06/08/11 10:50 PM ET
Phillies patient as young prospects develop
By Nate Mink / MLB.com
No, the farm system isn't totally decimated.
"We got some young guys that are a ways away, but once they get there, they're gonna be pretty good Major League players," said Marti Wolever, the Phillies' director of scouting. "Hopefully they'll be a little bit better than average, and there might be a couple who could impact and make a big difference."
The Phillies wrapped up the 2011 First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday, replenishing their Minor League system with prospects.
They are, however, years from making an impact -- if any.
The current club has its eyes set on a fifth straight National League East title, but this is a veteran-laden squad, one that may need to tap into its young talent in the near future to sustain the standard of winning these players -- many of whom are homegrown, such as Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard -- have set.
Here's a look at some of the Phillies' top prospects who could soon make an impact in the Major Leagues:
Jonathan Singleton, LF, Class A Clearwater: Singleton could one day join Domonic Brown in the Phillies' outfield, giving them some pop in the corner outfield spots.
If he's healthy and continuing to produce, Singleton is projected to be in the Majors by 2014.
The Phillies' eighth-round selection in 2009, Singleton was named the South Atlantic League's Most Outstanding Major League prospect after his first full season.
MLB.com ranks him as the No. 23 prospect in baseball and No. 6 outfield prospect.
He should hit for average and power and has a good approach at the plate, but his numbers are down this year for the Threshers, hitting .259 with three home runs, six doubles and 19 RBIs in 49 games to go along with a .720 OPS.
Jarred Cosart, RHP, Class A Clearwater: Injuries have been a bugaboo for Cosart, who's finally enjoying a healthy season for the Threshers.
In 2009, back and shoulder issues set him back, and an elbow injury ended his season in late June.
Finally healthy, Cosart is finding success in Clearwater and is expected to rise in the Phillies' Minor League system fast, with a projected Major League debut as soon as 2013.
Cosart, selected in the 38th round in 2008, commands one of the better fastballs in the Minor Leagues and an above-average curve. His changeup, as with many young pitchers, isn't as strong in his repertoire.
MLB.com ranks him as the No. 43 prospect in baseball.
He's pitched 65 1/3 innings in 11 games for Clearwater this season, going 6-3 with a 2.76 ERA, 51 strikeouts and 25 walks.
Justin De Fratus, RHP, Double-A Reading: If there's a prospect that could suit up in Citizens Bank Park this season, it's De Fratus.
The 2007 11th-round pick started his pro career as a starter, but a move to the bullpen in 2009 has put him on a faster track, pitching at two levels in 2010.
He goes right after hitters and likes getting the ball in big situations. After pitching for Team USA and then in the Arizona Fall League, he was put on the 40-man roster and should get the chance to help the big club out at some point in 2011.
De Fratus is 4-0 with five saves and a 2.05 ERA in 30 2/3 innings.
Sebastian Valle, C, Class A Clearwater: The future behind the plate, Valle could be backing up Carlos Ruiz as soon as 2013.
He's got good bat speed and should hit for power, but he needs to get more selective as he moves up in the ranks.
Last season with Class A Lakewood, Valle orchestrated a pitching staff that had the best team ERA in the South Atlantic League and won the title.
Now MLB.com's No. 10 catching prospect is working with young talent such as Cosart and Brody Colvin.
He's hitting .357 with an .872 OPS this season with 15 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs in 39 games.
Nate Mink is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.