My top prospect list will be a little different from most others for the following reasons –
- First, when possible, I prefer ranking players I have seen over those I haven’t. So, I won’t be including any recent additions to the organization, like – Zach Eflin, Tom Windle, Ben Lively, Joely Rodriguez, Elvis Araujo, Victor Arano.
- I won’t have a player like Miguel Gonzalez on my list since he exceeded his rookie limits with 122 days of MLB service during 2014 per Baseball Reference.
- I won’t include the Rule 5 Draft selections Odubel Herrera and Andy Oliver – unless there is another intervening transaction, the 2 most likely outcomes are that they make the Phillies’ 25-man roster or are returned to their former teams.
- I’m also not prepared to include 16-year old kids like the 4 Latin American signees who I saw in Instructs – Arquimedes Gamboa, Jonathan Arauz, Daniel Brito, and Lenin Rodriguez.
- Or any of the Latin Ammerican Academy players who I didn’t see until Instructs.
So, after eliminating all those players from consideration, here’s what I have –
- J.P. Crawford – Easily the best player I saw last season.
- Maikel Franco – I’m a believer that he can play third base.
- Aaron Nola – Easily the best pitcher I saw last season.
- Roman Quinn – Very exciting player, looked so much more conmfortable in CF.
- Jesse Biddle – Hope he can come back from 2014 injuries. (Looks good so far in 2015)
- Aaron Altherr – Only Dugan looks better as an all-around OF, needs to reduce Ks.
- Dylan Cozens
- Carlos Tocci
- Matt Imhof
- Deivi Grullon – Looks like a top receiver.
- Tommy Joseph – Of course, this will depend on his ability to stay at catcher.
- Jose Pujols
- Severino Gonzalez
- Yoel Mecias
- Kelly Dugan – Had him higher, then latest injury spooked me.
- Zach Green
- Andrew Knapp
- Denton Keys – I was very impressed with him in XST. He continued to impress in GCL.
- Cord Sandberg – I really like the way he plays. I expect continued improvement.
- Franklyn Kilome – Almost overlooked this guy, kept pitching well until I noticed.
- Jiandido Tromp
- Cody Forsythe – Solid pitcher when called up to CLW, earned higher leverage spots.
- Elniery Garcia
- Riccardo Pinto
- Cameron Perkins – I like his swing.
- Luis Encarnacion
- David Whitehead – liked what I saw in his first appearances in XST after rehab.
- Malquin Canelo
- Lewis Alezones
- Jesus Posso
You could re-order 5 thru 20, move Dugan up, and re-order 21 thru 30 and I wouldn’t argue the new order.
I think I have a bias toward younger players, only 8 of the 30 listed are at Reading or higher (9 if you count Joseph). Yet only 3 guys from Clearwater, my “home” team, made the list. Go figure. And at least 9 of the 14 players I didn’t consider, would certainly upset my list.
The most notable names missing when compared to other lists (other than those listed above) are probably –
- Nefi Ogando – It’s hard for me to rank him high after only one good AFL season, which could be an outlier.
- Andrew Pullin and Jesmuel Valentin – I’m wary of a second baseman unless/until he has a great hit tool. Second base is the most susceptible position to replacement in the minors as drafted shortstops who hit but can’t field the position are moved around to other positions.
- Rhys Hoskins – I didn’t see him until a few ABs in Instructs.
- Willians Astudillo – I can’t rank a player who doesn’t have a definable position no matter how good he hits. Where’s he going to play?
Academy kids who did catch my eye during Instructs were Ranger Suarez, Jose Taveras, Jesus Alastre, Carlos Indriago, and Ismael Cabrera.
Based on what I’ve seen so far this spring, I like Herrera and Araujo.