This post will provide a brief summary about the new names seen on the minor league work groups this spring. There are more than 20 players on the minor league spring training rosters that are new signings or who played last year in one of the two Latin American complex leagues (the DSL and VSL).
The big news internationally for the Phillies this past year was the signing of OF Carlos Tocci for a reported bonus of $759,000. This bonus is one of the largest ever given by the Phillies to an International player, though the team’s largest bonuses in the past have a mixed record of success. The highest bonuses have generally been spent on players that did not work out (Seung Lee, Il Kim, Carlos Rodriguez), though the team has had some success with mid-level bonuses to players like Carlos Carrasco and new 2B Freddy Galvis. By all accounts Tocci is a highly skilled CF with plus tools but with major questions about how much power he might eventually add. Tocci is the big name in spring training, however, and it will be interesting to see where the team places him. Galvis was in a similar situation and he was given an aggressive placement in the NY-Penn league when he was 17. Tocci will not even turn 17 till later in the Summer, however, so a GCL destination is the most likely.
There are several other high dollar bonus players in camp who will also likely make their debut at GCL. Jiandido Tromp is an IF/OF signed out of Curacao for a reported 6 figure bonus. At 5’11″ 160, he is built along the lines of Roman Quinn. Scouting reports are incomplete, though supposedly he has a little more power potential than Quinn though perhaps a little less speed. He has been playing OF for the most part in spring training. Two other pitchers with high bonuses from past years are worth mentioning. Miguel Nunez has resurfaced after limited appearances 2 years ago. He is a 6’6″ RHP signed 2 years ago for $220K. In addition, Franklyn Vargas is a 6’4″ LHP signed last year for $330K. Even though Nunez and Vargas have pitched little so far, they are probably among the top names to follow in the upcoming season whether at DSL or GCL.
The rest of this post will provide a brief listing and notes on the other new players in camp. Some of these players will end up at GCL, though some may also go back to the DSL or the VSL to get regular playing time. I will also throw in a quick prospect ranking of players from last year’s DSL and VSL teams that I never got to put in a post on last winter.
Francisco Silva – Venezuelan SS turns 21 in May. Was one of the two Venezuelan players that had their bonus voided when they turned out to be older than anticipated. Hit only .167 last year in limited time in the VSL.
Jairo Cardozo – 18 year old Colombian SS/2B who held his own in the DSL last year. Hit .244 with a .583 OPS and 8 SB at age 17.
Willians Astudillo – top hitter in the VSL will play this year at age 20. Hit .361 in his 3rd season in the VSL with 12 XBH, 11 SB, and an amazing 15/2 BB/K ratio. He has been moved around defensively mainly at 3B and C. He is listed as a C on the minor league work groups this year.
Angelo Mora – another shortstop from the DSL. Mora hit .246 with a .615 OPS and 7 SB. He will be 19 this season.
Delvi Francisco – An OF who was perhaps the best offensive prospect on the DSL team last year. Francisco hit .307 with a .764 OPS, garnering 21 BB and stealing 12 bases. Francisco was the team’s primary RF and will be 20 this season.
Diego Gonzalez – Played CF last year in the DSL and hit .345 with a .774 OPS and 23 SB. He has been playing a lot in the early minor league games for the extended spring team. He is a year older than Francisco at age 21, however, and will need to advance quickly to be considered a good prospect.
Yan Olmo – The last member of the DSL OF also advances. Olmo is a big kid at 6’3″ and 200 pounds. He hit .277 with a .732 OPS and 19 SB playing LF. He will also be 21 this season.
Herlis Rodriguez – The top young offensive prospect on the VSL team, H-Rod will be only 18 this season. He hit .289 with a .752 OPS last year displaying some flashes of power not often seen from a 17-year-old (2 HR, 10 XBH).
Ulises Joaquin – Joaquin is a 5’11″ 165 RHP from last year’s DSL team. He went 4-4 with a 3.34 ERA last year (64.2 IP, 46 H, 21 BB, 44 K). He will only be 19 this season but may be more advanced than other prospects as he was still pitching in group 4 instead of the short season group 5.
Yari Sosa – RHP with 3 seasons in the DSL. Will be 21 this year. Went 9-1 with a 1.73 ERA (83.1 IP, 55 H, 16 BB, 59 K). The top starter on last year’s DSL team though his 3 seasons there mean he is probably not a top prospect or extremely hard thrower.
Enrizon Bautista – older pitcher from the DSL (22 this year) that was very good in limited action (1-0, 1.57, 4 SV, 28.2 IP, 20 H, 6 BB, 33 K). Good projection at 6’4″ and 180, though old for the league.
Ranfi Casimiro – My pick (based on nothing but educated guesses) as the top pitching prospect on last year’s DSL team. Stands 6’8″ and a very skinny 200 pounds. Still 19 years old but held his own last year (2-2, 3.21 ERA, 28 IP, 16 H, 17 BB, 26 K). May be a project but the height and youth are intriguing.
Manaure Martinez – 20 year old VSL pitcher. 6″1″, 155. RHP. Went 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA with solid peripherals (28 IP, 28 H, 10 BB, 26 K).
Luis Morales – Tall 6’4″ VSL pitcher who had 2.2 IP in GCL before getting sent down to the VSL. Mixed results there (0-3, 4.11 ERA) but the projection and early time at GCL show the Phillies like him.
Julio Reyes – Projectible 21-year-old (6’3″, 200) who pitched well in the DSL last year (4-4, 3.29, 54.2 IP, 49 H. 31 BB, 47 K). A little old for the league.
Keivi Rojas – The top young pitcher on the VSL team last year. Will pitch at 19 this year (6’0″, 170). Went 2-4 with a 3.75 ERA (62.1 IP, 75 H, 26 BB, 44 K).
Felix Santos – Smallish RHP from the DSL. Went 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA (29 IP, 22 K, 8 BB, 22 K). Will pitch at 21 this year.
Rivar Angulo – Projectible LHP stands 6’3″, 185 and will pitch at 20 this year. Saw only limited action last year (0-1, 7.94 ERA, 11.1 IP, 7 H, 19 BB, 10 K). Seems to be very raw, but he is young, tall, and left handed.
Yoel Mecias – A late addition to the spring training roster, Mecias is another new LHP. He is from Venezuela and pitched a little this winter in the winter minor league (Liga Paralela). He went 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA (32 IP, 30 H, 17 BB, 14 K).
Quick top prospect lists for the DSL and VSL (not all players were in spring training)
1. Delvi Francisco, 2. Jairo Cardozo, 3. Angelo Mora, 4. Diego Gonzalez, 5. Yan Olmo
1. Ranfi Casimiro, 2. Francibel Alejo, 3. Ulises Joaquin, 4. Yari Sosa, 5. Julio Reyes
1. Herlis Rodriguez, 2. Jair Morales, 3. Francisco Herrera, 4. Willians Astudillo, 5. Wilson Garcia
1. Keivi Rojas, 2. Luis Morales, 3. Ronald Mendez, 4. Jorge Guzman, 5. Manuare Martinez
As always, most of these rankings are NOT from scouting reports so they are not that definitive. They are based on age, statistics, and playing time (the Phillies will tend to play the better prospects). As such they are sure to change as we learn more.
Once the VSL and DSL seasons start we will be back with additional posts on the better and more interesting players from each team. This post can also serve as a discussion area for all topics international.