Phillies Organizational Depth Rankings: Shortstop

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While a Top 30 gives a good idea of the best of a farm system, it doesn’t include those outside of the Top 30 or who have already lost their prospect eligibility. With these organizational depth rankings, I hope to cover both of those categories. Without any more digressing, here is my ranking of the shortstops in the Phillies organization.

  1. J.P. Crawford
  2. Malquin Canelo
  3. Freddy Galvis
  4. Andres Blanco
  5. Arquimedes Gamboa
  6. Daniel Brito
  7. Grenny Cumana

J.P. Crawford is a blue-chip prospect; that’s all I really have to say about him. He’s an MLB Top 5 prospect with strong fielding and a very advanced approach at the plate. Starting in Reading, expect Crawford to get a cup of coffee in September.

Malquin Canelo is the other Top 30 shortstop prospect in the Phillies’ system. I have been particularly down on him in the past (probably unduely). Canelo has a plus glove and should stick at shortstop long-term. His hitting flashed in Lakewood to start the year, but he cooled off upon promotion to Clearwater. If his hit tool develops, he could turn into a solid major-league contributor. He started this season back in Clearwater.

Freddy Galvis and Andres Blanco are our major-league players in the depth chart. Galvis hasn’t and probably won’t reach his offensive ceiling, but he’s a well-rounded defensive player and could have a future as a utility infielder. Blanco has been a solid backup for the past several years for the Phillies, but he is 32 now and he won’t end up fitting on the team.

Jonathan Arauz would be the next shortstop up on the list if he wasn’t traded with Ken Giles to get a better prospect haul.

Arquimedes Gamboa and Daniel Brito are fringe prospects, falling out of the Top 30 but fitting into Matt Winkleman’s Top 50. Gamboa was a well-reputed signing in the 2014 international signing period, but faltered at the plate in the GCL with a .189 average. Scouts see upside for him, but as of now Gamboa is underdeveloped and needs some serious projection. Brito has only played in the DSL and has to develop physically. He does have a good feel for contact at the plate, but without strength he’ll be limited to the gaps.

Grenny Cumana has the most upside out of the supplement players in the system to me. He has room to fill out but will be fringey at best at the plate. He is a strong defender with a plus arm and plus-plus speed.

Lehigh Valley Ironpigs Opening Games Moved to Coca-Cola Park

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Due to inclement weather and unplayable field conditions, the first two games of the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs’ season were moved from Syracuse to Coca-Cola Park.

The Ironpigs will play a double-header on Friday, but it will be closed to the public due to the short notice. In addition, the other two games will be made up in Syracuse at a future date.

Fans can watch the games on Service Electric TV2 Sports and MiLB.TV. They will also be broadcast on ESPN Radio of the Lehigh Valley.

Baseball Prospectus Ranks Phillies System #4

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J.P. Crwaford is one of the keys in Baseball Prospectus’s high ranking of the Phillies – Courtesy Baseball Betsy

Even with opening day a mere few days away (and the Phillies Futures Series even sooner), prospect ranking isn’t over yet with Baseball Prospectus releasing their 2016 organizational rankings. They slotted the Phillies in at No. 4 overall.

In addition, Prospectus stratified all the teams into tiers of depth, with the Phillies in the second tier. They were joined by the Red Sox, Pirates, and Twins. In the top tier were the Dodgers, Braves, and  Rockies.

This ranking of No. 4 was higher than any other. Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and ESPN ranked the Phillies No. 8, No. 7, and No. 6, respectively.

This is what Prospectus wrote of the system overall:

The Phillies are the outlier here, both in how they built the system, and how different they look from last Spring. J.P. Crawford is still here, and is an elite-level prospect, but the Phillies added six new top-ten prospects in the last calendar year between the 2015 draft and the Ken Giles and Cole Hamels trades. The Phillies system may lack a true impact talent past JP Crawford, but Nick Williams has a chance to get there, and otherwise they have a nice blend of arms and bats, upside and floor. The 2016 subplot to follow: How Mark Appel and Jorge Alfaro deal with their change of scenery. Those two could make this ranking look overly conservative by the end of the 2016 season.

Phillies Organizational Depth Rankings: Second Base

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Scott Kingery, the Phillies’ top second baseman

While a Top 30 gives a good idea of the best of a farm system, it doesn’t include those outside of the Top 30 or who have already lost their prospect eligibility. With these organizational depth rankings, I hope to cover both of those categories. Without any more digressing, here is my ranking of the second basemen in the Phillies organization.

  1. Scott Kingery
  2. Cesar Hernandez
  3. Darnell Sweeney
  4. Jesmuel Valentin
  5. Josh Tobias
  6. Drew Stankiewicz
  7. Angelo Mora
  8. Carlos Alonso

Unlike the past rankings, I decided to leave out the players that really are just org players with no real shot at the majors. This left me with eight second basemen, and even then the last couple are a stretch.

Scott Kingery and Darnell Sweeney are the only top-tier second base prospects in the system and were not part of the organization going into 2015. Kingery was the Phillies second-round draft pick and Sweeney was one of the two players received in exchange for Chase Utley. Kingery was assigned right to Lakewood after the draft and showed off his strong hit tool. He will start the season in Clearwater and make a push for Reading sooner rather than later. Sweeney has spent his entire time with the Phillies in the majors with mixed results at the plate. He is a second baseman by trade, but the team has tried him in the outfield as well.

Cesar Hernandez is a viable option at the major leagues and firmly has the starting job locked in for 2016. He had a strong 2015, carrying a .704 OPS after sliding into the starting role. Hernandez will hope to bounce back from a late-season injury and build upon what he started.

Jesmuel Valentin and Josh Tobias are mid-tier prospects that would be “just-misses” on a lot of Top 30s and fit comfortably on a Top 50. Valentin returned from a domestic violence arrest and has appeared to move on, helping Clearwater in their playoff run last year. He has a “grinder” profile at the plate but doesn’t have the offensive upside to warrant a move to the outfield. Also, his arm limits him to second base in the infield. Tobias had a strong season in Williamsport, but that could easily be attributed to being much older than the competition coming out of college. Tobias has to show strong hitting when he moves to higher competition levels, and like Valentin, doesn’t have the offensive tools to justify any other position.

Drew Stankiewicz, Angelo Mora, and Carlos Alonso are mostly supplemental players with some slight prospect potential. All three will be in at least Reading in 2016 and they should end up in Lehigh or the big club by the end of the season. Stankiewicz had a .483 average in 32 plate appearances in the Arizona Fall League for what it’s worth. Mora had a combined .312/.354/.445 hitting split between Clearwater and Reading, but it doesn’t appear that sustainable. Alonso was injured the majority of the season, but is a solid minor-league player with an outside chance at the majors.

Phillies Organizational Depth Rankings: First Base

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Minor-League First Baseman Rhys Hoskins – Courtesy Baseball Betsy

While a top prospect list gives a good idea of the best of a farm system, it doesn’t include those outside of the top or who have already lost their prospect eligibility. With these organizational depth rankings, I hope to cover both of those categories. Without any more digressing, here is my ranking of the first basemen in the Phillies organization.

  1. Rhys Hoskins
  2. Luis Encarnacion
  3. Jhaylin Ortiz
  4. Darin Ruf
  5. Ryan Howard
  6. Brock Stassi
  7. Kyle Martin
  8. Brendon Hayden
  9. Tommy Joseph
  10. Jesus Posso

Rhys Hoskins is easily the best first-base prospect in the system. He slotted in at No. 19 on my Top 20, the only first baseman on the list. I had the following to say on him:

As a right-handed first baseman, Hoskins has to hit at every level if he wants to reach the majors. However, he has done that to a T after an initial stumble in short-season Williamsport. In 2015, Hoskins put up a combined .913 OPS between Class-A Lakewood and Class-A Advanced Clearwater. Hoskins is a solid average player across the board in most categories besides plus raw power and below-average speed. On the other hand, Hoskins has no real elite tool, only furthering the necessity for him to hit.

Luis Encarnacion and Jhaylin Ortiz are both young (in Ortiz’s case very young) first base prospects. Encarnacion has strong raw power that flashes at times and has made improvements in most categories at the plate. He spent 2015 in the GCL and will be 18 when the short-season starts. Meanwhile, Ortiz is just 17 and has yet to play pro ball stateside. His raw power is elite, but he has to develop a lot of his game. He has been an outfielder, but most expect him to slide to first when he reaches the GCL.

Darin Ruf and Ryan Howard are similar to Cameron Rupp and Carlos Ruiz. One is a slightly above-replacement young player, and the other is a veteran on their way out. The two will be in a platoon for 2016, but neither presents any substantial value to the team.

Brock Stassi was a crucial part of the 2015 Reading team that made it to the Eastern League final. He could make it to the pros as a bench player, but he isn’t very toolsy.

Kyle Martin and Brendon Hayden were 2015 draft picks by the Phillies. Martin was assigned to Class-A Lakewood and mashed righties, but struggled hard against lefties. He was mostly a finished product out of college, so his solid-average raw power isn’t going to get much better. Hayden was also picked out of college in the 16th round, but was assigned to short-season Williamsport. Hayden hit for average but struggled with power, which he had in college. A return of the power could allow Hayden to make a better case for promotion.

Tommy Joseph and Jesus Posso are both converted catchers. Joseph is the last remnant of the Hunter Pence trade and concussions have forced a switch to first. Joseph has struggled at the plate, a death sentence for first base prospects. Posso was forced to first with better catching prospects in Williamsport (evaluators say he was rough behind the plate). He has decent power, but his long swing causes contact issues. As a first baseman, he doesn’t have much stock.

Phillies Organizational Depth Rankings: Catcher

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Jorge Alfaro, the top catcher in the Phillies system – Courtesy Baseball Betsy

While a Top 30 gives a good idea of the best of a farm system, it doesn’t include those outside of the Top 30 or who have already lost their prospect eligibility. With these organizational depth rankings, I hope to cover both of those categories. Without any more digressing, here is my ranking of the catchers in the Phillies organization.

  1. Jorge Alfaro
  2. Andrew Knapp
  3. Deivi Grullon
  4. Cameron Rupp
  5. Carlos Ruiz
  6. Gabriel Lino
  7. Logan Moore
  8. Austin Bossart
  9. Edgar Cabral
  10. Chace Numata

The top three on my list (Alfaro, Knapp, and Grullon) all made my Top 30 at five, nine, and eighteen, respectively. Alfaro has the higher upside between him and Knapp, but Knapp is far closer to reaching the majors and should start the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Grullon has a high floor with strong defense, but his hit tool has to ramp up if he wants to have a solid shot in the pros.

Rupp and Ruiz are the major-league options at the position, with Rupp being the better of the two if for nothing else than that Ruiz is most likely in his last season. Rupp is a defensive stalwart with a strong arm but will most likely be relegated to the bottom of the lineup until Alfaro and/or Knapp overtake him for the starting role. Ruiz is one of the few veterans left on the team after the upheaval of the team in the last calendar year. He doesn’t have much left in the tank, and as I mentioned before, 2016 will most likely be his farewell tour.

Lino and Moore are both solid defensive options, but like Grullon, have a paltry hit tool. Lino has the higher defensive floor, which leads me to slot him above Moore, but besides that there isn’t a whole lot different between them. Both ended 2015 in Lehigh Valley, but their playing time could be severely cut as Knapp and Alfaro take precedence for playing time.

Bossart and Cabral were 2015 draft picks (14th and 11th rounds, respectively). While Cabral was the higher draft pick, Bossart had a far better season at the plate and played 2015 in the Appalachian League with Williamsport while Cabral was in the Gulf Coast League. Both could end up as major-league backups, but they are years away from that.

Numata has been in the organization since 2010 when he was drafted out of high school. However, he has developed quite slowly in part due to injuries. Numata can struggle as a receiver, but he hits for contact and has a strong arm. He reached High-A Clearwater in 2015, but it’s up in the air how much more he can progress.

Overall, catcher is a fairly deep position in the system, with two upper-tier prospects in Alfaro and Knapp leading the way with plenty of guys behind them with solid defensive floors. The main gripe against the Phillies’ catching depth is the lack of players who can also hit after Alfaro and Knapp.

Phillies Ranked No. 7 Farm System by MLB Pipeline

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Courtesy Baseball Betsy

In one of the last prospect rankings of the preseason flurry, MLB Pipeline released their Top 30 rankings of the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. In addition, Pipeline listed the Phillies as having the seventh-best system in the majors.

Jonathan Mayo cited many of the moves the Phillies have made in the last year, primarily the Cole Hamels trade. Mayo said the following on how the moves impact the Phillies:

All of these changes have greatly altered the outlook of the Phillies’ farm system. The trades, along with interesting talent developing in the lower levels, thanks largely to strong efforts internationally as well as the one constant — No. 1 prospect J.P. Crawford — are the reasons why the Phillies are ranked No. 7 on MLBPipeline.com’s rankings of the Top 10 farm systems in baseball. And they’ll be able to add more, holding the No. 1 pick in the 2016 Draft, a year after the 2015 Draft yielded two players in the top half of the team’s Top 30.

I agree with Mayo; the Phillies’ farm system has gotten better immensely over the past season. Hopefully they will help turn the team into a winner again.