Tag Archives: Luis Garcia

Kris Bryant to the Phillies: Would he really be worth the cost?

Buzz regarding the possibility of a trade that would send third baseman Kris Bryant from the Chicago Cubs to the Philadelphia Phillies has once again re-surfaced in recent days.

Some of that is simple wild speculation, fueled in part by the pending three-team trade involving the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Minnesota Twins. That deal would send superstar outfielder Mookie Betts and veteran southpaw David Price to Los Angeles.

One thing that a big trade in Major League Baseball frequently does is spur immediate talk of the next big player that might be dealt. So, that is certainly a part of the equation here.

But another part of the equation is the building reality that, despite oddsmakers seeing the Phillies as a leading contender entering 2020 spring training, many baseball talent evaluators still place the club no better than third-best in the National League East Division.

It has also become common knowledge around the game that Chicago is shopping Bryant, who can become a free agent following the 2021 season.

Bryant could become a pivotal player in that NL East race should the Cubs really decide to actively shop him. All three of the Phillies top division rivals, the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, and New York Mets, could use an impactful starting third baseman.

Players are scheduled to report for spring training beginning next week. The Phillies enter their preparations for the coming season with Scott Kingery slotted in as the starting third baseman, keeping that position warm for top prospect Alec Bohm.

In a recent evaluation of the position among the NL East clubs, I generously slotted Kingery in at third in my ranking of those players currently slotted in as hot corner starters. Adding Bryant would give the Phillies the top player at the position in the division.

The scheduled starters for the defending World Series champion Nationals and two-time defending NL East champion Braves are among the biggest question marks for those teams at this point. Adding Bryant would push either club, already arguably better overall, further ahead of the Phillies.

So, when considering a deal with the Cubs that would bring Bryant to Philly, there are three questions that need answering. I’ll take a stab at asking and answering each.

What would Kris Bryant add to the Phillies?

Bryant was the first round pick of the Cubs in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of San Diego as the second player taken overall.

He reached the big-leagues in 2015 at age 23 and won the NL Rookie of the Year Award for a season in which he slammed 26 homers, 62 extra-base hits, and drove in 99 runs.

The following season, Bryant became the National League Most Valuable Player. He slashed .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs, 77 extra-base hits, 102 RBIs, and 121 runs scored. Bryant capped his season by fielding a grounder and firing to first baseman Anthony Rizzo for the final out as the Cubs won the franchise’ first World Series title in nearly a century.

Bryant is a three-time NL All-Star. Over five seasons in Major League Baseball he has produced 138 homers and has a career .284/.385/.516 slash line. He has also shown some versatility defensively in handling work at both corner outfield spots, as well as playing in a few games at first base with Chicago over the last couple of seasons.

The Phillies would not be adding Bryant to play left field or first base, at least not on a regular basis. Not at this stage of his career. He would be their third baseman for years to come. While Bryant will likely never contend for a Gold Glove, neither would he hurt the club at third base.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Bryant is a long-time good friend of Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper, also a Vegas native. The two are virtually the same age, with Bryant having just turned 28 last month. They have known one another since they were children, and played both with and against one another while growing up.

Bryant would add another All-Star caliber ballplayer to the Phillies starting lineup. He and his family would bring true friends for franchise cornerstone Harper and his family to socialize with. And he would add another marquee name to help attract even more Phillies fans out to Citizens Bank Park.

What would it cost to bring Kris Bryant to the Phillies?

This is a big question for a few reasons. One of the biggest is that element of competing against both the Braves and Nationals for his services. Atlanta in particular would seem to have the prospect assets to at least match any Phillies offer.

Each of those clubs arguably has as much of a need at the position as the Phillies, if not more so. Each of those clubs is a legitimate contender already. Bryant would push either of those teams closer to making a long October run. Motivation for both to be involved in talks with the Cubs would appear to be there.

What this does is raise the price for the Phillies if they seriously want their package to win out in a bidding war for Bryant with Atlanta and Washington.

A package for Bryant would absolutely start with top hitting prospect Bohm, who could then become the third baseman of the near future in Chicago. But Bohm alone would not be enough.

The Phillies would have to send at least two more players in such a deal. One of those would need to be a pitcher with some upside. Another would have to be some other prospect with upside.

Would the Phillies ultimately have to decide on whether to part with both Bohm and top pitching prospect Spencer Howard in such a deal? Normally I would say no. That is especially the case when considering what the Dodgers had to part with to get the Betts deal done.

Los Angeles is reported to be sending 23-year-old outfielder Alex Verdugo to Boston and veteran pitcher Kenta Maeda to Minnesota in order to get the deal done.

There was rumored to be some element of competition for Betts in this deal as well. The Dodgers up-and-coming division rivals in San Diego were also said to be interested in Betts, and the Padres have a strong minor league system from which to offer a prospect package.

What is not known is exactly how high a price the Padres were ultimately willing to pay. Also, the Dodgers are reportedly giving Boston some salary relief in the deal, taking on half of the $96 million still owed to Price over the next three seasons. So it’s a different kind of deal.

If the Phillies aren’t willing to put Howard into such a deal, and the likelihood is that they would not, then could they still offer enough to beat out the Braves or Nationals potential offers?

The Phillies could put together a package of Bohm, Kingery, and either of two other pitching prospects, Francisco Morales or Adonis Medina. Morales has a higher ceiling at this point. But by including Kingery, they might be able to get the Cubs to go for Medina instead. Chicago might prefer young infield prospect Luis Garcia, which might alleviate putting Kingery into the deal.

Is Bryant worth the price it would cost?

The Phillies would be getting a player with five years of big-league experience. A three-time All-Star, including last season during which he slammed 31 homers, slashed .282/.382/.521, and scored 108 runs. A former NL MVP who has already won a World Series championship.

While Bryant would only have two seasons of contractual control left it isn’t difficult to see him agreeing to a long-term deal. That would keep he and Harper together as the Phillies 1-2 lineup punch for at least the next seven or eight years.

There is an old baseball axiom that says prospects are prospects. While evaluators can gauge their potential, there is no way to know how a kid with no big-league experience is going to perform against the best players in the world under the glare of the largest spotlight on the biggest stage.

I believe that the Phillies need something even more than another strong offensive weapon. It has been and remains my assertion that the Phillies need another proven, talented, winning veteran starting pitcher for their rotation more than anything else. But that is a difficult piece to acquire, and should not keep general manager Matt Klentak from making his team better right now.

Bryant has proven himself to be one of the top offensive performers in baseball. He is in his prime. He is a lifelong friend of the Phillies resident superstar. He would help close the gap even further between the Phillies and the top teams in the National League. This is a deal they should find a way to get done.

 

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Philadelphia Phillies top 20 prospects winter 2020 update

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Alec Bohm should arrive at some point in 2020 to take over the hot corner at Citizens Bank Park

 

Where minor league prospects are concerned, the Philadelphia Phillies system is extremely top-heavy at the moment. That is, at least as far as any who anyone could reasonably forecast as likely to make a real impact on the ball club in the near future.

Fortunately for the Phillies, their top two prospects appear to be extremely talented. Both should slip right into positions of need, and both should see action at Citizens Bank Park at some point in the 2020 season.

Beyond that it truly becomes a crapshoot. There are a couple more players who could come quickly, but whose ceilings are not as obviously high. And there are a number of others with talent, but who will require more developmental time before we can even begin to make real assessments as to their potential impact on the big-league club.

In putting together this list, I utilized my own knowledge based on following the minor leagues closely and on personal observations. One note on my thought process. Unless a younger prospect is so obviously talented as to warrant a bump due to their gifts, I tend to respect actual performance against more advanced competition at the higher levels of the minors over “toolsy” kids in the lower levels.

In addition to my own thoughts, I also gleaned the published opinions of a number of reliable and respected sources, including Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, Baseball Prospectus and a few others who more intimately follow the Phillies on a regular basis.

The following represents the Philadelphia Phillies top 20 prospects list as I see them here on the first day of winter. They are shown with their most likely position at this time, and the age at which they will play most of the 2020 season.

I am providing writeups on the top ten and then a simple ranking of the next ten. I’ll be updating this list at some point in the spring, probably around April or May of 2020.

  1. Alec Bohm, 3B (23): I juggled Bohm and Howard in my mind for awhile when considering this list. Bohm’s solid play as the starting third baseman for Team USA in the Premier 12 tournament in which he homered, doubled three times, and played a solid third base pushed him to the front. The Omaha, Nebraska native was the Phillies first round choice at third overall in the 2018 MLB Draft out of Wichita State University. He has slashed .293/.368/.474 in two minor league seasons, advancing to Double-A Reading by the end of summer 2019. His scouting report at MLB.com tells the tale of why he is so highly touted: “Bohm has the potential to hit for average as well as power at the highest level. He has strength and excellent bat speed to go along with excellent strike zone control. As a result, he can draw walks and doesn’t strike out much, especially for someone who can generate plus raw power.” In his own report back in August, Matt Winkelman of Phillies Minor Thoughts tells the tale of why some still have slight reservations on Bohm’s ceiling: “The real remaining question facing Bohm is where he will play defensively. He has improved at third base, but his actions still aren’t great and he profiles as below average there. Long term he probably moves off the position and tries an outfield corner before moving to first base.” Unless the Phillies make a late push to sign free agent Josh Donaldson or swing a deal for either Kris Bryant or Nolan Arenado, all unlikely, Bohm will get every chance to be their starter at the hot corner at some point in 2020, and probably for years to come.
  2. Spencer Howard, RHP (23): The Phillies brought Aaron Nola to the big-leagues in recent years and he has developed into an ace-caliber starting pitcher. A year ago at this time, Sixto Sanchez was the club’s top prospect and also viewed as a future ace before being dealt to Miami in the J.T. Realmuto trade. Howard now takes up the mantle as the Phillies top pitching prospect and is beginning to gain similar predictions of eventual stardom. Howard lost a little more than a month in 2019 due to a shoulder injury. He returned by early July and as Baseball Prospectus reported “the Phillies made sure he got plenty of innings in Double-A and the AFL to close the gap.” While he can be inconsistent with his breaking balls at times, Howard’s overall numbers are exciting. In three minor league seasons he has allowed 166 hits over 211.1 innings across 47 starts with a 281/74 K:BB ratio, a 3.28 ERA, and a 1.136 WHIP mark. Baseball America’s scouting report on his potential reads “Other than his stint on the IL with shoulder stiffness, there were few blemishes in Howard’s outstanding 2019 season. He has taken massive strides in his two and a half seasons as a pro and now profiles as a potential No. 2 starter. He could be ready to pitch in Philadelphia by the second half of the 2020 season.” He reached Double-A Reading for a half-dozen starts at the end of 2019. Howard will start at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and, if he stays healthy and continues to dominate, will be up when there is an opening in the Phillies rotation.
  3. Bryson Stott, SS (22): The Phillies first-round choice at 14th overall in the 2019 MLB Draft out of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. His MLB.com report includes “Nearly all of Stott’s tools grade out as at least above-average. He has the chance to be a plus hitter, with very advanced bat-to-ball skills.” Baseball America says “Stott has few clear weaknesses, but also few standout tools.” Some question whether he can stay at shortstop and he may eventually have to slide to second or third base, depending on both his own development and the Phillies future needs. It is likely that he stays at shortstop while rising through the minors over the next couple of seasons.
  4. Francisco Morales, RHP (20): Signed out of Venezuela in 2016 as a 16-year-old, Morales was rated by Baseball America as the top available international free agent that summer. The tall righty has lived up to the hype and could top this list by next off-season. At Low-A Lakewood this past summer, Morales allowed 82 hits over 96.2 innings across 27 games, 15 of those as starts, with a 129/46 K:BB ratio. The MLB.com writeup reflects how most feel at this point: “The raw stuff is all there, but it’s still very much about projection for the big right-hander.” I happen to be bullish on him. He’ll pitch at High-A Clearwater in 2020 with a shot at Double-A Reading if he stays healthy, shows consistency, and continues to produce.
  5. Adonis Medina, RHP (23): A year or two ago, many saw Medina as just slightly behind Sanchez on the Phillies pitching prospect pecking order. He seemed destined for at least a mid-rotation role. Now that is a little cloudier. Winkelman summed it up well: “Medina’s secondary pitches have not taken a step forward and still lack consistency and bite. At his best, Medina will show three plus pitches and look like a mid rotation starter, but there are a lot of times where he is pitching below that.” Medina’s ERA has risen from 2.92 at short-season Williamsport in 2016 to 3.01 with Low-A Lakewood in 2017 to 4.12 at High-A Clearwater in 2018 and most recently to 4.94 with Double-A Reading this past summer. His strikeout totals have dropped each of the last two seasons. His age and experience say that he will pitch at Triple-A Lehigh Valley at some point in 2020, perhaps from the start of the season. His performance and health there will go a long way towards determining his ultimate long-term role. Or he could be used as part of a trade package.
  6.  Mickey Moniak, CF (22): The top overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft out of a California high school, Moniak has been slow to live up to the status of a first overall draftee. While it’s hard at this point to see him ever being impactful enough to justify that lofty selection, his production over the last two summers is giving hope that he can find a big-league role at some point. In just 39 more plate appearances, Moniak increased his extra-base production from 36 in 2018 to 52 in 2019. He more than doubled his home run total from five to 11, and increased his stolen base numbers from six to 15. Moniak has proven to be an excellent outfield defender to this point. He should play at Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2020, and could be ready for a backup role with the Phillies by 2021. With continued progress he looks like a future big-league fourth outfielder who can serve as a solid backup at all three positions.
  7. Luis Garcia, SS (19): I hate, hate, hate ranking teenagers who have not flashed much of their projected offensive potential this high. But when everyone else is as bullish as they are on Garcia, I’ll yield to that input. MLB.com says “It’s easy to see Garcia becoming the best prospect in the system in the future and eventually be thought of as one of the top shortstop prospects in the game.” That sounds pretty exciting, no? Baseball Prospectus evaluates him in this way: “We don’t know if he can hit yet. It’s likely to be a few years before we know. He’s very, very far away. Yet even if it takes a half-decade to sort everything out, he’ll only be 23 during the 2024 season.” After a poor 2019 season in which he slashed just .186/.261/.255 over 524 plate appearances as an 18-year-old at Low-A Lakewood, I need to see Garcia begin to produce some offense in order to move him up the list in the future.
  8. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP (24): Now this is more like it for my tastes. An arm who is ready to help the big-league club right now. The issue is, what is the best role for De Los Santos, and what is his ceiling? He signed with the Seattle Mariners as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic back in 2014. He was dealt to the San Diego Padres in November 2015 for veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit, then to the Phillies two years later for shortstop Freddy Galvis. He has been solid at Triple-A Lehigh Valley in each of the last two seasons, but showed mixed results in a series of cameos with the Phillies. Unless he is included as part of a trade package, expect De Los Santos to compete for a bullpen role in spring training. His MLB rookie status still intact, De Los Santos could end up right back in the IronPigs 2020 rotation, waiting for another shot to help out in Philly when needed.
  9. Damon Jones, LHP (25): I’m as big a fan of tall, hard-throwing southpaws as you are likely to find, and that description fits Jones to a T. The Phillies grabbed him in the 17th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of Washington State. In 2019, Jones rose through three levels of the minors, allowing 74 hits over 114.1 innings across 23 starts with a 152/59 K:BB ratio. He is almost certainly headed for a bullpen role in the big-leagues, and could fill such a role with the Phillies at some point this season. In fact, don’t be surprised if he emerges as soon as spring training and challenges for an Opening Day roster spot. While there is the potential for Mitch Williams-caliber wildness, he appears to have a bit more control than The Wild Thing. I like this guy. He could end up helping the pen for years to come.
  10. Cristopher Sanchez, LHP (23): Hey, a newbie! And a birthday present for me as well. The Phillies acquired Sanchez on my November 20 birthday this year from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league infielder Curtis Mead. The Rays had signed him as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic back in 2013. Like Jones just ahead of him on this list, Sanchez is a tall southpaw, though not with quite as big a fastball. Baseball Prospectus writes “The fastball is plus at 92-94, the slider is firm with tilt, and the change has a chance to be plus with quality separation from his heater and big sink. Tampa Bay had too many quality prospects to protect everyone in December’s Rule 5 draft, so they dealt Sanchez to the Phillies who had the 40-man space to protect this intriguing arm.” He reached Triple-A Durham in Tampa’s system last year, and will be another intriguing option who likely opens with the IronPigs but will be ready to help the Phillies if needed in 2020.
  11. Rafael Marchan, C (21)
  12. Simon Muzziotti, CF (21)
  13. Nick Maton, SS (23)
  14. Johan Rojas, OF (19)
  15. JoJo Romero, LHP (23)
  16. Erik Miller, LHP (22)
  17. Starlyn Castillo, RHP (18)
  18. Connor Seabold, RHP (24)
  19. Jhailyn Ortiz, 1B (21)
  20. Kyle Dohy, LHP (23)

Could make the next list: Jamari Baylor, SS (19)

Others like him more: Deivy Grullon, C (24)

I just don’t get it: Arquimedes Gamboa, SS (22)

 

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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