Top Prospect #44: Andrew Macfarlane

The ninth round of the draft hasn't been too bad for the Phillies. Recent years have yielded Ryan Madson out of high school and Chris Roberson out of a junior college program. Last June, the Phillies looked for another surprise pick and found one in Andrew Macfarlane out of Treasure Valley Community College.

If the Phillies taking Andrew Baldwin in the fifth round of the 2004 Draft was a surprise, taking Andrew Macfarlane in the ninth round only added to the shock. It's not that Macfarlane doesn't have talent, because he certainly has talent enough to succeed in the pros. Still, he wasn't a guy getting a lot of notice, especially playing at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Oregon.

It's no secret that Macfarlane will need some work and has a lot to learn about hitting with a wood bat. The key is that he is a hard worker and has raw talent that should make all of the work and adjustments a little easier. The very early returns aren't too impressive, but the Phillies aren't losing any enthusiasm about the future for Andrew Macfarlane.

Much like Baldwin, the Phillies - and perhaps Macfarlane too - believe that he will benefit more from working with professional coaches than he would have working with college coaches. Macfarlane was good enough to have latched on with Abilene Christian University, where a scholarship was waiting for him. Instead, he signed quickly and started working on his professional career.

2004 Gulf Coast 1 19 .229 46 166 20 38 10 2 6 0 13 36 .301
Career 1 19 .229 46 166 20 38 10 2 6 0 13 36 .301

Acquired: Drafted in the ninth round of the 2004 Draft out of Treasure Valley Community College (Ontario, OR)

Batting and Power: Macfarlane hit .303 at TVCC and finished his high school career by hitting .532 in his senior season. Most of his offensive numbers weren't overwhelming, but they were pretty solid. One of the things that the Phillies love most about Macfarlane is his plate discipline. He's not afraid to take pitches and look for something to hit. He needs to cut down on his swing and odds are that he won't ever develop much power, but he can be somewhat of an on-base machine.

Baserunning and Speed: Not only does Macfarlane have speed, but he knows how to use it. He put together high stolen base percentages in both high school and college and swiped six bases in the Gulf Coast League to finish second on the team behind first round pick Greg Golson.

Defense: It's likely that with Golson around, Macfarlane may be pretty well blocked in center field. It's also likely that Golson will move through the minors faster than Macfarlane will, meaning that for the short-term at least, Macfarlane may not have to change positions. He has enough athleticism to switch to another position though if that's what the Phillies decide to do. He's strong defensively and can use his speed to chase down a lot of balls hit in the gaps.

Projection: With all of the work that Macfarlane needs, he will likely stay in Florida to work on making those adjustments and wait for an assignment to either Batavia or back to the Gulf Coast League. Macfarlane will start slowly - perhaps agonizingly so - but may start to catch up once he puts it all together.

ETA: It will be late in the 2010 season or perhaps the spring of 2011 until Macfarlane really gets much of a look. Macfarlane will be 27 when the 2011 season begins, so his timetable may not be too terrible, since he's young enough to still reach the majors. Keep in mind too, that it's possible that once he puts it all together, Macfarlane will move at a quicker pace.

Comparison: Some scouts see another Phillies prospect, Chris Roberson, when they look at Macfarlane. While Roberson has more speed than Macfarlane, many of their other skills are very similar. Scouts also believe that much like Roberson, Macfarlane will hit a point where it all comes together and he'll start to move quickly through the ranks. For Roberson, that happened three years after he was drafted and Macfarlane should be able to hit that pace. By the way, Roberson was also a ninth round pick and came from a junior college program.

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