Phillies 2014 Top 30 Prospects

Sitting down to write the Phillies Top 30 Prospect list is one of the most interesting parts of the offseason.  The ranking process poses questions about how we evaluate different profiles and try to replicate the kind of characteristics that major league clubs value.  That being said, I find the final order to be the least important part of the process.  I find the write-ups and other details to be the much more informative.  I felt much more comfortable approaching the list this year, and I feel that I have learned a lot from talking to people and examining what I value.

My Ranking Philosophy:

Overall this ranking is the order that I would value these players if I were running the Phillies.  This evaluation is what I think their major league profile projects to be, coupled with their risk of obtaining that.  In general I lean towards high impact talent, because the impact of a single all-star is more valuable than a collection of lower impact talent.  You can’t go pure ceiling though.  I tried to balance the player’s upside with their floor, as well as how their profile fits into a major league role.  With current budgets and the influx of money, roster spots are becoming the limited commodity and players that fit well onto rosters have more value than limited use players.

This is also a balanced ranking of all parts of a major league profile.  This includes not only offensive output, but also base running and defense.  In addition to the traditional 5 tools I took into account traits such as the ability to draw a walk, overall baseball instincts, and consistent performance.  A player must also be able to actualize their raw tools on the baseball field.  One of the biggest things that I value is up the middle defense (catcher, shortstop, center field, and to a certain extent second base).  It is difficult to find these players, and the defensive value alone can provide a level of major league certainty.

Projection and Risk:

For each player I tried to create a snapshot in this moment in time of the kind of player that each prospect could be.  The projection is neither a ceiling nor a floor, but somewhere in between.  Due to the failure rate of prospects it is still a bit above the likely outcome.  It is based on my opinion of what each player could become assuming normal growth and projection of their tools.  The risk is the likelihood of reaching that projection, not of reaching their ceiling.  For the most part, risk is something that decreases on each level, but there are exceptions to the rule.  Some profiles are more likely to realize a major league future, especially for players with plus defense at up the middle positions.  Other profiles are riskier because of injury or lack of a major league role for their floor projection.

The List:

Rather than large write-ups of tools, I have updated the player pages with full reports.  Just click on a player’s name to jump to their page.

1. Maikel Franco (21) – 1B/3B
Clearwater: 289 PAs .299/.349/.576, 16HRs, 20 BBs, 39 Ks
Reading: 292 PAs .339/.363/.563, 15HRs, 10 BBs, 31 Ks
Projection: First Division Regular
Risk: Medium – While Franco mastered AA, questions about approach and defense could limit upside
Major League ETA: Late-2014
Summary: Franco’s offensive upside is immense; there is big time raw power, great bat speed, and good hand eye coordination.  If it all comes together he could hit .290-.300 with 30 HRs.  The problem is Franco’s approach limits the on base ability, and his body makes it unlikely he stays at third base.  At first base it is still a first division profile, but it does limit his overall upside some.  I do worry about the quality of contact right now, and I think it could be a struggle when he reaches the majors while he makes adjustments.  Overall I am a big fan of Franco’s raw tools, including the power and bat speed, but I worry about the overall development and positional value.
Previous Rank: 6

2. Jesse Biddle (22) – LHP
Reading: 138.1 IP, 3.64 ERA, 82 BBs, 154 Ks
Projection: #3 Starter
Risk: Medium – There are concerns about his command, but injuries and illness may have caused much of the regression in 2013
Major League ETA: Late-2014
Summary: After starting off on fire, Biddle struggled for much of the rest of the year.  Much of the regression can be attributed to a bout with whooping cough and plantar fascitis.  Biddle will be fully healthy going into 2014, and when he is on he shows the potential for three plus pitches and an average slider.  Add that to a workhorse frame, and you have a pitcher who should be a mainstay in the Phillies rotation for years.
Previous Rank: 1

3. J.P. Crawford (19) – SS
GCL: 168 PAs .345/.443/.465 1 HR, 12 SBs, 25 BBs, 25 Ks
Lakewood: 60 PAs .208/.300/.226 2 SBs, 7 BBs, 10 Ks
Projection: First Division Regular
Risk: High – Just 19 years old with only 14 games of full season ball under his belt
Major League ETA: 2016
Summary:  The Phillies selected Crawford with the 16th pick of the 2013 draft, and he came out swinging.  Crawford is a true shortstop, and there are no doubts about his ability to play the position.  The biggest questions revolve around Crawford’s power potential; there is a debate as to whether it is well below average or whether he fills in and gets it to average.  Crawford has an advanced approach and feel for hit, so the raw offensive tools could play above their grades.  There is a small chance that Crawford’s feel for the game and athletic ability vault him into the top echelon of prospects as soon as next year.  Either way his polish should allow him to move through the minors quickly for a high school player.
Previous Rank: N/A

4. Carlos Tocci (18) – CF
Lakewood: 459 PAs .209/.261/.245 6 SBs, 22 BBs, 77 Ks
Projection: First Division Regular
Risk: High – Tocci has the feel for baseball, but he will need to add a good amount of strength to reach his projection
Major League ETA: 2017
Summary: Tocci has everything you want in a baseball player except the strength to hit the ball hard.  Even if he doesn’t add much power to his game, he still should be a solid player in center field.  As the overall power numbers in baseball decrease, teams are putting a premium on defense. Tocci’s combination of speed, arm, work ethic, and feel for center field make his floor much higher than a normal 18 year old.
Previous Rank: 8

5. Kelly Dugan – RF (23)
Clearwater: 248 PAs .318/.401/.539 10 HRs, 1 SB, 24 BBs, 60 Ks
Reading: 226 PAs .264/.299/.472 10 HRs, 5 BBs, 54 Ks
Projection: Major League Regular
Risk: Medium – Dugan has reached AA and put up good results, but his approach from lower levels will need to materialize at high levels for him to be successful
Major League ETA: 2014
Summary:  There is a lot of mixed opinion about Dugan.  His numbers have been very good in the minors, but he stopped walking in Reading.  He puts up good power numbers, but does not have a prototypical thick, strong lower half.  He is a bit slow in the outfield but makes up for it in feel and instincts.  Dugan’s floor is a 4th outfielder, and his ceiling is an everyday regular.  I like the overall profile even without the sexy tools, and I trust the plate discipline returning given Dugan’s cerebral approach to the game.  More than anything I think Dugan is going to hit, and that makes me more confident in him than many players on this list.
Previous Rank: 26

6. Aaron Altherr (23) – CF
Clearwater: 527 PAs .275/.337/.455 12 HRs, 23 SBs, 45 BBs, 140 Ks
Projection: Major League Regular
Risk: Medium – despite not playing in AA or higher, Altherr possesses a profile that translates well to a major league role
Major League ETA: 2015
Summary: We have been waiting for Altherr’s raw ability to show up on the field.  It isn’t all there yet, but the power came on in 2013, and he showed the ability to stay in center field for now.  I don’t think Altherr has a sky high ceiling, but his profile is surprisingly safe at this point.  He looks like at minimum a solid 4th outfielder.  I think he can handle center field for a while still, and that will keep enough pressure off the bat to make him a regular.  If he does have to move to a corner outfield position, he will need to improve his hit and power combination to be a regular.
Previous Rank: 28

7. Roman Quinn (20) – SS
Lakewood: 298 PAs .238/.323/.346 5 HRs, 32 SBs, 27 BBs, 64 Ks
Projection: First Division Regular at a position other than SS
Risk: High – The Achilles injury provides a lot of risk here, especially if the speed does not return, additionally the defensive profile has some questions
Major League ETA: 2017
Summary:  The past season was a bit of a lost year for Quinn, but his peripherals were similar to 2012 in a much worse hitting environment.  The Achilles injury in the offseason will take away from development time in 2014, but early reports are that his elite speed will return.  The truth is that Quinn is not a shortstop long term, but the Phillies would be good to try him at second base before moving him to center field.  Quinn’s biggest problem in the field is making the transition from fielding to throwing, and a move away from short could give him a little bit more time to be in control.  Quinn has sneaky power and game changing speed, and the bat will play at short, second, or center.
Previous Rank: 3

8. Deivi Grullon (18) – C
GCL: 132 PAs .273/.333/.364 1 HR, 10 BBs, 18 Ks
Projection: First Division Regular
Risk: High – The defensive profile balances out some of the inherent risk of only playing complex league ball, the bat has a long way to go
Major League ETA: 2018
Summary:  Up the middle defense is always a premium, and Grullon has everything you want in a defensive catcher.  Depending on who you talk to, the arm is either a 70 or 80 grade tool.  He needs to polish up when he attempts pickoffs, but he should be elite in shutting down running games.  His receiving needs some work, but he should be a plus receiver long term.  He is only 18, and though the bat is a bit weak, the defense is a legit carrying tool.  He could move very quickly if the bat can keep up with his feel for the position.
Previous Rank: UR

9. Ethan Martin (24) – RHP *
Lehigh Valley: 21 GS, 115.2 IP, 4.12 ERA, 67 BBs, 107 Ks
Philadelphia: 15 G, 8 GS, 40.0 IP, 6.08 ERA, 26 BBs, 47 Ks
Projection: High Leverage Reliever
Risk: Low – Martin has pitched in the majors already and has shown good results in limited relief innings
Major League ETA: 2013 (already debuted)
Summary:  I think Martin is a reliever, and I think he is going to be a really good reliever.  That puts his value somewhere around a good #4 starter.  The biggest question is Martin’s playing time and role; he should spend most of his time in the majors in 2014, but he may not receive consistent work.  Out of the bullpen Martin will be able to scrap the changeup, show a fastball that could be plus plus in short bursts, a plus curveball, and a slider that has sharp cutter like movement.  If he can harness his control, Martin could be a near elite closer.
Previous Rank: 5

10. Cord Sandberg (19) – OF
GCL: 196 PAs .207/.313/.272 2 HRs, 4 SBs, 24 BBs, 36 Ks
Projection: First Division Regular
Risk: Extreme – Sandberg was a multisport athlete in high school, and a lot is riding on him learning how to play professional baseball
Major League ETA: 2019
Summary: Sandburg did not light up the Gulf Coast League in his debut.  Coming into the draft Sandburg would have been a day one pick without the signability concerns.  He is probably a corner outfielder long term and not a center fielder, but he will show four plus tools.  The concerns are the hit tool and approach, but this is Sandberg’s first time committing fully to baseball.  Sandberg’s makeup is universally praised, and he will benefit from a full spring training.  Sandburg will likely stay in extended spring training to start 2014 before heading to Williamsport.
Previous Rank: N/A

11. Yoel Mecias (20) – LHP
Lakewood: 57.0 IP, 3.79 ERA, 25 BBs, 70 Ks
Projection: #3 Starter
Risk: High – Mecias has only pitched at Low-A and has Tommy John surgery on his resume
Major League ETA: 2017
Summary:  Starting with the bad, Mecias blew out his elbow last summer and will likely not return to game action until this summer.  The good is that Mecias will show an average fastball that has touched 94 in short stints, and has room to put on more muscle and velocity.  Mecias can spin a pair of breaking balls that both project as average.  His real weapon is a changeup with good arm side movement, a present plus pitch that could improve a bit over time.  If Mecias comes back healthy, he has mid-rotation starter upside and a bit more if the fastball adds velocity.
Previous Rank: UR

12. Dylan Cozens (19) – OF
Williamsport: 277 PAs .265/.343/.469 9 HRs, 11 SBs, 28 BBs, 64 Ks
Projection: Major League Regular
Risk: High – has yet to play full season ball, and has defensive question
Major League ETA: 2018
Summary: There has been much debate over which Williamsport slugger is the better prospect.  I come down on the side of Cozens, mostly because I think Cozens has a better chance to make contact.  His contact rates in Williamsport were reasonable, and he is showing in game plus power.  Right now it is almost entirely pull power, but he has the raw strength to take it out to all fields.  It isn’t pretty in the outfield, the routes need a lot of work, and I think he ultimately will end up at first base as he loses a step. For now he can handle right field.  More than anything I think Cozens has shown the ability to make adjustments, and that will help him as he moves up through the minor leagues.
Previous Rank: 15

13. Andrew Knapp (22) – C
Williamsport: 247 PAs .253/.340/.401 4 HRs, 7 SBs, 22 BBs, 57 Ks
Projection: Major League Regular
Risk: High – Knapp needs to answer some defensive questions, and has yet to play full season ball
Major League ETA: 2016
Summary:  Coming into the 2013 draft, Knapp was the consensus top college catcher.  His bat is a lot more polished than his glove, and in 2013 arm injuries limited his time behind the plate.  Offseason Tommy John surgery will limit his time behind the plate for some of 2014.  Once he is healthy Knapp profiles as an offensive catcher, his overall upside will be determined by his defense.
Previous Rank: N/A

14. Ken Giles (23) – RHP
Clearwater: 25.2 IP, 6.31 ERA, 19 BBs, 34 Ks
Projection: High Leverage Reliever, Closer
Risk: Medium –  now stuff but the command profile has been lacking
Major League ETA: 2014
Summary: Ken Giles’ fastball is electric, but the most promising development this past year has been the growth of his consistency and secondary offerings.  When he was drafted the slider was an average pitch.  After the AFL it looked more plus, and this spring he showed the room for even more projection.  If he can continue to polish the control, Giles profiles as a top flight reliever with huge swing and miss stuff.  With Martin and some of the relievers already in the majors, Giles could help the Phillies form a homegrown, hard throwing, cheap bullpen.
Previous Rank: 24

15. Luis Encarnacion (16) – 3B
Projection: First Division Regular
Risk: Extreme – positional questions and has yet to play professional ball
Major League ETA: 2019
Summary: This ranking is all about projection and potential hit tool.  Encarnacion is highly unlikely to stay at third base, and left field might end up being a stretch, so he is going to need to hit.  Scouts see plus raw power and a good feel for contact.  A plus hit, plus power first baseman is a legitimate player, especially with a good approach, but Encarnacion has a long way to go to reach that ceiling.  If he can up either the hit or power, you are looking at a monster hitting prospect, despite the positional questions.  There is a lot of flameout risk here because of his lack of professional experience.
Previous Rank: N/A

16. Zach Green (20) – 3B
Williamsport: 311 PAs .252/.344/.478 13 HRs, 8 SBs, 31 BBs, 91 Ks
Projection: Major League Regular
Risk: High – Has yet to play full season ball and has concerning high strikeout rates
Major League ETA: 2017
Summary: As I touched on with Cozens, I have concerns about how much contact Zach Green will make.  The swing has length, and he has problems with recognizing breaking balls.  All that said, Green has legitimate power, and he should stick at third base.  If he can keep the contact up enough to let the power play, he has some value with the scarcity of right handed power.  If he polishes up the approach, he could be a three outcome third baseman.  Depending on the defense he could be a first division regular.
Previous Rank: 23

17. Jose Pujols (18) – OF
GCL: 181 PAs .188/.278/.369 6 HRs, 1 SB, 19 BBs, 56 Ks
Projection: First Division Regular
Risk: Extreme – Has only played complex ball and has large questions about hit tool viability
Major League ETA: 2019
Summary:  There are plenty of stories of players with big time raw power flaming out before reaching the upper minors.  Pujols has many of the same warning flags, with low contact rates and an inconsistent approach.  However, the power is too much to ignore; it is an easy 70 grade tool, and some scouts have even thrown an 80 projection on it.  The swing is nice thanks to extreme bat speed and a new, more level path through the zone.  Over the course of the season the swing improved and he ended the year on a high note.  In the field he needs work, but should handle right field long term.  There is definitely bust potential here, but there is also the chance that he could be a special player and big time power threat.
Previous Rank: 29

18. Cesar Hernandez (23) – 2B
Lehigh Valley: 440 PAs .309/.375/.402 2 HRs, 32 SBs, 41 BBs, 81 Ks
Philadelphia: 131 PAs .289/.344/.331 9 BBs, 26 Ks
Projection: Second Division regular
Risk: Low – Has a achieved major league level, some question about role if not a starter
Major League ETA: 2013 (already debuted)
Summary:  I will start off by saying I don’t think Hernandez is a starting second baseman.  There is a lot of swing and miss, with less power than expected.  This puts Hernandez in an unfortunate position, because there really is no room for a backup second baseman on a major league roster.  This leaves Hernandez’s upside as Skip Schumaker.  This makes me drop Hernandez more than his talent dictates; the game just doesn’t have room for players of his profile with teams carrying seven relievers.
Previous Rank: 21

19. Severino Gonzalez (21) – RHP
Lakewood: 21.1 IP, 1.69 ERA, 3 BBs, 31 Ks
Clearwater: 75.2 IP, 2.02 ERA, 19 BBs, 82 Ks
Reading: 6.2 IP, 2.70 ERA, 0 BBs, 6 Ks
Projection: #4/#5 Starter
Risk: Medium – Limited track record, questions about how frame will hold up to a full season workload
Major League ETA: 2015
Summary: It isn’t one fatal flaw that limits Severino for me.  At his best Severino will show 4 average pitches and plus command, and to me that is the ceiling of a #4 starter.  To this point he has not shown the ability to handle a full season workload, and he showed precipitous drops in velocity both late in the season and in games.  The good news is that, at a $14,000 investment, the Phillies should end up with a fringe starter or middle reliever with an outside chance at a bit more.
Previous Rank: UR

20. Adam Morgan (24) – LHP
Lehigh Valley: 71.1 IP, 4.04 ERA, 26 BBs, 49 Ks
Projection: #3/#4 Starter
Risk: Extreme – Shoulder injury recoveries have a low chance of success
Major League ETA: 2015
Summary:  A year ago Adam Morgan was at the top of the system and came into Spring Training looking like a sure-fire mid rotation starter.  We don’t know what Morgan is post injury.   In 2013 the fastball went from above average to abelow average pitch, and the command was spotty.  At this point we need to see what Morgan looks like at the end of his rehab.  If he returns to previous form, he will show four average pitches, with up to three showing plus.  He could also be done as an effective pitcher if the health and stuff don’t return.
Previous Rank: 2

21. Shane Watson (20) – RHP
Lakewood: 72.0 IP, 4.75 ERA, 28 BBs, 53 Ks
Projection: #3 Starter
Risk: Extreme – While less of a large surgery than Morgan, it is a shoulder injury with a limited track record
Major League ETA: 2017
Summary: Much like Morgan and others, it was really hard to rank Watson.  I am not too concerned about the surgery, as it was merely addressing recurring soreness and not a tear.  That being said, Watson’s numbers tell a much worse story than the actual season.  He gave up 7 of his 12 HRs in two games, one against the Ranger’s affiliate (Watson went 1.1 IP, but struck 4 and gave up 3 HRs), and the other was in the Asheville bandbox.  Also 6 of his 28 BBs came in one start against the Royals affiliate.  Take those starts out, and over the remaining 64.2 IP he had a 2.94 ERA with a 2.8 BB/9 and 6.3 K/9.  There is still a lot to work on for Watson, but if he can get healthy and show plus fastball velocity again, he still has a high ceiling.
Previous Rank: 10

22. Tommy Joseph (22) – C
Clearwater: 42 PAs .095/.095/.143, 0 BBs, 13 Ks
Lehigh Valley: 72 PAs .209/.264/.358 3 HRs, 4 BBs, 15 Ks
Projection: Major League Regular
Risk: Extreme –  A risky profile to begin with, another concussion will end Joseph as a catcher, and he doesn’t profile at any other position
Major League ETA: 2014
Summary:  Coming into 2013 Joseph looked to be a year away from the majors.  Now it looks like his future may be in complete jeopardy due to concussions.  When healthy, Joseph will show plus raw power and a rocket arm.  Joseph is probably more of major league regular if healthy.  If he can’t stick at catcher, he is instantly a non-prospect.  It may also take another two years for him to polish his receiving behind the plate.
Previous Rank: 4

23. Cameron Rupp (25) – C
Reading: 161 PAs .245/.329/.455 8 HRs, 14 BBs, 36 Ks
Lehigh Valley: 194 PAs .269/.309/.423 6 HRs, 10 BBs, 55 Ks
Philadelphia: 14 PAs .308/.357/.385 1 BB, 4 Ks
Projection: Backup Catcher
Risk: Safe – Rupp is what he is and has done it in the major leagues
Major League ETA: Debuted in 2013
Summary:  Rupp achieved the major league level in 2013.  He will show solid skills across the board, but physical limitations point to a career as a solid backup.  Rupp will likely start the year in AAA, but could establish himself as Ruiz’s backup fairly soon.
Previous Rank: UR

24. Jan Hernandez (19) – 3B
GCL: 141 PAs .210/.291/.347 3 HRs, 12 BBs, 50 Ks
Projection: Major League Regular
Risk: Extreme –  limited professional track record
Major League ETA: 2018
Summary:  Going into the draft, some experts thought Hernandez would be a fringe first round pick, but he fell to the Phillies in the third round.  Hernandez is a bit rough around the edges and is a third baseman long term.  After struggling early, he came around late in the year and showed good contact ability with the possibility for plus power.  It might take a year or two for the Phillies to know what they have in Hernandez, but there is good potential here.
Previous Rank: N/A

25. Cameron Perkins (23) – RF
Clearwater: 424 PAs .295/.346/.444 6 HRs, 25 BBs, 57 Ks
Projection: Second Division Regular
Risk: Medium – contact oriented game with possible positional flexibility
Major League ETA: 2015
Summary: Perkins is an interesting player; he can play both outfield corners, make solid contact, and is not poor in any facet of the game.  The problem is that there is not a stand out tool, and the home run power is less than ideal for a corner outfielder.  The overall profile makes me think he is more of a 4th outfielder and bench player than starter.  He played third base in college, so if he can sub at the infield corners as well, he could have some room as super utility type player.
Previous Rank: UR

26. Zach Collier (23) – CF
Reading: 513 PAs .222/.310/.348 8 HRs, 47 BBs, 129 Ks
Projection: Second Division Regular
Risk: Medium – Has reached AA and has skill set to be at least a 4th outfielder
Major League ETA: 2014
Summary:  Zach Collier had a rough 2013 season; his strike out rate spiked, his power went down, and he made poor contact.  What he did do was stay healthy, show plus plus speed, and maintain solid centerfield defense.  Most people look for sky high ceilings with the toolsy prospects, but Collier doesn’t have star potential.  What he does have, is a skill set that translates well to the majors.  There is still a chance he does enough things well enough to be a regular, but he mostly profiles as a solid 4th outfielder.
Previous Rank: 19

27. Drew Anderson (20) – RHP
Williamsport: 76.1 IP, 2.00 ERA, 20 BBs, 54 Ks
Projection: #4 Starter
Risk: High –  Despite lack of full season experience Anderson sports a profile that is safer, though limited on upside
Major League ETA: 2017
Summary:  While Anderson’s numbers might suggest big time upside, the truth is a bit below.  The fastball is above average to plus, the slider flashes above average, and the changeup shows feel.  On the mound Anderson has a good feel for pitching, allowing the stuff to play up.  His profile reminiscent of Jonathan Pettibone’s, and if he reaches that ceiling, he is a huge scouting success for the Phillies.
Previous Rank: UR

28. Malquin Canelo (19) – SS
Williamsport: 208 PAs .220/.291/.297 1 HR, 10 SBs, 17 BBs, 47 Ks
Projection: Major League Regular
Risk: Extreme – Canelo will probably never hit at a major league level, and that limits the overall upside from his defensive ability
Major League ETA: 2018
Summary:  Offensively, Canelo has not shown much.  Given his small frame and current weak hitting ability, there may never be any offensive output.   Right now the defense lacks polish, but the raw tools are special.  At his peak Canelo could be a plus or better glove at shortstop.  That gives him a chance to be at very least an interesting utility piece, and if he ever shows offensive output, he could be very valuable.
Previous Rank: UR

29. Andrew Pullin (20) – 2B
Williamsport: 219 PAs .261/.283/.412 3 HRs, 1 SB, 7 BBs, 37 Ks
Projection: a Major League Regular
Risk: Extreme –  Pullin has yet to play full season ball, second base only profile has inherent risk
Major League ETA: 2017
Summary:  I was really high on Pullin a year ago, and his fall has more to do with others passing him than him falling.  It is a tough profile, as we touched on with Cesar, because he needs to be a starter.  That said, I think he is going to hit, and I think the defense is going to continue to improve.  The ceiling is not elite, but he could quietly sneak up on people.
Previous Rank: 17

30. Samuel Hiciano (20) – LF
Williamsport: 158 PAs .243/.348/.449 7 HRs, 1 SB, 18 BBs, 39 Ks
Projection: Major League Regular
Risk: Extreme – Limited track record, lack of defensive value puts pressure on bat
Major League ETA: 2017
Summary: Hiciano was in and out of my Top 30 during the ranking process.  The power is real and approach looks good, but the sample size is small.  There is a lot of pressure on the bat, because he is going to be either a left fielder or first baseman long term.  Lakewood is going to be a big test for Hiciano, as it is one of the hardest places to hit a HR in the minors.  If he can continue to tap into the power, he could rocket up the list.
Previous Rank: UR

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez:
I choose not to rank Gonzalez because I don’t view him as a prospect.  I acknowledge he has yet to play baseball stateside, and may begin the year in the minor leagues.  I believe he was signed as a professional major leaguer, and MLB’s rules on international signings back that idea up.

Organizational Summary:

It may not be reflected in Top 100 prospect lists or organizational rankings, but the Phillies farm system is rapidly moving in the right direction.  Injuries have thinned the top of the system, but 2013 added new depth to the organization.  It was tough to limit this to only 30 names, and in the end there were some tough cuts.  I expect a good amount of players to jump forward next year, highlighted by some raw talents from the 2013 draft.

Besides not trading away talent, the Phillies have done an increasingly excellent job of obtaining talent in the draft and international markets. This list has 10 players acquired from Latin America, a testament to the scouting work of Sal Agostinelli.  The Phillies have had three back to back deep drafts that have begun to show potential, including opening day third baseman Cody Asche.  The 2014 draft, highlighted by the #7 overall pick, promises more talent will be arriving shortly.

Overall the farm is not the quick fix fans may be looking for, but the front office has done a good job putting together potential long term building blocks.

*This ranking was made before news of Martin’s shoulder injury surfaced, even then, I don’t want to be reactionary and drop Martin too far before we see if he comes back healthy in three weeks.  If Martin’s shoulder injury lingers he would drop down around Ken Giles in the rankings.

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

60 thoughts on “Phillies 2014 Top 30 Prospects

  1. No MAG. Is he not a Top 30 worthy prospect in your view or did you take the position that he wasn’t really a prospect since he was signed at a relatively late age to be a major league contributor–essentially a free agent?

    1. PS, I would agree with the latter reasoning, but even as bad as he’s looked I think he’s more likely to be a contributor in the majors than, say, Severino or Anderson, to say nothing of Morgan

    1. My guess is Williamsport after time in extended spring training. However, I think they could keep him in the GCL if the approach is a mess this spring, I don’t think there is any chance that he goes to Lakewood

      1. Thank you. I kinda figured from reading up on your work about his profile like the potential

  2. My son tells me that he is throwing live to hitters for the first time on Wednesday so I would imagine the other pitchers will be too. Also I think he told me that their first games are on March 9th.

  3. you think Grullon ,Sandburg, Pujols and Hernandez will be in Williamsport this year.

    1. I do, I don’t see enough polish there for any of them to make the jump to Lakewood, especially since the Lakewood roster is going to be crowded already.

  4. Any opinion on Mitch Gueller. Had a bad year in 2013 but has the build to be a starter and still young.

  5. Prospects lists are nice and it’s great to try and predict outcomes but we have all the minor leaguers in camp now and the real analysis begins. Thanks for the first hand daily reports

  6. A little surprised to see Mecias that high. That’s probably around where I would have put him if not for the TJ. Hopefully that won’t really throw a wrench in his development.

    Any thoughts on Trey Williams? Besides MAG and Jake Sweaney, he’s the only guy I put in my top 30 that didn’t show up on yours.

  7. has a blurb about Mario Hollands being impressive so far in ST. Any thoughts on his potential?

    1. Pitchability LHP, he has a ton of deception in the delivery and a wide array of pitches that he throws for strikes. The fastball is average. If he can throw strikes and locate around the zone maybe he can be a back end starter. The problem is that major league hitters can figure out deception after seeing a pitcher a few times.

      The delivery really is funky though.

      1. I asked Longenhagen if he’s seen him and thinks he might make for a LOOGY. I can’t remember seeing a report from him on Hollands. Maybe I’ll go fishing through Crasburn archives.

    1. Freddy played his age 19 season in low-A and hit .238/.300/.288 to Canelo’s .220/.291/.297 in short season ball and offensively it is similar upside for average, though Galvis has shown more power over the years. Canelo is also a better runner.

      The difference is the defense, Canelo could maybe be a Galvis level defender at some point (and he is a good defender now), but he still needs more work. In low-A Galvis was already a wizard with the glove and one of the best defensive SSs in the minor leagues.

  8. This is one of the more reasonable rankings that I have seen this year. Nice job Matt.

  9. I really enjoy these posts and all the work you and team put into this site.

    My question to Matt:
    Take away the somewhat recent Phillies trades. Where would the following prospects currently rate in our system? I guess that list would include the following:

    J. Singleton (Pence)
    D. Santana (Pence)
    May (Revere)
    Am I forgetting anyone else?

    FYI – Others who would not qualify as prospects, but would qualify for the under 25 BP list:

    1. I would put Singleton between Franco and Biddle, Santana would be between Crawford and Tocci, May would be between Sandberg and Mecias, and d’Arnaud would be #1.

      I would take Gose over Altherr but behind Dugan, Villar would be behind Grullon and in front of Martin, and Cosart would be behind Crawford (I am not a huge Cosart fan, the stuff is good, but I don’t know how it goes together).

      1. Since Singleton has come out as addicted to weed, does that change your stance on him? I see this like an injury. The problem is the next time he’s caught with it in his system, it’s 100 games (it’s probably 2 tests but you know what I mean). Pretty soon he’s looking at an ARod sort of suspension. I’d drop him at least 10 slots because of that risk. I have no idea what Baseball or any other major sport will do about the legalization of marijuana in 2 states. What if Utley got a medical marijuana prescription for his knees? Will he be allowed to play while using? Sorry I got off topic but the Singleton revelation brings up some questions and since I see his addiction like an injury, how would we handle that impact?

        1. The suspension is no longer a worry. He now is no long tested randomly with his addition to the 40 man roster as he falls under the major league drug policy.

      1. yeah but mike young helped the phillies get the number 7 pick in this years draft

  10. Great stuff as usual…i applaud your emphasis on the youth movement; isn’t that the point, after all?..i admit this is the first I’ve even heard of the last few guys, but that’s a good sign- there being some org value below the surface.

    Admittedly I’m extremely bullish on Crawford, but I take issue with his risk: what more could he do? Coming from a top prep program, maintaining high visibility, going high and massively outperforming expectations. One could argue he is already the organization’s top asset and could become a top 15 prospect within a year. His advanced approach and positional value outweigh concerns about his lack of power- which could erode soon anyway, given his frame and propensity for hard contact. He is the closest thing we have to a cornerstone type player, which puts him easily above Biddle in my book. He’s young, but he’s also nearly flawless as a prospect, with no real obstacles to his development.

    1. He couldn’t do any more to reduce his risk, I am not going lower than high on HS player on their draft year. There is a lot of small sample size and a not insubstantial distance to the majors full of pitfalls.

      Crawford is about as safe as they come at his age and experience. Wait a year and the questions will be answered, and then reevaluate the risk

  11. Can you explain the difference between First Division Regular, Major League Regular, and Second Division Regular?

    1. A First Division Regular is a regular for a playoff team, someone who is the Top 10 at their position and if using the 20-80 scale you would but them as a 60.
      A Major League Regular is somewhere in the 10-20 range, and I would say a 55 on the scale.
      Second Division Regulars fill out the rest of the scale and tend to also include players in straight platoon situations and come in around 50.

      I use the scale to say that a major league regular is an above average majors league player. Additionally above these is All-Star (not all all-stars are All-Stars, and not all All-Stars are all-stars), which is a 70 grade player, and then a teir above that is elite/HoF. There is dramatically less players on each of these teirs.

      In terms of pitchers a #3 starter is more in the first division profile, down to good regulars. The same kind of deviation for #4 starters and so on. I would put an elite reliever in the middle of the first division group.

      I hope that helps clarify.

      1. I would have preferred you added a “best case” in addition to your “optimistically probably” version. Reason being, in Crawfords example, he really does profile as an All Star (as in the potential to be in more then a couple AS games.) or even Franco who could end up the same if he proves he can talk a walk at the major league level. Not such a stretch huh?

        1. Not to beat a dead horse but you know I disagree with your ranking of Sev 🙂

  12. Good list. It is noteworthy–and I hope the powers that be notice that there is only ONE starting pitcher prospect among the first 10.

    Reality should strike to influence an emphasis on starting pitchers in the ’14 draft at #7 and many others in the early picks.

    The franchise is out to lunch in future pitching.

    1. Dude, guys like you produce the eagles drafts under the late Reid. You can’t draft for need in NFL and be successful long term, let alone the MLB where uncertainty is far higher. They probably will take a pitcher, but that’s because he’ll be the best available, not because they need pitching.

      1. Football and baseball drafts are disimilar. In football you draft from college eligibles who are expected to move into the NFL immediately. Baseball draftees are sent to minor pro leagues to learn this seemingly simple game that has nuances never appearing in football.

        Do you not think that Crawford was chosen as our #1 pick last year in part because our SS position looked blank for the future?

        Of course, need is a big factor in choosing from among “equals.” Anybody who thinks otherwise doesn’t recognize what’s going on so they can settle with the bromide: “The best player available regardless of need.”

        1. You just said “best player among equals”…I’m fine with that approach. But you didn’t say that above. Disagreement settled.

  13. I take it that you see Crawford as Rollins’ immediate successor, with Galvis filling in as needed.

    1. I can’t speak for Matt, but, even as one of the biggest Rollins’ fans around here, I would think there might be a transition year or two. 2016 seems a little aggressive for Crawford, and I assume that Matt is thinking late 2016. And Rollins, absent one o the most improbable rebounds in major league history, won’t be here in 2016.

      2105 is also a bit up in the air. Again, even speaking as a fan of Rollins, one would hope his 2015 option doesn’t vest. Unfortunately it likely will.

      Galvis is IMO not a long term regular but might be a decent transitional option for a year or two.

      1. You do wonder what the end game is for Rollins. On the one hand, he seems like the kind of player who is going to keep playing as long as someone will pay him to play, and his skill set combined with the quality of the typical bottom 5 regular short stops might be enough for him to keep playing SOMEWHERE until he’s 40. On the other hand, he says that he never wants to leave the Phillies.

        Again as much as I like him, if he wants to keep playing past 2015, let’s hope it’s for another organization. ,

  14. I was surprised by your projection of Grullon, he did have a really good year in a small sample size but sorta came out of no where to make our top 10. The phillies have had shit luck with catching prospects since Ruiz (aka injuries, flame outs, and traded the only one of worth), would be great if we had a young catcher who is capable of similar peak production. Your view on Tocci was predictably high, this year to me is a big deal, it’s going to shape if he can ever be a perennial all star or just a regular with good d. He has to produce an ISO of 125 this year for me to not drop him towards the bottom half of our top 10

  15. So good of you to do this and very enjoyable to read. Folks can quibble with this and that, but it’s very comprehensive and well reasoned. By the way, I had a chance to see Kelly Dugan on TV and he certainly looks the part.

  16. Good list and analysis. Thanks for continually putting energy into this site.

    I like your list, except I am down on Biddle. I hope that I am wrong. I would love for the kid to succeed. My cousins went to GFS and it would be great to have a strong arm in the minors. But I don’t see it happening. I think his overall stuff is average (with exception of the curve) and his location is below average. Again, hope I am wrong.

      1. Yeah, before Zito lost 6 MPH on his fastball, when he won a Cy Young award. If that’s the guy you’re talking about, I’d take him in a heartbeat. By the way, the curve is very reminiscent of a young Zito. It’s a 65 pitch minimum; 75-80 (yes, elite) if he can command it better.

  17. I love the list. Your ranking of Kelly Dugan is as high as I’ve seen. I’m really high on Dugan and would put him just as high myself. I’m also really interested in your catcher rankings and will have to look at the young guys a little more closely. If I didn’t follow the system as closely as I did I would be surprised about the mess at the catcher position. It’s a far cry from where were one year ago.

  18. Bowa and Sandberg have high praise of Franco’s glove work. That carries more weight with me than the collective assessments of Klaw, BP, BA, and Sickels.

    1. It carries no weight with me. Bowa is notorious for his praise. And more importantly, what else is the team going to say, that he sucks and is a first baseman. You destroy any trade value and the kid’s confidence. I put no weight on what they have to say about Franco, other than that org likes him.

      1. What else is the team going to say? There’s a lot of middle ground between the praise they’re heaping on him and saying he sucks, like “he’s getting better” or “there’s a lot to like.” Those are the kinds of things I expect to hear from a team when someone is bad enough that saying otherwise would insult people’s intelligence. As I mentioned in the general discussion thread, Sandberg did say Ruf is a first baseman only, which can’t help his confidence given that he himself believes he can play the outfield.

        I didn’t realize that about Bowa. I’ll take you at your word on that, but I’m still very optimistic based on what I’ve read from Sandberg and some disinterested parties as well.

        1. I honestly don’t think coaches watch what they say, meaning they don’t hold back because it might hurt trade value. I’ve seen Franco in person several times and their assessments are 100% correct. And I’ve said this before, he’s not slow like people might think . . He has average speed to maybe slightly below but it takes him a minute to get to that speed. There are a lot of players who are slow outta the box or slow getting your first step on the bases but after that their speed isn’t an issue.

    2. Ryan Sandberg made Jason Donald a future Hall of Famer, after working with him in the AFL a few years ago.

      1. Well Donald did break up a perfect game in Detroit afew years back…..thanks also to ump James Joyce. Thats close to HoF noteworthy trivia.

  19. Great work, as usual. I was wondering if you would consider adjust the rankings periodically during the course of the year (quarterly?), as we get more data from the players’ performances… It wouldn’t have to be for every player, just for those who exhibit significant performances or have horrible stats (or major injuries). Move them up or down as necessary relative to the rest of the top 30.

    You could also show “up” and “down” arrows to indicate if their performance warrants a future upward or downward move in the rankings.

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