Phuture Phillies 2018 Reader Top 30 Poll for the Phillies #24 Prospect

Francisco Morales was your selection as the #23 prospect in the Phillies’ organization.

Morales received 71 of the 236 votes cast (30%).  Daniel Brito finished second with 49 votes (21%), J.D. Hammer finished third with 21 votes (9%), and  Drew Anderson finished fourth with 17 votes (7%).  Seventeen others received the other 78 votes.

Francisco  Morales was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela on July 2, 2016.  The RHP was 16 at the time.  He has a great pitcher’s body at 6’4, 185.

Morales hung out at the Dominican Academy in 2016 and visited stateside for 2016 Instructs.  He didn’t pitch against competition until the last game when he threw a single inning.

Morales started his professional career with the GCL Phillies in 2017.  He posted a 3-2 record with a 3.05 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.  He walked 20 (4.4 BB/9) and struck out 44 (9.6 K/9) in 41.1 innings.

Morales’ fastball velocity fluctuates. His low-end is consistently 90-91 mph, but the high-end of his range has been 92-95 mph.  Even when the high is as low as 90, he spikes one or two up to 95-96 mph.  He throws a slider and a change that are both in the low-to-mid 80’s range.

I think I saw 8 of Morales’ 9 starts last season.  His biggest obstacle is his lack of control. Even when he is pitching well, he is throwing a lot of pitches.  His strike outs are encouraging.  His walks and pitch counts give pause.  He has great size.  It’s easy to envision that after he is coached up that he will add to his fastball velocity.  His advancement will depend on developing command of his pitches.

With just one pro season on his resume, Morales will almost surely be in rookie ball again in 2018.  With the addition of a second GCL team, it’s not far-fetched to think that the Phillies will keep him in Clearwater where he can get more personalized instruction with Rafael Chaves, Carlos, and even Ray Burris providing assistance to the GCL pitching coaches – Hector Mercado and Matt Hockenberry.  Still, Williamsport isn’t out of the question.  However, there is no reason to push him up to Lakewood.


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
  15. Dylan Cozens
  16. Ranger Suarez
  17. Seranthony Dominguez
  18. Nick Fanti
  19. Arquimedes Gamboa
  20. Darick Hall
  21. Luke Leftwich
  22. Kyle Young
  23. Francisco Morales
  24. ?


48 thoughts on “Phuture Phillies 2018 Reader Top 30 Poll for the Phillies #24 Prospect

  1. Brito is my choice here. He started out last year like a house-afire hitting .327/.377/.449 in April. He had 26 Ks in 24 games in April. After April his BA was much lower each month but his Ks also dropped to 20 in May, 15 in June and only 13 in July. I guess he was just hitting ’em at people in those months. In August he seemed to show he was tired. He was an 19 yo at LKW and hit .250/.277/.341 with 19 Ks in 22 games. His first year of full season caught up with him. Reducing the Ks each month up to August show he was making adjustments but he was having very little luck of those balls dropping in for hits. His defense looks solid on paper so there’s a lot to like here. Hopefully he’ll get a little stronger this year and take what he learned last year and expound on it. He and Gamboa could form a solid middle of the infield pair for years to come. Could they supplant Kingery (or Hernandez) and Crawford in a few years? Probably not but as they get close trade possibilities are greatly enhanced.

    1. Yeah I think Brito has just as high of a ceiling as well as a higher floor due to Gowdy’s injury. I liked pre-injury Gowdy a lot though. Hope he comes back strong next year.

  2. There is no way I can justify having Gowdy in the top 30. He is going to be three years out of the draft with basically no playing history to speak of. Even if he has a lot of talent and recovers well, he has lost oodles of developmental time and it can be tough to bounce back from that. After the write-up of Morales, I’m more glad than ever I had Howard above him – he’s just too far out and raw to project as more than a lottery ticket now. Howard could end up being a legit – 2/3 – I’ve got a really good feeling about him.

    1. I cannot vote for Gowdy for the same reasons.
      In essence….IMO, it is a similar scenario as Shane Watson’s was in the slow development due to an injury or multiple ailments as the case was with Watson.

      1. I’m more hopeful on Gowdy than Watson because Gowdy’s problems are, I believe, with his elbow, and you can recover from that. Watson had shoulder problems. The moment I hear a prospect is out with shoulder problems, I write him off mentally. 70-80 percent of the time, the guy is done. Are there exceptions? Sure there are. Schilling and Clemens overcame shoulder issues.

        But usually, it’s game over. Here’s an example. Jon Pettibone. Good prospect, possible long term 3/4, threw 92-96 and was developing a nice repertoire. He encounters shoulder problems and it’s like David Copperfield came in an made him disappear. Poof. We never even hear about him again. And it happens all the time with shoulder injuries. And even when guys come back they often do not regain the same velocity. Remember Ethan Martin and his 96 MPH FB? Well, he had shoulder issues and then it was 90-92, touching 93. Done.

        1. Yeah…shoulder injuries are career enders.
          Gowdy does have that in his favor not worrying about any shoulder ailments.
          What he will have going against him…..he will not pitch competitively against hitters probably not until after he is 21-years old.
          Most all pitchers, especially HSers drafted, usually pitch anywhere from 400 to 500 innings in the minors before they are ready for their MLB debut…except for the generational ones like Kershaw, Bumgarner Beckett etc etc….but they are usually top ten picks anyway.
          He will not reach that 400 IPs for approx. 3 years, so he will be close to his mid-20s before he could get the call-up…..and will need to be 40 protected well before then.
          I assume, the Phillies will probably try to fast-track him after his first full season in 2019.

    2. I’d say Morales has a better chance at being a #2 than Howard. A college pitcher with that kind of upside is a first round pick. I know the Phillies talked him up like he was a lost gem but I need to see a little more from him to fully believe that. He also had as much of a problem with walks as Morales did.

  3. Hopefully the coaches will help Francisco Morales and his control issues.
    His ceiling and potential are enormous.
    Further, he just turned 18 a few months ago….so if he were stateside as a US student and citizen, he would be getting ready now to start the season for his last and senor year of high school baseball.

    1. pitchers with control problems are normally a turn off with me but Morales is one who qualify as an exception. Morales age and delivery comes with a natural develop that might fix the control problems organically. Under the new regime, the front office prioritize controlling the strike zone so I assume that most of the coaches followed the same philosophy which should help Morales address his issues and most struggles that he had (pitch count, lack of control) are not new to most pitchers at his age.

      1. KuKo….Eic Longenhagen of Fangraphs is currently doing his top 33…..he will have the Phillies for 2018 within a week or two.
        Last Feb (2017), he did not have Morales in the top 33….but added this comment on him:
        “Francisco Morales, RHP – Morales is a monster at 6-foot-5, with a FB that climbs into the mid-90s and plus slider projection. He’s had trouble finding mechanical consistency, and there’s a good chance he ends up as a reliever because of it. There’s a non-zero chance that Morales can clean up the delivery and develop enough of a changeup/split to profile as a No. 4 starter, but there are far too many developmental hurdles to clear for that to be considered a likelihood.”
        … IMO, that is a pretty pedestrian write-up ….for a 17-year old no less.
        I tend to agree with you…..his best days are ahead of him if he adheres to instructions and can implement them.

        1. i’m glad that Eric L. is not in the justice department, otherwise, he’ll send a lot of wrong people to jail because of first impression.

          prospect ranking requires too much judgement, thus, subject to personal subconscious bias. i deal with a lot of reports that deals with professional judgment in my career (i.e. actuarial valuation report, economic projection, financial forecast, cash flow, etc) and i have a good enough knowledge to know if a professional judgment lacks substance. Eric L. evaluation lacks substance and is basically telling me that he has not seen Francisco Morales and not talked to people that knows Morales but instead, look up what is provided to him and make a quick synopsis. This approach is like throwing some mud in the wall and see what sticks.

          I always believe that the local people have better handle that the national outlets when it comes to prospect evaluation. Between what Eric L. or JP’s reporting here, I think JP reports can provide a better basis in forming an evaluation.

          1. Longenhagen wrote for Crashburn Alley and knows the Phillies system very well. I don’t know if he has seen Morales in person or not, but just thought it was fair to point out.

            1. Eric L. wrote for CA during the Amaro days so I doubt he knows the current Phillies farm as you think. Eric L. probably spent time and see Nola, JPC, Alfaro before and Kingery, Sixto, Moniak, Haseley currently but I’m almost certain that he did not spent time to see the rest, but instead rely on what was given to him.

              You can already read between the lines on his comment that his knowledge of Francisco Morales is bare minimum.

            2. KuKo……his next report out in a week or so….which I am sure will have Morales in the top 33 this time…..will be more telling on his perception of what Morales will project to be.

            3. @romus – i expect Eric L. to have Morales in Top 20-30 range. he will point to the lack of control because the numbers shows it, Most national outlets spent time on prospects that’s within Top 100-200 of all MiLB so I still doubt that he spent time to gather more info on prospects not named JPC, Sixto, Kingery, Alfaro, Moniak and Haseley.

              Eric L. will say what JP already reported to us months ago but without the details (i.e. pitch count, quality of pitches, etc). Eric L. will use his Feb 2017 evaluation as a template, point to the K/9 as plus and BB/9 as the minus and use the FB-CB combo to say his floor of a RP.

    1. agree with you Murray – Brito then Howard followed by the DP combo of Guzman and Gonzalez.

  4. A poor season with the bat at Lakewood has legitimately driven Brito down the list, but I think he has fallen probably more than he should and voted for him here.

  5. Elniery Garcia at #24. He has dropped, but shouldn’t be out of sight. I am rooting for him to duplicate again and again that wonderful game he pitched in the AFL. At this stage he can be a competent reliever if he regains his confidence.

  6. I wonder who was 2nd in the last poll. They garnered 48 votes and Jim left his name out of the post.

    1. Has to be Howard…..he is the one who has been in the top five voting these last 2/3 selections.

    2. Oh crap! Did this late and cut some corners. Computer crashed and I forgot to complete the article. I have to correct that whole paragraph. Sorry.

    1. I have Taveras at #31. Taveras is almost a complete finish product and with little to no physical projection left, there may not be any improvement in his overall stuff so he is basically Ben Lively, a prototypical back end starter.

      The silver lining I see is that Taveras owns one of the better CU’s in the farm. Even without velocity, Taveras can still further develop and control his CU for swing and misses and he might end up going the Kyle Hendrick’s way and that’s a solid #3.

        1. except for the #1, Tocci and an INF, all prospects drafted in the Rule V are pitchers so I think Taveras might be drafted. MIA or BAL might be willing to spend $50k to find out if Taveras can eat some innings for them. Taveras is already 24 yo with a 3-pitch mix that he can throw for strikes so teams might take the chance.

          I have Taveras at 50-50 but since the Phils protected him, it means that Taveras is almost certain to be lost in the Rule V.

      1. KuKo…oddly, Taverass peripherals (K/9, BB/9, WHIP, BABIP, BA, amd FIP o some degree, all on face value indicate a mid-to-top rotation piece.
        But his stuff plays like a back-end (4th or 5th) to long reliever guy.
        His delivery, according to analysts, involves deception, so that must be one of the factors that contribute to his vey good metrics.

        1. MLB’s Shredder will definitely like Taveras! I compared Taveras to Lively because both have the results (in minors), pitching arsenal, comparable stuff, physical size and deception. Reality showed Lively that major league bats is way different from minor league bats and that he need to be pinpoint on his pitches to get away with average stuff.

          The main difference between the Taveras and Lively will be the CU – if Taveras can develop the CU as his out pitch – then he might carry his minor league peripherals and follow Kyle Hendricks or at least a Hellickson.

    1. He is still on the young side for AAA, turning 24 as spring training ends. After the top 3 pitchers, he’s right there with the others. He’s ahead of Romero for me. I think that once a prospect gets a cup of coffee in the majors and struggles at all, he ceases to be considered or immediately drops as a prospect in the minds of many. I also think that he is being downgraded still because of his successful, past, TJ surgery.

  7. I believe we are underestimating a few people, Spencer and Mezquita at the top of that list.

  8. I posted incorrect information above.
    Morales received 71 of the 236 votes cast (30%). Daniel Brito finished second with 49 votes (21%), J.D. Hammer finished third with 21 votes (9%), and Drew Anderson finished fourth with 17 votes (7%). Seventeen others received the other 78 votes. Howard had 12, Taveras had 11, and Irvin had 10.”

    1. That sounds about right. After that, would go with Brayan Gonzalez, Jose Gomez, and Drew Anderson.

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