What To Watch For In Clearwater- The Outfield

314254_577366865731_72001743_32341182_5405481_n

Well, having completed the infield, it's time to take a look at the Phillies Outfielding situation. At short and third they lack upper level depth, and at first and second they lack a clear direction for the future. In the outfield? There's talent, and questions.

 

MAJOR LEAGUES-

Starters-

Shane Victorino

 

  • Age 31. He has a little over six seasons service time. He has played in eight seasons.
  • Shane is in the final year of his contract, and will hit free agency for 2013. He will make $9.5 million this season.
  • 2011 Stats- .279/.355/.491, .847 OPS, 17 HR, 61 RBI's; 2010 Stats- .259/.327/.429, .756 OPS, 18 HR, 69 RBI's.
  • Career Stats- .279/.344/.438, .783 OPS, 79 HR, 354 RBI's.
  • Two-time All-Star, including 2011. Three-time Gold Glove winner.

Hunter Pence

  • Age 28. He has just over four years service time. He has played in five seasons.
  • Pence is in year two of arbitration, and will make $10.4 million. He has another arbitration season in 2013, and free agency for 2014.
  • 2011 Stats- .314/.370/.502, .871 OPS, 22 HR, 97 RBI's; 2010 Stats- .282/.325/.461, .786 OPS, 25 HR, 91 RBI's.
  • Career Stats- .292/.343/.485, .828 OPS, 114 HR, 412 RBI's.
  • Two-time All-Star.

John Mayberry Jr.

  • Age 28. He has just over one season of service time, but has played in three seasons.
  • Mayberry is under club-control for 2012 and 2013, hitting arbitration for the first time in 2014. 
  • 2011 Stats- .273/.341/.513, .854 OPS, 15 HR, 49 RBI's.
  • Career Stats- .265/.328/.518, .846 OPS, 21 HR, 63 RBI's.
  • Mayberry homered in over 5% of plate appearances in 2011, in limited duty.

Bench-

Laynce Nix

  • Age 31. He has just over six seasons of service time, in over nine seasons.
  • Nix signed his first free-agent deal with the Phillies for two years and $2.5 million. He will be a free agent for 2014.
  • 2011 Stats- .250/.299/.451, .750 OPS, 16 HR, 44 RBI's; 2010 Stats- .291/.350/.455, .805 OPS, 4 HR, 18 RBI's.
  • Career Stats- .244/.288/.430, .719 OPS, 64 HR, 226 RBI's.
  • Nix topped his previous career high (15 in 2009) in HR's in 2011.

Juan Pierre

  • Age 34. Over 11 years service time and 12 seasons played in.
  • Pierre signed a minor league deal with an invite to spring training this winter.
  • 2011 Stats- .279/.329/.327, .657 OPS, 2 HR, 50 RBI's; 2010 Stats- .275/.341/.316, .657 OPS, 1 HR, 47 RBI's.
  • Career Stats- .296/.345/.363, .708 OPS, 16 HR, 484 RBI's.
  • Pierre lead MLB with 68 steals in 2010, and has 554 in his career.

First thing's first- the first two will certainly start, the next two will certainly make the team, and everything else is a guess. The guys I list in the upper levels of the minors could be on this team, and maybe even play. Looking into the future, Victorino will likely seek a multi-year deal beyond 2012, with a raise on his 2011 salary, making this potentially his final year here. Pence will do the same dance the year after. Mayberry is somewhat of a question mark as a possible starter, meaning the future is wide open here. The minor leagues may have the answers to the future.

 

So let's take a look at what's there. 

 

UPPER LEVELS (AA and AAA)

 

Domonic Brown

Left Field- Lehigh Valley

  • The 24 year old has been a top five prospect in all of baseball the past couple of years, and played for the Phillies the past two years. 
  • He converted from right to left last year after the Pence deal. 
  • Brown put up improved OBP (.333 to .257) from 2011 over 2010, as well as improved average numbers (from .210 to .245). His OPS also went up for the Phils.
  • He was a Florida State League All-Star, played in the Futures Game while at Reading, and a player of the year for the system.

Scott Podsednik

Left Field- Lehigh Valley

  • The 36 year old speedster was picked up last year after being released from the Blue Jays organization, but missed lots of time with a foot injury.
  • He stole 70 bases in 2004, and 59 in 2005.
  • He hit .297 in 2010.
  • He won a World Series ring in 2005, when he was also an All-Star in Chicago. He was the MLB.com Rookie of the Year in 2003.

LOWER LEVELS (A Ball)

 

Jiwan James

Center Field- Clearwater

  • The converted outfielder is a "tools" guy. He is generally considered a top ten prospect in the organization.
  • He will be 23 in April. 
  • The Phillies did not protect him on the 40 man roster, but he still made it back through, barely.
  • He hit .268/.327/.363, with a .690 OPS in 2011.

Leandro Castro

Outfield- Clearwater

  • He will turn 23 in June.
  • He hit a solid .277/.304/.481, with a .785 OPS for Clearwater.
  • He hit 10 homers in 2011.
  • He hit .316 for Williamsport in 2009.

Anthony Hewitt

Right Field- Lakewood

  • Former first round pick that converted to outfield.
  • He hit 14 homers in 2011.
  • He hit a career high .240 in 2011.

Kelly Dugan

Outfield-Williamsport

  • A former first pick of the Phillies, Dugan hit .284 in Williamsport.
  • He turns 22 in September.
  • He was an All-Star in 2011.

Kyrell Hudson

Outfield-Williamsport

  • He was a 2009 third round (second pick) of the Phillies.
  • Hudson broke out with a .275 in 2011, a career best (up from .173).
  • Hudson was an All-Star in 2011.
  • He turns 22 in December.

Aaron Altherr

Center Field- Williamsport and Lakewood

  • Ranked the 10th best prospect by Baseball America.
  • He hit .260 for Williamsport, but only .211 for Lakewood.
  • He hit .297 in 2010 between Williamsport and the Gulf Coast League.
  • He just turned 21 in January.

Larry Greene

Outfield- First Camp

  • The Phillies first pick (sandwich round) in the 2011 draft. 
  • Rated by some as the best power hitting high schooler in the draft.

Tyson Gillies

Outfield- Missed 2011

  • Turns 24 on Halloween.
  • Obtained for Cliff Lee after 2009 season.
  • In 2009, his last fully healthy season, he hit .341.

The Phillies lack the "sure things" you would hope to have- the closest thing being Dom Brown, who has holes in his game coming into camp. He and Podsednik should be viewed through a separate view than the rest of these guys, as they are coming to camp to win big league jobs. There is a ton of talent in the lower levels here, but all of it has some red flags. James and Castro will likely go to Reading, and hopefully will show a "jump" from their .270 range of hitting, and turn into guys that might play later for the Phils. Gillies is kind of a mystery, as he could start in Clearwater, Reading, or even Allentown, being that he's on the 40 man roster. I suspect that Greene will play in Williamsport this summer, and move from there, as well as play some GCL ball. Altherr is likely to start in Lakewood, where we should hope to see him break out. Hewitt is hanging on as a "prospect" at this point, and that's to say he's even going to be around by season's end. He just hasn't "got it" yet. 

 

The Phillies have to hope that Brown begins to live up to the hype this year, either in Philadelphia or Allentown, and becomes a starter going forward for this team. They need him to. They could have at least two openings going forward, maybe three in the outfield, and all of the lower level talents will have a chance to advance and become a part of that discussion too. It's in the Phillies best interest for these guys to do so, and make the team cheaper.