Coming off their second straight National League title, the Philadelphia Phillies are expecting to be back in the World Series again in 2010. The Phillies do not have many holes to fill on their roster though they do have a farm system filled with talent. Even after trading away four top prospects to Cleveland for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco, they still have a lot of talent, though most is not big league ready…yet.
The Phillies number one prospect was highly sought around the 2009 trading deadline, though the Phillies marked him as untouchable. Domonic Brown, the outfielder that draws comparisons to Darryl Strawberry as a player, is thankful to still be a Phillie. He tried to stay away from the rumors and stay focused and play hard. The 20th round pick in the 2006 draft, mainly because of his commitment to the University of Miami to play football and baseball, thought he would be drafted as a pitcher because he was more of a pitcher in high school. He’s happy the Phillies wanted him as an outfielder because he loves to hit, and hit he did in 2009. His overall stats in 2009 were solid: .299, 21 doubles, 9 triples, 14 homeruns, 64 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases in 106 games. He spent most of the 2009 season in High-A Clearwater, where he was a Florida State League All-Star, before being promoted to Double-A Reading on August 1st.
The 6’5 Brown is a humble and shy prospect (he just recently told the Philadelphia Phillies that they have been spelling his first name wrong), indicated by his homerun trot “just hit it, put my head down, and go from there”. Brown hit a mammoth homerun an estimated 426 feet in Reading, one that traveled over the pool beyond the right field fence, over the pavilion, and onto the street–out of FirstEnergy Stadium. Pedro Martinez, who was there on rehab, told Brown that he should admire a bomb like that while rounding the bases. The power is usually the last tool to come and Brown is showing signs. He admits he has always been fast and hopes to improve his base-stealing to reach 40 steals a season. He has continued his solid offensive season into the AFL hitting .255 with 9 doubles, 2 triple, 2 homeruns, and 18 RBIs in 27 games. What’s even better is that his AFL teammate Chase d’Arnaud of the Pittsburgh Pirates credits Brown as a valuable offensive resource.
Another Phillies outfielder who could continue to move quickly is Steve Susdorf. After coming back from hip surgery, he put up good overall numbers in 2009 while playing at three levels (Lakewood, Clearwater, and Reading): .324, 21 doubles, 7 homeruns, and 44 RBIs in 85 games, though he struggled after his promotion to Double-A Reading. He also was named the Phillies Player of the Month for June. The 19th round pick in 2008 out of the College World Series champion Fresno State Bulldogs hit a grand slam in his first professional at-bat.
Susdorf is a good hitter, especially with runners on base. His focus to improve is to not give away at-bats, to lay off certain pitches, and to have good 2-strike at-bats. In the AFL, Susdorf is hitting .216 with 3 doubles, 2 homers, 6 RBIs, and 8 walks to 8 strikeouts in 14 games. Most likely Susdorf will begin the 2010 season back in Reading, but could earn a promotion to Triple-A if he continues to hit. With the tandem of John Mayberry, Michael Taylor, and Brown, along with Susdorf, Quintin Berry, and Anthony Gose, the Phillies have a plethora of outfielders on the horizon.