Phillies Prospect #33: Gus Milner

Gus Milner answered a question about his offensive potential last season. The question will be asked again in 2008 though as he continues to face tougher pitching in his climb through the minors.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 14th round of the 2006 Draft.

B: T: R  /  Height: 6' 5"  /  Weight: 240 lbs.

Birth Date: April 21 1984

2007 Team: Lakewood (131 g)

Positions Played in 2007: RF (127 g), DH (4 g)

School: Kansas University

Why Gus Milner moved from #48 to #33: Gus Milner improved in every facet of his game last season and did it in a season where he made the jump from short-season ball to full-season ball at Low-A Lakewood. The most impressive thing is that his walk ratio took a nice move upward last season while his strikeout rate also improved. Overall, it was just the kind of season that the Phillies were hoping to see out of the outfield prospect.

Batting and Power: Milner looks like he should be putting up bigger power numbers than he has. He's a big, strong guy that is an athletic player with tons of skills. This past season, Milner upped his power numbers and gave some solid reason for hope. When Milner was drafted, the only true talent that scouts were sure of was his defense and there were a lot of suspicions about how he would develop offensively. In his first pro season, Milner didn't do a whole lot to dispel any of those rumors, but that changed this past season at Lakewood. Because he is so athletic, Milner should be able to put together some offense, but players generally don't show a lot more offense in the pros than they did in college.

Baserunning and Speed: For a guy with Milner's size and build, he has some speed. At Lakewood, he stole 19 bases this past season and should be able to maintain those types of numbers if he can get on base enough to use the speed that he's got. His speed, agility and athleticism were enough to have him playing center field in college, so there is definitely something there.

Defense: Even though he played center field at Kansas, it's not likely that he'll see much, if any, time there in the pros. It's likely that he could handle the position at the pro level, but the Phillies have enough center fielders, making Milner a much better bet to play one of the corner outfield spots. He played in right field last season and definitely has the arm to play there. His throws aren't just strong, but they're accurate and since he has enough speed to get to balls that aren't hit right at him, he can make plays on them and throw out runners trying to take an extra base.

Projection: Let's see what happens to Milner in 2008. If he can move to Clearwater and put up offensive numbers like he did at Lakewood, his stock is going to rise greatly. If not, then the old questions that sank his draft value are going to again become legitimate questions to ask. All of the pieces are there, it's just a matter of getting the job done, especially as he faces tougher pitching. Right now, it appears that the worst case scenario for Milner is that he could be a utility outfielder at the Major League level. Remember, the Phillies outfield picture is pretty deep and Milner will have to produce well enough to keep his head above water.

Gus Milner's career stats

2006 Batavia 3 39 .261 70 241 28 63 10 6 4 20 55 .335 .390
2007 Lakewood 10 66 .286 131 458 71 131 29 3 19 63 102 .371 .428
TOTALS 13 105 .278 201 699 99 194 39 9 23 83 157 .359 .415

Stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube.

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