Former Phillies Prospects: Where Are They Now (Part Three – 2010)

Posted: March 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

ImageIn 2010, the Phillies were believed to be approaching their peak. The two-time defending National League champions won 97 games, their most since 1993. The pitching staff, once reliant on the likes of Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers, began to take shape behind the three-headed-monster of Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt. Now, let me take you back a few years and see how the numerous prospects that Philadelphia surrendered are currently spending their springs:

– December 16th, 2009: Phillies trade C Travis D’Arnaud, RHP Kyle Drabek, and OF Michael Taylor to the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Roy Halladay

ImagePhiladelphia will never forget the contributions that Roy Halladay has made to this team. From his 2010 Cy Young campaign, to his perfect game in Miami and his no-hitter at the Bank in October; the City of Brotherly Love will always hold a ton of love for “Doc.” Even with his recent injuries, this trade must be considered a rousing success. Since becoming a Phillie, Halladay is 51-24, 2.91 in 90 starts with a ridiculous 17 CG. Meanwhile, Roy’s 6-1 strikeout to walk ratio is herculean.

On the flip side, the Phillies surrendered three of their top five prospects at the time to acquire the ace right-hander. But, those prospects have not proven to be very fruitful for Toronto over the last three seasons. Kyle Drabek, considered at the time to be the diamond of the lot, is now 25-years old and holds an 8-15, 5.34 record. The 2006 first round pick and son of former NL Cy Young Doug Drabek had already undergone Tommy John surgery whilst in the Phillies’ system. Since the deal, Drabek’s command has deeply nosedived. In 2011 with AAA-Las Vegas, the right-hander went 5-4, 7.44 with 41 BB and 45 K. Since opening day that season in the majors, Drabek is a dismal 8-12, 5.40 with 102 BB and 98 K. No wonder the kid went under the knife again last summer for his second Tommy John surgery. The injury is expected to keep Drabek out of the majors for the entire 2013 season.

D’Arnaud, meanwhile, is a different story. Now 24, the sweet swinging backstop was viewed as expendable at the time due to the team’s commitment to Carlos Ruiz. Since then, D’Arnaud’s stock has soared through the roof, from the #81 prospect in baseball at the time to the #23 prospect heading into this season. Last year, D’Arnaud raked .333-16-52 in 67 games in AAA-Las Vegas. He was the centerpiece of this offseason’s trade between New York and Toronto that sent 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey north-of-the-border. This might end up being the most debilitating loss, as D’Arnaud could be an All-Star catcher for the Mets for the next decade.

Finally, we have Michael Taylor. A Stanford grad, Taylor burst onto the scene in 2008, his first full season in the minors. That year, the now 27-year old hit .346-19-88 between Lakewood and Clearwater (two single-A teams). The following season, Taylor further improved his stock by cracking 20 HR with a .320 average between Reading and Lehigh Valley. Many fans were hesitant to let the power-hitting outfielder go in any deal, even one for an ace like Halladay. In hindsight, fans should not have worried about letting Taylor leave. On the same day that Toronto acquired Taylor, they shipped the outfielder to Oakland for DH/1B Brett Wallace, another top prospect at the time. Wallace was then shipped to Houston a year later for former Phillies prospect Anthony Gose, who we will get to later. In three full minor league seasons since (AAA-Sacramento), Taylor has never hit more than .287 or 16 homers. He has gotten a couple of cups of coffee with the A’s in 2011 and 2012. But, his line, .176-1-1, does not inspire much confidence. With the current logjam of outfielders in Oakland, I doubt Taylor will see a lot of opportunities in 2013 if he stays with the A’s.

– December 19th, 2009: Phillies trade LHP Cliff Lee to Seattle Mariners for RHP Phillippe Aumont, OF Tyson Gillies, and RHP J.C. Ramirez

ImageThe infamous Cliff Lee deal was shocking at the time. Fans had just learned that Ruben Amaro had acquired Halladay, only to find out minutes later that their dream of corralling three aces would have to wait a year. Lee, in his one season with the Mariners/Rangers, was phenomenal, leading Texas to the World Series after he was acquired from Seattle in a midseason deal.

Unfortunately, the haul that the Phillies got has never quite panned out. As we are learning, prospects are prospects for a reason. Phillippe Aumont is the most successful of the bunch at the moment merely because he has actually played a big-league game. The 24-year old Canadian right-hander was jerked from the rotation to the bullpen over the years, finally finding his niche as the closer for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2011. Last year, Aumont made his MLB debut, recording 2 saves and a 3.68 ERA in 18 G with the Phillies. He is expected to start the season in Charlie Manuel’s bullpen.

Ramirez, 24, remains in the Phillies’ system, pitching most of last season for Lehigh Valley (3-2, 4.28 in 40.0 IP). The righthander was recently removed from the Phillies’ 40-man roster, even though he still has the support of some in the organization. Ramirez will need to prove his worth at AAA if he hopes to get that elusive first MLB callup after struggling to a 10.13 ERA in 2.2 IP this spring.

Gillies is a special case. An uber-talented left-handed hitting speedster, Gillies is another Canadian with boatloads of potential. The former amateur hockey player enjoyed his finest season to date in 2009 with High Desert (Seattle’s A+ affiliate), hitting .341-9-42 with 44 stolen bases. Unfortunately, health has been the problem. Since coming to Philadelphia’s system, Gillies has played just 106 games over three seasons. His numbers are still good (.286-6-30 at AA). But, Gillies will need to stay upright for an entire season before the 24-year old can be considered for an MLB spot.

Unfortunately, the Phillies have not gotten much of a return from their sale of Cliff Lee. Thankfully, they managed to land the southpaw the following offseason in free agency.

– July 29th, 2010: Phillies trade LHP J.A. Happ, OF Anthony Gose, and SS Jonathan Villar to the Houston Astros for RHP Roy Oswalt

ImageAt the time, excitement was building behind a Phillies team that appeared on their way to their third consecutive Fall Classic appearance. Of course, that did not happen, which makes trades like this even more excruciating in hindsight.

Oswalt made quite a first impression in Philadelphia, going 7-1, 1.74 down the stretch as the Phillies won another N.L. East title. The then 32-year old was also stellar in the postseason, going 1-1, 1.84 in the team’s six-game series defeat at the hands of San Francisco. However, the wheels fell off from there. 2011 was not a great year, as the veteran finished 9-10, 3.69 before struggling in his lone postseason start in St. Louis. Oswalt was let go last season, when he eventually signed with Texas and labored through 17 games, finishing 4-3, 5.80 in the Lone Star State.

The players the Phillies gave up have been rather hit-or-miss. Happ, now 30, was coming off a 12-4, 2.93 rookie campaign in 2009. His hype was still high, so Houston took a shot on the left-hander. The move looked pretty good the rest of the year, as Happ finished 2010 6-4, 3.40. Unfortunately for the Astros, things went downhill from there. As the franchise itself labored through back-to-back 100+ loss seasons, Happ finished his career in Houston 18-28, 4.84 in 46 starts. He was traded as part of last summer’s megadeal that sent Ben Francisco and Francisco Cordero to Houston with Happ and prospects sent to Toronto.

Another player who eventually became a Blue Jay, Anthony Gose is a speedy outfielder who undoubtedly has the talent. But, has yet to prove that he can hit MLB pitching. In fact, prior to 2012, the 22-year old had never hit higher than .263 at any level in the minors. Gose put it together for Las Vegas last year, finishing .286-5-43 in 102 games at the AAA level, earning himself a promotion to Toronto. The centerfielder did not make much of an impact at the dish in 166 at-bats, raking just .223-1-11. But, he did contribute 15 steals and 11 extra-base-hits. Houston has a bit of a logjam in their lineup with their offseason spending spree. So, we will see whether or not Gose gets a chance to shine in 2013 with Toronto.

Villar remains the only piece of this deal still with the team that acquired them. Just 19 at the time of the trade, Villar has spent much of the last two seasons in AA-Corpus Christi hitting to the tune of .246-21-76 in 169 games. That sudden rush of raw-power was unseen before this deal, as Villar had never hit more than 1 homer before 2010. Now, the shortstop has hit double-digits in bombs each of the past two years and looks like he might be putting together an impressive resume. Houston could use the help.

 

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