Finest 50 Phillies Prospects, 2013: Part Five

Hoby Milner (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Pitching is the heart of any minor league organization and the Phillies are no different. Four of the five spots in this section of our look at the top 50 prospects in the Phillies organization are quality, young pitchers working their way up the ladder.

26. Shane Watson

Position: P  |  Throws: R  |  Age: 19  |  6' 4", 200 pounds

The Phillies grabbed Watson with the 40th overall pick in last summer's draft and were glad that he was still on the board when their turn came around. They drafted Watson knowing that he was going to need some work and wasn't going to be a guy who would fly through the organization with the greatest of ease. Watson's control can be good and bad and he needs a lot of help in developing comfortable and repeatable mechanics that will help him put his control issues behind him. He's got a good fastball that is generally in the low-90s, but he can occasionally pump it up to as high as 96. As he matures, he should develop more velocity and routinely be in the 94-95 mile per hour range. His breaking pitch is a curve that generally sits around 80 miles per hour and is slightly above average, but with the usual control problems. For Watson to truly be successful, he'll need to show development with a change-up, which he throws, but needs some work with. His first pro season didn't produce much thanks to some minor injuries and pitch limits. It's going to be fun waiting to see where the Phillies assign him in 2013, because they may be tempted to push him along to Lakewood, but he likely would be better served getting more work in extended camp and then hitting Williamsport.

Year Team W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
2012 GCL Phillies 0 1 1.29 5 3 7.0 5 3 1 0 1 8
1 Season 0 1 1.29 5 3 7.0 5 3 1 0 1 8
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/18/2013.

 

27. Brody Colvin

Position: P  |  Throws: R  |  Age: 22  |  6' 3", 195 pounds

A lot has been made of the Phillies "Baby Aces", of which Colvin is a member. Colvin didn't exactly look like an ace though as he struggled through a difficult 2012 season that saw him relegated to the Clearwater bullpen for something akin to a "time out". Colvin did return strong when he got back into the Threshers rotation, but then struggled again after being promoted to Double-A Reading. In the past, Colvin battled through some back issues that dropped his velocity, but there was no word of any injury this past season, so the struggles may have been more of a mental battle than anything else. Colvin's fastball is generally in the mid-90s when he's healthy, but he sometimes loses control of the pitch. He's got a plus curveball that has a sharp break and gives hitters a heavy pitch to hit and also throws a change-up that is average to slightly above. Figuring out where to put Colvin for 2013 is going to be interesting and it will also be interesting to see what form he returns to, because when he's on, he looks to be every bit of an ace. Colvin didn't pitch in any winter leagues, which was probably a smart move. Sometimes, not pitching is the best thing for a young prospect. The tools remain the same, it's just a matter of putting the pieces together and keeping them together.

Year Team W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
2009 GCL Phillies 0 0 0.00 1 0 2.0 0 1 0 0 1 2
2010 Lakewood 6 8 3.39 27 27 138.0 138 73 52 7 42 120
2011 Clearwater 3 8 4.71 22 21 116.2 131 67 61 10 42 78
2012 Clearwater 5 6 4.27 23 18 105.1 113 57 50 5 51 93
2012 Reading 1 4 11.02 7 7 32.2 43 44 40 6 23 16
2012 combined stats 6 10 5.87 30 25 138.0 156 101 90 11 74 109
4 Seasons 15 26 4.63 80 73 394.2 425 242 203 28 159 309
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/18/2013.

 

28. Aaron Altherr

Position: OF  |  Bats: R  |  Age: 22  |  6' 5", 190 pounds

It seems like it's taking Aaron Altherr forever to work his way through the Phillies minor league system. After spending two-plus seasons in short-season leagues, Altherr reached Lakewood in 2011 and played 41 games with the BlueClaws, before repeating the level again in 2012. The Phillies patience with Altherr is starting to pay off and there are signs that he's starting to develop into the type of player that they've been waiting to see. The book on Altherr has been that he's a guy with good speed, who is smart enough to steal a lot of bases and have a success rate higher than the average base stealer. So far, he's doing that, with  and 80% success rate on stolen bases in his minor league career. In 2012, Altherr started to show flashes of some power and he reached career-highs in doubles, triples, home runs and RBI. Defensively, he isn't necessarily a gold glover in center and may find himself at a corner outfield spot, especially if his power continues to develop. He'll start 2013 at Clearwater, unless the Phillies really decide he needs a challenge and they decide to skip him over the High-A level and send him directly to Double-A, but that could be a risky move, especially after being so patient with him so far.

YearTeamGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLG
2009GCL Phillies288410183011161815.214.283.286
2010GCL Phillies27115123561115103322.304.331.400
2010Williamsport289411277301023813.287.350.426
2010combined stats5520923621341251261135.297.339.411
2011Williamsport7126941701225312541352.260.302.375
2011Lakewood411472031601151201147.211.272.272
2011combined stats112416611011826463742499.243.291.339
2012Lakewood1104206510627685025838102.252.319.402
4 Seasons3051129159287611216132801981251.254.310.372
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/18/2013.

 

29. Austin Wright

Position: P  |  Throws: L  |  Age: 23  |  6' 4", 235 pounds

Right now, Austin Wright is a good pitcher; the Phillies believe he can be a great pitcher. The 2012 Florida State League Pitcher of the Year is actually getting by with just the basics and with control that eludes him from time-to-time. He's got the big, powerful frame that the Phillies love to see in a starting pitcher and his fastball is slightly above average and showing improvement. On a good day, the fastball reaches 94 or 95 and he gets late movement on the pitch. He's got a good, but not dominating curve and a change-up that is basically just something he throws when he's ahead in the count and wants to keep a hitter guessing. If that change develops into a third, strong pitch, then Wright has the potential to be as much as a number two starter in the majors. If not, he would still have good enough stuff to be a Kyle Kendrick-type pitcher, but the Phillies are hoping for a lot more. 

Year Team W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
2011 Williamsport 3 1 3.38 8 7 34.2 30 13 13 1 13 44
2011 Lakewood 1 2 2.67 7 7 33.2 29 12 10 2 9 41
2011 combined stats 4 3 3.03 15 14 68.1 59 25 23 3 22 85
2012 Clearwater 11 5 3.47 27 25 147.2 147 73 57 11 60 133
2 Seasons 15 8 3.33 42 39 216.0 206 98 80 14 82 218
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/18/2013.

 

30. Hoby Milner

Position: P  |  Throws: L  |  Age: 22  |  6' 2", 165 pounds

The Phillies grabbed Milner in the seventh round of the 2012 Draft and his first pro season was a pleasant surprise. Coming out of the University of Texas at Austin, Milner made a strong impression in a couple games at Williamsport and with a spot open on the Lakewood roster, the Phillies decided to challenge him quickly. He wound up making 12 starts for Lakewood, winning half of them and posting a 2.59 ERA with the BlueClaws. A member of the 2011 Collegiate National Team, Milner is a guy who needs all his pitches to work if he's going to have long-term success. His fastball usually doesn't go much north of 90 miles per hour and is generally right around 88, but to make it more effective, Milner has shown the ability to at least keep it down in the zone. His curve and change-up are both decent and both show big potential. He'll sometimes overthrow the curve and leave it up in the zone and the change-up isn't as consistent as he'll need it to be. The good news though is that he is showing improvement on all of his pitches, has the potential to gain another mile or two on his fastball and consistency will come as he starts to develop smoother mechanics. Milner is a classic example of a guy that doesn't throw the ball by anybody and he's smart enough to know that's not how he needs to pitch.

Year Team W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
2012 Williamsport 1 0 1.59 2 1 5.2 2 1 1 0 2 7
2012 Lakewood 6 3 2.59 12 12 62.2 52 21 18 6 22 47
1 Season 7 3 2.50 14 13 68.1 54 22 19 6 24 54
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/18/2013.


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