Phillies Prospect #44: Brandon Watson

Brandon Watson will likely serve as insurance for the Phillies at Triple-A this season, but if he ever figures things out, he's got the talent to be a Major League outfielder.

Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as a minor league free agent.

B:T: R  /  Height: 6' 1"  /  Weight: 170 lbs.

Birth Date: September 30, 1981

2007 Team/League: Columbus (AAA) 103 g, Washington (NL) 5 g

Positions Played in 2007: CF (86 g), LF (9 g), DH (7 g), RF (5 g)

Batting and Power:  The knock on Brandon Watson has always been that he swings at too many pitches, especially first pitches. While some young hitters need to learn to be more aggressive, Watson needs to learn to be less aggressive at the plate and take a few more pitches. Ironically, he's got a decent eye, but just tries to do too much. Last summer, he got himself locked in at Triple-A Columbus and put together a 43 game hitting streak, during which he hit .360 and raised his average from .268 to .338. When he got a late season audition with the Nationals, he wasn't awe-inspiring, but he presented himself well. Still, the Nationals decided to go other directions in the outfield and Brandon Watson was subject to minor league free agency. As for power, that's simply not Watson's game and his power stroke is non-existent.

Baserunning and Speed: One of the biggest reasons why Watson has to be more selective at the plate is because of his speed. Yes, he's got a nice swing, but the more he gets on base, the more he can use his biggest weapon; speed. Right now, he still steals bases with raw speed, but perhaps better coaching could push his success rate a little higher than the current 65% that it stands at for him minor league career. He's a decent baserunner who has the ability to grab extra bases and will challenge outfielder's arms or take advantage of lackadaisical play by an outfielder.

Defense: Using his speed and natural ability, Watson is an exceptional defensive outfielder. He gets to balls hit in the gap and can make some of the acrobatic plays that fans love to see. He's not a great jumper and has some trouble on balls hit to the wall when it comes to timing his jump to make the play, but will make most of the plays. His arm is slightly below average though and is a down part of his game.

Projection: It's not out of the question that Watson could take over the role that Michael Bourn played for the Phillies last season, but then again, it's not likely. He generally isn't regarded as having enough of a consistent offensive approach to be an everyday player in the majors, but is just good enough that at some point, he might get his chance. The Nationals gave up on him, partly because they weren't impressed with how well he absorbed the coaching that they were giving him. If someone can get through to him, he has the potential to be a much better player than he's shown so far in his career.

ETA: Watson figures to be pretty much ready for the majors. He's spent all or part of nine seasons in the minors and he's not going to learn much more than he already knows.

Comparison: The Phillies already have Chris Roberson in their system and Watson right now is about the same type of player, only with a better bat. Both have a lot to learn and both could be better than they are.

What else you should know about Brandon Watson:

  • Watson was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in the ninth round of the 1999 Draft. 
  • Is the godson of former Major League outfielder Eric Davis.
  • Was in Spring Training with Detroit last season, but was released and re-signed with the Nationals.

Brandon Watson's career stats

Minor League Totals 8 265 .305 900 3549 518 1083 110 31 188 233 423 .349 .360
MLB Totals 1 7 .198 40 86 10 17 2 1 2 6 12 .250 .279

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