I think the most notable part of this list is just how new it is. Even in a season where they did not make a major trade and send out talent, they return just three from last year's list- Biddle, Pettibone, and Franco. Sebastian Valle was dropped completely off the list from third last year, despite being an All-Star and getting promoted (thought it's worth noting his offense was down from 2011). They also dropped Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont, both of whom were called up in September and threw well, I guess presumably because they believe they will make this team, though that is not the normal standard here. Brody Colvin, who was even in MLB.com's top 100 last year, was dropped due to poor performance. Freddy Galvis is no longer eligible.This year's list:1. Jesse Biddle, lhp2. Roman Quinn, ss3. Tommy Joseph, c4. Jon Pettibone, rhp5. Adam Morgan, lhp6. Ethan Martin, rhp7. Cody Asche, 3b8. Maikel Franco, 3b9. Darin Ruf, 1b/of10. Carlos Tocci, of
While we're at it, it's worth noting that Jesse Biddle is on MLB's top 100 list at #75, just ahead of ex-Phillie prospect Jarred Cosart. Ex-Phillies prospects Jon Singleton (#25) and Travis d'Arnaud (#11) are both high on the list. Catchers Joseph and Valle rank at #7 and 8 (d'Arnaud is first) at their position on MLB.com. Darin Ruf ranked eight at first base, where Singleton was first. Lehigh Valley Second Baseman Cesar Hernandez ranked sixth at his position. Biddle is the seventh highest rated left-hander.
MLB's Phillies top 20 list is very different as well. They rated Biddle at the top again, followed still by Colvin, Joseph, 2011 top pick Larry Green, Aumont, Valle, Martin, 2012 first pick (compensation round) Shane Watson, Hernandez, and Pettibone in the top ten. Quinn, De Fratus, Reading righty Julio Rodriguez, Williamsport third baseman Mitch Walding, 2012 second pick pitcher Mitch Guellar, Asche, Franco, Ruf, Aaron Altherr, and Lakewood catcher Gabriel Lino (picked up in the Thome deal).
How this all shakes out in 2013 should be interesting. All 22 of these players will not be on the same level in 2013, so how they shake out should be interesting. It's almost impossible to project where they all will be in in 2013, but in the upper levels we can start to project the teams a little bit.
Lehigh Valley projects to be packed with familiar and well known faces. The rotation should have lots of familiar faces, anchored by Pettibone and Martin, and possibly 2012 International League Pitcher of the Year Tyler Cloyd if he doesn't make the Phillies. If I had to guess, B.J. Rosenberg and Austin Hyatt would finish out the Opening Day rotation, though I would not bet against Adam Morgan yet, and Zach Miner could be considered. The bullpen should also be filled with options to work with. While Jeremy Horst, Phillippe Aumont, and Justin De Fratus could be down, it's more likely that the Phillies are looking at sending Raul Valdes, Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery, Mauricio Robles, J.C. Ramirez, and Jake Diekman down to compete with Cesar Jimenez and Miner, both of which are non-roster invitees, and current Iron Pigs' roster members Juan Morillo, Michael Cisco, Rule 5 Brendan Lafferty, and Colton Murray. If anything, pitching should not be a problem, and some will spin down into Reading.
The infield will also be full of players who have been or are part of the Phillies plans. Cesar Hernandez at second and Sebastian Valle at catcher both were called up in August, and both would be presumed to begin as starters in Lehigh Valley this season. Josh Fields, a non-roster invitee to camp is a third baseman and may fit very well here, as would returning first baseman Cody Overbeck, and returning shortstop Andres Blanco (who's also invited to camp) will compete with Michael Martinez and Pete Orr for time. Tyson Gillies had a very nice season in Reading (and was somehow left off all the lists after hitting .304 in Reading with an .809 OPS) and will occupy center for the Iron Pigs this year. Jermaine Mitchell, a non-roster invitee to camp is a year removed from posting a .960 OPS in the A's system and being rated as one of their best athletes. Derrick Mitchell and Steve Susdorf both return on the current roster and could provide depth too. I think Cody Asche will make it up during the year to Lehigh Valley, and that the same could happen for Tommy Joseph. Jiwan James is a name that will come up, but I'm not sure he did enough in 2012 to show he's ready.
It's very hard to project much beyond AAA ball before spring training even begins. I would guess that Biddle will take a promotion to AA Reading this year, and Quinn will go to mid-A Lakewood to start the season. Franco is likely to start out in high-A Clearwater.
Lots will happen between now and when the teams come north with their new rosters. For now, we have a whole new set of ratings to work with.