Philadelphia Phillies 2014 Top 15 Prospects

Sep 25, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Cesar Hernandez (16) connects for an RBI single during the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I have a feeling that our Philadelphia Phillies Top 15 prospect list is going to one of our more controversial lists. Because the club lacks a lot of elite level prospects, there’s not as much consensus over who should be ranked where. It makes for a fun conversation but not everyone is going to be happy with this list because several players have been omitted who are listed fairly highly on other lists.

For this list, the boys over at That Balls Outta Here, our FanSided Phillies blog, got together to pitch in. They brought in four writers who each provided a list which was then compiled by Spencer, who assigned points to each ranking using an inverse point system (20 points for 1st place vote, 19 points for 2nd, etc). They did include some honorable mentions but for the sake of time, we’re just going with the Top 15. Spencer provided us with some comments which you’ll see below.

Triple-A: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (International League)
Double-A: Reading Fightin’ Phils (Eastern League)
High-A: Clearwater Threshers (Florida State League)
Class-A: Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic League)
Short-Season A: Williamsport Crosscutters (New York-Penn League)
Complex Rookie: GCL Phillies (Gulf Coast League)

#15

Zach Green – 3B
Date of Birth:
March 7, 1994
Height/Weight: 6’3″/210 lbs
Acquired: 3rd round of the 2012 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201319WilliamsportNYPLA-PHI7431127052682011341853191.252.344.478.822
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: Green, drafted just in 2012, is already showing himself to be third baseman to watch in the Phillies’ system. If he continues to perform as he did in 2013, he could start to be mentioned in the same conversations as some other, more established players far ahead of him on the depth chart. Green broke the Williamsport club home run record this year but also struck out 91 times (29.3%). In the long run, it’ll be a question of where he plays defensively and whether he can continue to take a lot of walks to go along with all those strikeouts.

2014 Prognosis: Full-season ball in Class-A Lakewood calls for Green.

#14

Shane Watson – RHP
Date of Birth:
August 13, 1993
Height/Weight: 6’4″/200 lbs
Acquired: 1st round (40th overall) of the 2012 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSIPHRERHRBBSOHBPBKWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201319LakewoodSALLAPHI46.4004.75161672.06344381228533171.2647.91.53.56.61.89
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: Playing full-season ball at 19, Watson acquitted himself well but didn’t particularly stand out. The 6’4″ righty is showing fairly solid control and may develop some more velocity and have his fastball add a tick or two to the 92 mph where it sits now. He throws a curve that could easily be a plus pitch and has a solid changeup to go along with it.

2014 Prognosis: Watson will likely take a step up to Clearwater for some High-A action in 2014.

#13

Dylan Cozens – OF
Date of Birth:
May 31, 1994
Height/Weight: 6’6″/235 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2012 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201319WilliamsportNYPLA-PHI6827724550651929351162864.265.343.469.812
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: Cozens, who was a defensive lineman in high school (in addition to playing baseball), is already showing the kind of raw power that you might expect out of a 19-year-old kid who stands at 6’6″ and weighs 235 pounds. Hitting 19 doubles and nine home runs in a short-season league is pretty impressive and Cozens didn’t embarrass himself to do so, striking out in 23.1% of his plate appearances but also walking 10.1% of the time. Some scouts think that he’s a first-baseman-in-waiting but for now, he plays the outfield just fine.

2014 Prognosis: Lakewood calls for Cozens who might put up some very big numbers in both the home run and strikeout columns at a higher level.

#12

Kelly Dugan – OF
Date of Birth:
September 8, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’3″/195 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2009 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
2013222 Teams2 LgsA+-AAPHI1124744296212524420591429114.291.352.506.858
201322ClearwaterFLORA+PHI5624821737691231036132460.318.401.539.940
201322ReadingELAAPHI562262122556121102301554.264.299.472.771
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: With plus power, Dugan is flashing some potential to be a major league quality bat. Whether the reality can meet the projection is another question as Dugan saw a huge drop in his batting average and walk rates when he was promoted to Double-A Reading from Clearwater. His numbers in the Florida State League are particularly eye-popping considering that the FSL is a very pitcher-friendly league.

2014 Prognosis: Dugan returns to Reading for a while to work on his plate discipline. If he continues to mash while being more selective, he could end up in Triple-A by season’s end.

#11

Aaron Altherr – OF
Date of Birth:
January 14, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’5″/190 lbs
Acquired: 9th round of the 2009 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201322ClearwaterFLORA+PHI12352746657128366126923545140.275.337.455.792
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: Altherr is a toolsy outfielder who is starting to put everything together into a nice package. Despite striking out 140 times in 2013, he also hit 54 extra-base hits and stole 23 bases. If he can cut down on the strikeouts, he could be a solid player with good run and hit tools. Scouts still like his ceiling and Altherr could develop enough power to be a corner outfielder.

2014 Prognosis: Up a level to Double-A Reading.

Sep 3, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ethan Martin (49) delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

#10

Roman Quinn – SS
Date of Birth:
May 4, 1993
Height/Weight: 5’10″/170 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2011 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201320LakewoodSALLAPHI672982603762735213292764.238.323.346.669
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: Roman Quinn is considered (at least by Baseball America) to be the best athlete in the Philadelphia organization. Despite his speed and outstanding defensive potential, Quinn hasn’t hit all that well. He does show some good strike zone control and there is some pop in his bat but he needs to make more contact. If you look at some of the numbers as being a result of a wrist injury that forced him to miss about half of the season, then you might say that he didn’t do badly. Unfortunately, Quinn’s may get tagged as injury prone after he ruptured his Achilles tendon while doing sprints this offseason.

2014 Prognosis: Quinn is expected to miss most (if not all) of the 2014 season despite a surgery immediately after the injury in early November.

#8 (tie)

Severino Gonzalez – RHP
Date of Birth:
September 28, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’1″/153
Acquired: International free agent out of Panama in 2010

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSGFIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
2013203 Teams3 LgsA+-A-AAPHI75.5832.0025141103.284292352211193121.0237.30.41.910.35.41
201320LakewoodSALLAPHI301.0001.6944021.11044130311100.6094.20.41.313.110.33
201320ClearwaterFLORA+PHI35.3752.02209175.26623174191822021.1237.90.52.39.84.32
201320ReadingELAAPHI101.0002.701106.282200060001.20010.80.00.08.1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: While Gonzalez isn’t on very many people’s top prospect list, Josh Norris at Baseball America has him at number 10, saying that he has the best control in the system. With an almost 6:1 strikeout to walk ratio spent mostly in High-A ball and a cumulative ERA of 2.00 over three levels, Severino is starting put himself into the top prospects conversation despite not having the highest upside. He’s got a low-90s fastball that occasionally touches 92 but, according to reports, it’s fairly straight despite his having good command of it. He throws a good curveball as well as a changeup and cutter to go with the fastball. I could see the club teaching him a sinker to give him something to induce more ground balls in the future.

Spencer writes: “I LOVE Severino Gonzalez, although there’s a ton of risk associated with him. Just look at his stats – 20 years old, 2.00 ERA in 103.2 IP, 1.9 BB/9, 10.3 SO/9 across three levels in 2013. He won the organizational award for best pitcher in 2013 (Paul Owens award) but he’s known to have a fringey fastball (typically in high 80’s but recently has been seen as
high as 94). Ton of risk, but insane control and closer potential.”

2014 Prognosis: Still only 21, Gonzalez will probably start the season in Reading. If he continues to make better hitters look bad with his pinpoint control, he could end up in Triple-A by season’s end.

#8 (tie)

Ethan Martin – RHP
Date of Birth:
June 6, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’2″/195
Acquired: Traded from Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31, 2012 for Shane Victorino; drafted by the Dodgers in the 1st round (15th overall) of the 2008 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSCGIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201324Lehigh ValleyILAAAPHI115.6884.1221211115.2945653116741078291.3927.30.95.28.31.60
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.
YearAgeTmLgWLW-L%ERAGGSGFIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPERA+WHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BBAwards
201324PHINL25.2866.08158240.0422727926247111631.7009.52.05.910.61.81
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: Ethan Martin got his first taste of the majors in 2013 and showed flashes of what he can do but wasn’t consistent or outstanding. At 24, Martin is one of the older players on this list and the fact that his control hasn’t really developed as hoped means that he may end up a bullpen arm. He could still be very good in that role with a 97 mph fastball and a good slider.

2014 Prognosis: Martin could very well break camp with the Phillies and be solid arm in the bullpen.

#7

Carlos Tocci – OF
Date of Birth:
August 23, 1995
Height/Weight: 6’2″/160 lbs
Acquired: International free agent out of Venezuela in 2011; $759,000 signing bonus

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201317LakewoodSALLAPHI1184594214088170026672277.209.261.249.510
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: Tocci didn’t put up good numbers in his first year of full-season baseball in Lakewood but you have to take it with a grain of salt: Tocci was only 17 years old for most of the season. Though he runs well, Tocci was either very unlucky in 2013 or he wasn’t making very good contact, with a BABIP of only .253. That said, his strikeout rate was actually quite good (16.8%) and, if he brings up his walks (at a low 4.8% in 2013), he may be able to start increasing the quality of contact as he get stronger. As a strong defensive center fielder, he doesn’t have to be a great hitter to be an good contributor.

2014 Prognosis: At such a young age, there’s no reason to rush Tocci and he could very well repeat the level as an 18 year old.

#6

Cesar Hernandez – 2B/OF
Date of Birth:
May 23, 1990
Height/Weight: 5’10″/175 lbs
Acquired: International free agent out of Venezuela in 2006

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
2013232 Teams2 LgsAAA-AAPHI107453401611261392373384282.314.378.406.785
201323ReadingELAAPHI313102510031011.500.500.6001.100
201323Lehigh ValleyILAAAPHI104440391591211292343284181.309.375.402.776
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.
YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSOPS+
201323PHINL3413112117355001003926.289.344.331.67488
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: Cesar Hernandez barely held on to his rookie eligibility and thus remains on our list. My guess is that the That Balls Outta Here guys rate him highly because of how high his floor his: he’s almost surely going to be a major league utility man, providing excellent defense at multiple positions. He’s also coming off the best minor league season of his career in which he showed more patience at the plate as well as excellent contact skills.

2014 Prognosis: Spencer thinks that Hernandez will grab a reserve outfield position at the major league level or he’ll be traded.

Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; USA pitcher Jesse Biddle throws a pitch during the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

#5

Adam Morgan – LHP
Date of Birth:
February 27, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’1″/195
Acquired: 3rd round of the 2011 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
2013232 Teams2 LgsAAA-RkPHI28.2003.91181878.190433410261575231.48110.31.13.06.52.19
201323PhilliesGULFRkPHI01.0002.57227.062200080000.8577.70.00.010.3
201323Lehigh ValleyILAAAPHI27.2224.04161671.184413210261495231.54210.61.33.36.21.88
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: Morgan is one of the more polished players in the Phillies organization, particularly among those near the top of the list. After an outstanding 2012, Morgan spent some of 2013 on the shelf with a “small” rotator cuff tear but returned to put up some solid numbers. While the strikeouts were down, Morgan has good control and has three pitches that project to be above average including a slider that Baseball America calls the best in the organization.

2014 Prognosis: Morgan doesn’t have to be protected on the 40-man roster until after this season which will probably have him go back to Lehigh Valley to get some more experience before he comes up to the majors.

#4

J.P. Crawford – SS
Date of Birth:
January 11, 1995
Height/Weight: 6’2″/180 lbs
Acquired: 1st round (16th overall) of the 2013 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
2013182 Teams2 LgsRk-APHI532281953460931211463235.308.405.400.805
201318PhilliesGULFRkPHI391681422449831191252525.345.443.465.908
201318LakewoodSALLAPHI1460531011100221710.208.300.226.526
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: Scouts and writers like Crawford’s ability to play shortstop which plays up his prospect status. Starting his pro career with a bang, this 2013 first rounder tore through the Gulf Coast League, showing patience and the ability to drive the ball all over the park. A great contact hitter already, Crawford’s bat is projected to have some pop to it when he matures. Pay no attention to his numbers from a brief promotion to Lakewood. As an 18 year old in the Sally League, he actually acquitted himself fairly well.

2014 Prognosis: Crawford returns to Lakewood and we’ll see if he can adjust to better and more consistent pitching as one of the younger players in the league.

#3

Jesse Biddle – LHP
Date of Birth:
October 22, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’4″/225 lbs
Acquired: 1st round (27th overall) of the 2010 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSCGIPHRERHRBBSOHBPBKWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201321ReadingELAAPHI514.2633.6427272138.1104595610821543191.3456.80.75.310.01.88
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: At the age of just 21, Biddle put up some solid numbers in Double-A Reading for the Phillies. He’s not a particularly hard thrower (topping out at 92 mph) but he’s very consistent and gets a good downward plane on the ball. He’s got a good curve that Baseball America calls the best in the organization to go along with solid changeup but is still struggling with his control, despite being very hard to hit.

2014 Prognosis: Biddle heads to Lehigh Valley for Triple-A action in 2014 and goes to work on his control and command issues. Major league hitter are just not going to let him get away with missing like minor league hitters have.

#2

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez – RHP
Date of Birth:
Unable to find this information. He’s 27.
Height/Weight: 6’3″/185
Acquired: International free agent out of Cuba; $12 million over three years

2013 Stats: Did not play

Analysis: Gonzalez is coming out of Cuba not having played in a couple of years (he was suspended for a previous defection attempt) but apparently has stayed in shape. The word is that he’s 27 but, with Cuban players, you can’t be 100% sure. He’s reported to throw in the low-to-mid 90s, sitting around 93 mph with a changeup, a cutter, a curve and a splitter. There’s some good video of him pitching in Mexico if you follow this link. He has a slow leg lift in his rotation but has clean mechanics and a quick arm.

2014 Prognosis: The Phillies are planning for Gonzalez to break camp as a member of the starting rotation.

#1

Maikel Franco – 3B
Date of Birth:
August 26, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’1″/180
Acquired: International free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2010; $100,000 signing bonus

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
2013202 Teams2 LgsAA-A+PHI1345815418917336331103123070.320.356.569.926
201320ClearwaterFLORA+PHI6528926442792311652002039.299.349.576.925
201320ReadingELAAPHI6929227747941321551121031.339.363.563.926
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2014.


Analysis
: The most impressive part of Franco’s 2013 season is that he didn’t miss a beat when going from High-A Clearwater to Double-A Reading. He just kept mashing at pretty much the same rate (although his doubles went down), hitting for a higher average and striking out less at the higher level. At the age of 21, Franco is really coming into his own and is projecting to be an impact bat and a solid defender at the major league level.

2014 Prognosis: Franco could certainly hit Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2014 and he could enjoy his first taste of the bigs as well. Since he’s not on the 40-man roster yet, the Phillies could decide to hold him back one more year.