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Phillies' farm system not bereft of talent

PHILADELPHIA -- It's been well documented that in recent years, the Phillies have not been afraid to trade Minor League prospects for known Major Leaguers in their quest to win another World Series title.

That being said, there is still talent in Philadelphia's Minor League system, highlighted by a pair of young pitchers in Trevor May and Jesse Biddle, who are regarded as the top two prospects in the organization.

After the 2012 First-Year Player Draft concluded on Wednesday, the Phillies added more pitching depth with 27 more arms to go along with 15 position players. They used their top two picks on 18-year-old high school right-handed pitchers in Shane Watson (Lakewood (Calif.) High School) and Mitch Gueller (WF West (Wash.) High School).

A majority of the high school players drafted in 2012 will play with the Phillies' Gulf Coast League team upon signing, while most of the older college-level players will likely head to short-season Class A Williamsport.

"I think we have some very good athletes and a lot of young kids," assistant general manager of amateur scouting Marti Wolever said of the Phillies' Minor League system. "All in all, I think we're real pleased with what's going on. I think great things are happening and just anticipate the best."

May, a 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher currently at Double-A Reading, is regarded by many as the top prospect in the Phillies' farm system, and ranks him as the 48th-best prospect in baseball.

The 22-year-old's pitching repertoire includes a fastball, curveball and changeup. This season, his first at Reading, May is 5-3 with a 4.94 ERA in 11 starts. He has 58 strikeouts to 24 walks in 58 1/3 innings pitched.

Biddle, ranked the 73rd-best prospect by, is another pitcher whom Phillies fans should keep an eye on. Biddle, a southpaw from Germantown Friends High School in Philadelphia, was the Phillies' first-round pick (27th overall) in 2010. He has impressed at Class A Clearwater and boasts a 3-2 record with a 2.51 ERA in 11 starts. The 20-year-old has 64 strikeouts to 19 walks.

As far as offense goes, last year's first-round pick, outfielder/first baseman Larry Greene, is playing in extended spring training and is likely headed to Williamsport this season. Wolever said Greene is progressing well.

Outfielder Anthony Hewitt, the Phillies' first-round pick in 2008, is playing at Class A Clearwater. He has hit five home runs this season, but he's batting just .227.

First baseman Darin Ruf, a 20th-round pick in 2009, has impressed at Double-A Reading with a .335 average, 10 home runs and 41 RBIs this season.

Wolever said he was happy with the progress of the farm system over the past few years.

"It just takes time," he said. "You've got to be patient. It takes time."

Philadelphia Phillies