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).
@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.