Today we continue our summer reviews of the pre-season Top 20 Prospects lists with the Philadelphia Phillies.
This is a review of the pre-season list.
It is not a new list.
These are the pre-season grades.
1) J.P. Crawford, SS, Grade A-: Age 20, hit .392/.489/.443 in 21 games in High-A, resulting in quick promotion to Double-A. .251/.342/.388 line at Reading is more human but still solid considering his youth and defensive value.
2) Aaron Nola, RHP, Grade B+: 2.39 ERA in 109 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 92/18 K/BB, 97 hits. Promoted to majors and has performed well, 3.65 ERA with 21/5 K/BB in 25 innings. Can’t complain about any of this, just one year out of LSU.
3) Maikel Franco, 3B, Grade B+: 76 games in the majors, .277/.338/.490 with 13 homers, 25 walks, 50 strikeouts, and decent enough defense. A bright spot and should continue to improve further.
4) Ben Lively, RHP, Grade B: 3.87 ERA in 123 innings in Double-A, 90 /41 K/BB, 135 hits. Not a bad season but I thought he could do better, still looks like he can be a solid inning-soaker.
5) Jesse Biddle, LHP, Grade B/B-: 4.42 ERA in 112 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 81/54 K/BB, 120 hits. Still struggling to put his command in gear, has had some dominant outings and some weak ones.
6) Zach Eflin, RHP, Grade B/B-: 101 innings at Reading, 3.67 ERA with 51/19 K/BB, 103 hits. Like Lively, not exactly dominant but not bad, good job throwing strikes but more Ks would be helpful, still just 21.
7) Roman Quinn, OF-INF, Grade B-: 232 at-bats at Reading, .306/.356/.435 with 29 steals, 18 walks, 42 strikeouts. Was playing quite well when he went down with a hip injury in mid-June.
8) Jesmuel Valentin, 2B, Grade B-: Just getting started at High-A Clearwater, 5-for-22 so far, missed most of season with suspension following spring domestic violence arrest.
9) Matt Imhof, LHP, Grade B-: 3.21 ERA in 56 innings for Clearwater, 38/32 K/BB, 47 hits. The ERA is pretty enough but K/BB is quite weak and components in general not as good as expected following his college career and second round 2014 draft slot. Health an issue with biceps trouble.
10) Kelly Dugan, OF, Grade B-/C+: Hit .315/.391/.393 in 44 games for Reading, .220/.302/.244 in 10 games for Lehigh Valley. Sample small due to badly-timed foot injury,
11) Aaron Brown, OF, Grade B-/C+: Hitting .246/.309/.394 with eight homers, 20 walks, 72 strikeouts in 317 at-bats for Clearwater. Power potential not fully tapped, could use a better eye but it has improved compared to his pro debut.
12) Tom Windle, LHP, Grade C+/B-: 4.67 ERA with 57/46 K/BB in 87 innings for Reading, 88 hits. Not very good as a starter (5.35, 43/40 in 71) but much better in pen (1.69, 14/6 in 16). That may very well be his role going forward.
13) Odubel Herrera, OF-2B, Grade C+/B-: Rule 5 pick from Texas Rangers, has more than held his own in the majors, .290/.320/.429 with six homers, 12 walks, 81 strikeouts in 331 at-bats. As always more patience will be nice but overall he’s been fine.
14) Yoel Macias, LHP, Grade C+: Tommy John recovery from 2013 looked OK last year but he fell back this spring, losing velocity instead of gaining it, to the point that he was actually released at the end of June. No one has picked him up yet. A rapid fall.
15) Dylan Cozens, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .280/.330/.412 with five homers, 14 steals, 22 walks, 69 strikeouts in 318 at-bats for Clearwater. Hasn’t fully tapped his power in 6-6 frame but still has time at age 21.
16) Carlos Tocci, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .302/.357/.380 with three homers, 17 steals, 28 walks, 68 strikeouts in 421 at-bats between Low-A and High-A at age 19. Making good progress, getting stronger, effective contact hitter still raw in some ways but looks much better overall compared to ’13 and ’14.
17) Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, RHP, Grade C+: On disabled list all year with elbow trouble.
18) Victor Arano, RHP, Grade C+: Age 20, 4.49 ERA with 55/23 K/BB in 106 innings in High-A, 109 hits. Throwing strikes and eating innings but K/IP and H/IP marks unimpressive.
19) Aaron Altherr, OF, Grade C: Toolsy outfielder took large step forward, hitting .292/.366/.489 with 14 homers, 16 steals between Double-A and Triple-A, 46/84 BB/K. Tapping power while reducing strikeout rate and raising walks, a pleasant combination.
20) Deivi Grullon, C, Grade C: Hitting .195/.241/.288 with four homers, 15 walks, 81 strikeouts in 313 at-bats in Low-A. Draws praise for defensive tools but his bat is quite poor right now, not unexpected though at age 19.
Big changes are obviously in store for the 45-68 Phillies, with Andy McPhail coming on board to direct the baseball operation. Incumbent prospects Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, lefty Adam Morgan, Aaron Nola have all looked valuable in early big league action and will certainly take key roles as the team rebuilds.
The 2016 list will look considerably different due to these graduations, plus trades bringing in several prospects of great interest. The Cole Hamels trade adds promising outfielder Nick Williams, catcher Jorge Alfaro, and right-handers Alec Asher, Jake Thompson and Jerad Eickhoff, all in the high minors this year and candidates for trials next season. Jonathan Papelbon brought in reliever Nick Pivetta, a likely bullpen asset, while Ben Revere was exchanged for additional live arms Alberto Tirado and Jimmy Cordero.
Among holdover prospects, right-hander Franklyn Kilome is impressive New York-Penn League observers with his mid-90s fastball and promising secondary offerings. He’s just 20 and needs polish but the upside is excellent. Right-hander Ricardo Pinto has more command and has pitched well at both levels of A-ball (2.94, 95/32 in 129); he will also rank highly on 2016 lists due to three solid pitches. Shortstop Malquin Canelo has also drawn good reviews despite trouble hitting for Clearwater.
The 2015 draft focused on hitting at the top, with prep infielders Cornelus Randolph and Lucas Williams and college hitters Scott Kingery and Kyle Martin providing balance between upside and polish.