No rest for Phillies prospects this winter
Promising players test skills in Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are making calls to agents, general managers and players, trying to construct a 25-man roster that will take them back to the World Series in 2010.
But while general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. works on the present, the future is working elsewhere.
The Arizona Fall League's season is complete, but winter league baseball in Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico is underway. Here's a look at some of the position players in action.
Domonic Brown (20th-round pick in 2006): Baseball America considers Brown, a 6-foot-5 outfielder, to be the organization's top prospect. He hit .229 with nine doubles, two triples, two home runs and 18 RBIs in 30 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. He made the AFL All-Star team after hitting the ball well to start the season, but he struggled near the end.
"I think he was probably pressing some toward the end," assistant GM Benny Looper said on Monday. "It's been a long year for him, and he probably needs a break right now. He has the tools. He's an exciting guy to watch. He did fine."
Michael Taylor (fifth-round pick in 2007): Baseball America ranks Taylor, a 6-foot-6 outfielder, as the organization's No. 3 prospect, following Brown and right-hander Kyle Drabek. Taylor is hitting .308 with four doubles, one home run and 11 RBIs in 19 games in Mexico.
"He's handled his own," Looper said. "We wanted him to see the veteran pitchers in that league, who will use the breaking pitches behind in the count."
Sebastian Valle (signed as an amateur free agent in 2006): The organization's seventh-best prospect according to Baseball America, the 6-foot-1 catcher is showing that he can hit in Mexico, going .303 with five doubles, one triple, 10 home runs and 24 RBIs in 29 games.
"We thought he was going to hit," Looper said. "I heard that before I came here. And after watching him this year, we think he has a good chance to hit. He needs to improve his footwork behind the plate, the catching and throwing. But he's playing against some veterans down there and he's holding his own, maybe doing a little better than that. He's got good bat speed. He'll hit for some power, but he's a guy that will square up a lot of pitches. He's got a pretty good idea up there with his bat."
John Mayberry Jr. (first-round pick in 2005 by Texas): The outfielder is hitting .314 with four doubles, seven home runs and 23 RBIs in 32 games.
"Mayberry has done all right," Looper said. "One of the reasons we wanted him to go to Mexico was to see a lot of breaking pitches, which he has seen a lot of. He has made some adjustments and has hit some home runs."
Tuffy Gosewisch (11th-round pick in 2006): The catcher hit .318 with two doubles and five RBIs in 11 games.
"He's a catch-and-throw guy," Looper said. "If he can hit a little bit, he has a chance to be a big league backup catcher, at the minimum."
Quintin Berry (fifth-round pick in 2006): Berry, whom the Phillies added to the 40-man roster last week to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, just got started in Puerto Rico. He is hitting .154 with four walks in seven games.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.