Phillies Top 10 Prospects
By Will Kimmey
General manager Ed Wade replaced Scott Rolen by signing free agent David Bell for four seasons at $17 million. He made a huge upgrade at first base by luring Jim Thome away from the Indians with a six-year, $85 million contract. And when Kevin Millwoods possible eight-figure arbitration award became too much for the Braves to bear, Wade swooped in and stole him for the low, low price of backup catcher Johnny Estrada.
Even after their runs at Tom Glavine and Jamie Moyer failed, Philadelphia still has the talent to return to the playoffs for the first time since its 1993 World Series appearance.
Plugging Thome into a heart of the order that already featured Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell should make the Phillies mighty potent. Millwood becomes the No. 1 starter, relieving the pressure on Vicente Padilla and Randy Wolf and giving Brett Myers more time to grow into that role.
Despite being the nations sixth-largest market, Philadelphia hasnt drawn well and will receive money in Major League Baseballs new revenue-sharing plan. Ironically, the Indians pay into the fund and will indirectly subsidize Thomes contract.
The additions marked a significant payroll increase for Philadelphiaroughly $33 million in salaries and bonuses for 2003 alonebut the hope is a contending team and a move from Veterans Stadium will win back fans.
Philadelphia won six National League East titles from 1976-83, but has enjoyed just three winning seasons sincelargely because its player-development system was ignored for years. Now theres a legitimate cause for optimism and sustained success.
Aside from the flashy moves this offseason, the bulk of the roster is homegrown. Theres more talent on the way in a system that has been rebuilt under the watch of assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle.
Myers, Jimmy Rollins and Brandon Duckworth have graduated to the majors over the last two seasons, and center fielder Marlon Byrd is ready to take the next step. The Phillies still have pitching and hitting talent throughout the system.
Their future looks bright, especially over the next two seasons. The only possible downfall could come in the later years of Thome and Bells deals, as their skills diminish while they still eat up a large portion of the payroll.
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 210. Drafted: HSSeverna Park, Md., 2001 (1st round). Signed by: Ken Hultzapple.
Background: As a freshman on Mount St. Joseph Highs junior-varsity team, Floyd watched his older brother Mike and Mark Teixeira, both seniors, play for the varsity. Three years later, Gavin and Teixeira were selected with the fourth and fifth overall picks in the 2001 draft, with Philadelphia also taking Mike in the 22nd round. The Floyd brothers were on the South Carolina campus ready to attend class before both agreed to last-minute deals with the Phillies, with Gavin receiving a club-record $4.2 million bonus. He made a strong pro debut in 2002, ranking among the low Class A South Atlantic League leaders in several categories. Managers rated him the leagues top prospect. The Phillies handled Floyd cautiously, starting his pitch count at 70 and stretching it to 100 as he gained strength and durability.
Strengths: Floyd came to the Phillies with two plus pitches: his fastball and hard, sharp curveball. He throws the fastball 89-92 mph, peaking at 94-95 mph, with rapid arm action and a smooth delivery, and he used it almost exclusively to no-hit Lexington on July 24. Nevertheless, his knee-buckling curve is his best pitch because it can be unhittable at times. The organization asked Floyd to lay off his curve last season, urging him to develop the changeup that he never needed in high school. He has a nice feel for it now, and it could become a third plus offering. While Floyds stuff compares favorably to that of Brett Myers, he has a more laid-back personality. That doesnt mean Floyd isnt a strong competitor, though. His makeup and work ethic should allow him to maximize his talents.
Weaknesses: Floyd just needs innings and work in game situations. Hes learning which pitches to throw in certain counts and how to read hitters. He throws strikes to both sides of the plate but is refining his command in the strike zone. Floyd must use his fastball more and not rely so much on his curveball.
The Future: Though hes as polished as any prep pitcher after one year in the minors, Floyd wont be rushed. The Phillies minor league pitching depth will allow them to move him one level at a time. He can expect to start 2003 at high Class A Clearwater. Floyd profiles as a No. 1 starter.
Click here for prospects 2-10.
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