A look down on the farm

BY SPENCER REITER, Contributor

For the last few years, discussion has centered around wonderful prospects like Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown, and of course rookie J.A. Happ. These players were regarded highly throughout the summer months, with talks regarding trades, including these players were brought up, and denied by Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr.

Big names like Roy Halladay were brought to the table in July, but turned away by Amaro, who hopes his young talent will provide him with a future filled with success. After the season, the high quality prospects were considered yet again for a trade with the Blue Jays for Halladay. The Phillies again, reportedly walked away from the table. But why?

Does Amaro know what he’s doing, turning down big-name players so he can keep his future aligned? Let’s take a closer look.

Kyle Drabek- Drabek was the 18th overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Phillies. He is a right-handed pitcher right out of The Woodlands High School. In 2007, he had Tommy John Surgery, a common surgery in pitchers, that is often recovered from, where the elbow is reconstructed. In 2009, Drabek was promoted to the AA Reading Phillies. Also this year he received the Paul Owens Award, an award presented to the top pitcher and position player in the Phillis minor organization.

Drabek is an effective right-handed pitcher, which is lacking in the Phillies pitching rotation. He also has a fantastic curveball with can be used in a situation. Mat Latos from the San Diego Padres organization said after seeing him pitch in 2005,”I’ve seen a lot of curveballs and some nasty sliders, but not a curveball like that. All I could think was, ‘I’m glad I’m not a hitter'”. Along with this nasty curve ball, Drabek has a nice fastball ranging from 88 to 93 mph, which compliments his curveball well. Drabek could be the future of the Phillies, he certainly has the potential.  So far, in his minor league appearances, he has shown that he can live up to the hype. I would not be surprised if we saw Drabek make his MLB debut in the middle of the 2010 season.

Domonic Brown- Brown is a talented outfielder straight out of Redan High School in Georgia. Brown was the picked in the 20th round in the 2006 draft. This past year Brown was also promoted to the Double-A Reading Phillies. Here he batted .279 and had a spectacular .801 OBP after 37 games. Brown has showed his versatility in the field, playing left, right, and center field so far in his career as a Phillie.

Brown is a blazing left handed hitter who can catch up to almost any ball. He also had the choice to go play football for the Miami Hurricanes, but instead he took the offer from the Phillies. He is a quick fielder, and also a guy you can always count on to get on base. Brown however, is not the type of player to hit home runs, unlike the Phillies we know and love today. He does, however, make up for it with his ability to get on base, and get into scoring position once he gets on. He is a smart base runner as well, and makes sure he does not get caught stealing. In 2006, out of 16 attempts, he stole an impressive 13 bases.

The place where Brown could really help out the Phils is his defense. Brown could be a potentially great player with more work, especially on hitting, and he could be a future star of this club with time.

J.A Happ- J.A Happ, or better known in Philly as Jay Happ is a young pitcher with tons of potential which was of course showed throughout the 2009 season. He was one of the Phillies most consistent pitchers, with the exception of a couple rocky starts towards the end of the season. Happ went 13-5 this past year with a 3.16 ERA.

Happ also saw time in the 2008 season, being called up to replace the struggling Brett Myers, and did pretty well in his 2 starts with the Philles, and was later called up again in the season and was part of the postseason roster.

This year not only could the fans in Philly see what Happ was able to do, but also baseball fans everywhere when Happ came in 2nd this year for the Rookie of the Year Award. Happ is a great pitcher, and I look forward to seeing him improve as a pitcher, and being dominant in the upcoming 2010 season.

These players are the future of the Phillies. As you can see, the organization finds them valuable, keeping them instead of acquiring Halladay or other big name, short-term helpers. However many fans would not mind risking these players for a possible great four years, which makes sense. Some argue against that by saying, if we were to get rid of our top prospects, how are we going to build our future?

The potential is there for the future, but the wonder years for this franchise are flying by. The window to win is closing. So we are left with the question, are these promising young players worth the wait?

Send e-mail to sreiter@highhopesblog.com

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2 Comments

Filed under Editorial, Spencer Reiter

2 responses to “A look down on the farm

  1. I don’t quite understand why JA Happ is included in a “look down on the farm” article.

  2. Jay Balzzzz!! That’s on me. I changed the title from Spencer’s original one. Those damn editors.

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