Kicking off Super Bowl Week at The Thunderblog is…a Phillies blog!
(MLB.com)–The Phillies have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, and it showed in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list. The Phils have six players in the top 100: right-hander Sixto Sanchez (No. 26), second baseman Scott Kingery (No. 35), shortstop J.P. Crawford (No. 37), right-hander Adonis Medina (No. 86), outfielder Mickey Moniak (No. 88) and outfielder Adam Haseley (No. 95). Crawford won’t be on the list for long. He will be the Phillies’ Opening Day shortstop, so he will lose his rookie status before the end of April. The annual ranking of MLB’s Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players’ skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2018 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible. The Phils are tied with the Yankees and Rays for the fourth-most prospects in the top 100. Only the Braves (eight), Padres (seven) and White Sox (seven) have more.
Tied with the Yankees? That means the Phillies are going to the NLCS, right? Eh, probably not. While it’s very exciting to have Matt Klentak’s version of The Process starting to be seriously noticed, it certainly does not mean that we’re nearly out of the woods of the Phillies most-recent stint in the bottom-half of the league. The offense could be incredibly exciting to watch compared to years past but with a log-jam now in the outfield and spotty starting pitching, the defensive side might take a little time to gel. Let’s take a look at each of these guys and try to take a guess at when we’ll see them at Citizens Bank Park:
J.P. Crawford–Shortstop, #37 on the Top 100 List
Starting with the easiest to predict since he’ll be on the Opening Day lineup, J.P. Crawford played with the Phillies late in the 2017 season at shortstop, second base, and mostly at third base; this was due to a poor year from Mikal Franco and Freddy Glavis having another solid year at shortstop–relatively speaking. With the combination of trading away Galvis as well as the Phillies not wanting to part with other prospects for Manny Machado (who wanted to move back to shortstop no matter where he was playing), Crawford will be the team’s shortstop for the foreseeable future and should improve on a slash line of .214/.356/.300 that he batted in 22 games.
Sixto Sanchez–Right-Handed Pitcher, #26 on the Top 100 List
Sanchez saw time with the Lakewood Blue Claws (A) before being called up to the High-A level Clearwater Threshers towards the end of 2017; his combined stats round out to 5-7 with a 3.03 ERA, 0.958 WHIP, and 84 strikeouts in 95 innings. The High-A stats inflate his ERA and WHIP and bring down his strikeouts per nine, as you would expect from moving up a level. Having just turned 19 at the end of July, it’s likely we won’t see Sixto in a Phillies uniform until 2019 at the very least–and that’s assuming he dominates his way through Double-A and Triple-A. However, he was one of the prospects I mentioned earlier that the O’s wanted for Machado but the Phillies wouldn’t even DARE give him up. When Sanchez does finally get the call to the Bigs, watch out.
Scott Kingery–Second Basemen, #35 on the Top 100 List
Scott Kingery doesn’t have a baseball reference page yet, he will soon enough though. With Cesar Hernandez still a Phillie, Kingery will be with the Triple-A Iron Pigs to start 2018–where he played about half of last season. Kingery’s batting average didn’t see much a decline from Double-A to Triple (.313 to .294) but his isolated power (slugging % minus batting average) did see a drop (.295 to .150) as did his HR/RBI numbers (18/44 to 8/21). You can certainly chalk it up to the jump in quality of pitching in Double-A versus Triple-A and I’d imagine he’s been working hard to get his bat ready for when he gets the call to the Big Show. When the call comes becomes an interesting question. The Phillies can certainly still pull off some type of deal to export Cesar at any point between now and a the waiver-trade deadline at the end August. Depending on how the team is doing will absolutely affect that date. Again, I’m not saying the Phillies are contenders, but last year’s Twins showed that young teams can put it together for an unexpected run. I’d take Kingery’s debut to be at some point in August and to remain on as a September call-up.
Adonis Medina–Right-Handed Pitcher, #86 on the Top 100
The 21-year-old Dominican prospect has gradually made his way up the Phillies farm system but he made significant strides in 2017 with Single-A Lakewood putting up an ERA of 3.01 and 133 strikeouts in 119.2 innings pitched. He should see himself in a Clearwater uniform to start the 2018 campaign and if he continues to improve himself, we might see him in Reading by year’s end. He’ll be behind Sixto Sanchez in the order of call-ups, but I wouldn’t expect Medina to be too far behind.
Mickey Moniak–Outfield, #88 on the Top 100
The first overall pick of the 2016 Draft had a down first full season in 2017 with the Lakewood Blue Claws. When all was said and done, Moniak posted a slash line of .236/.284/.341 with 5 homers and 44 RBI in 123 games. Considering he’s turning 20 in May, he still has time to turn things around, but the Phillies would have hoped that he’d be a little further along but again. Moniak fell from #19 in the 2017 edition of these rankings to 88th but again, he’s pretty freaking young. 2021 is probably the safest bet to take as to when he makes his way to Citizens Bank Park. However, considering the overload in the MLB outfield, it’s possible that a 2018 resurgence opens Moniak up as a bargaining chip. As crazy as it sounds, the D-Backs did it with Dansby Swanson a year and a half after picking him.
Adam Haseley–Outfield, #95 on the Top 100
The Phillies took Haseley with the 8th pick in the 2017 Draft out of UVA and he quickly moved from the Gulf Coast Phillies to Low-A Williamsport to Single-A Lakewood by the end of 2017. College prospects are more seasoned than their high schooled counterparts so it’s highly likely we see him continue to climb the ladder. The issue comes down to the logjam up top so Haseley’s debut remains as much of an unknown as Moniak’s–I’ll throw out 2021, maybe a 2020 call-up, but the sooner for both, the better.
I keep mentioning the four-man outfield the Phillies enter 2018 with Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and now Rhys Hoskins with the signing of Carlos Santana at first base. On top of first, Santana has had experience in the outfield as well and he used to catch, although he hasn’t since 2014. The biggest excitement I get from the signing (3 years, $60 mil), is the fact that the Phillies are finally starting to spend some of the mountain of cash they’ve been sitting on.
The Phils will need to see how the season unfolds to not only know how to utilize this clearly unfinished puzzle. Matt Klentak will have some options as to how the next step of the rebuild goes, but it’s nice to see the team is moving in the right direction. There are going to be more departures, and hopefully, some big signings in our future. Like I said before, I don’t expect 2018 to be a groundbreaking season for the Philadelphia Baseball Club, but it should be another step forward. The starting pitching has to be better this year, right?
Stay tuned for more 2018 Baseball coverage from the Thunderblog! With these rankings coming out over the weekend, it was nice to talk some Phillies baseball. We’re obviously going to be focusing on the final week of football over the next week with the Eagles playing the Pats in Super Bowl LII so you NEED to stay tuned for that!Follow @geordo9