Mike Arbuckle has been with the Phillies since 1992 and has been the team's assistant general manager since 2001.

He has helped draft and develop the team's core talent of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Brett Myers and Cole Hamels. We asked readers of The Inquirer's Phillies blog - The Phillies Zone - for their questions for Arbuckle, who spent this week scouting in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic before returning to the United States on Thursday.

Here's what you asked and here's what he answered:

Question: With the draft fast approaching, what are the Phillies looking for to replenish their farm system?

Answer:

We're always looking for the best player available high in the draft. You have to be very careful about trying to draft toward a particular position, simply because of the time it takes to develop players to get to the big leagues. Your needs can change by the time your player is major-league ready. So you try to draft the best available player in each round, the guy that we would view as having the highest ceiling. You just work from that.

Q:

Who is the best prospect in the organization that fans and the media don't know about and why?

A:

A young guy that people might know about a little bit because he came out of last year's draft: Julian Sampson. He really came into spring training, gained a good 20 pounds, was throwing really hard. I would say he is a kid that just because he's out of last year's draft he's not known by fans, but he's going to be known by fans before long I would think.

Q:

The other night I noticed that the Boston Red Sox had Jed Lowrie [a shortstop] playing third base for the injured Mike Lowell. Because shortstops are usually very versatile and because the Phillies have a very good shortstop in Jimmy Rollins, would you consider looking at the possibility of Jason Donald moving to third base?

A:

We've talked about moving him around actually to various positions, but ideally you'd like your third baseman to have home-run power, a guy that can drive in runs. I'm not sure that Jason would be the prototype third baseman for that reason.

Q:

With health concerns of Shane Victorino, how seriously will the Phillies pursue signing Pat Burrell to a new contract?

A:

I think we have to analyze the whole picture at the end of the year and make decisions on where the pieces fit. I think we're focusing on trying to make decisions here to win this thing this year, and as we get toward the end of the season we'll start doing an analysis to where the pieces fit for next year.

Q:

We keep hearing how the Phillies' farm system doesn't have the top prospects to get involved in major deals like Johan Santana. I was wondering how you would rate the farm system now?

A:

I think we have some more kids coming. I think the strength is double-A down, so I think our better prospects are younger kids. So I think we're getting back to where we want to be, but the strength of it is still at the lower levels.

Q:

Some teams like the Tigers and Yankees seem to ignore MLB's slotting system for signing draft picks. It seems the Phillies follow MLB's slot recommendations more closely. How will you approach this issue in the upcoming draft?

A:

I think generally we have been a club and are a club that tries to do what's best for the industry. Every club has to make their own decisions as to how they're going to go about doing their business, but I do think that there is something to be said for trying to do what's best for the industry.

Q:

How do you compare college players with high school players when drafting? Also, regarding hitters, how do you eliminate the effect of the aluminum bat?

A:

In comparing high school to college players, generally the college player is nearer to being the finished product. So you can't project as much on a college player as you would a high school player. The aluminum bat makes it definitely more difficult to scout position players. I think, though, that with the adjustments they've made with the aluminum bats in the last three years or so, where the length-to-weight ratio is better, it has improved that some. There was a time when the bats were just so light that it really fooled you. But now it's closer to what the wood bat is. It has helped some.

Q:

What is your best horror story [parent or outrageous demand] when it came to signing a player?

A:

There have been a few through the years. I think we get them maybe as much or more in Latin America. Because you end up with local agents and parents there who really have no concept of what a player's value might be. What happens in some cases is they'll start out asking for $1.5 to $2 million, and you may end up signing the kid for $200,000. But you have to play the string out, and they have to realize that the value isn't what they personally deem it to be. It can be an adventure, no question.

Q:

The way Joe Savery has pitched for single-A Clearwater, will he be promoted to double-A Reading soon?

A:

I don't think there's anything we would do soon. We'll continue to evaluate every start, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that at some point during the course of the season we might want to make a move if he's dominating the league.

Q:

Do you think Greg Golson has finally turned the corner on tapping his potential, or is it still too soon to tell?

Also, what do you forsee his ETA to the majors as?

A:

We're very happy with what he's done. We all feel that he's started to figure out things at the plate. He's a guy that I could very possibly see making a move over the course of the season at some point to triple A.