Maikel Franco #5 and Aaron Altherr #20 on BAs FSL Top 20

Before anyone grabs their pitchfork, here are the top 13 prospects in the league in order, all of which are no doubt Top 100 prospects: Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Javier Baez, Gregory Polanco, Maikel Franco, Noah Syndergaard, Gary Sanchez, Jorge Soler, Andrew Heaney, Aaron Sanchez, Nick Kingham, Eddie Rosario, and Alen Hanson.  That is a stacked list of names, and has pure prospects I would take Noah Syndergaard over Franco, because I think he is monster pitcher who was limited by only getting 12 games in the FSL.  That being said it is a great placement for Franco.

I am not going to dive into the Franco report too much as he appears on the Eastern League list as well among many of the same names.  Just know that scouts really like him and while their are weaknesses and nits to pick, he is still a very good prospect.

Altherr is an interesting player because he still is raw and toolsy, but he comes with much improvement.  The approach still needs work but there are positive signs.  The split with scouts revolves around the power and defense.  Altherr has plus raw power that his is starting to show in games, and he is a plus runner as well.  Defensively many scouts see him as a solid defender in center field though the arm has not built up strength like some would want and seems more suited to LF long term.  Without the power and in LF he is a borderline second division guy, with the power and in CF he could be an above average regular.

To preempt the anger, there are two Phillies prospects absent from this league, both of whom qualified for the list.  The thing to keep in mind is that while these lists are driven by pure prospect ranking, there is some weight on performance and that includes time in the league.  The first name is Kelly Dugan who hit .318/.401/.539, but with a .401 BABIP across 247 FSL PAs.  I think Dugan is likely a better prospect than Altherr, but there is not a huge gap overall, and a difference of more than 200 PAs, as well as Altherr better defense can make a good case for Altherr over Dugan.

The other name missing is Severino Gonzalez who pitched 75.2 innings in the FSL across 9 starts and 11 relief appearances.  The lack of starts certainly does not help his case, but the lack of overpowering stuff does more to hurt than anything else.  Gonzalez has many things you like including a premium secondary pitch and fastball command, and the fastball velocity is not career ending.  But in a league where you need your starters to give you big innings over the year, and a changeup to keep them off a mediocre fastball, it is just not the complete package you are looking for.  Gonzalez is far from being a non-prospect, but he is not as good as the numbers suggest when you stack him up against other pitchers (a good case study is that of CJ Edwards who has Gonzalez’s lack of physicality, but a better fastball and secondary pitches, but still is a borderline Top 100 prospect because scouts doubt whether he can start).

From Chat:

@Jaypers413 (IL): Good afternoon, John. While this league was absolutely stacked as a whole, thus making it quite difficult to make your list, I was curious how close did Clearwater RHP Severino Gonzalez come to making the cut? He definitely broke out this season. What was the verdict on his projection? Thanks.
John Manuel: Gonzalez had a strong season, or rather a very strong two months of July and August as a starter after he was sent down to the SAL and stretched out. The Phillies were careful with him as he was just 20 but he has feel for spin, a loose arm and enough fastball combined with command. I went for more upside toward the back of the list because it’s not a done deal that he’s a starter, it’s not the most durable frame, and because he was pretty hittable as a starter and didn’t miss a ton of bats. He finished in the 21-30 range, closer to the top of that range.

Corinne (Delaware): What's the reasoning for Altherr making the list over Kelly Dugan?
John Manuel: More athletic, chance to play CF, developing power, more well-rounded. Dugan has more raw power but that would be his only advantage, and Altherr has good pop as well. Dugan had his best year as a pro but I didn’t get a lot of positive feedback on him.

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

23 thoughts on “Maikel Franco #5 and Aaron Altherr #20 on BAs FSL Top 20

  1. I’ll deflect some of the rage.This was interesting to look back on …

    FIVE YEARS AGO FSL top 20
    1. *Rick Porcello, rhp, Lakeland (Tigers)
    2. *J.P. Arencibia, c, Dunedin (Blue Jays)
    3. *Logan Morrison, 1b, Jupiter (Marlins)
    4. *Jeremy Jeffress, rhp, Brevard County (Brewers)
    5. *Adrian Cardenas, 2b, Clearwater (Phillies)
    6. *Jeremy Hellickson, rhp, Vero Beach (Rays)
    7. *Sean West, lhp, Jupiter (Marlins)
    8. *Wilson Ramos, c, Fort Myers (Twins)
    9. *Scott Cousins, of, Jupiter (Marlins)
    10. *Michael Taylor, of, Clearwater (Phillies)
    11. *Todd Frazier, ss/3b, Sarasota (Reds)
    12. *Drew Stubbs, of, Sarasota (Reds)
    13. *Chris Valaika, ss, Sarasota (Reds)
    14. *Jose Ceda, rhp, Daytona (Cubs)
    15. *Juan Francisco, 3b, Sarasota (Reds)
    16. *Taylor Green, 3b, Brevard County (Brewers)
    17. Cale Iorg, ss, Lakeland (Tigers)
    18. Francisco Samuel, rhp, Palm Beach (Cardinals)
    19. *Jonathan Lucroy, c, Brevard County (Brewers)
    20. *Zach McAllister, rhp, Tampa (Yankees)

    1. Anyone have access to the summary of that league wrap-up? Was it considered a particularly strong crop (in the way that this year’s is) of prospects? Some useful big leaguers in there, but . . . woof.

        1. Not public, I needed to sign in before I could read anything more than Rick Procello stood out (which didn’t inspire me to sign in, frankly).

  2. I take the list as a positive just because Altherr is in there. I wasn’t expecting that. I’d probably rank Dugan ahead of him but it’s good to know that Altherr still has good tools and is starting to put them to use more.

  3. Yeah, agreed with Handzus, the inclusion of Altherr is a surprise and a happy one. Next year will be big for him in Clearwater I think–if the power is ever going to show up in a big way, it will be there. As I’ve said in the past, I love his raw athleticism, if he puts it together he will be something really special.

      1. He should be near .200 ISO and I’m hoping for a few more steals. A 30 SB 20 HR season may not be out of the question.

  4. I guess this means Altherr should be a top 10 Phillies’ prospect, since he is a better prospect than Kelly Dugan.

    1. He is an interesting combination of speed, size/power, and defensive ability. Those types are rare these days so I sure hope he puts things together. May have to live with some k’s which is ok with me as long as we don’t have drew Stubbs here

      1. I was just mocking the ‘Kelly Dugan is a great prospect’ crowd a little. But Altherr has some work to do, before he becomes as good as even Drew Stubbs.

        1. I’d take Dugan over Altherr any day of the week. Dugan is a legitimate corner outfielder. Altherr may not even be a good defensive CF and if that’s the case, he’s pretty much a non-prospect.

          1. There’s positives and negatives to both guys. Dugan clearly has the power advantage and slight hit tool advantage. His K% is still too high but more acceptable considering his power. Altherr has the speed and defensive advantage (though dugan has been described as at least average), particulalry if he can stick in CF, with increasing power. Both with near identicle walk rates (I think dugan’s BB% at Reading was more of an outlier then trend).

            I agree that Dugan is far more likely to be a major league regular but Altherr has more upside. It’s the usual floor vs. ceiling debate with those two…

            1. I don’t agree. Dugan hasn’t shown the bat to be a starting corner outfielder. He finally made it to an age appropriate level (AA), and his numbers weren’t that good at that level.
              While Altherr does not show a bat that is starting quality either, he plays centerfield and is a baserunning savant. Altherr has the secondary skills it will take to be a 4th or 5th OF. Dugan still hasn’t hit enough to be considered a lock major league player.

          2. I don’t think the Dugan supporters here appreciate how atrocious his plate discipline was at Reading. For reference, Dugan put up a K/BB of 10.8 at Reading this year.
            I went through the Phillies’ roster this year to find, for each player, the worst K/BB he put up in over 100 PAs at a level prior to his major league debut:
            1) Delmon Young, 8.25, AAA
            He was 19. The next year he put up a 4.33 in AAA.
            2) Michael Martinez, 6.67, AAA
            3) Freddy Galvis, 6, AAA
            4) Cameron Rupp, 5.5, AAA
            5) Erik Kratz, 5.33, RK

            Dugan’s AA plate discipline was literally 30% worse than anybody who made the Phillies’ roster this year *ever* put up as a prospect. It was 80% worse than any player who made the Phillies’ roster this year and currently has a nonnegative major league WAR (Galvis is the first + on this list).
            While I acknowledge that there are many ways of measuring/evaluating a player, this K/BB exercise illustrates how big of a red flag his plate discipline is.

      2. Yeah there’s a lot to like about Altherr’s season, especially if he can stick in CF. Of course, he needs to cut down on the K’s.

  5. I like this one

    mike (utica, ny): Is franco’s offensive ceiling an aramis ramirez or the good version of pablo sandoval?

    John Manuel: I wouldn’t put Ramirez on him just because that implies agility and athleticism that it sounds like Franco doesn’t share. I wouldn’t put Sandoval on anyone because he’s so unpredictable. But scouts are bullish on Franco’s bat, and seem to consider him competent enough to stick at 3B. Franco had one of the better years in the minors, and even if he’s a 1B, he’s a pretty big-time prospect.

  6. Matt (NJ): Hey John, get any reports on Cameron Perkins of Clearwater? any potential there, or just an org guy? Anyone else not yet mentioned on that Threshers roster worth keeping in mind w/ future major league potential?

    John Manuel: Perkins has a bit of an unconventional swing but consistent bat to ball skills are quite good. We’ll see if the power develops but he does intrigue the scouts and managers that I talked to, and he was solid in his first year as a full-time OF.

  7. Altherr was ranked based on his exceptional first half. Usually, in the minors, if you’re not promoted mid-year you improve, since a decent number of pitchers get hurt and are replaced by guys from below, and guys from the top of the league get promoted out. I think it’s a pretty bad sign that Altherr slumped badly in July, although his August was OK. I guess we’ll see in Reading next year.

  8. The fact that Franco is now rated over Noah and Soler, at all, should be considered a great accomplishment. Going into the season, most would have thought Franco had no chance to jump those two guys.

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