Tag Archives: Baseball America

How long can Andy MacPhail survive as Phillies organization again ranked poorly?

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After four years, MacPhail’s organization stuck in neutral

The folks at Baseball America collectively produce one of the most respected all-around resources in the game. They are well known for their prospect, draft and minor league coverage. And they also provide some of the best coverage of the deeper issues involving all aspects of the game.

Baseball America is also really good at coming up with lists and rankings. They regularly provide updated rankings lists of the top prospects in each organization. They also do overall organizational rankings as well, which reflect the state of each club’s minor league talent situation.
The Philadelphia Phillies were ranked just 23rd among the 30 big-league organizations prior to the 2019 season. Now the Baseball America organizational ranking has been updated, as they note: “taking the 2019 MLB Draft, our updated Top 100 and new team Top 30s into consideration.”
Those newly considered factors did not help the Phillies. In fact, the organization has now dropped two places, down to just 25th among 30 clubs in Major League Baseball.
Only five organizations are rated lower right now, including the division rival New York Mets just behind in the 26th spot. The Washington Nationals are just ahead of both, sitting in the #24 slot.
The Atlanta Braves embarrassment of prospect riches continues to grow. The defending NL East champions and current division leaders are now ranked in the #3 position. Meanwhile, the rebuilding Miami Marlins have entered the top ten in the #10 spot.
With third baseman Alec Bohm at #37 and pitcher Spencer Howard coming in at #68, the Phillies have just two of the current Baseball America top 100 prospects. It’s not only BA thinking poorly of the Phillies top-level minor league talent. MLB Pipeline currently has just Bohm (36) and pitcher Adonis Medina (75) among their top 100 prospects. Bohm (54), Howard (56) and Medina (71) show up among the current Fangraphs top 100 prospects.
By contrast, the Braves have a half-dozen in the Baseball America top 100, including three youngsters rated higher than Bohm. Both MLB and Fangraphs have the Braves with five on their lists, with four of those ranking higher than any Phillies prospect.
While on a par with the Nationals and Mets and possessing more talent at the big-league level than the Marlins, the situation involving the Braves does not bode well for the Phillies. They watched as Atlanta stormed past them to capture a division crown a year ago, and now despite a major financial outlay in this past off-season, the Braves have once again roared past the Phillies in the standings.
Prospect and minor league rankings are not the be-all and end-all for an MLB organization. But having a deep and talented pool of youngsters not only allows you to bring waves of talent up to help your big club, it also provides you with enticing chips to deal who are attractive to other organizations at times such as the upcoming trade deadline.

This situation is most definitely an indictment of the Andy MacPhailMatt Klentak regime. MacPhail has been the President of Baseball Operations for nearly four full years now. This is his organization, from a baseball talent standpoint. Klentak was his first big hiring as the GM in the fall of 2015. Together, they have presided over the last four Phillies drafts and four July 2nd international signing periods. The Phillies have yet to finish a season with a winning record in their tenure.

 

I am quite sure that the Phillies baseball operations people would respectfully disagree with this ranking. But for principal owner John Middleton to continue ignoring the inability of MacPhail to put together a respected organization, talent-wise anyway, would be courting disaster.
The vast majority of MacPhail’s tenures with the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, and now the Phillies stretching back nearly two and a half decades reveal very little in the way of winning. In fact, even in this current season, perhaps especially in the current season when so much was anticipated and expected of his club, MacPhail continues to do nothing more than tread water.
It’s hard for us to make the judgment now that we’re one trade away from the World Series. We don’t believe that. I don’t believe that. So, as a result, you’re going to have to be more judicious with your playing talent…given our current circumstances, I think I’m going to be a little judicious and careful about what talent’s walking out the door.”
That was MacPhail’s commentary per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia when asked recently about the Phillies approach to the upcoming MLB trade deadline, which is now less than a week away. Other than Bohm and perhaps Howard or Medina, what “talent” is he concerned about “walking out the door?
The Phillies absolutely should not even consider dealing away Bohm at his point. And Howard is becoming nearly as untouchable, elevating himself past Medina to become clearly the Phillies top pitching prospect. Anyone else should be fair game in trade talks – but would any team in possession of genuine talent that could help the Phillies reach the 2019 postseason be attracted by that talent, even in a package?
MacPhail received a three-year contract extension at the end of the 2017 season, taking him through 2021. Klentak was extended for three years back in March in a deal that runs through the 2022 season. The track record of both leaves me scratching my head as to the reasoning, at least in the timing, behind those extensions.
Not much high-level minor league talent. Very little winning at the big-league level in decades while running an organization. How long can that be allowed to continue without serious repercussion at the management level?

Phillies may finally have a legitimate lefty starting pitching prospect emerging

Damon Jones has emerged as a legit Phillies pitching prospect
Baseball America is one of the most respected resources in all of baseball for all sorts of information on the game. That is especially so regarding their evaluation and coverage of minor league baseball and top prospects.
In a regular feature, the periodical and website releases a monthly “Dynasty Stock Report” as a research tool for fantasy baseball players who might be looking for emerging prospects.
For their June release, Baseball America had an interesting name pop up in the “Surging” category of that stock report. The named belonged to a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, left-hander Damon Jones.
Jone is a 24-year-old southpaw (he turns 25 in September) from Idaho who was the Phillies 18th round selection in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft out of Washington State University.
After signing with the organization, Jones began his professional career that same summer at short-season Williamsport. He then advanced to Low-A Lakewood for his first full season in 2018 and began to excel. That season, Jones went 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA, striking out 123 batters over 113.1 innings across 23 games, 22 of those as starting assignments.
This year, Jones has upped his game. Over 11 starts at High-A Clearwater the lefty went 4-3 with a 1.54 ERA and 1.063 WHIP. He allowed just 38 hits over 58.1 innings, earning a promotion to Double-A Reading. There he has continued to dominate, allowing nine hits over his first 22 innings across four starts.

Jones has greatly improved his command and control as he has risen through the ranks. This season he has fashioned a 119/33 K:BB. He also has allowed just three home runs, and has yielded just 10 total long balls over his now 219+ minor league innings pitched.

Matt Eddy at Baseball America had the following to say in bestowing their “surging” designation on Jones:
The 6-foot-5 lefthander streamlined his delivery this season…Improved fastball velocity and enhanced feel for his slider enabled the 24-year-old Jones to record a 1.17 ERA in 30.2 innings in June, striking out 44 and walking nine. The biggest improvement had been much sharper control than he had shown in past seasons.
In his own piece for BA on July 2, Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb quoted Phillies director of player development Rafael Chaves: “Obviously, his stuff was always pretty good. Command was always the question mark. Now he’s throwing the ball not only with authority, but he’s commanding it.
Given his age and developmental path, it would not be surprising to see Jones surface in Philadelphia by this September, if not sooner. The Phillies pitching woes have been well documented, as has been their inability to develop a left-handed starter. Jones is at least putting himself in the picture for consideration to receive a shot sometime soon.
NOTE: Special thanks to Gail “Baseball Betsy” Dull for the pic of Damon Jones that accompanied this piece. She also shot the video within the piece as well. Follow her at BaseballBetsy.com, and her husband “Baseball Ross“, both providing fantastic Phillies and other Florida-based minor league coverage.

Originally published at Phillies Nation asDamon Jones surges into Phillies prospects pitching picture

Shortstop Luis Garcia named top prospect in Gulf Coast League

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Luis Garcia, an 18-year-old shortstop signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in July 2017 out of the Dominican Republic, was named by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Gulf Coast League.
In their latest issue, displaying Shohei Ohtani on the cover, the respected baseball bi-weekly publication ranked the top 10 prospects in each of the six short-season and rookie minor leagues.
Garcia was awarded the top spot in the GCL following his first season playing in the United States. Garcia slashed .369/.433/.488 over 187 plate appearances across 43 games while playing for the “Phillies West” squad. He also knocked in 32 runs, scored 33 times, and swiped a dozen bags.
In writing up the GCL rankings, Ben Badler of Baseball America described Garcia as follows:

“…a smooth, graceful defender at shortstop with quick feet, great hands and a plus arm. He has the ability to make the flashy barehanded play, though unlike a lot of young shortstops, Garcia also makes smart decisions in the field and plays under control. While there was a split camp among scouts on Garcia’s hitting ability as an amateur, he showed a mature hitting approach from both sides in the GCL.”

In the issue, BA also included two more Phillies prospects in their rankings. The club’s 2018 top draft pick, Williamsport Crosscutters third baseman Alec Bohm, was rated the #8 prospect in the New York-Penn League. Williamsport catcher Rafael Marchan was ranked #12.
Garcia was ranked #14 in our Phillies Nation Top 20 Phillies Prospects list released back in early August. We rated Bohm as the second-best prospect in the entire farm system behind only pitcher Sixto Sanchez.
MLB.com also currently ranks the 22-year-old Bohm as second with Garcia at #14 among their Phillies top prospects. On Garcia, the MLB scouting report states:
“One of the bigger things that stood out was Garcia’s glove at shortstop. He has plus range, excellent hands and good footwork, with a plus arm that really stands out. Given that he’s just 17 for all of the 2018 season, there are obvious strength gains that will need to occur, but there’s confidence that will come as he starts to mature.”

Garcia is just beginning his minor league development, but he is off to a fantastic start. If he continues to develop as hoped, Phillies fans are still not likely to see him at Citizens Bank Park much before the 2022 season.

Phils Place Six on Baseball America Midseason Top 100 Prospects List

The Philadelphia Phillies have placed six prospects among the Top 100 in the game on Baseball America’s Midseason Top 100 list.

In ranking released today, the strength of the Phillies minor league system was revealed once again, as a half-dozen of the organization’s prospects were ranked within the Top 100 in the game by Baseball America.
Following on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that four of the club’s prospects had made the Top 50 as ranked by Baseball Prospectus, this continues to reinforce that Phillies fans still have a number of supremely talented youngsters on the way.
The six prospects ranked by Baseball America are led by shortstop J.P. Crawford, who was placed at the top by BP, but who is rated in the #3 slot by BA behind 2nd baseman Yoan Moncada of Boston and pitcher Alex Reyes of Saint Louis.
Crawford has been hot of late as he adjusts to the highest level of the minor leagues with AAA Lehigh Valley. 
Just a step away now from the big leagues, it would surprise no one to see him debut with the Phillies during the second half of this season.

Outfielder Nick Williams was ranked in the #40 spot by Baseball America, the only other Phillies prospect listed among their Top 50 overall.
Rounding out the Phillies contingent on the Baseball America Midseason Top 100are right-handed starting pitcher Jake Thompson (62), catcher Jorge Alfaro (67), catcher Andrew Knapp (80), and pitcher Franklyn Kilome (96).
To be eligible for the BA list, players had to be in the minor leagues still as of June 21st, which was the midway point of the minor league season. 
They also had to not have exceeded MLB rookie eligibility of 130 big league at-bats or 50 innings pitched, or 30 appearances in the majors by a reliever.
It is also important to note that 2016 draftees, such as the Phillies’ Mickey Moniak, or July 2nd signees were not eligible for the list because BA wanted this list to reflect a preview of the upcoming July 31st MLB non-waiver trade deadline. All of the players ranked are eligible to be dealt this year.
Next week, ESPN’s Keith Law is expected to release his own midseason top 100 ranking. 
As the Phillies continue to move forward in their rebuilding program, I will continue to bring you all of the exciting, relevant content needed on these emerging future stars.

Phils Place Six on Baseball America’s Midseason Top 100 Prospects List

In ranking released today, the strength of the Phillies minor league system was revealed once again, as a half-dozen of the organization’s prospects were ranked within the Top 100 in the game by Baseball America.
Following on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that four of the club’s prospects had made the Top 50 as ranked by Baseball Prospectus, this continues to reinforce that Phillies fans still have a number of supremely talented youngsters on the way.
The six prospects ranked by Baseball America are led by shortstop J.P. Crawford, who was placed at the top by BP, but who is rated in the #3 slot by BA behind 2nd baseman Yoan Moncada of Boston and pitcher Alex Reyes of Saint Louis.
Crawford has been hot of late as he adjusts to the highest level of the minor leagues with AAA Lehigh Valley. Just a step away now from the big leagues, it would surprise no one to see him debut with the Phillies during the second half of this season.
Outfielder Nick Williams was ranked in the #40 spot by Baseball America, the only other Phillies prospect listed among their Top 50 overall.
Rounding out the Phillies contingent on the Baseball America Midseason Top 100 are right-handed starting pitcher Jake Thompson (62), catcher Jorge Alfaro (67), catcher Andrew Knapp (80), and pitcher Franklyn Kilome (96).
To be eligible for the BA list, players had to be in the minor leagues still as of June 21st, which was the midway point of the minor league season. 
They also had to not have exceeded MLB rookie eligibility of 130 big league at-bats or 50 innings pitched, or 30 appearances in the majors by a reliever.
It is also important to note that 2016 draftees, such as the Phillies’ Mickey Moniak, or July 2nd signees were not eligible for the list because BA wanted this list to reflect a preview of the upcoming July 31st MLB non-waiver trade deadline. All of the players ranked are eligible to be dealt this year.
Next week, ESPN’s Keith Law is expected to release his own midseason top 100 ranking. As the Phillies continue to move forward in their rebuilding program, I will continue to bring you all of the exciting, relevant content needed on these emerging future stars,