2014 Philadelphia Phillies Top 10 Prospects

By
Updated: February 3, 2014
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Update: The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual finally hit ebook shelves. Check it out!!!

After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days -  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks and working through alphabetically. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Maikel Franco, Position: 3B, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

289

159

.299

.349

.576

6.9%

13.5%

.277

23

1

16

0/0

AA

292

153

.339

.363

.563

3.4%

10.6%

.244

13

2

15

1/3

Profile: Among the most lethal offensive players in the minor leagues last season, Franco split his time between high Class A and Class AA and finished with a .320/.356/.569 line with 36 doubles, three triples, and 31 homeruns.

And just to put Franco’s season into perspective compare the following:

Name

Year

Age

Level(s)

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

wRC+

Maikel Franco

2013

20

A+/AA

0.320

0.356

0.569

0.249

156

Oscar Taveras

2012

20

AA

0.321

0.380

0.572

0.251

159

Taveras, prior to his injury-wrecked 2013, was widely considered one of the top prospects heading into the season.

Analysis: Franco was the benefactor of two favorable ballparks last season, both Clearwater’s and Reading’s fields inflate homerun totals. With the being said, the 21-year-old third baseman has slugged 68 doubles since 2012, so the power potential is going to play and eventually develop into legit 30-HR territory. He’s a middle-of-the-order-bat, but the walk rates might hamper his ceiling a bit. .280/.340/.500-type ceiling.

Ceiling: 5.0- to 5.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

2. Jesse Biddle, Position: LHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

138.1

3.64

3.81

10.02

5.33

26.2%

14.0%

0.65

41.1%

Profile: Among the better southpaw pitching prospects in the minor leagues, Biddle set a career best in strikeout percentage, 26.2%, while his control all but abandoned him. The former first round pick out of a Philadelphia high school in 2010 averaged 3.91 BB/9 the prior two seasons, but that number came in north of 5.0 BB/9 last year.

Analysis: Lefties with elite strikeout potential are far and few between. In back-to-back starts in late April, Biddle struck out 16 and 10. He also had three other games with nine punch outs. The control is probably going to never be an above-average skill, but if Biddle can average something around 3.8 BB/9 he’s going to be a front-of-the-rotation type starter.

Ceiling: 5.0- to 5.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

3. Severino Gonzalez, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

21.1

1.69

1.04

13.08

1.27

39.7%

3.8%

0.42

41.9%

A+

75.2

2.02

2.86

9.75

2.26

27.2%

6.3%

0.48

29.1%

AA

6.2

2.70

2.63

8.10

0.00

23.1%

0.0%

0.00

35.0%

Profile: Owner of some of the best control in the minor leagues, Gonzalez, who walked just nine hitters during his first 135.1 career innings in the Venezuelan Summer League, made stops at three different levels – low Class A, high Class A, and Class AA – en route to establishing himself as a legitimate #2-type starting pitcher.

Gonzalez, a 6-foot-1 rail-thin right-hander, tossed 103.2 innings last season, striking out 119 and walking just 22. He finished with a miniscule 2.43 Skill Independent ERA.

Analysis: Now the bad news or at least some quasi-bad news: Gonzalez was incredibly fly ball-prone during his stint with Clearwater. Through 75 innings, his groundball rate was just 29.1%. This could prove to be just an anomaly, but it does bear watching.

Ceiling: 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

4. J.P. Crawford, Position: SS, Age: 19

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

168

172

.345

.443

.465

14.9%

14.9%

.120

8

3

1

12/17

A

60

62

.208

.300

.226

11.7%

16.7%

.019

1

0

0

2/3

Profile: The Gulf Coast League’s top performer, Crawford, the 16th pick last June, batted .345/.443/.465 and posted a wRC+ total of 172. The club moved him to low Class A for a quick stint, where he looked overmatched.

Analysis: In his brief stint in professional ball, Crawford showed a tremendous eye at the plate, doubles power, strong contact skills, and some base stealing prowess. His defense is passable right now.

Ceiling: Too Soon to Tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

5. Dylan Cozens, Position: RF, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A-

277

146

.265

.343

.469

10.1%

23.1%

.204

19

2

9

11/17

Profile: The Phillies grabbed the 6-foot-6 man-child in the second round two years ago. Cozens had a solid showing in rookie ball during his debut, hitting .255/.341/.441 with 18 extra-base hits. The organization opted to take the slow-and-steady approach and sent him to short-season ball where he showed an uptick in production (.265/.343/.469).

Analysis: He’s going to blow up one day. Just out of the blue people are going to take notice. Thirty to 35-HR power, good plate discipline and double-digit stolen base ability. Watch. It could take two or three years, but he’s going to start shooting up the prospect charts.

Ceiling: 3.5- to 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

6. Yoel Mecias, Position: LHP, Age: 20

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

57.0

2.80

3.11

11.05

3.95

28.3%

10.1%

0.47

44.4%

Profile: Well, that didn’t take long. Just 98.2 innings into his professional career and Mecias fell to the ol’ Tommy John-thing. The lanky southpaw was in the midst of a breakout season in low A, striking out 70 and walking 25 in 57 innings with Lakewood.

Analysis: He looked like a potential top-of-the-rotation-type pitching prospect prior to the whole elbow issue. And, yes, Tommy John surgery is nearly a slam dunk, but it’s not a guarantee. He’s likely not to make another meaningful pitch until the age of 21.

Ceiling: 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

7. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Position: RHP, Age: 27

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Profile: Originally signed to a six-year, $48M in late July, the Cuban-born right-hander had to settle for a three-year, $12M-pact, the result of a potentially faulty elbow. In his most recent full season in Cuba, 2011, Gonzalez tossed 113 innings with just 74 strikeouts (5.89 K/9) and 29 walks (2.31 BB/9).

For his career in Cuba, Gonzalez averaged 6.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 650.2 innings of work.

Analysis: Cuba’s league average strikeout and walk rates are approximately 4.6 and 4.0, respectively. He’s maybe a good #3. Of course, there’s those elbow concerns. His 2013 will probably be limited to about 140 innings, and he’s likely to post a K-rate in the 7.5 range to go along with a 3.3 BB/9 to go with a 3.60-ish ERA.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

8. Kelly Dugan, Position: 1B/OF, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

247

170

.318

.401

.539

9.7%

24.3%

.221

12

3

10

1/4

AA

226

110

.264

.299

.472

2.2%

23.9%

.208

12

1

10

0/1

Profile: To sum up Dugan’s season in 13 words: Blossomed in high Class A, slightly better than league average in Class AA. The former 2009 second round pick hit finished the year with a .291/.352/.506 triple-slash line, with 24 doubles, four triples, and 20 homeruns.

Analysis: The 60 percentage point decline in production upon his promotion was largely the result of Dugan’s sudden inability to walk. He walked in 9.7% of his plate appearances in low Class A and high Class A and just 2.2% of the time with Reading. The switch-hitting first baseman/outfielder could be an above-average big league, a potential solid #6-type hitter. .260/.320/.460-type hitter.

Ceiling: 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

9. Andrew Knapp, Position: C, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A-

247

128

.253

.340

.401

8.9%

23.1%

.147

20

0

4

7/12

Profile: One of the better offensive catchers in the college last season, Knapp’s bat took one of the bigger developmental steps forward in 2013, hitting a career best .350/.434/.544 with 16 doubles and eight homeruns. Philadelphia had the second round pick bypass the rookie levels and pushed him straight to short-season ball where he had a respectable showing.

Analysis: Pre-draft evaluation: “Knapp, a switch-hitter, showed some blossoming power during his sophomore campaign, slugging 21 extra-base hits. It’s now developed into a solid-average skill with the potential to be 12 to 17 homeruns down the line. He couples that with a decent eye at the plate, though his walk rates will likely be average or slightly below in pro ball. He’s not going to be a star and his bat profiles as a league average. But he’s the type that could carve out a long career as a solid big league regular capable of adding value on both sides of the ball.”

Ceiling: 2.0- to 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

10. Zachary Green, Position: 3B, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A-

311

149

.252

.344

.478

10.0%

29.3%

.226

20

1

13

8/13

Profile: A third round pick two years ago, the Phillies took the Dylan Cozens approach with Green last season, sending the big third baseman to short-season ball despite a nice debut in the Gulf. And it was the right approach. He finished the year nearly 50% better than the league average production. 

Analysis: The K-rate spiked, to red flag territory. Green swung-and-missed in just over 29% of the time. He has some pop with a decent eye. So, maybe he develops into a quasi-Three True Outcomes hitter down the line.

Ceiling: 2.0- to 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

 

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