- C – Rafael Marchan – 17 yo
- 3.30/.755 – PAG/APPA – (DSL2)
- 2016 stats: .333/.380/.386; .766 OPS; 7 doubles, 1 triple; 16:14 BB:K ratio
It almost seems like a mute point to mention any other catching prospect in the Phillies organization other than Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp and Deivi Grullon. The future of the position currently sits firmly with those three. But, like we’ve said before, every hitter and pitcher we have ever talked about, and will eventually talk about, the desire is for every one of these kids to be a successful major leaguer. So, aside from the big three here, the Phillies still house one of the more intriguing group of backstops I’ve covered in the UTR OAS series, and the next tier is headed by Venezuelan Rafael Marchan. The Phillies signed the 5’9″-170 lb. righty in July of 2015, but he didn’t make his pro debut until this past season. The Phillies loved him for his high baseball IQ and supreme fundamentals at the plate and he proved both this season. He ranked first in RBi’ (34) and slotted second in batting, on-base percentage and OPS for the DSL2 squad. This translates to a hitter who has the ability to create much, much more fundamentally at the plate. And all this comes from a kid who’s fairly new to catching. The Phillies originally signed him as a shortstop, but have hope that he can turn into a viable backstop. I’m going to give readers an added player bonus since my P/A catching numbers were so close. Keep a close eye on Rodolfo Duran. The young Dominican struggled in his 2015 in the Gulf Coast League logging a 1.25/.532 P/A, batting .185 and collecting only four extra base hits in 36 games. He repeated the GCL this season and raised his batting average 120 points, while rapping out three home runs. Intriguing enough is he’s only struck out 32 times and drawn seven free passes in his first two pro seasons. Very Willians Astudillo -like, who’s a former Philadelphia Phillies Organizational All-Star (2014) and “One to Watch” (2015)
- 1B – Darick Hall – 20 yo
- 2.98/.752 – PAG/APPA – (Short Season Williamsport)
- 2016 stats: .282/.372/.518; .890 OPS; 19 doubles, 9 home runs
In some instances the Phillies remind me a lot of the last team Jim and I covered for the American League portion of the UTR OAS series, the Texas Rangers. Once short on depth, but now finding themselves very rich in talent at multiple positions. Philadelphia views 2014 – 5th rounder Rhys Hoskins as their top first base prospect. And that distinction is well earned even on the UTR front. During his time as a UTR qualifier, Hoskins landed on the UTR Hitters of the Day list 14 times and was a 2015 UTR Organizational All Star. Hoskins can do it all with the bat. Hits for average and has massive power, ranking second in all the minors last season in home runs (38) behind Double-A Reading teammate Dylan Cozen’s 40 bombs. So, this helps set up a nice UTR scenario and 6’4″-235 pound Darick Hall fit the 2016 OAS bill perfectly. The organization drafted Hall out of Dallas Baptist University (TX) in the 14th round this past summer and assigned him to Williamsport of the New York Penn League. Hall nearly dominated not only the Crosscutter’s offensive leaderboard, but the New York-Penn League leaderboard as well ranking first in doubles, slugging percentage (.518) and OPS (.890), third in home runs and ranked within the league’s top 10 in on-base percentage (.372) total bases (101). Some scouts say Hall reminds them a lot of organizational mate Hoskins, the difference being that Hall is a lefty. Hall carried a high batting average (.321) in his only season at Cochise College (Sierra Vista, AZ) and at Dallas Baptist (.302). His power is clearly evident, even leading all organizational first basemen with a .509 extra-base percentage. A side note about Hall. He was quite an accomplished starting pitcher for the DP Patriots in 2016, tying for the Missouri Valley Conference League lead in games started (16), wins (9), ranked second in strikeouts (97), and also posted MVCL top ten BB/9 (1.95) and K/9 (4.48) ratios. I’m as excited as anyone to see what Hall can do moving forward. He should immediately be placed on every fantasy player’s sleeper first baseman list.
- 2B – Daniel Brito – 18 yo
- 3.57/.781 – PAG/APPA – (GCL)
- 2016 stats: .284/.355/.421; .776 OPS; 10 doubles, 5 triples, 2 home runs; 7 stolen bases; 21:27 BB:K ratio
I’m near positive that any fan reading our work, whether it’s for the first time or those who have been following Jim and me since our days writing exclusively for Jason Martinez @RosterResource, the term “high floor” is very familiar to you. And “high floor” is exactly the position every organization wants to be in with their prospects regardless of position; and it so perfectly describes the Phillies depth at second base. 2015 – 2nd rounder out of the University of Arizona Scott Kingery sits atop the second base ranks for the Phils amongst several mainstream prospect publications. There really isn’t a thing Kingery can’t do on a baseball diamond; and he could see Citizens Bank Park as early as 2018. However, this “high floor” situation can prove to be quite contrarian for us here at UTRMinors, but we cannot ignore the numbers. Despite the Kingery love, no one in the organization had a season matching that of teenage Venezuelan Daniel Brito. The 6’1″- 160 lb. lefty began his pro career in 2015 in the Dominican Summer League posting 2.80/.654 P/A scores. Brito’s fundamental stats may not jump out at you, but P/A helped sift him out as a top-to-bottom producer at the plate. As you see above, he proved it once again this season, blowing out his debut numbers. This time state side in the Gulf Coast League. The enigma surrounding Brito (to date) is that he’s not producing league leaderboard-type numbers. But, it’s that “high floor” type production that helps him stand out, which is the exact reason Jim and I created the UTR metrical concepts we employ. Brito has the chance to become not only a top prospect within the Philadelphia organization, but a top overall second base prospect in the entire minors.
- 3B – Mitch Walding – 23 yo
- 2.99/.753 combined – PAG/APPA – (HiA Clearwater – 3.07/.738; Double-A Reading – 2.65/.718)
- 2016 stats combined: .269/.366/.429; .795 OPS; 20 doubles, 4 triples, 13 home runs
My choice of Mitch Walding is a pleasing continuation of sorts as well as an impasse. Back in 2014, the 6’3″- 190 lb. Walding was my inaugural Philadelphia Phillies Organizational All-Star, which you can read that bio here. I stated that I’d like to see Walding turn up his production in 2015. In 128 Florida State League games, he posted a 2.16/.562 P/A, which may seem mediocre, if not worse than his UTR All-Star season, but this score was only a few points shy of his career mark of 2.50/.626, and in the FSL, which is a league known to be extremely tough on hitters. This season Walding began back with HiA Clearwater and finally produced the numbers the organization (and I) was hoping to see; and he logged his best overall P/A numbers to date. Here’s the impasse. The 2011 – 5th rounder out of St. Mary’s HS (Stockton, CA) just received his first taste of Double-A ball this season as a 23-year-old. Star third baseman Maikel Franco batted .255, drove in 88 RBi’s and slugged 25 home runs at the major league level; as a fellow 23-year-old. So, you can see, despite praising Walding’s 2016 strides at the plate and defensively, he’s got a rather large, looming roadblock sitting directly in front of him. As a UTR aficionado, it’s my job to raise awareness for those receiving less-than-deserving recognition. But it’s also my job to be acutely aware of organizational hierarchy. If Walding’s future is at third base, he would have to go way above and beyond his current five-year production average to even sniff the chance to unseat Franco, one of the brightest young power hitters in the entire National League East.
- SS – Grenny Cumana – 20 yo
- 2.51/.633 – PAG/APPA – (LoA Lakewood)
- 2016 stats: .291/.344/.363; .707 OPS; 22 doubles, 1 home run
When taking about current Philadelphia Phillies top prospects, all conversations should begin and end with shortstop J.P. Crawford. There isn’t a thing that the 2013 – 1st rounder out of Lakewood HS (CA) can’t do. He’s a supreme defender, brings an advanced approach to the plate and possesses plate discipline well beyond his years. He should make his major league debut in 2017. The organization and fans alike should expect him to make an impact at the shortstop position for the next decade or so. Now, being on the UTR side of things, this doesn’t necessarily leave us on the outside looking in. It would be difficult to find a higher ceiling prospect than Crawford, but there are still several high floor kids behind him, and in 2016 the OAS title belongs to 2013 – international free agent signee Grenny Cumana. If there’s one thing that stands out about Cumana, it’s his size. And not in the large way. The young Venezuelan brings a Jose Altuve-like frame to the ballpark at 5’5″- 145 lb., but he brought a big bat with him this season leading all shortstops HiA and down in doubles, stolen bases (17) and runs scored (55). Cumana packs a lot of game in a small package. He’s a great contact hitter with impressive gap-to-gap power and is an above average runner. It’s obvious that if Cumana stays with the organization, his future is at second base. But even there, he has a lot of depth to overcome. I’ll be rooting hard for this kid to succeed because size doesn’t matter, game does.
- LF – Andrew Pullin – 22 yo
- 2.51/.633 combined – PAG/APPA – (HiA Clearwater – 3.19/.725; Double-A Reading – 3.96/.883)
- 2016 stats combined: .322/.362/.522; .885 OPS; 21 doubles, 14 home runs
Viewing all the outfield prospects inside mainstream Phillies top 20s and 30s shows a slew of players both in the sense of performance (Nick Williams, Roman Quinn, Dylan Cozens, Carlos Tocci and Jose Pujols) and projection (Mickey Moniak, Cornelius Randolph, Jhailyn Ortiz). This reminds me of how in fantasy sports, despite ADP rankings, there are those select players that fall into deep sleeper category. Those ever-so-productive players who help you win by bolstering your bottom line. That’s why some fantasy websites offer player tiers. And in these tiers, you’ll always find great value. This is a stark analogy of 2012 – 5th round draft pick Andrew Pullin. Simply put, the 6’0″- 190 lb. lefty doesn’t receive the publicity he deserves. After the 2014 minor league regular season, Pullin claimed the inaugural Phillies Organizational All-Star nod after he posted a 2.78/.660 P/A score mainly as a second baseman. But that would be the last year Pullin would man the keystone, as he committed a whopping 26 errors for LoA Lakewood that year. He shifted to the outfield in 2015 and since the full-time move, the Centralia HS (WA) grad has only five errors to his name. Defensively, he’s become a better player, but his bat [first] is what continues to grow. Pullin has seen a steady progression on offense since his 2012 debut posting a 2.56/.656 P/A for the Gulf Coast League squad; and this season he logged his best overall production to date. Half of which came in the Florida State League, a tough hitters league and then with Double-A Reading, where in only 46 games played, he led the Eastern League in batting (.346), ranked fourth in slugging (.559) and ranked second behind only Pirates uber-prospect, centerfielder Austin Meadows in OPS (.952). If Pullin puts together another season in 2017 like he did this year, how can he continue to be ignored?
- CF – Yerwin Trejo – 19 yo
- 3.08/.691 – PAG/APPA – (DSL2)
- 2016 stats: .257/.339/.342; .711 OPS; 13 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run; 21 stolen bases
As I stated above in Andrew Pullin‘s OAS post, not only are their a abundance of outfield prospects in the Phillies system, but there’s depth spread across all three spots. Centerfield is one in which there are three top level prospects waiting in the wings. 2011- 2nd rounder Roman Quinn, who made his major league debut last season, Carlos Tocci, another 2011 signee (out of Venezuela) and 2016 – 1st round draft choice Mickey Moniak. All three of these kids find themselves entrenched in nearly every Philadelphia Phillies top prospect list. From the UTR standpoint, this doesn’t give us much hope, but hey, that’s ok. Our job is to inform you, the reader what else is lurking in the minors, producing at a generous level, and might find themselves sitting amongst the likes of these top three centerfielders. I’m digging rather deep this time and my focus is on 2016 international free agent signee Yerwin Trejo. After penning a contract in late April, the Phillies assigned the 6’0″- 170 lb. Venezuelan to the Dominican Summer League. The teenaged righty ranked within the DSL top 10 in runs scored (45) and doubles. Trejo brings speed, good plate discipline and above average defense to the field. If you get the vibe that I’m not really excited about Trejo, you’re on the right track. However, it’s not so much Trejo as it is the steep mountain a kid like him has to climb in order to gain any sort of relevance in an organization so incredibly centerfielder-rich. I suspect the Phillies may assign him to the Gulf Coast League this season. Hopefully he can up his game and make a little noise for us UTR folk.
- RF – Jose Pujols – 19 yo
- 3.26/.760 – PAG/APPA – (LoA Lakewood)
- 2016 stats: .241/.306/.440; .746 OPS; 21 doubles, 24 home runs
In his first three seasons as a pro, the 6’3″- 170 lb. Dominican batted .221, averaged 12 doubles, 5 home runs and posted a P/A average of 2.79/.675 in 168 games. This past season, 2012 international signee, and this year’s UTR OAS right fielder Jose Pujols exploded. In his first taste of full-season ball, Pujols provided the immense power the Phillies knew they would eventually see. Not only did Pujols lead LoA Lakewood squad in nearly every fundamental power category, but he led the Sally League in home runs, ranked second in RBi’s (82) and fourth in total bases (219). Some scouts have likened Pujol’s power potential to that of Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. Now as most reading this post, or all of them hopefully, know that with big-time power come big time strikeouts and Pujols provided plenty of those this season as well. In fact, Pujols averages 1.32 K’s per game in his young career. However, when you possess the type of frame, the power potential and youth, you have a kid who has the tools to turn the current negatives in his game into even bigger production. Being an owner of Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr in my primary fantasy baseball league, I’ll be watching Pujols closely. I expect Pujols to see an assignment to HiA Clearwater in 2017, which could pose a challenge for the free swinger. I think he has the potential to become one of, if not the, biggest power bats not only in the Philadelphia organization, but in all of minor league baseball. And for that, I’d more than forgive the high strikeout rate.