Just a few years ago, the Phillies were set to be on top of the baseball world and become a dynasty as strong as the Yankees of the late ’90s. They not only had a pitching staff filled with aces, but they had control over franchise players Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins. It was not a question as to if they were going to win championships, but how many would they win.
After winning one World Series title, skills declined and injuries happened and everything came crashing down on the club. As minor league players came up through the system, they were traded off for veterans that were supposed to keep the championship runs going. Now those young players that they traded are becoming stars around the league. Here is a look at five of the games brightest young players who were former Phillies farm hands.
On July 29, 2009 the Phillies acquired Hunter Pence from the Huston Astros, but he did not come cheap. In acquiring Pence, the Phillies parted with slugging first baseman Jon Singleton. For years after the deal, Singleton was viewed as the best first baseman all of the minor leagues by slugging 75 minor league homeruns, including a career high 21 homers in 2012. Debuting this season with the Astros, Singleton has already homered four times and is set to be in the middle of their order for the next decade.
In the same Hunter Pence deal, the Phillies also parted ways with Jarred Cosart one of their best minor league arms. By acquiring Cosart, the Astros got a player who has quickly moved to the top of their rotation. At 24 years old, Cosart has impressed enough to be viewed as the club’s ace. Through his first 25 starts, Cosart has gone 8-6 with a 3.04 ERA.
The final, “player to be named later” in the deal for Pence was Domingo Santana. While he has yet to play in the big leagues, he may be the player that the Phillies miss most. In dealing Santana, the Phillies lost a five-tool outfielder who currently is only 21 years old. Through his minor league career he has proven to find gaps while hitting for average and power. He also has a strong right field arm in the field. This season in AAA he has batted .293 in 77 games while homering 11 times. If he continues to produce, he should be in Houston very soon.
When the Phillies were able to trade for Roy Halladay they were able to receive one of the best pitchers in the game, but they also parted ways with the best catching prospect in all of baseball. While Travis d’Arnaud was traded again to the Mets and has struggled to stay healthy, he has all of the tools to be a plus offensive catcher. At the age of 25 he can be a bat that the Mets build around.
On July 29th, 2010 the Phillies dealt shortstop Jonathan Villar to the Astros for Roy Oswalt. In dealing Villar, they gave away a shortstop who has tremendous speed and a steady glove. Through his 120 games, Villar has stolen 32 bases. At just 23 years old with the lineup steadily improving, Villar’s numbers should continue to rise.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference