Position Prospects: Outfielders

The Phillies are pretty well set with young players on their major league roster, so the guys in the minors have a daunting task ahead of them. In the outfield, Pat Burrell, Marlon Byrd and Bobby Abreu should be in Phillies uniforms for a long time to come. What about the guys in the minors? Well, for some of them, there is a future as a utility outfielder and for others with a little more talent, making their mark in the majors may come through a trade elsewhere.

The major league outfield has Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu signed to long-term deals and rookie Marlon Byrd in center field, years away from free agency. The Phillies are lucky to have the outfield situation that they do, since their top prospects are definitely not outfielders.

At one time, Eric Valent was one of the top prospects in the organization. He and Pat Burrell were supposed to be forces to be reckoned with in years to come. In the few chances that he's gotten at the major league level, Valent has struggled and his AAA season has been a major struggle this year. Hitting just .229, Valent has had a roller coaster season. Just when it looks like he's rebounding, another slump hits. Josue Perez is another letdown. When major league baseball ruled that the Dodgers had signed Perez illegally and declared him a free agent, the Phillies went after him quickly. Since they signed him, he has never come close to being the player that they figured he would be. Perez is at Scranton only because of the season ending injury to McKay Christenson and may find less playing time with the signing of Lyle Mouton. Scranton also has used Juan Sosa in the outfield, since his path at shortstop seems to be blocked.

Overall, Jorge Padilla hasn't put up the numbers the Phillies had hoped for at Reading this season. Still, considering the slow start that Padilla was off to and some nagging injuries, his .295 average isn't too shabby. Padilla is also just 23 – he turns 24 in August – so he's young enough to still be a great prospect. Padilla, Jeff Inglin and Jay Sitzman have formed a pretty solid outfield for Reading, with Buzz Hannahan and Garry Maddox also seeing time. Maddox has had a great season and is moving up the list of outfield prospects in the Phillies organization.

The Clearwater outfield has been pretty solid this season too. Mamon Tucker has been consistently strong, hitting .303. Vince Vukovich proved that he was drafted for more than the fact that his dad is the major league third base coach and Juan Camilo is coming along as well.

At Lakewood, the outfield resembles the rest of the team. Not much offense. Mark McRoberts has 10 homeruns, but that's tempered by the fact that he's only hitting .197 on the season.

The Phillies stocked up on outfielders in this year's draft. Their fourth round pick, Michael Bourn has yet to sign, but fifth rounder Javon Moran signed and was assigned to Batavia. It didn't take Bourn long to adjust, starting his professional career by going 4-for-4 with the Muck Dogs. Justin Foust, Jake Blalock and Jack Headley are also at Batavia and are all strong prospects. The parade of young outfielders continues in the Gulf Coast League. Alexander Durand, Jason Crosland and Jesse Torborg are the standouts for the Phillies Gulf Coast League team.

PhillyBaseballNews.com Top 25 Outfield Prospects

  1. Jorge Padilla
  2. Juan Sosa
  3. Javon Moran
  4. Justin Foust
  5. Jake Blalock
  6. Jason Crosland
  7. Jeff Inglin
  8. Eric Valent
  9. Mark McRoberts
  10. Jay Sitzman
  11. Jesse Torborg
  12. Garry Maddox Jr.
  13. Jack Headley
  14. Mamon Tucker
  15. Juan Camilo
  16. Buzz Hannahan
  17. Vince Vukovich
  18. Karl Nonemaker
  19. Rod Perry
  20. Josue Perez
  21. Sean Walsh
  22. Chris Roberson
  23. Alex Borgo
  24. Alexander Durand
  25. Andre Marshall

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