Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (23) | 2013 (24) | 2012 (27) | 2011 (11) | 2010 (18)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [73-89] NL East
AAA: [66-78] International League – Lehigh Valley
AA: [66-76] Eastern League – Reading
A+: [49-89] Florida State League – Clearwater
A: [53-84] South Atlantic League – Lakewood
A(ss): [33-43] New York-Penn League – Williamsport
The rebuilding process has begun in Philadelphia with an aging core and bloated contracts on their way out between now and 2017. Cole Hamels returned from offseason surgery to have another great season in 2014, and he could either be a part of the next good Phillies team or trade bait for some nice prospects along the way. The younger talent is already starting to arrive. Ken Giles emerged as a major force in the bullpen and could be the next closer once Papelbon is gone. Maikel Franco is on the verge of being an everyday player and should be an asset in fantasy leagues soon. The farm system is relatively thin, but there are some toolsy prospects in there. They are just too far away to be relevant in most leagues at the moment. If the organization is able to move veterans in trade this year and next, the farm could get very healthy very quickly. The Phillies’ first round pick in 2014 was Aaron Nola – a college arm that has a good shot at cracking the rotation in the spring of 2016.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Maikel Franco, 3B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2015
J.P. Crawford will likely top most non-fantasy Phillies lists this winter, but Franco is still the best fantasy prospect in this system. There is 20-25 home run potential at the hot corner, and given the current state of third base that’s nothing to sneeze at. His stock has been on a roller coaster. 2013 was a big year, but was followed by a struggle in the first half of 2014. He turned it back on in the second half with seven homers in August alone. He is currently tied for second in homers during winter league play in the Dominican. It may be in Franco’s best interest to start the year in Triple-A with Cody Asche still in the picture, but he should eventually take over the starting gig at third. A move to first base could be in his future once Ryan Howard is gone but that’s a few yards down the road. Either way, Franco can be a power hitter with a .260/.270ish average and good counting stats in the middle of the Phillies lineup. He’s a key to their current rebuild and a good buy-low in dynasty leagues.
2. J.P. Crawford, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2017
Crawford should join Franco as the future left side of the Phillies’ infield. There are some really good shortstop prospects out there right now, and Crawford isn’t far behind the elite crop. He can play good defense at short, which will help him stick at the position. His offense is just as impressive though. The 19-year-old earned a promotion to High-A Clearwater mid-season, where he was one of the ten youngest players at the High-A level. He held his own, slashing .275/.352/.407 with eight homers, seven doubles, and ten steals in 63 games. Baseball America ranked him #2 in that particular league for 2014. There is the potential for Crawford to be the type of offensive-minded shortstop that provides a ton of fantasy value with his combination of power and speed.
3. Aaron Nola, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2015
This year the Phillies went with a college arm as their top pick, drafting LSU’s Nola 7th overall. He already has some polish and could need very little time in the minors before getting his chance in the Phillies’ starting rotation. In fact, he has already spent time in Double-A in his first season. Nola struck out 15 batters and walked five in 24 innings at the level. Both his fastball and changeup are plus pitches, and he has a slider that’s graded as average. Baseball America tagged Nola’s change as the best in this year’s draft class. Another reason he may be close to major league ready is his excellent control. While other young pitchers are trying to work on limiting their walks and commanding their fastball, Nola has already shown an ability to do those things at the ripe old age of 21.
4. Roman Quinn, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
The big question surrounding Quinn is his hit tool and whether he will be able to hit enough in the majors to allow his 80 speed to do its thing. Quinn, a switch-hitter, tried to answer that concern in this year’s Arizona Fall League, where he hit .250/.361/.359 with two homers and 14 steals. The steals total led the league and he was caught only twice in the process. It’s important to note that Quinn ruptured his Achilles tendon last spring. It was a big blow since he had also missed the second half of 2013 with a wrist injury. He was moved from shortstop to center field this season (although it wasn’t a huge deal after playing there in high school). Between the lost time and switching to a new position, I’d consider Quinn’s 2014 to be a big success. He should see time with Reading in the Eastern League this season and could be ready for the bigs at some point in 2016.
5. Jesse Biddle, LHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
Biddle’s season was an interesting one to say the least. He suffered a concussion in late May after being hit in the head with a piece of hail the size of a tennis ball. Not an exaggeration. Knowing that, it’s hard to knock him for falling apart in June, when he gave up 22 earned runs (six homers) in just 15.2 innings. He was then shut down to “get his mind right” as Ruben Amaro put it and never really got it going again in 2014. More bad news came recently when Biddle was sent home from the Puerto Rican winter league due to mild elbow tendinitis. Strip all of the crazy mishaps in 2014 away and you’re left with a decent arm. With a plus fastball and curve, Biddle still looks like a mid-rotation starter. He was expected to get a shot in late 2014 after a 2013 season in which he struck out 154 batters in 138 Double-A innings, but things obviously changed course. 2015 should give him a fresh start and another crack at the rotation at some point in the season.
6. Dylan Cozens, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
This system gets really murky after the top five, and you could shuffle the deck from 5-12 without much argument from me. Cozens has plus power and showed it in games this season with his 16 homers and 25 doubles for Lakewood. He also has at least average speed. Should those tools continue to shine when he eventually advances to a tougher test in Double-A, Cozens could be a real asset in the outfield. He’s currently playing in the Australian League and still needs time to develop at just 20 years old. The strikeout rate is higher than you’d like to see and he may never be a player that hits for a good average, but keep an eye on him. If he repeats his performance in what will be just his second full season, Cozens’ stock will rise quickly.
7. Carlos Tocci, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018
Tocci is another outfielder with raw tools and some upside in the Phillies system. First, Tocci is still really young. He played the entire season at Lakewood as an 18-year-old, and was the third youngest player in the Sally. He’s the type of player whose stats make you scratch your head, but the scouting reports are pretty positive given his age and the aggressive path Philly has taken with his development. Second, Tocci looks really skinny. It’s hard to imagine him hitting for any kind of power but then you remember he just turned 19 and there is still time to add some muscle. If it all comes together, Tocci has the potential to contribute with his bat and his legs at the highest level – but it will take a good deal of patience as he still has a long way to go.
8. Jesmuel Valentin, 2B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Valentin was one half of the return the Phillies received for pitcher Roberto Hernandez. No one tool stands out, but Valentin does a little of everything. The Dodgers had selected the switch-hitter in the first round of the 2012 draft (51st overall) and Valentin spent most of the season in the Midwest League as part of their organization. He’s a good target in fantasy thanks to average power that could play up at Citizens Bank Park and plus speed from a shallow second base position. Ruben Amaro Jr. has taken some heat for moves (or lack thereof) recently with the Phillies, but Valentin was part of a strong return for Hernandez and could be a major league regular at the keystone when the Phillies are competitive again.
9. Cord Sandberg, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018
Sandberg wasn’t pushed as aggressively as Tocci and spent the entire year in the NYPL. Hitting from the left side, Sandberg has plus power and and at least average speed. It’s the hit tool that still has question marks, but Sandberg only recently started focusing on baseball only. He should see the Sally League next year as a 19-year-old in what will be his first full season of pro ball. There are lots of raw tools here just like Tocci, but it will take time for them to fully develop. If everything breaks right he could end up being a nice commodity in fantasy with a chance for 20/20 seasons. If not, his path may be that of a fourth outfielder and irrelevant in most fantasy leagues. Patience will be warranted with him as he moves through the system.
10. Luis Encarnacion, 1B | Age: 17 | ETA: 2019
I was torn as to which way to go with this last spot. Aaron Altherr is a closer (safer) bet, while Jose Pujols has flashed some serious raw power albeit with a nasty strikeout rate. At the end of the day it’s Encarnacion who gets the nod this year. The Phillies signed him when he was first eligible in 2013 and this season was his first taste of pro ball. As a 16-year-old, he was the youngest player in the Gulf Coast League. Along with Rafael Devers of the Red Sox, Encarnacion was regarded as one of the best international prospects available in 2013. According to Baseball America’s reports on him at the time of his signing, he has the potential to hit for both average and power from either first base or left field in the majors. At just 17 years old, he’s a lottery ticket in deep dynasty leagues.