CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Just a couple months ago, MLB.com ranked the top 100 prospects in baseball.
Three teams lead the pack, each with six players in the top 100: Tampa Bay, Oakland and San Diego.
The Phillies have three: right-hander Trevor May (No. 53), left-hander Jesse Biddle (No. 78) and right-hander Brody Colvin (No. 80). But the club's eye for talent has been much better than that in recent years, because four other prospects the Phillies drafted also ranked in the top 100: catcher Travis d'Arnaud (No. 25), first baseman Jonathan Singleton (No. 43), outfielder Anthony Gose (No. 56) and right-hander Jarred Cosart (No. 61). But the Phillies traded those prospects to acquire Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence in their quest for a World Series championship.
"I feel good about our depth," Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper said. "Through the Draft and our international signings over the last couple years, we've added some guys we think are prospects and will become Major League players. Most of those guys are in the lower depths, even though we have some guys moving up to Double-A this year that are prospects. Even though we've lost quite a few, we think we've still got a lot of prospects in the pipeline."
With the Minor League season getting under way, fans can keep track of the Phillies' top prospects throughout the year on Prospect Watch. And get scores, stats, news, schedules, tickets and more for the Phillies' Minor League teams on the Phillies' affiliates page.
where to watch
A look at where the Phillies' Top 20 prospects are starting the 2012 season:
Justin De Fratus
Click here for the complete Top 20 list on Prospect Watch.
Stacked squads Triple-A Lehigh Valley
If the Phillies need help in their bullpen this season, they will have plenty of choices in Lehigh Valley. Right-handers Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus (in big league camp rehabbing from an elbow injury) and Michael Schwimer are opening the season with the IronPigs. Left-hander Jake Diekman is also in Lehigh Valley. And keep an eye on left fielder Domonic Brown. If he plays well in Triple-A and the Phillies have problems in left field, it is not foolish to think Brown could be back with the Phillies sooner rather than later.
May leads a talented rotation in Reading. Right-handers Jonathan Pettibone and Julio Rodriguez join him. According to MLB.com's rankings, May, Pettibone and Rodriguez are the first, 10th and 16th ranked prospects in the organization, respectively. Outfielder Tyson Gillies, who the Phillies acquired in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade, is looking to have a big year after playing just 31 games the previous two seasons because of injuries. Catcher Sebastian Valle, who ranks sixth in the organization's rankings, and outfielder Jiwan James, who ranks 19th, are also opening the season in Reading.
Class A Clearwater
Left-hander Biddle, who hails from Philadelphia, and Colvin lead the Threshers' rotation. They're both in MLB.com's Top 100 rankings.
Class A Lakewood
Shortstop Tyler Greene is in Lakewood. The Phillies selected him in the 11th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, but paid him over slot because of his potential. Third baseman Maikel Franco is a top talent, ranking ninth in the organization. Outfielder Aaron Altherr, who ranks 12th, also opens with the BlueClaws.
Debuts and Draftees
The Phillies selected Larry Greene Jr. with a compensatory pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. The Phillies love his power and bat speed, and they hope one day he can be a Ryan Howard-type slugger in the big leagues. The Phillies think Greene has more power than Singleton, who ranks 43rd in baseball.
Shortstop Roman Quinn, who the Phillies selected in the second round, is a switch-hitter who can run and has enough natural ability to play the position.
Teams on TV
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are among a growing number of teams whose games are available on MiLB.TV. The 2012 MiLB.TV package will include more than 2,500 Minor League games streamed live, as well as games archived for on-demand streaming soon after completion.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.