Over the last couple of seasons, especially over the last calendar year, a concerted effort finally began to completely rebuild the Phillies minor league system.
The results have been dramatic. Nearly every respected prospect evaluation resource places the Phillies organization near the top of their organizational rankings, and a number of the club’s best individual prospects are featured across the most influential Top 50 and Top 100 lists.
Those changes to the young talent flowing through the organization have already begun to yield results at the big league level, as inconsistent as some of those youngsters may still be at this early point in their careers.
Pitchers Aaron NolaJerad EickhoffZach EflinVincent Velasquez, and now Jake Thompson all entered the Phillies organization in the last two years through trades or the MLB Amateur Draft, and all have already debuted with the Phillies starting pitching rotation.
Among position players, Maikel Franco is in his first full big league season at 3rd base, Tommy Joseph is showing power at 1st base, and center fielder Odubel Herrera followed up his 2015 rookie campaign with an appearance in the NL All-Star Game this year.
Now a new, even younger group of highly regarded prospects is beginning to make their move, having reached the highest levels of the club’s minor league system.
They are poised to make their own Phillies debut, some next month, some next year.
A few will be impacting the big league lineup within a year, and a few more should be impacting the team by the 2018 season.
At the ‘Reading Eagle’, home newspaper of the Phillies’ AA farm team, the Reading Fightin’ Phils, Mike Drago conducts a survey of beat writers, bloggers, and broadcasters who cover the Phillies and their system in print and on the internet.
For a 2nd straight season, I was honored to take part in this survey. This year, 15 of us took part in the balloting, and the results were released this past weekend.
Based on that survey, the Top 20 Philadelphia Phillies prospects at this time are:
  1. J.P. Crawford, SS, AAA
  2. Jorge Alfaro, C, AA
  3. Nick Williams, OF, AAA
  4. Jake Thompson, P, Phillies
  5. Mickey Moniak, OF, GCL
  6. Dylan Cozens, OF, AA
  7. Roman Quinn, OF, AA
  8. Cornelius Randolph, OF, A
  9. Franklyn Kilome, P, A
  10. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, AA
  11. Scott Kingery, 2B, AA
  12. Andrew Knapp, C, AAA
  13. Adonis Medina, P, NYP
  14. Nick Pivetta, P, AAA
  15. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF, GCL
  16. Ricardo Pinto, P, AA
  17. Elniery Garcia, P, High-A
  18. Ben Lively, P, AAA
  19. Kevin Gowdy, P, GCL
  20. Carlos Tocci, OF, High-A
In addition to those 20 players, another 15 Phillies prospects each received support in the form of multiple votes from the survey respondents.
Those players in order of the number of votes received were: Mark AppelSixto SanchezJimmy CorderoCole StobbeJose PujolsAlberto TiradoAlec AsherThomas EshelmanDrew AndersonAndrew PullinCole Irvin, Arquimedes Gamboa, JoJo RomeroMalquin Canelo, and Tyler Viza.
Crawford was not the unanimous selection that he had been in previous iterations of this type of Phillies prospect list. He did, however, receive a first place vote from nine of the respondents.
This left the talented shortstop, who also ranks among the Top 10 prospects in all of baseball by nearly every major evaluation resource, as the first player to ever finish at the top of the Reading Eagle rankings over three consecutive seasons.
The other six first place votes went to Moniak and Thompson, who received two apiece, as well as Williams and Hoskins, who each received a single first place vote. (As a personal aside, I don’t know what whoever gave Hoskins a first place ballot was drinking.)
Cozens was the high-riser from a year ago, when he finished down in the #24 spot. Meanwhile, Randolph saw himself dip from 4th to 8th as the steepest drop in the Top 10.
In all, 46 different Phillies prospects received a Top 20 vote from at least one of the survey respondents.
With all this talent pouring into Citizens Bank Park over the next two to three years, the future looks bright for the Phillies, even as the big league club continues to struggle.
NOTE: my own Top 25 Phillies Prospects ranking, which was what we were requested to submit, were in the following order:
Crawford, Alfaro, Moniak, Thompson, Williams, Quinn, Randolph, Gowdy, Kilome, Kingery, Cozens, Ortiz, Appel, Lively, Knapp, Medina, Stobbe, Hoskins, Tocci, Pivetta, Pinto, Canelo, Romero, Eshelman, Irvin.

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