Minor League Discussion: Week of December 10, 2018

While we wait for news to come out of Baseballs’ Winter Meetings, some sports outlets are releasing their top ten prospect lists.  Baseball Prospectus released theirs this week.

  1. Sixto Sanchez
  2. Adonis Medina
  3. Spencer Howard
  4. Alec Bohm
  5. Luis Garcia
  6. Adam Haseley
  7. Enyel De Los Santos
  8. Mickey Moniak
  9. JoJo Romero
  10. Jhailyn Ortiz

I find it curious when I see a GCL player like Luis Garcia ranked so high.  I wonder when and how the GCL guys are seen.  Or are they being ranked based on the scouting reports of others.  For instance, I recognize the scouts at the GCL games.  They are the same handful of scouts that are at every game.  Most, if not all, scout for organizations.  The Rays and Braves are usually represented.  I guess what I’m driving at is I think the national publications are basing their rankings on the extremely small sample of a week’s worth of games or they are using somebody else’s reports.

I guess this bothers me because Luis Garcia is ranked ridiculously high.  He’s a nice looking player so far, but top ten?  I’m not ready to say that.

I first saw him during minor league spring training and later watched him during extended spring training games.  I reported that he looked like he didn’t belong.  In a three-game sequence, he committed 2 errors in each game and looked lost at the plate.  His fielding did improve as he entered the GCL season.  And, once the better pitchers left extended for Low-A ball, his hitting picked up.  I know most of you are looking at his slash and are thinking he is our answer to Acuna, Albies, Soto, and Robles.  And, who knows, maybe he is.  I just don’t think that scouts can make that prediction based on a small sample.

I watched Garcia a lot last season.  As I stated above, his defense improved as the summer progressed.  Physically he reminds me of Jimmy Rollins although he is a couple inches taller.  He also has similar movement and demeanor.  He even flashes the same engaging smile.  At short, he reminds me of J.P. Crawford.  He doesn’t have the same range, yet.  But, he does possess a strong arm.  Offensively, I did not see what others see.  He has no power to speak of.  A lot of his hits seem lucky – ground balls that fielders at higher levels will get to, balls fisted just over the infielders, and flares that bounce just in front of outfielders (texas leaguers).  I don’t think the average he posted would be sustainable over a longer season.

Garcia is projected to start at Lakewood.  He will go from 43 games in the GCL to 3 times that number against much stronger competition.  In fact, he may face some of the pitchers he struggled against in extended when he bats in the SAL.

I think it is silly to tag a 17-year old (he just turned 18 in October) among our top prospects.  Lord knows if he struggles or regresses, he could be labelled a failed signing before his 20th birthday.  In the Reading Eagle’s season ending poll, I ranked him the 13th prospect in the system.

Last Monday, I was invited by a friend to share dinner with a few of the guys down here for strength and conditioning.  We went  to the Island Way Grille on the causeway into Clearwater Beach.  The players were Addison Russ, Ben Brown, Kyle Young, and Will Stewart.  My friend Steve and I are the short guys in the front row of the picture below.

It was great to engage these guys away from the Complex.  We tried talking about things other than baseball, but the conversation often drifted back to it.  They were curious what we might know.  They seemed to think that we know more about what’s going on than they do.  Maybe.  I was surprised that they were unaware that Crawford had been traded that afternoon.  But they pretty much admitted that they don’t follow things like that.  They focus on their own careers and meeting the goals that they set for themselves.  They did offer they opinion that the Phillies should pursue bats rather than arms.  Pitchers.  It was a fun evening.  We even embarrassed Kyle by singing happy birthday in the restaurant.  He had just turned 21 the day before.

This is the Phuture Phillies Discussion Page for Prospect and Minor League discourse. No Phillies talk here.

Key Dates:

  • December 9-13, 2018 – Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • December 13, 2018 – Rule 5 draft.
  • TBA (last year on February 27th) – Minor League Spring Training begins

The rosters and lists are up to date.

Minor League Transactions (newest transactions in bold text)
12/7/18 –  Phillies signed free agent C Adony Mejia to a minor league contract
11/29/18 – Phillies signed free agent OF Shane Robinson to a minor league contract
11/29/18 – Phillies signed free agent INF Erick Brito to a future services contract
11/20/18 – Adam Haseley assigned from Lehigh Valley to Reading
11/20/18 – Cole Irvin assigned from Lehigh Valley to Reading
11/20/18 – Jeff Singer assigned from Lehigh Valley to Reading
11/20/18 – Josh Tols assigned from Lehigh Valley to Reading
11/20/18 – Austin Bossart assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Aaron Brown assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Edgar Cabral assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Ismael Cabrera assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Grenny Cumana assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Luke Leftwich assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Seth McGarry assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Jose Pujols assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Alexis Rivero assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Jose Taveras assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Damek Tomscha assigned from Reading to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Daniel Brito assigned from Clearwater to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Garrett Cleavinger assigned from Clearwater to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Jose Gomez assigned from Clearwater to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Alejandro Requena assigned from Clearwater to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Jesus Alastre assigned from Lakewood to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Jose Antequera assigned from Lakewood to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Gustavo Armas assigned from Lakewood to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Luis Carrasco assigned from Lakewood to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Luis Cedeno assigned from Lakewood to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Gregori Rivero assigned from Lakewood to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Randy Alcantara assigned from Williamsport to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Juan Escorcia assigned from Williamsport to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Oscar Marcelino assigned from Williamsport to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Lenin Rodriguez assigned from Williamsport to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Jesus Henriquez assigned from Williamsport to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Sandro Rosario assigned from GCL Phillies West to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Victor Sobil assigned from Lakewood to Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Phillies selected the contract of RHP Edgar Garcia from Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Phillies selected the contracts of RHP Adonis Medina from Clearwater
11/20/18 – Phillies selected the contract of SS Arquimedes Gamboa from Clearwater
11/16/18 – Phillies signed free agent 3B Ali Castillo to a minor league contract/Reading
11/16/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Camilo Brazoban to a future services contract
11/12/18 – SS Pedro Florimon elected free agency
11/10/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Carlos Valero to a future services contract
11/8/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Jose Guaramaco to a future services contract
11/7/18 – Phillies signed free agent OF Derek Escobar to a future services contract
11/2/18 – Phillies sent SS Pedro Florimon outright to Lehigh Valley
11/2/18 – OF Ryan Goins elected free agency
11/2/18 – 1B Zach Green elected free agency
11/2/18 – C Matt McBride elected free agency
11/2/18 – LF Danny Ortiz elected free agency
11/2/18 – C Nick Rickles elected free agency
11/2/18 – SS Dean Anna elected free agency
11/2/18 – RHP Pedro Beato elected free agency
11/2/18 – CF Collin Cowgill elected free agency
11/2/18 – RHP Ranfi Casimiro elected free agency
11/2/18 – C Logan Moore elected free agency
11/2/18 – 3B Jesmuel Valentin elected free agency
11/2/18 – RF Jiandido Tromp elected free agency
11/2/18 – 2B Heiker Meneses elected free agency
11/2/18 – RHP Mario Sanchez elected free agency
11/2/18 – RHP Harold Arauz elected free agency
11/2/18 – C Gabriel Lino elected free agency
11/2/18 – 3B Will Middlebrooks elected free agency
11/2/18 – RHP Alberto Tirado elected free agency
11/2/18 – C Kevin Martir elected free agency
11/1/18 – Phillies signed C Victor Cairo to a future services contract
10/29/18 – Lehigh Valley released 1B Joey Meneses
10/25/18 – DSL Phillies Red activated 1B Maximo De La Rosa
10/25/18 – DSL Phillies White activated RHP Jose Brazon
10/10/18 – Reading activated RHP Mario Sanchez from the 7-day disabled list
10/10/18 – Reading activated LHP JoJo Romero from the 7-day disabled list
10/10/18 – Reading activated RHP Alexis Rivero from the 7-day disabled list
10/8/18–Phillies signed free agent RHP Carlo Reyes to a minor league contract.
10/5/18–3B Trevor Plouffe elected free agency.
9/27/18–Phillies signed free agent RHP Cristofer Adames to a minor league contract
9/22/18–Phillies signed free agent LHP Joel Valdez to a minor league contract.
9/14/18–Phillies signed free agent RHP Hermes Astudillo to a minor league contract

31 thoughts on “Minor League Discussion: Week of December 10, 2018

    1. He’s pitching in Australia. He struck out the first seven batters he faced in his last start. Finished with 9 in 5.0 innings. His overall stats in 4 starts are probably disappointing. But, remember that he’s been on the DL since June. He’s just now getting back into pitching shape. His last start is certainly encouraging.

      1. Thank you! He is still intriguing as a prospect. Hopefully with the surgery will come full health and results as he is still young.

  1. Come on Jim, no one around here would label a prospect a failed pick or signing before their 20th birthday. /sarc

  2. Greta pix and good to see the young guys engage. All four of the pitchers should be in Clearwater at some point this season and hopefully do well.

      1. I love how Russ seemed to get better after the promotion to Clearwater. Guys who are successful in MLB you can go back to their minor league numbers and see them improve as the competition around them improves also. Huge positive sign.

  3. How many international players do we have in the organization already? Seems like we are going full Omar Mineya and see how dar ut set the Mets back until they got deGrom, Thor, Harvey, Wheeler and such.

  4. Jim, It’s such a blessing that you’re our eyes and ears down there and that you share your adventures and insights with us! Definitely interested to see how those 4 pitchers do this year, they each have shown good potential. Our system is loaded with pitching talent, hopefully some of it pans out to be top end!

  5. Just playing counter-puncher here, but perhaps instead of reading their ranking Garcia fifth as a testament to how good of a prospect he is, it could be more of an indictment of those behind him in our top ten, that their scours have seen more often?

  6. Also, we want so much to have a future star player among the prospects, that Luis Garcia gets elevated in our minds as well. I have him Top 5. I am guilty, probably, of over ranking him as well at this early stage, but I don’t see us with much in the way of top level talent. A lot of depth, yes, but future stars, no.

    1. Matt,

      Agree, our rankings might say a lot about our hopefulness.

      Jim, thanks for the Garcia observations.

      1. Frank…though Jim’s assessment of Garcia does bring everyone down to earth on the reality of the situation, the silver lining is that the kid was all of 17-years old in the league, and did feature many opposing pitchers a year or two, or more older than him.
        And when you look at the final all-star selections…Garcia and the Yankees Cabello were the only 17-year olds on the selection team.
        1B Russ Olive 22
        2B Nicolas Torres 18
        3B Kaleo Johnson 22
        SS Luis Garcia 17
        C Juan Aparicio 18
        DH Andrew Warner 22
        OF Juan Carlos Abreu 21
        OF Antonio Cabello 17
        OF Jack Herman 18
        RHP Brian Pirela 20
        LHP Jose Lopez 19
        RP Edgar Escobar 21
        But can understand the rational in ;’holding your horses’ on anointing him the next great Phillies prospect.

        1. Matt, Thanks. I’m pretty fluid on rating Garcia as all of my information is second hand. I am hopeful — as well as wishful.

  7. Maybe there should be two sets of rankings. One for players in AA and AAA and another for players A and below. Ranking players who have been in the upper levels of the system gives a more realistic assessment of their being solid MLB players. Those rankings at the lower levels are based upon potential. Jim, your evaluation of Luis Garcia tell us that these rankings can be based upon wishes and scant evidence.

  8. Congratulations to Sal Agostinelli for being honored at the winter meetings, named one of four “Scouts of the Year” in 2018. Way to go, Sal!

  9. The subjectivity of rankings has taken its toll on me over the years. I used to put a lot of energy into it but now a days I just enjoy the information and the energy those of you put into it.

    Maybe a few cat calls here and there from the bleachers when I think someone makes an egregious error LOL. It’s like playing the slots you show up with $100 bucks and hope to make it last long enough to get 3-4 Makers out of the casino. If you walk out with your hundy or even more its a bonus..

    That said Jimmy you kind of bummed me out. I thought Garcia showed better than your report and I definiutely did get caught up in the slash line.

  10. v1again..Garcia..best tools that he has seen in the Gulf coast league in TEN years!
    That can give us hope for a future star.I imagine that he has seen a good bit of the current young mlb stars go through there

    1. Every scouting report that I have seen on Garcia unanimously suggests future star. Not “good player”…I have consistently heard “star”

      Jim’s report above was the first negative report that I have heard.

  11. A really nice article in the Athletic today about him. I know jim warned us not to get ahead of ourselves, but how can you help not loving everything that is written about him? He seems, like v1 said, to be described always, not as a really good player, but as ” a future star”. I ranked him 4th, after Sixto, Median and Haseley, based solely on what I read.

    1. I’m not saying he can’t be a star. All I’m saying is that I watched him a hell of a lot longer than these guys who drop by for a week and try to cover their territory. To claim a 17-year-old is going to be a future star on such a small sample is ridiculous. I would even consider my sample size small (about 20 GCL games, a dozen XST games, and a half dozen ST games). I don’t think he’s as polished at short as Crawford. I don’t think his batting approach is any more advanced than Crawford’s, Randolph’s, or Moniak’s when they were in the GCL. He looks like he can be a good player, but to expect him to be our Acuna is premature.

      1. Jim, Again, thanks for the observations.

        Putting together this year’s Top 30 is going to be difficult with polar ends: on one end, the top picks and their uncertainties: Haseley, Moniak, Bohm, Randolph. On the other end, the teen-agers of great promise but so far away: Garcia, O’Hoppe, Marchan. And then there has to be room for the more proven players in between. And, I assume, we start our ranking at Number Three because Sixto and Medina appear to be consensus One and Two. Maybe the mid-season Top 30 will be the one to present a clear picture.

        Of the Number Ones, Haseley appears to have the least questions. Of the youngsters, Garcia. We’ll see.

  12. Jim, what do you think of Moniak’s placement on that list at #8. He did have a decent end to his season, but I really question whether he should be listed as a top prospect in the system at this point.

  13. Merry Christmas Season Everyone!

    Wanted to hear your thoughts and how you think our scouting and player development has done since 2011?

    I admittedly know very little about this, I just see results from a Phillies MLB perspective. In fact I really did not start following the minor leagues until 2012. I mean I went to Red Baron / Iron Pig and Reading games to see the latest crops or watch Pedro Martinez types rehab, but really did not have a clue about the HS / college guys, or how we drafted or developed until 2012.

    From instant memory J.A. Happ seemed like the last relevant lasting prospect that came through Phillies system until Nola.

    I know probably missing a few others who were in our system but went to other teams before playing for the Phillies but who other than Nola has a proven track record with the Phillies since Happ and do you think we have been successful since 2012?

    By the by I know Hoskins has a good break out last year but at this point still waiting to see next couple years. I remember how high folks were on Franco.

  14. Cryptic much?

    Ozzie Ozzie Albies Free: When the Phillies list comes out, am I going to be disappointed considering the high draft picks we’ve had the last few years?

    Kiley McDaniel: Cornelius Randolph, Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley won’t be ranked much differently than they are now. There’s one notable guy that will be moving up since we got multiple other reports to corroborate one that we got late in the season that we weren’t sure about.

    (Spencer Howard?)

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