Phuture Phillies 2019 Reader Poll #6 – Spencer Howard

Spencer Howard was your selection as the #6 prospect in the Phillies’ organization.

Howard received a dominant 156 of the 210 votes cast (74.29%).  JoJo Romero received 14 votes (6.67%), Jhailyn Ortiz received 11 votes (5.24%), and Mickey Moniak received 9 votes (4.29%).  Twelve guys shared the remaining 20 votes.

Spencer Howard was the Phillies second round selection in the 2017 Amateur Draft out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  The RHP signed on June 17, 2017.

Howard made 9 starts for Williamsport in 2017.  On an apparent innings or pitch count, he posted a 1-1 record with a 4.45 ERA in 28.1 innings.  He walked 18 (5.7 BB9) and struck out 40 (12.7 K9).

In 2018 at Lakewood, Howard posted a 9-8 record and 3.78 ERA in 23 starts.  In 112.0 innings, he walked 40 (3.2 BB9) and struck out 147 (11.8 K9).

Howard was a walk on at Cal Poly.  He was red-shirted his freshman year (2015) and used the time to build up his body.  He pitched primarily as a reliever in his second college year as a red-shirt freshman (2016).  He posted a 2.95 ERA and 39 strike outs in 36.2 innings.  He won his only start late in the season.

In 2017, as a red-shirt sophomore, Howard posted a 2.12 ERA in 72.3 innings.  He also had impressive strike out (26.4) and walk (6.4) percentages.  With two tears of college eligibility remaining, Howard was selected by the Phillies in the June draft.

Howard’s fastball range was reported to be from 91-98 mph and hit 100 mph in a September 7th game last season.  He supports it with curve ball, change up, and slider.

I look forward to seeing Howard pitch in Clearwater this season.

The poll for the #6 prospect will be posted in a separate thread.

Here are the complete results for the #6 poll.

47 thoughts on “Phuture Phillies 2019 Reader Poll #6 – Spencer Howard

  1. I am seeing a trend that will put Jhailyn at 8 in two more picks. I really think that would be a bad choice to be so high. The scouting reports on him are not good. And his performance last year was abysmal. He is out of shape and doesn’t seem to be taking his profession seriously. His k rate is atrocious for such a low level. Yes, he was 19. But don’t assume that he will magically improve his k rate. The power is nice. But he adds little defensive value now and is likely to be worse as he gets older (unless he transforms his body). Imo he is a low probability lottery ticket that is 4 years away under the best case scenario.

    1. Sadly, I agree. As more thoughtful votes are made for 8-10 (assuming Jojo is #7), I see Moniak, DLS, Gowdy,Morales and even Muzziotti (with some FanGraphs push) rounding out the field.

      1. I’ve got Ortiz at 11 and went back to look at maybe revising him lower, but when you get past the top eight or so prospects there is a big drop off and all have question marks or weaknesses.

        Went with Howard for #6 and Jo Jo for #7.

    2. v1 … different strokes for different folks … but … wow, your criticism of Jhailyn Ortiz is a bit over the top. The kid is a year removed from a .302/.401/.560 slash as an 18 YO in the NYPL (I believe he was at least 2 years younger than the average age for the league).
      Not sure what knowledge you have to make a statement like, “doesn’t seem to be taking his profession seriously”. That’s a pretty damning claim.
      Obviously, Ortiz comes with plenty of risk, but to jump ship after one bad year is a bit too much IMO. I’d give him another year with new Farm Director Josh Bonifay and the team’s new player development team before dropping him so far.

      1. My source tells me that Jhailyn has had trouble seeing the ball. A new prescription could do wonders for the kid.

        1. Thanks for that info, Mr. Howard.
          There are a lot of different reasons that a 19 YO kid can have for a down year. The kid has a great pedigree, and I’ve never heard a peep about Ortiz “not taking his profession seriously” before v1’s post. Not saying he may not have some inside info, but I’ve just never heard of anything like that. In fact, I’ve only heard great reports on Jhailyn Ortiz’s attitude. Maybe Jim has some more info on this.

          BTW … I went back to search this from Keith Law from earlier in 2018:

          Bored Lawyer, Esq. : At what point does a slow/bad start get concerning? If Lutz and Jhailyn Ortiz (for example) are still struggling to make contact in 25 games, is concern valid? 50 games?
          Keith Law: Both play at 19 this year; Ortiz won’t turn 20 until November. So I’d say no number of games will concern me with those two. And it is f—ing FREEZING in the northeast and upper midwest.

        2. Thanks for that info, Mr. Howard.
          There are a lot of different reasons that a 19 YO kid can have for a down year. The kid has a great pedigree, and I’ve never heard a peep about Ortiz “not taking his profession seriously” before v1’s post. Not saying he may not have some inside info, but I’ve just never heard of anything like that. In fact, I’ve only heard great reports on Jhailyn Ortiz’s attitude. Maybe Jim has some more info on this.

          BTW … I went back to search this from Keith Law from earlier in 2018:

          Bored Lawyer, Esq. : At what point does a slow/bad start get concerning? If Lutz and Jhailyn Ortiz (for example) are still struggling to make contact in 25 games, is concern valid? 50 games?
          Keith Law: Both play at 19 this year; Ortiz won’t turn 20 until November. So I’d say no number of games will concern me with those two. And it is f**king FREEZING in the northeast and upper midwest.

        3. I vaguely recall Jim mentioning Ortiz having some unspecified issue that affected his performance this past season. Wasn’t aware of any vision problems.

        4. SWorks14 et al, I heard the vision problem regarding Ortiz last season. It was said to be a serious problem. My source’s source was a scout whose territory included the BlueClaws. Since then, the scout/source has retracted the severity portion of the statement.

      2. I have read many reports that he showed up fat and out of shape. I have read several reports that he has a bad body type that puts him at first base long term. He strikes out at an alarming rate for low A. Best case scenario he is 4+ years away. I do not think that he is the 8th best prospect in our system.

        1. “I will say no comment on him because I only saw him in the first month and it was freezing cold. He was absolutely horrible. I think he struck out 22 of the 30 times I saw him. This kid was in way over his head. I thought he came in out of shape, too.”

          http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/mickey-moniak-phillies-prospects-minor-leagues-draft-pick-20181018.html

          J.J. Cooper: Ortiz was expected to be one of the better prospects in the Sally League this year, but he disappointed with a less-advanced approach than expected. He still has outstanding raw power, but he had a very pull-heavy approach this year that left him vulnerable to pitchers with a plan. There were also concerns from scouts that his athleticism is going away. Ortiz has always been a big guy, but he’s always been quite nimble for his size. Scouts this year said he showed signs he’s slowing down.”

          https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/2018-sally-league-top-20-prospects-chat/

        2. 14. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF
          Ortiz really struggled in 2018 after a stellar 2017 against older competition. He has an XL frame and will have to work hard to keep weight off, which is a bit of a concern considering he is still only 20. The likelihood that he grows out of a corner OF spot is high and that limits his appeal. While his plus raw power is enticing, the inability to pick up spin, hit to the opposite field, and make solid contact limit his game power. He is still young and very much raw. ETA: 2022

          https://www.prospectslive.com/lists/2018/11/25/philadelphia-phillies-top-30-prospects

          19. Jhailyn Ortiz
          Hit 30/45
          Raw Power 70/80
          Game Power 30/60
          Run 30/20
          Fielding 40/45
          Throw 60/60
          Ortiz is a prospect of extremes: he signed for $4 million at age 16, and had 70 raw power as a 15-year-old (some scouts call it an 80 now) when he weighed around 250 lbs. (some scouts went higher on that number, as well). He’s a surprisingly good athlete and underway runner for his size, but there’s an obvious risk that he’s a bad-body right-right first baseman, which may be the worst hitter profile for a prospect in today’s game.

          https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-36-prospects-philadelphia-phillies/

          1. You can rank them any way you like. You want to criticize his approach at the plate or the likelihood he ends up a RHH 1Bman that’s all fair. I just don’t like the accusation that a 19 YO kid isn’t taking his job seriously because he has one bad season. That, to me, hints that Ortiz doesn’t practice hard or doesn’t listen to instructions, things like that. I’ve never heard/read anything other than Ortiz being a good kid/hard worker.

            You left out the 2nd scout’s view from the Inquirer article you posted. The one that said, “He made a lot of progress in 2017 as far as controlling the strike zone, but in his first full year I think he got into the cold weather and panicked. I still think the sky is the limit for this kid. He can be a true impact guy.”

            Like I posted above, there can be many reasons a 19 YO has a down year: first time playing in cold weather, was battling nagging injuries, needed a new eye glass prescription, was facing pitchers mostly three years older than him, fell behind early and pressed the rest of the season, former player development staff was just too rigid/not creative enough to help him (see Moniak, Mickey and Randolph, Cornelius and Brito, Daniel and Gamboa, Arquimedes, etc, etc)

            Again … I don’t like to continually challenge many of your posts. I actually agree with most of your opinions. I just don’t usually chime in with the “agree with v1” too often. If you want to rank Jhailyn Ortiz at #14 or #15 (or where ever you have him), go for it. I still have him as a top five prospect. IMO, he has enormous potential, and is one year removed from an incredible 18 YO season in a league where he was one of the youngest players. Does he come with tons of risk? Yes. However, I’m betting on Ortiz growing as a player with the Phillies new development team. If he shows no/very little progress in 2019, I’ll drop him in my rankings.

            1. My comment about “not taking his profession seriously” was due the numerous reports of him showing up out of shape. This was a big year for him. First year of full season ball. No excuse for not being in good shape when you arrive in camp. Yes he is 19 but he also got paid $4m so that makes him a professional. He has access to the same off-season conditioning program as all professionals. Showing up out of shape means he just didn’t follow the program. That is a major red flag for me. I don’t see the argument of how it is a trivial point.

    1. –Limited defensively just to LF
      –Tease at the plate…brief periods of quality ABs, sandwiched between long stretches of a 45 hit tool.

    2. Fangraphs doesn’t even have him in our top 36 prospects. If he weren’t drafted so high, we’d rarely hear his name mentioned. RAJ’s last #1 pick, and may be his worst.

      1. Let’s be real – Johnny A made the pick. I’m literally the last one to defend Amaro but the head of scouting is responsible for that pick. BUT as I’ve said before it was such a stupid pick at its inception he should have blocked it. He would literally have to be a consensus “next Tony Gwynn” as a hitter to justify that pick and he wasn’t. There was soooooo much wrong with that pick.

    3. I’d be interested to see how Randolph compares with Moniak, I believe someone posted both their 2nd halfs from last season, which made me think they might be closer ranked then I thought. Of course Moniak being 1st OA, but I don’t know that much about him since he was in Clearwater and there games are rarely on Milb.tv If he’s in Reading then I’ll get to see a lot him for sure.

  2. I was between Romero and De Los Santos. I went with JoJo, largely due to his being a lefty, which I think makes him more valuable to the organization. There is quite a bit of a drop-off after the top six …

    1. I have him as my #8. Not a popular choice and I understand why but I just feel like he has that ‘it’ factor.

        1. Perhaps….often times the second time in AAA , after an initial first time success a year prior, is not as rewarding for the pitcher for a variety of reasons.

          1. No – he’s nothing like Eshelman – he’s not a super hard thrower but that’s where the comparison ends. He’s like a watered down Cliff Lee.

            1. Who said he was like Eshelman?
              The thought process is…..second year in AAA , against experienced AAA hitters could prove less successful than his first year in the IL.
              Same with DLS…it would not come as no great surprise to me if he doesn’t have the same level of success as he had last year.
              It does happen more than a team would like.

        2. @Murray, i have Irvin at #10 – other than command (which Irvin is not far behind), Irvin’s overall stuff is better than Eshelman. I see Irvin as more of a LH version of Eickhoff – like a reliable back end starter (6 IP, 3 ER) that can occasionally throw good games.

  3. 8mark, I agree with you and have Irvin as my #8 also, with Romero and De Los Santos rounding out my top 10

  4. I went with JoJo. Randolph doesn’t make my Top 20, and I have Ortiz at 14. And, that may be high.

  5. I think we all agree that there is a large drop off after 6. It was Jo Jo for me at 7 but we’re clearly into the next tier now.

  6. I have Jojo and Howard at #6 and #7, respectively, with Jojo slightly ahead due to success in high minors. Jojo is the next best prospect available for me followed by:

    #8 Morales
    #9 delos Santos
    #10 Irvin
    #11 Ortiz
    #12 Moniak

    C is hanging on #30 in my rankings.

  7. Mickey, Irvin and De los Santos are in my next grouping with Ranger Suarez, who I have already admitted I am probably much too high on.

  8. I’m going to have to revise my top 10, been, I’ll get the top 30 completed after. HOward is up higher on my list. I look at proximity, but his stuff overpowered that.

    Same players but rearranged:

    Sixto*
    Howard
    Hasley
    Medina
    Bohm
    Garcia
    JoJo
    Moniak
    Morales
    Gowdy

    If he is hurt, or is looking like a bullpen ace, I’m dropping him in terms of value/risk by midseason. Hope it’s not the case

    Garcia, a lot of us have been raving about him,but after watching his video, I got tempered a bit. Think it’s his current build. The power has to come, andhe’s obviously young, but I worry he will not have the build to rake, and that to me should be apart of the “superstar in the making” hype. Looks like Quinn and Randolph’s build.

  9. I look for Howard to maintain his SO numbers but will lower his WHIP. Kid seems to have a bunch of potential. Read some articles earlier in offseason that teams were asking for Howard. You know you have a good one when other orgs are asking for him.

  10. Yeah I’ve got JoJo next, followed by Enyel and Cole Irvin. I’ve got Ortiz 12, Moniak 15, C at 24. Seabold is your Esh 2.0, and you’ll find him at 29 on my list.

    Number 10 is where you find out that I’m not just copying other lists (and that I might be off my rocker a bit).

      1. No, I’m going to have to make my case. I’ll still be ridiculed in many circles. Let’s wait until it comes up to have that debate rather than hijack this thread. Also, if I ever get my top 50 completed, I’ll post a link to the article.

    1. I thought Listi would slot somewhere in the teens but Fangraphs didn’t rank him at all in their top 36.

      1. Listi is one of those guys that is just going to have to prove it at every level and won’t get good reviews until he shows it in the majors. He is old for his levels and doesn’t seem to have an elite tool. But has really good walk and k rates and it would not surprise me at all if he became a long time 4th OF in the majors and had a long career. Made a lot of money and had a lot of fun. Which is really awesome! Just nothing says star and that is what the national guys look for.

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