Tag Archives: JoJo Romero

Phillies Nation places Alec Bohm at top of latest Phillies Top 20 Prospects rankings

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Alec Bohm ascends to the top of the Phillies prospect rankings

The Phillies Nation official Top 20 Philadelphia Phillies prospect ranking is being updated here based on a survey of select members of our current staff taken as Spring Training wound down back in late March.

Taking part in the survey were Editorial Director Tim Kelly, lead writer Matthew Veasey (yours truly) and staff writers Alec Whitaker and Drew Rhoades.
We each presented individual Phillies top 20 prospect lists. These were subsequently compiled into what you find presented below as our official ranking.
As always, the staff here at Phillies Nation follow the organization on a regular basis, from the lowest levels of the minor leagues on up through the big league club. We regularly read evaluations from industry experts and those who closely follow the team.
In forming our opinions we incorporate those of the scouts and industry experts from various sources including MLB PipelineBaseball AmericaFangraphs and a variety of other respected outside resources. We also attend games in person at a number of levels and watch televised broadcasts of the big club and minor league affiliates. As often as possible, we work to see players and prospects actually perform on the field with our own eyes as well.
This latest Phillies Nation version of the current Phillies Top 20 Prospects is meant to present fans of the team with a clearer picture of the very best youngsters now moving through the organization’s minor league system.
Our usual standards applied: in order for players to be considered, they must have not used up their rookie qualifications of 130 big-league at-bats or 50 innings pitched with Major League Baseball.
To come up with each player’s ranking, I simply took each of our staffer’s lists and assigned a numeric point value based on those lists. A first place ranking from our staffer got you one point, a fifth place spot five, a 12th place spot got you 12 points and so on.
A dozen prospects found themselves on all four of our lists. You will find them as the No. 1-12 ranked prospects below. The next five from 13-17 were named on three of our four lists. The final three players at 18-20 were on two lists. Two other players were also named on two lists but ranked lower overall.
Full write-ups on the top 10 are supplied with 11-20 simply ranked. And once again as a bonus, players who were mentioned by at least one of our staffers but who did not make the overall top 20 are presented as well.
We hope you enjoy, and feel free to let us know about someone who you think we should be looking at for our next ranking in the late summer, your favorites who may not have made the list.


PHILLIES NATION: PHILLIES TOP 20 PROSPECTS
  1. Alec Bohm, 3B: After the Phillies dealt away their consensus top prospect in pitcher Sixto Sanchez back in early February in the J.T. Realmuto trade, Bohm has ascended to the organizational throne. Well, at least in the eyes of three of our four participating staffers. The third overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft out of Wichita State, Bohm is billed as an advanced bat with both power and high-average potential who controls the strike zone well and who simply needs to prove that he can stay at the hot corner for the long-term. That will be his mission as he opens his first full professional season at Low-A Lakewood. If he produces as expected, you will at least see Bohm at High-A Clearwater before the summer is out. If he both hits and fields the position well you might even see him at Double-A Reading around the time that he turns 23 years of age in early August. Maikel Franco is off to a hot start in Philly. Rhys Hoskins has first base nailed down. However, with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement coming in a couple of years, we may see the Designated Hitter in the National League starting in the early-2020s. That could pave the way for Bohm’s promotion, if he doesn’t force a tough decision before hand.
  2. Adonis Medina, RHP: With the trade of Sanchez, Medina has inherited the title of top pitching prospect in the Phillies system. He also received the other top overall prospect vote from our Drew Rhoades, who stated the following: “the unanimous top pitching prospect for the Phillies, and for good reason. Medina has a 3.21 ERA in five seasons in the minors, and while his 4.12 ERA last season was a bump up from his 2017 3.01 ERA, he still has the stuff (9.9 SO/9 in 2018) to make it in the majors.” MLB Pipeline says “Pure stuff-wise, Medina is as electric as perhaps any prospect’s in baseball and when he’s locked in, he can be virtually unhittable. He uses his three-pitch mix to miss a lot of bats, striking out 10 per nine innings in his first two years of full-season ball.” Our Tim Kelly stated the following: “… it is worth noting that of the 51 earned runs that Medina surrendered in 111.1 innings at Single-A Clearwater, 26 of those runs came in just four starts. If he can limit his outliers in 2019, he could rise up through the Phillies system relatively quickly.”  He won’t turn 23 years old until a week before Christmas. Medina opens the season with Double-A Reading and, assuming he continues on his current developmental path, should reach Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the season is over. If his season is strong enough and he remains healthy you might even see him get a September cup of coffee in Philadelphia.
  3. Adam Haseley, OF: Haseley turns 23 in the second week of April, and the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft will open the season with Double-A Reading. Though Bohm got my top prospect vote, I had Haseley in my second position. I’m a fan of his toolbox. The kid can flat-out rake, with a sweet left-handed swing that consistently finds the barrel of the bat. Pipeline reports that he “…doesn’t strike out a ton and can draw walks and there’s the chance for more power to come as he learns to add more leverage to his swing, something he did more of later in his first season.” Though Haseley slashed just .167/.211/.250 in the Grapefruit League last month, he impressed many, including our Alec Whitaker: “…impressed me with his ability to hit to all fields. He brings speed, hustle, and solid defense to the table as well. He didn’t hit incredibly well in Spring Training, but he did other things well and gained valuable experience.” This will be an extremely important season for Haseley. The Phillies appear set in the outfield over the next couple of seasons, so he doesn’t have to be rushed. Produce this year in Reading and next year at Lehigh Valley, and 2021 could find him pushing his way to the Phillies. It’s entirely possible he pushes his way towards the majors much quicker. If he forces the organization’s hand sooner, it will be a good problem to have.
  4. JoJo Romero, LHP: Since Cole Hamels broke into the big-leagues in 2006 the Phillies have not developed a left-handed starter who has made a difference in their rotation other than J.A. Happ, who was dealt away in the 2010 Roy Oswalt trade, after one solid season. He won’t turn 23 until September, but Romero is not far off from helping the Phillies. Pipeline writes: “At his best, Romero commands his fastball to both sides of the plate and goes right after hitters, something he struggled with in the early going a year ago. Strong and athletic, he shouldn’t need too much more time to be ready for a gig as a mid-rotation starter.” If he remains healthy and productive this year, we might even see him get a promotion to Philadelphia later in the season. For now, he opens the season as part of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley rotation looking to both work on his control and demonstrate that he can get more advanced hitters out on a regular basis.
  5. Mickey Moniak, OF: “The former No. 1 overall pick slashed .286/.332/.442 with 29 RBIs and 17 walks after the All-Star Break a season ago. Now 20, this will be a crucial season.” That was the breakdown from Tim Kelly, pointing out the 2018 second-half breakthrough, which those who remain in Moniak’s corner are hanging their hats upon. Consider me one of them. I simply cannot believe that the Phillies would get it so wrong with the top overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Pipeline stated “…he’s reportedly already added more strength this off-season to help him show more extra-base thump. He was more consistent defensively as well and showed he could help a team in center field even when he wasn’t swing the bat as well.” Moniak turns 21 years old in May and joins Haseley in the Reading outfield this season in what will be a crucial year for him to finally put it all together.
  6. Luis Garcia, SS: Easily the most disparate vote-getter among our staff, who ranked him third, sixth, ninth and 11th on our individual lists. With Garcia, it’s all about whether you value potential over a more proven record at advanced levels and closeness to helping the big club. The 18-year-old has that high potential in his corner. Pipeline describes it perfectly: “It’s hard not to get excited about Garcia’s tools, though it should be tempered with the fact that much of it is projection and the teenager has a long way to go.” When Sanchez was still in the system this past off-season, Baseball America ranked Garcia third behind Sixto and Bohm saying he is “at least a few years away, but he could soon become the Phillies top prospect as a potential plus hitter with plus defense at a premium position.” In ranking him third, Kelly pointed out that ESPN’s Jeff Passan has predicted that Garcia would be the club’s number one prospect at the end of this season.
  7. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP: It’s difficult to see where De Los Santos fits in with the Phillies, assuming he isn’t used as trade bait at some point. Alec Whitaker believes that “he may be better off served in the bullpen long-term. If that is the case, he has a chance to become an effective reliever.” His fastball and change are already good enough to help the Phillies bullpen right now. However, the organization will pitch him as part of their season-opening six-man rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He doesn’t turn 24 until Christmas Day, so time remains on this side. Expect to see him back with the Phillies again at some point this year when the need arrives for an emergency pitcher in either role.
  8. Spencer Howard, RHP: He’ll turn 23 years old at the end of July and will open the season fronting the High-A Clearwater rotation. As he gets more innings under his belt and the six-man Reading rotation sorts itself out, expect to see Howard at Double-A before that birthday. “He misses plenty of bats and has the stuff to be a frontline starter,” per Pipeline. “The only thing that could hold him back is his command and control. If he can build off of his improvements in finding the strike zone as well as consistent mechanics on his breaking stuff, he could reach that ceiling in the near future.
  9. Ranger Suarez, LHP: As Whitaker points out “He’s a lefty, which makes him vital to the Phillies – who lack lefty pitching. He’s probably destined for the bullpen, but he has back-end starter potential.” If Suarez pitches well as part of the IronPigs six-man rotation he will simply be waiting, like De Los Santos, for another opportunity in Philadelphia. His chance could come sooner due to his southpaw status, especially if Adam Morgan and Jose Alvarez let the Phillies down. Pipeline gets it right again: “His ceiling is limited to that of a back-end stater, but he’s ready to help out now.
  10. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF: Rhoades wrote “I love Jhailyn’s potential as a slugger. Back in 2017, former director of player development Joe Jordan called Ortiz a “hitter with power.” He isn’t wrong. Ortiz hit 13 home runs in 110 games last season, albeit with a .225 average. In 2017, Ortiz hit .302, so perhaps he’ll continue to grow as a contact hitter.”  Pipeline backs up that assessment of Ortiz power in their report which calls the tool “at least a 70 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale.” For Ortiz, who will play all of the 2019 season at age 20, it will be all about proving he can be something more than an all-or-nothing type. He begins the year battling a hamstring strain, and should open his season with High-A Clearwater once healthy.
  11. Cole Irvin, LHP
  12. Francisco Morales, RHP
  13. Arquimedes Gamboa, SS
  14. Rafael Marchan, C
  15. Mauricio Llovera, RHP
  16. Kyle Young, LHP
  17. David Parkinson, LHP
  18. Simon Muzziotti, OF
  19. Cornelius Randolph, OF
  20. Kyle Dohy, LHP

First round of a dozen spring cuts leaves Phillies with 49 players in big-league camp

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Enyel De Los Santos was among first dozen Phillies reassignments

The Philadelphia Phillies dropped an 8-2 decision on Monday to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. With that game in the books the club has now officially passed the halfway point of its Grapefruit League schedule.

The Phillies record under the Florida sun sits at 9-7 following the defeat. They now have 14 games remaining on their schedule prior to heading back north for the March 28 regular season opener against the division-rival Atlanta Braves.
Following their game on Saturday, March 9, a first round of seven players were reassigned. After today’s game another round of five reassignments was announced. These dozen roster moves are part of the effort to cut down to the 25 players who will be in the home clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park on Opening Day.
Both 22-year-old pitcher Adonis Medina, who is the Phillies #2 prospect now per MLB Pipeline, and 21-year-old shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa, considered their#13 prospect, were optioned to Double-A Reading on Saturday.

Today the Phillies optioned pitchers Enyel De Los SantosAustin Davis and Edgar Garcia to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. De Los Santos is the team’s #6 prospect and made his Major League Baseball debut last season, appearing in seven games and making two starts on the mound. Davis saw action in 32 games with the Phillies last season as a situational left-hander.
Reassigned to the minor league camp over the two days were pitchers Cole IrvinJoJo Romero and Tyler Gilbert, catcher Deivy Grullon, first baseman Austin Listi, infielder Malquin Canelo and outfielder Mickey Moniak. Romero is the Phillies #7 prospect, Moniak #9 and Irvin #16 per MLB Pipeline.
The 20-year-old Moniak was the top overall pick of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. While he has struggled for much of his professional career, he finally began to hit the ball with more authority last summer. Listi was the 2018 Paul Owens Award winner as the top performing position player prospect in the Phillies minor league system.
Given the improvements to the overall Phillies roster, none of these players were expected to make the team out of spring training. The team still has a crowd of 49 players at major league camp, and more cuts can be expected at some point during the coming week.

NOTE: the Phillies further announced that pitcher Ranger Suarez was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley following Monday’s spring game.

JoJo Romero named as Double-A Reading Fightin’ Phils POY

JoJo Romero, Reading Player of the Year
(Photo: Baseball Betsy)

The Reading Fightin’ Phils have been the Philadelphia Phillies Double-A minor league affiliates since their founding all the way back in 1968 when they were simply named the Reading Phillies.

The relationship between the two teams is tied for the longest minor league affiliation in baseball.

In 2008 the Philadelphia Phillies ownership outright purchased the Reading club, and the nickname was changed for the 2013 season.
Often simply known as the “Fightins”, the Reading team is the oldest in the Eastern League still playing in their original city. The club has played its home games at FirstEnergy Stadium, which was built in 1951 and was originally known as Reading Municipal Stadium, for its entire history.
Reading, Pennsylvania has been nicknamed “Baseballtown” as its relationship to organized baseball goes back to at least 1858 and the Reading Athletic Club. The city is located approximately 70 miles northwest of the Philadelphia area. Depending on where you are coming from, traffic conditions, and the route you take, it is about an hour-and-a-half to two-hour drive usually utilizing I-76.
The Fightin’ Phils went 64-73 this season, finishing in fourth place in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League. Their manager is 58-year-old Greg Legg, a 22nd round draft pick of the Phillies way back in 1982. Legg would reach the big-leagues, playing in parts of the 1986 and 1987 seasons with the Phillies.
This year’s Reading Fightin’ Phils Player of the Year is pitcher JoJo Romero. A native of Oxnard, California, the 6-0, 190lb left-hander was taken by the Phillies with their fourth-round selection in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft out of Yavapai College in Arizona.
Romero had his season cut short due to an oblique injury, but still made 18 starts for the Fightins. He went 7-6 with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.294 WHIP, allowing 97 hits over 106.2 innings with a 100/41 K:BB ratio.
He currently ranks #5 on the Phillies Top Prospects list by MLB.com, where they show him as throwing five different pitches: fastball, cutter, changeup, slider, and curveball. Each of his offerings are graded out at 50 or higher, with his fastball receiving a 60 grade.
Their scouting report on him includes the following breakdown of his pitches:
“…improved stuff, along with his command, make him a much better pitching prospect overall. His four-seam fastball was up to 95 mph all year, including his final start of 2017 against Blue Jays super-prospects Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette, while his sinking 90-93 mph two-seamer generates a lot of weak contact on the ground. Depending on the report, he has as many as four secondary pitches. His changeup and cutter have the chance to be plus pitches, while he has a distinct average slider that is a bit ahead of his curveball. He fills the strike zone with all of them consistently.”


Romero also finished in the #5 slot when we released our own Phillies Nation Top 20 Phillies Prospects rankings back in early August of this year. In our description, staff writer Alec Whitaker wrote:
an ERA of 3.80 while playing in a tough pitchers park at Reading is more than okay. Romero could be a solid middle rotation option or an elite lefty out of the bullpen.
Romero put together his strong season after getting off to a horrendous start. Over his first seven outings the lefty went 0-4 with a 6.38 ERA, allowing 43 hits over 36.2 innings. Opposing batters were hitting .291 against him.
Mitchell Gladstone at Philly.com did a nice piece on Romero back in mid-July, just before the injury shut down his season. In it, Gladstone quoted Legg on the turnaround made by his pitcher:
“He was trying to do too much. He had an arsenal of all these pitches — a two-seamer, a four-seamer, a slider, a cutter, a curveball, a change-up. In the first three hitters of a game, he’s trying to do all of it. … The biggest thing since his first four or five starts here was that he simplified his attack.
After making the adjustments, Romero went 7-2 over his final 11 outings with just a .212 batting average against. He allowed just 54 hits over 70 innings with a 69/22 K:BB ratio during that ending stretch to his season. That was the stretch that pushed him to this Player of the Year recognition.
Romero should reach Triple-A Lehigh Valley next season. Whether that happens out of spring training or into the season probably depends on his health and his spring performances. That would leave him on the doorstep of a promotion to the Phillies.
All big-league clubs are continually looking for effective left-handers. Rookie southpaw Ranger Suarez made three starts for the Phillies this season, the only three by a left-hander all year. Should Romero stay healthy and continue to mature as expected he will at least be in line for a bullpen shot as early as next summer.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Reading Fightin’ Phils Player of the Year: JoJo Romero