Former Phils prospects shine at Futures game
KANSAS CITY – The ball was hit to deep center. Anthony Gose turned, sprinted back and made a diving catch. The big crowd at Kauffman Stadium erupted in appreciation.
This was Sunday afternoon at Major League Baseball’s annual Futures Game. The kickoff event for All-Star week features the top prospects in the game and the Phillies were well represented on both the World and USA teams.
Well, you could say Phillies scouts were well represented.
Lisalverto Bonilla and Julio Rodriguez, both pitchers for Double A Reading, were on the World roster. Bonilla, a native of the Dominican Republic, is a product of Sal Agostinelli’s international scouting department and Rodriguez, from Puerto Rico, was a member of the Phillies’ fertile 2008 draft class.
The USA team featured two brilliant prospects, centerfielder Gose and first baseman Jonathan Singleton, who both made contributions in the USA’s 17-5 win. Both players were scouted and drafted by the Phillies and later used in trades for high-profile talent.
Gose and Singleton were to be joined on the USA team by catcher Travis d’Arnaud, but he had to pull out with a knee injury. He was also scouted, drafted and traded by the Phillies.
Gose, Singleton and d’Arnaud are a reminder of the cost of doing business when a big-league club finds itself in go-for-it mode. Their departures, palatable when the Phillies were racking up wins, are more difficult to swallow now that the Phils, losers of 10 of their last 11 games, have fallen to the bottom of the NL East.
The Phillies have made a slew of trades in recent seasons and none have really come back to bite them.
The consensus around baseball is that Gose, Singleton and d’Arnaud could.
Shane Victorino was benched in Philadelphia on Sunday. With each passing day, it looks more likely that he will be somewhere else next season, possibly sooner. The Phillies will need a centerfielder.
Once upon a time, Gose, who stole 76 bases for the Phillies’ Single A Lakewood club in 2009, seemed ticketed for that position. But when the Phils needed pitching in 2010, they traded him to Houston for Roy Oswalt. Oswalt helped the Phils win a division, and there’s no giving that back. But there’s also no getting Gose back. He was traded from Houston to Toronto right after the Oswalt deal in 2010 and the Jays believe they have a keeper in the 21-year-old speedster.
Gose, hitting .290 with a .371 on-base percentage and 29 stolen bases for Triple A Las Vegas, has only good memories of being with the Phillies.
“It’s a tremendous honor being traded for someone like [Oswalt],” said Gose, who singled in Sunday’s game. “You never know what’s going to happen in this game. I’m very thankful and grateful for what the Phillies did for me. Obviously for drafting me, giving me the opportunity to play ball, and for all they taught me. Now I just have to keep going and try to get [to the majors].”
Singleton was dealt to Houston last summer as part of the package for Hunter Pence. The Phillies believed he was expendable because he was blocked at first base Ryan Howard. Singleton briefly tried to play leftfield, but had difficulty with it in the Phillies’ system. He has begun to play some at the position again, including a stint there Sunday, but is primarily a first baseman. The Southern California native is a brilliant hitting prospect. He has made the jump to Double A this season and is hitting .271 with 12 homers and 47 RBI in 80 games. Not bad for a 20-year-old. He had three hits in Sunday’s game.
d’Arnaud was the first of this trio to be traded. He was dealt to Toronto in Dec. 2009 as part of the package for Roy Halladay. At the time of the trade, d’Arnaud was coming off a season in which he hit .255 with 13 homers and 71 RBIs at Single A Lakewood. The 37th overall pick in the 2007 draft, d’Arnaud began to blossom last season at Double A. He hit .311 with 21 homers and 78 RBIs and was the Eastern League MVP. This season, the 23-year-old has moved to Triple A and hit hitting .333 with 16 homers and 52 RBIs.
In its mid-season prospect rankings, Baseball America has d’Arnaud ranked 19th in baseball. Singleton is 23rd. Gose is 38th.
They’d look good on the road to Philadelphia.
But again, going for it has its cost.
Bonilla, 22, has a 1.64 ERA in 21 games at Reading. He did not appear in the Futures Game due to a hand injury, suffered at the team hotel on Saturday. A person with knowledge of the injury said Bonilla may have been horsing around.
Rodriguez, 21, was 16-7 with a 2.76 ERA in 27 starts at Single A Clearwater last season. He has continued to pitch well this season, going 5-2 with a 3.76 ERA in 17 games, 16 starts at Double A Reading. Rodriguez allowed three hits, including a homer, and three runs in an inning of work on Sunday.E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com