Tag Archives: Mark Appel

Phillies Pitching Prospects Don’t Need to be Rushed

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Ricardo Pinto warms up at the Phillies Futures Game

Coming into this season, there was a solid chance the Phillies rotation was going to be rough. If the 2015 rotation was any indication, the Phillies weren’t going to have anything close to solid starting pitching. While Jerad Eickhoff and Aaron Nola were prepped to bolster the rotation, Charlie Morton and Jeremy Hellickson were big question marks.

However, this graphic put out by Fangraphs today shows the Phillies’ starting pitchers have the best FIP (Fielding-Independent Pitching) in the major leagues as of April 17th.

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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.

Watching the Phillies Could Actually Be Fun This Year

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Courtesy Baseball Betsy

For the first time in at least two seasons, watching the Phillies play baseball could actually be bearable. Dare I say, even enjoyable.

The only game I remember watching last year in its entirety was Aaron Nola’s debut. The excitement of the future of the franchise coming to the majors was too much to resist. I enjoyed watching Nola’s start and I hope to be able see one in person this season.

This year, we could have the same thing happen, but several times over. Out of my Top Ten, six of those prospects could all reach the majors this season, including the crown jewel J.P. Crawford.

As I watched Nola’s debut, there were far more fans there compared to other games I had seen. Nola was the second-best prospect in the system before the 2015 season; imagine the fanfare around the best prospect the Phillies have had in years in his debut. Seeing Crawford at Citizens Bank Park could be the biggest moment of the year in sports in a city that’s missing a good sports moment.

When you study prospects in-depth, watching them reach the majors with a majority of their stock intact is one of the best feelings. This year we could see Crawford, Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, Mark Appel, Roman Quinn, and Andrew Knapp all reach the majors. All of them each could be large contributors for the next contending Phillies team.

Watching several talented, young players reach the majors may provide bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Phillies this year. Even though there will be a lot of uninspiring baseball played (especially while we wait for these young prospects), the debuts of top prospects should give Phillies fans something enjoyable to watch over the summer.