One of the few bright spots in a gloomy2015 season for the Phillies is that the club has finally dealt most of its aging holdovers from its glorious five-season run for a bunch of prospects.
Yes, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are still part of the team and odds are they will be around in 2016 since there is virtually no market for either player.
But the Phillies did pick up 14 prospects via trades over the last ten months. The view from outside the organization is that Ruben Amaro and Pat Gillick did well for the beleaguered franchise, which desperately needs an infusion of young talent.
“They did better than I thought they would do with (Cole) Hamels,” a NL scout said. “I was surprised with how well they did with (Chase) Utley. I like (Darnell) Sweeney. That’s not a bad pick up for a short-term rental. There is finally reason to look at the Phillies minor league system and believe that there is hope for the future.”
There was little hope as recently as two-years ago. The Phillies farm system was bereft of prospects due to trades and poor drafts. But the tide has finally turned and kids such as Sweeney are getting a chance.
“I love Sweeney’s pop and athleticism,” Pete Mackanin said. “It’s fun getting a look at these kids.”
The youngsters are playing a lot and the losses are piling up but that’s how it was for the Houston Astros three-seasons ago. The Astros traded every veteran player and started a youth movement and at this late point in the season, Houston leads the veteran Rangers and the star-laden Angels in the heated AL West race, thanks to their young players.
“You can turn things around but you have to select the right kids in these deals and I think the Phillies have,” a NL scout said.
If the Rangers top prospect Jorge Alfaro pans out as astarting major league catcher in two seasons and outfielder Nick Williams, who is returning to the Reading lineupafter recoveringfrom concussion symptoms, becomes an everyday outfielder, then that’s an impressive haul. And then there’s young pitchers Jake Thompson, Jerad Eickhoff and Alec Asher, who were also part of theHamels deal. Each has potential.
The Phillies youth revolution pre-dates the trades they’ve made. When the Phillies selected Odubel Herrera as a rule 5 in November, that was the beginning of the changing of the guard.
“I’m just so glad I’ve gotten the chance to play for Philly,” Herrera said.
Herrera, who is flirting with finishing the season with a .300 average,has impressed in so many ways, by working the pitcher, hitting within himself and learning to play a decent center field.
“It all goes back to Herrera and making the right selection of talent,” a NL scout said. “Herrera is a true talent.Do some of the others the Phillies traded for possess that kind of talent? it’s possible. It’s going to be interesting.”