If you’re a fan of Philadelphia Phillies history, you’ll to enjoy this.
While digging through some old sports magazines this week, I found a 2005 program from the Reading Phillies, the organization’s Double-A affiliates. In the final pages of the magazine are Baseball America‘s top 10 Phillies prospects for the year, a list that included some future impact major leaguers:
2005 @BaseballAmerica Top 10 Phillies prospects
No. 1: Ryan Howard
No. 3: Cole Hamels
No. 5: Michael Bourn
No: 8: Carlos Carrasco
All things considered, this was a pretty amazing group. pic.twitter.com/iHa9pNELEU
Ryan Howard is the top overall prospect, with the headline “Still blocked by Thome, slugger waits for his chance.” Howard had split the prior season between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting 46 total home runs, including setting a new franchise record by hitting 37 home runs at Reading. A scout opines in the literature that “Howard’s prodigious power rivals that of any prospect.”
Howard homered twice in 19 games for the Phillies that September, but had no clear path to the majors with future Hall of Famer Jim Thome entrenched at first base. Alas, Baseball America concluded that “Realistically, Philadelphia knows it must trade Howard because Thome is signed through 2008. Even if he could handle left field regularly, Pat Burrell would block them.”
Of course, a right elbow injury limited Thome to just 59 games in 2005. Howard took over at first base in his absence, winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award after homering 22 times in just 88 games. The Phillies would trade Thome to the Chicago White Sox after the season. Given that Howard won the NL MVP after hitting a franchise-record 58 home runs in 2006 and Thome homered 42 times with a 1.014 OPS in his first season with the White Sox, its a shame for the Phillies that the universal DH didn’t yet exist.
The No. 2 prospect behind Howard was right-handed pitcher Gavin Floyd, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2001 MLB Draft. Floyd would hang around the league for 13 years, but made just 24 appearances for the Phillies. He was sent along with Gio González to the White Sox in December of 2006 in exchange for veteran righty Freddy García, which proved to be the rare disastrous move during the Pat Gillick Era.
Floyd topped future World Series MVP Cole Hamels, who had been limited to just four appearances the prior year because of a left triceps injury. Hamels’ future report read as such: “He has a slightly higher ceiling than Floyd, but is more of a risk.” Well, things turned out alright for Hamels, who went 114-90 with a 3.30 ERA in parts of 10 seasons for the Phillies, solidifying himself as one of the best pitchers in franchise history.
Speedy center fielder Michael Bourn came in at No. 5, with the scouting report of “Bourn’s first two pro seasons impressed the Phillies enough that they now consider him their long-term center fielder.”
Ultimately, Bourn ended up being blocked in center field by Shane Victorino, with Jayson Werth emerging as a star in right field. Bourn made two All-Star teams in his career, but only after the Phillies traded him to the Houston Astros ahead of 2008 in a deal that netted them Brad Lidge. Bourn returned to the Phillies in 2022, serving as one of the radio game analysts with Scott Franzke.
The final prospect of note on the list was 18-year-old righty Carlos Carrasco, the only player on this list still in the league. Currently with the New York Mets, Carrasco spent parts of 11 seasons with the franchise now known as the Cleveland Guardians. He was traded there in July of 2009, helping the Phillies to land reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee.
Here is the full top 10 list of Phillies prospects in 2005 from Baseball America:
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