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10 players to watch for when Crosscutters season starts
April 26, 2012 - Mitch Rupert
Let's be honest, it's far too early to be talking about a potential roster for the Williamsport Crosscutters when their season begins in June.
But where's the fun in being patient? Patience is not a virtue bestowed amongst everyone, and I'm clearly one of the people that was skipped when it was being handed out.
With the start of the season for the Philadelphia Phillies and its four full-season minor league affiliates, the Crosscutters roster can begin to take shape. Obviously, the majority of its team members will come from the June first-year players' draft. But the names of those currently in Clearwater in extended spring training that may make the trip to Williamsport this year are quite intriguing.
It has to start with last year's top two draft picks, Roman Quinn and Larry Greene. Both were drafted out of high school and neither got in any time in the Gulf Coast League last year. Neither player is exactly a five-tool player, but each posseses one plus-plus tool.
Greene is a pure power hitter. He's a hulk of a man at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds had a scholarship offer to play football at Alabama. He's likely a work in progress as an all-around baseball player, but the Phillies have been willing to take their chances on raw baseball players as high-risk, high-reward type players, especially on outfielders, which Greene is. But those toolsy players are speedster athletic types such as Kyrell Hudson, Zach Collier and Aaron Altherr.
But should Greene make his way to Williamsport, even for just a little while, it'll infuse the team with a type of raw power not seen since Sebastian Valle, the Phillies' top catching prospect, played here in 2009.
Quinn is the other interesting player to keep an eye on. His plus tool is speed and as a middle infielder he's more than likely just a product of the depth of that position in the Phillies' lower levels of the minors. Draft pick Tyler Greene got into the system in time last year to play a couple weeks with the Gulf Coast League team, and thus, earned the spot in Lakewood to start the season.
Quinn is a slick-fielding shortstop with the ability to play multiple positions. He's got a strong arm and is a gap-to-gap hitter. The speed Quinn brings to the table isn't unlike the speed Cutters' fans have seen in recent years in Hudson, Altherr, Freddy Glavis and Cesar Hernandez.
Even before the Phillies participate in the draft, it appears there's going to be plenty to talk about at Bowman Field this summer.
Here's a look at some names to watch out for during the spring and summer and my guess at their destinations (which is based only on my opinion):
-- Chace Numata, Catcher Numata was a 14th-round selection out of high school in Hawaii in 2010 and is still just 19 years old. He played 31 games in the Gulf Coast League after being drafted where he hit .222. He played just nine games in the GCL a year ago because of injuries, hitting .154. Strong throwing arm that was clocked as high as 94 mph in high school. Likely starting desitnation: Williamsport
-- Alejandro Villalobos, Second base/shortstop A 20-year old middle infielder who hit .285 and was 7-for-12 in stolen bases in more than 40 games with the GCL Phillies in 2011. High contact, low power hitter who struck out just five times in 181 plate appearances in the GCL. Eight of his 47 hits went for extra bases, but did not hit a homer. Phillies have an abundance of middle infield talent at the lower levels which might keep Villalobos in the GCL. But his age could push him to Williamsport. Likely starting destination: Williamsport
-- Roman Quinn, Shortstop Phillies' second-round pick last year has plus-plus speed and is capable of playing both shortstop and center field. The reason he didn't get a chance to start in Lakewood was likely because of Tyler Greene getting in time in the GCL after signing early last year. Quinn is a legitimate top-of-the-order threat if he hits with pure speed that rivals any of the athletes that have come through Williamsport in recent years. Likely starting destination: Williamsport
-- Mitchell Walding, Shortstop Walding was bought out of a college commitment to Oregon to sign with the Phillies after being a fifth-round pick a year ago with an $800,000 signing bonus. Walding is a shortstop by trade who spent the summer getting bigger -- he was up from 185 to 205 pounds by January -- and has the ability to play third base. Moving the 6-foot-4 Walding to third might help illeviate some of the logjam at third, and he projects to have power capable of keeping him at a corner infield spot. Likely starting destination: Williamsport
-- Larry Greene, Outfield The last time the Phillies had a pure power talent in the lower levels of the minors, he was pushed right to Lakewood as an 18-year old. Jonathan Singleton turned out to be the best power prospect in the Phillies' system until he was sent to Houston in the Hunter Pence trade a year ago. Greene, a supplemental first-round pick a year ago is another pure power prospect that has already crepped into Philadelphia's top 10 prospects despite having yet to play a regular season game in the organization. Likely starting destination: Williamsport
-- Carlos Tocci, Outfield The Phillies bucked tradition when they signed Tocci last year. He was considered maybe the best international free agent on the market, and Philadelphia is often reluctant to hand out big signing bonuses to these types of players. But Tocci, a 16-year old outfielder from Venezuela, was signed by the Phillies last year for $759,000. He played in the fall instructional league for the Phillies after being signed, where he even doubled off of Pirates overall No. 1 pick Gerritt Cole. Tocci needs to get stronger but most scouts feel he has a physical frame suited for growth in size and strength. The Phillies haven't had a home-grown Latin American all-star since Juan Samuel in 1987, so the organization must think highly of Tocci to give him a $759,000 signing bonus. Likely starting destination: Gulf Coast League
-- Jiandido Tromp, Center field/second base Despite a smallish frame, the Aruban native is billed as a natural power hitter who will grow into that power as he gets bigger. He twice played in Little League's Senior Big League World Series, winning the world title in 2010, and is considered a five-tool prospect. His reported 60-yard dash time of 6.6 seconds, plus the combination of middle infield depth at the Phillies' lower levels might make Tromp an outfield prospect. Likely starting destination: Gulf Coast League
-- Marek Minarik, Right-handed pitcher Was signed at 16-years old out of the Czech Republic. Threw just two games in the Gulf Coast League a year ago and probably not much of an enticing project. But you don't often see a lot of players coming from Europe to play professional baseball in the states. It's probably safe to assume that he's not as polished as most other 18-year olds in the minors, but there's time for him to develop. I could see him starting the season in the GCL with the intention of moving him to Williamsport at some point. Or, he's still young enough the Phillies can be patient with him. Likely starting destination: Gulf Coast League
-- Kevin Walter, Right-handed pitcher Walter has been the great mystery of the Phillies' organization the past two seasons. He was taken in the 20th round in 2010, but signed for a $350,000 signing bonus. Walter has pitched just one inning in the minors because of injuries. He was 6-foot-6, 220 pounds when he was drafted with a fastball between 88-90 mph, but struggled with his timing thanks to his long frame. According to Baseball America, scouts believed he had the ability to pitch at 92 mph or better consistently, which is where he topped out at in high school. Likely starting destination: Williamsport
-- Steve Inch, Right-handed pitcher Inch is a 2009 sixth-round pick who has struggled mightily in the Gulf Coast League since being drafted with an 0-2 record and 7.36 ERA. He had a WHIP that approached 2 and allowed 16 more hits than innings pitched. Inch has to make some kind of advancement in his career this year if he wants to become any kind of prospect. Likely starting destination: Williamsport
Mitch Rupert covers the Crosscutters for the Sun-Gazette. He can be reached at 326-1551, ext. 3129, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Mitch_Rupert.
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