At the start of the 2011 season, MLB.com unveiled Top 10 Prospect lists for all 30 Major League organizations on Prospect Watch. Over the course of the season, those lists changed due to graduations to the big leagues, trades and performances. With the season completed, MLB.com will review how the prospects on those lists fared in 2011.
Clearwater, FLA by Ricardo y Marta
Justin De Fratus still can’t believe his timing. The right-handed reliever arrived in the big leagues on the same day that his Philadelphia teammates celebrated their National League East title, and he hopes to have learned enough in September that he can be a part of several stretch drives to come.
“Some people play their entire careers and never get a celebration, and I got to experience it on the first day,” he said. “It wasn’t exactly my celebration to be a part of, so I kind of just stood in the back. I want to experience that type of success forever, as long as I possibly can, and I know I have to work hard. I do feel more a part of the team now because I did help win an important game.”
De Fratus, a former 11th-round draftee, steadily rose through Philadelphia’s organization over the past few seasons and began last year at Double-A Reading. The 24-year-old went 4-0 with a 2.10 ERA and eight saves before a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he continued to thrive.
De Fratus made 28 appearances at Triple-A before he was summoned to Philadelphia, and he finished the year with five relief outings for the NL East champions. De Fratus even earned his first big league win before shutting it down for the season.
“Obviously, it was my first time in the big leagues,” he said. “And when I got home after spending time in Clearwater during the playoffs, I got to go home and really reflect on the whole experience with my family and good friends. It was a very cool experience. My family was actually there with me when I made my debut in Philadelphia, so they got to experience it, but as far as sitting down and getting a chance to reflect on the whole situation, I didn’t get to until I got home in California.”
De Fratus has controlled the strike zone in the Minor Leagues, notching 85 walks and 379 strikeouts in 160 appearances. He’s also managed to limit home runs — just 12 in 379 2/3 innings — and he said that he began preparing for the big leagues the moment he arrived in Spring Training.
Phillies’ top 10 prospects
A look at how the Phillies’ Top 10 Prospects list looked at the beginning and end of the 2011 season:
||Domonic Brown, OF
||Jonathan Singleton, 1B
||Jarred Cosart, RHP
||Brody Colvin, RHP
||Sebastian Valle, C
||Jesse Biddle, LHP
||Trevor May, RHP
||Aaron Altherr, SS
||Jiwan James, OF
||Cesar Hernandez, 2B
||Jonathan Pettibone, RHP
||Justin De Fratus, RHP
||Phillippe Aumont, RHP
Players in bold were removed from the list after reaching the rookie eligibility threshold.
“The first taste that I got was actually in Spring Training because I got to go to big league camp,” he said of last year’s Grapefruit League. “I got the taste of what it was like to be part of that organization and what it takes to win, the attitude with the Phillies. So when I got to the big leagues in September for those 12 days, there wasn’t anything different. They go about their business in Spring Training just as hard as they do during the season. It was a really cool thing to see and experience.”
Top 10 review
The Phillies have had their prospect list altered by the trade that brought Hunter Pence to Philadelphia and sent Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart to Houston. Outfielder Domonic Brown was also lost from consideration, but this time due to his graduation to the big leagues.
Brody Colvin, a projectable right-hander who spent last season with Class A Clearwater, ranks as the best prospect remaining in the farm system. Colvin went 3-8 with a 4.71 ERA for Clearwater last season, and the Phillies have been careful not to let him log too many innings.
The team’s best remaining positional prospect is 21-year-old catcher Sebastian Valle, who played in the Futures Game last year. Valle batted .284 with five home runs and 40 RBIs for Clearwater last season, and the Phillies may elect to challenge him with a promotion to Double-A Reading.
Organizational Player of the Year:
MLB.com’s Preseason Picks:
Hitter of the Year — Jonathan Singleton Singleton, who turned 20 in September, is still a massive prospect. The left-handed hitter already has plate discipline beyond his years, and scouts remain convinced that his frame will bring more power as he matures. He’ll have to reach his potential in Houston’s organization.
Pitcher of the Year — Jarred Cosart Cosart went 9-8 with a 3.92 ERA for Class A Clearwater, and the Astros promoted him for a quick test at Double-A Corpus Christi after the Pence trade. The right-hander went 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA in his first exposure to upper-level bats, and he’ll likely go right back to Corpus Christi this season. Cosart will need to iron out his walk rate in order to be successful at the higher levels.
MLB.com’s Postseason Selections
Hitter of the Year — Matt Rizzotti Rizzotti, a former sixth-round Draft pick, made a positive full-season showing at Double-A Reading one year after laying waste to the circuit’s pitchers. Rizzotti, a first baseman, had batted .361 with a .452 on-base percentage in 77 games at Reading in 2010, foreshadowing his star turn. The 26-year-old hit .292 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs in 139 games for Reading last season.
Pitcher of the Year — Trevor May May repeated the level at Class A Clearwater last year and had a breakout season that saw him lead the Florida State League in strikeouts (208). The 22-year-old right-hander posted a 10-8 record with a 3.63 ERA, and he allowed just eight home runs in 27 starts for Clearwater last season.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.