Tag Archives: Luis Garcia

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

Respected evaluators place four Phillies minor leaguers on top prospect lists

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Adonis Medina is becoming one of baseball’s top pitching prospects

With just three more weeks to go before pitchers and catchers begin to report for Phillies 2019 spring training in Clearwater, Florida and still no resolution to the Bryce Harper or Manny Machado free agency situations, baseball is moving on – for now.

It is around this time each year that some of the most respected resources begin to release their top prospect lists for the upcoming season. Baseball Prospectus has now joined MLB Pipeline and Baseball America in releasing their lists here at the start of 2019.
The Philadelphia Phillies organization placed four prospects across the three lists Top 100 Prospects rankings (101 in BP’s case), but only one of those was unanimous in appearing on all three lists.
Last August we released our own Phillies Top 20 Prospects list here at Phillies Nation. Finishing at the top of that list was pitcher Sixto Sanchez. Nearly six months later the 20-year-old Dominican right-hander remains the crown jewel of the minor league system.
Sanchez was ranked as baseball’s #13 overall prospect by Baseball America, #21 at MLB Pipeline, and is sitting at #23 on the Baseball Prospectus list.
Two different players, pitcher Adonis Medina and third baseman Alec Bohm, each make an appearance on two of the three lists. Bohm placed second and Medina fourth in our PN rankings last summer. I wrote just last week of Bohm’s upcoming campaign to prove that he is the Phillies third baseman of the future.
Medina is ranked at #57 overall in baseball by Baseball Prospectus and #64 by MLB Pipeline, but does not appear on the Baseball America rankings. Bohm comes in at #50 for MLB Pipeline and #65 with Baseball America but is unranked by Baseball Prospectus.

The final Phillies prospect to show up on one of the major ranking lists is shortstop Luis Garcia, who Baseball America placed as the #88 prospect in all of baseball in their rankings. We had the 18-year-old from the Dominican Republic at #14 in the organization as of last August. Back in October, Baseball America named Garcia the top prospect in the Gulf Coast League.
Frankly, not much happens in a Major League Baseball off-season that would impact genuine change to prospect rankings. The few exceptions would be for trades, career-threatening injuries, or tremendous breakouts in the Arizona Fall League or Caribbean winter leagues.
Here at Phillies Nation, we don’t want to be publishing lists just for their own sake. So, you’ll see our updated rankings towards the end of the upcoming 2019 minor league season in August. Thus, the most recent full on-field performances are factored in with the 2019 MLB Draft results and in-season trades.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Four Phillies prospects land on respected 2019 Top 100 lists

Phillies have 10 remaining arbitration-eligible players

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Franco is one arbitration-eligible who should return in 2019

With the announcement this weekend that Pedro Florimon was outrighted from the 40-man roster, cleared waivers, and opted to become a free agent the Philadelphia Phillies have 10 arbitration-eligible players remaining.

Five of the seven are pitchers: right-handers Aaron NolaVince VelasquezJerad Eickhoff, and Hector Neris and lefty Adam Morgan. The two position players who I believe should return are third baseman Maikel Franco and outfielder Aaron Altherr.
Seven of those 10 players should be back with the team next season, especially considering the value they are likely to return on the contracts that each is likely to receive.
Three players who are eligible for arbitration should be moving on: second baseman Cesar Hernandez, first baseman Justin Bour, and pitcher Luis Garcia.
The pitchers should all be no-brainers. Nola is the current staff ace, a legitimate Cy Young Award contender. Velasquez, despite his continued command and control issues, has a valuable arm that could help the club at the back end of either the rotation or the bullpen.
Neris also still has a big-time arm. As Corey Seidman for NBC Sports Philadelphia pointed out in his own look at the arb-eligibles a few weeks back, Neris had the second-highest strikeout rate in the National League this past season behind only Josh Hader.
While Eickhoff and Morgan might seem like interesting choices, neither is likely to be expensive. Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors estimates Eickhoff at $1.7 million and Morgan at $1.1 million for 2019. Those are relatively inexpensive salaries.
If Eickhoff returns from his injury-lost campaign and returns to his 2016 level of performance, the price is a steal. Even just as a back-end rotation option or experienced arm at Triple-A waiting to help in the event of injuries, it’s not an outrageous sum.
Morgan is a favored whipping boy for some Phillies fans. However, turning 29-years-old at the start of spring training and with 301.2 innings over four big-league seasons he offers an experienced left-handed arm in the bullpen.
This isn’t just a “lefties are hard to come by” vote for Morgan. For a second straight season, Morgan struck out more batters and allowed fewer hits than innings pitched. After the all-star break, the 101 batters who Morgan faced hit just .242 with one homer off the southpaw.
At the price of just over $1 million for one season and considering that the Phillies hope to actually contend next year, I would bring Morgan back and hope that he continues to grow. He could prove to be a bargain.
In his arbitration breakdown, Seidman write this on Franco:
Signing Franco and then trading him seems like the best route. Franco is coming off of his best full season in the majors but there are only so many starting jobs in the infield. If Rhys Hoskins moves back to first base, it will likely mean Carlos Santana plays third. Franco will be easier to move and could fetch more in a trade than Santana.
Here is my problem with this line of thinking. Yes, there are only so many starting jobs in the infield. But one of those jobs, the third base job, is Franco’s. It has been for most of the last four years, and as Seidman said, last year was his best.
At age 26, Franco is just now entering his prime years. He cannot become a free agent for three more years. The Dominican native has legitimate 30-homer, 100-RBI potential.

Franco is never going to be a top defender at the hot corner. But that is a far cry from playing an aging, extremely limited Santana at the position. Franco might be “easier to move”, but let’s face it, neither he nor Santana will fetch much in trade.
The better decision is to admit the Santana signing was a mistake, and simply move on. Pass him off to another team and pay most of the salary this unfortunate contract owes over the next two years.
I don’t expect Klentak to ever admit to a mistake – he hasn’t admitted to a single one yet – but putting Santana over Franco at third base only compounds one that you already did in fact make. At just over $5 million, Franco could be another huge bargain.
Bour and Garcia are no big losses, and Altherr is an inexpensive risk. A lefty bench bat with some pop such as Bour provides could be valuable under the right circumstances. But that is the kind of weapon that a true contender picks up in July.
Garcia will be 32-years-old in January and the righty provided nothing special this past season. If Altherr is indeed at just around $1.6 million, that’s an inexpensive risk for one more year of someone with his ability and athleticism.
The controversial non-tender would be Hernandez. I argued a year ago that it was time to move on from him, and nothing changed based on the typically empty stats that he provided this past season.
Another mistake that the Phillies made in 2018 was putting a rookie who had excelled at second base throughout his minor league career, Scott Kingery, at the most demanding position of shortstop when he had never played it previously as a professional.
Kingery was a minor league Gold Glover at the keystone, and if the Phillies want to fix another mistake they will move on from Hernandez and the $8.9 million that Swartz predicts he will receive. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hernandez go for $10 million in arbitration. Kingery would do a better all-around job for just $1.5 million next year.
The Phillies will have until November 30 to offer contracts to these players. Should a veteran such as Hernandez or Bour not be offered a contract they are considered to have been non-tendered and will immediately join the ranks of baseball free agents.
For players who are offered arbitration, the Phillies and the individual players will have until January 11 to exchange salary figures for the 2019 season. Any such player who is unable to reach an agreement with the team will head to an arbitration hearing at a date to be determined during February.
The Phillies hould bring back the seven players at or near the arbitration figures they are estimated to be awarded. Do that, and the club will still have roughly $90-100 million to spend on new salaries before reaching the $206 million Competitive Value Tax for the 2019 season.
GM Matt Klentak is on the hot seat in this pivotal Hot Stove season for the Phillies. The decisions that he and his analytics crew make in handling the arbitration cases, particularly those of Franco and Hernandez, will be another key piece to the puzzle in trying to form a contending team.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “How the Phillies should handle their 10 remaining arbitration-eligible players

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.

Phillies bullpen bolstered by rookie Austin Davis

Davis proving a reliable bullpen option (Photo: Zimbio)
The Philadelphia Phillies bullpen was much maligned during the first few months of the 2018 MLB season, and for good reason.

Through June, closer Hector Neris had blown three Save opportunities. He also had fashioned a horrendous 6.90 ERA and had allowed three earned runs or more on four separate occasions.
Veteran left-hander Adam Morgan had a bloated 5.24 ERA and had blown five Save chances. Luis Garcia had a 4.74 ERA before going on the disabled list in mid-June.
The two free agents signed by the club in the off-season in order to improve the pen were not contributing. Tommy Hunter had a 5.04 ERA through June and had blown his lone Save opportunity. Pat Neshek spent the first three months on the DL and wouldn’t make his first appearance until July 1.
The poor performances and injuries led the Phillies brain trust to take a look into the minor league system for some help. There they found a 25-year-old southpaw on the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs pitching staff who was having some success.
Born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Austin Davis had been the Phillies selection in the 12th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of California State University in Bakersfield, California.
At the time of his selection, “The Baseball Draft Report” commented that Davis was “looking like scout pick for sure, as ’14 numbers (only season of D1 experience) weren’t pretty; really impressive stuff: 88-92 FB, 94-95 peak, 78-82 SL with upside, good 78-82 CU, low- to mid-70s CB; pro body (6-5, 240 pounds)…
Once signed, Davis quickly began demonstrating that “really impressive stuff” during a minor league career that saw him rise incrementally through the system with sustained success. Over parts of five seasons, the lefty would surrender 228 hits over 265.1 innings across 135 games with a 270/92 K:BB ratio.
His 3.1 BB/9 and 9.2 K/9 marks along with a 1.206 WHIP were nothing special. But Davis had a knack for avoiding serious trouble, which is an extremely valuable quality to a baseball manager.
This past December, “Baseball Ross” provided the following commentary on Davis while taking a look at Phillies prospects who had been passed over by other clubs in the Rule 5 Draft:

A big 6’4 power lefty out of the pen.  Watched him pitch in the low to mid 90’s at Clearwater last year where he went 2-0 striking out better than a batter an inning.  At Reading he gave up only one earned run to left-handed hitters to pitch to a 0.61 ERA against them.  The 24-year-old would make a great LOOGY out of a major league pen…

Promoted from AA Reading to AAA Lehigh Valley early this spring, Davis was enjoying a stellar season out of the IronPigs bullpen. He had a 2.43 ERA while yielding just 19 hits over 29.2 innings with an outstanding 38/8 K:BB over 22 games.
Davis has now been with the Phillies for a full month. Seven of his 11 outings have been scoreless, and he has a 17/5 K:BB while allowing 12 hits over 13 innings.

On Friday night, Davis was credited with his first big league win as the Phillies rallied for an 11-5 victory over the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park. He struck out three Padres batters while walking one and allowed one hit in relief when starter Jake Arrieta was driven out in the fourth inning.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com described his clutch effort:

“Phillies left-hander Austin Davis replaced Arrieta with runners on first and second and one out in the fourth. He walked Hunter Renfroe to load the bases, but got Carlos Asuaje to hit a ball to Carlos Santana, who threw home for the forceout at the plate. Davis then struck out Wil Myers to end the inning and went on to pitch 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the first win of his big league career.”

We have everything we need,” Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler proclaimed following the game per Zolecki. The Phillies are believed to be taking a look at a number of options as possible trade acquisitions to bolster the pen. Whether successful in that effort or not, they may have found an in-house keeper in Davis.

Originally appeared at PHILLIES NATION as “Austin Davis adding reliable depth to Phillies bullpen options.