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Philadelphia Phillies

As was the case last year, it was a grind writing the Phillies Top 15 Prospect List.  The system starts strong with Spencer Howard and Mick Abel, the Phillies’ first-round pick last June.  Both could be excellent Major Leaguers and in fact, Howard looked good in his brief audition in 2020.  However, after that, the system drops off.  You can argue that there are no impact players after the first two. 

That said, there are three guys I find interesting.  The first player is Casey Martin, the Phillies third-round pick last June.  He’s tooled up with enticing fantasy skills but there are serious questions about his contact skills.  Rafael Marchan doesn’t have any power, but he can hit and is a great defender behind the plate.  Finally, Simon Muzziotti has plus speed and can also really hit, but like Marchan, has 30-grade power.

Is it enough to push the Phillies to a championship over the next three years?  I don’t think so and therefore, they should continue to dip into free agency and/or trades to try and bring a title to Philadelphia.

Prospect Quick Shot

  • Top Prospect: Spencer Howard
  • Biggest Mover: Mick Abel
  • Emerging Prospect: Yhoswar Garcia

1. Spencer Howard (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 30 SP
  • Tools Summary: Premium arsenal with plus control

Spencer Howard started six games for the Phillies in 2020 and while he posted a 5.92 ERA if you look under the cover, things looked MUCH better.  He threw four pitches with his fastball and slider grading out as plus, if not double-plus pitches.  His fastball averaged 94 MPH with a high active spin rate. His slider had good separation and nearly a 2,400 RPM and a 40% whiff rate.  His curveball was ok but his change-up needs work.  He has better control than what he showed walking nearly four per nine.  Assuming he’s healthy, and he did have a shoulder scare during the year, the size, arsenal, and control point to a number two starter.  

2. Mick Abel (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 30 SP
  • Tools Summary: Big, athletic with promising stuff

With the 15th pick in the 2020 Draft, the Phillies drafted Mick Abel, a high school right-handed pitcher.  He’s got everything you want to see in a teenage talent.  He’s projectable at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, his fastball can already touch the mid to upper 90s with nice, present secondary pitches.  If you take two inches off, he resembles a young Spencer Howard.  The upside is a number two starter with plenty of strikeouts.

3. JoJo Romero (LHP)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 50 SP or Closer
  • Tools Summary: His arsenal looked great in his Major League debut despite an ugly ERA

I’ve seen JoJo Romero a lot during his career and it was nice to see him make his Major League debut in 2020.  If you dwell on the negative, you’re going to look at his 7.59 ERA and go…pass.  But dig deeper…the stuff was great.  His fastball (sinker and four-seamer) sat 94 to 96 MPH with a high spin rate and his slider was even more impressive.  He also threw strikes, walking 1.7 per nine.  Batters squared him too easily and his .375 BABIP hurt.  I still contend he could be a starter, but the Phillies need bullpen help desperately and that might be where he lands.  Regardless, I’m sticking with him in Dynasty Leagues.

4. Bryson Stott (SS)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling:  Middle Infielder
  • Tools Summary: No standout offensive tool which puts his ceiling as a soft regular or utility player at the highest level.

Bryson Stott doesn’t have a true standout offensive skill and likely will develop into a soft regular or even a utility player at the highest level.  While I know some will get excited about his 70 stolen bases in college, he’s an average runner, so I think 10-12 stolen bases annually is a reasonable baseline.  I know he’s worked on developing more power, but time will tell if that is successful. He’s got average bat speed.

5. Francisco Morales (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling:  Closer
  • Tools Summary: Athletic, power arsenal but with 30-grade control. 

At 6-foot-4 and a listed 180 pounds, Francisco Morales brings a power-arsenal to the mound with a fastball that can touch the mid to upper nineties with a double-plus slider.  The control is well below average as he doesn’t consistently find his release point.  He is athletic and through repetition, he should improve but likely not enough to be a starter. I think the Phillies move him to the pen and fast path him to the Majors.

6. Adonis Medina (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 50 SP with risk or bullpen arm
  • Tools Summary: Premium arsenal but control and command are lacking.  Also, his 6-foot-1 stature will make him homer-prone.

Adonis Medina got a spot start in late September to mark his Major League debut.  While he didn’t set the world on fire, he held his own.  In four innings, he gave up two earned runs, struck out three, and walked four.  His fastball sat 92.3 MPH, a little lighter than I had seen in the minor leagues with a plus slider and a change-up that batters did not pick up. While the arsenal is good enough to pitch in the Major Leagues, the control and command are lacking. If he can sort that, the ceiling is a mid-rotation starter.

7. Luis Garcia (SS)

  • Highest Level:  Low-A ETA: 2023+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 SS with risk
  • Tools Summary: After looking so good in 2018, he looked that bad, if not more in 2019.  Unfortunately, we have nothing else to go on

We wrote extensively about Luis Garcia last year and will let you review the trials he had after being promoted to the Sally League (Low-A) at an extremely young age.  In a word, he was overwhelmed by the level.  He has tools.  There is good bat speed, a feel to hit from both sides of the plate and he can stay up the middle.  However, after missing the entire season due to the Covid lockout, we have no other data to go on.  He needs to play.  Fantasy managers need to have their fingers crossed that the Phillies didn’t do permanent damage by overpromoting him.

8. Simon Muzziotti (OF)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 60 OF
  • Tools Summary: Contact hitter with plus speed but is currently a singles hitter

Simon Muzziotti was signed out of Venezuela in 2016 and in his brief professional career, he has become a hitting machine.  Most of those hits have been singles as he’s only slugged .344. He’s also a plus runner, stealing 21 bases in 2019 and 18 in 2018.  His swing is geared more for contact and lacks loft so for him to hit for power, he’s going to have to change his swing mechanics.  The profile feels like a fourth outfielder in the Major Leagues but if he can add some strength and alter his swing, he should be able to hit enough to become a full-time regular.

9. Rafael Marchan (C)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling:  Second catcher who won’t hurt you
  • Tools Summary: Defensive-first catcher who has always made great contact

Rafael Marchan had 846 plate appearances in the minor leagues without a home run.  He got a late-season callup in September to Philadelphia and hit his first professional home run…of course, he did!  He also hit .500 and didn’t look out of place.  He’s a defensive-first backstop with great receiving skills and a double-plus arm.  He controls the strike zone very well, batting .285 with a .342 OBP striking out 8% of the time.  But he’s showed no power.  His career minor league SLG is .345.  Of course, his career major league SLG is .875.  His defensive chops should give him a job in the Major Leagues for a long-time.  While there are not a lot of counting stats for fantasy managers, he’ll be a guy who won’t hurt you either.  Therefore, as a second catcher, he could be a nice addition.

10. Casey Martin (SS)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 SS with extreme risk
  • Tools Summary: Great athlete with plus speed and great bat speed. However, he struck out 30% of the time in his junior year in college

I got all excited about Casey Martin when I first started researching potential draftees in the 2020 Draft. In his freshman and sophomore year, he hit 28 home runs and stole 18 bases in 131 games.  He even posted a decent average.  Then, I dug into his details and looked at Video and saw where there is a ton of swing and miss as he expands the strike zone too often.  But from a fantasy standpoint, there is some excitement with the profile.

11. Yhoswar Garcia (OF)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2024+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 50 OF
  • Tools Summary: Good athlete with double-plus speed.

Yhoswar Garcia signed in March of 2020 for an impressive $2.5 million. He’s an elite athlete with double-plus speed and a compact swing that should enable him to make contact.  He has a long way to go and has yet to even play in the DSL.  The skills are intriguing, particularly for fantasy managers in desperate need of a player with top-of-the-lineup skills.  Just remember, he’s 4+ years away from even being considered as a callup to the big leagues. 

12. Johan Rojas (OF)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 OF with extreme risk
  • Tools Summary: He has plus speed, is a good fielder with plenty of bat speed.  He’s young, but there is a big leaguer in there

Signed as an International Free Agent in 2018, Johan Rojas is an under-the-radar prospect who has displayed intriguing skills since signing.  First, he’s a plus runner and has already stolen 34 bases in 129 games across two seasons.  Second, he has excellent bat speed and while he hasn’t displayed a ton of power (.432 SLG), as he matures, there should be both doubles and some over-the-fence power that develops.  Finally, his swing is compact and short to the ball and that should allow him to hit enough to let his power and speed play. 

13. Mickey Moniak (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Streaming outfielder
  • Tools Summary: Has not developed since going 1:1 in the 2016 MLB Draft.  Average skills across the board suggest a Major League fourth outfielder ceiling

Mickey Moniak made his Major League debut in 2020 playing in eight games.  As we’ve been writing now for the past several years, Moniak has just not gotten over the development hump and appears to be heading for a role as a fourth outfielder on a Major League team.  Some players can develop late but for now, I just don’t see that happening.

14. Enyel De Los Santos (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2019 Fantasy Ceiling:  Reliever
  • Tools Summary: Nothing plus in the arsenal and doesn’t throw enough strikes

Phillies fans have been waiting for Enyel De Los Santos to develop into a top-of-rotation arm but based on his stuff and inability to throw strikes, I don’t see that happening.  It doesn’t seem like the Phillies do either as he was designated for assignment during the 2020 season.  Batters hit the ball extremely hard against him and the spin rate on all his pitches is average-at-best.  He does throw hard but when everything is straight or not thrown for strikes, a bullpen role becomes the ceiling.

15. Yemel Flores (1B)

  • Highest Level:  Int’l Player projected to sign ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling:  Unknown
  • Tools Summary: Double-plus raw power but need to learn pitch recognition to be successful

After five years, I finally gave up on Jailyn Ortiz, so it’s time to put Ortiz 2.0 on the list – enter Yemel Flores.  He’s expected to sign with the Phillies in January and like Ortiz has huge raw power but swings at everything.  It’s a project for sure, but sometimes these players make it.  The Phillies will be making a large investment in hopes that he will.

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