Top 100 Prospects: 51-75

In this edition of our look at the Top 100 Phillies Prospects, we take a look at prospects from number 51 to 75. Find out who just missed the top fifty.

75. Freddy Ballestas, 23, RHP

Has had some trouble adjusting to being away from his native Venezuela, but is slowly starting to feel more comfortable. He has also had an adjustment to make in switching from the starting rotation to the bullpen and it remains to be seen if he'll ever be completely comfortable as a reliever. With all of the changes that he's faced, it's tough to tell just how good Ballestas can be, but he's got a lot of weapons.

74. Nicholas Hernandez, 21, LHP

The Phillies took Hernandez in the 12th round of the 2009 Draft and started him off in Williamsport. Hernandez had little trouble handling the New York-Penn League and should be in line for a promotion to Lakewood to start the 2010 season. He's got excellent command and struck out over three times more hitters than he walked in his first pro season.

73. Aaron Altherr, 18, OF

Another product of the 2009 Draft (ninth round), Altherr struggled in the GCL, hitting just .214 on the season. The good news though is that he still showed decent plate discipline for such a young player and didn't strike out as often as you might have thought that he would. He's going to need more work in extended camp and a short-season league - probably a return to the GCL - but he's got some promise to him.

72. Jonathan Villar, 18, SS

A product of the Phillies Dominican Summer League program, Villar was able to step up to Williamsport after a nice showing in the GCL. His defense is shaky and will require more work - he made nine errors in 42 games last season - and there are questions as to whether he'll be able to stick at shortstop. Age is on his side and the fact that Villar continues to work on his game is encouraging, so he could turn out to be a legitimate shortstop prospect.

71. Jeremy Barnes, 22, SS

The 11th round pick in 2009, Barnes showed up at Williamsport ready to play. Barnes is one of those players who should develop more power, but hopefully, it won't come at the expense of dropping his average sharply, because he's not likely to ever be a prolific home run hitter. For now, Barnes needs to focus on his defense - 15 errors in 50 games - and just keep making progress offensively. It's going to be interesting to see if the Phillies believe that they've seen enough of him in short-season ball and move him along to Lakewood or not.

70. Juan Sosa, 20, RHP

Another product of the Dominican Summer League, Sosa had his growing pains in 2009, as many players do. Don't be fooled by the numbers - 1-3, 6.55 ERA - Sosa has good talent and is better than what he showed in the GCL. Since he's a little older than most players brought in from the Dominican, Sosa is going to have to be pushed a little to move, but odds are that he'll be able to handle things once he's got his feet firmly on the ground in the U.S.

69. Daniel De La Cruz, 19, RHP

It's likely that the Phillies will give De La Cruz a visa this summer and have him pitch in the GCL. In two seasons in the DSL, De La Cruz has gone 8-6, 1.62 for the Phillies and appears ready for his U.S. debut. In 2009, De La Cruz cut his walks almost in half over 2008 even though he threw slightly more innings. Now, he's become a pure strike-thrower and keeps the ball down in the zone, giving up just one home run in 117 innings.

68. Jeremy Hamilton, 23, 1B

Hamilton was pushed a little last season, starting the year at Lakewood even though his combined numbers in short-season ball in 2008 weren't overly impressive. He held his own at Lakewood, but is a better hitter than he showed and should find a little more power along the way. It's likely that some more time at Lakewood would be a good idea, but he could be pushed along as another challenge to see how he responds.

67. Darin Ruf, 23, 1B

The Phillies 20th round pick in 2009, Ruf was hitting .326 in the GCL when he was bumped up to Williamsport, where he hit .301 in 37 games. Ruf should develop some power and looks to be pretty well disciplined at the plate. Defensively, Ruf is one of the stronger defensive players in the system and has a way of making every play look easy. He especially excels at scooping throws out of the dirt, saving his infielders some errors. It's going to be interesting to see where Ruf and fellow first baseman Jeremy Hamilton are assigned. Ruf could conceivably pass Hamilton, who was a level ahead of him in 2009.

66. Zack Sterner, 24, RHP

An injury set Sterner back last season, allowing him to pitch just the first month of the season. That could be crucial as Sterner starts to battle the clock a little on his way through the system. He's likely to need a return to Lakewood and potentially will be with the BlueClaws for an entire season before moving along. Shoulder problems and other injuries have hurt Sterner throughout his amateur and pro career, so health is the biggest question mark.

65. Josh Zeid, 22, RHP

Tenth round pick last June compiled 72 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings, while walking just 20 at Williamsport. He also allowed just one home run on his way to compiling an 8-5, 2.94 mark with the CrossCutters. By all accounts, Zeid figures to start the season in the Lakewood rotation.

64. Harold Garcia, 23, 2B

In two seasons since arriving from the Venezuelan Summer League, Garcia has a mark of 13-76-.292 and spent the 2009 season at Lakewood, where he hit .291 for the BlueClaws. Garcia is showing progress defensively, especially in his range, but there is still room for improvement. The Phillies took a gamble and didn't add Garcia to the 40 man roster this winter and they were able to sneak him through the Rule 5 Draft, but if he continues to progress, they will definitely need to add him next winter or take an even greater gamble that they could lose him.

63. Heitor Correa, 20, RHP

After missing 2008 because of injuries, Correa was able to bounce back well last season and looks to be back on track. He spent the entire season with Lakewood, making 21 starts and threw two complete games and averaging just under six innings per outing. The only real downside was that Correa did battle with his control at times, but not to the point where it's too much of a concern. He appears ready for Clearwater, which would put him right back on pace.

62. Tuffy Gosewisch, 26, C

After being buried deep on the catching depth chart in the organization, Gosewisch is starting to emerge as a potential backup catcher prospect. Gosewisch has never been considered a strong offensive player, although his average is climbing into the legitimate range. His stock and trade is defense; he's got good leadership skills and pitchers like throwing to him, partly because of his willingness to put his body in front of balls in the dirt. His arm isn't tremendous, but it's good and he's a plus catcher at keeping runners close.

61. Darren Byrd, 23, RHP

In 2008, Byrd wasn't able to conquer hitters in the Florida State League and was bounced back to Lakewood, where he put up strong numbers. In 2009, Byrd looked like a different, more confident pitcher, and pitched pretty well for Clearwater, getting some revenge on hitters in the Florida State League. He still walks a few too many hitters - 3.8 every nine innings - and will have to get that number down to be truly effective, but he's headed the right way.

60. Miguel Matos, 22, RHP

Matos has now thrown 117 innings in the GCL and will need to start showing what he can do at higher levels. In his few jaunts outside of the GCL, Matos is 0-3, 5.22 and has appeared to be outmatched. It's make-or-break time for Matos, who does have good skills, but needs to put everything together to work his way up the ladder.

59. Joel Naughton, 23, C

Naughton isn't quite progressing the way it was hoped that he would. Offensively, he found a bit more of a power stroke, but it dropped his average 30 points over last season and his power output still isn't impressive enough to warrant the drop in average. He also had trouble throwing out baserunners last season, throwing out just 14% of runners attempting to steal, after throwing out 38% the previous season. Part of that can be blamed on pitchers not holding baserunners, but Naughton has to share at least some of the blame.

58. D'Arby Myers, 21, OF

Myers repeated at Lakewood last season and it was worth it, because he pumped up his numbers and his confidence, both of which needed the pumping. This is still just a 21 year old player who has some developing to do and should be able to fit into his toolset before long. Myers is one of those players who will likely just trudge along quietly and all of the sudden put the pieces together and explode onto the scene.

57. Jonathan Pettibone, 19, RHP

Pettibone spent about four weeks on the DL last season, limiting himself to just nine outings in the New York - Penn League. After starting the season with three strong outings, Pettibone started to let the ball up in the zone and got himself into trouble. He was rusty when he returned from the DL, but should be healthy and ready to turn things around in 2010.

56. Alex Concepcion, 25, RHP

You don't hear much about Alex Concepcion, but he's put together strong back-to-back seasons and reached Triple-A for a short period in 2009. He's got good control and poise on the mound, averaging 5.2 strikeouts per nine innings last season between Reading and Lehigh Valley. It figures that Concepcion could fit well into the Lehigh Valley bullpen to start 2010 and might possibly work himself into a late inning or closer's role for the IronPigs. He could be a decent option for a September call-up if all goes well.

55. Michael Durant, 22, 1B

Durant could be like Myers in that it's very possible that he'll simply put it all together and explode onto the scene at some point in the near future. Both his power numbers and his average dropped in 2009 from where they were the year before, while his strikeout numbers went up. Perhaps, it was just facing tougher pitching at the High-A level and Durant will just need more time to adjust to the higher levels. Again, like Myers, the skills are there, so let's just see if he can put things together.

54. Derrick Mitchell, 22, OF

At 22, Mitchell is still very much a work in progress. Ideally, he would be further along by now, but sometimes it just takes a little longer for young players to develop than you might figure. Defensively, the Phillies moved him around and seem to have settled on him playing left field. His skills on the infield simply weren't good enough, but he can handle left field and has a very strong, accurate arm to make long throws. Offensively, he's hit 11 home runs in each of the past two seasons, but his strikeout numbers went up and his average dropped in 2009 with the jump to Clearwater. Imagine what's going to happen if Myers, Durant and Mitchell all put it together at the same time.

53. Tyler Cloyd, 22, RHP

The Phillies were a little more aggressive than usual with Cloyd last season and bumped him along to Clearwater after just half-a-season at Lakewood. He struggled a little and discovered that better hitters really don't swing at bad pitches as much, but all-in-all, it didn't go horribly. He'll likely return to Clearwater to start 2010 and should be a candidate to jump to Double-A Reading by about the mid-point of the season. It's going to be interesting to see if he can make the adjustments needed to regain some of his strikeout form from his pre-Clearwater days.

52. Troy Hanzawa, 24, SS

One of the concerns about Hanzawa is that he's small - 5' 9", 155 pounds - and there is concern how he can handle a full season on the diamond. He did slow down considerably in August last season after a torrid July that saw him hit .326 at Lakewood. The Phillies tested him with a trip to the Arizona Fall League and he started with an 0-for-18 skid before picking up a hit in each of the last two games to at least put himself on the board at .080 (2-for-25). Defensively, Hanzawa is pretty good, but there's room for improvement. Unfortunately, it's looking like his size might become his biggest obstacle and there's not much you can do about that.

51. Adam Buschini, 22, 2B

The Phillies fourth round pick from last June's draft, Buschini didn't set the world on fire at Williamsport, but that was primarily because of a slow start. From August 1 on, he hit .280 with the CrossCutters and seemed to have adjusted to the better pitching that he was facing. Now, the question is whether to trust those late season numbers and move Buschini along to Lakewood, or keep him in extended camp for more work and an assignment back to Williamsport.

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