On this glorious Saturday morning I bring to you the 4th installment of the Q&A session Check Your Head. This time I targeted James Moyer of Phuture Phillies, a blog that focuses on the Phils minors (minors being farm system, not Pat Burrell's underage lady friends). So, take a breather from that last minute holiday shopping and read what Jamie Moyer's offspring has to say...
1. Statistics aside, who is your favorite Phillies non-superstar of the past?
Probably has to be Terry Mulholland. I remember being 9 years old and watching his no hitter. At the time, I was pissed at Charlie Hayes for making that error, thinking at the time it was a hit. Then I realized it was scored an error, so he still had a no hitter going. I liked his weird thing he did with his glove in his pitching motion, and his snap pick off move. My family had Sunday season tickets from '88-'91 or so, so a lot of those guys. Charlie Hayes, Wes Chamberlain, Kevin Jordan. Man those teams were bad.
2. Why in the hell are you a Phillies fan anyway?
I was born into it. No use trying to make it go away I suppose.
3. How do you go about evaluating the Phillies minor league talent?
I try to go to a couple games a season, even if it's to see non-Phillies prospects, because you read about the guys, and then you see it live and it gives you a better idea of what scouts are talking about. I read lots and lots of articles, I have a few contacts in the talent evaluation circles, and I also look at key peripheral numbers that give you some indication of what a guy has done, and what he might do in the future.
4. Discuss the evolution of Phuture Phillies.
I started the site about a year ago on a whim. Minor league baseball is fascinating to me on a lot of levels, and I've always had an interest on that level. I used to live close to Reading, so I'd get to see guys like Rollins and Burrell before they became the players they were today. I went to college in North Carolina, so it was tougher to follow the Phillies, but I went to a few Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay 3A Affiliate) games, so I had that connection to minor league baseball. I kind of realized there weren't many sites out there devoted to just Phillies prospects. Lots of general prospect sites, but few devoted to the Phillies, so it seemed like a good match. A year later, the site is pretty popular, so I keep on keepin' on.
5. Are you a bigger fan of minor or major league baseball?
It's a lame response, but I don't like one more than the other. Both have their charms, both have their frustrations, especially as a Phillies fan.
6. What is your favorite aspect of baseball- pitching, offense, or defense?
I think all three are really interesting, but to me pitching is the most fascinating. The actual pitching motion is very unnatural, which is why you see so many hot shot pitching prospects never make it above AA, just the shear attrition of the job. You also see so many different ways of accomplishing the same thing, different pitching motions, guys who throw 95, guys who throw 85, guys with great control, guys who can't hit the broad side of a barn door, but so many guys get the job done in so many different ways, it's pretty amazing.
7. We all know about Carlos Carrasco and Joe Savery, tell us what lesser heard of Phillies down on the farm we need to make ourselves familiar with.
Lou Marson would be near the top of my list. 21 year old catcher, handled some of our best pitching prospects this year at Clearwater after doing the same at Lakewood in 2006. Good defensively, his bat is developing nicely, and he's a pretty good athlete for a catcher. He could be the starter at some point in 2009 or 2010. For a pitcher, I'd say keep an eye on Drew Naylor, one of our many prospects signed out of Australia. He lit up the New York Penn League this year, and likely will anchor the rotation at Lakewood. Good hard fastball, good secondary stuff, still just a little raw, but could turn himself into a middle of the rotation starter. *Another name to be aware of is Gookie Dawkins. He's always been a slick fielder, but has never really been given the chance to succeed at the MLB level. I look for him to displace Jimmy Rollins some time in August or September next season.
8. Give Patty G a rating on a 1-10 scale (11 being the highest) of the job you think he's done thus far at building/repairing the farm system.
This is tough, but I'd probably say a 5 or 6. The farm system was in the bottom 3rd in baseball when he took over, and it remains in the same neighborhood today. Cole Hamels graduated to the majors on Gillick's watch, but the system hasn't replaced him. We lack the true blue chip star, and our second tier prospects all have fairly big question marks attached to them. His drafts have been a mixed bag, he's taken some good risks on guys like Savery and Drabek, but also gone on the cheap in the early rounds and taken low ceiling talent. Some of this appears mandated by ownership, and of course the GM relies heavily on his scouting network, so it's not just him. He traded for Gio Gonzalez, a great move, but squandered that asset for Freddy Garcia. The prospects he got in minor deals were pretty bad, and none have really made any difference in our system. On the flip side, he's only traded one real good prospect in Gonzalez, and one fringe guy in Matt Maloney, and that deal helped us make the playoffs. So, yeah, a real mixed bag.
*= He didn't really say this, but I knew he was thinking it.