The rebuild is in full swing and the Phils are sporting a new general manager. They sold off their best trade chip in 2015, Cole Hamels, and regardless of your opinion on the return, the Phils landed three of the prospects in this year’s preview in addition to some pitching depth. 2015 also featured solid performances from rookies Maikel Franco, Aaron Nola, and Odubel Herrera, which gave fans of this team reason for optimism – something they’ll need in 2016 as it will almost certainly be a continuation of the rebuild. Philly will also have the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, which will add a premium prospect to what is now a deep and impressive collection of minor league talent.
Maikel Franco | Aaron Nola | Odubel Herrera
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
J.P. Crawford, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 500 PA, .288/.380/.414, 6 HR, 12 SB, 13% BB, 11% K
Crawford should sit comfortably in the top twenty on just about every prospect list this spring. There’s 20/20 upside at shortstop and a high floor thanks to an advanced approach. The 20-year-old will likely reach the majors midsummer and a fair comparison would be Addison Russell in Chicago – albeit with a tick less power and a tick more speed. The left side of the infield in Philly is loaded with fantasy potential.
Nick Williams, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 515 PA, .303/.354/.491, 17 HR, 13 SB, 7% BB, 19% K
Williams was part of the package of prospects the Phillies received in the Hamels trade. The 22-year-old made big strides this year to answer questions scouts had about his hit tool and approach. He was a riser on many midseason lists, and should be an easy top fifty spec heading into the 2016 season. Williams has the tools to contribute in all of the fantasy categories, but will likely need more seasoning than Crawford. There’s still some risk here.
Jorge Alfaro, C | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 213 PA, .258/.324/.438, 5 HR, 2 SB, 4% BB, 29% K
Alfaro missed a large chunk of the 2015 season, costing him valuable development time behind the dish and pushing his ETA back from 2016 to 2017. He has all of the physical tools to be an all-star backstop, including plus power, and that’s what keeps him on the top prospect lists. Alfaro is athletic enough to handle another position on the diamond if catching doesn’t work out, but his fantasy impact will hinge on his ability to harness the raw tools in games.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Roman Quinn, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 257 PA, .306/.356/.435, 4 HR, 29 SB, 7% BB, 16% K
For Quinn the safety net is his elite speed, which, no matter what, is going to give you some stolen bases in the fantasy game. Quinn isn’t just a one-trick pony though, and before his 2015 season was cut short by injury, he was making some major strides with his bat. The 22-year-old earned a spot on the Eastern League All-Star roster and was showing a better ability to hit from both sides of the plate…and even a little pop.
Darnell Sweeney, 2B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 522 PA, .271/.332/.409, 9 HR, 32 SB, 8% BB, 22% K
Players like Sweeney are the reason this tier exists. There is no one standout tool in his repertoire, but he does a little bit of everything and should get a good look in the majors this season. He had strong numbers in Triple-A and should benefit from any health or performance lapses by Cesar Hernandez.
Jake Thompson, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 132.2 IP, 3.73 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 7.6 K/9
Arguably the best arm acquired in the Hamels deal, Thompson has two pitches that grade as plus in both his fastball and slider. He’ll most likely see time in AAA this season, with a big league call-up not too far behind. The upside here is still more of a #3/mid-rotation starter, so don’t get too caught up if you see him ranked highly on lists this spring.
Scott Kingery, 2B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 282 PA, .250/.314/.337, 3 HR, 11 SB, 6% BB, 15% K
Kingery was the Phils’ second round draft pick in 2015, and he was sent directly to Class A for his first taste of pro ball. Being a college bat, he should move pretty quickly through the system. There’s little pop, but a plus hit tool and plus speed make him serviceable at the keystone.
Rhys Hoskins, 1B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 567 PA, .319/.395/.518, 17 HR, 4 SB, 10% BB, 17% K
One of the assumptions floating around is that when Ryan Howard eventually leaves, it will be Maikel Franco sliding over from third to take his place. But Rhys Hoskins shouldn’t be overlooked for that first base role. The 22-year-old swatted 17 homers between two levels this season and showed improved plate discipline as well. A strong performance with the jump to Double-A will go a long way towards validating this year’s breakout.
Andrew Knapp, C | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 522 PA, .308/.385/.491, 13 HR, 1 SB, 10% BB, 20% K
Knapp also enjoyed a breakout 2015 and is starting to look like the heir apparent to Carlos Ruiz, who now has one year left on his contract. The 23-year-old lost development time to Tommy John surgery, but is now fully healthy and cracked 11 of his 13 homers in Double-A. He’s a switch-hitter, and should be able to hang around the 15-homer mark offensively.
Others: Kelly Dugan, Zach Eflin, Ben Lively, Nick Pivetta, Tom Windle
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.
Franklyn Kilome, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A(ss)
2015 Stats: 49.1 IP, 3.28 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 6.6 K/9
Kilome has the highest ceiling of any of the arms in this system, he just still has a ways to go. 2015 saw an uptick in his fastball velocity and improvements in his curveball. There’s a frontline starter here if everthing breaks right, but the 20-year-old has yet to be tested at the upper levels.
Cornelius Randolph, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 212 PA, .302/.425/.442, 1 HR, 6 SB, 15% BB, 15% K
The Phillies’ first round pick in 2015, Randolph was a middle infielder that the Phils worked in the outfield for his first season of pro ball. He was considered one of the best pure bats in the draft, but at 18 we’re talking about a prospect who might not see the majors for another 3-4 years. There’s likely some untapped power, and the fact that he already has a nice swing and a feel for hitting is a good sign.
Carlos Tocci, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 559 PA, .287/.339/.363, 4 HR, 17 SB, 6% BB, 15% K
Tocci feels like a prospect who gets more love than he deserves because he’s been young for his level and is “projectable”. There are offensive tools here, but I don’t know if he ever develops into a fantasy stud despite the fact that you’ll still see him ranked highly on prospect lists.
Jose Pujols, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A(ss)
2015 Stats: 286 PA, .238/.311/.359, 4 HR, 5 SB, 9% BB, 28% K
Pujols isn’t all that difficult to sort out. He has arguably the best raw power in the entire system, but he also has contact issues and hasn’t faced upper-level pitching yet. He just turned 20, so there’s room for even more strength to develop. Pujols is the type of prospect I’d put a watch on for dynasty leagues.
Dylan Cozens, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 456 PA, .286/.336.426, 8 HR, 20 SB, 6% BB, 20% K
I’m a sucker for Cozens. He’s a good athlete, and started focusing purely on baseball later than some of his peers. That’s what gives me hope that his approach can continue to improve (he lowered his strikeout rate by 6% in 2015). Cozens got an 11-game taste of Double-A in 2015 and hit three homers. He’ll likely return to the Eastern League for 2016.
Malquin Canelo, SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 559 PA, .281/.331/.396, 8 HR, 17 SB, 7% BB, 16% K
Canelo had a strong 2015 season, and he’s going to start popping up on top ten lists this spring. He’s been a slow burn and is already older than J.P. Crawford, who is obviously a level ahead. For Canelo, the bat needed to catch up to the glove, and if that is indeed what’s happening, he could end up being interesting.
Others: Ricardo Pinto, Luis Encarnacion, Cord Sandberg, Deivi Grullon, Alberto Tirado
2016 Minor League Preview Index