Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Biddle is number one but Sickels says Ruf is the real deal. Photo by: Ian Riccaboni Minor League Ball released their list of the Top 20 Phillies’ Prospects. For those unfamiliar with Minor League Ball, it is run by John Sickels, who was Bill James‘ research assistant from 1993 to 1996 and was ESPN’s Minor League Baseball Analyst from 1996-2005. Sickels was among the first national pundits to give Darin Ruf the seal of approval as a Major League-quality hitter (on August 16, 2012) and has a pretty strong familiarity with the Phillies organization. His list of Phillies’ prospects differs a bit from the Baseball America Top 10, with Sickels seemingly favoring potential slightly more than Minor League body of work. Sickels list is interesting for not who is on it but for whom is omitted. In Sickels’ opinion, the Phillies have a very deep body of players who will become Major League regulars in their ranks, with Biddle the only true standout. Considering that, some of the omissions are quite surprising, as quite a few players who were once thought to have high ceilings seem to have come back to earth. Luckily for the Phillies, Sickels likes a lot of the players acquired at this year’s trade deadline. Biddle Takes the Top Spot, Quinn Third Germantown Friends’ Jesse Biddle was Sickels’ number one, just as he was in Baseball America’s list. Sickels’ lists Biddle as a B+ prospect, which on his scale, means you can essentially pen him in to see Major League work and expect to see something more than a regular out of him. Sickels’ says of Biddle: “Good bet to be a mid-rotation starter, if not more.” Baseball America’s choice for number two, shortstop Roman Quinn, debuts on Sickels’ list at number three, stating “Blazing speed and knows how to use it well, needs more defensive polish and a better grasp of the strike zone to be a full-scale leadoff hitter, but the 80-speed covers a lot of problems and ensures the Phils will give him plenty of time.” Ruf Gets More Strong Praise Ruf opened up many eyes last year and the late bloomer tag seems to be taking hold. Ruf’s consistence high performance since being drafted in the 20th round in 2009 has Sickels placing him at seventh, two higher than Baseball America. Sickels starts out his review of Ruf with “I believe in the bat. Defense and age 26 keep him from elite prospect status, doesn’t have further projection, but that’s OK since he’s already good.” Sickels was sold on Ruf heading into 2013 as a 10-15 HR role player before his late 2012 and Winter Ball outbursts. Sickels says of Ruf: “I thought he was more of a .260, 10-15-homer role player bat, but I can see him as a .280, 20-25 homer guy now. “The Phillies Have Really, Really Deep Pitching Ranks In addition to Biddle, the Phillies have five pitchers who rank at a B- or higher. One of the biggest contrasts of Sickels list compared to Baseball America’s is the positioning of left-handed pitcher Adam Morgan. Sickels ranked Morgan at number 2, stating “This guy deserves more attention. Stuff kicked up a notch from college, into the low-90s, and he already knew how to throw strikes and locate his secondary pitches. Can also be a mid-rotation starter.” Sickels ranked RHP Jonathan Pettibone at number five, putting his ceiling at “durable inning-eating number four starter to me.” Sickels has LHP Ethan Martin at eight, “Upper-rotation stuff, but if command remains shaky he’s more of a number four, or a reliever. Still high upside,” and 2012 supplemental picks RHPs Shane Watson and Mitch Gueller as B-s as well. Sickels states that both Watson and Gueller have #2-3 starter potential, stating Watson has a more refined approach while Gueller is more athletic. Two Third Basemen in Top Ten, Two Catchers in Top 20 Cody Asche and Mikael Franco ranked sixth and ninth respectively, with Sickels liking Asche’s defense and “sweet swing” and stating Franco is “making progress”. Sickels believes catcher Tommy Joseph can be an everyday regular but does with good defense but is not sold on his power while Sebastian Valle is a C+ prospect who Sickels believes needs a full year at Triple-A. Valle is struggling in the Mexican Winter League with a .193 average in 30 games. Two Relievers on 40-Man on List Phillippe Aumont and Justin De Fratus appear on the list at 13 and 17 respectively, with Sickels believing that Aumont will get a full run in the Phils’ ‘pen this year despite control issues and that De Fratus may see time this year or next with the club. Joining Aumont and De Fratus from the bullpen side includes righty Kenny Giles, who can hit 100 MPH, at 14, and Kevin Brady, swing man out of Clemson at 16, who Sickels sees a breakthrough candidate. Lefties Austin Wright, 15, and Hoby Milner, 20, are two pitchers who Sickels sees as quick risers should they move to the bullpen. Notable Omissions 2011′s number one pick, outfielder Larry Greene, was given a C+ grade but left off of the Top 20. The same applies for toolsy outfielder Carlos Tocci, RHP Julio Rodriguez, and RHP Seth Rosin. Complete omissions include RHP Brody Colvin and OFs Tyson Gillies, Aaron Altherr, Leandro Castro, and Jiwan James, who Sickels believes is a “lost cause”.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Team USA improves before meltdown in Swiss draw

USC AD skips meeting in Indiana: ‘I am the proud father of a gay son’

David Ortiz clarifies part of essay in The Players' Tribune

Hernandez reportedly 'swore' he wasn't involved in murder

Associated Press examining its use of the Redskins name

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Urban Meyer discusses notion of running 2-QB system

Report: Tiger Woods to practice at Augusta

Did Jerry Jones want enough cap room to add Peterson?

Phil Jackson issues message of hope to season ticket holders

Report: Heart attack prompted Armstead's retirement from Pats

MLBPA reacts to Kris Bryant's minor league assignment

WATCH: J.J. Watt sings about stadium food on 'New Girl'

Kings ready to shut down DeMarcus Cousins

Jameis Winston may skip NFL draft to be with grandmother

Phillies to sell hard liquor, wine at Citizens Bank Park

Jason Dufner, wife Amanda getting a divorce

Top 10 players in baseball

Top 20 players in the Final Four

Russell Wilson should sit until new deal is done

WATCH: Shaq rips Lakers, Clippers during Bieber roast

Can we envision the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA Finals?

Bettor to win $1M if Michigan State wins national title

Five NFL coaches already on the hot seat

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 20 players in the Final Four

Top 10 players in baseball

Report: Tiger's plane spotted in Augusta

Moss shares story on meeting Deion

Five coaches already on the hot seat

Can we envision the Hawks in the Finals?

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Rick Barnes to land at Tennessee?

Browns GM suspended for texts

Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.