Phuture Phillies 2016 Reader Top 30 #26

Darnell Sweeney was selected the Readers’ Poll 25th prospect.  He received 72 of 304 votes (24%).  He finished ahead of Alberto Tirado who received 60 votes (20%).  Tom Windle (33 votes), Jose Pujols (30), and Victor Arano (26) were bunched in the next group comfortably ahead of the rest of the field.

The Phillies acquired Sweeney from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the Chase Utley trade on August 19, 2015.  The Phillies also received RHP John Richy as part of the deal. Sweeney was briefly assigned to Lehigh Valley, but his contract was immediately selected by the Phillies and he reported to the major league club.  Sweeney struggled with a .176/.286/.353 and 3 HR in 98 plate appearances.

Sweeney’s career began when he was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 13th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Central Florida.  He had been selected by the Florida Marlins in the 41st round of the 2009 Draft but did not sign.

Sweeney put up nice numbers at each stop during his journey up the Dodgers’ organizational ladder.  He even showed some nice power at A+, AA, and AAA.

Sweeney played 2B, SS, and CF in the minors.  The Phillies played him at 2B, 3B, and all three outfield positions.

Sweeney swing

Top 30 so far:

  1. Crawford
  2. N. Williams
  3. Thompson
  4. Appel
  5. “C” Randolph
  6. Quinn
  7. Alfaro
  8. Kilome
  9. Knapp
  10. Eflin
  11. Hoskins
  12. Kingery
  13. Pinto
  14. Cozens
  15. Tocci
  16. Goeddel
  17. Medina
  18. Cordero
  19. Eshelman
  20. Canelo
  21. Lively
  22. Pivetta
  23. Ortiz
  24. Grullon
  25. Sweeney

Next up is your selection for #26.

61 thoughts on “Phuture Phillies 2016 Reader Top 30 #26

  1. Alberto Tirado, the only pitcher with two 60+ pitches (Fastball and Whiffle ball Slider). If he can figure out how to throw that 95-98 mph fasball for strikes, and keep the same arm action for his Slider, he’ll be ‘un-hit-able’. Nobody will hit his Slider.

    1. Completely agree. Not really close to anyone left IMO high risk but potential for elite. Even if he goes to pen, he is a lights out closer rather than a 7th inning guy. Still so young too.

  2. I voted again for the starting pitcher who was the 4th youngest player in the NL, who was 3-3 with a 4.50 FIP in 7 starts for the worst team in baseball, who was the Phillies minor league pitcher of the year a couple years ago, who has 4 pitches, who does strike batters out, 8.2 SO9 with the Phils, who has exceptional control, 1.7 BB9 in his pro career, and going into his age 23 season at AAA is a forgotten man. Because of his major league experience some don’t consider him to be a prospect, although he is still a rookie. Because his last name is the same as MAG’s, some confuse the two. How can a potential #4 starter with major league experience who is 4 years under the average age an AAA player and 2.5 years under the average age of an AA player not be on the ballot by now? He needs either his command to catch up to his control or for his fastball to return to 2014 speeds. Both can happen for the young Panamanian. I’m voting again for Severino Gonzalez.

    1. I initially thought you were going to make the case for Asher, who may be being under-rated by this board. But Severino? Is this a joke? If it is, then I took the bait.

      Severino is the quintessential example of how minor league stats can be very deceiving. He is 45s across the board. His “pitchability” worked in the minors but won’t work in the majors. He is the definition of a AAAA player. Completely fungible. Easily replaced. However he does have a high probability of reaching that mediocrity. So I can see why some might love him. (shade)

      1. v1……did you not mention whiff ratio thru the years as indicative of a pitcher’s future worth and value? Severino Gonzalez’s was pretty good thru AA (2014) and his 21age season. Last year in AAA/MLB exposed him. Perhaps the pitcher can make some adjustments to be a competent back of the rotation guy someday.

      2. Yesterday’s discussion on the merits of voting exclusively on potential tools versus actual expected return was a fruitful one–lots of good opinions were shared, and I’ve taken to heart some of the comments.

        But I find no shame in voting as our 26th best prospect a 22 year old who had made 7 MLB starts last year. Obviously something is there (and I don’t mean just hitability, haha).

        I’m not arguing he should be a Top 10 prospect. But when we’re voting for our 26th prospect, I think its okay to vote for someone like him.

      1. That is what Spring Training is for.He was rushed last year. I hope he gets to pitch a full uninterrupted season in AAA this year.

    2. Some selective use of stats here. Why give his career BB rate but only his K rate in his 30 Major league innings? His K rate at AAA was 4.6 in 2015 and was 6.5 in Reading in 2014 so I can see why you might not want to include them.

      He does have a decent walk rate but his WHIP has been above 1 every year since he came to the states because he gives up a ton of hits. Just doesn’t have enough stuff to ever be a starter in the majors, especially a #4 starter..

      1. Yes very selective stats to hide a 7+ ERA in Philly to go along with a 5+ ERA in Allentown, both in 2015 and a 4.5+ ERA in Reading in 2014. The change in performance since Sev reached the upper minors and MLB is stark: the HR rate has exploded, the hits/9 have dramatically increased, the K-rate is down, while the walk rate is up. He seems the classic case of a good control/knows how to pitch guy who does great in the lower minors and fades as he moves up the ladder.

        1. 30 IP is a small sample size, but he did have 3 good games to collect 3 wins in 7 starts.He was a bit over matched by hitters who were practically all much older than himself overall, but that’s to be expected by almost any young rookie. Look at Sweeney. He was over matched and He’s a year and 2/3 older. It didn’t prevent him from being on the ballot and being voted onto the list.

      2. He struck out over 10 batters per 9 innings in a full season of work in 2013. What have Pinto, Efflin, and most of the rest of the Phillies prospects being discussed done in terms of K rates? He was not allowed to use his best pitch in 2014. Last year he was challenged by much more experienced hitters, but that will be good for his development, I think. I’m not saying he’ll become a #4 starter this season or even next season, but by the time he will only be 24. He’ll probably never make it, just like the others outside of the top 10, but he is too young and has too good a track record to count him out now.

    3. I don’t really like the “he’s X years under the average age of players in that league” arguments I see people make. Age to level is important, but we shouldn’t be comparing players to the average age of the league; compare them to the average age of real prospects in that league instead.

      James (this site’s originator) laid out a pretty helpful guide on this topic in the “Primer” section. Sev, at 22, was young for AAA but not super-young compared to the prospects there who have major league potential.

      And, as others have said, he just doesn’t have the raw stuff to be a major leaguer right now. Maybe he develops enough to get by as a #5, but that’s his ceiling and he probably won’t reach it.

  3. Through our top 25, we’ve picked 10 righthanded pitchers (including a reliever in Cordero). We’ve chosen 7 outfielders (Ortiz was included here for now). 3 catchers, 2 shortstops, 2 second basemen (Sweeney went here for now), and one first baseman. Wendle has come the closest to being the sole lefthander chosen. Third basemen have not been chosen to any significant extent (although Luke Williams is my choice at 26). In conclusion, we haven’t been able to pick a full team yet. Righthanders don’t become lefthanders… ever. Third basemen are weak this year but with Franco holding the Major League spot, I’m resting far easier. A right handed 1st baseman doesn’t exactly strike a chord with our little group here but we had a lefthanded catcher (throwing not hitting) in the organization not too long ago… that was until someone went to see Valle and found out that he indeed was a right handed throwing catcher.

  4. Sorry if I am late or completely oblivious to prior posts, but I just read in my monthly Baseball America Magazine that the Phils have resigned Jake Fox to a minor league contract? Could someone verify?

  5. Voted for Tirado this time around but I want to try and get the Aaron Brown support train going.

    Here’s a guy who was a third round pick even though it was acknowledged that he would be a raw prospect for a college hitter. He had only 9 walks in 242 college ABs the year he was drafted. That rawness didn’t stop him from going to Clearwater in his first full season or performing solidly there as he put up a 124 wRC+. He improved his BB% from 2.7% (in W-port and Lakewood) to a reasonable 6.2% with the Threshers. And the key: he’s a good defensive outfielder who can play CF, in contrast to Cozens who hit equally well in Clearwater but is pretty much a bat-only prospect.

    To me, he easily met expectations in 2015 and he should get some respect as a high draft pick. He’s on the older side for AA prospects so he’ll need to move quickly from this point on.

    1. Handzus,

      I’m voting for Brown, probably at 28 to 30.

      He’s solid all around. But doesn’t strike me as spectacular anywhere. Still, maybe a break out player this year.

      1. I agree with that, though I do think that he has solid upside. After Tirado goes off the board, there aren’t many guys who are spectacular anywhere. Maybe Pujols (who I have soon after) or some of the GCL guys, but they’re farther away and riskier.

    2. @Handzus, I like Brown, too. He is an exciting prospect. He plays CF with the reckless abandon reminiscent of Aaron Rowand. Twice Brown made running, leaping catches crashing into the wall. The rise in his BB% is even more dramatic than what you alluded to. During the first half of the season, Brown walked 9 times. He doubled that during the second half. I also noticed that he was more selective at the plate. In the first half, he swung at the first pitch far too often (IMO) He saw more pitches per AB during the second half.

      However, I wouldn’t call Cozens a bat-only prospect. He plays well in RF and recorded 5 outfield assists (Brown had 6). The two of them plus Pullin should give Reading a competitive outfield.

  6. I had my short list as Tirado, Windle, Imhof, Lucas Williams and Asher…went with Windle for a combination of being close to contributing in the majors next season and for the reason that I think he will be a successful piece on their future winning team from the bullpen. Hesitated on Tirado even though i think he has better upside because of the obvious control issues and since I heard he’s going to be tried as a starter this season I want to wait and see how that plays out.

  7. I voted Tirado again. Admittedly he has awful control, but he also has the sort of arm and two plus pitches which are rare, especially as you approach prospect #30. Very high risk, very high reward and he will be tried as a starter.

    Brown did improve quite a bit this past season. I’m going to vote for him before we reach #30. We are also in the region where I ranked Windle, Valentin, and Encarnacion.

    1. Brown was next up on my top 30, but I didn’t place him because of age. Looking back, I probably should have either placed him or Lucas Williams ahead of my #30, Pujols.

      1. Brown also is a left handed pitcher which with the outfielder’s we now have in the system now, he might be better off on the mound.

        1. I may not be correct, but I think Aaron Brown is the third best defensive outfielder in the system, with a rocket arm.

  8. Just wondering what people think of Imhof, he was the 2nd round pick not too long ago in 2014 and while didn’t have great numbers in CLW it was a big step up for his second year and he did have some injury issues. He’s a big lefty and hasn’t performed that bad, I guess this is another guy where this upcoming season will give us a better idea of where he can be, hopefully he’s fully healthy

      1. Thanks, I wonder if the loss in velo was due to injuries? I think he starts the season again in CLW and hopefully moves up to AA if he does well but their AA/AAA starting rotations are stacked already so a lot of these guys need to perform to even stay in the rotations in AA/AAA

    1. For me, Imhof is one of those players who really needs to prove it with some solid performances in the minors since he doesn’t show any particularly outstanding skills.

      As Romus mentioned, his stuff seems to have regressed, maybe due to injury, but unless there is an uptick, he needs to show that he can dominate A-ball hitters before I can get too excited.

      Although in looking at the list of remaining players, he was one of the names that stood out to me as a potential vote in the last couple of spots.

  9. Pujols again, if only to drive up his vote totals a little to put him in position for a slot at the back of the Top 30. I see good arguments for Arano and Tirado here.

    Windle I am much more blah about as a prospect. I do think he’ll be a useful middle reliever in the major leagues, maybe even this year. I just don’t value that all that highly.

  10. I was about to say that lol his ops in higher A and the AFL were above .800. He never played above AA before last yr. the Angels said he is a plus Defender with a plus arm and speed,he played 3rd and 2nd for them. I think he might play 3rd here fill in the hole after Franco.

  11. Sorting out a possible log jam among the SP:

    Phillies: 1) Nola; 2) Hellickson;3) Morton; 4) Eickhoff; 5) Oberholtzer; 6) Velasquez; 7)Morgan; 8)Buchanan.

    LHV: 1)Appell; 2)Thompson; 3)Eflin; 4) Asher; 5) Seve; 6) what to do with the guys bumped out the Phillies rotation;

    Reading: 1)Pinto; 2) Richy; 3) Lively; 4) Leibrandt; 5)Imhoff; 6) Pivetta; 7) Leiter

    A good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless

    1. There is no real logjam. Buchanan is irrelevant and all it takes is one injury to a ML starter, and suddenly they are thin in the rotation.

      Also, how did Pivetta get to be the 6th starter in Reading? He was better in High A than both Pinto, Richy and Imhoff. Leiter?

    1. No I meant there’s really no prospects at 3rd in AA or AAA . The Phillies usually bring a minor league vet to fill the spots. Now with Featherston you can put him in AAA where he should have been last yr . He never going to replace Franco but he could be an above avg bench player. I really like this move because he still a prospect better then having a minor league vet. His ops in the AFL was over .800 the Rockies minor league sys is stacked that’s were he came from as a rule 5 guy .

  12. Arano. The points being made in favor of Tirado are fine, but I don’t see a starter there. Now, if he’s not a starter, and Arano isn’t a starter, who’s the better prospect? Tirado, I suppose. But I personally think Arano has a reasonable chance to start, and that it outweighs the very risky upside of Tirado.

    1. Also, allow me to lobby against Windle ahead of Arano for all the same reasons as I lobbied against Tirado. Windle’s got basically no hope of starting at this point and if he did he’d still have less upside than Tirado. So, yeah, I really don’t get Windle over Arano. I imagine people are giving him bonus points for being a lefty with high-leverage bullpen upside, but dang, Arano’s got high-leverage upside (albeit from the right side), and he’s not close to done as a starting prospect.

      And FTR, I have Arano ahead of Cordero. If Arano winds up penned to start the year, then I will drop him below both Cordero and Tirado, but not below Windle.

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