The Phillies made a very aggressive move when they sent 17 year old Carlos Tocci to full season Lakewood. There were some that assumed it came with a ticket to Williamsport midseason, but so far the team as shown no indication of moving Tocci back.
To this point Tocci is only hitting .236/.300/.288 with 12 2Bs, 4 SB, 4 CS, 18BB, 33K, but there are many reason to find his year a huge success.
He is incredibly young but has advanced instincts now. Tocci should be either finishing up his junior or senior year of high school right now. He has more advanced baseball instincts than any high school player in the 2013 draft. He may not be as physcially mature as his counterparts, but he is still younger than most draftees, and with a year of full season ball.
Tocci is physically overmatched but not on baseball skills. Tocci is not showing signs of being unable to adjust to seeing professional pitches. While he still lacks the strength to make solid contact, he is not swinging and missing at an alarming rate. His BB% has improved from 5.6% to 7% and his strikeout rate has dropped from 16.8% to 12.8%. Not only is it improving for the season, he has been improving by month, in June so far he has 7BBs and 10Ks. As he goes up the levels pitchers will throw him less balls, but he should start to make enough solid contact to compensate.
There is doubles power developing now. There is little chance that Tocci will be slugger with huge home run power, but he makes good contact and he is starting to drive the ball better. Tocci does not have a slash and run swing, nor does he just pound the ball into the ground, once he adds strength it should translate into balls in the gaps. Right now he has more than doubled his ISO from 2012.
The defensive profile is for real. Tocci is a plus plus runner, it allows him to cover large amounts of ground in CF. His routes could use some continued work, but he works hard enough it will just take more reps for him toimprove. His arm is a present plus tool right now which will be a weapon from CF. His frame suggests that he should keep most of these skills as he ages, and may add some are strength. That gives him a plus defensive profile right now and he has a chance to be an elite defender up the middle.
He is not using his speed on offense yet. Tocci has plus plus (70) speed, but on offense he does not use it. He does not get out of the box well and from the RH side it is not a jailbreak swing of any type. If he can get a better jump towards first, he will start to pick up extra infield hits, additionally he will be able to stretch out some doubles. On the base paths he does not get good jumps or reads when stealing. This should improve with reps and while he may not be a burner he should steal 30+ bases a year in his prime. These are both skills that should come with age and repetition.
He is really mature for his age. I can’t speak to his off the field maturity but on the baseball field Tocci is showing maturity beyond his age. The Phillies felt good enough about him to challenge him with the assignment to Lakewood, then even though his stats don’t look great they feel that he can handle the continued assignment and improve over the course of the year.
He is a hard worker. Saying that a prospect works hard and has good makeup has gotten thrown around a lot. Scouts last year were impressed by the work he was putting in on defense. In the GCL Tocci would routinely spend BP in CF working on his routes and reads on balls.
Fun Carlos Tocci Facts:
- Youngest player in the SAL
- Second youngest player in full-season ball
- Would be the 4th youngest player on the GCL Phillies (Grullon, Alezones, Pujols)
- One day older than the youngest player in the Phillies 2013 draft class (39th round pick Brandon Wagner)
- Tocci has twice as many XBH as Ben Revere
- The next youngest batter in the SAL (Raul Adelberto Mondesi) has twice has many strikeouts and 2 less walks
- Tocci has 6 OF assists this year
- Tocci has 3 career sacrifice flies but only 2 sacrifice hits
There is a ton to dream on with Tocci, but more importantly he has the tools and instincts that give him a profile that is impressive even if the bat doesn’t become special. He is holding his own even though he is behind both physically and developmentally of everyone he faces.