Ten Prospects On The Non-Prospect Bubble

It's not hard for a top prospect to fall quickly. A bad season or two, a key injury here or there and suddenly, even the best prospects are looked upon with a suspicious eye. You'll find them in every organization. Some are formerly hot prospects who are falling from grace. Others find themselves in a fairly solid position, but face a key season or the possibility of falling. Still others are trying to make themselves into prospects and need a big season to cement their ranking.

Terry Jones The Phillies have always thought that Terry Jones had a lot of talent. Problem is that he has never been able to come up to the expectations that he and others had for him. One thing is certain; Terry Jones turned a miserable April around last year and had a pretty good season. If the season started with May, Jones wouldn't be on this list. His 11-66-.240 numbers at Lakewood were good, but he can do much better. Jones needs to produce from day one and show the potential that we've all heard about.

Anderson Machado Perhaps the poster boy for this list is Andy Machado. The Phillies believed that they would eventually be facing the dilemna of whether Jimmy Rollins or Andy Machado should be their shortstop. Now, the Phillies don't have Machado as more than a blip on their radar of the future. A horrible season in 2003 was compounded by injuries and minor attitude issues. Still, the Phillies brought him to the majors in September to give them some speed. Machado came to camp healthy and ready to produce. Then, he wound up in the hospital with an emergency appendectomy. If Machado is going to have a future with the Phillies, he has to put it all behind and show himself worthy in 2004.

Dan Giese It's not really that Giese hasn't pitched well. He just isn't getting opportunities. There are too many arms ahead of him and the Phillies haven't shown that they really value Giese as much more than a good arm for their AAA bullpen. While he should have gotten more of a look this spring, Giese will be back at Scranton. This is a case of a guy who is basically pitching for himself so that maybe another organization will value what he can do.

Rob Tejeda With injuries behind him, Rob Tejeda appears ready to push his prospect ranking. After getting his professional career off to a slow start, Tejeda's career seemingly took off before injuries derailed him. He returned in 2003 and pitched pretty well, but last season was more of a get reacquainted opportunity for Tejeda. This is the season where the job needs to get done and we see whether the injuries were a minor setback or a major blow to Tejeda's future.

Geoff Geary Here's another guy who has pitched well in the minors, but just isn't getting a chance with the big league club. Geary got a call last September and pitched six innings at the major league level, with a 4.50 ERA for the Phillies. This spring, he got a quick look at the beginning of camp, but quickly fell by the wayside. Much like Giese, Geary might find himself getting more looks in a different organization because there are just too many arms ahead of his in the Phillies scheme of things.

Carlos Rodriguez Last season's struggles for C-Rod set him well back on the Phillies list of prospects. Injuries and bad seasons can be overcome quicker than the attitude displays that Rodriguez showed regularly last season. The Phillies literally sent him home last season to cool his heels and they hope that his approach will be much different this season. If it's not, Rodriguez is likely gone. He's talented and has a lot of potential – perhaps, more talent and potential than anyone on this list – but the Phillies aren't an organization that is used to letting attitudes run wild.

Bud Smith Yes, he's still a prospect and the Phillies were very glad that he cleared waivers. Smith may just need time to fully recover from injuries. Pitching at AAA this season is the best spot for Smith. The pressure will be lessened and he can simply concentrate on getting ready for a return to the majors. Don't forget that this kid threw a no-hitter for the Cardinals in his rookie season. Don't count Bud Smith out.

Eude Brito September 11, 2001. Not only did the world change, but Eude Brito's career changed on that very date. Because of intensified scrutiny on passports and visas after 9-11, Brito had to admit that he was actually three years older than he had led the Phillies to believe. That means that instead of being a 17 year old phenom, he was a 20 year old pitcher who was behind where he should have been. Brito pitched well at Clearwater in 2003, but AA is where a lot of players begin to sputter. The Phillies exposed Brito in the Rule 5 Draft last December, but he wasn't taken. This year, he needs to show that he has grown into his age and is ready to help at higher levels.

Tim Moss This isn't as much of a make or break season for Moss as it is for the others on this list. He's only had one professional season, but he had a lot of problems adjusting to wood bats and the pace of the professional game. The Phillies have a lot of trust in Moss that he will rebound and get himself together this season. There was some discussion about having Moss wait until Batavia started their season in June, but the Phillies have instead decided to start him at Lakewood, teaming him with Javon Moran and Michael Bourn, the other speedsters from last year's draft.

Seung Lee The Phillies first real foray into the Pacific Rim hasn't gone quite the way they had hoped. Il Kim, who the Phillies signed along with Lee, is out of the organization. Lee hasn't had the meteoric rise that many expected. Granted, the Phillies have bumped Lee around the minors, having him pitch at five different levels in his first two seasons. Last year, he was primarily at AA and put up good numbers. Lee's prospect status could go either way, depending on his 2004 season.

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