Top 33 Prospects: Philadelphia Phillies

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from my own observations. The KATOH statistical projections, probable-outcome graphs, and (further down) Mahalanobis comps have been provided by Chris Mitchell. For more information on thes 20-80 scouting scale by which all of my prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this. -Eric Longenhagen

The KATOH projection system uses minor-league data and Baseball America prospect rankings to forecast future performance in the major leagues. For each player, KATOH produces a WAR forecast for his first six years in the major leagues. There are drawbacks to scouting the stat line, so take these projections with a grain of salt. Due to their purely objective nature, the projections here can be useful in identifying prospects who might be overlooked or overrated. Due to sample-size concerns, only players with at least 200 minor-league plate appearances or batters faced last season have received projections. -Chris Mitchell

Other Lists
NL West (ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF)
AL Central (CHW, CLE, DETKC, MIN)
NL Central (CHC, CIN, PIT, MIL, StL)
NL East (ATLMIA, NYMPHI)

Phillies Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 J.P. Crawford 22 AAA SS 2017 60
2 Mickey Moniak 18 R OF 2019 55
3 Jorge Alfaro 23 MLB C 2017 55
4 Sixto Sanchez 18 R RHP 2020 45
5 Roman Quinn 23 MLB CF 2017 45
6 Adonis Medina 20 A- RHP 2020 45
7 Elniery Garcia 22 A+ LHP 2017 45
8 Franklyn Kilome 21 A RHP 2020 45
9 Rhys Hoskins 24 AA 1B 2018 45
10 Dylan Cozens 22 AA OF 2018 45
11 Kevin Gowdy 19 R RHP 2020 45
12 Scott Kingery 22 AA 2B 2018 45
13 Nick Williams 23 AAA OF 2017 45
14 Daniel Brito 19 R 2B 2020 40
15 Jhailyn Ortiz 18 R OF 2021 40
16 Drew Anderson 22 A+ RHP 2017 40
17 Bailey Falter 19 A- LHP 2020 40
18 Seranthony Dominguez 22 A RHP 2019 40
19 Carlos Tocci 21 A+ CF 2018 40
20 Cornelius Randolph 19 A LF 2020 40
21 Thomas Eshelman 22 AA RHP 2018 40
22 Victor Arano 21 AA RHP 2017 40
23 Andrew Knapp 25 AAA C 2017 40
24 Cole Stobbe 19 R SS 2021 40
25 Mark Appel 25 AAA RHP 2017 40
26 Alberto Tirado 22 A+ RHP 2019 40
27 Nick Pivetta 24 AAA RHP 2017 40
28 Arquimedez Gamboa 19 A- SS 2021 40
29 JoJo Romero 20 A- LHP 2020 40
30 Andrew Pullin 23 AA LF 2018 40
31 Jose Pujols 21 R RF 2020 40
32 Ricardo Pinto 23 AA RHP 2017 40
33 Malquin Canelo 22 A+ SS 2019 40

60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 from Lakewood HS (CA)
Age 22 Height 6’2 Weight 180 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 40/45 30/40 50/50 50/60 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .244/.328/.318 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Scouting Report
Crawford’s lackluster statistical output at Triple-A in 2016 is far less problematic when you accept that his 2015 and 2016 stints at Double-A were embellished by the same hitting environment that has given us Angry Philly Sports Radio hype for Darin Ruf and Matt Rizzotti. I’ve been to Reading a lot and can’t explain what’s going on there; batted balls just keep going until they’re over the wall. This is important to consider throughout the duration of this piece as we have a few hitters on this list who had huge years there at some point, and their statistical output requires context.

While Crawford’s 2016 looked disappointing on paper, scouts saw the same collection of tools here as they always have. Namely, future plus or better defense at shortstop, top of the scale athleticism and a natural ability to control the strike zone. He does not have exceptional bat speed or power, is an average runner and is continuously searching for in-the-box footwork that works for him. While he will, on occasion, drop the bat head and golf out a ball down and in, there’s very little power here and some think Crawford was overswinging at times in 2016 to try to create more.

Crawford’s on-field demeanor bothered some scouts who thought he struggled to deal with failure, but please note that Crawford was a 21-year-old at Triple-A who had enjoyed nothing but success throughout his entire minor-league career (and probably throughout his entire baseball playing existence) leading up to last year. Evaluators are anxious to see how he responds, though.

A great defensive shortstop whose approach might allow him to hit at the top of a lineup one day despite modest offensive tools is very valuable. I don’t think Crawford will ever hit more than 8-12 home runs at peak, but I could see .270/.360/.390 with terrific defense. That’s a 3-WAR player and likely top-10 shortstop in all of baseball, even during the Shortstop Age of Enlightenment. There’s still a good amount of work needed to be done for Crawford to attain that ceiling, but he’s already at Triple-A and, if you buy into the glove, then the probability of him not getting to the bigs and providing some form of value is relatively low.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 15.6 WAR

55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from La Costa Canyon HS (CA)
Age 19 Height 6’2 Weight 185 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/70 40/50 20/40 60/55 40/55 50/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None.

Scouting Report
The Phillies held the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft and were faced with two situational dilemmas. First, there wasn’t a clear transcendent superstar available atop the draft. Second, in situations without an obvious 1-1 candidate, teams like to find ways to reallocate the signing bonus associated with that first pick to latter picks in order to make the most out of their entire class. But teams like Atlanta, Cincinnati and San Diego, who all had multiple picks between the Phillies’ first and second selections, made Philly’s pursuit of this strategy difficult. Moniak signed for $6 million, which is $3 million under slot, and allowed the Phillies to pursue expensive, falling, prep talent like Blake Rutherford, Joey Wentz or Kevin Gowdy with their next pick.

That’s not to say Moniak isn’t a great prospect. I saw him six times in high school and the consistency with which he hit was incredible. I have as aggressive a grade on his bat as I’ve ever had for a high-school prospect. His swing, graceful and comfortable and simple yet still impactful, is geared for lots of all-fields contact. Moniak has terrific hand-eye coordination, moves the bat around the hitting zone and his bat-to-ball output is going to be aided by his speed. A plus runner, Moniak projects to stay in center field, where he has the requisite range and instincts to be a plus defender at peak.

There are questions about the kind of power Moniak, who is slight of build, is going to have at peak. He has thin forearms, a flat, narrow lower half and, while I do think there’s some room for more strength simply through physical maturation, he’s unlikely to ever hit 18-plus home runs. At the very least, Moniak will need to become strong enough that he’s somewhat of a singular threat to opposing upper-level pitchers so they don’t attack him with impunity, force him to put an inordinate amount of balls in play and limit his ability to reach base. I think it’s likely he gets to that point.

A good defensive center fielder with Moniak’s aptitude for contact is a very valuable and, considering how consistently Moniak hit against elite competition in high school and the stability of his defensive profile, he’s a relatively low risk prospect for a high schooler entering his first full pro season.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.0 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2009 from Colombia
Age 24 Height 6’2 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 70/70 40/50 50/50 50/55 70/70

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .285/.325/.458 at Double-A Reading.

Scouting Report
Alfaro is arguably the most physically gifted catching prospect of this century. A physical specimen (Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is listed at 6-foot-2, 217, for context) with huge raw power, abnormal speed for a catcher and a howitzer attached to his right shoulder, Alfaro’s tools have always played down in games due to a rash approach at the plate and a lack of technical finesse required to serve as an effective defensive catcher. As it often goes with backstops, such intricacies have begun to develop later than they usually do for prospects at other positions. Alfaro turned 23 in June of last year and repeated Double-A (and he spent a month there in 2014, too) but began to iron out some of his maladies on defense. His receiving and ball-blocking have both improved to the point where he’s now a competent major-league defensive catcher who occasionally does something amazing like pop around 1.8 on throws to second base. He projects as an above-average defender with a 70 arm.

Offensively, Alfaro has rather serious swing-and-miss issues caused in part by a bat path that isn’t in the hitting zone for very long. Those issues are compounded by an epicurean approach and sometimes awkward use of his lower half that negatively impacts his timing. He does have plus-plus bat speed and raw power, and his swing allows it to play to the right/center gap when he makes contact. Even with limited at-bats, Alfaro should muscle out 15-18 homers annually just on pure strength and bat speed, but there’s some risk associated with his overall offensive profile because he’s so strikeout prone.

The power is going to need to be a separator for Alfaro, whose strikeout and walk rates are both likely to be comfortably below average, even for a catcher. I think the floor here is a slash line quite similar to what Cameron Rupp did last year but with better defense and some value created on the bases. And, of course, there’s a superstar ceiling here if Alfaro can somehow find a way to further mine his incredible physical talent.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.0 WAR

45 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic
Age 18 Height 5’10 Weight 160 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 45/50 45/50 45/50 50/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Surrendered just three earned runs in 54 GCL innings.

Scouting Report
Beat writer Matt Gelb wrote this week about how the Phillies stumbled upon Sanchez at another prospect’s workout. The Phillies have something here, but it’s hard to say what it is because Sanchez has an atypical skillset and build.

Sixto is short but not small at a listed six feet on the Phillies instructional league roster but with broad, tapered shoulders and a big, high butt and thighs. His arms are long for someone this size, which helps create good extension on a fastball that sits 94-97 and will touch 98, 99. Such a fastball requires tremendous arm acceleration and Sanchez’s delivery does feature some effort, but he still has impressive fastball command. It’s already average, which is especially impressive for an arm this young that throws this hard and with so little pitching experience.

Sanchez was an infielder until he turned 16, and this is where projecting Sixto becomes complicated and abstract. None of his secondary pitches are particularly impressive right now. He has a fringey curveball that has promising shape but currently lacks depth; his changeup is inconsistent due to a tendency to overthrow it, but it flashes above average. I also have reports of him throwing a cutter/slider in the 90-92 range over his last few starts, a pitch that was already occasionally average, but the Phillies have told me he just accidentally cuts his fastball at times. Also, the Phillies as an org have generally had their young arms avoid cutters and splitters for fear of injury.

When viewed in a vacuum, this collection of secondary offerings is relatively unimpressive, especially if you’re willing to omit the slider/cutter from your future projections (I have it on the tool table), but consider that Sanchez just turned 18 in the middle of last season and only returned to pitching at age 16. I think it’s fairly conservative to project the change and curve to average which, with a 60 fastball and 60 future command, would make for a solid-average big-league starter. If the slider’s included in that, now suddenly we’re talking about plus command of four average or better pitches. This is an excellent pitching prospect, and I’m relatively unconcerned about his size because the arm slot generates fastball plane and the body is sturdy and strong. He’s a potential mid-rotation arm for me.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.0 WAR

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2011 from Port St. Joe HS (FL)
Age 24 Height 5’10 Weight 170 Bat/Throw B/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 45/45 30/30 80/80 50/60 50/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .263/.373/.333 in 69 big-league plate appearances.

Scouting Report
Let’s review Quinn’s medical history before we talk about his tools. He was hit by a pitch and broke his wrist in 2013, he tore his Achilles tendon that offseason and missed the beginning of 2014, he suffered a hip flexor tear in 2015 and dealt with hamstring and oblique issues in 2016. Quinn is slightly built and, even though he arguably has the skills for everyday duty in center field, most scouts consider him an extra outfielder, if only because they’re skeptical about his body holding up to a full season’s workload.

Despite the injuries he’s sustained, many to his lower body, Quinn is a no-doubt 80 runner. I’ve gotten him sub-3.9 from home to first several times and he explodes out of the batter’s box, reaching top speed quickly and threatening procrastinating infielders.

Quinn is small but he’s physical enough to compete with the bat in the big leagues. He has above-average bat speed, though it comes at the expense of effort, and a viable gap-to-gap approach as a right-handed hitter. Quinn is pull-heavy from the left side, hitting lots of grounders and line drives, and can sometimes sell out for power that simply isn’t there. On a dead-pull, max-effort swing he has fringe raw power, but in games it’s 30 pop.

Quinn’s speed allows him to play center field, and he’s average there now with a chance to be plus as he continues to get reps after moving off the infield in the middle of 2014. But, if Odubel Herrera’s contract extension is any indication, big-league reps in center are going to be hard for Quinn to come by and 30 game power doesn’t play in a corner. Quinn has high-end makeup and has already been working out in Clearwater for several weeks. He’s a high-probability major-league contributor, likely as a fourth outfielder or low-end regular.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.2 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic
Age 20 Height 6’1 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
55/55 50/60 45/55 30/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None. A raw arm in short-season ball.

Scouting Report
Medina’s numbers in short-season ball are relatively underwhelming, but developmental focus has been placed on fastball command for now and not on missing bats. Additionally, Medina’s repertoire is evolving. Last year, Medina’s primary breaking ball was a curveball in the 75-81 mph range. It showed promising spin but was being delivered from a noticeably more vertical arm slot. Focus has shifted to a slider, and Medina’s proclivity for spin has been transitive. The slider flashes plus with late, angry bite and could mature there. It plays well off of his fastball, which sits 91-95 and will bump 96 with movement. Both the slider and fastball bore in at the same angle before breaking in opposite directions, and once (if) Medina becomes more adept at locating them, they’re going to give hitters fits.

Medina also has some feel for a low-80s changeup, which has promising tumble and velocity separation. He has 30 command right now, and significant progress in this area is the most important aspect of Medina’s development. He looks more athletic than he is, sporting an ideal frame not just for baseball players but for humans in general, and the arm action is similarly beautiful. Nevertheless, Medina has trouble timing the components of his delivery and locating where he wants. If he ever develops average or better command, then he’s going to be a mid-rotation starter and I think that’s attainable. Medina has a chance for three plus pitches if you want to project a little more heavily on the changeup than I have, and I think he has the highest upside of all the arms in this system; he’s just four years away from the big leagues.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.6 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 155 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
55/55 45/50 50/55 45/50 45/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 19% strikeout rate, 7.6% walk rate at High-A.

Scouting Report
What scouts think of Garcia is largely colored by what time of year they saw him. If you caught Garcia early in the year in A-ball, you saw him throwing 88-91, maybe touching 93, and flashing an above-average curveball. If you saw Garcia’s final start of the year, a Double-A playoff appearance, he was up to 97, sitting 92-94 with command of a four-pitch mix.

Garcia added velocity as the year went along and was regularly touching 94-95 by midsummer. His two breaking balls, a loopy but deep curveball in the low-70s and a vertically oriented slider, run together right now but the latter is fairly new. Garcia has a fringey changeup, and his command of it lags behind his fastball/curveball command, but he repeats his fastball arm speed and it projects to average.

Garcia has also shown an ability to locate his curveball to the back foot of left-handed hitters (which will give him another viable weapon against them), he understands sequencing, can miss bats up above the strike zone with his fastball, and he pitches with swagger and confidence, stomping around the mound like he owns it when he blows hitters away. The Phillies added him to the 40 man to protect him from Rule 5 consideration.

If you think Garcia retains his newfound velocity, then it’s fairly easy to envision him becoming a good No. 4 starter; if not, he’s a back-end arm. Even though none of the secondaries undoubtedly project to plus on their own (I do have a scout who has a future 6 on the curveball), Garcia’s advanced sequencing and solid command could allow them to play up. I got Martin Perez and Jaime Garcia comps on Garcia during the list-making process. Both those guys are No. 4 or 5 starters, and I think that’s ultimately where Elniery ends up. He’ll likely begin 2017 in Reading and, if the Phillies need someone to make a big-league spot start on Garcia’s day to pitch, he could debut in the majors this year.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.2 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 6’6 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 55/60 30/40 30/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Struck out 123 in 105 innings after skipping a start in late April.

Scouting Report
Kilome is a prototypical right-handed pitching prospect. He’s big, throws hard (92-97) with downhill plane, has curveball feel and a relatively low-effort delivery. He’s a fringey athlete and has difficulty repeating that delivery, which has led to well below-average control and inconsistent secondary offerings. Scouts with whom I spoke think there’s significant reliever risk here, as Kilome’s changeup is raw for his age (he pitched most of last year at age 21, which is a little old for the SALLY League), as is the command. Kilome also began messing with his curveball grip last year, and the early results were positive. (It was more of an average pitch early in the season but was often flashing plus late in the summer.)

Kilome needs both his changeup and control to progress rather appreciably. Somewhere in the multiverse exists a reality where both take significant steps forward and allow him to become a No. 3 starter. More realistically, though, you hope one of them makes significant progress, which would make him more of a solid No. 4. I have the command projected quite heavily because, while reports on Kilome’s athleticism aren’t exactly glowing, he’s a large young man and strike-throwing ability often comes later for bodies like this. The changeup feel is far enough behind at this point that projecting it as a true bat-missing entity is probably unwise, but if the command comes then a healthy dose of backfoot curveballs to lefties will help him mitigate platoon issues and remain a starter.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.5 WAR

Drafted: 5th Round, 2014 from Sacramento St
Age 24 Height 6’4 Weight 225 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 60/60 40/50 30/30 40/45 40/40

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 1.032 OPS at home, .853 on road.

Scouting Report
Hoskins has plus raw pull power and puts the ball in the air regularly, both because his swing is geared for in-air contact and because he works himself into counts where he can seek and destroy fastballs. He has good hitter’s timing and, while he’s sometimes vulnerable on the outer half, he’s shown an ability to poke balls the other way, and he’s strong enough to do some damage to right field as well.

Not all scouts are enamored with Hoskins’ hit/power combo, which is solid without context but uninspiring at first base. Nor are scouts confident that Hoskins is going to be able to deal with major-league breaking balls. Some are concerned about his general stiffness and fringe athleticism. He’s a below-average defender at first base. Hoskins’ track record of hitting is strong enough that I think he could be a 50-hit, 50-game-power first baseman who gets on base at a .350 clip. That’s an everyday player, albeit a fringe one.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.6 WAR

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2012 from Chaparral HS (AZ)
Age 23 Height 6’6 Weight 235 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 70/70 50/60 40/30 40/45 45/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 40 homers and 21 stolen bases (on just 22 attempts). Slugged .744 at home, .441 on the road.

Scouting Report
Cozens is a mountainous, hulking man built for hitting balls further than the eye can see. Fear not that Cozens’ power was embellished by Reading: it’s real. (It’s 70 raw. Cozens was hitting balls out of Petco at the Futures Game.) The scouting community is just uncertain about his ability to tap into it consistently in the big leagues.

Hitters Cozens’ size have holes in the swing, almost invariably. This, combined with a tendency to drift heavily onto his front foot and lose all balance against good offspeed stuff, are what I think are the two primary issues with his bat-to-ball abilities. There are statistical red flags, as well. Cozens’ strikeout rate was a well-fed 32% in 2016 and, even if you believe his approach has evolved and the 10% walk rate he posted was the result of substantive change (as some scouts to whom I spoke believe) and is here to stay, that batted-ball/on-base profile is going to be problematic, especially when big-league teams put that shift on.

Consider Chris Carter, who remained unemployed until yesterday despite ripping out 41 homers last year with walk and K rates nearly identical to what Cozens posted last year with Reading. I’m not trying to comp the two directly (Cozens is a better runner underway than Carter is, he enjoys a more favorable platoon split as a left-handed hitter), but if you think there’s a chance Cozens has to move to first base as he ages (and there are scouts who do, Cozens is a 40 defender in right field and his body, while well composed, is maxed out), then even the historic season he posted at Reading may not be enough to create significant annual big-league value.

I’m encouraged by the adjustments I’ve seen Cozens make since his pro debut in 2012. Since then, he’s added loft to his swing, which has allowed his power to start playing in games. He’s also altered his stride (he actually has one now whereas, when I saw him at Williamsport years ago, he just kind of stood there and swung) and has kept what has always been a huge body in check. If/when he needs to make adjustments again (and I think he will in 2017, where he’s poised to face a lot of junk-balling International League pitching), it’s encouraging to know Cozens has done it before. This isn’t a certain middle-of-the-order bat for me yet. I have Cozens projected as the larger half of an outfield corner platoon for now, but I think he has a shot to be an average everyday player.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 7.7 WAR

11. Kevin Gowdy, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Santa Barbara HS (CA)
Age 19 Height 6’4 Weight 170 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/60 50/60 40/50 45/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None.

Scouting Report
Gowdy was one of the players Philadelphia was targeting with the 42nd overall pick in last year’s draft. Teams ahead of them made room to get deals done with Blake Rutherford and Joey Wentz, leaving Gowdy (a late-first-round talent) to be had for top-10 money. He’s a well-built, physically projectable pitcher whose stuff fluctuated over the course of his senior spring. I saw Gowdy’s worst spring start on a blustery 50 degree day in Arizona during which he was 86-91 with good command an average curveball that, just on shape, looks like a slider.

But I’ve also seen Gowdy bump 94 and, while I’m not in love with the tall-and-fall delivery, he has the sort of physical makeup that allows for projection on the velocity, as well, and not just retention. His curveball flashes above average and you could argue his consistent glove-side command on the pitch will allow the pitch to play up as plus. His changeup projects to average for me, and its effectiveness is built upon a foundation of deception more than movement. He projects as a No. 4 starter, and I think Gowdy is polished enough that he could move quickly, which mitigates some of the risk associated with an arm this young.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Arizona
Age 23 Height 5’10 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 40/45 30/30 70/70 55/60 45/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 8% walk rate, 13% strikeout rate at High-A in 2016.

Scouting Report
Kingery was a walk-on at Arizona. After watching him for a few seasons at U of A, I had a late-first-round grade on him on draft day. Kingery has physical traits indicative of a future plus hit tool, but he has some mechanical issues to tighten up and needs to improve his selectivity. His bat is quick and he has solid eye-hand, but he doesn’t consistently stride closed and he’s pull-heavy as a result. This also creates some plate-coverage issues. Kingery has some trouble getting to velo down and in, so his propensity to stride open might be a response to pitchers working him inside regularly. He showed an ability to pull his hands in and make solid contact with inside pitches at U of A, but I didn’t see it as much in the Fall League.

Kingery lacks power (40 raw, below that in games right now) and an all-fields approach to contact might behoove him, as he just doesn’t have the kind of power needed to make an impact as a pull-only hitter. That’s going to require some adjustment. While the offensive profile isn’t exactly sexy, Kingery is a 70 runner and future plus defender at second base. His range at second is spectacular and his hands, actions, and arm are all fine.

Kingery’s walk and strikeout rates went haywire upon his promotion to Double-A, and some argue this is a result of upper-level pitching recognizing his lack of power and exploiting it. Others consider it a result of mental and physical fatigue, something with which Kingery dealt in 2015 after signing. He was clearly tired in the AFL but, if he’s going to be an fringe to average everyday player (and I think he has the skills to do so), then season-long stamina is necessary. With Cesar Hernandez entrenched as the Phillies everyday second baseman for now, Kingery has time to make the kind of adjustments that could turn him into that sort of player. It’s encouraging that he already played his way to shouting distance of the majors just a year after being drafted.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.6 WAR

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2012 from Ball HS (TX)
Age 23 Height 6’3 Weight 195 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/55 40/50 55/55 45/50 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Produced just 3.6% walk rate at Triple-A in 2016.

Scouting Report
I needed a wise friend to caution me against NP’ing Nick Williams after I watched him swing at everything, almost literally, in the 2014 AFL. I considered his approach to be fatal, and I still do to a degree, but he’s an incredible talent. Williams has 70 bat speed, great hand-eye and impressive bat control. He has the raw physical tools to be at least a plus hitter, but his output is cannibalized by the most overaggressive approach in all of baseball. There’s enough natural leverage in his swing to produce power, too. He’s an above-average runner and long strider who passes in center field, though he spends a lot of time in right due to his plus arm.

Essentially, if you think Williams can either overcome or at least improve his horrendous approach, then he’s probably an above-average regular for you. I’ve seen enough of Williams’ wild swings at pitches nowhere near the zone and off-balance, early-count hacks at breaking balls to think otherwise. It takes some combination of makeup and athleticism to overcome such flaws, and Williams has one of those. I took umbrage with the way Williams’ benchings were handled by Lehigh Valley’s staff, as it made it unnecessarily public to the point where it gained traction with the media in Philly. But while I think too much was made of that particular incident, poor makeup reports have followed Williams since his days in the AZL, and such a track record is difficult to totally ignore.

I think Williams’ bat comps closely to Rays outfielder Corey Dickerson, who was worth 1.5 WAR last year. Williams is a superior defender, and I think he has the tools be an average everyday player, though I consider him riskier than the average Triple-A prospect due to the volatility of this type of skill set.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.7 WAR

40 FV Prospects

14. Daniel Brito, 2B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela
Age 19 Height 6’1 Weight 155 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/60 40/50 20/45 55/55 40/55 40/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .284/.355/.421 in GCL.

Scouting Report
A lanky, projectable second baseman with terrific feel to hit and promising defensive range and hands, Brito doesn’t have the arm for short (though all the other ingredients are present), so the hope is that he naturally grows into the kind of power necessary to profile on the other side of the bag. He has that smooth, picturesque, low-ball bat path associated with left-handed hitters and creates good extension through contact, so some indications of future power are here, as is an advanced feel for the strike zone. The body just has to come, and Brito needs to retain his current level of athleticism as it does. Once he starts to mature, physically, I think he’s going to take off. His upside is going to be dictated by how much the body has to give.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.6 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic
Age 18 Height 6’3 Weight 215 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 70/70 30/60 30/20 40/45 55/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Posted .202 ISO.

Scouting Report
Ortiz is raw in many facets (his reads in the outfield are poor, he has some offspeed recognition issues), but he spent most of his amateur career taking BP for scouts and not actually playing games or getting game-speed reps necessary to tighten those things up. It’s an encouraging sign that he skipped the DSL and was getting to some of his plus-plus raw power in games last year as a 17-year-old in the GCL, and his pitch recognition improved as the year went along.

Teenagers this size (Ortiz’s body is essentially maxed out) almost invariably move to first base at some point. While reports of Ortiz’s makeup are sterling (he agreed to a deal with Philly, then got huge but has since improved his physique significantly), and I expect him to keep his body in check, I still have him projected to first base. He has the power to profile, but there’s some question about how much he’s going to hit. Chiefly, swing length is a concern.

This is a high-risk prospect not only because of Ortiz’s proximity to the majors but because, with a right-field or first-base profile, he has very little margin for error. The hit tool on its own doesn’t necessarily have to grow to average or better for him to profile there, but rather some combination of hit/on-base ability. And Ortiz’s 2016 showed some signs of life in that regard.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.8 WAR

16. Drew Anderson, RHP
Drafted: 21st Round, 2012 from Galena HS (NV)
Age 23 Height 6’3 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 40/40 50/55 45/50 40/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 28% strikeout rate at High-A.

Scouting Report
Anderson missed all of 2015 recovering from Tommy John and returned to Low-A Lakewood last May as an older-for-the-level righty. By the end of the year, Philadelphia needed to add him to the 40-man to prevent another club from selecting him in the Rule 5 draft.

Anderson was touching 97 by year’s end with an average curveball, fringe changeup and below-average slider. That’s harder than he was throwing pre-TJ. He has a good pitcher’s body, and his arm action and delivery have both improved since before the TJ, but he still has issues getting on top of his fastball, and it often sails out of the zone.

Anderson has a chance for an above-average fastball and curveball, average changeup and average command. That’s a solid No. 4/5 starter. Scouts are inclined to ‘pen Anderson because of his injury history. Beyond the TJ, he’s had several other DL stints during the course of his career, including two in August of last year after returning. He has some more risk in his profile because of that.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.3 WAR

17. Bailey Falter, LHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2015 from Chino Hills HS (CA)
Age 20 Height 6’4 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
40/50 45/55 40/50 40/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 59 strikeouts, 17 walks in 60 innings at Williamsport.

Scouting Report
A physically projectable lefty with some present pitchability, Falter has greatly improved his line to the plate since signing. He only sits 87-90 and will touch 91 right now with very little movement in the zone, but he has a big, lanky frame and could add velocity as he matures. He has feel for spinning a big breaking curveball and, though it’s less consistent, creating run on a changeup. His ability to locate both secondaries is more mature than the consistency of his stuff, which is atypical for a lanky teenage pitching prospect. The ceiling here is going to be dictated by how much the body is willing to give. There’s a chance he ends up sitting low 90s with two above-average secondaries and plus command if everything comes together. That’s a long way off but foreseeable, and I think Falter has one of the more interesting ceilings in a pitching rich system.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.9 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 6’1 Weight 183 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
65/65 55/60 40/45 40/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 26% strikeout rate, 10% walk rate at Low-A.

Scouting Report
I spoke with a few scouts who prefer Dominguez to some of the more highly ranked arms on this list because he has a more advanced idea of how to sequence a repertoire that includes a sinking, plus fastball and tight slider. He has a below-average changeup that will flash bat-missing movement, but he shows noticeable arm deceleration on release. He’s also undersized and has a long, high-effort arm action that many think point to a future in the bullpen. He turned 22 in November and has yet to pitch above Low-A, in part due to a season-ending injury in 2015. I think there’s a non-zero chance he starts, but consider it more likely he ends up in the bullpen where 93-97 with a plus slider should play just fine.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.3 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Venezuela
Age 21 Height 6’2 Weight 160 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 30/30 20/30 60/60 50/55 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .284/.331/.362 in FSL.

Scouting Report
I swear to you that this Tocci report hasn’t been copied and pasted from every other report I’ve written about him since he was 17. He remains speedy, polished for his age in center field, with good feel for all-fields contact. He also remains frail-looking, like Slender Man, and lacks any modicum of game power. Even in center field, he may not hit for enough power to profile, and some think his swing length could prevent him from hitting altogether.

It’s encouraging that, as Tocci has barbecued in the lower level of the minors and slowly matriculated up the ladder, he’s risen to the occasion and found way to hit a little bit while remaining young for his level. But realistically he’s a fourth outfielder, albeit a low-risk one as the defense and speed are very stable aspects of his skill set.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.3 WAR

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Griffin HS (GA)
Age 20 Height 5’11 Weight 205 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 55/55 20/40 50/50 40/45 50/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .274/.355/.357 in 63 games with Lakewood.

Scouting Report
Things are trending in the wrong direction for Randolph, who was announced as a shortstop on draft day but hasn’t played anywhere but left field as a pro. It was viewed as a move that would accelerate his development, as Randolph was a bat-first prospect anyway with little hope of staying on the infield, even third base. Indeed,Randolph still shows signs of a future plus bat. His swing is simple and compact, he has good bat speed, and can move the barrel around the zone. He’s a little stiff and, while he shows above average pull power during BP, his punchy opposite-field approach hasn’t yielded much in-game power as a pro. That power needs to be there if Randolph wants to profile in left field.

The body isn’t bad, but it is mature at a stocky 5-foot-11, so this isn’t the kind of prospect whose opposite-field fly balls turn into opposite-field home runs as he fills out. A change of hitting approach is probably going to be necessary here, otherwise we’re looking at below-average tools across the board with the exception of the bat. Randolph missed time with a shoulder injury and dealt with shin splints in 2016.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.4 WAR

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Cal State Fullerton
Age 23 Height 6’3 Weight 210 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
45/45 45/50 40/40 45/50 60/70

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Had just 4.5% walk rate at High-A before promotion.

Scouting Report
Eshelman was a historic college performer. He walked 18 hitters over three years of work in Cal State Fullerton’s rotation. His exploits are best chronicled here.

But Eshelman’s stuff is fringey, 90-92 with a fairly straight fastball, a fringe low-80s slider, changeup and below-average curveball. He hides the ball pretty well and throws such a high volume of strikes that I think he’ll be a big-league starter for a long time simply because he can throw a ton of competent innings. But on stuff he’s a No. 5 starter.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.8 WAR

22. Victor Arano, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Mexico
Age 22 Height 6’2 Weight 196 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command
60/60 50/50 50/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Had a 4.5% BB% at Hi-A before promotion

Scouting Report
I had Arano 91-93 in the Fall League with an average low-80s curveball. He throws a lot of strikes and was 93-96 for much of the regular season. He’s very deceptive and I think the stuff plays up in shorter stints which, after a permanent move to the bullpen last year, is the only capacity in which you’ll see him working now. He’s a likely middle reliever, chance to be a setup man. Arano was the PTBNL in the Roberto Hernandez trade with Los Angeles.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.2 WAR

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2013 from Cal
Age 25 Height 6’1 Weight 195 Bat/Throw S/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 45/45 40/45 30/30 40/40 50/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Posted 24% strikeout rate at Triple-A.

Scouting Report
The switch-hitting Knapp has a sweet-looking left-handed stroke that features above-average bat speed and a solid weight transfer. He e has poor plate coverage, though, which makes it hard for him to do anything with pitches away. Things are simpler and a bit less elegant from the right side but still effective. Knapp can hit to all fields from both sides of the plate but tends to only do real damage to his pull side. He has some swing-and-miss issues but has a chance for an average bat with fringe game power, which is good for a catcher.

Defensively, Knapp has an average arm (maybe above on pure strength but below on accuracy) and is a below-average defender. He’s a stabby, below-average receiver and a slow-twitch athlete who doesn’t handle breaking balls in the dirt especially well. He’s now 25 and unless you’re still projecting heavily on the glove based on the reps Knapp lost behind the plate while he recovered from Tommy John back in 2014, he profiles as more of a bat-first backup.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.1 WAR

24. Cole Stobbe, SS
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Millard West HS (NE)
Age 19 Height 6’2 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 45/50 20/45 50/45 40/50 55/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None.

Scouting Report
Stobbe doesn’t have the range for shor,t but he’s an above-average athlete with an above-average arm and enough room for growth on his frame that it could be plus at maturity, so he fits like a glove over at third base. Of course, a likely move to a corner means focus will shift toward Stobbe’s bat, and he does have a chance to profile there. He can get upright and stiff in the box, but his wrists are loose and whippy and, when he takes a good cut, he has plus bat speed. He projects to have average raw power at maturity and, though it will probably require some mechanical smoothing, he has a chance to hit for average as well.

Stobbe has a well-rounded collection of modest tools, and the fact that he’s raw mechanically isn’t all that concerning or even surprising considering that we’re talking about a prospect from Nebraska. He’s a potential everyday third baseman, the tools right on the fringe of a role 45/50 type of player, but he’s a project quite a distance from the majors.

25. Mark Appel, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 from Stanford
Age 25 Height 6’4 Weight 225 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
60/60 60/60 45/45 45/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None. Made eight starts before he was shut down.

Scouting Report
I don’t know what the hell to do with Appel, who at times looks like a good mid-rotation arm and at others looks like a total non-prospect. Those instances can both occur within the same start. He was shut down with a shoulder injury mid-year and then, while working his way back from that, he suffered an elbow injury that required bone spurs to be removed. Appel missed the rest of the year.

I’ve solicited opinions from scouts about why Appel has struggled throughout the duration of his career and they vary. Some think his delivery’s slow and deliberate nature makes it easy for hitters to time his fastball, others think the fastball, which sits 92-95 and will still touch 97, is straight and lifeless. Others think Appel’s command of his secondaries, or just his command in general, is poor. There are those who question his competitive makeup, others his athleticism.

At this point, I think the best course of action is just to stick Appel, who is now 25 years old, in the bullpen and let him air out his fastball and plus, mid-80s slider. But Appel has had issues maintaining his stuff from the stretch, and a move to the bullpen means pitching exclusively from it. Based on where the Phillies are in the competitive cycle, you can argue it makes sense to keep running him out as a starter, just to see what happens — at least until the big club actually needs another relief arm. On stuff he’s a No. 3 or 4 but the results have literally never been there, and I don’t think they ever will be unless a significant change is made.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 6’1 Weight 177 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command
80/80 55/60 20/40

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Averaged 14 strikeouts per nine innings at Low-A.

Scouting Report
Tirado has elite arm acceleration and fastball velocity, and will show you 100-plus mph. The slider flashes plus with vicious, late movement, but it’s wildly inconsistent and Tirado doesn’t use it as often as scouts would like because he’s constantly falling behind and relying on his fastball to work himself back into counts. This is elite, late-inning stuff if he can learn to corral it, but there’s serious doubt about whether he’ll be able to do that. If he can’t, then he isn’t a big leaguer.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.8 WAR

27. Nick Pivetta, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2013 from New Mexico JC
Age 24 Height 6’5 Weight 210 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
55/55 50/55 40/40 40/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Struck out 27 in 24.2 innings at Triple-A.

Scouting Report
An upright, cross-body delivery has most scouts projecting Pivetta in relief. He’s 91-94, up to 96 with an average two-plane curveball that plays up against righties because of where Pivetta releases the ball. His changeup is below average, as is his control. Pivetta has reached Triple-A and is a low-risk middle-relief prospect on proximity, stuff and makeup (which is reportedly excellent). He was acquired from Washington in the Jonathan Papelbon deal.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.6 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela
Age 19 Height 6’0 Weight 175 Bat/Throw S/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 35/45 20/40 60/60 40/55 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Posted just .546 OPS at Williamsport.

Scouting Report
Gamboa is pure projection. He’s well-built, athletic, a plus runner with a plus arm, who shows raw but promising footwork and actions that, with polish, fit at shortstop. He swing is visually pleasing from both sides of the plate during batting practice, with a smooth, casual weight transfer and glimpses of impact bat speed. During games, he stiffens up and the tools don’t play. Yet. The risk here is extreme, but shortstops with potentially competent, well-rounded bats don’t exactly grow on trees, and if he starts to hit he’ll displace many of the names ahead of him on this list.

29. JoJo Romero, LHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Yavapai
Age 20 Height 5’11 Weight 190 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
50/50 45/50 50/55 40/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Struck out 15 in JUCO title game.

Scouting Report
An athletic little lefty with a sinking fastball at 88-92 that’ll touch 94, Romero also fields his position well and has good changeup feel. The slider is a little short, as is Romero, but there’s a back-end starter’s repertoire here if the control/command max out.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2013 from Centralia HS (WA)
Age 23 Height 6’0 Weight 185 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 45/50 30/40 50/50 40/45 40/40

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Career .280 hitter.

Scouting Report
Pullin retired in April and then came back and started hitting (which he’s always been able to do) for power (which he had not previously). He’s a left-field-only prospect without the arm for right. A youthful experiment at second base didn’t work out, so the sustainability of the power we saw in 2016 is imperative for his long-term prospects. He has good bat control and hand-eye, and I think you can reasonably put a future 60 on the bat and see viable pull-power here as well. Pullin has long had an intriguing all-field approach to contact, and it’s odd to think that it’s best for him to start pulling the ball more consistently. If he can do that to unlock more game power while maintaining his ability to make contact, he has a chance to be a low-end regular. If not, he’s a bench guy with a limited defensive profile.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.0 WAR

31. Jose Pujols, RF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic
Age 21 Height 6’3 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 70/80 30/55 45/40 40/45 70/70

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Hit 24 homers at Lakewood in 2016.

Scouting Report
Scouts who have seen Pujols consistently since he signed have watched him make adjustments that have allowed him to start tapping into his considerable raw power in low-level games, and they’re optimistic about his ability to do it as he continues to move through the minors. He has 70 raw power right now and is still thin, wiry and somewhat physically projectable. He’s overaggressive at the plate, and his long levers cause length to the swing that might make his entire offensive profile untenable if they’re not polished. Pujols is never going to be a 50 or better hitter, so what scouts are looking for here is just that he finds a way to get to his power while he’s doing all this striking out. That’s probably going to require continued mechanical adjustment, as Pujols’ power output is more about pure strength right now while his swing remains geared for ground balls and line drives. Power hitters like this have a tendency to put things together late, so even if Pujols is 24 and having contact issues at Triple-A a few years from now, know he could be a Nellie Cruz-ish late bloomer.

Same goes for the defense in right field, which is pretty rough right now. Pujols has a 70 arm so he’s not moving, but there’s a good chance he’s a defensive liability even at maturity.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.7 WAR

32. Ricardo Pinto, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Venezuela
Age 23 Height 6’0 Weight 165 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/60 40/45 55/60 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Allowed 20 homers in 156 innings at Reading but, you know, Reading.

Scouting Report
Pinto is undersized but still sits 90-94 and touches 96 as a starter. He’s also got a straight, planeless fastball that might not play in the majors, even at that velocity, and a fringey slider. The changeup is above average and Pinto’s best pitch, and it could be plus at peak.

Pinto throws enough strikes to start, but when I saw him mid-year with Reading I thought the stuff really started to play down after multiple times through the lineup and, without a good third pitch to which he could resort, Pinto started getting tagged. I think, if the velo ticks up in short relief stints (it was 93-96 in the Futures Game), it will give him more margin for error on the fastball and suddenly a 60 fastball, 60 changeup with a good amount strikes starts looking pretty good one inning at a time. I have him projected in the bullpen, but the present fastball grade is as a starter where I think it plays down due to a lack of movement.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.9 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 5’10 Weight 156 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 30/30 20/30 60/60 50/60 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Has just .302 career OBP.

Scouting Report
Canelo is a plus runner and potential plus defender at shortstop. He has a very minimalistic approach at the plate and had a hard time competing physically at the plate in the FSL last year. You hope he puts the ball in play enough to hit at the bottom of the order, play a dynamite defensive shortstop and be a fringey regular, but it’s more realistic to expect Canelo to become a utility infielder.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.5 WAR

*****

*****

Other Prospects of Note (In Order of Preference)

Edgar Garcia, RHP, 0.8 KATOH+ WAR – Garcia sits low- to mid-90s and has a chance for a future plus slider. He has short, almost catcher-like arm action, is very upright throughout the delivery and there’s a lot of effort, so scouts have him projected as a reliever.

Jonathan Guzman, SS – An undersized but twitchy little shortstop prospect who put up good numbers in the DSL, Guzman has good feel to hit and polished defensive actions but the body needs to develop. He turned 17 in August so his performance in the DSL came at age 16, so there’s plenty of time for his body to mature, but his frame may not allow for it.

Ben Lively, RHP, 2.9 KATOH+ – Lively sits at 88-92, touching 94, with good armside fastball command but really struggles to work anything to his glove side. That makes it especially difficult for Lively, whose secondaries are fringey, to get lefties out. He’s got a fringe curve and changeup and is more of a high-volume strike thrower than surgical command righty like Eshelman is. A fifth-starter/up-and-down arm.

Tyler Viza, RHP, 2.2 KATOH+ – Viza has exceeded expectations at every level with fringey stuff. He’s tweaked his delivery a bit and the new one has a deceptive overhand release which has allowed for some Chris Young shenanigans up in the zone. The secondaries are fringey and realistically Viza is an up-and-down arm, but he’s still going to yield some big-league value and, for a 32nd-round pick, this is a huge win for Viza (whose makeup is reportedly terrific), Phillies player dev and four-corners scout Brad Holland, who signed a bunch of the guys on this list, as well as recent graduates Aaron Altherr and Ken Giles.

Jose Taveras, RHP, 1.5 KATOH+ – Taveras had a monster 2016 as a 23-year-old in Low-A, living off of deception and extension rather than stuff. He has three fringe to average pitches in his fastball, change and slider. There’s a chance it all plays up in relief, but scouts to whom I talked prefer him as a sixth-starter type who comes up from Triple-A in the event of injury, essentially a replacement-level arm.

Deivi Grullon, C, 1.2 KATOH+ – While he’s a terrific defensive catching prospect who receives well, frames well, has a plus arm and calls a good game, I’ve spoken to scouts who have 20s on Grullon’s bat. He’s big and heavy for a 20-year-old and has below-average bat speed. If he gets to the majors it will be as a glove-only backup.

Francisco Morales, RHP – Morales is a monster at 6-foot-5, with a fastball that climbs into the mid-90s and plus slider projection. He’s had trouble finding mechanical consistency, and there’s a good chance he ends up as a reliever because of it. There’s a non-zero chance that Morales can clean up the delivery and develop enough of a changeup/split to profile as a No. 4 starter, but there are far too many developmental hurdles to clear for that to be considered a likelihood.

Josh Stephen, OF, 0.6 KATOH+ – An overslot flier from the 2016 draft’s 11th round, Stephen has great feel to hit but his tools are otherwise fringey. It’s a likely left-field profile so, if the power starts to come, he’ll move up the list. For now he’s a bat-first wait-and-see prospect.

Jiandido Tromp, OF, 0.5 KATOH+ – Tromp has always been old for his level because his development has taken a back seat to other more highly touted outfielders in the system, but he has some tools. Average raw power, passable in center field, well-built, twitchy. I think he gets there as a bench outfielder.

Cole Irvin, LHP – Irvin was 88-91 for me with Oregon in the spring with a shapely, heavily used curveball that he often threw for early-count, get-me-over strikes. He has a fringe change. The command needs to max out if he’s going to be more than an up-and-down arm. If it does, he’s a No. 5 starter. He missed 2014 recovering from TJ.

Brayan Gonzalez, INF – Gonzalez is a jack-of-all trades infielder with a polished bat. His already mature frame will likely prevent him from having the pure speed often required for shortstops, but his arm and actions should allow him to play up the middle occasionally, even if his most natural defensive home is probably going to be third base. Gonzalez has great feel for contact and projects as a bat-first utility man.

Nick Torres, INF – Torres is a plus-plus runner (6.4 in the 60 yard dash) who may not have the arm strength for the left side of the infield. The bat is light, and the ability to develop that arm and remain at short is imperative.

Julian Garcia, RHP – A small-school righty who will show you 94 with curveball feel, Garcia also has well below-average command right now but a chance for middle relief.

Luis Encarnacion, 1B, 0.0 KATOH+ – He’s a power-before-hit bonus baby with plus raw power, but there’s huge pressure on the bat and very little indication that he’s going to hit enough to profile thus far.

David Martinelli, OF, 0.2 KATOH+ – An excellent defensive corner outfielder with solid hand-eye, Martinelli also a late trigger that made him swing-and-miss prone in the NYPL last year. Very little lower-half usage means very little power, so he needs to hit and, even if he does, he’s likely a bench outfielder.

Mau Llovera, RHP, 1.6 KATOH+ – Llovera has a bad body but is up to 97, sitting mostly 92-94, with curveball feel.

Keudy Bocio, MIF, – Bocio probably fits better at second base and is a bit undersized but has good feel to hit and an idea of the strike zone.

Greg Pickett, OF/1B – Pickett’s a huge power-hitting prospect who missed much of 2016 with injury. I have questions about the athleticism, but there’s future 70 raw here so he’s worth following.

Aaron Brown, OF, 0.3 KATOH+ – A two-way player at Pepperdine who’s been an outfielder full time in pro ball, Brown has some raw power and speed but not enough for center and stiffness limits his ability to make contact. Might be a fifth outfielder.

Grenny Cumana, SS, 0.3 KATOH+ – Cumana is a 70 runner and 60 arm but is also a diminutive and deal-breaking 5-foot-5, 140. You are obligated to root for him.

Raul Rivas, INF – Potential glove-first utility option on the infield, Rivas has a 60 arm, great defensive feet and instincts.

Cistulli’s Guy
Selected by Carson Cistulli from any player who received less than a 40 FV.

Jesmuel Valentin, 2B, 1.1 KATOH+
On the four occasions when Valentin has compiled at least 150 plate appearances at a single level — which occurred 2012-14 with the Dodgers and last year, at Double-A, in the Phillies organization — Valentin has recorded strikeout rates between 11.6% and 15.6%. He’s recorded isolated-slugging marks between .105 and .150. He’s played a position that provides slightly above-average defensive value.

Over the last five years, nine major leaguers have recorded a season matching those same criteria. The results:

Jesmuel Valentin Major-League Comparables?
Name Team Season PA K% ISO wRC+ Def WAR
Jacoby Ellsbury Yankees 2014 635 14.6% .148 109 2.1 4.1
Shane Victorino – – – 2012 666 12.0% .128 94 4.4 3.0
Eduardo Nunez – – – 2016 595 14.8% .145 102 2.6 2.7
Kolten Wong Cardinals 2015 613 15.5% .124 96 2.6 2.3
Jacoby Ellsbury Yankees 2016 626 13.4% .111 91 2.7 2.0
Aramis Ramirez Brewers 2014 531 14.1% .142 109 1.3 1.8
Wilmer Flores Mets 2015 510 12.4% .145 94 4.3 1.8
Josh Harrison Pirates 2016 522 14.6% .105 87 2.9 1.5
Gordon Beckham White Sox 2012 582 15.3% .137 80 3.7 0.9
Average – – – – – – 587 14.1% .132 96 3.0 2.2

None of these are what one might characterize as a “transcendent” season. Nonetheless, they’ve all been better than a replacement player would have provided — and, in aggregate, have yielded wins at a slightly above-average rate.

As noted, Valentin produced similar numbers last season as a 22-year-old playing in a league that recorded an average batter age of 24.3. He recorded a league-average batting mark following a promotion to Lehigh Valley. There are indications that, with average development, he could do the same thing in the majors. While playing average-ish defense, as well.

*****

System Overview

This system has potential impact up top (and some of it close to the big leagues) to go along with a huge midsection of 45 FV prospects whom you can rank in various acceptable orders depending on your personal taste. I prefer the high-upside arms, clearly. Many of the names on this list were acquired via international free agency and many of those were signed on the cheap. Sanchez, Medina and Kilome were brought aboard for a combined $145,000. The only seven-figure bonus babies on the list are two of the right-handed power bats, Ortiz and Encarnacion, and it seems as though power potential is the lone skill on which the Phillies place a premium on the IFA market.

Philadelphia has a long track record of signing and developing good international amateur players (three-quarters of the big league infield were IFAs and all were signed for $100K or less) for very little money and are in a great position to succeed under the horrendous new international bonus rules which place a hard cap on spending. Aside from the short-sighted and discriminatory nature of the bonus pool caps that will have a negative impact on players, there’s a chance more teams begin flocking to a strategy similar to what teams like Philly and Pittsburgh have displayed where they give out many smaller bonuses to a wide swath of players. Nobody to whom I’ve spoken in the industry is sure what impact a less diverse metagame, if you will, will have on the IFA market now that certain more expensive strategies are no longer an option.

Philadelphia is also likely to add another 55 FV prospect to this list with the eighth-overall pick in June’s draft and still have a few big-league assets that could attract interest ahead of the deadline.



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Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.


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