Top 50 Prospects: 41-50

<I>PhillyBaseballNews.com</I> is proud to bring you our mid-season update of the <I>Top 50 Prospects</I> in the Phillies organization. Keep in mind that it's difficult to judge players who were just drafted this past June, but we've done our best. We have not included any players who have not yet signed with the Phillies, such as fourth round pick Michael Bourn. We have included second baseman Tim Moss, who just signed after being selected in the third round of this year's draft.

41. Layne Dawson, P - Dawson is truly developing into a solid pitching prospect, who simply needs a little more seasoning. Since being promoted to AA, Dawson has struggled somewhat in the early going (he's only started four games). Don't let that fool you. Dawson will turn things around once he makes the AA adjustment, which is generally thought to be the toughest rung on the minor league ladder.

42. Ezequiel Astacio, P - At 23, Astacio is truly just coming into his own and should start to move a little quicker through the ranks. With 11 wins, Astacio leads the Clearwater Phillies and is among Florida State Leaders in wins as well. Look for a late season move to Reading and for a 2004 start at AA Reading.

43. Frank Brooks, P - Left-handers are always in demand and Brooks is certainly an asset to the Phillies organization. Brooks saved a total of nine games between Clearwater and Reading last season and already has saved seven at Reading in 2003. A trip to Scranton may be in the late season future for Brooks and certainly, he should be ticketed for AAA in 2004.

44. Geoff Geary, P - Geary's never-say-die attitude is perfect for a reliever. The Phillies figure to have Geary at the top of their list for the next time they need a reliever at the major league level. The righty turns 27 in August and by most accounts is ready for his major league debut.

45. Ryan Hutchison, P - The Phillies aren't taking their time moving Hutchison along. He started the season at Clearwater, but was clearly ready for AA and the Phillies sent him along to Reading early in the season. The transition has been a breeze and Hutchison figures to keep moving along faster than most 17th round picks usually do.

46. Javon Moran, OF - The Phillies took Moran with their fifth round pick in the 2003 Draft and got him signed pretty quickly. Moran started his pro career at Batavia and is burning up the basepaths with eight stolen bases in his first eleven games. He's also hitting .333 in the early going.

47. Bud Smith, P - The Phillies were more than happy to have gotten Bud Smith back from surgery this season. Unfortunately, his surgically repaired arm is nowhere near 100% and Smith's future is in doubt. He's hanging on as a prospect only because he's got such good stuff, but the future isn't looking bright for Smith.

48. Carlos Ruiz, C - The Phillies organization is lacking in catching. Ruiz is the best of the bunch, but isn't figured on to be a top notch major league talent. He's solid and works hard, which will get him somewhere, but it probably won't be enough to make him a real good major league prospect.

49. Trent Pratt, C - Another young catcher who came to the Phillies in the 2002 Draft and is developing well. Pratt is learning quickly about how to handle pitchers and they love having him behind the plate because he's near flawless defensively. He's hitting .242 at Clearwater and isn't figured to be a great offensive threat, but he's coming along and has the defense to help him move up.

50. Eude Brito, P - He may be the last guy on our list, but don't call Eude Brito "Mr. Irrelevant". Brito has a strong arm and is getting better and better. The Phillies would love to move him along to Reading before the end of the season to help him get used to AA hitters. Brito does have a track record of needing time to adjust to a new level and AA will be a test for him.


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