My Phillies Top 50 Mid-Season Prospects List


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It’s the All-Star break. The point in the season where some major league teams become really uninteresting, and some start the pennant drive. The Phillies will only be wondering if they can lose 110 games or not, not if there is a playoff berth in their 2015 future. If the current playoff-less drought is to end at any point in the near future (this is the fourth season, by the way), some of their minor league prospects will have to make sure of that. The current roster in the majors is a mix of below average talents, over the hill players, and misfits.

And so, we rank these prospects. A little bit of insight to my methodology here.

  • I’m trying to rank a player based on their potential in the majors. In other words, it’s not a pure ceiling ranking, nor is it a “likelihood to make it up” ranking. It’s a mixture. I probably am biased towards upper level minors players, because I live closer to Lehigh Valley and Reading, but thanks to getting the minor league TV package, I see as much baseball as possible now.
  • I absolutely read other rankings. Do they influence mine? Yeah. Do I like to copy them? No. Besides that, how would you pick which to copy- Baseball America, MLB, other sites- where do you go? All are influencers, but mine are mine.
  • You are eligible for my list until you’re a major league regular. In other words, Maikel Franco is obviously off. Darin Ruf is not a prospect. Severino Gonzalez and Adam Morgan? I’m ruling them and David Buchanan all off, because they’re all back up there with a reasonable chance to stay.

And with that in mind, here is my rankings:

  1. J.P. Crawford-SS-Reading- I think we all knew in the pre-season how good he was. I think the thing that surprised me this year is that he’s a really good defensive shortstop. I had been operating under the assumption he was a great hitter and an adequate shortstop. Between reports from Reading and the Future’s Game, I think I was under-estimating him.
  2. Aaron Nola-P-Lehigh Valley- He could be up in a week, he could be up next season. I prefer September. He is doing an outstanding job, but you can see when watching him he’s still figuring it out in AAA. He could come up and pitch tomorrow, and probably do alright for himself while there. Even so, I’d like to see him get plenty of time to progress in this lost season.
  3. Roman Quinn-OF-Reading- He hit over .300 and stole 29 bags in the time up until his recent leg injury, and has shown to be a very good centerfielder defensively. I am concerned by his second major leg injury, and the time missed will probably delay him reaching AAA this season. With that said, he still has an ETA of next season, and has shown a potential to be a high in the order bat.
  4. Zach Eflin-P-Reading- He’s currently in the Pan-Am Games pitching for Team USA. I could see him promoted after to AAA. He’s not a top of the rotation type of arm, but he’s absolutely showing he can profile as a starter in the majors. My guess is that he’s another arrival in 2016.
  5. Aaron Altherr-OF-Lehigh Valley- He has jumped way up the ranking by raking in AA and AAA this season. He has good outfield range and an adequate arm at all three positions. He’s shown flashes of power, but the impressive thing about him this year is that he’s hitting hard line-drives, which should translate nicely. I’d expect we’ll see him this season, maybe after the deadline.
  6. Ben Lively-P-Reading- I wondered if last season was an anomaly for him, but he’s shown some reason to believe. AA has been more competitive for him than the lower minors were, but Lively has produced a mid-threes ERA. I wonder if they will promote him or not this season, but either way, he could certainly get a look next season.
  7. Jesse Biddle-P-Lehigh Valley- Biddle is no less an enigma than he was a year ago. He has some outstanding starts where his newly developed slider is working and he’s just about untouchable, and then he can all of a sudden just be unable to throw a strike. He’s had some success against lefties, so while he still has a shot to develop into a starter in the majors, if he’s not making it starting, he could relieve. I’m hoping being out of Reading will help him relax.
  8. Kelly Dugan-OF-Reading- His injury history is concerning, and i’m shocked i’m ranking him this high. With that said, he can flat out hit, and he’s done well in Reading this year. I don’t know if the time lost early will prevent him from reaching AAA this Summer, but he looks clearly prepared to be there in 2016.
  9. Carlos Tocci-OF-Clearwater- He hasn’t hit as well after his promotion to Clearwater, but he already showed enough in Lakewood to make one believe in the tools people keep saying he has. He’s not even 20 yet. In his third season in Lakewood, he was amongst the league leaders in hitting, and even showed some gap power in the process. He’ll probably stay in Clearwater to start 2016, but that’s totally fine by me.
  10. Franklyn Kilome-P-Williamsport- He has great stuff, and was really dominating in Williamsport so far this year. He just has to stay healthy and continue to develop. He has a work-horse body type, and a very live arm that could put him high in the rotation, if he develops right. He’s still far off though.
  11. Jose Pujols-OF-Williamsport- He was off of my radar before his hot start this year. Now he probably will end up as a top ten prospect at the end of the year, and has some of the most elite talent in the organization. Pujols has all the tools to be a great oufielder in a few years, but patience is the key here. He’ll probably play his first season of full-season ball in 2016.
  12. Cornelius Randolph-OF-GCL Phillies- For a newly-minted 18 year old first round pick, he’s hit very well in the GCL so far this Summer. I’m a believer in the pick. He’s a line-drive hitter who will see his power grow as he matures. He’s been more than adequate in left field so far, and his bat should play up big time.
  13. Rhys Hoskins-1B-Clearwater- He’s a guy who wasn’t on my radar and burst on it at Lakewood. In Clearwater, he’s done fine, but not lit up the stat sheet the same. Let’s see how he finishes. He has a shot to play his way to Reading by 2016, if not at the beginning, some time in between.
  14. Tom Windle-P-Reading- Moving to the bullpen was the right move for him. Since he’s slimmed down his arsenal of pitches, his electric slider and good fastball are playing up in the bullpen. Let’s see how the rest of the season goes before determining his future value.
  15. Gabriel Lino-C-Lehigh Valley- He was a guy I didn’t think could hit enough before the season, but his bat has proven adequate for AA and AAA, and his arm is outstanding. He’s held his own, hitting in the .260s in two levels this year, and he’s thrown out the majority of base runners. He’s also said to be very good at blocking balls in the dirt. He could be up sooner, rather than later.
  16. Andrew Knapp-C-Reading- The former second round pick was promoted this season once already, and he’s done a nice job in Reading. Defensively, he’s still rated a notch below Lino. Offensively though, he’s considered to have a very live bat.
  17. Luis Encarnacion-1B-GCL Phillies- He’s leading the GCL in homers, and leading the team in batting average. While he’s far from the majors, he projects very well if he continues to hit for the average he has this season.
  18. Matt Imhof-P-Clearwater- He was much higher rated pre-season, and may be post-season, but a lengthy DL stay slowed his progress. Still, a strong finish to 2015 could land him in Reading to start 2016, and perhaps on the right pathway to the majors beyond that.
  19. Jhailyn Ortiz-1B/OF-International Signee- He hasn’t played yet, but I’m excited by the highlight films on this 16 year old power hitter.
  20. Malquin Canelo-SS-Clearwater- He has not hit very well since his promotion from Lakewood, but he is still an exciting young middle infielder. Still, his natural skills are good, and as he polishes his game, he’ll improve.
  21. Cameron Perkins-OF-Reading- He hasn’t been outstanding, but he’s bounced back nicely from last year’s struggles and leads the Fightins’ in homers.
  22. Mark Leiter Jr.-P-Reading- There are real questions about his stuff, and I don’t know that the Phillies have bought in yet, but he’s pitched well since his promotion, for the most part, and he’s had a nice season overall.
  23. Brandon Leibrandt-P-Clearwater- Now that he’s back on the hill, throwing healthy, he could be due a promotion to Reading soon. He’s been consistent in Clearwater, and a promotion could show if his stuff stands up.
  24. Nefi Ogando-P-Lehigh Valley- He has a great arm and could be pitching in the back end of the Phillies bullpen sooner than later. To think we got him for a throw-away.
  25. Ricardo Pinto-P-Clearwater- Pinto hasn’t skipped a beat in Clearwater, and could make leaps and bounds on this list. He’s a guy that doesn’t maybe get the ink the guys in Reading got pre-season, but it’s hard to find things you don’t like about him.
  26. Deivi Grullon-C-Lakewood- He is an outstanding defensive backstop, though his bat hasn’t developed yet. He has time. That his defense came first is a good thing for his position, and should give him room to grow into being a pro.
  27. Kyle Martin-1B-Lakewood- Since being drafted in the fourth round, he’s done nothing but hit in Lakewood. He could move fast. It’ll be interesting to see how the organization views him and Hoskins after this season.
  28. Edubray Ramos-P-Reading- He has an electric arm and it’s good to see him promoted to Reading where he can pitch in the back-end of the bullpen. He could move fast, and certainly could be up next season.
  29. Scott Kingery-2B-Lakewood- The second round pick has struggled a bit in Lakewood, but I still like his upside. Obviously it’s hard to judge on under a month in Low-A ball.
  30. Dylan Cozens-OF-Clearwater- He should be back out on the field soon, and hopefully his gifted tools as a player will continue to shine out. I see a 20/20 talent in the majors, if he puts it all together.
  31. Victor Arano-P-Clearwater- After an atrocious start to 2015, he is one of the hottest pitchers in the system, and may just pitch his way to a respectable finish to 2015, and a promotion in 2016.
  32. Brock Stassi-1B-Reading- This is a tough one to read. He’s hit well in 2015 in AA, and yet he isn’t on many lists. He’s not overly young for his level, and he’s only scratched the surface in the outfield, so he’s not yet in the prospect category, though a good second half could help.
  33. Seth Rosin-P-Lehigh Valley- He seemed dead in this system when they left him exposed to the Rule 5 Draft before the 2014 season. He has had a very good year in 2015 though, and is now on the 40 man roster moving forward. Could he make next year’s bullpen? I think he could. At the least, he’s a nice “up and down” piece.
  34. Willians Astudillo-C-Clearwater- He has really surprised me with his offensive game this season. I’m not sure how he’ll compare to the other catchers on this list, but it’s worth noting that he’s swung the bat very well this season.
  35. Jonathan Arauz-SS-GCL Phillies- He had another good game this morning for the GCL, and is very young. He’s a guy who will probably take off all-of-a-sudden in a year or two, maybe sooner.
  36. Herlis Rodriguez-OF-Lakewood- This guy was not on my radar at all, but he has done nothing but hit all year in Lakewood. I’d like to see him promoted to Clearwater, perhaps at the same time as a Pujols promotion.
  37. Joely Rodriguez-P-Reading- He’s had a really disappointing season, in part because he won’t throw strikes. He’s been in the bullpen at Reading though since his demotion, and has had some improved results.
  38. Brian Pointer-OF-Reading- I thought at some point in the system he’d flame out and not be in the discussion anymore. I thought wrong.
  39. Rafael Marchan-C-International Signing- I know little about the Venezuelan yet, but he was a top 30 international prospect, so we’ll debut him here.
  40. Aaron Brown-OF-Clearwater- He has underwhelmed a bit so far in his pro career, but he shows the occasional flash yet in A ball, and might grow into the hitter they hoped he was.
  41. Cord Sandberg-OF-Lakewood- I could almost write the same thing as Brown here. The good news though is he’s hot right now, and so you can believe the light-bulb turned on.
  42. Zachary Coppola-OF-Williamsport- All he’s done in Williamsport is be amongst the team leaders in several offensive categories. He says he needs to put on some weight and strength. I’ll take him at his word.
  43. Elniery Garcia-P-Lakewood- He’s had a nice season in Lakewood, and should make it to Clearwater in 2016.
  44. Shane Watson-P-Lakewood- His suspension is over, and he’s back pitching in Lakewood, to mixed results so far.
  45. Colin Kleven-P-Reading- He managed to get promoted this season, but it’ll be interesting if the Phillies protect him beyond this season.
  46. Ulises Joaquin-P-Clearwater- He’s been really solid in the back-end of the Clearwater pen.
  47. Adam Loewen-P-Lehigh Valley- He’s been really hot of late, and might make a run at the roster.
  48. David Whitehead-P-Clearwater- His season hasn’t been great, but he’s been durable. That counts.
  49. Matt Hockenberry-P-Lakewood- He’s had a very good season pitching in the late innings in Lakewood.
  50. Alexis Rivero-P-Lakewood- He’s had a nearly identical season to Hockenberry.

The following players are on my “watch list” and should be remembered yet:

  • Josh Tobias-3B-Williamsport-
  • Andrew Pullin-OF-Clearwater-
  • Tyler Knigge-P-Lehigh Valley-
  • Stephen Shackleford-P-Reading-
  • Alejandro Arteaga-P-Williamsport-
  • Jose Taveras-P-Williamsport-
  • Tyler Viza-P-Lakewood-
  • Mitch Guellar-P-Williamsport-
  • Joey DeNato-P-Lakewood-
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