Weekend Discussion, January 29, 2016; MLB Top 100

MLB announced their top 100 prospects tonight.  Seven players from the Phillies’ organization made the list.  Since I’m sure this will generate some discussion, here are our seven top prospects and a place to discuss.

  • #5      SS, J.P. Crawford
  • #55   RHP, Jake Thompson
  • #64   OF, Nick Williams
  • #70   RHP, Mark Appel
  • #84   OF, Cornelius Randolph
  • #96   C/1B, Jorge Alfaro
  • #99   OF, Roman Quinn

Crawford still at #5.  Quinn was not ranked in 2015.  Randolph moved up one slot from #85 to #84.  The others dropped slots, some significantly – Appel from #43 to #70, Thompson from #51 to #55, Williams from #55 to #64, Alfaro from #59 to #96.

70 thoughts on “Weekend Discussion, January 29, 2016; MLB Top 100

  1. Going down 27 spots makes sense in Appel’s case. Alfaro’s drop seems a bit too harsh, but still, the Phillies have 7 players in the top 100 and 4 of those came over in trades during the 2015 season or off-season.

    That’s some pretty good rebuilding right there.

  2. There tends to be a big drop-off after the top 15 or so prospects, and then again after the top 40.

    Yes, its great that our team has more top 100 prospects than any other club, but, when six of those seven are in the back half of the list, some luster is lost.

    And the seven ranked in the Top 100 are the seven we voted top in our poll, too, almost in identical order. Which means one of two things:

    1) This board collectively is as good as ranking prospects as is MLB.com; or

    2) We all read the same reports, and live in an echo chamber where we just regurgitate the same available information.

    That’s why recently I’ve really come to appreciate the commentator who remarks, “I don’t really follow the numbers closely; I just go to the games and base my conclusions on what I see.” I really appreciate all of the firsthand reports people share. Not all of us are in a position to watch the games live, and the firsthand reports are hugely valuable.

    1. Fritz I must say you have made some excellent points on this site recently. A lot of people see 7 in the top 100 and get overly excited but some people don’t understand exactly that the value difference between the 10th and 40th prospect is much more than say the 60th and 100th. There are probably around 175ish prospects that are in serious consideration for the last 50ish spots. I will say that I was highly disappointed that only 1 philly made the top 50. After the mid season ranking changes all Thompson and Williams did was completely destroy so I thought they both had a realistic chance at making the top 40ish. I understand Appel and Alafaros fall and I thought C had a shot to move up to somewhere near 60ish but at that point you are really just arguing small differences. If C was a second base prospect (who could play second reasonably) where do you think he would rank? When they originally drafted him I hoped he could play there and then his bat and future power would really play up but I guess the Phillies didn’t like him in the infield.

      1. But why would you be disappointed about their placement on a list? They’re still the same prospects they were yesterday.

        1. I was disappointed with the rankings not the prospects. I feel that Thompson and Williams were undervalued.

          1. New draftees get added, especially top 10/15 in the latest draft classes, others from the previous draft class, progress, mature and advance.
            Thus the yearly ebb and flow of the prospect.
            Williams and Thompson may have advanced but these writers decided the ‘latest new shiny toys’ and the next to latest, deserve their place based on their draft positions….which is based on the MLB scout’s expertise.
            There are plenty of great current MLB players who never even made the BA/BP top 100.

            1. Thompson and Williams both dropped spots from last years midseason list. That list included the 2015 draft prospects. I understand that you don’t have to be on the top 100 prospect list to become a great mlb player. I guess it’s just a sense of pride that made me disappointed by the fact that they weren’t ranked higher.

  3. I’m going to beat a dead horse one more time. I have no idea why I’ve adopted defending KK and other backend starters as my raison d’être, but I’m on a crusade here.

    “My view of it is if the team can get a guy off the rack on the free agent market for a one year deal at a reasonable price that is as good or better than the player being discussed, then the player being discussed isn’t very good.”

    Comments like this are complete hogwash.

    1) Reliable 4/5 starters are valuable. Hence, Happ signing his 3 year, 20+ million deal this off-season. You cannot sign a decent 4/5 starter to a cheap one year deal. Maybe in 1986 you could, but certainly not in 2016.

    2) What does a cheap one year deal get you? Jerome Williams. And you can not argue that he was as effective as KK was. Off-the-rack types tend to perform worse than a decent 4/5 option.

    I’m not arguing KK should be enshrined in the Phillies Wall of Fame, but we should appreciate that he had a couple of good seasons, a handful of okay ones, and he won a lot of games for the team.

    To resuscitate “Phuture Phillies Word of November 2015,” decent 4/5 starters are not fungible.

    1. Yeah, actually they are fungible. They have some value – when they are younger and especially cheap and good organizations always have extra guys like this so they don’t overpay for a 4 or 5. By year 4 or 5 they are completely indistinguishable from an off the rack 4 or 5 and their salaries are similar. So it’s good to develop these guys – they have some value. Please stop the KK love – it’s ridiculous .

      1. What the Phillies did this off season is proof that 4s and 5s are fungible. They acquired two of them for one year commitments for very little consideration. Hellickson has a better pedigree than Kendrick and Morton has had seasons that are better than the best put together by Kendrick. Kendrick never got hurt so he has that going for him, but we could sit around for an hour arguing about whether they are better or worse than Kendrick was but they are clearly in the same class as Kendrick except I think each has more upside if he pitches to his potential. It’s simply false that you cannot acquire a 4 or 5 on a one year deal – that’s what they Phillies did this year and have done for the last few years. The only valid point is that it’s better to have minor league depth so you don’t have to do these one year deals. But your statements that these pitchers cannot be acquired on moderate one year deals is a false statement.

        1. I said “sign,” not acquire. We didn’t sign either.

          And both acquisition deals were lauded as astute for the Phillies.

          If its so easy to do, how come we didn’t do it last year?

          Because its not easy to accomplish. And that’s why we had Jerome Williams trotting out there every fifth day, even when it was painfully obvious to everyone that he shouldn’t still be in league. Jerome Willams is what you get off-the-rack, and that’s a far cry from the value someone like KK had provided.

          1. We did do it last year AND the year before. Last year we had Harang and the year before we had Hernandez – each produced a KenDRECKian line. Kendrick the prototypical fungible 4/5. Guys like him float around baseball every year looking for one year deals.

            1. And some guys morph from 2/3s to 4/5s…Ian Kennedy over the last three years could be put in that classification….and he did rather well in his latest signing. Though could be more of an anomaly then anything else.

            2. 1) We signed Harang. We didn’t acquire him via trade. What you can get in the trade market will differ from what you sign off-the-rack. Its generally better quality.

              2) In eight years, KK had an ERA and WHIP worse than Harang did in 2015 only once, his first full season.

            3. 1) Yeah, I know we signed Harang, that’s my entire point. Guys like Roberto Hernandez and Harang are available every year. You sign them for a moderate one year contract and they pitch like a 4 or a 5 – like Kyle Kendrick. And, by the way, last year Kendrick was one of the worst pitchers in baseball so even your citation to Jerome Williams doesn’t help.

              2) Harang pitched to a .7 – about average for Kendrick. Hernandez pitched to a 1.3 WAR in 2/3 of a season, consistent with Kendrick’s best years (which is why he was used to obtain two mid-level prospects in a trade). So you can definitely sign a guy off the rack that will give you that production and trade deadline value.

              Look, I don’t hate Kendrick, but you’re making him out to be a much better pitcher than he was and far more valuable than he was.

              He was okay. A back end of the rotation innings eater – there’s value in that when the player is young and doesn’t command a big salary – the Cardinals have lived off of young players like that and I agree that you should develop players like that in your system.

              My point is you can get these guys on one year deals or for moderate trade consideration which I think the Phillies will more than recoup if they flip these guys at the trade deadline. Kyle Kendrick is the ultimate, classic, replaceable, fungible pitcher. He had some value, but for a team like the Phillies he’s just another guy.

      2. Exactly. Any position that is easily acquired and every body has available, is by definition, not valuable. Everybody has potential 5th starters in their system. Everybody has potential relief arms. Arguing that guys are great prospects because they have the opportunity to get a cup of coffee, in the majors is getting tiresome.

        1. Happ, a decent 4/5 option, this off-season signed a 3 year, $20+ million deal. You’re telling me that Toronto doesn’t value the backend of its rotation? That deal certainly cements that idea that they do. People on this board (foolishly) thought he was someone the Phillies might target…on a one-year, minimum contract.

          And how about arguing that a prospect has potential to be the next KK? He provided value for the better part of a decade…not a mere cup of coffee. He averaged nine wins a year over eight seasons!

          1. If we develop a bunch of guys who are like Kyle Kendrick we will ensure a lot of last place finishes for years to come. He’s an okay 5, but you don’t win championships with a lot of guys like Kyle Kendrick – that’s a really low bar.

            1. Not true at all. If we ONLY develop guys who are like Kendrick, then we are in trouble. Since we have to use 5 guys in the rotation, and injuries generally require 6-7 over the course of a season, we are far better off creating our own Kendricks, just as we are better off creating our own middle relievers, than we are trading for them or simply paying them $5 mill a year rather than MLB minimum, and yes, the Phillies have been among the teams paying out those millions of $ to veteran #5 starters. Of course you have to also grow guys on the farm who can be starting position players and top of the rotation starters, but it takes about 30 players to get through an MLB season and there is a place for the Kyle Kendricks. We are not that far removed from the Phillies losing two draft picks to sign Jose Mesa and Cormier. That’s what happens when your farm doesn’t grow its own parts and management gets antsy to fill holes.

              I would certainly agree that one doesn’t want to keep your own Kendricks beyond the point where they start to become expensive.

              But… the Phillies just traded for Charlie Morton. We will pay him at least $9 million (includes $1 million buyout of 2017 option) for being basically Kyle Kendrick. Plus we gave marginal prospect David Whitehead to get him. We traded Sam McWilliams, a more legit prospect than Whitehead, to get Hellickson, who really is also pretty much Kyle Kendrick, perhaps a tad better. He’s getting $7 million from us. The point is, if we had more young Kyle Kendricks moving up from the farm, rather than the dead period the farm went through years back, that is $16 million and two chance prospects we wouldn’t be spending to fill out our rotation. So, yes, producing Kyle Kendricks does matter.

            2. If you read all of my posts you would realize that I’m not saying it doesn’t matter and I believe that we SHOULD develop some players like this and almost by default if you’re developing decent pitching prospects you will develop players like this. It’s important to develop that kind of depth and not pay even fair money for mediocre pitching that you can develop internally. I agree with this and have said so repeatedly – it’s how you save money. My point is that we shouldn’t go overboard about how good of pitcher Kyle Kendrick was and how important he was – he was a fine 4/5 and he helped fill out the team and saved them money when he was young but when he got to the age where he could be a FA there were better options available.

          2. What Mark Shapiro decided to give away to JA Happ has nothing to do with the value of a prospect with a #5 starter. What is so hard to understand about the concept of scarcity? Every team has multiple pitchers who have the ability to become #5 starters. Every year, former #3 starters who’ve lost something are available to become #5 starters. When teams can annually acquire a #5 starter for less than 3% of their total budget, that limits the value of these types of prospects. Teams get value from their system when they produce above average everyday regulars and mid-front end starters. Producing #5 starters is not valuable.

            1. I don’t care what Shapiro paid for a #5 starter. I care what the Phillies continue to pay for #5 starters.

          3. I think it might be necessary to say that Happ is better than Kendrick (has twice the career WAR in 200 less IP) and Kendrick is/was never a #4 starter. So, there is a difference between being a #4 starter or a #5, even though people link them together a lot.

            When it comes to prospects, if one projects to be a #5 then they’re not very valuable because of the risk inherent in every prospect. If they become a #5 starter, that has some value (especially when they’re young and cheap), but just having the potential to be a #5 isn’t that valuable because most prospects fail.

    2. everyone also seems to ignore that what we paid Harang et all versus a cost controlled young player from the farm system is night and day. One key benefit of KK was that he was cheap. The Harang’s of the world are not.

  4. You say: Yo, Salami Guy, who do you pick as a future all-star in the this list of 7?

    I say: Roman Quinn. Highest ceiling. And improving hit tool the higher he goes.

    You: But, Salami Guy, the kid can’t stay on the field!

    Me: Right… Salami, anyone?

  5. I love the recognition for Roman Quinn who I think could be a future star if he can stay on the field. No Kilome on this list but I was surprised to see him on the BA list. As for the actual slotting of each guy, I don’t get too worked up about it. Being on the list means some people think they gave a chance. Time will tell. Dom was #1, enough said.

    1. I do too. It seemed like he was poised to having a serious break out year last year it’s a shame he got hurt. I would love to see him put up the same or better stats this year that would shot him up the rankings.

  6. I just had a chance to read over all the Phillies prospects in the top 100 and they ranked Alafaros hit tool as a 40……… Ouch that hurt a little bit. I know that he has pitch recognition issues but really a 40 that is crazy low for a hit tool. I mean what does that even profile as for BA in the bigs?

    1. I can understand Alfaro dropping, based on lost dev time with the injury, his hit tool and really his overall defensive liabilities as a catcher, but not such a drastic drop. Though Sanchez at 59 has had a roller coaster minor league career and now trending upward and Contreras seem to come out of nowhere. The one catcher who will really spike up next is Reese McGuire just two behind Alfaro. Alfaro really needs a plus year at Reading and mauve LHV the plate to really stay in the 100..

      1. Agree Romus. Even the canon plays down a bit due to slower transition times (reportedly). I keep coming back to the same thing with Alfaro – that is, if he’s not a catcher, he may not carry enough hit tool to justify his bat at another position. He’s still young, and certainly interesting, but the risk is high

      1. Alfaro seems to be all over the place. One prospects list cites his strong defensive abilities. Another hitting potential so great another team will find a place for him, maybe right field, because of his athleticism and strong arm. Last year, he was ranked as the top or close to top catching prospect.

        I haven’t seen Alfaro play so I am in no position to judge, but the reports on him do appear inconsistent.

        Any thoughts as to why, and which assessments are correct?

        1. FrankF…not sure where you saw reports of his ‘strong defensive abilities’….for a fact his arm is an 80 grade arm, but in regards to the other aspects of catching responsibilities, I have seen reports that he needs more work or maybe he needs more experience. Now I have read different assessments of his ‘pop-up times’ ( from the moment the ball hits his mitt until the moment the ball hits the infielder’s glove), from average to plus, but I think some of that reflects on his arm strength.
          I really would like to see a report on him that grades all his defensive skills.

        2. FrankF…here is BP’s rating on Alfaro this month:
          :Key Tools: 80 arm, 60 power, 50 run Role: 50—Average major-league regular in…right field?

          “……It’s borderline apostasy at Baseball Prospectus to have #TheLegend this low on an organizational list, even one as deep as Philadelphia’s. And I get the appeal, I really do. You just don’t find major-league catchers with Alfaro’s catalog of raw tools. And he’s still only 22, and performed well enough in Double-A before suffering an ankle injury. That’s not nothing. At a certain point, though, the improvements projected both at and behind the plate have to start manifesting in games, especially given the large gap between present and future when it comes to how we’ve written about Alfaro.
          You know the good by now. It’s an elite arm behind the plate, though it can play down when he isn’t mechanically right coming out of the crouch. The raw power is an easy 70, but the approach and swing issues will limit how much it plays in games. Alfaro might be a .230 hitter in the majors, which is fine for a catcher with some pop, but the skills behind the plate still play as well below average, and that was before his fairly severe ankle injury in 2015. His best defensive fit might be right field, where he has more than enough arm strength and athleticism to handle the position, though the bat is much less exciting there……”

          1. Romus,

            Thanks for the thoughtful and informative response.

            Yes, everything I’ve read about Alfaro has been that he needs to improve defensively, but then Ray Floyd of PhoulBallz wrote this the other day: “On defense, Alfaro is a terrific backstop. He sports a plus arm and good footwork. He’s very athletic and could stick at the position at the upper levels of the sport.”

            1. FrankF….yes saw that also, Phillies Nation and PhoulBallz, Jay writes for both….made me take a second look…I guess there are differing opinions out there on his defensive posture.

  7. I’m not surprised Alfaro dropped in the rankings. He’s a weak defensive catcher, who’s bat doesn’t play at any other position. I don’t know where you play him and not make yourself weak at that position. I’m surprised MLB.com still has him ranked ahead of Reese McGuire.

  8. Loving the Cornelius love. I certainly would have clamored for Randolph as a Top 100 anyway, but nice to see pundits endorsing the same idea. I really think the Phillies hit the bulls-eye with Randolph.

    1. agreed. though i did notice Trent Clark one spot ahead of him- drafted a few spots later- seemed to be ranked near each other by most before the draft- will be interesting to follow who has the greater success.

  9. Alfaro and Quinn low on list due to injuries have made them question marks to a certain point. Appel lower due to 2 years of sub par results. Randolph low on list due to him being newer and lower level – he could climb quickly. Thompson and Williams are both underated and should have been higher.

  10. Kilome and Knapp in my opinion were arguably top 100 as well, they probably just missed the list by a few spots. Kingery and Hoskins maybe just a bit further down from there. However all 4 with a good year could find their names on the list by next year. – Just food for thought

    1. I think Knapp should be ranked higher, but he didn’t just barely miss the MLB.com top 100. Alfaro is #96 and he is their #3 rated catcher. Knapp didn’t even make their top 10 Catchers. It’s clear, he wasn’t close.

      1. I wonder what tool grades they’ll put on Knapp. Their #10 ranked catcher played in the SAL, put up worse numbers than Knapp and didn’t get really impressive grades (45 hit, 50 power, 30 run, 50 arm, 45 field). MLB’s rankings are usually a little odd; I would think Knapp could at least match those grades, with hit and power flipped.

        1. BP’s Jeff Paternostro’s and staff grading this month:
          Key Tools: 50 power, 50 arm Role: 45—Second-division starter/good backup catcher

        2. MLB.com’s rankings are regularly the weakest and most odd, but they are the source everyone uses because its always available for free on the internet.

        3. That grade of Knapp’s hit tool is a joke – the ceiling on that tool is as high as 65. I’d rate it 50/65. The other grades seem fair. If he achieves his potential as a hitter, he’d be like Brian McCann at the plate with a grade less power.

  11. Quinn making the top 100 is a big deal. He’s never played a full season and again was knocked out by injury. For him to get a top 100 vibe shows that others also believe that the tools are as good as we think they are. If you’ve never seen him play in person, try to do that. He’s just an electric talent – a sort of DeSean Jackson on the baseball field. And he does more than just run fast.

    1. catch…some Quinn readings from BP:
      80 run, 60 glove, 60 arm, 50 hit Role: 55—Above-average everyday player

      ‘Quinn has a simple, line-drive stroke that plays well gap-to-gap. He isn’t a home run threat, but there is enough doubles power here to punish pitchers who fall behind and want to challenge him in hopes of keeping him off the bases. And with elite speed, his doubles power is really triples power, anyway…..he speed helps in center too, where Quinn is still rough around the edges after shifting from shortstop in 2014. His reads off the bat need further refinement, but he is fast enough to outrun any mistakes right now, and any improvement in jumps and routes will have a multiplicative effect. His strong, accurate arm is an asset as well, and it’s not hard to see a future plus defender in center as he gains more polish….the biggest concern in Quinn’s profile lies in his inability to stay on the field for a full season. A tear in his hip flexor cost him most of 2015, which followed a broken bone in his wrist in the middle of 2013, and an Achilles tear later that same year that cost him the beginning of the 2014 season. It’s a stretch to call him fragile, but you do wonder if any further injuries might start to cost him some of that top-shelf athleticism. All Phillies fans can do is hope Quinn gets a full season under his belt in 2016, because he is not far from being a meaningful major-league contributor at the top of the Philadelphia lineup’.

      1. An above average player is his likely destination (if he can stay healthy), but his upside is even greater (first division regular, occasional all-star). But even if he’s just above average, that’s a 3 WAR or so player, which is more than fine. My view is that he’s going to end up being a plus defensive outfielder and a good offensive player – again, assuming he stays healthy. There’s a lot to like with Quinn and he has surprising pop.

    2. Catch,

      Agree. I saw Quinn live in Clearwater and a few times on MiLB in Reading and the word electric is apt.

  12. Knapp has to do it again in AAA if he does he’ll be flying up the rankings . Grullon hit 8 hr 50 rbi’s becoming a stud at defense at 19 in low A .Alfaro just needs to hit if he hits his power will show he has some speed and an 80 arm.When Hopkins starts to rake at Reading his yr he could be on the mid season list. Thonpson, Williams could be off that list soon.

  13. Sorry, not sure where to post this question. Doing it here because its the weekend.

    Could someone explain to me why you can DFA Biddle who is injured but not Matt Harrison?

    1. The difference between Biddle and Harrison are: Minor league Options and Insurance money

  14. Thanks Anon, so if you take away the insurance money (which probably is the main part). If someone is out of minor league options like Harrison you could only assign him to the minors if you?

    1. interesting- from eyeballing the top 50 on both lists, Nick seems to have the largest variance I could find, 39 spots higher on BP. Next was Anderson Espinosa (73 vs. 39), Victor Robles (29 vs 63), Manuel Margot (14 vs 45), Tim Anderson (19 vs 47), and Jeff Hoffman (24 vs 52).

      1. So as not to be a ‘homer’ I won’t comment on Nick Williams’ placement on the MLB.com rankings, but they are crazy, if they think there is 51 prospects better than Hoffman and 62 prospects better than Robles. If Robles was a Red Sox player, I’m convinced they’d have him in the top 10.

  15. Nice to see Roman Quinn get some love. I kind of forgot he existed for a second there because of all the new faces. A lot to be excited for.

  16. Though there are only eight teams in the Ven Winter League (Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional ), Gabriel Lino was voted the best defensive catcher. Lino was one of approx. 27 minor league catchers in the league affiliated with MLB teams..

  17. Odebel Herrera finished up a short season (11 games) in the Ven Winter league with the following slash: .426/.440/.908
    PAs-49….K-7….BB-4 with 4 SBs, 2 2Bs, and no HRs nor 3Bs.
    I imagine just enough to keep his batting eye, ready for ST.

    1. That kid can really hit. I’d love to see him put up a 320 season with 10 homers and 20 steals. He could do it for sure

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