Phuture Phillies 2018 Reader Top 30 Poll for the Phillies #26 Prospect

Spencer Howard was your selection as the #25 prospect in the Phillies’ organization.

Howard received 65 of the 217 votes cast (30%).  Drew Anderson finished second with 33 votes (15%). J.D. Hammer finished third (28 votes, 13%), Jose Tavera fourth (15, 7%), and Cole Irvin fifth (10, 5%).  Seventeen others received the other 66 votes.

Spencer Howard was drafted by the Phillies in the 2nd round of the 2017 Amateur Draft out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo after his sophomore season.

During his brief college career, Howard made 38 appearances, 24 starts, and pitched 124.1 innings.  He posted a 3-1 record in 21 appearances (2 starts) his freshman year with a 2.95 ERA, walking 13 (3.2 BB/9) and striking out 39 (9.6 K/9)in 36.2 innings.  He posted an 8-1 record in 17 appearances (12 starts) his sophomore year with a 2.05 ERA, walking 23 (2.4 BB/9) and striking out 97 (9.9 K/9) in 87.2 innings.

After signing with the Phillies, Howard reported to Williamsport where the team monitored his innings and pitches carefully.  He posted a 1-1 record in 9 starts with a 4.45 ERA, walking 18 (5.7 BB/9) and striking out 40 (12.7) in 28.1 innings.  He threw 64% of his 557 pitches for strikes.

Howard’s worst outing came in his seventh start against the Auburn Doubledays.  He didn’t record an out in the second inning and gave up 6 ER and threw 53 pitches.  As fate would have it his next two starts came against the same Auburn team.  He closed out the season with his first win in his 8th start – a one-hit, five-inning outing where he didn’t allow a run, struck out six, and threw 78 pitches; and a no decision in his final start – a two-hit, 4.2 inning outing where he gave up one run, struck out a career-high ten, and threw a career-high 87 pitches.

With 116 innings under his belt in 2017, Howard should have no problem adjusting to full season ball in Lakewood or Clearwater.

Next up is your selection for the #26 prospect in the organization.


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. Daniel Brito
  25. Spencer Howard
  26. ?

A few new faces were in Clearwater.  Pedro Beato threw with the fourteen pitchers who pitched last week – Lively, Hammer, Anderson, Thompson, Eflin, Pivetta, Ben Brown, Mills, Young, Cleavinger, McGarry, Etsell, Warren, and Singer.  Gowdy, Dyer, and Mario Sanchez watched the others longingly, waiting for their clearances to throw off a mound.  Sutter McLoughlin was in the weight room.  Roman Quinn was back in town for his monthly check up (and possibly for the duration).  Adam Morgan is in town.  Mitch Walding joined position players Florimon, Moore, Cozens, and De La Cruz.  More are scheduled to arrive by the end of the week.

18 thoughts on “Phuture Phillies 2018 Reader Top 30 Poll for the Phillies #26 Prospect

  1. It’s Anderson here for me. Mills will be after him. Taveras, Irwin, Pelletier and Falter round out my top 30. I don’t have Leftwich in my top 30.

    1. I think Muzziotti is a guy who should be top 30. So should Gutierrez, who isn’t worth the super millions of bonus he got but who had a better than decent initial season and certainly should be top 30 for us. I like Mills in top 30 as well as Pelletier. Irvin deserving. Going with Anderson here. I guess I should factor Garcia into the mix somewhere. I agree with bellman, Leftwich was around 40 for me. It’s a deep farm.

      1. I like Muzziotti.
        Sox scouts projected comped him to Jacoby Ellsbury when they initially signed him.
        I prefer a little more to an Ender inciarte.
        Looking at both their age18 seasons Muzziotti is more or less a poor man’s version of Inciarte.
        Age 18season…low A
        Simon M.:
        .270 .304 .383 –PA-148…K-7%… BB-5%… BABIP-.287 …wRC+-94
        Ender Inciarte:
        .325 .364 .405 –PA-258…K-16%…BB-6%…BABIP-.386….wRC+-105

  2. I had Anderson a while back and because Dominguez was chosen already, I’ll go back to Anderson

  3. I considered Anderson but I’m going to go with Mills. Think he’s got more upside and see Anderson as a likely reliever.

  4. A very good write-up on Howard.
    I also liked what Johnny A. had to say about him last June…
    “We felt that this righthander’s fastball was one of the best in the country. Not measuring velocity, but measuring the action, the deception, and the ability to use it, He’s somebody that we rank really high across the country and felt that he was the top righthanded arm. They gave him the opportunity to start and he took it and he ran with it, Our west coast supervisor Darrell Conner called me. He was all over this kid. This kid just kept getting better, and better, and better. We felt to get him that we were going to have to take him where we took him. Starting pitching is hard to come by. This was one of the few guys in the draft that we felt had a chance to be a front-line guy.”
    …..additionally this season, pitching in a pitcher’s park like Lakewood should prove to be beneficial for him

    1. When I hear descriptions of Howard, they are reminiscent of what I see when I watch Corey Kluber. Kluber throws low to mid-90s, but with crazy action and movement, such that his fastballs are deadly hard for a batter to hit. This is why I’m so high on Howard and he could easily be a breakout player this year.

      I also think people have soured too quickly on Cozens and Pullin. We see this year after year after year. Guys have great years in Reading, people here view them as the greatest thing since sliced bread, and then they go to Lehigh Valley, struggle and everyone loses interest. This whole process is not a coincidence or a mirage. Jumping from Reading to Lehigh Valley, for a hitter, is almost like jumping two levels. The pitching is much better and the hitting environment is much more difficult – it’s a double whammy. So it’s more likely a guy will struggle to start than excel right away, like Rhys Hoskins. Cozens and Pullin still have a little development time left. As a result, I think some have been too pessimistic about these players. Matt Winks – whose write-ups I love – has Cozens as the 35th best prospect in the system. I mean, come on, he shouldn’t be THAT low. For all his struggles last year Cozens showed his power is real and his plate discipline is real – and that’s something to build on. Cozens could turn out to be a platoon player in an era that forgot platoon players (because, you know, we need like 13 pitchers on a pitching staff – give me a break), but there’s ability still lurking there and I could see him becoming quite a productive MLB player over time (25 homers; 75 RBI playing 2/3 of the time) – especially in the American League. He didn’t suddenly lose all of his talent last year; and he does have talent.

      1. Cozens, like another LHB power guy like Darick Hall…need to adjust and make that two-strike approach. Cozens did it in ’15 and Hall his first two years of college….but what they sacrificed when they did it , back then ,was SLG% and their ISO dropped.
        Power guys do not want that.
        if they could watch a few video clips of Anthony Rizzo and Joey Votto with two -strikes, and they can see what has to be done. Not easy thing to do though.

        1. No, it’s not easy and the odds are still that Cozens won’t amount to much. But that wasn’t my point. People have him rated as low as the 35th prospect. In my opinion, that’s where you rate guys who are true lottery tickets or borderline middle relievers, not guys who have a legitimate chance to be bona fide MLB power hitters or strong platoon players, which is where we find Cozens. Most of his potential upside (ceiling of above average regular) is still there and it’s not crazy to imagine him getting to that point.

      2. @catch – i also like MattWinks and still believe that his ranking is probably the one i like the most (as my ranking is closest to his). MattWinks has not posted his Top 20 yet, but it looks like we have the same 20 prospects. MattWinks don’t have Fanti and Hall in his Top 50 – so I will poke a hole in MattWinks ranking – is why Hall is way lower than Cozens.

        Cozens at #35 is about right (I have Cozens at #38 and Pullin outside of my Top 50) – this is not a slight against Cozens but it is mainly due to the number of really good prospects in the lower minors that keeps of going up.

        While the risks remain too high – I think that Cozens will respond better if thrown to the fire. If I’m Klentak will just let him play with Phils and see if advanced pitching in the majors will trigger something in Cozens. Judge has the same risk profile but produced in the majors.

        AAA is not necessary the home of the best pitching in the minors. Except for the good prospects that are blocked in the majors, most of the SPs are AAAA and junk ballers.

        1. We can agree to disagree on the ranking.

          But your reference to Judge is precisely why I think he’s rated too low. While I have no illusions about his becoming another Aaron Judge, with his tools and plate discipline, if he hits his ceiling, he could be a 4 or 5 WAR player and he has proximity on his side. I just think a guy like that is worthy of more than a #35 ranking, especially since he has not been struggling in AAA for more than a year and is going into his age 24 year.

          1. If Cozens does what Judge did in 2016 before reaching the majors we can talk again, but here is Judge’s 2016 and Cozen’s 2017, both in the International League.
            Judge: .270/.366/.489 11.5% BB% 23.9% K%
            Cozens: .210/.301/.418 10.7% BB% 35.8% K%
            Even if we look at Judge’s horrible 2015 time in AAA is K% is still 7% below Cozens. Cozens has shown that his pitch recognition and plate discipline is frankly pretty bad.

            Even 35 is a bit of a hedge that he can carve out a role on a bench, because I just did not see someone who could hit good pitching due to his own pitch recognition issues as well as a body that is frankly stiff and not that athletic. Then you throw in that Cozens is a minus fielder and Judge is a plus fielder and a really good baseball athlete, and I just don’t see the parallels. Cozens to me this year looked like late career Ryan Howard at the plate.

            As for Hall, I have similar concerns based on reports and he didn’t even have good approach numbers in Low-A and is a first baseman.

            1. I certainly never said he was another Aaron Judge – if he was, he should be ranked in the team’s top 1 or 2 prospects and nobody is saying that.

              As for plate discipline – he has high strikeout totals and certainly must have had pitch recognition problems, but he still drew his fair share of walks (nearly 11% ain’t bad when you’re not hitting well) and he still hit more than his fair share of homers (more than Judge ever hit in the minors by the way). But I expected him to struggle his first year in AAA. The question is whether he can adjust and improve.

              He is still on the young side. And, by the way, you are comparing the wrong years between Judge and Cozens. If you look at their age 23 years in AAA (their first real stints in AAA), you get a better comparison. In those years, Cozens AAA OPS was .719 and Judge’s was .680 (Judge really stunk in his first tryout at AAA).

              Again, I’m not saying he’s another Aaron Judge, he doesn’t have Judge’s ability to draw walks or overall athleticism. What I am saying is let’s give Cozens another year to adjust at AAA before we declare him a borderline non-prospect, which we do when we rank him 35th (even in this system). In terms of the appropriate ranking, maybe 15 is too aggressive, but I think late teens or early 20s is appropriate.

              And, by the way, I’m one of the biggest fans of your write-ups, which I find incredibly informative and generally spot on (love the role/risk assessments – that’s how one should look at prospects). I just disagree with you on this one prospect.

          2. most of my disagreements in rankings is due to the definition of “prospect” and how to weight different factors in their evaluation. my prospect evaluation includes a significant risk component, so in the case of Cozens (applies also to Hall, Pujols, etc) the risk related to his hit tool negates the potential of his power, thus, lowering his net rating. If Cozens cannot hit, then he cannot tap his power.

            My reference to Judge is just me being a risk taker. it is no way related to how i rank prospects.

            My subconcious bias in my rankings point towards pitchers and batters that control the strike zone and have solid fundamentals and mechanics. Minor league stats to me is just to verify if the number supports the eye test.

    1. Because way back before the poll started, I ran a poll to determine who would be added after MLB’s top 30. Any player who received 2% of the total vote was included in the poll.

      Readers could only vote once, but could select as many prospects as they thought belonged in the top 30 poll. The 2% cutoff (actually 1.99%) was 35 votes , and brought 19 additional players into the poll.

      The original top 30, the 2 guys pushed out of the top 30 by Enyel de los Santos and Abrahan Gutierrez after the poll was taken (I think they were J.D. Hammer and Francisco Morales), plus the 19 players voted onto the poll gave us 51 names to choose from for the top 30.

      There were 1760 votes, Kyle Young received the most votes (102), but wasn’t on every ballot cast. Guzman wasn’t close to the cutoff. Adding him to the poll would have required the addition of 7-11 other players, too.

      I like Guzman. I imagine your question is inspired because he showed up on another list somewhere. I watched him all last season. So, I get a fuller picture than scouts who don’t see as many games. And even though I like him, he looks like another slightly built LA middle infielder who won’t hit up to his hype (see Malquin Canelo). Defensively, he doesn’t look like the specialist he’s purported to be. He committed 10 errors in 161 GCL chances and posted a .938 Fld%.

      I may like him, but he didn’t have the numbers that were going to cause me to go against the readers’ vote.

  5. I was thinking about his for multiple spots but didnt see his name, so I figured I was over-rating him in my head. Saw him on Matt’s list and felt re-assured I wasnt. Plus, he did play in Williamsport for a little while so its not like he is a DR kid or straight GCL player.

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