Philadelphia Phillies

Original Published Date: November 17, 2015

The Phillies farm system has gone through an impressive overhaul.  While J.P. Crawford is still the top prospect in the system, most everyone else has been recently drafted or acquired to bolster what was a fledgling minor league system.

The Cole Hamels trade alone added Nick Williams, Jake Thomspon, and Jorge Alfaro.  All have a chance to see Philadelphia very soon with Thompson and Williams likely up next year.  Chase Utley brought in Darnell Sweeney, an intriguing talent that saw plenty of September at-bats and could fill the role of a Super-Utility or full time outfielder next year.

The 2015 draft added two impressive bats in Cornelius Randolph and Scott Kingery.  While Kingery is an advanced college hitter that could make quick work of the minor leagues, Randolph is the athletic, high upside lottery ticket.  Finally there is Franklyn Kilome, the 6-foot-6 right-hander that took a major step forward and is now hitting 97 MPH on the radar gun.  He’s a long way off, but the ceiling is a number two starter.

While many Phillies fans cheered the firing of Reuben J. Amaro, he did leave the system in better shape than it had been in several years.  Of course you can argue that he let the system get into that stage as well.  Whatever your perspective, the system is now a Top 10 system in baseball.

1. J.P. Crawford (SS)

2016 Age: 21 Ceiling: All Star
Ht: 6-2 Weight: 180 Bats: Left Throws: Right ETA: 2016
2015 A+,AA 430 68 6 42 12 .288 .380 87.4 12.8 .316

J.P. Crawford is one of the elite prospects in the game.  He has the tool that keeps on giving – the ability to hit.  He batted .345 in his first introduction to professional baseball in 2013 as a teenager and has kept hitting ever since.   In 2015, he split time between High and Double-A, posting a .288 batting average with a .380 on-base percentage while walking (63) more than he struck out (54).

While Crawford only slugged .414 with six home runs, he only turns 21-years-old in January and as he continues to add strength, some of his 22 doubles will turn into home runs.  Projecting him to hit 20 plus home runs next year could be a stretch, but in three years, it’s absolutely possible.

With Jimmy Rollins moving on to Los Angeles, the path has been cleared for Crawford.  While he’ll likely start 2016 in Triple-A, the countdown will start shortly after mid-April for his promotion.  Given the state of the Phillies rebuild, there is no hurry to promote him.  Therefore, it’s conceivable that he might not see Philadelphia until late June.  This will give him more time to develop in the minor leagues while also delaying his service time.

Scouting Report:  At 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, Crawford has enough quick twitch athleticism to stick at shortstop long-term. He’s going to get bigger and stronger with a physical comp of Troy Tulowitzki not out of the question.  It’s doubtful he’ll ever develop 30 plus home run power, but there’s plenty of bat speed to project 20 home runs power at his peak.  He’ll have to tweak his swing slightly to add more loft, but given his baseball-IQ, I think he can without sacrificing a ton of contact.

Crawford is an average runner but with great instincts on the base paths.  It’s easy to project him to have at least 10 to 15 stolen bases annually with a chance for more as situations dictate.

Fantasy Impact:  With a ceiling of a .300 hitter with 20 home runs and 10 to 15 stolen bases, Crawford’s ceiling is a top 5 fantasy shortstop.  If it weren’t for guys like Carlos Correa and Corey Seager, it could be higher.  He’s really good and nearly ready to show his stuff to major league fans.  While it’s impossible to predict a Correa-like impact in 2016, it’s not out of the question.

2. Nick Williams (OF)

2016 Age: 22 Ceiling: All Star
Ht: 6-3 Weight: 195 Bats: Left Throws: Left ETA: 2016
2015 AA 475 77 17 55 13 .303 .354 79.6 6.8 .351

I got tired of talking about when the Phillies would trade Cole Hamels, you got tired of listening, heck…the whole world got tired of talking about it.  Finally on July 31, 2015, Reuben J. Amaro traded Hamels for Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson and a host of other players.  It was a very good haul for the Phillies with Nick Williams having the best chance to be an impact player in the major leagues.

Williams has always demonstrated the ability to barrel the ball.  In 374 minor league games, he’s batted .296 with an 84% contact rate.  Because of his elite hand-eye-coordination, he’s never been a patient hitter, swinging at anything that looks close to the plate.  In those same 374 games, he’s walked only .4% of the time.  It’s clearly working as he’s hit at every level, hit with power and is now on the doorsteps of the major leagues.

Scouting Report: If Williams were just more patient at the plate, he would a top five prospect in the game.  However, that just doesn’t look like it’s part of his game.  He did show a better approach in April and May this year, but as the summer wore on, he fell back into his old aggressive habits.

He has premium bat speed and enough strength to eventually hit for above-average, if not plus power.  He’s also a good runner and should be able to steal low double-digit stolen bases.  As he matures though, the speed will diminish and the power should increase.  A reasonable stat line could be 20HR/15SB from age 22 to 26, morphing into a 25HR/6SB player.

Fantasy Impact:  The offensive upside for me is Adam Jones.  I’m not sure Williams will ever hit 33 home runs in a season or steal 34 bases, but he could have a season or two where he hits close to 30 home runs and steals 15 to 20 bases.  Additionally, he should be able to equal Jones’ .279 batting average as well as his 4.3% walk rate.  The bottom line is that Williams will be a very good fantasy player, enhanced by playing 81 games in Philadelphia.

3. Roman Quinn (OF)

2016 Age: 23 Ceiling: 1st Div
Ht: 5-10 Weight: 170 Bats: Both Throws: Right ETA: 2016
2015 AA 232 44 4 15 29 .306 .356 81.9 7.0 .360

For those of you who have read our site for the last few years know that we are huge Roman Quinn fans.  He’s an exciting player with a ton of upside but has had trouble staying healthy.  In 2013, he broke his wrist at the start of the season and then blew out his Achilles after the season ended.  This year, a hip flexor tear cost him the entire second half of the season.  In fact, his high water mark in games played occurred last year where he played in a grand total of 88 games.

Before the injury this year, Quinn played very well.  In 58 games in Double-A, he batted .306 with a .356 on-base percentage.   He also showed a little pop, slugging .435 with four home runs.

With Ben Revere now playing for the Blue Jays, center field is wide open for Quinn to step-in.  Assuming he’s healthy, he should start the year in Triple-A and once the Phillies believe he is ready, he should be up.  I think that happens in the second half.

Scouting Report: Quinn’s carrying tool is plus-plus speed that he has demonstrated by stealing 123 bases in 232 games in his four seasons of professional ball.   While many players with 80-grade speed are simply trying to make contact to get on base and use their wheels to disrupt.  Quinn is not that player.  He has enough strength to not only drive the ball, but to also hit a handful of home runs annually. This is what sets Quinn apart from other similar players and why we have set his ceiling as a first division starter.

Defensively, Quinn’s outfield play has improved.  When I saw him in the AFL last year, his tracking ability was poor but he still caught everything because he had the speed to make up for those mistakes. When I checked in on him this year, he was running better routes and looked much more comfortable.

Fantasy Impact:  Quinn could be an impact fantasy player with a chance to steal 40 plus bases annually hitting at the top of the Phillies lineup.  His hit tool has improved enough for him to get on-base at a .330 to .340 clip and enough power to hit 5 to 8 home runs.  If it all clicks, he could be a top 100 fantasy player.

4. Jorge Alfaro (C)

2016 Age: 23 Ceiling: 1st Div
Ht: 6-2 Weight: 225 Bats: Right Throws: Right ETA: 2017
2015 R,AA 194 22 5 22 2 .258 .324 68.6 4.2 .352

When Kevin Goldstein and Jason Parks did the very entertaining “Up and In” podcast, Parks use to refer to Jorge Alfaro as the “The Legend”.  I never knew the entomology for the name but it spoke to the level of player that Parks thought Alfaro could develop into.

While the tools are alluring, it hasn’t completely clicked yet for the 23-year-old catcher.  The raw power hasn’t consistently shown up in games, plus the approach and contact rate have been a problem.  In 190 at-bats before Alfaro severely sprained his ankle, he struck out 61 times while walking nine times.  That’s nine…as in the single digit.  Given his struggles, the Phillies will likely start Alfaro back in Double-A, but unless he improves his contact and approach, he could be there a while.

Scouting Report:  Alfaro is a premium athlete with tremendous raw power, speed, and agility.  His agility and speed can be best seen by his graceful movements behind the plate.  He’s constantly moving and always in a good position to receive the ball.  His arm is a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale and why many believe that Alfaro could develop into an all-star caliber backstop.

He also has elite bat-speed, so much so, it looks like he’s swinging out of his shoes.  That bat speed should help translate into plus future power; if he can only make enough contact.  As mentioned above, making contact has been a real problem and he needs to become more patient at the plate.  Both are coachable, but the player needs to want to change.  If he can, you’re looking at a star.

The Phillies love athletic players like Alfaro.  Sometimes they pay off and become big league contributors and sometimes they become Dominic Brown.  Who will Alfaro become?  I honestly don’t know.

Fantasy Impact:  Alfaro has a chance to be a top 10 catcher, but there’s a chance he never makes it.  Honestly, he’s still high on the list because of his crazy tools but at 23-years-old, fantasy owners need to start seeing more.  A sub 70% contact rate while walking less than 5% of the time is just not going to cut it.

5. Jake Thompson (RHP)

2016 Age: 22 Ceiling: #3 starter
Ht: 6-3 Weight: 235 Bats: Right Throws: Right ETA: 2016
Year Class IP H ER HR BB/9 K/9 ERA WHIP
2015 AA 132.2 127 55 10 2.85 7.60 3.73 1.27

After he was acquired as part of the Cole Hamels trade, Jake Thompson pitched really well.  In seven starts, he won five games, posted a 1.80 ERA while striking out 34 and walking 12.  At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, he has the size to log innings and be a contributor in a big league rotation.  However, after seeing him pitch in his first game after being acquired by the Phillies, I think his ceiling is a number four starter and not a top of the rotation contributor.

Scouting Report:  Thompson is more control than stuff.  The fastball sits 89 to 92 MPH (T93) with an 84 MPH slider that is his primary secondary pitch, and a change-up that is serviceable.  What he can do is throw each pitch for strikes.  The command is ok but with many young pitchers, it’s inconsistent.

While radar guns and stopwatches are necessary tools of the trade, nothing beats your eyes.  In seeing Thompson, I was left wanting more.  The Trenton Thunder, his opponent, were not being fooled by his stuff.  It was just flat and they were on each pitch.  Was it an off-day?  The stats say that it might have been, however maybe the 94 hits in 87.2 innings in Frisco was the norm and his seven starts after the trade is the outlier.

Fantasy Impact:  Thompson should be owned in all deeper Dynasty Leagues.  However, owners need to temper their expectations and know that the ceiling is a 200-inning pitcher with 130 strikeouts, league average ERA, and a better than league average WHIP.  He’ll keep his team in games, post 10 to 12 victories per year, but in the end, I just don’t see an impact fantasy player.  That said, if he pitches long enough, that’s a $10 million dollar pitcher.

6. Cornelius Randolph (OF)

2016 Age: 19 Ceiling: 1st Div
Ht: 5-11 Weight: 205 Bats: Left Throws: Right ETA: 2018-19
2015 R 172 34 1 24 6 .302 .425 81.4 15.1 .362

In the hype leading up to the 2015 draft, Cornelius Randolph’s name never came up as a being a top 10 talent.  The Phillies thought otherwise and took him as the tenth overall player.  So far, they are looking pretty smart.  In 53 games in the GCL, Randolph showed that he has a chance to be an excellent hitter.  He posted a .302 batting average and walked as many times as he struck out (32).  Granted it was only in 172 at-bats in Rookie ball, but it was still an impressive initial showing.

Scouting Report:  Randolph entered the draft as one of the best high school hitters in the class and proved the point in his debut.  He has plenty of bat speed, a very mature approach and can control the strike zone like a player much older than 18.  Scouts who saw him in high school have commented that he can get pull happy and try and hit everything “500 feet”.  The Phillies will have to work with him on this but assuming he plays within his skillset, he has a chance to be an everyday regular at the big league level.

The Phillies will likely start Randolph in Lakewood in the Sally League and at his age, he could stay there the entire year.  However, the hit tool will likely be too advanced for the level and he could see Clearwater before the season ends.

Fantasy Impact:  If Randolph could run better, the fantasy upside could be impressive.  However, he’s a below-average runner and will likely only steal a handful of bases per year.  The bat and power should play with a chance to be .280/.350 batter with 20 home runs.  He should be owned in all leagues with 150 or less minor league slots.

7. Franklyn Kilome (RHP)

2016 Age: 21 Ceiling: #2 starter
Ht: 6-6 Weight: 175 Bats: Right Throws: Right ETA: 2018-19
Year Class IP H ER HR BB/9 K/9 ERA WHIP
2015 SS 49.1 41 18 1 3.83 6.57 3.28 1.26

At 6-foot-6 and 175 pounds, Franklyn Kilome has the type of physical projection that we write about all the time.  In a nutshell, add some weight, clean up the pitching mechanics and leverage the athleticism and see what happens.

The bet seems to be paying off for the Phillies as Kilome is transforming himself and the results are now showing up on the diamond.  In 11 starts in the New York Penn League, Kilome posted a 3.28 ERA, striking out 6.5 per nine while producing a 3 to 1 ground ball to fly ball ratio.

Scouting Report:  I had a chance to see Kilome this year and he lit up my radar with plenty of 96’s and 97’s (sitting 92 to 95 MPH).  It was a heavy, sinking fastball as well that batters could just not square.  They beat pitch after pitch into the ground.  His best secondary pitch is his 12 to 6 curve ball that looked really good.  He couldn’t always throw it for strikes, but the shape and deception was impressive.  His change-up needs work and he used the pitch sparingly.

Kilome has very simple and clean pitching mechanics.  He has a high three-quarters delivery that given his size is truly impressive to see.  If he could extend his stride, the added momentum would give his stuff even more life.  Given the difficulties that batters have in squaring his stuff already, he could become unhittable along the lines of Tyler Glasnow.

While he has yet to pitch in a full season league, there is a lot to like with Kilome.  The ceiling is a number two starter but he’s likely at least three years away from seeing Philadelphia.

Fantasy Impact:  The ceiling for Kilome is a number two starter.  He hasn’t shown an ability to strikeout a ton of batters yet, but the curve ball is going to be a weapon.  He’ll keep the ball on the ground and will likely never give up a lot of home runs.  He can easily be rostered in leagues that have 200 or less prospects but just know, it could take a while before we see him in the major leagues.

8. Darnell Sweeney (2B/OF)

2016 Age: 25 Ceiling: Solid Reg
Ht: 6-1 Weight: 195 Bats: Both Throws: Right ETA: 2015
2015 AAA 472 69 9 49 32 .271 .332 75.4 8.0 .339

I first saw Darnell Sweeney in the California League in 2013 and was really impressive.  He was a plus runner, nice pop with a good approach at the plate.  Last year, I stepped out and ranked him number six in a very good Dodgers system.  I also said the following:

Sweeney can really play but will likely need to be traded in order to see any consistent playing time in the major leagues. He’s way under-the-radar in fantasy leagues and is a guy I would be targeting.

Both comments above turned out to be true.  Sweeney was traded to the Phillies in August for Chase Utley and I in fact own Sweeney in each of my Dynasty Leagues.

Scouting Report:  Sweeney has a lot of 50 to 55 grade tools but nothing that grades out as truly plus. However, don’t let that disappoint you as the tools together, give him a ceiling of a regular everyday player.  He’s a switch hitter with a good approach and plenty of bat speed, particularly from the right side.  His swing can get a little long if he tries to muscle up and hit for power.  He’s best when he’s just making hard contact and letting his power come naturally.

Defensively, the Phillies have been playing him both at second and in the outfield.  They could be grooming him for a super-utility type of player which given he’s a switch hitter could prove to be a nice fit.  Overall, he’s a nice player that should see plenty of at-bats in 2016.

Fantasy Impact:  The ceiling for Sweeney is quite impressive.  He could hit .270 with 8 to 12 home runs and 25 plus stolen bases.  If he does that, the Phillies will find a place for him.  Fantasy owners would love that to be at second but it will probably be in the outfield.

9. Scott Kingery (2B)

2016 Age: 22 Ceiling: Solid Reg
Ht: 5-10 Weight: 180 Bats: Right Throws: Right ETA: 2017
2015 A 252 43 3 21 11 .250 .314 82.9 6.4 .287

After an impressive three year college career at Arizona, the Phillies selected Scott Kingery in the second round of the 2015 draft and paid him a $1.25 million dollar signing bonus.  In his three years at Arizona, he batted .351, walked nearly as many times as he struck out and stole 38 bags.   Kingery got off to good start in Lakewood of the Sally League after he signed, but tired in August and wound up with a pedestrian .651 OPS but did manage to steal 11 of 12 bases.

Scouting Report:  Kingery has two plus tools in his double-plus speed and hit-tool.  He brings a mature approach to the plate with the ability to control the strike zone and drive the ball with his quick compact swing.   He doesn’t have a ton of raw power but has enough bat speed that he should run into a handful of home runs annually.

Defensively, Kingery is solid at second base but could also play the outfield if asked. As a mature college hitter, he’ll move quickly through the system with a chance to see Double-A before the 2016 season ends.

Fantasy Impact:  Kingery has a chance to be a solid fantasy contributor.  His skillset should allow him to frequently get on base, steal second and score plenty of runs.  A projection of a .270 hitter with 25 stolen bases and 80 runs scored could be in the cards.

10. Andrew Knapp (C)

2016 Age: 24 Ceiling: Solid Reg
Ht: 6-1 Weight: 190 Bats: Both Throws: Right ETA: 2016-17
2015 A+,AA 458 77 13 84 1 .308 .385 76.9 9.8 .373

Andrew Knapp had a real breakout season in 2015 in Double-A.  He batted .360 with 11 home runs with a .419 on-base percentage.  The batting average was fueled by a .405 BABIP but an 18% strikeout rate and 9% walk rate point to a potential .265/.330 batting average and on-base percentage.  That’s plenty good to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues.

Scouting Report:  Knapp has the skills to be above-average offensive catcher.  He’s a switch hitter with good bat speed and enough present strength to project future average power. He has a good approach with the ability to control the strike zone and avoids chasing pitches.  He’s got catcher speed so stolen bases will not be part of the profile.

His defensive game is behind his bat.  He has a solid arm but his footwork still needs work.  He provides a good target for pitchers but his framing skills are still not big league ready.

Fantasy Impact:  With 36-year-old Carlos Ruiz career winding down and Cameron Rupp more of a backup catcher, there is an opportunity for Knapp to contribute to your fantasy team in the next couple of years.  The upside is a .265 hitter with 15 to 20 home runs.  If he reaches that output, that’s a Top 10 fantasy catcher.

2016 Emerging Prospect

Jose Pujols (OF)

The Phillies signed Jose Pujols to a $540,000 signing bonus in 2012 out of the Dominican Republic.  His carrying tool is plus raw power that is still only showing up in batting practice.  His ability to control the strike zone is still nascent but it does look like he can pick up spin.  His swing is long so there will likely always be swing and miss in his game but once the power starts translating, he could project to 25 plus home runs down the road.  The Phillies will likely start him in Lakewood to begin the 2016 season.



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