It’s time to celebrate Phillies’ fans! MLB.com just released their updated top-30 prospect rankings for the NL East and with it a whole new list of Phillies’ prospects.
Who’s at the top? Who are the biggest risers and fallers? Who’s new to the list and who’s gone? Let’s check it out.
(for reference, I’ll be using the 20-80 scale a lot. 80 being the highest grade and 20 being the lowest. 50 is considered average)
The Top 5
There’s really no surprise here as the top 3 remain the same. Alec Bohm’s at 1, Spencer Howard at 2, and Bryson Stott at 3. All 3 can also be found on MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list (Bohm #30, Howard #34, and Stott #87.
Bohm remains the hopes and dreams of all Phillies’ fans as a future star 3rd baseman. His 2019 minors slash line inspires hope for that, slashing .305/.378/.518. Across the major evaluators (Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus), he ranks no lower than the #40 prospect in all of baseball. He could easily be off the list by mid-season because of the Phillies calling him up to the show.
Spencer Howard actually ranks higher than Bohm on other prospect lists. Scouts love everything Howard has to offer. They grade his fastball (65), changeup (60), and slider (55) all above average. In limited action in 2019, Howard performed well in the minors with an ERA of 2.03 and a strikeout rate of 11.9 K/9. He’ll most likely see time in the bigs this season, but so far the Phillies are starting him out slowly.
Although drafted just a year ago, Bryson Stott has become the consensus 3rd best prospect in the Phillies system. In his first year, Stott put up a .885 OPS, mostly in low A ball. He has a good shot to stay at shortstop, a premium defensive position.
Francisco Morales comes in at the #4 spot, moving up from #6 in 2019. You don’t see many prospects with 2 60-grade pitches. Morales has a fastball that routinely hits upper 90’s and a slider that has wipe-out stuff. He whiffed 129 batters in just 96.2 IP. Some evaluators are skeptical about whether he’ll stick as a starter. Either way, he has the stuff to pitch in the majors.
Down 1 spot from 2019 is Adonis Medina. Prior to 2019, Adonis Media was tagged as a top-100 prospect in baseball. Medina has struggled the past 2 seasons with an ERA over 4. Last season, his strikeout rate only hit 7 K/9, his lowest since 2016. That could actually be a blessing in disguise as Medina throws a mid-90’s fastball with a lot of sink. Groundball outs could be the key to the young pitcher’s success.
The Biggest Risers
Two Phillies jumped 6 spots on the top-30 list and one leaped 9. Let’s check out the +6ers first.
Rafael Marchan has had some spotlight shown on him this spring. The Phillies’ World Series-winning former catcher Joe Girardi has sung the young catcher’s praises.
The prospect evaluators apparently think the same thing as Marchan moves from #13 all the way to #7 on the list. Marchan is a defense-first catcher. He grades out with a 60 fielding and 60 arm. Marchan isn’t lost with the bat either as he makes a lot of contact. He’s still looking for his first professional home run.
Damon Jones also jumps 6 spots. Jones excelled at A+ and AA, posting a 1.54 ERA in Clearwater and a 0.82 ERA in Reading. He did struggle in AAA, however, but who didn’t in 2019?. Jones has a great 1-2 punch with a mid-90’s fastball and sharp curveball mix. The only thing holding him back as of now would be his control. He has a 4.6 BB/9 ratio throughout the minors. If that improves, he could certainly be a solid lefty towards the back of the rotation.
The fastest riser on the list is Conner Seabold. Last year, he was the #30 prospect out of 30. Seabold now finds himself at #21. That move up reflects the year he had in AA and the AFL. In AA, Seabold posted a 2.25 ERA in 7 starts. He faced an oblique injury and didn’t see much more action until the fall. In the AFL, he was even better. There, he allowed just 2 ER in 17 IP, striking out 22. His fastball is fairly pedestrian, sitting in the low 90’s. It’s his command that stands out.
Jhailyn Ortiz, Cole Irvin, Daniel Brito, and Kyle Young are your bigger sliders on the list. I’ll keep the reasons why short for the sake of your sanity.
Ortiz slides 6 spots. While he hit 19 homers, he also only hit .200 with 149 K. There’s a lot of power, just little to no contact. Cole Irvin also slides 6. He had a 5.83 ERA in the majors and was moved to the bullpen. To his credit, he did find some late-season success coming out of the pen.
Daniel Brito goes from #23 to #30. Outside of rookie ball, Brito has a minors OPS of well under .700. Your biggest loser is Kyle Young, falling 8 spots to #29. Young had Tommy John surgery last spring. He stands tall at 6′ 10′ but needs to be healthy to find success.
Welcome to the list
Four Phillies prospects make their debut to the top-30 list in 2020.
Kendall Simmons finds himself at the #25 spot. Slugging .520 in Williamsport helps the cause. He’ll continue on to Lakewood in 2020.
One spot ahead you’ll find Ethan Lindow. Between A and A+ ball, Lindow posted a 2.52 ERA. He has a legitimate 4-pitch mix and is highlighted by a 60-grade control.
At the #17 spot, you’ll find Cristopher Sanchez, an acquisition from the Tampa Bay Rays. Sanchez broke out in 2019, posting a 2.26 ERA between 3 levels. The lefty features a mid-90’s fastball and a sweeping slider.
Lastly, Johan Rojas debuts at #16. Rojas is not even 20 years old at the moment. He’s a toolsy outfielder, who still has a lot to show.
Bye, Bye for now?
The Phillies also have 4 players that fall of the list; Domonic Pipkin, Kevin Gowdy, “Yukon” Cornelius Randolf, and Victor Santos.
The Phillies’ 10th overall pick in 2015 failed to impress again. Cornelius Randolf, while improving a little in 2019, still only slashed .247/.324/.399 in AA. Not to spoil your day, but the Braves selected Mike Soroka at #28.
Kevin Gowdy, another high draft pick (#42 2016), was injured from 2017-2018. Coming back last year, there wasn’t any success story. A 4.68 ERA at any level isn’t impressive.
A 5.15 ERA in A ball drops Dominic Pipkin off the list. Victor Santos put up a 4.02 ERA at A ball but drops off the top-30 list for now.
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Alec Kostival graduated from La Salle University with a degree in communication with a focus in mass media and journalism. He covered high school sports for the Chestnut Hill Local. He has interned with the Reading Fightin Phils and the Philadelphia Eagles.