Mid-Season Prospects: Top 10 Position Players

Most of the riches in the Phillies minor league system are pitchers. Because of the overwhelming number of quality pitching prospects, the position players often get overlooked. We've found ten position players to watch for the rest of the season, because they're the best in the system.

Editor's Note: We did not include John Mayberry Jr. on our list of prospects, because he is likely to pass the maximum requirements to keep his rookie status. We consider prospects players who are considered major league rookies and are age appropriate for prospect status.

  1. Michael Taylor (15-65-.333-.408 at Reading) Taylor has established himself as the top offensive prospect in the Phillies system with his performance at Double-A Reading this season. His development has him listed an an untouchable by some in baseball when they put together lists of players that could be expendable in deals this Summer. Taylor is really a five-tool player, who has stolen 18 bases in 22 attempts this season and his defense often gets overlooked. He's made just one error this season in the outfield and gets a quick first step to the ball. He also has a pure cannon for an arm. It's possible that Taylor will move to Triple-A for at least an audition at the higher level by the end of the season.
  2. Dominic Brown (9-38-.299-.379 at Clearwater)  Had Brown not gone down with a broken finger, some believe that he would have been outshining Taylor by now and it's possible that he would have. If you extend Brown's pace to the number of at-bats that Taylor has this season, both would have 15 home runs and 65 RBI, but Taylor would have the higher average and on-base percentage. Brown would have also struck out 73 times compared to the 51 strikeouts for Taylor. That's not to say that Brown isn't going to be a force to be reckoned with, since he has many of the same tools that Taylor does. It would be interesting to have these two at the same level and watch the numbers that they could combine to put up against opponents. They're the perfect compliment to each other, since Brown  hits left-handed and Taylor swings from the right side of the plate.
  3. Lou Marson (1-21-.298-.377 at Lehigh Valley, 0-0-.235-.350 at Philadelphia)  It's been somewhat of a streaky season for Marson, who spent some time with the big league club when Carlos Ruiz went down with an injury. The Phillies would like to see some consistency from Marson on offense, but aren't worried about his long-term progress at the plate. Behind the plate, Marson is highly thought of for his ability to work with pitchers, block pitches in the dirt and throw out would-be base stealers. Marson credits Paul Hoover, his Lehigh Valley teammate, with helping him to correct some mechanical flaws in his throwing to make him a better defensive catcher.
  4. Steve Susdorf (2-15-.333-.402 at Lakewood, 2-9-.402-.442 at Clearwater)  After an impressive pro debut with Williamsport last season, the Phillies advanced Susdorf to Lakewood to start 2009 and quickly realized that he could jump another level, so they bumped him to Clearwater in June. In 17 games with the Threshers, Susdorf has stepped up his game and is starting to open some eyes throughout the organization. He's not blessed with an abundance of power, but he should develop to being a guy that will give a team 10 or 12 home runs a season, hit for a high average and find ways to get on base. His speed also isn't blazing, but good enough for him to grab an extra base. Defensively, he's strong, with a slightly above average arm and continues to get better in the outfield.
  5. Jim Murphy (9-45-.293-.411 at Lakewood)  Here's a name that has sort of come out of nowhere. The Phillies drafted Murphy in the 17th round of the 2008 Draft and he put up solid numbers in his debut season, playing in the GCL, at Williamsport and even getting three games with Clearwater. This season, Murphy is at Lakewood and is showing the ability to get on base - he's third in the South Atlantic League in OBP - and make things happen. While he's got a good walk percentage (41 walks in 72 games), he also strikes out a lot and will need to reduce that number to be more effective. He's got solid, but not overwhelming power and his swing gets a little too big at times, resulting in the strikeouts.
  6. Tim Kennelly (3-45-.301-.382 at Clearwater)  It seems like this Australian product has been around forever, but he's still just 22 years old and has a lot of baseball ahead of him. Kennelly started to show progress at the plate last season, but has truly stepped it up a notch this season and has become a much more consistent hitter. While Kennelly doesn't have great fielding instincts, he's adequate and can handle playing five different positions [LF, RF, 3B, 1B and C], making him versatile. With his blossoming offense, it will be a true test to see how Kennelly does once he's promoted to Double-A.
  7. Quintin Berry (2-17-.281-.367 at Reading)  In his first season at Double-A, Berry has shown some improvement over his performance at Clearwater last season. He still needs to cut down on his strikeouts, because that's all that's really standing between him and a much higher ranking on the prospect charts. Berry has explosive speed and great instincts on the bases, which has allowed him to steal more than 50 bases in each of the last two seasons and he's on his way to doing that again this season at Reading.
  8. Anthony Gose (1-31-.276-.337 at Lakewood)  Gose was the Phillies second round pick in the 2008 Draft and is showing nice progress. The Phillies started him in the Gulf Coast League last season and bumped him up to Lakewood for 2009 and he's doing a solid job at the plate. The highlight on his stats are the 48 stolen bases this season, which would be higher if he could cut down on strikeouts. The Phillies seem to have a number of speedy players who simply strike out too much, which is holding back all of that speed in the organization. Gose is still just 18, so there is some time for him to improve on his plate discipline and make better contact.
  9. Jason Donald (1-16-.230-.293)  Rest assured that Jason Donald hasn't put up the numbers that he and the Phillies were hoping to see from him in his first stint at Triple-A. Donald has missed time after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus and the rumor is that he has played in pain for much of the season before finally being shut down because of the injury. He'll likely return to Lehigh Valley after the break and will look to turn his season around, because the offensive tools are all there and it may just be a matter of being healthy and making some adjustments. Defensively, he's played at short, third and second for the IronPigs this season, which is what the Phillies wanted to see from him since right now, there is no set position for him to play at the major league level. The second half of the season will be very important for Donald, but there are no assurances that he'll stick in the Phillies organization, since other clubs continue to ask about his availability on the trade market.
  10. Kelly Dugan (0-2-.245-.288 at GCL)  The Phillies third round pick this past June [which was their first overall pick] is starting to find his way in the Gulf Coast League. After a horrid start, where he went 1-for-11 (.091), Dugan is turning things around and has gone 7-for-17 (.412) over his last five games. He has also had at least one hit in nine of his last 12 games. The offensive tools are there and it's easy to forget that Dugan isn't far removed from playing high school ball and will need some time to develop. The fact that the 18 year old prospect has turned his season around to where he'll have very respectable numbers by the end of the season is a good sign and an accomplishment.

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