The First End of Season Poll

Over the past weekend, Mike Drago of the Reading Eagle published his yearly prospect survey.  Mike requests input from about two dozen industry people who watch or cover a fair amount of games and players among the Phillies’ affiliates.  He received 16 responses and used a weighted scoring system to determine a player’s perceived value (first-place votes earning 20 points, second place 19 points, etc.).   I was one of the 16 respondents.

J.P Crawford received 15 of 16 first place votes.  Jake Thompson received the other first place vote.  Nick Williams received 11 second place votes.  Thirty-four players received votes.  The results of the poll were as follows.

  1. J.P. Crawford                     SS     Reading                    317 points
  2. Jake Thompson                 P     Reading                    287
  3. Nick Williams                    OF    Reading                    278
  4. Cornelius Randolph      OF   Gulf Coast                253
  5. Jorge Alfaro                          C     Reading                    236
  6. Roman Quinn                    OF     Reading                    225
  7. Franklyn Kilome                 P      Williamsport         215
  8. Zach Eflin                                P      Reading                   197
  9. Ricardo Pinto                       P       Clearwater             154
  10. Carlos Tocci                          OF     Clearwater             145
  11. Aaron Altherr                       OF    Philadelphia         144
  12. Andrew Knapp                     C      Reading                   138
  13. Jarad Eickoff                         P      Philadelphia        113
  14. Scott Kingery                      2B      Lakewood             104
  15. Nick Pivetta                           P      Reading                      93
  16. Ben Lively                                P      Reading                      63
  17. Darnell Sweeney              OF     Philadelphia            59
  18. Rhys Hoskins                      1B     Clearwater                36
  19. Alberto Tirado                      P      Clearwater                34
  20. Malquin Canelo                 SS    Lakewood                  29

The next ten were – Matt Imhof, Alec Asher, Brandon Leibrandt, Dylan Cozens, Jimmy Cordero, Kelly Dugan, Jose Pujols, Deivi Grullon, Willians Astudillo, Jesse Biddle.

Four others received votes – Felix Paulino, Jonathan Arauz, Aaron Brown, Lucas Williams. (All four were on my ballot.)

I returned my ballot with the following disclaimer.  “Really tough this season. I haven’t seen enough of half of the guys in the MLB top 20. I relied on what I’ve read and even box scores (shudder) to some extent. My bias toward players I have seen probably works for and against them, but my bias against relievers is probably permanent, for now. Anyway, here goes.”

1. J.P. Crawford
2. Cornelius “C” Randolph
3. Jake Thompson
4. Jorge Alfaro
5. Ricardo Pinto
6. Andrew Knapp
7. Franklyn Kilome
8. Roman Quinn
9. Jerad Eickhoff
10. Nick Williams
11. Zach Eflin
12. Scott Kingery
13. Felix Paulino
14. Darnell Sweeney
15. Nick Pivetta
16. Jonathan Arauz
17. Aaron Brown
18. Dylan Cozens
19. Rhys Hoskins
20. Lucas Williams

I ended with the following – “PS – I really, really, really like Randolph.  And Alfaro makes me go, “Wow!”.  I had him lower until I saw him in a sim inning, hitting off Stephen Inch (in his third sim outing).  He’s big and packs a wallop.  And Williams’ approach at the plate is similar to Randolph’s.  If Kingery is as good as they think/hope, this looks to have been a really good draft. Did I mention I like Randolph?”

I approached my poll by listing the top 20 prospects that I have actually seen this season.  Then decided where to slot the players I hadn’t seen, or hadn’t seen enough.  It came down to the pain I would experience if a player left the organization.  The more the pain, the higher the ranking.

I know I have some glaring omissions.  I don’t apologize for those.  For example, Carlos Tocci.  I have watched him for half a season.  I enjoy watching him play center field.  He plays a nice center field.  But, he doesn’t hit well enough.  Opposing outfields are playing him shallower than they did his first time through the league.  If he doesn’t put on some weight and muscle, I don’t see how he’ll ever hit enough to play in the majors. Sorry.

It appears that I penalize pitchers I’ve seen like Imhof and Leibrandt, but reward players like Arauz, Brown, and Lucas Williams.   Maybe I’m “too close to the trees to see the forest”. But the players I’ve seen the most leave an impression one way or the other.

I’ll post the Mike Drago’s Reading Eagle Top 20 Survey on the Rankings Page tonight or tomorrow.

79 thoughts on “The First End of Season Poll

  1. I would have thought Brock Stassi would have made it into consideration ,at least at the point where Jesse Biddle’s or Kelly Dugan’s names come up.

    Would you guess that many of those polled had seen Alfaro in his short season, either in the Texas system or here? The answer to that informs my opinion if, in the case of guys like Quinn and Alfaro, the results reflect mostly rep or recent performance.

    1. He’s close to them, I guess, but they are still at least prospects, while Stassi is somewhere between an org guy and a chance prospect. He is old for AA and just the latest ‘Matt Rizzotti’. Matt was all the rage back in 2010 and 2011 and he was only 24-25 those seasons, putting up better numbers both seasons than Stassi has this year at age 25. Stassi’s age 24 year at Reading was not at all good. By 2013, Rizzotti was out of professional ball. The offensive bar for a Reading 1B to be a starting MLB 1B is quite high. Stassi falls short. I’d rank him mid- to high-30s on my prospect list.

  2. Player A: .261 OB%, .040 ISO, 17% K rate, 5% walk rate

    Player B: .288 OB%, .043 ISO, 18% k rate, 3.6% walk rate

    Look at those number closely…

    Player A is Carlos Tocci as a 17 year old in Lakewood

    Player B is Carlos Tocci as a 20 year old in Clearwater

    For those who are high on Tocci…tell me who he comps to that is a compelling major leaguer.

    1. And to head off the “small sample size” argument, he has more games and ABs in Clearwater this year than in Lakewood, where his performance was completely BABIP driven.

        1. So you think that Tocci will have a similar career to Alex Rios? I would say there is a 1% chance of that, but you did find a statistical comp that turned into a meaningful MLB player.

          The more likely comp to me is Doug Glanville. That strikes me as his ceiling, with a 10%/20% probability of hitting that. And even then, I don’t find that to be a compelling MLB player.

          1. v1….yes Doug Glanville was another option or even Garry Maddux.
            But to comp at the equivalent age level, is one thing…to project is another.
            Just an exercise in hope.

            1. It is not new that all of the Tocci value is based on his physical maturation. And those lines were drawn in the sand years ago. He is still young enough that it is a big unknown and there is plenty of time for growth. He is still doing fine being undersized and young for the league. For the record he just turned 20 on 8/23 so he would be counted as a 19 yr old.

    2. Except this is Tocci’s age 19 year in High A. If he has the same numbers in High A next year this comparison will be relevant.

            1. Tocci will be 20 years old for 95% of the 2016 (next years) season. So how is this 2015 season also his year 20 season? Just say you put the wrong age with the stats and move on.

            2. It honestly was not a nefarious action. I looked at his fangraphs page and it said 20 years old. that being said, the fact that he played most of his season as a 19.75 year old instead of a 20 year old really doesn’t change my point.

            3. Men are physically mature until around 23 and there is a lot of changes physically from 19 to 20 for the majority of people. Now the Dylan Cozens of the world are the outliers who matured early.

            4. Here is a comparison of two 19 year olds, both centerfielders with plus defense:

              Player A: .302 OB%, .115 ISO, 18% K rate, 4.4% walk rate

              Player B: .288 OB%, .043 ISO, 18% K rate, 3.6% walk rate

              Player A is Altherr at age 19 at Williamsport. Player B is Tocci at age 19 at Clearwater. Sure, you’d take the first set of stats, because the ISO is much better. Yes, Tocci’s ISO at Clearwater is extremely problematic; he clearly needs to get stronger. OTOH, the difference between Williamsport and Clearwater is significant.

              Here’s another comparison of two centerfielders at the same level of the minors:

              Player A: .319 OB%, .150 ISO, 22% K rate, 8% walk rate

              Player B: .387 OB%, .103 ISO, 8% K rate, 12% walk rate

              Player A was 21, Player B was 19. Again, both centerfielders have plus defense. Which one would you take?

              Player A is Altherr at age 21 at Lakewood and is Tocci at age 19 at Lakewood.

            5. Well, since Altherr is not recognized as a great prospect and has near zero MLB experience, I don’t understand your point.

              A valuable prospect is not one who gets a cup of coffee or plays a bench role for a few years on a bad team. A valuable prospect is one who contributes a positive WAR.

            6. What is considered a fair comp?
              1. Is it every year in minor league ball up to a specific age?
              2. Is it one season’s age appropriate level? ie Tocci @19 vs Devon White@19
              3. Is it total comparable minor league PAs, regardless of age?

            7. I don’t know if there is a formula. And I don’t think it is simply stats based. Scouting reports should factor into it too.

              Here’s how I do it, which may be wrong. I think Tocci unlikely to ever be a power hitter. I don’t see a big time base stealer. And I don’t see an elite contact hitter with elite batting eye (ie 18% k rate and 3.6% walk rate). He plays plus defense (maybe plus, plus) with a plus arm. Then I look at players that have that profile.

              Again, that may be wrong. Open to other approaches.

            8. Well that is a start…but I was trying to find something that is the most reliable, metric based formula.
              BP does this sort of thing….but I do not feel like scrolling thru, hours upon hours, of their indexed article on the subject…then reading the articles to see if they have what I want. .

            9. v1…..here is Joe Bohringer, D-Backs scout from years past on how they ‘ comp’.

              Do you use comps when describing players?

              JB: I think most organizations have some sort of comp area on their reports. I can’t speak for other clubs, but we do have the option of putting a “body comp” and/or a “player comp” on our reports. I’ve obviously seen the player, so I know what he looks like. However, I can give someone who hasn’t seen the player a much clearer physical picture if I can say he looks like Travis Hafner or Alfonso Soriano or Randy Johnson. At the same time, the player comp area allows us to list a current or former major league player who best represents what we think a younger player may become. However, these areas aren’t mandatory for us. If a strong comparison pops into our head, we can list them in the comp area. If a comparison doesn’t seem obvious, we have the flexibility to leave that area blank. Hopefully the text of my report and my summary will best tell the story of what I see in this player, but the comp area does allow me to make it a little clearer if there is a body or player type that fits.

            10. yeah, that’s kinda my approach. i look at body type and then i look at tools and then i take a wild ass guess based on my limited encyclopedia of players.

            11. This is a ludicrous level of wordsmanship. This is his age 19 season. That’s how baseball counts age. He has not been good at CLW, but he was very good at Lakewood. You are cherry picking stats.

            12. It’s not wordsmanship. It’s nonsense. Anybody that follows prospects this closely, knows darn well this is Tocci’s 19 year old season.

            13. Tocci was 19 years and 10 months old when he joined Clearwater. He was not 20 years old. I was wrong about his age. You are right.

              Would you like me to say anything else to make you happy?

        1. Allentown…..
          ‘ludicrous level of wordsmanship’…all I wanted was the fairest way to comp and project utilizing a metric formula….how is this a ‘lud…lev..of words…’?

          1. I wasn’t responding to you. That message was for v1again, who keeps saying ‘almost 20’ and ignoring what Tocci did at Lakewood this season.

  3. Let me preface this by saying that I have some skepticism about Tocci as well, albeit not nearly as much as V1. Given that fact, and given that I have no wish for yet another back and forth with him, I will refrain from GENERALLY commenting about Tocci.

    But I will make one small, purely factual correction: his performance was certainly not “completely BABIP driven.” It was partially BABIP driven. His key metrics, even setting aside BABIP, were much improved:

    BB rate: 7.7%
    K rate: 11.9%
    ISO: .103

    All MUCH better than his previous (and subsequent) numbers. The K rate especially was much improved.

    His BABIP was indeed quite good and unsustainable, but was not the “complete” explanation for his improved performance.

    Now, one could add a number of caveats to that, starting with sample size, and ending with the fact that it was his third year at the level. As I said, I have no interest at all in joining a general debate. Simply correcting one demonstrably false statement of fact.

    (Okay, one editorial comment: if ALL we knew about Tocci was that he had that performance in A ball at the age of 20 and that he was a very good defensive center-fielder, we would be genuinely excited about him. BUT sample size, and , more to the point, it’s NOT all we know about him (he has been quite awful in A+, for example). Hence why I am a skeptic also, albeit a lesser one.

  4. Great lists. Two thoughts- 1) interesting that Biddle is no longer thought of as a top level prospect. Personally, I always thought he was a china egg. 2) this has got to be the deepest the farm system has been in a long, long time (I’m thinking early 80’s before the Bill Giles talent purge).

      1. Nice call Romus – In 2002, Myers, Utley and Marlon Byrd were all in AAA performing very well and highly regarded by BA. In that year Howard was just emerging in Lakewood but not really on anyone’s lists yet. Hamels did not start pitching until 2003 but was drafted in 2002. Also in 2002 Gavin Floyd was mowing ’em down as a 19 year old in Lakewood. That was the year I really started following the Phils’ minor league system in earnest. It was exciting times.

  5. Herlis Rodriguez his first time with 400 ab playing CF for Lakewood avg .296 .341 .433 ops .774 21 yrs old his k % 14.4 16 sb . I hope next yr he plays everyday in Clearwater.

      1. Altheer is scary. I watched him maybe 5 to 6 times. on two occasion I thought wow. but watching him I believe it was Sunday. Then listening to Schmidt and davis on this approach. I could see if this kid doesn’t learn to get his foot set earlier. He will be like dom brown. late on fastballs. and not hit.

        1. Roccom he just was the first Philly to start his career with 7 xtra base hits. The last guy who did that was Cargo he had 7 doubles. One of Altherr’s HR was of a 96 miles fb(he did have his foot down on that one). I think its just a timing issue that every player sometimes loses and has to find again during a season. His defense alone is already an upgrade over whoever played before.

          1. I expressed some mild skepticism of his center field defense before he got called up. More agnostic than anything, a combination of (a) some slightly negative reports of his center field defense, (2) questions about how he compared to MAJOR LEAGUE center fielders, who as a group are very good, and (3) the accounts which talked up his defense were all in terms of his outfield defense generally being excellent – which doesn’t tell us how his center field defense is. i.e., the standard is higher in center field than at the corners.

            But that said, and FWIW (low sample sizes, especially in CF) his defensive metrics so far are off the charts good. As a corner outfielder, he is certainly a plus defender.

  6. Thanks for sharing your list, Jim. What is it about Paulino that makes you rank him that high? His numbers are very good but he’s old for the level, which isn’t necessarily a huge strike against him if he has good stuff.

  7. Interesting list. I like the Cozens over Hoskins pick. It would be nice to hear your thoughts on Nick Williams, since you rank him much lower than most. I hope to see more of Pinto, but I’m not a big fan of 6’0 pitchers and those pitchers being able to continue as starters in the Majors. I wouldn’t put him in the top 10.

    1. Jim acknowledges his bias toward players he has actually seen. Given that Jim covers the Clearwater team, it’s obvious that he has seen Pinto but not Williams.

  8. Jim, Thanks, as always for all of your hard work. I think you have Williams a bit low, and “C”, while I love him so far, is a bit high at 2, but they may change in a year. Regardless, the Top 30 this year is going to be a great deal of fun for us to debate. I am glad to see LarryM again. Even when I disagree, I enjoy reading what he has to say. I know Tocci is still young, but this next year has to be a break out year for him. I don’t think he can make a top 20 with the talent that there now exists in the organization.

  9. Extremely fluid top 25

    01. J.P. Crawford
    02. Jake Thompson
    03. Nick Williams
    04. Cornelius Randolph
    05. Jorge Alfaro
    06. Franklyn Kilome
    07. Andrew Knapp
    08. Zach Eflin
    09. Roman Quinn
    10. Aaron Altherr
    11. Darnell Sweeney
    12. Jarad Eickoff
    13. Jonathan Arauz
    14. Ricardo Pinto
    15. Nick Pivetta
    16. Deivi Grullon
    17. Dylan Cozens
    18. Carlos Tocci
    19. Scott Kingery
    20. Alberto Tirado
    21. Rhys Hoskins
    22. Matt Imhof,
    23. Jesse Biddle
    24. Lucas Williams
    25. Jose Pujols

    1. My rule once a player goes up to the big leagues he’s off my list. It’s getting harder with the talent we have .

  10. In terms of a compelling major league comp to Tocci, here is one:

    Player A: .288 OB%, .043 ISO, 18% K rate, 3.6% walk rate

    Player B: .259 OB%, .059 ISO, 23% K rate; 5.6% walk rate

    Player A is, of course, Tocci at age 19 in A+ (278 PAs). Player B is Devon White in A ball (Midwest League; 198 PAs) at age 19.

    Devon White produced 47.0 WAR for his career per Baseball Reference. Made 3 All-Star teams.

  11. Here is another compelling major league comp to Tocci:

    Player A: .288 OB%, .043 ISO, 18% K rate, 3.6% walk rate, 288 PAs

    Player B: .310 OB%, .072 ISO, 16% K rate; 7.3% walk rate, 273 PAs

    Both players were 19. Player B’s stats are somewhat better, but Player A was in A+, two levels above Player B, who was in a short season league (Northwest League).

    Player A is, of course, Tocci at age 19 in A+. Player B is Shane Victorino at age 19. So far, Victorino has produced 31.6 WAR.

    The point is, Tocci is finishing his 19 year old season in high A. Certainly he needs to get stronger. Most prospects fail. He probably won’t make. But his ceiling is not someone like Doug Glanville.

    For reference, Doug Glanville did not reach high A until he was 21. If Tocci spends the next two years in Clearwater, and in 2017 he puts up a .258/.318/.336 line (that’s what Glanville had in high A as a 21 year old), then, sure, Glanville is a good comp and a reasonable ceiling.

  12. I did not realize Angelo Mora improved so much. There must have been something wrong with his swing. He is striking out half as much as last year. Is his defense any good?

    What is Paulino’s velocity and pitches he throws? Him and Pinto unfortunately don’t have ideal size for SP. I wonder how they would be ranked if they 6’4″/ 6’5″. Anything that could be said about Arauz would be appreciated Mr. Jim or whomever else. I really liked what I saw in the video of him. Can he stick at short?

    I was surprised to see Lucas Williams ranked. Cozens is becoming very intriguing. How is it possible a 6’6″ player only strikes out in 21% of ABs?

  13. They need to rename this thread to the ” Carlos Tocci comp” thread.

    Not enough love for Cordero in this thread

  14. Tocci hit a Homer today he heard us. Lakewood players are hitting the cover off the ball . Grullon hitting .419 in his last 10 all the catcher’s are now hitting at once.

    1. Yes. That’s why they traded Sandberg. It was commonly thought both Franco SS and Samuel 2B, were much better than Sandberg. Bill Conlin was in love with Franco and Samuel, from what I remember.

  15. Interestingly, Bill Giles refused to part with Franco at the trade deadline the prior year to get Dave Stieb from Toronto, an Ace pitcher at the time. Then, not 6 months later, trades Franco as I of 5 in the infamous Von Hayes deal. Giles’ poor management decisions covered decades.

    1. Von Hayes actually was a a decent player in the time he spent with the Phillies…and wasn’t catcher Bo Diaz to the phillies also in the trade?
      It worked out for both teams.
      Pete Rose thought Von Hayes was a black guy coming from Cleveland. ….”what white guy is named Von”

      1. Hayes averaged 3.6 fWAR for the Phils between 84-90. Franco averaged 3.4 fWAR for the Indians and Rangers over the same period. Hayes was basically washed up after 1990, while Franco had a few more good years before embarking on a decade as an ageless replacement-level player.

        It was an ill-advised trade, and emblematic of the Phils wrong-headed thinking at the time, but shouldn’t be criticized to the extent that it is. (Ryne Sandberg, by comparison, produced 30 times the fWAR for the Cubs that Ivan DeJesus did for the Phils. Every time someone says “five-for-one”, the response should always be “SANDBERG!!!!!”).

        1. Sandberg was a “throw in”. The deal was really Bowa for Dejesus. The Von Hayes deal was really for Julio Franco, Manny Trillo and 3 bumbs. A great infield prospect (and older vet) for a good young 1st division, high upside OF. The deal wasn’t that bad. Pete Rose calling Hayes “5 for 1” in front of reporters made it look bad.

  16. And the Sandberg mess was because Larry Bowa claimed to have been promised an extension by Ruly Carpenter, and Bill Giles allegedly promised to make good on Ruly’s promises. When he didn’t, Bowa called him a liar, and Giles got rid of him. Years later, there were reports that Bowa was right and the 2 made up, and Bowa came back to the organization

  17. Hate to bust you guys bubble but if canelo isn’t a top 10 prospect then we have the best system that ever lived. Joe Jordan said he is the best defensive SS in the Org. He is only 20 and has occ pop at 155lbs. When he gets to be 175-180. He rivals JP

  18. I’ve watched Malquin Canelo from the time he was in Williamsport. I don’t understand why he’s considered a prospect. Good glove but doesn’t know what to do with the bat. If you’re going on the one decent hitting streak he had, then you must also love Dom Brown. I’ve also seen Kilome several times this year. Is it that “projectability” thing that gets him ranked so high? He sure looked awfully mediocre this year.

    1. Kilome actually has very good metric peripherals vs right-hand bats….but lefties seem to draw BBs from him at a more larger fraction then righthanded bats. Not sure why this is…unless he tries to be to fine with his pitches with them.
      Why is he ranked so high this early…….yes you are correct the projectability/ceiling based on observations from last fall’s instructs through ST this year on increased velo and ease of mechanics..
      IMO, he could have been ranked 13-15 to start, and then moved up or down after 75 plus iPed, though still SSS, in the pros and see what transpired.

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