One problem with evaluating Phillies prospects is reading. Sorry, Reading, the AA level, is one of the issues. Double A is typically the preferred level for anyone trying to get a read/handle on what a player could become. Josh Stephen is a decent example. As a 21-year-old outfielder in AA, he posted a 140 wRC+. Normally this puts up a “follow-me” flag. And Stephen does deserve some eyeballs as he heads into AAA at 22. But so what if he hits there? He didn’t hit in High-A Clearwater. By which I mean he skipped the level after not hitting in class A Lakewood (82 wRC+). Didn’t hit in Low A either (91 wRC+).
So what do we know about Stephen after four years in the system? That maybe he doesn’t have enough bat to carry the profile? I don’t think we can really say that about a guy who was always young for his level. To make matters better, he’s rule 5 draft eligible next December, so they’re running out of time before they could lose him. And now he’s headed for the juicy AAA balls, assuming they’re still juicy.
It’s not all bad news though. Pitchers go through this same crucible, and though it’s not the easiest path to value (see Adonis Medina’s 2019 stock movement), it might produce extremely resilient prospects, and I’m not sure there’s a more important aspect of making a living on the mound.Please, blog, may I have some more?