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Philadelphia Phillies Top 20 2014 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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The veteran-laden Philadelphia Phillies need to to integrate more young talent onto the roster, but a mediocre farm system will need time to produce.

Maikel Franco
Maikel Franco
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This afternoon we continue our prospect review series with a look at the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Remember, this is the PRE-SEASON list. This is not a new list. These are pre-season rankings and grades. This is a general review of 2014, not a detailed preview of 2015.

This list was originally posted April 9, 2014

1) Maikel Franco, 3B, Grade A-: Age 22, slow start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley but hit much better in the second half, overall .257/.299/.428 with 16 homers, 30 walks, 81 strikeouts in 521 at-bats. 10-for-48 in the majors so far with one walk, 12 strikeouts. He’ll need some time but I remain optimistic.

2) J.P. Crawford, SS, Grade B+: Age 19, hit .295/.398/.405 in 227 at-bats for Low-A Lakewood, then .275/.352/.407 in 236 at-bats for High-A Clearwater, combined for 24 steals, 65 walks, 74 strikeouts in 463 at-bats. Very successful season.

3) Jesse Biddle, LHP, Grade B+: Borderline B. Age 22, tough season ith 4.58 ERA, 92/51 K/BB in 94 innings, 82 hits, mainly for Double-A Reading but with three rehab outings mixed in. Struggled with command and serious concussions symptoms after getting hit in the head with a hailstone.

4) Roman Quinn, OF, Grade B-: Age 21, hit .257/.343/.370 with 36 walks, 80 strikeouts, 32 steals in 327 at-bats for Clearwater. Good speed with some on-base skills but lacks power.

5) Carlos Tocci, OF, Grade B-: Age 19, hit .242/.297/.324 with two homers, 25 walks, 96 strikeouts in 487 at-bats for Lakewood. Scouts still like his tools and youth, but he still can’t hit. That may or may not change with more experience and it is true that he has been pushed very aggressively.

6) Aaron Altherr, OF, Grade C+: Borderline B-. Age 23, hit .236/.287/.399 with 14 homers, 12 steals, 26 walks, 110 strikeouts in 449 at-bats for Reading. No change in status: still toolsy, still raw, still looks good in uniform but not so much on the stat sheet.

7) Kelly Dugan, OF, Grade C+: Age 24, hit .296/.383/.435 with five homers, 28 walks, 56 strikeouts in 253 at-bats for Reading. Missed much of season with an oblique injury but generally played well when healthy, granted he was repeating the level.

8) Dylan Cozens, OF, Grade C+: Age 20, hit .248/.303/.415 with 16 homers, 40 walks, 147 strikeouts, 23 steals in 509 at-bats for Lakewood. Another youthful, physical outfielder with a high ceiling but holes in his game.

9) Cord Sandberg, OF, Grade C+: Age 19, hit .235/.267/.345 with six homers, 11 walks, 56 strikeouts in 264 at-bats for Williamsport in the New York-Penn League. Disappointing so far without nearly the power he projected in high school.

10) Ken Giles, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, very successful big league debut with 1.24 ERA, 63/11 K/BB in 44 innings, 24 hits. Could take a larger role going forward.

11) Miguel Gonzalez, RHP, Grade C+: Cuban defector, age 27, pitched 46 innings between High-A, Double-A, Triple-A with 54/26 K/BB and 3.11 ERA, 40 hits allowed. Should be in the bullpen mix.

12) Ethan Martin, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, 4.15 ERA with 45/21 K/BB in 48 innings for Lehigh Valley, 46 hits. Hard thrower still trying to find his footing with command.

13) Cesar Hernandez, INF-OF, Grade C+: Age 24, hit .290/.358/.394 in 259 at-bats between Reading and Lehigh Valley, .234/.289/.279 in 111 at-bats for the Phillies. Utility future.

14) Severino Gonzalez, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, 4.59 ERA with 115/34 K/BB in 159 innings for Reading, 169 hits. Not a favorite of scouts due to lack of plus pitches but throws strikes and is young.

15) Zach Green, 3B, Grade C+: Age 20, hit .268/.316/.402 with six homers, 24 walks, 65 strikeouts in 328 at-bats for Lakewood. Another one with better scouting reports than numbers.

16) Shane Watson, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, missed season with shoulder surgery and was just suspended for the first 50 games of 2015 for using a "drug of abuse."

17) Cameron Rupp, C, Grade C+:
Age 25, hit .165/.256/.299 in 194 at-bats for Lehigh Valley, .183/.234/.250 in 60 at-bats for the Phillies. Looking for reserve catcher role.

18) Tommy Joseph, C, Grade C+: Age 23, hit .282/.345/.551 in 78 at-bats for Reading but lost most of the season to a wrist injury. He missed most of 2013 with a concussion so he’s got some rust to work off.

19) Mario Hollands, LHP, Grade C: Age 26, posted 4.40 ERA in big league bullpen with 35/21 K/BB in 47 innings, 45 hits. Recently went on DL with elbow injury. In the bullpen mix if healthy.

20) Luis Encarnacion, OF, Grade C: Age 17, signed to $1,000,000 bonus out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, hit .229/.294/.343 with two homers, nine walks, 39 strikeouts in 140 at-bats in the Gulf Coast League. Doesn’t mean much at his point; rawness was expected.

A disappointing season for the veteran-oriented Phillies at 71-85. The farm system didn’t provide much help, the main exceptions being reliever Ken Giles and right-hander David Buchanan, a Grade C prospect who was hit hard in Double-A in 2013 but had a huge leap forward to big league success this year, with a 3.77 ERA and a 71/32 K/BB in 112 innings.


David Buchanan, photo by Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

Looking towards the future, the system is not completely empty but is hardly in the elite category either and needs an infusion of talent. 2014 first round pick Aaron Nola was excellent in his pro debut and the former LSU ace could/should reach the major leagues in 2015. Second round pick Matt Imhof is a tall college lefty who could also advance quickly. A pair of prospects acquired from the Dodgers in the Roberto Hernandez trade, infielder Jesmuel Valentin and right-hander Victor Arano, are also promising and boost system depth.

Among holdover prospects, 2013 first-rounder Crawford had a fine campaign and his stock, if anything, is rising. Franco and Biddle had spotty results, the latter at least in part due to injury, but both will still rank highly on the Phillies ’15 list. Outfielder Cameron Perkins was excellent in Double-A and ineffective in Triple-A. 20-year-old Aruban outfielder Jiandido Tromp slugged 14 homers with 16 steals in the New York-Penn League but has some work to do with contact.

Phillies ranked 19th on pre-season list and their status entering 2015 has slipped a few notches.