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Ruben Amaro Gets Indignant Over… Prospect Rankings?

Jul 22, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT


Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is under a great deal of pressure these days, with the trade deadline looming and an aging squad that seems neither capable of winning consistently nor freefalling from the playoff race altogether. In addition to his stressful work environment, Amaro is also constantly under fire from fans and in the media, as if his job isn’t hard enough right now.

None of which is to get people to sympathize with the man, but you can maybe understand why somebody might buckle under the weight and “snap” so to speak, at least go on the defensive. And with reporters constantly pressing Amaro on the Phils’ next move – some of whom would no doubt turn around and say something critical of the job that he’s doing – there are plenty of easy targets for the GM’s wrath.

Amaro did take some folks to task over the weekend, but it wasn’t our pal Jim Salisbury or any of his Philly brethren. Rather it was the relatively anonymous group of folks who rate minor-league systems, rankings which have been generally unfavorable toward the Fightins’ farm system of late. Not to fear though – Amaro says they’re all full of it in his mini-rant.

Amaro will be protective of his minor-league prospects when considering trades. The Phils’ system is thin on blue-chippers, but it does have some coveted players. Amaro used the subject of the minor-league system as a springboard to rip those who rate minor-league systems.

“We have some guys that may be available,” Amaro said. “Clubs have asked about some guys that you don’t see on the top 25, top 50 lists of everyone who knows everything about baseball. I said that sarcastically, by the way, because I don’t think people know (crap) about it. You can print that if you’d like.

“There’s just a lot of those lists that come out that make me laugh. I don’t see anyone working for any major-league clubs that do that with those lists. It’s interesting.”

We’re sort of at a loss for words on this one. While I’m not quite certain how the Phillies stack up against the rest of Major League Baseball in this category, I’ve often felt their system isn’t quite as depleted as it’s made out to be. Then again I’m not sure prospect rankings are really being treated like scripture, either. Seems very out of left field to get heated over it.

>> Buy? Sell? Ruben Amaro still on the fence [CSN]

  1. Lol - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    I hate Bleacher Report, too. They must put out 10 overlapping and conflicting rankings for each Philly team each day.

    • Mike - Jul 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      Anybody with a computer can write for Bleacher Report.

      it’s just slide shows designed to generate page views.

  2. Ballsy - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Uhoh…the dreaded I’m-snapping-and-fear-for-my-job “you can print that” line from RAJ. A sure sign that his days are numbered.

  3. willh888 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    projects are as simple as this.

    2. Sam Bowie
    3. Michael Jordan

    Phils farm system doesn’t seem to be missing Drabek, Donald, Marson, Taylor, Happ, etc. Looks like they held onto the right guy all along. I never understood why suckers like Keith Law aren’t head scouts for some ball club. Probably because you can guess really hard on ESPN, be wrong a lot, and still keep a job.

    • willh888 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      projections that is, blarg

    • Paul - Jul 22, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      All Ruben’s whining about how “his” minor league system isn’t respected is a smoke show to distract fans and the press from the fact his major league team isn’t performing. Major league GM’s do have some input into how their minor league players perform but that also falls on all of the scouts in their farm system. Ruben’s whining reminds me of the piss poor press attitude Andy Reid showed through his final years in Philadelphia. Stop relying on aging talent and maybe this team will succeed. Although it would help if 45.5 mil of pitching would show up against marginal big league talent last weekend; I’m looking at you Cliff Lee and especially Cole Hamels.

      • willh888 - Jul 22, 2013 at 12:37 PM

        whoa Timmy Tangent, I was talking about the often-randomness of projections according to the experts and you start rambling about looking at Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. You’re out in left field sir, c’mon back.

      • Paul - Jul 22, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        So, I get tangential towards the end of my comment and that you gives the ability to ignore the rest of it. Awesome, way to ignore the fact that Ruben Amaro is acting like a 10 year old child right now and is failing to own up to his failures with the big league club. Keep drinking that Kool Aid, I hope you’re happy when this team sucks for the next 10 years.

      • Steve - Jul 22, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Go get ‘em Paul!

      • willh888 - Jul 22, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        Paul my friend, you’re having your own conversation over there. I didn’t rah-rah the current record of the Phils. That’s you regurgitating a predisposed opinion which has nothing to do with where I’m going. I agree with Amaro’s feeling towards “experts” and their projections with regards to prospects.. not you staring at Cliff Lee like you’re about to rip off your shirt and scream Hulkamania. Bring it down a notch and understand everyone already knows the current phillies are collectively beyond their prime. Only kool aid i like is the kind mixed with vodka, minus the kool aid.

      • Paul - Jul 22, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Dude, the point I was trying to make with my reply to your comment is “Who cares about how the Phillies’ minor league system is ranked.” This team is floundering in mediocrity and you are focused on how Amaro is reacting to the press questioning his team’s minor league system. A) Amaro doesn’t have much to do with the day to day operations of their minor leagues. B) This current team is awful. Caution, new argument C) Why is it the Cardinals, who almost never have oft-mentioned blue chip prospects, seem to consistently call up or find free agents who perform in a manner that brings about a winning club yet the Phillies cannot as of recently?

        Keep taking away from the fact Ruben Amaro is a miserable failure as GM and continue agreeing with his specious objection to the perception of the Phillies farm sytem.

      • willh888 - Jul 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        You just don’t have the ability to listen. I agree, the Phils are pretty mediocre. Their record is mediocre. their performance has been pretty pedestrian the past two seasons. We. All. Know. So lets move on from that.

        Ruben’s knock on experts sounds pretty spot on. You can chant about the Cards all you want, that’s one team out of 30. Why don’t you analyze the Mariners, Indians, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Pirates etc who have all been pure garbage for years. Throw in maybe 3 good collective season between those teams in the last 25 years and you have yourself a team built on “top prospects.” There’s a reason why the Cards are special. No one else really can pull off what they do.. making that quality rare. Lots and lots of projections out there that miss the mark by a mile.. just like the one I outlined in my original post.

      • Christ - Jul 22, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Will you two faggots stop making so fuckin much noise? Youre lowering the intelligence level of everyone here.

    • Paul - Jul 22, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      System that is.

      • Scott - Jul 22, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        @Paul. Like your rant and find it interesting you bring up the Cardinals and I would agree, they seem to do things right.

        That Pujols FA thing. did they look at his numbers, age and declining stats then sign him to a monster deal? Nope, they looked at the facts and decided to let him go.

        RAJ will go down as the GM who gave the worst contract in the history of sports with Howard. I’d love to know the thought process behind that deal.

        Its as if the Phillies winning in 2008 ruined the next XX years. Every deal and signing since has been mostly based on people being part of that team or bringing in old guys to fill roles with other aging players. Old + old = not winning.

      • Paul - Jul 22, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        Thank you Scott. Man I have an entire argument about signing power hitting first baseman and outfielders past the age of 32. Just look at the numbers of hall of fame players at that position. Their numbers drastically drop around that age if they weren’t roiding.

  4. DLo34 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    I don’t agree with Amaro very often, but I think he’s right on this. I think folks that write off the Phils farm system as “depleted” or “barren” need to stop listening to WIP and start paying attention to the minor leagues themselves. The Phils do have talent in the system as has been apparent by some of the call-ups this season. You’ll notice that Jonathan Pettibone is only #4 coming into this season and is currently 22 years old with a 5-3 record and a 3.89 ERA at the MLB level. You’ll also see that minor league home-run king Darin Ruf was only ranked #9 on the team’s top 10 list coming into this season and, though he needs work on hitting a major league off-speed pitch, is contributing now to the big club. 20 year-old Maikel Franco is tearing the cover off the ball this season with 21 HR’s 70 RBI’s .320/.360/.578 through 91 games at high A and AA ball and he is only #8 on that team ranking. This isn’t even going into stud prospects Jesse Biddle and Tommy Joseph. The talent is there.

    Bottom line is that, the folks Amaro is talking about judge the entire Phils farm system as depleted just because they don’t have folks BA’s top 50. The Phils do have high-end talent in their system that is paying off right now. Pettibone and Ruf weren’t even in the top 100 prospects coming into this season and they are contributing right now. Point being, the rankings themselves are ridiculously speculative and simply saying “well the Phils farm is weak simply because they don’t have enough in the top 25 or top 50″ is uninformed. Take for example…Matt Harvey who was ranked #54 by BA coming into last season; Jean Segura ranked #55; Addison Reed # 66 coming to last season; and Yasiel Puig who was ranked #47 coming into this season. None of them sniffed the top 25, but they are all playing top caliber ball right now.

    • BenE. - Jul 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Excellent post!

      I’ll also add how the Phillies had a top 5 organization prospect pool in 2009 before all the big trades Amaro made, yet all those blue chip prospects have yet to have any sort of impact in the majors. Even J.A. Happ, who I was a big fan of, hasn’t been impressive.

    • msankey86 - Jul 22, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      Thing is, some of us DO pay attention to the minor league system. I believe Philly was ranked 23/30 going into the season? Not sure, but whatever. The talent’s there, for sure, but here’s the kicker: outside of guys like Maikel Franco and Jesse Biddle, the farm’s top talent is pretty much all in A-Ball (Lakewood or Clearwater), and won’t be MLB ready for a few years. Tommy Joseph is a lost cause this year, with 3 visits to the DL.

      In that sense, it IS depleted. Ruben traded away all of the top talent for Roy Halladay (can’t complain here, his recent problems aside), Roy Oswalt (how’d that one work out again?), Hunter Pence (sdhfgsdhgyhasgdyaydaydtaydaydya), with three of the guys traded having made their MLB debut – Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Villar (Oswalt trade), and Anthony Gose.

      Granted, success (or lack thereof) doesn’t translate into how they’d do the at major league level, but when the vast majority of your top prospects are in low A or high A? Yeah, your farm system sucks. One other thing: With Revere out, there’s no dedicated CF who can take his place. That’s a direct result of the trades Ruben made over the past few seasons, which have left the farm system barren.

      • Mostel - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:19 AM

        And Ruben also got back garbage for trading away Lee prior to the start of 2010 coming off of a post-season where Lee should have increased his value.

        Ruben has no clue how to assemble a full roster and his flippant unwillingness to spend over the luxury tax threshold (even though more than enough revenue exists to cover this) has often forced us to waste our top prospects in trades for players when free agent signings would have sufficed.

    • eric - Jul 22, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      Saying Pettibone and Ruf are “contributing” completely misses the point. Neither Pettibone nor Ruf are going to be high-end major league talent, which is the goal of a prospect. To produce mediocre minor leaguers out of guys in the “top 10″ of your farm is a miserable approach. The goal is to aim high with the expectation that most won’t pan out that highly. You hope a few do, a few become average ballplayers, and you know the rest just won’t make it. Instead, we have a system where we have one legit prospect–Biddle–where if he flames out, oh boy. Then we have Franco, who is a new-comer to the high-end prospect scene. So you hope that works out. Other than that, nobody else projects to be another more than OK. So right now we’re running a farm where nobody can flame out, because if that happens, nobody else is waiting anytime soon.

      • nahroots - Jul 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        Can I borrow your Crystal Ball?

      • msankey86 - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        “Saying Pettibone and Ruf are “contributing” completely misses the point. Neither Pettibone nor Ruf are going to be high-end major league talent”

        Statements like this annoy me. Pettibone is only 22. There’s no telling how he’ll do in the future. Do you think guys like Verlander, Halladay, Hamels, King Felix, etc. were all aces (or, hell, even good pitchers) when they first came up? They weren’t. I don’t know whether Pettibone will be high-end major league talent or not, but “the goal of a prospect” is to be high-end major league talent? Please, shut up. The goal of a prospect is to GET to the major leagues. Some pan out. Some don’t. Some become ace SP’s (many don’t, not that it’s a knock on them), many will likely become everyday players, etc.

        As far as Ruf: He’s a 27 y/o minor league fodder piece. If he can contribute, fine. I won’t lose sleep over him sucking.

      • nyphilsphan - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:38 AM

        Pettibone, at worst, is another Kyle Kenrick.

        Anyone remember when Kendrick was called up from AA straight to the club and pitched well? We had nothing better to throw out there, at the time, and we all expected him to just be a sacrificial lamb coming up from Lakewood. Reminds me a lot of Pettibone. But Pettibone has a lot more pitches than Kendrick had at 22, and probably has a higher ceiling. The point is, no one knows how a player’s performance in the minors will translate in the majors. A guy could hit .350 in the minors and then freeze up once he sees major league pitching and never recover.

        A guy like Kendrick didn’t have a single attribute that led a single person to believe he’d still be on a major league roster back in 2006. Yet, here he is. Sure, he’s inconsistent. But he’s won some big games for us and he probably didn’t sniff the top 500 overall prospects in the MLB back when he was in the minors. If you had to reconfigure the list back in 2006 to the reality of 2013, I bet he cracks the top 150.

        Point is, Rube is right. Everyone’s dissatisfaction with the current state of the Phils doesn’t change that.

      • nyphilsphan - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:48 AM

        On that note, I’m getting strangely nostalgic for the Phillies of old. When I used to get excited about a no name pitcher, like Kendrick, coming up and winning his first two starts. Reminds me of a simpler time in my own life, and, honestly, I look forward to the impending rebuild and seeing what kind of hidden gems we have stashed away on the farm.

        I remember being down the shore, picking up a USA today at a Wawa and being shocked that Millwood pitched a no hitter. You know, before I could just check on my smartphone. Now I live in California and the girlfriend I was with at the time (still my longest relationship to date, 4 years), is but a distant memory.

        That was 7-8 years ago. How far we’ve come since then! We won a World Series, played in another, should have won another after that (but for a Cliff Lee meltdown we never recovered from…). I like being a fan of this team. I don’t care if we’re set back to 2004 and we have to watch players like Utley and Rollins and Howard and Hamels rise to prominence on the big league squad.

        Then, watching them compete for a WS years down the road will feel that much sweeter. Go Phils!

        Sick of all the haters.

      • eric - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        “Do you think guys like Verlander, Halladay, Hamels, King Felix, etc. were all aces (or, hell, even good pitchers) when they first came up?”

        Uh, learn how prospects work. No, they weren’t aces when they first came up. They all were elite prospects in the minor leagues, however. A high-end prospect consistently dominates his age-group, or better yet, dominates older talent. Take a trip down memory lane and google their minor league stats and prospect rankings. Now do the same for Pettibone. That will give you a very realistic assessment of his longterm viability as a major leaguer. Best case scenario, he projects as a #3. That would be an excellent outcome. The point, which you have surely missed, is that high-end prospects in a system should project higher. We’ve traded away most of those guys and instead are relegated to just OK prospects that won’t be elite major leaguers.

      • msankey86 - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        I know how prospects work, thank you very much. also, key words there: projects as a #3. You do realize he hasn’t had a full season at a level since 2011, right? That’s not something the Phillies have done very often in recent years, which I’m sure you’re aware of.

        You can quote numbers all you want, but they’re no more than PROJECTIONS. Guys don’t become good players just because of their numbers, whatever they are. Experience matters too. Look at Kyle Kendrick. I ripped him to shreds several times over the past few years. This year? I don’t say a damn thing about him that isn’t gushing over how well he does.

        I suppose you were fine with the Hunter Pence trade in 2011 too, just because the guys the Phillies got rid of in that one (other than Cosart) haven’t made their MLB debut yet. If you are, I suggest getting off the internet and finding a new sport to watch.

      • eric - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        You’re a special kind of stupid, huh?

        You just made my point for me and it’s really confusing on what I am supposed to do with it.

        You seem to agree with me that Pettibone projects as a #3. You then say projections don’t matter. Well that’s stupid. Of course it matters. It matters because it essentially describes the type of pitcher they are and how much they are bringing to the table. If a guy projects to be a #1, you know he has way above average stuff in the minor leagues. A guy who throws 95+ with great off speed pitches is going to project to be a #1. You see how that plays in the majors when the time comes. The important point, which I am hoping you grasp, is that this is all relevant to evaluating talent. As the Phil’s farm currently stands, they have very few of these guys that project highly. Maybe your point is that all of the Phils’ mediocre prospects will suddenly be amazing at the major league level? Who knows?

        As for the Pence trade.. Now that I’ve explained to you how minor league baseball works, do you think I would be content with trading away the #1 pitching prospect and the #1 hitting prospect in the farm for a decent OF? Does that seem like the type of position I would advocate? You are just all over the place.

      • msankey86 - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        My point is that you don’t know how they’ll do in the future. If you do, you’re a special kind of stupid. Stick to commenting on Crashburn Alley and sucking their dicks.

      • Eric - Jul 24, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        Your point is that you don’t know how they’ll do in the future. That’s a very, very bold statement. I’m not sure why that gives you license to disregard 100+ years of evidence to the contrary. Projecting prospects has been going on for a lot longer than you or I have been alive. Today, we understand it even better. So it makes little sense to ignore prospect rankings merely because you don’t feel like it (although it’s far more likely that you just don’t understand it). When looking at what prospects throw and how well it plays in the minor leagues, it’s fairly easy to gauge how successful that stuff might play in the majors. It’s not an exact science, and nobody is pretending it is. However, there are some very good indications.

        Take, for example, Cloyd. He had very, very good minor league numbers, even for his age. However, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to determine that maxing out at 87 MPH was not going to cut it in the majors. That’s why nobody wanted to even discuss him in a trade. Now, could he have come up and been above average? Sure, anything’s possible at any given time. Was it likely to be a positive outcome? Not even a little bit. Ultimately, it was easy to tell early on that his stuff just was not going to get major league hitters out.

        Nothing I said has anything to do with Crashburn Alley. I have no idea why you think basic ideas like “hitters struggle with 97, but not 87″ is such a crazy analytical concept. I also don’t know how it’s a bad idea to say “guys like this very rarely make it in the major leagues” is a bad concept to generally apply, and adapt to your particular player. These aren’t new ideas, they are just better understood. Get with the program, chief.

      • msankey86 - Jul 24, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        So you’re saying I should focus on over a century of numbers and allow them to take precedence over common sense and logic. Right. Go away.

      • eric - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:15 AM

        “So you’re saying I should focus on over a century of numbers and allow them to take precedence over common sense and logic.”

        Uh. A century of numbers necessarily dictates the baseline standards for common sense and logic. If thing X happens 85% of the time, it is quite reasonable to expect thing X to happen again. You’re taking it ot the extreme and assuming two stupid things: 1) it won’t ever happen again (nobody is saying that but you) and/or 2) nobody is flexible enough to adapt to what this unique situation entails. Again, take Cloyd. Based on his array of pitches and minor league statistics, he is projected to do only so well. Nobody is saying that’s a certainty. But to flatly refuse to accept that it’s a reasonable or likely outcome because some notion of common sense compels you otherwise is stupid. You should work with the body of information you have as a starting point, not disregard it all as somehow irrelevant. You sound like a petulent child when you do that.

  5. sfsu - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    “I said that sarcastically, by the way, because I don’t think people know (crap) about it. You can print that if you’d like.”

    Sounds like a guy who would trade 3 top prospects for Hunter Pence to botch a few fly balls while delaying Dom Brown’s debut.

    It’s fucking EMBARASSING that RAJ is more respected in this city than Andy Reid ever will be.

    • Paul - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:55 AM

      No, you can’t bring that up according to WillH. That would be detracting from the truth of Amaro’s bashing of how his minor league system is underrated. Never mind he has little to do with the day to day operation of the minor league system or that all of his decisions have been washes for both sides involved. Ruben spoke the truth so that is all that matters. Comcast’s balls must taste nice.

    • Paul - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:57 AM

      Also, RAJ isn’t as respected as you think. Listen to both 94.1 and 97.5, it is mostly bashing him with some Kool Aid drinkers still addling around. The difference is the media in this city is not reticent to bash RAJ as they were with Reid.

    • nyphilsphan - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:19 AM


      Stop saying “Kool Aid Drinkers”

      It makes you sound like a poster, which is probably what you are.

      “Drinking The Kool Aid”, in this context, means that you buy everything the management says and think that the leadership is flawless. That doesn’t describe a SOUL on this comment board. So stop pretending that just because people don’t want to join you in wallowing in negativity and hating on everything every team in the entire city of Philadelphia says OR does means that they’re a bunch of brain-dead sycophants. There’s a lot of space between “OMG THE PEOPLE WHO RUN THE TEAM ARE MORONS AND NO ONE ELSE SEES IT BUT ME” and “OMG WE’RE GONNA WIN IT ALL EVERY YEAR!”. There is no requirement that you have to fall on one end of the spectrum or the other.

      Try to remember that next time you use the term most indicative of a low I.Q. among forum posters, “Kool Aid Drinkers”.

  6. Paul - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    Oh man you pegged me because of one phrase I used. It is a cliche I get it. I want this team to succeed. I’m not negative at all about my perspective regarding this team. This year and the next few will only be successful if Ruben either makes some genius or lucky moves. This team spends entirely too much money to be a team that has a marginal chance at making the playoffs. RAJ has to go, it is that apparent. People like you and WillH are the same that believe Ed Snider can still build a Stanley Cup winning Flyer’s team through anything but luck. Also, I’d be insulted by your I.Q. comment if it were indicative of anything besides under how much affluence you were raised.

    • Paul - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:50 AM

      The term you were reaching for to define me is pragmatic not negative by the way.

    • nyphilsphan - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:53 AM

      Ha! Me saying a term you use makes you look stupid means my parents were rich? Yet another broad generalization from Paul!

  7. Paul - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    Never said your parents are/were rich. Just pointing out the bias numerous studies regarding IQ, SAT and other standardized tests are based on. Keep reaching.

    • Paul - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:01 AM

      Funny, because reaching is the same thing Ruben Amaro does every time he signs veteran talent.

  8. 2sentz - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    Soon Paul will wake up, yawn, see he’s not the last person to post on this thread, then post something.

    • Paul - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:23 AM

      I just yawned.

  9. A Real Phillies fan - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    After reading all of these comments I am convinced so-called PHILLIES fans are embarrassingly stupid!
    No matter what the remark, statement or interview result, you will all find some reason to comment according to your hatred of the person, be it coach, player, GM or whatever else! These are PEOPLE you are talking about, human beings with faults and failings – just liked YOU- and they deserve to be heard and respected for doing whatever they were hired to do! Stop all this bashing and spend time with a CONSTRUCTIVE criticism!
    Personally, I don’t know how Ruben Amaro Jr. puts up with all this and remain as positive and dignified as he does. Deal with it!!!!

  10. FlimFlam - Sep 21, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    What a stupid comment.


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