This Sunday I attempt to write the first Phillies Minor League Preview not from the magic fingers of former Prospector Mike. I will try my best today to carry the torch, and provide the best damn Phillies Prospect breakdown this side of Broad St. Thankfully it’s a deep system, filled with intriguing prospects with fantasy potential. The rebuild has been a slow burn in Philly, but with a young talented rotation, and a wave of youngsters in the pipeline, they’re a team on the rise. The great thing about the Philly system is the talent at every level. They have close to the majors players like J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro, and Nick Williams. Players a year away in Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens, and low minors prodigies like Mickey Moniak and Sixto Sanchez. Power hitters, speedsters, hit tool guys, and pitchers, there’s something for everyone. So turn on the fan, light a match, and give me five minutes while you’re on the throne. It’s the Top Philadelphia Phillies Prospects.
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
J.P. Crawford, SS | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA
There’s a question I often ask when I contemplate Crawford’s value. How much do we overrate his power/speed skills? Is he really a potential 20/20 guy or more a solid lead off type with middling power and mid-teen speed. His carrying tool is his hitting ability and superior on base skills. There’s no doubt in my mind that Crawford will one day hit at the top of the Phillies lineup. In fact, it’s almost a foregone conclusion. However, I don’t see a fantasy superstar in the making. I see a very good player, someone ownable in all formats and potentially one who gets a bump in OBP and points leagues. My projection for Crawford’s prime years would look something like .300/12/15 with good counting stats and a .370+ OBP. Many real life lists will have him ranked in the top 10, he’ll probably be closer to my top 25. Should start the season in Lehigh Valley before getting the call sometime next summer.
Mickey Moniak, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk
The top overall choice in the 2016 draft, burst onto the prospect radar after tearing up the showcase circuit throughout the summer of 2015. Right now he’s a hit tool/speed player with serious defensive chops in center. The power is coming along, and at just 18 years old he has a lot of development ahead of him, both physically and professionally. So while I wouldn’t be betting on the next Mike Trout, a Christian Yelich type is totally possible. I like Moniak, but much like Crawford he’s a player that gets a value bump on real life lists.
Rhys Hoskins, 1B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA
Hoskins wants to know when you’re going to finally give him his due. All he’s done is hit everywhere he’s gone. He hit at Sacramento State, he hit in the Cape Cod League, he hit in A ball, and AA. He’s unique in that he matches plus power with great walks rates, and low strikeout rates. “So he’s a line drive hitter pfft” WRONG! He’s not a line drive hitter in the least, his flyball rate in 2016 was 40%. Is he a 30-40 home run hitter, obviously not, but I prefer him to Cozens, and I think it’s easy to see why when you watch the two. His advanced approach, easy power, and bat to ball skills are superior. To put the Reading tag on anything but Hoskins homer total is selling him short. I picture the peak season production to look something like .285/25/90, and could be quite the pair with Maikel Franco, another slugging corner infielder who hardly strikes out.
Dylan Cozens, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA
Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you your 2016 Minor League Homer Run King. Only problem is he played his home games in Reading which is slightly more hitter friendly than a baseball diamond on the moon. Seriously if Cozens home run title had come with Mike Pence hitting behind him, millions of women would have marched on Washington. First and foremost, Cozens offers an intriguing power/speed skill set, and his raw athleticism has been evident since he hit proball. A Moment With Captain Obvious: 2016 a serious breakout season. I don’t think even in Cozens wildest dreams he’d ever hit 40, but he did and it’s my job to pump your breaks. Why would I want to do a thing like that? First and foremost his 33.8% HR/FB ratio, if that doesn’t scream Reading Aided I don’t know what does. Secondly, 2012 Darin Ruf, prior to Cozen’s 2016 he was the king of Reading. How’s that working out? The final stop sign on your way to blowing off my advice and adding Cozens to your team, his strikeouts. Dy-lan has a long lefty cut that generates big power and big winds. As Halp alluded to on the last Prospect Podcast, Cozens reportedly got into a fight with Winter League teammates after they razzed him on his inability to hit a breaking pitch. That’s the risk/reward you’re buying into with Cozens, he’s either a mirage of Reading jet streams or an exciting future power/speed asset.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Jorge Alfaro, C | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AA
It’s almost as if everyone forgot about Alfaro, and his power hitting catcher ceiling. Seriously, at one point this guy was way up on prospect lists, and was getting tons of love. What changed? He’s still the same guy, a catcher with a rocket arm, and bat with some power. When you watch Alfaro hit he swings at everything. He makes tons of bad contact, mostly beating the ball into the ground hence the 52.4% groundball rate. The lack of approach at the plate really limits his upside, but he’s arguably a top 3-5 catching prospect in the game. So you could do worse, but he could turn out to be your average .240 20 homer catcher. Useful in deeper leagues, but not a player I’d stash in a 12 team league. Maybe that’s why we’ve forgotten about Alfaro?
Nick Williams, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA
I’m not sure if you’ve heard my Nick Williams story, but early in the 2016 season, I took my oldest son with me to McCoy Stadium in lovely Pawtucket, Rhode Island to watch the Heroic Nick Williams and his Iron Pigs take on the Red Sox AAA affiliate. After I rated Williams highly in my pre-season top 100 (27th overall), I was excited to see him in action. They say never meet your heroes, and that day it held true to form. Williams is a batting practice superstar, a guy with the pretty swing, bat speed, and all the tools you could ask for. Problem is he’s got no plan. I mean, zero approach what so ever. He swings at everything, high low, in, out, etc, etc. He could still be a very good hitter in the big leagues, but he needs to make adjustments at the plate. This is a big year for him, if he impresses in camp and plays well early he should be up by June.
Roman Quinn, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AA
Quinn is really great at two things, 1. Stealing bases, and just being lightning fast 2. Getting hurt. He’s a lot like a poor man’s Billy Hamilton, a switch hitting speedster with 80 grade speed and a good enough hit tool. He’s bound for the bigs this season and has serious SAGNOF potential in all formats. He’s yet to top 100 games in a professional season, so there’s that.
Mark Appel, RHP | Age: 25 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA
The infamous Mark Appel, the man drafted ahead of Kris Bryant, the enigmatic righthander with the great fastball- slider combo. He was shutdown in June of last season with bone spurs that needed to be removed from his elbow. Seems like to me he’d be the perfect candidate for the pen, and with the good one-two punch with his fastball and slider the transition could be seamless.
Scott Kingery, 2B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: AA/A+
A smaller second baseman with a good hit tool, speed, and a little bit of pop. He’s got an easy righthanded stroke, and with his season more than likely to begin in Reading, good things could happen. If Reading works it’s voodoo he could jump onto the collective radars of the number-scouting managers in your leagues. Stole 28 bases in 2016, so hes got speed, albeit with pultry pop. Kingery’s value needs some Reading nights.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs
Franklyn Kilome, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A
A big righty with long limbs that struggles to repeat his mechanics, and has spotty command of his stuff as a result. His fastball is top of the scale, but his secondary stuff is lacking, his curveball improved when he went to a more standard grip from an early season knuckle curve. Needs to improve his change, and improve his mechanics, but the swing and miss stuff is evident by his 10.2 K/9.
Sixto Sanchez, RHP | Age: 18 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk
A young pup with top of the rotation upside, he’s a “Ralph Special” small righty and he’s an easy one to love. He’s got a nasty fastball with high 90’s velo, and movement. The pitch has heavy sink and drives his elite groundball skills (58% GB%). He mixes in a change and curve that both get above-average to plus grades. Sanchez is a player that’s still available in a ton of first year player drafts.
Kevin Gowdy, RHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk
A second round pick in this year’s draft Gowdy is a right hander with three above average pitches, and polish for a prep arm. He’s an athletic kid with a simple and easy delivery, which makes easy for him to pound the zone. He’s working mostly in the low 90’s now on his heater but could add some velocity in time.
Daniel Brito, 2B | Age: 18 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk
Young toolsy middle infielder with a good bat, plate approach, and the ability to make contact with anything you throw out him. His speed isn’t off the charts and his power is purely projection, but he’s a long ways away from Philly and has plenty of time to develop.
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