Feature Photo: Mickey Moniak, OF, Phillies
(Pictured with La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, CA), Spring 2016)
Ed. Note: Click here to listen to Defreitas and Faleris discuss the Phillies’ stockpile of talent on Episode 6 of Defensive Indifference, the official Podcast of 2080 Baseball! You can also follow along as we publish reviews of all 30 teams this offseason by clicking here. And as always, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!
By Dave DeFreitas and Nick J.Faleris
After several seasons of seeing their system sputter when it came to developing high end, impact talent, the Phillies have spent the past 12-to-18 months stockpiling high upside, young players from anywhere they can find them. Headlined by their hauls from two huge trades, the Phillies now boast one of the better farm systems in baseball as we approach spring training.
CREAM OF THE CROP
Mickey Moniak, OF, Rookie GCL Phillies | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 70/65
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/185 B/T: L/R Age (as of December 1, 2016): 18y, 7m
The Tools: 65 hit; 55 power; 50 arm; 60 field; 60 run – The bat is likely the best in Moniak’s hefty tool box. He has an advanced approach for his age and excellent bat control already, suggesting that the high contact rates he showed in high school will carry over to the pro game. He does a great job keeping the barrel in the zone for an extended period, and his extremely easy, compact stroke plays well to all fields. He has very little pre-pitch action, and the head stays very still as he is impacting the ball. He has present gap power now and will drive the ball to left-center field just as easily as he will to the pull side, with more of those doubles clearing the fence eventually. He is a plus runner and will be a threat on the bases, but the foot speed stands to have more impact on the outfield grass as that, and the great first step, translates to plus range in center field. The arm is probably last in line, but it still plays well as a major league average tool with above-average accuracy.
The Profile: While thought by some to be a strategic move to free up slot money for later in the draft, Moniak is actually more than deserving of the top spot in the 2016 draft thanks largely in part to his impressive hit tool and ability to be a plus defender in the middle of the field. Moniak is the epitome of ease-of-operation, which combined with his very simple swing mechanics will make it hard for him to be consistently overmatched anywhere he goes. He is slender, but already has some present strength., as evident by the 16 extra-base hits in his first 176 pro at-bats. With broad shoulders and a frame that will support a good amount of muscle as his body matures, he should add significant strength to what are already silky actions. Once that happens, you’re now talking about a player who will really be able to impact the game from a few different angles. Christian Yelich (RF, Marlins) is a fair comparison at the big league level, however Moniak projects to be a better defender. The Phillies’ front office knew exactly what they were doing when they drafted this player, and Philly fans should be very excited.
J.P. Crawford, SS, Triple-A Lehigh Valley | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 55/50
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/180 B/T: L/R Age: (as of December 1, 2016) 21y 11m
The Tools: 55 hit; 60 field; 55 run; 55 throw – Checking in with at least above-average tools in every column save for power, Crawford has the makings of a middle-of-the diamond asset with legitimate offensive upside. He has shown excellent contact rates throughout his minor league career due, in large part, to his advanced feel for the strike zone and his advanced bat-to-ball skills. He does tend to get long, though, and the bat speed is just average. He can open his front side a bit early, limiting his ability to really drive the ball to the opposite field. He does have some present gap power and should hit his share of two-baggers, but the home run damage will be limited. He’ll stick at shortstop and projects to be very good there, with soft hands and a good first step. He doesn’t have a hose, but he does have enough arm to more than get the job done, and he doesn’t lose a whole lot when throwing on the move. He will steal some bases, but the speed plays better underway. He’ll likely spend more time going 1st-to-3rd than trying to steal his way into scoring position.
The Profile: Since debuting in Double-A, the damage-to-contact ratio has dropped significantly. After a .142 ISO in 405 Double-A at-bats in 2015, the mark fell to .125 when he went back to Double-A in 2016, and the downward trend continued at Triple-A, where it fell to .074. He isn’t getting paid to hit home runs, but he will have to show ability to use that gap power lest he find it much harder to get on base at the high rates that he’s shown in the minors. He plays all of 2017 at age 22, and he still has plenty of room to add strength on his wirey frame. Even though he could very well be the Opening Day shortstop for Philly, we are talking about a kid who is far from a finished product. You also have to take into account potential lingering effects from a 2015 thumb injury that could be sapping his power. Given his command of the zone, so long as he can shoot the gaps, his ability to draw walks makes him an ideal fit at the top of the order. However, even if the power takes a while to show up and the bat plays down in the order, the defense is more than enough to carry him and allow him to impact a game.
Franklyn Kilome, RHP, Class A Lakewood | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 60/55
Ht/Wt: 6’6”/175 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016) 21y 6m
The Tools: 70 fastball; 60 curveball; 50 slider – With a plus curveball and average slider to go with his double-plus heater, Kilome has the makings of a solid mid-rotation arm. The smooth effort in the arm action, and the tremendous angle his 6’6” frame creates, plays up velocity that is already in the upper 90s. He will get some arm-side sink on the fastball, and he likes to cut it to the glove side, and also gets some ride as he climbs the ladder. The power curveball has 12-to-6 snap, and he has enough present feel with the pitch to use it effectively vs. both righties and lefties. The slider is more a variation off the cut fastball at this point and is very much his third pitch, but given how well the arm works and his ability to spin the curveball, it’s not a stretch to think that the offering will get to average eventually.
The Profile: At age 21, he is still finding his coordination, adding strength and getting a feel for his body. With that will come better command and more consistent execution, but he already is showing that he has a plan on the bump, and that he’s willing to use the fastball to all quadrants. He still works from behind a fair bit and is not overly comfortable using his off-speed stuff in fastball counts, which resulted in some inflated hit totals for 2016. But what Philly might be most excited about is the aptitude he showed for making in-season adjustments last season. In his first 100-plus inning campaign, he not only saw his K/9 rate shoot up to 10.2 from 6.57, but he actually got significantly better in the second half of the season.
Going into 2017, expect Kilome to start off at High A Clearwater with eyes on finishing the season at Double-A barring any kind of setback. He still has a ways to go with his command in the zone and execution with his secondary stuff, but he is not scared and will go right at hitters. The name of the game for him is going to be to not put himself behind in counts to where he is forced to challenge hitters, and to utilize that strong angle down through the zone. If he can show the same ability to adjust to the level like he did in the second half of 2016, this kid will hit his ceiling. While Taijuan Walker (RHP, D-backs) has yet to flip the switch in the big leagues, their profiles are similar, and Kilome could prove to be even better than what everyone thought Walker was going to be. Another comp on the lower end is Ervin Santana (RHP, Twins), though Kilome has already shown better swing-and-miss ability.
The Tools: 70 arm; 60 power; 55 field – The epitome of a raw power/arm strength combo behind the plate, Alfaro has the tools to not only be an impact defender, but also a significant run producer in the middle of the order. While the hit tool projects as just fringe average and there is some swing and miss to his game, if he can make enough contact at the next level he has plus power and can drive the ball out to all fields. Defensively, his double-plus arm allows him to all but shut down the running game. He does a good job getting low in the crouch, and the strength behind his soft hands make him an asset in the framing department. He has quick feet for his size, and does a good job popping out from behind the dish on balls out front, as well as ranging side to side to put a chest on balls in the dirt. He’s not the runner he used to be, but he isn’t a base clogger either, with fringe-average present speed which, at the catching position, is enough to be another asset.
The Profile: One of the main pieces coming back to Philly in the Cole Hamels (LHP, Rangers) trade-deadline deal with Texas in 2015, Alfaro is poised to take over the everyday catching duties at the big league level in 2017. He is extremely strong and the compact frame generates tremendous torque and significant carry to the big part of the field, with his best power being to right-center field. He has plenty of bat speed and should do more than enough damage to hit in the middle of the order going forward, however there is some swing and miss to his game and this aggressive approach can make him easy to pitch to at times. The 23.9% K rate at Double-A in 2016 is a nice improvement from the 29.5% rate he posted the year prior at the same level, but there is still room to improve there, and big league pitchers will be happy to let him get himself out rather than challenge him in the zone.
That said, his defensive tools, including the ability control the running game (44% caught stealing rate in 2016 at Triple-A) will carry the profile long enough to let him get established and make the necessary offensive adjustments. He’s in a very good position to see gains as a receiver, round out his profile, as become a leader on this young Philly club.
The Tools: 50 hit; 50 power; 55 field; 60 Run; 55 arm – With the double-plus athleticism, Williams is the definition of tooled-out. He is a plus runner from the left side and sees that speed translate well on defense, where he should be an above-average corner outfielder with above-average arm strength. He has the physical ability to handle center field, but lacks the instincts to make the plays that his athleticism should allow. He has a very short stroke, plus bat speed and the ability to drive both gaps with authority. His home run pop is more limited to the pull side, but there is enough juice there for him to easily get to average power numbers if he makes enough contact.
The Profile: With the tools Williams possesses, he should have been the centerpiece of the Hamels trade instead of secondary to Jorge Alfaro. There is no doubt that he is a very gifted hitter. He has the bat speed and generates enough carry on his line drives to do damage to the middle of the field, but it has been night and day versus lefties for him and he has done little to adjust his ultra-aggressive approach. He does manage to stay away from getting the ball in the air too much, but his 3.6% walk rate and 25.9% strikeout rate in 2016 suggests that he stands to hit from behind in the count often, and that he’s not seeing nearly enough pitches per plate appearance. When he gets a pitch to hit, he stings the ball, and his career .357 BABIP is evidence of that. However, his lack of plate discipline and lagging ability to make adjustments, he will make hittable pitches increasingly hard to find, which will impact his ability to be the extra-base-hit threat at the next level.
The raw athleticism is significant and he should be much more of a factor in the outfield, however he gets poor reads off the bat and seems to be very reactionary as opposed to the more anticipatory nature you expect to see from the league’s better center fielders. With less ground to cover on the corners though, he should be able to run down his mistakes and see the range actually play at above average with enough arm to handle right field. Ultimately though, the approach at the plate and consistent struggles vs. left-handed pitching could end up limiting his at-bats, and forcing the toolsy package into a platoon-plus role.
ON THE HORIZON
Quick Hit: With the tools to play in the middle of the field and a top-of-the-order offensive profile, Quinn will have every opportunity to earn a lion’s share of playing time at one of the open outfield spots in Philly this year. A plus athlete with above-average bat speed, Quinn shows good balance with a contact-oriented stroke from both sides of the plate. He has a very patient approach and understands his role and strengths as a table setter, and while he doesn’t have a ton of over-the-fence pop, he can still shoot the gaps from both sides of the dish, and he has the legs make him a constant threat to stretch a single. At 3.87 seconds from home-to-first from the left side, Quinn’s impact speed can be a difference maker on the bases, putting constant pressure on the defense and giving him plus range in center field.
Were it not for a slew of injuries over the past four seasons (broken wrist, ruptured achilles tendon, torn hip flexor), we might already have seen a full season of Quinn at the major league level. He made it through a couple weeks of his September call-up, but went down again with a strained oblique that prevented him from, yet again, finishing the season healthy. While these injuries are a concern, they have all tended to be impact-type injuries rather than recurring muscular or structural issues, so there is some credence to opinion that he will get past them. What’s more, there is something to be said for how far the development has come in spite of missing so much time. However, save the recent oblique injury, they have all been significant setbacks that may have cost him more than large chunks of developmental time, and the injuries could soon take their toll on his strength and ability to impact the baseball. He was never going to be a power guy, but he will need to do enough damage to keep pitchers honest and ultimately maintain his solid OBP numbers (.353 for his minor league career).
As most of us have come to figure out, the body doesn’t recover quicker with age, so while unfortunate as these injuries have been, the trickle-down effect would be a larger negative impact on a fast-twitch-type player like Quinn. If he can stay healthy, he has a good shot to hit his ceiling – however the likely outcome is closer to that of a Michael Bourn (CF, Orioles) or that of Ben Revere (CF, Angels) with less than everyday player at-bat totals, but still a significant presence on the 25-man roster.
Victor Arano, RHP, Double-A Reading | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 60/55
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/200 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 21y 10m
Quick Hit: With a strong build and simple, compact mechanics, Arano’s loose, quick arm saw a huge jump in effectiveness upon moving to the bullpen fulltime in 2016. His plus fastball sits in the middle 90s and that shows good late life with comeback tail to the glove side and turnover sink to the arm side. The slider has tight, 3/4’s break that is small, but has a sharpness to it that will miss bats at the big league level. He is aggressive, works quickly, and doesn’t walk many, while having a good idea on the mound. The efficient nature of his mechanics and approach are conducive to consistent execution going forward.
The fly ball rates are a mild concern for a potential late-inning reliever at 0.74 GO/AO at High A, but his brief stint at Double-A saw him trend in the right direction, with a 1.08 mark. But so long as he breaks close to even there, the 10.7 K/9 rate he put up across two levels in 2016 should be enough to make him a tough look in the seventh-to-eighth innings. He’ll play all of 2017 at age 22, likely starting back at Double-A. If he replicates his 2016 success early on, there will not be much preventing Philly from throwing him in the fire early in the summer.
Quick Hit: An athletic, plus runner with some bat speed and above-average defense at the keystone position, Kingery has the tool set to contribute in a couple different ways at the major league level. He doesn’t project to have much home run power, but his swing is compact and without many moving parts, and he has the ability to drive the gaps. As it stands now, he is hitting the ball in the air far too often (0.82 GO/AO rate) and should be working to keep the ball on the ground to utilize his double-plus run tool (4.12 home-to-1st). He also saw a rather alarming jump in strikeout rates after his promotion to Double-A (12.9% to 21.7%) and he is notably worse versus right-handed pitching. He has more than enough glove at second base and is a good enough athlete to move around the infield a bit, however he is not a true Infield-5 guy because he can’t handle short for an extended period. He has impact speed and should continue to be a significant stolen base threat, as well as pressure the defense with his aggressive baserunning. Kingery has the ceiling of an everyday guy at second base, but needs to make more contact and show more juice versus righties to get there. He will give you some utility value between second and third base, but doesn’t make sense in the outfield as the hit tool isn’t big enough to make up for the lack of power, and to justify him spending significant time in left or right field. Ultimately, he slips to that platoon, Role 40 bracket, with a chance to turn in good offensive stretches in the style of Johnny Giovatella (2B, Angels).
Quick Hit: A second-round pick out of high school in 2012, the Arizona native finally tapped into his massive power potential in 2016 with 40 bombs for Double-A Reading. His long levers create some length in the stroke, but he has above-average bat speed and can generate huge lift and carry to the big part of the field. He has pretty good balance throughout the swing, he hammers the ball down in the zone, and he’s more than capable of driving it out the other way. However, he has holes up above his hands, and the swing and miss is significant, posting a career high 31.7% K rate in 2016.
Cozens was almost a non-factor versus lefties this past year, hitting just .197 against southpaws with an OPS of .640 across 127 at-bats. He doesn’t have the athleticism of Chris Davis (1B, Orioles), but he does have the ability to handle a corner-outfield spot as well as first base (if such a move is planned), which would make it a little easier to keep the bat in the lineup. Ultimately though, the struggles versus same-side arms and the big swing and miss keep him from hitting that everyday player ceiling.
That said, even at 28% strikeout rates, he has the plus power to keep him on the 25-man roster. He ultimately compares well to Russell Branyan (MLB 1998-2011, multiple teams) at the big league level, though he’ll need to make some adjustments at Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the Phillies give him big league at-bats. If he starts well, he could parlay it into a mid-to-late summer call-up.
Quick Hit: While not a big time swing-and-miss guy on the bump, Garcia sports smooth, easy mechanics with some crossfire deception and very good angle for his size. He is not a max-effort guy and stands to see a small uptick in velo as his 22-year-old frame gets stronger. The fastball sits in the low 90s with late sink to both sides when he locates down. The curveball is an above-average offering, and he shows good arm speed and some feel to use it vs. right-handed hitters. I did not get to see his circle changeup, but given how the arm works and the command he already shows with his other pitches, it is not a stretch to think that it could be at least another average weapon.
Garcia does a good job keeping the ball on the ground and does not walk many, however he will give up his share of contact, so he risks seeing his hit totals spike as he faces more advanced hitters. He should go to Double-A this year, and with some success there he could position himself to debut sometime in 2018. The upside is that of a back-end starter who will eat some innings, but will definitely have value in the pen if the contact rates limit his ability to turn lineups over. He draws comparisons to Felix Doubront (LHP, Cubs), however Garcia’s command in the zone is superior, as are his walk rates. For such a young player who has not thrown above High A ball yet, there is relatively low risk here due to the command/control profile.
Quick Hit: Knapp is a switch-hitting backstop who has some pop from both sides of the plate and the defensive tools to settle as a solid average defender. The swing tends to get a little long and the wrap he has from the left side causes the barrel to drag, making him susceptible to velocity inside. However, he has enough juice to drive the big part of the field when he gets extended. He tends to be a little shorter from the right side, with more quickness in the hands and a more level plane. He has a good idea at the plate and even though there will be some swing and miss in the zone (24.2% strikeout rate in 2016), he will take his walks and should be an average OBP guy for the position (.33o OBP in 2016 at Triple-A; .385 OBP in 2015 at High A and Double-A). Defensively, he is a solid catch-and-throw guy who can be a factor against the running game (threw out 36% of runners in 2015 and 38% in 2016). Ultimately, he has the upside of a second-division regular who could hit with enough juice to get to a .370 SLG, with the higher probability outcome of a very good C-2 type, with the swing and miss limiting the usability of his raw power.
Quick Hit: With all the trappings of a mid- to top-of-the-rotation starter, Appel’s struggles since being taken 1:1 in 2013 have been well documented. Plagued by poor command in the zone, he has averaged almost 10 hits per nine innings over three-plus seasons as a pro. The double-plus fastball and plus slider have the potential to be a devastating combination, however the fastball tends to be very flat above the knees, and the clean arm action actually works against Appel in that it does little to inhibit how the hitters see the ball. The slider will show late bite with big depth, but his consistently inconsistent execution severely limits the usability, and it has him routinely having to pitch from behind.
Appel does a good job keeping the ball in the ballpark, however the high traffic on the bases from the below-average control and high contact rates make for a lot of high-stress pitches, and it keeps him from turning over even Triple-A lineups. The struggles are reminiscent of another former first-rounder, Luke Hochevar (RHP, Royals), and his move to the bullpen may end up being the same prescription that Appel receives. After only 38 1/3 innings in 2016 due to an elbow strain, expect Philly to try and roll with him in the rotation a little bit longer in hopes he can turn things around.
A critique dating back to his time at Stanford, Appel is often viewed as lacking the mean streak you see with successful rotation guys. Considering the value multi-inning relievers have at the big league level nowadays, Philly could be incentivized to pull the trigger on a switch to the pen sooner than later in an attempt to leverage the plus raw stuff and get the most out of a successful transition.
Quick Hit: With plus raw power and above-average bat speed, Hoskins seems poised to work himself into the first base conversation in Philly by sometime later this summer. He gets very good barrel exit and has power to all fields, however the approach is very pull-heavy, and he tends to get around a lot of balls on the outer half. He is strong enough to hook balls out there and still get them out, but the length of the stroke is not conducive to him making large strides in his strikeout rates, which have gone up each of the last two seasons (17.7% in 2015 and 21.2% in 2016). He does see a lot of pitches, and his power will keep pitchers honest and should allow him to continue the OBP at the next level. However, the OBP and power will have to carry the profile, because he offers little on defense with below-average range at first base, and no real ability to move to the outfield. If he can adjust and use the power he has to right-center field, he stands to hit his ceiling. However, the more likely result is that Hoskins settles in as a three-true-outcomes player. He will pop his share and take walks, but the swing and miss will eat into his effectiveness once he gets to the big leagues and faces pitching that can consistently exploit his weakness on the outer half . Darin Ruf (1B/LF, Phillies) and Chris Carter (1B/DH, Brewers) are good examples of what to expect from Hoskins going forward.
Grant Dyer, RHP, Class A Lakewood | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 50/45
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/195 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 21y 5m
Quick Hit: Snagged in the eighth round last June out of UCLA, Dyer doesn’t boast a ton of projection with his mature body. That said, he is a good athlete and repeats his simple, compact mechanics well, resulting in average command/control grades. The stuff is rather vanilla, but he works quickly and locates the above-average heater (88-to-94 mph) to both sides with regularity. The breaking ball is big, but also firm and has some snap to it and he can use it versus left-handed hitters. He got some swing and miss in his first taste of pro ball, but a lot of that was likely due to his feel for a breaking ball in a lower-level league. He didn’t show the changeup much in my look, but that is a pitch he will need as he advances to give him something going away from lefties. He is what he is stuff-wise, so expect Philly to move him along to Double-A by mid-summer if he replicates his 2016 success early this spring.
Jesen Therrien, RHP, Double-A Reading | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 50/40
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/200 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 23y 9m
Quick Hit: Therrien’s long, lanky build coupled with the funk he has in the delivery adds significant deception to the average stuff, allowing him to consistently miss bats despite not having a plus pitch. The short arm action works to hide the ball a good bit and plays up the fastball’s average life in the zone. The slider is average at best, as it tends to get big, and the good bite he gets on the better version isn’t as consistent as it should be. However, the arm action sells it and he has feel to put it where he wants. If he can keep the walks under control (4.4 BB/9 across three levels in 2016) and continue to turn in solid ground ball rates (1.47 GO/AO in 2016), he has a chance to be a very valuable bullpen piece. He doesn’t have much going away from the lefties presently, but even as a right-handed specialist, the swing-and-miss potential is enough to keep him on the 25-man roster.
Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Rookie GCL Phillies | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 60/50
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/185 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 18y 5m
Quick Hit: After moving from shortstop to the mound, Sanchez may have found his calling as he will start 2017 as one of the Phillies’ most highly touted youngsters. He is not a real tall kid, but is physical and has some present strength to his very athletic frame. He has some smooth effort to the arm action and delivery, but is not at all a max-effort guy, and the way the ball jumps out of his hand now makes it easy to envision an uptick in stuff as he gets stronger. The fastball is already double-plus at 94-to-98 mph, and the late life he gets will allow him to consistently show hitters the top half of the ball and maintain the high ground ball rates he has shown the last two years. The slider gets loose and is very inconsistent right now, but the ¾’s break and occasional downer bite he shows suggests that it will eventually be a plus weapon for him. He should make the move to full-season ball in 2017 and will get the chance to log significantly more innings and develop his secondary stuff. He lacks much of a change-of-pace offering now, but if he can develop a third pitch, he will solidify his value as a potential middle to back-end of the rotation arm. As there is with most teenagers, there is significant proximity risk to the profile here, but the way the arm works and the quality of the pure stuff makes Sanchez a guy you have to bet on to make the necessary adjustments. If the third pitch doesn’t come around, then the arm strength and life on the fastball alone make him a potential impact arm in the pen.
Kevin Gowdy, RHP, Rookie GCL Phillies | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 55/50
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/170 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 19y 1m
Quick Hit: The long, lanky second-rounder slots in right behind Sanchez as one of the organizations top pitching prospects. Gowdy’s 6’4” frame allows him to create excellent angle to the plate and his plus fastball gets late tail to both sides of the plate. He shows above-average command for a youngster at this stage and has very good body control despite still growing into his frame. He has a big arm swing in back and a bit of a soft front side that leads to some timing issues and arm drag issues. He is a good athlete and should see things smooth out as he gets stronger and begins working with a pro development staff, but the long arm path does create added stress on the shoulder and could be a concern if he struggles to tighten up the mechanics.
The circle changeup is his best secondary option right now, with the late bottom and present feel. Due to the arm action issues, the execution is inconsistent and it will float up and to the arm side – however this isn’t out of the ordinary for a 19-year-old. The slider is a work in progress, but he shows some feel with it and will use it back door to lefties. While inconsistent, he does get ¾’s depth with it, making it a potential above-average pitch and a real weapon going away from right-handed hitters. Like Sanchez, proximity risk is big here, but as he adds strength to the actions and smooths out the herky-jerk in his mechanics, he should continue to project as a solid number four starter on track for the big leagues in 2021.
Jhailyn Ortiz, OF/1B, Rookie GCL Phillies | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 55/40
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/215 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 18y 1m
Quick Hit: With above-average bat speed and a chance to develop some very real power, Ortiz carries huge offensive upside and stands to be one of Philly’s more prolific position-player prospects over the next few years. He has some length to the stroke as it stands now, but he gets excellent barrel exit and big carry to both gaps already at the tender age of 18. On the flip side, though, he is very raw, and the lack of approach is going to lead to significant swing-and-miss issues as he starts to face more accomplished pitching. He should be able to adjust as he settles in with the pro coaching, but he is not a great athlete and the body is already a concern. Furthermore, he doesn’t really have a position, and barring significant work in the outfield or at first base, he stands to be a liability wherever he lands. So needless to say, there is a decent amount of risk attached to an 18-year-old who is already on the DH track – however, if he can make enough contact and eventually handle a corner-outfield spot, the power has a chance to be plus and really carry the profile.
Cornelius Randolph, OF, Class A Lakewood | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 45/40
Ht/Wt: 5’11”/205 B/T: L/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 19y 6m
Quick Hit: Now that he has moved off of the infield, Randolph will really need the bat to carry his profile if he is going to replicate his early success and develop into a legitimate asset for the Phillies. He has plus bat speed and the short, quick stroke generates good carry to the big part of the field. He already has good feel for the strike zone to go with decent bat control, however there is a small hitch with his hands that impedes his ability to get the barrel out on velocity inside. The power is still developing, and he has struggled to do damage versus left-handed pitching thus far in his pro career. However, he can spin on balls out over the plate and the line drive swing plane should afford him the opportunity to trim the strike out rates.
Randolph moves okay for a thick-bodied kid, but he will need to maintain the physique going forward, and even though he was once an infielder, it is probably a stretch for him to be anything more than an average defender in left field. He should start 2017 at High A and be one of the younger guys at the level. But however you slice it, Randolph will have to hit, and hit for power, if he is eventually going to impact the major league roster.
Alexis Rivero, RHP, Double-A Reading | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 50/40
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/180 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 22y 2m
Quick Hit: The strong and stocky Rivero sports two plus offerings and his easy arm and compact delivery bode well for him to settle in with average command. The plus fastball sits 93-to-96 mph and gets some late hop in the zone, and the short arm in back works to hide the ball a bit, playing up the late life even more. The slider is 82-to-86 mph and has average action to it now, but the tight rotation and his feel with the pitch suggest that it will get to above average. He can get good angle for his size, but it’s inconsistent and he gets too easy to get into the air, which results in fly ball rates that are less than desirable (0.94 GO/AO in 2016). That said, he is around the zone and has the ability to miss right-handed bats. He lacks much of a weapon versus lefties right now – as evident by the 22 hits he surrendered over 12 2/3 innings at Double-A in 2016 – and isn’t going to be matched up against a tough lefty in a leverage spot. But if he can get to average control and be more consistent with the better downward plane, his effectiveness against righties allow him to impact the sixth and possibly seventh innings out of the pen.
Quick Hit: After a decent showing in his first taste of pro ball the second half of 2015, Falter stepped up and showed improvement in the right areas over the course of his first full season in 2016. Still growing into his lanky frame, he is a good athlete and already repeats well, which bodes well for continued development of his command. The stuff is fringe average across the board, but he should add significant strength going forward and with it a bump in velo. He is not a max-effort guy and the fastball has late life and tail to both sides of the plate when down, so as he gets stronger and the stuff ticks up, the positive ground ball rate he found this past season (1.55 GO/AO) stands to hold up. The slurve/slider variations he has are presently below average, but he does have some feel, which will play up the usability. Minus any true plus offering, he will likely always give up his share of contact, however if he can continue to keep the ball on the ground and avoid the walks he could eventually become a Stephen Gonsalves (LHP, Twins) type of player at the back end of the rotation.
Drew Anderson, RHP, High A Clearwater | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 50/40
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/185 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 22y 8m
Quick Hit: After missing all of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery, Anderson returned to action this past summer, totaling 15 starts from the end of May through August, split evenly between Class A Lakewood and High A Clearwater. The former 21st-rounder saw his velocity return to pre-surgery levels and flashed a bit more by the end of the year, sitting regularly in the 93-to-95 mph range and touching as high as 97 mph.
Anderson’s feel for his secondaries has also mostly returned, with his curve showing good shape and frequently flashing above average to plus by the close of the season, while the changeup – still a clear third offering – showed average potential. Despite the large amount of recently missed time, Anderson was added to the 40-man roster this November, proving definitively how highly the organization feels about the righty’s potential, as well as the quality of his present stuff. He could jump to Double-A Reading in 2017, and he could see time in Philadelphia late in the year if he continues to show consistency in his execution. He looks the part of a potential back-end arm and should at a minimum provide value out of the pen thanks to his fastball/curveball combo.
Josh Stephen, OF, Rookie GCL Phillies | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 50/40
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/185 B/T: L/L Age (as of December 1st 2016): 19y 3m
Quick Hit: Picked up in the 11th round of the draft this past June and paid over slot, Stephen elected to forgo an opportunity at the University of Southern California in order to begin his pro career. The former Mater Dei (Costa Mesa, CA) product has an advanced bat and approach for his age and should get to a 55-grade hit tool once fully matured, showing a compact stroke and a penchant for hard contact. He is not an overly athletic defender and could clock in as only an average runner by the time the body matures. That could push him to a corner-outfield spot if the range ultimately proves light for center field.
Additionally, there is some question as to how much over-the-fence power ultimately emerges. Stephen can drive the ball consistently and naturally, and there is easy loft in the swing, but the power still works primarily up the middle and to the pull side at present. All-in, that means the hit tool may very well have to carry the profile. He has a long way to go, but if he can get to average power then he has a real chance to be a regular contributor in an extra-outfielder role at the big league level, with a shot at competing for an everyday spot if things come together.
Cole Stobbe, SS/3B, Rookie GCL Phillies | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 50/40
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/200 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 19y 4m
Quick Hit: Drafted as a shortstop in the third round his past June, Stobbe’s above-average hit tool should propel the profile. Already a thickly-built kid, Stobbe doesn’t project to stay at shortstop for too long, despite his 55-grade arm. With his present gap power and promise of a little bit more as he gets stronger, he should be able to do enough damage to warrant a move to third base. The swing is pretty easy and he keeps the barrel in the zone, and that, coupled with the middle of the field approach should help him as he begins to face more advanced pitching. His defensive versatility will play a large role in the nature of the opportunities he receives at the big league level, but the work ethic is solid and he should end up with enough defense to continue to get at-bats. If the hit tool develops as projected, you’re probably looking at a David Bell (MLB, 1995-2006, multiple teams) type of player.
Carlos Tocci, CF, High A Clearwater | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 45/40
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/160 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 21y 4m
Quick Hit: Once thought to be one of the better Phillies prospects, Tocci has struggled to add the strength he needs to impact the ball and do enough damage at the plate for the bat to play at the big league level. He has a smooth easy stroke and gets good barrel exit, but the bat speed is still just average, and the only real pop he has is to the pull side. He is a plus runner and brings enough defense to hold down center field. He isn’t going to be a big-time basestealer, but he can definitely pick his spots and has more than enough to score from first base on a double. If the strength comes and he can bump his ISO into the .125 range, he has a chance to hit at atop the order. If he stays in the .080 ISO realm, then the bat and on-base skill plays way down as pitchers will challenge him. At age 21, he is still an above-average defender in the middle of the field, and he has time to make the necessary strides at the plate. Look for him to make the jump to Double-A in 2017 with eyes on contributing as an extra outfielder at the big league level in 2019.
Alberto Tirado, RHP, High A Clearwater | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 55/40
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/180 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 21y 11m
Quick Hit: With a plus fastball and a chance for an above-average slider, Tirado’s max-effort arm action has him as a clear reliever profile. He has a huge arm swing in back that makes it hard for him to stay on time and repeat his release point with any kind of consistency. However, he has plenty of life on the fastball, getting hard bore in on right-handed hitters as well as some ride up above the belt that can be hard for a hitter to get on top of. The slider is more cutter-like at times, with small shallow break, but occasional ¾’s depth suggests that the ingredients are there for it to get to an above-average offering. The command and control is likely to stay below average, but the pure stuff is strong enough, and there’s enough swing-and-miss potential to give Tirado the upside of a late-inning arm that’s comparable to Alexi Ogando (RHP, Braves). Ultimately though, consistency issues may very well limit the usability of the big stuff and keep him from being that true impact late-inning guy.
Daniel Brito, 2B, Rookie GCL Phillies | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 50/40
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/155 B/T: L/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 18y 10m
Quick Hit: During his stateside debut in 2016, Brito showed off the offensive potential that landed him a $650,000 international signing bonus as part of the 2014 J2 class. The Venezuelan product shows solid balance at the plate, a disciplined approach and a loose and quick swing that plays well to contact. Power will likely never be a significant part of the profile, but he should make enough hard contact to work the gaps and keep pitchers honest, allowing him to leverage his command of the strike zone into solid walk totals as pitchers work the margins.
He played the entirety of his 2016 campaign at second base, which is likely where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future, with the hands, range and arm strength that all slot well into the keystone. His hit tool will ever be the driving force for the profile, and Brito has a chance to grow into an above-average bat with an up-the-middle glove at maturity. He’ll play all of 2017 at the age of 19 and could be challenged by the Phils with a jump straight to full-season ball.
JoJo Romero, LHP, Short-Season A Williamsport | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 50/40
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/190 B/T: L/L Age (as of December 1st 2016): 20y 3m
Quick Hit: A compact lefty with some arm speed and low maintenance mechanics, if Romero can keep the ball on the ground and find consistent soft contact as he climbs, there is a chance for this 2016 draftee to work his way into the rotation as a swingman or number five starter. He has feel for average stuff and can move the fastball around the zone, with a little extra velo in his back pocket when he needs it. He sits 89-to-92 now, but the body isn’t overly projectable so it’s a stretch to think that the stuff will get to be too much more than what it currently is. He is not afraid and has an idea on the mound, so if the command and control maintain, he should climb rather quickly. He could have value as an innings eater once he reaches Philly. Ricky Romero (LHP, Giants) has a little more octane with the fastball, but the profile makes for a good comparison here.
Jonathan Guzman, SS, Rookie DSL Phillies 1 | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 50/35
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/155 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 17y 3m
Quick Hit: Inked for under $100,000 in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic, Guzman could prove a steal for Philadelphia, as the young middle infielder has already demonstrated excellent feel and advanced glove work at the six-spot, as well as an advanced approach at the plate and good feel for the barrel during his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League. Power won’t be a staple in Guzman’s game, but he has enough wirey strength to project regular extra-base production and, provided he can continue to develop his hit tool at a typical rate, the final package could be an everyday shortstop with above-average defense and a solid-average to above-average hit tool. He should move stateside in 2017 and will be one of the more interesting talents to monitor on the complex.
Quick Hit: After putting up three good seasons as a pro, Medina remains a bit of mystery due to his ability to generate soft contact and limit hit totals and his inability to get any kind of swing and miss. Through 64 2/3 innings in 2016 he only struck out 34 hitters while walking 24, but gave up only 47 hits. Even at the short-season level, that is a hard pattern to sustain. When you look at the stuff, the arm works very well and is quick and free through the slot. The fastball has late life and dives down and in to righties at 92-to-94 mph. He has some feel to spin the power curveball, which has some snap to it and could get to above average, but it isn’t a true out pitch, and he lacks the confidence to use it unless he’s up in the count. He doesn’t have much of a change-of-pace offering and has limited weapons versus lefties, so he is essentially surviving off of the fastball being tough for lower level hitters to square up. He only showed the changeup a couple times in my looks, but there was enough movement and separation off of the fastball to be effective as even a fringe-average offering.
While history suggests against projecting a huge jump in swing-and-miss rates for a 20-year-old who has not pitched in full-season ball yet, the arm works too well and the stuff coming out is too good for him not to figure something out and get more consistent execution-wise. If he can develop some feel for the secondary stuff and get to even fringe-average fastball command, he keeps the ball on the ground enough to where he could have value in a big league pen.
Seranthony Dominguez, RHP, Class A Lakewood | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 45/40
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/185 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 22y 0m
Quick Hit: Dominguez’s progress has been slow since signing over five years ago out of the Dominican Republic. Still, the righty has seen his velocity climb into the middle 90s with consistency in 2016, and the arm speed is now producing an above-average curveball with solid depth and a surprisingly deceptive changeup when turned over properly. Dominguez generally works well around the plate, but his command is still loose in the zone and the secondaries are inconsistent enough that teams did not feel he was worth a Rule 5 selection in December, lending credence to the belief that the promising righty is still some ways away from being ready to make an impact at the highest level. He will likely tackle High A Clearwater in 2017, projecting as a future relief arm given his age, presently-inconsistent secondaries, and the fact his highest innings total in five years of pro ball was set last summer at 65 1/3 innings pitched.
Rafael Marchan, C, Rookie DSL Phillies 2 | Ceiling/Realistic Role: 45/35
Ht/Wt: 5’9”/170 B/T: R/R Age (as of December 1st 2016): 17y 9m
Quick Hit: Signed for $200,000 out of Venezuela as part of the 2016 J2 class, Marchan showed well is his Dominican Summer League debut, slashing .333/.380/.386 over 44 games and 192 plate appearances. He has a solid approach, particularly considering age and experience, as well as a swing tailored to contact, with the barrel spending lots of time in zone. A former infielder, Marchan has a fair amount of development ahead behind the dish, but he shows some feel for the position already and has more than enough arm strength to develop into an effective catch-and-throw contributor. He’ll debut stateside in 2017 and could grow his stock quickly with a strong debut on the complex.
|1. Mickey Moniak, OF, Rk.||6. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Rk||11. Elniery Garcia, LHP, High A|
|2. J.P. Crawford, SS, AAA||7. Victor Arano, RHP, AA||12. Andrew Knapp, C, AA|
|3. Franklyn Kilome, RHP, A||8. Roman Quinn, OF, MLB||13. Mark Appel, RHP, AAA|
|4. Jorge Alfaro, C, MLB||9. Kevin Gowdy, RHP, Rk.||14. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, AA|
|5. Nick Williams, OF, AAA||10. Dylan Cozens, OF/1B, AA||15. Jesen Therrien, RHP, AA|
After bringing back several middle-of-the-field type players in the Cole Hamels deal with Texas and the Ken Giles trade with the Astros, the Phillies have not stopped there and have targeted more high-upside young players both on the international market as well as turning their recent high draft positions into pieces that should impact the big league roster. As it stands right now, they have young talent already on the 25-man roster in Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez, Vince Velasquez, and Odubel Herrera, and with the depth of their system behind those players they can go one of two ways. In Jorge Alfaro behind the dish and J.P. Crawford at shortstop, they have two premium positions that they expect to have filled by impact rookie players this year. From there, they have Nick Williams slotting in alongside Herrera in the outfield with some combination of Dylan Cozens, Roman Quinn and Rhys Hoskins contributing on the open corner-outfield spot and at first base at some point throughout the summer. So by rolling with the pieces that they have acquired and developed, they have the makings of a very solid young core, not to mention they will have the first overall pick in Mickey Moniak ready to take over in center field and hit in the middle of the order at some point in the next three years.
Looking at it from a different angle though, they also hold enough young talent to basically go acquire any big leaguer that they want to step in and be a force on that roster right away. The way the Phillies are built right now, they could end up competing earlier than anticipated, in which case they will need to add impact pitching behind the likes of Velasquez and Jeremy Hellickson. They do have high upside arms in Franklyn Kilome, Sixto Sanchez, and Elniery Garcia, but those guys are still several years away from establishing themselves in the rotation. Should their young club come out and compete in 2018, it might make sense for them to deal from their outfield depth (i.e. Williams) and one of their much younger power arms for an established mid-rotation guy or impact lineup piece to take some of the pressure off of their young hitters. Their system is so good that they can make a couple moves like that if they need to and still will have plenty of prospect equity remaining to keep the pipeline flowing. In the meantime, however, expect the office to try and sell high on veterans like reliever Joaquin Benoit and left fielder Howie Kendrick to further supplement their system.
The Phillies are already deep into their five-year plan. They have moved their established veterans for peak value and reloaded what was a barren minor league system. Expect general manager Matt Klentak and company to acquire a few more ancillary pieces and role players over the next several months with a focus on supporting the young core they have assembled. They still have a gap between their current pitching situation in Philadelphia and their big-projection arms in the lower minors, but there is a very nice foundation of arms taking shape at the big league level, and the front office will likely let their 2017 performance dictate how aggressively the organization needs to look outside the system, or look towards the arms still working their way up in order to plug any holes.
It is a bit optimistic to think that the Phillies will compete with the likes of the Nationals and Mets this season, but by 2018 they could sneak up on some people and then be in a very good position to spend some money on a stacked free agent class that winter. By 2019, this could be a team ready to compete for a playoff spot, reaping the benefits of the maturation of their roster, with maybe their biggest name in Mickey Moniak close to, if not ready, to take over as the face of the franchise.
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