2014 Philadelphia Phillies Top 10 Prospects — Updated

Philadelphia did well in acquiring a pair of potentially quickly moving collegiate pitchers — Aaron Nola and Matt Imhof — to open the draft, both of whom rank among the club’s top 10 prospects. Maikel Franco has been a major disappointment over the first half of the season, hitting a paltry .227/.280/.353. Teenage shortstop J.P. Crawford has already begun ascending up the minor league ladder.


For a look at the club’s Top 10 Prospects heading into the year click HERE



1.  Maikel Franco, 3B, Age: 21

In terms of production relative to the league average, Franco is in the midst of the worst season of his five-year professional career. According to Weighted Runs Created Plus, the 21-year-old third baseman has been 30% below the league average production, a mark he equaled during his debut season in 2010.


2.  J.P. Crawford, SS, Age: 19

Crawford’s torrid debut in rookie ball last season carried over into an impressive showing in low Class A this year, a move that earned the former first round pick a promotion to Clearwater. Simply put, he’s the heir apparent to Jimmy Rollins’ throne.


3.  Aaron Nola, RHP, Age: 21

A three-year starter for LSU, Nola finished his collegiate career on a high note: 1.47 ERA, 10.37 K/9, and 2.09 BB/9. The Phillies, fully recognizing Nola’s polish and guile, pushed the right-hander straight to high Class A to begin his professional career. A Tim Hudson-esque peak. For his full pre-draft analysis click HERE.


4.  Jesse Biddle, LHP, Age: 22

Instead of showing tangible developmental progress during his second go round in the Eastern League Biddle has actually taken a few steps backwards and has taken a bit of mental break. Still, though, left-handers with an above-average ability to miss bats are at a premium.


5.  Severino Gonzalez, RHP, Age: 21

I was incredibly high on Gonzalez entering the season, ranking the lanky right-hander as the #86 prospect in baseball. He’s disappointed a bit in Class AA this year, averaging the second lowest K-rate of his career (6.73 K/9), though he’s still showing his trademark control (1.77 BB/9).


6.  Matt Imhof, LHP, Age: 20

The #19 player on my College Big Board, Imhof finished the year with the seventh most strikeouts in DI this season. Solid mid-rotation-type arm who could move semi-quickly through the system. For Imhof’s full pre-draft analysis click HERE.


7.  Yoel Mecias, RHP, Age: 20

Mecias bounced back relatively quickly from Tommy John surgery, making his return in less than 12 months. Prior to the injury, he was in the midst of a breakout season in low Class A.


8.  Andrew Knapp, C, Age: 22

The #14 player on my Collegiate Big Board last season, the organization pushed Knapp to the high Class A after a 30-game crash course with Lakewood.


9.  Kelly Dugan, OF, Age: 23

For an organization that tends to take an aggressive approach with its prospects (see: Carlos Tocci), it’s a bit perplexing as to why the club didn’t push Dugan into Class AAA to start this season after a solid 56-game stint in Reading in 2013.  Nonetheless, he’s topped the league average production by 31% this year.


10.  Dylan Cozens, OF, Age: 20

In my book, The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual, I pegged the man-child as one of the top breakout players heading into the season. And…I whiffed. Badly. Cozens is hitting .229/.291/.402   though he has added a career best 11 homeruns.


 Photo Courtesy of HILARY SCHEINUK via theneworleansadvocate.com.





After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.