Phuture Phillies 2018 Reader Top 30 Poll for the Phillies #15 Prospect

Tom Eshelman was your selection as the #14 prospect in the Phillies’ organization.

Eshelman received 125 of 347 votes (36%). Luke Leftwich finished second (72, 21%), Dylan Cozens finished third (42, 12%), Darick Hall finished fourth (31, 9%) and Ranger Suarez finished fifth (24, 7%). Seventeen players split the remaining 77 votes. 

Thomas Eshelman was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2nd round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft out of California State University at Fullerton, 46th overall.  He signed a little under the slot value of $1.3257M.

Eshelman was noted for his extraordinary command and did not allow a walk in his first 63.1 college innings, and finished his first season with just 3 in 115.2 innings.  In his draft year he was fourth best in the nation with 139 strike outs (in 137 IP) and walked 4 batters.

Eshelman was traded to the Phillies on December 12, 2015 with LHP Brett Oberholtzer, RHP Harold Arauz, RHP Mark Appel, and RHP Vince Velasquez for RHP Ken Giles and SS Jonathan Arauz.

Eshelman began the 2016 season in Clearwater.  In 11 starts, he went 4-2 with a 3.34 ERA. He totaled 59.1 innings pitched, had a walk rate of 1.7 BB/9, and struck out rate of 8.1 K/9. He had a 1.16 WHIP, but had given up 7 home runs (1.1 HR/9).  Known as a command pitcher in college, Eshelman threw strikes on 67.2% of his pitches and never threw less than 63% in a game.

Promoted to Reading in June, Eshelman struggled a little in 13 starts.  He went 5-5 with a 5.14 ERA.  He pitched 61.1 innings and saw his walk rate rise to 2.5 BB/9 and his K/9 dip to 8.1.  His WHIP rocketed to 1.57 but he cut his HR/9 almost in half to 0.6.  However, he maintained his command.  In the 11 games for which they kept stats, Eshelman threw 66.7% strikes.  He slipped below 60% twice, but was over 70% five times.

Eshelman made two trips to the DL while with Reading for turf toe and appendicitis.

Eshelman began 2017 in Reading and after posting a 3-0 record and 3.10 ERA in 5 starts, he was promoted to Lehigh Valley.  In 29.0 AA innings, Eshelman gave up 6 HR but had a WHIP of 1.103, 1.6 BB/9, and 6.8 K/9.

In Lehigh Valley, Eshelman was superb.  In 18 starts he pitched 121.0 innings, posted a 10-3 record, and a 2.23 ERA.  He limited the opposition to 0.6 HR/9 and 1.0 BB/9.  He also recorded his lowest strike out rate, 6.0 K/9.

Eshelman will surely get an invitation to the major league camp.  He should have an opportunity to pitch his way into the Phillies starting rotation or perhaps first alternate.

Today’s vote had the highest number of participants of any poll so far this year.  I guess a lot of you were waiting for the latest group of players to be added to the poll.  The second place finisher probably benefited from the large number of votes that came in from California and South Carolina.  Luke Leftwich pitched well until his call up to Clearwater in the second half of 2016 when he posted a 5.07 ERA in 11 starts.  He rebounded a little in 2017 after being converted to a reliever.  He posted a 2.70 ERA in 42 games, but had a 1-6 record and only 8 saves in 14 opportunities.  His BB/9 (2.4) and K/(11.0) were good.  

This reminds me of the “ballot stuffing” incidents we had last year.  Unless I see evidence in the comments section that support such remarkable selections in upcoming polls (HA is being added in the next poll), I will probably invalidate that portion of a poll.  This is a fun exercise to identify and rank the top prospects in the organization.  It is not for family and friends to hijack the poll from regular readers and participants of this site.  Let me know via e-mail if this is a reasonable way to handle occurrences such as these. 

Next up is your selection for the #15 prospect in the organization with no new players added to the poll.


2018 Readers’ Poll, so far –

  1. Sixto Sanchez
  2. Scott Kingery
  3. J.P. Crawford
  4. Jhailyn Ortiz
  5. Jorge Alfaro
  6. Adam Haseley
  7. Adonis Medina
  8. Franklyn Kilome
  9. Mickey Moniak
  10. JoJo Romero
  11. Roman Quinn
  12. Enyel De Los Santos
  13. Cornelius Randolph
  14. Tom Eshelman



43 thoughts on “Phuture Phillies 2018 Reader Top 30 Poll for the Phillies #15 Prospect

  1. Now we enter the splitting of hairs section. From here to #25 I think all these guys are so close to break outs and/or gaining mainstream recognition and being deemed truly legitimate prospect. I find myself making arguments for and against each talent. We are so deep as a system.

  2. Great system – and still a number of notable prospects remaining. Our Top 30 will be relevant from top to bottom.

    I’ll mention Dylan Cozens here.

    * Cozens will start the 2018 season repeating Lehigh Valley at age 23 (DOB: 5.31.94). Something that I feel gets lost in the Cozen’s conversation is his relative young age when compared to his peer competition.

    * Cozens has 67 home runs and 200 RBIs over 269 games the past two seasons

    * In 67 games at home in 2017, Cozens slashed .270/.363/.530/.894

    * Cozens has shown capable of adjustments in the past. After a strikeout rate of 26.4% while at Lakewood in 2014, he was tasked with improving his contact rate. In 2015, he decreased his strikeout rate to 19.9% despite having been promoted to Clearwater. The higher contact rate came at the sacrifice of his power, as he went on to hit only 5 homeruns in 397 plate appearances at Clearwater despite a solid .282 batting average.

    * Cozens BB rate is trending in the right direction – 6.6% in 2015, 10.4% in 2016, and 10.7% in 2017.

    * Cozens is 6’6” 240 – it’s hardly surprising in my view that he would struggle against more experienced pitchers who have command over their offspeed offerings. The strikeout rate for Cozens will be telling in 2018 – if he can get that K-rate under 30%, preferably nearer to 25%, we have a very exciting player.

    1. Cozens certainly is intriguing. He has certainly shown the ability to make adjustments as well. However, with the depth we currently have, I’m thinking he is used as a trade chip at some point, and I’d be perfectly fine with that. I’m not rooting against the kid, but I don’t think he will be able to hack it at the mlb level.

    2. As players with aspirations of being major league regulars go, 23 in AAA isn’t young, it’s pretty much age appropriate. Plus he turns 24 in late May.

      His home/road splits are kind of interesting, and I wasn’t aware of them before. His BB and, especially, his K rates were better at home too.

      This is a make or break year for Cozens. Another season like he had last year and he’ll basically be an afterthought, possibly joining another organization in 2019. He’s 27th on my list; I still think there’s some upside but also a lot of risk, plus I was never as high on him as many others.

      1. Handzus – in retrospect, Cozens was 22 entering his first season at AAA. Even at 23, indeed younger than average. Not considerably so. So now at 23, entering his age 24 season and repeating a level for the first time, I would hope to see marked improvement over 2017.

      2. Cozens’ safer bet is to groom him as a platoon corner OF. Maximize his value and if he doesn’t fit this organization’s short term plans, trade him next winter.

  3. My next pick isn’t on the list right now. Francisco Morales is my guy in this slot. I debated not voting until he is added but I thought other guys deserved my vote even if they weren’t my next pick. My next 3 picks are going to be 3/4 of a promising young infield. Hall is my vote here. Gamboa will be next and then Brito. Of course, if Morales pops into the list, he’ll get my vote immediately.

    Luke Leftwich is an interesting guy. Last year he started all his games. He had 2.0 ERA and a 1.079 WHIP. He had an 11.7 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9 in 68 innings at LKW. He moved to CLW and was less successful; 5 ERA and a 1.473 WHIP in 11 starts. In 2017 he was used as a reliever. He had a 2.7 ERA with a 1.125 WHIP and a 11 K/9 and a 2.4 BB/9. He also had 8 saves. With all that said, I don’t even have him in my list of players for the top 30. He’s probably the 5th or 6th best reliever in the organization. Relievers, although very valuable, are not as highly rated as starters or position players. When Arano, Hammer, McGarry and Singer are gone, Luke would be in the mix as my next reliever. Harold Arauz would also be in that mix plus he’s younger and had better stats at CLW. I’m not sure the 4 or 5 guys in front of him will all make the top 20, so I can’t vote Leftwich here. If he was still a starter and continued his 11+ K/9 and 2.4 BB/9, I might be voting for him in this range.

  4. I went Seranthy here. Electric fastball/slider combo has his floor as a lights out closer. He throws 98 as a starter, I can’t wait to see what happens when he moves to the pen. He might turn into a Ken Giles type player and we know how valuable that is.

    He is close to majors too. Might even come up this year if injuries happen.

    Very exciting prospect.

      1. He has at least 2 plus pitches. His fastball might be plus plus. That is the profile of a lights out closer. If he adds a third pitch, then he will stay in the rotation.

    1. I really like Dominguez, but just because he’s moving to the bullpen doesn’t mean his durability and control issues go away. There’s still risk in his profile and he hasn’t seen AA yet.

      Victor Arano is still eligible for the poll and I think he’s being unfairly overshadowed a bit. His ceiling isn’t as high as Seranthony’s but his floor is much higher and he could still be a set-up guy. They’re close for me.

  5. Voting for Darick Hall.
    2017 SALLY MVP, as voted by the league’s 14 managers, their respective GMs, 14 broadcasters and the 14 writers.
    That is kind of a significant accomplishment, especially from the 14 former professional baseball players who are managers in the league.
    Hall joins past MVPs,as to the likes of Adrian Gonzalez, Ruben Rivera, Josh Hamilton, Jurickson Profar, JD Martinez, Brandon Moss and Russell Branyan.
    In only 114 games with Class ‘A’ Lakewood, Hall hit 27 homers and drove in 96 runs, put up a .533 slugging percentage, tallied 56 extra-base hits and 227 total bases.
    All of those numbers led the South Atlantic League and his 27 home runs with Lakewood is a franchise record
    Additionally, of his 27 HRs, 20 of them or 74% were hit on the road….further signifying how difficult Lakewood’s HR Park Factors are to power guys.
    Rhys Hoskins and Ryan Howard hit less than 7 there , where as, Jose Pujols was able to hit a few better there than Hall.
    Hall should project favorably in having a 60/65FV power tool.
    He, along with Jhailyn Ortiz, Dylan Cozens and Jose Pujols represent the best power guys in the system.
    If he can maintain this production from 2017 into 2018 and early 2019, he should be in Philly in late 2019.
    Though MVP of the SALLY….was not selected in top ten prospects list.
    His peripherals are weak….specifically K% and BB%.
    As he goes up the ladder he will be exposed, similar to Dylan Cozens last year at LHV.
    Prior to 2016 he had exceptional K and BB percentages,along with a high OBP.
    His college coach at DBU, modified his swing and flattened it, but it also created more launch and utilized his top-spin more, his ISO increased but likewise also his K% and BB% trended down.
    He does get hit by pitches quite often…like Jhailyn Ortiz, which boosts his OBP.
    Anyway, somehow he will need to make the adjustment in his approach, especially his two-strike approach. as he progresses to better pitching at the higher levels.

    1. Romus,

      I went with Hall here, too.

      It was really close with Cozens, but I just haven’t seen Cozens improve his areas of weakness. And if his one season of improvement came at the sacrifice of power, well, power is his game. And then he reverted.

      I’ll be rooting for Dylan to become a more discerning hitter. It would be nice to have our own home-grown Judge or Stanton.

      Cozens will get my next vote.

  6. Bellman, I agree. I wrote two days ago that IMO the 15th pick should be a debate between Gamboa, Brito, S.Dominguez, R.Suarez, and F.Morales. Those are my 15-19.

    None of them got many votes for #15. My pick now for #16 is Gamboa.

    1. Suarez, Gamboa, Brito and Eshelman were all very close for me, with Morales (and Spencer Howard) only slightly lower. Dominguez would easily be above that group if he were still a starter, but as a reliever I have him in the mid-20s.

  7. My pick for #15 is Daniel Brito. He has begun the last two seasons showing great offensive ability with a high average and some power. As the seasons progressed his stats regressed. He should pay attention to diet and strengthening to increase his fitness for a long season. Everything else is visible. He is a good fielder. He reminds me of Cesar Hernandez, but has not done yet what Cesar did by improving every day until he was major league ready. Hopefully he has put on more heft since the season ended. This will be meaningful for him to succeed.

  8. Arquimedes Gamboa.

    His BB/K rates have both trended in the right direction during his first three seasons, while many other prospects are the other way around.

    Scouts like his bat, glove and athleticism and believe he will stick at SS.

    1. Mike, I agree. I noted above that I went with Gamboa too (for couple picks now). Honestly, I think he’ll be top 10 after this year and may end up one of the biggest stars in our deep system.

  9. Ranger Suarez here, then I have to choose between Cozens, Seranthony, who I think is the next Ken Giles, and Irvin. Then I have the Gamboa/Brito choice to make. Someone said earlier that there are legit prospects throughout the Top 30 and I agree,

  10. Oh, hello to all of Luke Leftwich’s family and friends who found the site.

    I voted for Suarez here for the second time. We know he has very good control, but he’s added velocity over the last couple seasons and maintained good strikeout numbers through Hi-A. Assuming he starts 2018 in Reading, he’s not far from the show at this point. He’s as good a bet to be a ML starter as anyone remaining, and lefties who can throw strikes and get their fastball into the mid-90s are always welcome in pro baseball.

  11. Seranthy here, for the reasons cogently explained by v1again. The, Gamboa, Brito, and then Cozens and Morales rounding out the top twenty. Then probably Anderson, Howard, and Mills in some order, maybe sprinkled with L Garcia and Gutierrez.

    Although I wish him much success, (and with apologies to his friends and family), Leftwich is not on my top 30 as a reliever. As others have pointed out, this is a deep, deep farm system right now. After Esh, I think our opinion of where the next wave of 10-20 prospects is a total crapshoot. There are probably an additional 5-10 prospects that would make many top 30 lists (including Arauz). A good problem to have.

    Finally, i am getting to the point where I am thinking about slotting two international FAs, L Garcia and Gutierrez somewhere after #21. Anyone have insight on those two beyond the thumbnail sketches readily available?

    Thanks again to all the thoughtful work that goes into this sight. As a daily reader, it is most appreciated.

    1. Actually, I went with Ranger here. My reply was directed toward my remaining votes through #25.

    2. Yeah, with apologies to family and friends, in my opinion Leftwich is a tier below the level of prospect we’re considering at this stage of the poll. That said, I hope he has a great season in 2018 and makes a big leap up the rankings.

      I switched gears from #14 and went with Dominguez here.

    1. Interesting name, if he can get his velocity up to 92/93, he’ll jump up this list and onto the top 100 as well. He’s very good.

      1. Agreed. I feel as if he holds a ton of potential and feel like he will slot somewhere before 25 on the poll. If he has a strong season, I could see him hitting the top 100 prospect polls

    2. I really really like Kyle Young. Crazy high upside. I think he has a lot more to come in that fastball. Must be extremely difficult to pick up. An I bet he has awesome Schwimlocity (for those whom have been on this blog a long time). I just think there are others higher right now. But I am going with him soon.

  12. My vote for Cozens goes with a prayer. If he could put up regular major league numbers as he did at Reading in 2016, it would have an enormous impact on the Phillies. There are few players in the organization that have such a potential upside.

    1. Agree about Cozens’ potential impact, but just don’t see it happening. The lack of contact issue may be just too severe to overcome; the power means nothing if you can’t put bat on ball. Would love to be wrong, but he’s a long shot IMO.

  13. Spring training will certainly be fun this year with the new manager and coaching staff, a few new minor league managers, and the ton of young talent fighting their way up to be noticed. Travel plans have been booked….. Lenny’s of course to start each day…

  14. Suarez! There’s always room in MLB for a crafty lefty who throws strikes. Not top shelf stuff but I’ve liked his results so far.

    And I second (or is that third?) the nomination for Francisco Morales to be added. He’s a top twenty kid now and may very well be a top 10er this time next year.

  15. silly question here, but if a player isn’t drafted high, doesn’t have a bunch of people pounding their drum, a fan club, a pedigree, what ever it is that is bestowed on them at 18 or so by the fans, and isn’t 6’4 and runs like a deer, should they even show up and swing the bat? just curious.

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