My Top Prospect List

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 –

  1. J.P. Crawford – Easily the best player I saw last season.
  2. Maikel Franco – I’m a believer that he can play third base.
  3. Aaron Nola – Easily the best pitcher I saw last season.
  4. Roman Quinn – Very exciting player, looked so much more conmfortable in CF.
  5. Jesse Biddle – Hope he can come back from 2014 injuries. (Looks good so far in 2015)
  6. Aaron Altherr – Only Dugan looks better as an all-around OF, needs to reduce Ks.
  7. Dylan Cozens
  8. Carlos Tocci
  9. Matt Imhof
  10. Deivi Grullon – Looks like a top receiver.
  11. Tommy Joseph – Of course, this will depend on his ability to stay at catcher.
  12. Jose Pujols
  13. Severino Gonzalez
  14. Yoel Mecias
  15. Kelly Dugan – Had him higher, then latest injury spooked me.
  16. Zach Green
  17. Andrew Knapp
  18. Denton Keys – I was very impressed with him in XST. He continued to impress in GCL.
  19. Cord Sandberg – I really like the way he plays.  I expect continued improvement.
  20. Franklyn Kilome – Almost overlooked this guy, kept pitching well until I noticed.
  21. Jiandido Tromp
  22. Cody Forsythe – Solid pitcher when called up to CLW, earned higher leverage spots.
  23. Elniery Garcia
  24. Riccardo Pinto
  25. Cameron Perkins – I like his swing.
  26. Luis Encarnacion
  27. David Whitehead – liked what I saw in his first appearances in XST after rehab.
  28. Malquin Canelo
  29. Lewis Alezones
  30. 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.


28 thoughts on “My Top Prospect List

  1. Glad to see someone ekse has high expectations for Cozens.
    Granted, taken in consideration all the exemptions,….l he still is pretty high on the list.

  2. An interesting list and good to get a ranking from someone who sees the kids at the lower levels of the farm. You didn’t rank the 16-year olds you saw in instructs, but what was your impression of them?

    You didn’t have a comment with Encarnacion. What was your impression of him defensively as well as with the bat?

    1. The 3 middle infielders looked smallish, but didn’t appear to be as overmatched as Encarnacion and Martelo looked in 2013 Instructs. They were giving up 3 years to the other players in most cases, but they put the ball in play, hustled, and fielded well on the few chances they saw. I don’t remember the catcher though.

      They had Encarnacion at first base a lot. I didn’t think a position change was a good sign at his age. Zach Green got a lot of time at third during XST on his rehab, and Damek Tomscha got most of the GCL reps at third. Let’s just say that first base is a work in progress. Offensively, he posted below average numbers, but he was almost 4 years younger than league average. I remain hopeful.

  3. You commented about most of the usual listed guys whom you didn’t include, but didn’t comment about exclusion of Aaron Brown. What are your thoughts on him?

    1. He reported directly to Williamsport. I never got to see him play until a very few ABs during Instructs. I think he went 3-7 in 3 games (2 doubles in an intrasquad game). Not enough to form a fair opinion.

  4. “I think I have a bias toward younger players”

    No, I think that’s an accurate reflection of the system, especially when you exclude the trade acquisitions.

    1. Yes, I don’t think any of the guys who have been here multiple seasons are seriously underrated. Which of the longer-tenured guys should be rated higher?

  5. I saw a lot of games last year, and I was not impressed with Ogando other than high speed gun numbers…..yet the big numbers by Astudillo intrigue me

    1. Yes, Ogando’s regular season was pedestrian. He really blossomed in the AFL with Ray Burris. He carried his success over to the DWL for 5 appearances before being shut down for the winter.

      Astudillo certainly can hit. They had him at first and catcher during the regular season with a handful of appearances in left. He played left and first base during the winter. I remember seeing video of him in center, too. He doesn’t look like an outfielder and first base is starting to get crowded.

    1. I’ve been trying to make a case for Keys over Viza and I can’t seem to make it. Viza is 1 month younger than Keys and they’ll both pitch this entire year as 20 years olds. Viza, SSS and all, pitched better in the GCL in 2013. Every stat showed him better. In 2014, Keys repeated the GCL while Viza was 2 levels higher in LKW. Viza’s stats weren’t great or even good but he was a 19 year old at A level. Keys only repeated the rookie leagues. They are both the same size (6’3″ 170 pounds). The one thing I’ll give Keys is that he’s left-handed and Viza’s a righty. I have to rate Viza, based on nearly every metric, as the better prospect. I’m not saying either will see a major league mound but at this point in their careers, Viza just looks better on paper.

      1. Keys got a later start in 2013, he didn’t make his first appearamce until the end of July. That may have had something to do with the difference in their 2013 stats. In 2014, I thought Keys pitched well enough to make the Williamsport roster. I was surprised he didn’t until I realized he was so young.

        I don’t recall seeing Viza either of the past 2 seasons, but I was impressed that he survived Lakewood. I think the fact that they threw him to the lions and left him there is an indication that he is (in their eyes) closer to org fodder. I give him credit for hanging in there, can’t wait to get a look at him this spring, and hope he shows them he can continue to thrive.

        1. I see it differently. If they sent Viza to Lakewood as a 19 year old it’s probably because they thought he could handle it, either on the field or mentally. The thing people miss is that Viza didn’t even pitch that poorly there; he had a 3.91 FIP.

          He also walked fewer batters than Keys did and his K-rate was not all that much lower- 5.71 K/9 for Viza and 6.43 for Keys. If we’re looking purely at results so far then Viza is ahead. The argument for Keys is that he’s a lefty and probably offers more projection than Viza.

  6. my only “i cant believe u are being serious” moment is Cody Forsythe… other than that, good work.

    1. Forsythe pitched as well as or better that anyone not named Nola on a disappointing Clearwater team. His 11.9 K/9 was best among pitchers who weren’t passing thru on a rehab assignment. His 2.8 BB/9 was second among relievers, and he didn’t walk a batter in his first 8 Clearwater appearances (12.0 innings, 1 ER, 16 K). He was one of a few bright spots during a long season down here.

  7. Jim… the gun on the new scoreboard at Bright House reading accurately?
    Yesterday Biddle was sitting at 93/94 velo…then LA says later in the game that Jeanmar G.’s velo on the scoreboard seems a bit inflated.
    Now I am wondering if Biddle was actually at 93/94 or maybe something lower.

    1. At the D2 game I looked for a scout so that I could compare velo with the board. I wasn’t able to find one. I will continue to find a way to check the board’s accuracy. Funny thing is that I first questioned the board when they reported that Papelbon was sitting at 93 mph. I report back when I solve this riddle.

  8. At the Carpenter Complex now with my son who is in college. Man the crowd is small. Let me know if you’re here. Saw the game yesterday – Biddle Struggled but his velocity is higher than ever – don’t give up on him yet.

          1. On a lark we went to Port Charlotte at around 11 to take in the ST game there – has been well worth it. Should be there tomorrow early – will be there on Tuesday morning. Sorry we missed you!!!!

  9. Romus I hope your right. The crowds look small at the game. the interest in this team is fading. I read remarks from people at the game yesterday. They said the crowd, were bored, this team will be worst then we think. and some left early, one guy being a fan for 40 yrs, and he said he couldn’t watch them. I just still cant figure out why amaro is still here.

  10. What I like about the rankings is how you put them together as I like the fact that you left out the new guys, the rule 5 guys and the 16 year old LA guys as that’s how I would do the rankings if I got to see enough of the prospects as I got rid of my sub last year.

    I am interested in Encarnacion sine he got big money but I don’t seem to hear much about him. Where’s he expected to play this year and what’s the thought on him so far, not looking as good as hoped or just too early to say just yet?

    1. Encarnacion doesn’t turn 18 until August. I expect that he’ll be in the GCL again this season. He was a lot younger than the competition he faced, by almost 4 years. Offensively, his numbers weren’t great, but he had his moments. Defensively, he’s looking for a position. They’ve already moved him off third and have been trying him at first and in left. Let’s just say, he’s still learning. It’s way too early (for me) to form a solid opinion on him.

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