2010 favorite for the left-field job in Oakland. Kyle Drabek was the prize catch in the swap, and went 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA before last season ended abruptly, leading to his second Tommy John procedure. C Travis d’Arnaud, meanwhile, was on his way to a stellar campaign at Triple-A Buffalo when a knee injury cut it short in late June.
The next batch from the farm went to Houston for Roy Oswalt. However, J.A. Happ after his time as an Astro continued to struggle with the Blue Jays, who acquired 3 veteran starters for ‘13, pushing him off the 5-man staff. Anthony Gose was repackaged to Toronto, but his Triple-A success last summer did not translate in the majors during his 2nd half. Finally, Jonathan Villar is a good-glove shortstop who averaged only .261 at Double-A Corpus Christi in 2012.
Again, Houston was the trade partner during 2011 for Hunter Pence, and they received 3 more prospects. Jonathan Singleton continued his expected progression at Corpus Christi before his marijuana suspension of 50 contests. Jarred Cosart will continue his strong effort at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he had 6 solid appearances in ’12. Lastly, reliever Josh Zeid has failed at the Double-A level over the last two 2 tours after good numbers for Single-A Lakewood in 2010.
It came down to Taylor or Brown, Amaro wisely kept Brown, but both have struggled at the show until now. Brown was said to be the younger version of the same player, but that sounded like a sales job by the general manager. He was later more willing to part with Drabek than Brown. 13 farm products were bartered for Lee, Halladay, Oswalt and Pence, but Brown now looks better than any of those 13.
The anticipated rookie in camp was Darin Ruf, who literally provided the bang at Reading. Like Howard, he is the older rookie first baseman who crushed taters by the dozen in Double-A. Plus, there is a slugger on the parent club who is blocking his path, meaning he might have to repeat his excellence at Lehigh Valley. Although he is doing better in left than the Big Piece did, his hitting has been affected by the outfield learning process.
Meanwhile, Brown on Saturday produced 2 gems with the leather, and continued to earn a job as a regular. At this point he will flank Ben Revere on the left side of the diamond when Young returns. However, if Young’s defense in right is suspect, he and Brown could switch places. Brown’s statistics under the gun to do it now have caught the eyes of vets, coaches and broadcasters alike.
Lengthening the lineup in the 6 hole, Brown will shine, and be the only star from that green group still wearing red pinstripes.
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This is the 20th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (Emphasis on Reasoning) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Suds or Studs. The last one was Select One of Each.
I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the 2013 ERA for the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page.
Tal Venada (Author Archives)