Dynasty: Philadelphia Phillies 2020 Preseason Top 50 Prospects

Nicklaus Gaut reviews his top-50 prospects for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2020.

“Philadelphia’s farm system is deep and stocked with high-end talent”…is something only delusional Phillies fans would say in 2o20. With a major league team that is built for the present, the Phillies do have a couple of top-end prospects (including one of my favorite pitching prospects in baseball) but traded their biggest chip last February when they acquired J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins in exchange for Sixto Sanchez, Jorge Alfaro, and Will Stewart. Losing Sanchez from a farm that was already middle-of-the-pack has left the Phillies with a system that’s likely to be considered to be bottom-10 in 2020, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some interesting players, particularly on the fantasy side.

Let’s dig a little deeper down on the farm and find the players the fantasy world should keep its eyes on, as we roll through Pitcher List’s top-50 Philadelphia prospects.

Note: These Top 50 lists are all done through a fantasy baseball-focused lens. Many players who are ranked higher or lower on other platforms will get a boost here. For example, players who profile as middle relievers or glove-first infielders likely won’t have much fantasy relevance, so they won’t be ranked as highly. 

 

1. Spencer Howard

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2020

Well, that escalated quickly.

Howard was an unheralded second-round pick out of Cal Poly after he started his draft year in the bullpen, and the baseball world was slow to realize his potential. That is, until he posted a 31.6% K-rate over 112 innings at Class-A Lakewood, announcing his presence by finishing with a 3.78 ERA in his first full year in the pros, but really turning it on starting in July of that year. Howard went 5-1 in his last nine starts for the BlueClaws, posting a 1.89 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 48.1 innings, striking out 35.3% of the batters he faced, as well as closing out his year by throwing a no-hitter in the Sally League playoffs. A secret no more, Howard entered 2019 High-A (Clearwater) as a top-three prospect in the organization and quickly picked up right where he left off the year prior, posting a 2.25 ERA, 1.o0 WHIP and a 38.5% K-rate through his first four starts before being shut down in May with shoulder soreness. While not seen as a serious concern, Philadelphia handled him with kid gloves, not bringing him back until June 27, after which the 24-year-old again got right back to business, putting up a 1.33 ERA and 37.1% K-rate in five starts before being promoted to Double-A (Reading). Different level, same success; with Howard ending his minor league season in style, going 1-0 over six starts and 30.2 innings for the Fightin’ Phils of Reading, with a 0.95 WHIP and 31.2% K-rate. Howard then finished off his 2019 by making six starts in the Arizona Fall League, going 1-1 over 21.1 innings, with a 2.11 ERA, o.94 WHIP, and a 32.5% K-rate. It almost seems like a pattern is developing, huh?

That pattern is awesomeness and Howard has now weaved it at every level in minor league career, using a four-seamer that sits 94-98 mph and can reach the high 90s, paired with a slider and curveball that both flash plus. But the real cheddar Howard is bringing to the table is one of the minor’s best changeups, with the low-80s offspeed offering diving out of the zone and one that Howard really sells with his fast arm action. Mix in a 6’2″, 215-pound frame and you have a pitcher with a dominant pitch mix and the body to handle an ace’s workload.

The biggest knock going against Howard is that he only pitched a total of 92 innings in 2019—after reaching 112 IP in 2018—and that combined with the Phillies’ recent signing of Zach Wheeler could limit the chances of Howard making his debut in 2020. But let’s not get carried away and think that Philadelphia’s rotation has a giant lock on it because, after Wheeler and Aaron Nola, the rotation consists of Jake Arrieta, Zach Eflin, and Vince Velasquez. As in; probably washed, mediocre at best, and a human gas can.

For fantasy purposes, Howard is one of my favorite assets in 2020, existing in a rare space of value that makes me unlikely to move him. It’s not just talent and potential that makes me want to hold on but rather the fact that I’m unlikely to get anyone to pay my price, as I see him valued. For the most part, I’m a prospect swapper; always willing to cash them in for more sure things, whether a major leaguer or a better prospect. I’m only likely to put an iron grip on a minor leaguer if they are so elite that I don’t know if I can get true value (Acuna, Tatis, Franco, etc.), or if the gap is extremely large between how I value a player and how the general public( and my league mates) sees them. These players are few and far between but I can be really stubborn when I really believe. For reference, anyone in my home league can probably tell you just how annoying I was about keeping Pete Alonso last offseason, who kept getting thrown into bigger deals.  I didn’t care that he was only a top-50 prospect, I thought his ceiling was a Rhys Hoskins-esque rookie year and I wasn’t moving off of it. Luckily, everything worked out and now I can’t wait to trade him for a bundle in spring. I feel much the same about Howard, in that I doubt I’ll be willing to find a trade partner willing to give me what I see as his true value. So, in leagues where I have him, I’m keeping him; and where I don’t, I’m going hunting until I do.

 

 

2. Alec Bohm

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: Late 2020/Early 2021

While no one considers Howard the best prospect at his position, that’s not the case with Alec Bohm, the third-overall pick in the 2018 draft and who most consider the best third base prospect in the minor leagues. Bohm is 6’5″ and 230 pounds with plus-plus power and could start knocking on Philly’s door at any time after crushing his way through three levels in 2019. Over those combined 540 plate appearances, Bohm slashed .305/.378/.518 with 21 home runs, 30 doubles, and the big slugger even threw in six stolen bases.

Bohm is remarkably quick through the zone, keeping his elbows tucked for a bat path that stays flat and smooth. These mechanics keep his big boomstick in the zone longer than most mashers but Bohm will likely need to add more loft he wants to fully unlock that 70-grade raw power. How about we gaze at one of his moonshots, just like the left fielder in this gif:

 

As mentioned; elbows tucked, boomstick out.

The Phillies recently signed Didi Gregorius to a one-year deal, seemingly setting their infield for 2020—after non-tendering third baseman Maikel Franco in early December—but while that may impede Bohm’s ascension to the majors, it shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance. The Phillies lineup currently has Scott Kingery penciled in at the hot corner, with Gregorius at short, Jean Segura at second, rookie Adam Haseley in center, and the always fragile Andrew McCutchen in left, who’s coming off of season-ending knee surgery. On the bench, Philadelphia has a not-so murder’s row of Josh Harrison, Jay Bruce, Odubel Herrera, and Roman Quinn. That’s a whole lot of not-so-sure things in the lineup and with Kingery able to play multiple positions, any injury or performance issues could lead to a Bohm call-up. The Phillies are structured to win right now and likely won’t have much patience with their veterans if Bohm continues to crush the minors in 2020.

 

3. Simon Muzziotti, OF

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2022

Originally signed by the Red Sox in 2015, Philadelphia acquired Muzziotti after he was granted free agency in the wake of Boston’s bonus-packaging scandal, signing him for $750,000 in the summer of 2016. Muzziotti has been up-and-down since, with the speedy outfielder struggling as he was moved to higher levels, but he had his best year as a pro last season at High-A (Clearwater), slashing .287/.337/.372 with a 112 wRC+. Not the most impressive line but keep in mind that Muzziotti played the entire season as a 20-year-old in the Florida State League, where the average age is 22.8, and also only struck out 12.9% of the time, with a 6.9% walk rate. Muzziotti has an advanced feel for hitting at such a young age and has top-level speed, with an elite glove that profiles as that of an above-average center fielder, or an elite corner outfielder. Bryce Harper is locked in for years in right field but the other two Philadelphia outfield spots are currently occupied by an unproven rookie (Adam Haseley) and a 33-year-old Andrew McCutchen who’s coming off of major knee surgery and is only signed through 2021.

 

4. Bryson Stott, SS

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A+

ETA: Late 2021/Early 2022

The 14th-overall pick in the 2019 draft, Stott hit .356 in his final season at UCLA before hitting the ground running in his first taste of pro ball this year. Stotts put up a 146 wRC+ at Low-A (Williamsport) in 182 plate appearances, hitting five home runs and slashing .274/.370/.446 with a .172 ISO and five stolen bases, which is exactly what a first-round college player should be doing.

Stott doesn’t have any standout skills but has the type of well-rounded set that should serve him well and could move quickly in 2020. At 6’3″ and 200 pounds, there is a worry that Stotts could grow out of the position but scouts (and Stotts) believe he’ll have enough athleticism to stick at short.

 

5. Kendall Simmons, 2B

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: A-

ETA: 2023

If you don’t know Simmons now, you probably will by the end of 2020. The tooled-up teenager was a sixth-round pick in 2018 and had big-time power but also a lot of swing-and-miss, making him just another risky high schooler whose hit tool might not make it in pro ball. Simmons accounted for himself okay in his first taste, putting up a 115 wRC+ in his first 113 plate appearances at rookie-ball but really blew up at Low-A (Williamsport) in 2019. In 205 PA, hit 12 home runs, with five stolen bases, a .287 ISO, and a 148 wRC+ but it was in the last month where it looked like something extra had clicked. In his last 30 games, Simmons overwhelmed the Penn State League by slashing .280/.398/.660 over 124 PA, with 10 home runs, a .380 ISO, and a 203 wRC+ as a 19-year-old in a league where the average age is over 21. He also showed improved plate-discipline, dropping to a 21.8% K-rate and increasing to a 12.9 BB%. If he continues to rake in 2020, Simmons should start rocketing up prospect lists.

 

6. Francisco Morales, SP

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

One of the top prizes of the 2016 international signing classes, Morales was a classic teenage pitching prospect, flashing top-level stuff, albeit inconsistently. Sitting in the mid-90s, Morales has a slider that occasionally flashes plus-plus, a changeup that needs work, and questionable command but was much better at harnessing that filthy stuff in his first taste of full-season baseball. Morales finished with a 3.82 ERA over his 96.2 innings, with 129 strikeouts and a 16.4 SwStr%, giving him a 30.9% K-rate that was a four-point jump from 2018. He also dropped his walk rate from 12.8% to 11.0% in 2019, starting to show at least some improvement in his command. Like most young pitchers with his profile, there is considerable relief-risk with Morales but the stuff is so good that any improvement in his control could turn Morales into a top-flight pitching prospect in 2020.

 

7. Mickey Moniak, OF

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2021

The path of a prospect is not always linear…The path of a prospect is not always linear. Even for a number-one overall pick, sometimes the path of a prospect is not always linear. Enter Moniak; Philadelphia’s first pick in the 2015 draft, who’s mostly disappointed since joining pro ball but seemed to have turned a corner in 2019. After struggling at the lower levels of Phillies system, Moniak started showing improvements in the second half of 2018 (as a 19-year-old in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League) and then bulked up his 6’2″ frame in the offseason before starting 2019 at Double-A (Reading). While he didn’t scorch the earth, Moniak did have his best year as a pro, posting a 115 wRC+ over 504 plate appearances and finally tapping into some power, hitting 11 home runs and posting a .187 ISO that was a 74-point jump over 2018. He’s unlikely to see the majors any time soon but Moniak could present an excellent buy-low opportunity for dynasty players, as he’s likely cheap to acquire and therefore carries a very low risk.

 

8. Johan Rojas, OF

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: A-

ETA: 2023

Hey, look! Another teenager with loud tools and an uncertain developmental path! Rojas is another young Phillie who could make big moves up prospect lists with another strong performance in 2020, after building up plenty of steam in 2019. Rojas crushed to start rookie-ball this year, posting a 159 wRC+ over 84 plate appearances before being promoted to Low-A (Williamsport) in the Penn State League. While he did struggle more at the new level—posting a 96 wRC+ over 172 PA—but also continued to show his premium speed by stealing 11 bases. Rojas also improved his plate-discipline, dropping to a 9.3% SwStr from a 14.3% rate the year before, and did it all as a 19-year-old playing against much older players. Chugga-chugga-chugga…That hype-train may be coming ’round the bend.

 

9. Adonis Medina, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: AA

ETA: Late 2021

Medina had funky, cold stuff and was considered the top arm in Philadelphia’s system following the trade of Sixto Sanchez entering 2019 and started the season at Double-A (Reading). With a fastball that sits mid-9o’s and three pitches with plus-potential, hopes were high for Medina but the young righty proceeded to lay an egg at the more advanced league, posting a 4.94 ERA over 105.2 innings, with only a 17.5% K-rate—after posting rates over 26% for the previous two seasons, with only a 8.6 SwStr%. Likely to start 2020 back at Reading, it remains to be seen whether Medina can harness his stuff enough to stay a starter or whether the bullpen awaits in his future.

 

10. Luis Garcia, SS

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

Another top prospect who took a tumble down the lists after a disappointing 2019, Garcia couldn’t repeat his amazing 2018—when he hit posted a 162 wRC+ in his first 187 plate appearances as a pro in the GCL—and had just a .186 AVG and 55 wRC+ in 524 plate appearances. When judging Garcia’s future, though, keep in mind that the Phillies gave him an aggressive assignment, with Garcia skipping over Low-A entirely and playing the entire season as an 18-year-old in a league where the average age is 21.9. Likely to repeat the level in 2019, Garcia could gain his positivity right back with a strong performance; or could completely fall off the radar if he struggles again.

 

11. Damon Jones, SP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: AAA

ETA: 2020

One of the most interesting Philadelphia arms entering 2020, Jones is a late-blooming left-hander with a mid-90s fastball (which is up a few ticks from years previous) that has late life and whose velocity plays up even more due to a deceptive delivery and the extension he gets from his 6’5″ frame. Barely on the radar entering last year, Jones exploded on the scene in 2019 by posting a 38.1% K-rate and 1.54 ERA over 58.1 innings at High-A (Clearwater) before doing much of the same upon his promotion to Double-A (Reading). Jones only made four starts at his new level—with a 0.82 ERA and 38.3% K-rate—before reaching Triple-A (Lehigh) and finally having some struggles. Jones went 0-1 in his eight starts for the Iron Pigs, going 0-1 with an unseemly 6.62 ERA and a much-reduced 20.9% K-rate. Besides the sneaky heater, Jones features a nasty slider along with a curveball and changeup that can both be at least major-league average with continued development. Most intriguing to fantasy players is that Jones could arguably be the first Phillies pitcher called up when the big club needs a starter if he rebounds at Triple-A.

 

12. Kyle Glogoski, SP

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2022

Oh my Kiwi, I can’t believe I’ve had to wait this long before talking about the 6’3″ right-hander who is now my favorite New Zealand baseball player of all time; narrowly beating out Black Sock Hall of Famer—and former Braves farmhand—Travis Wilson. The man with the pencil-thin mustache burst on the scene in 2019 by posting a 42.5% K-rate and 1.30 ERA over 27.2 innings at Class-A (Lakewood) before being promoted to High-A (Clearwater) to finish out his season. While not as dominant with his whiffery at the new level—with a 20.7% K-rate over his final 52.2 innings—but was still effective with a 1.88 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Glogoski carries a nice arsenal, pairing a 91-92 mph fastball that he locates well, with a low-80s changeup and a curveball in the low 70s that can drop off the table, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that he just finished the first year of his career under the care of a professional staff. Likely to start the season back at High-A, Glogoski could really gain some steam with a strong performance.

 

13. Nick Maton, SS

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2021

A seventh-round pick in 2017, Maton continued to show improvement in 2019, slashing .276/.358/.380 over 384 plate appearances at High-A (Clearwater) with a 123 wRC+ before being promoted to Double-A (Reading) for the season’s final 21 games. Maton struggled some at the new level, with a .226 AVG and 93 wRC+ but Maton is still an intriguing prospect who should start the year back at Reading. He may not carry any outstanding tools but Maton has four that are above-average, and sometimes the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts.

 

14. Victor Santos, SP

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2023

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2016, Santos carries all the normal risk that comes with any teenage pitcher, but it one of the more interesting arms in Philadelphia’s system given what the ceiling could be. Santos has had advanced feel for his pitches since debuting as a 17-year-old in the GCL two years ago, with a changeup that flashes plus and an average slider that could develop into more. He gets a lot of movement on his four-seamer and is able to run to either side of the plate, with superior command. The question on which Santos’ future likely depends is whether or not he’s able to continue adding velocity. His fastball sat 90-93 mph this season, which was up from around 88-92 mph the season before. Santos mostly dominated in the GCL in 2017-18, going 10-3 in 20 starts, with a 2.82 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over 108.1 innings. Skipping Low-A, Santos had a tougher time at Class-A (Lakewood) in 2019, with a 4.02 ERA over 105.1 innings but still kept his great command, posting a 1.18 WHIP and 4.2% walk rate against much older competition. The biggest downside was a lack of further development in his change-up, which acts more like a split-finger and has been his nastiest pitch since signing as a 16 year old. If the velocity tops out soon and the secondaries don’t improve, then Santos will struggle to get out more advanced hitter. But if the changeup develops and the 19-year-old gets a velocity boost, then Santos ceiling could be that of a number two starter.

 

15. Jamari Baylor, SS

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

Philadelphia’s third-round pick in 2019 out of Benedictine HS in Virginia, Baylor is a premium athlete with plus speed, who has an above-average arm but sloppy footwork, leading some to believe he’ll eventually wind up in the outfield. Baylor has plus bat speed and a line-drive swing that’s going to need cleaning up but Baylor’s tools are as loud as they are raw. A big riser prior to the Phillies taking him in the third, Baylor only had 12 plate appearances in 2019 and has a lot of development in front of him. But he also has the tools that could make an impact at the plate, as well as in the field.

 

16. Josh Gessner, SP

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2023

Continuing their dominance of Southern Hemisphere scouting, Philadelphia signed the 19-year-old Australian right-hander this past international signing period. Born in Sydney but raised in Japan, Gessner was committed to Tulane but ultimately signed with the Phillies for $875,000. Gessner only pitched 12.2 innings in the GCL this summer, with a 2.84 ERA in that ridiculously small-sample, with 17 strikeouts and a 35.4% SwStr. We have limited information on just what Gessner brings to the table but was being scouted by multiple major league clubs and signed for a significant amount, so hopes are high for the Aussie in 2020.

 

17. Connor Seabold, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: Late 2020/Early 2021

Seabold was viewed more as upper-level pitching depth entering 2019 before missing most of the first half with injuries. Debuting at the end of June, Seabold starting pitching like more than just depth and ended up at Double-A (Reading) for his final seven starts of the season, after making a few rehab appearances at lower levels. All told, Seabold made 11 starts in 2019, with a 2.24 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over 56.1 innings, with a 26.1% K-rate. Seabold’s velocity had come right back up—topping out at 94-95 mph—but the biggest difference (at least in Seabold’s mind) was a big improvement in his changeup after Seabold had focused on refining it while rehabbing from injury. The changeup has turned into a difference-making pitch to go along with the plus-command he already had with his fastball and slider and after the minor league season ended, Seabold went to the AZL and continued to dominate. Over four starts and 17 innings, the 6’2″ right-hander allowed just two earned runs in 17 innings, striking out 22 batters and walking just three. Spencer Howard may be the jewel of the system and the first to be called up, but if Seabold continues this recent run of success, he may not be far behind.

 

18. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2022

Signed at age 16 for $4 million, Ortiz already had 70-grade raw power and that number has jumped to an 80-grade as a pro. 6’3″ and graciously listed at 215 pounds, Ortiz has managed to tap into his power so far, hitting 19 home runs in 478 plate appearances at High-A (Clearwater) but continues to post strike-out rates north of 31%. While surprisingly athletic, Ortiz has big power in a bad body, with poor plate-discipline; which isn’t usually a profile that succeeds at the major-league level but Ortiz has the type of power that could overwhelm his shortcomings.

 

19. Austin Listi, 1B/3B/OF

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: AAA

ETA: 2020

Listi has never been an exciting prospect but the right-hander just keeps on hitting and could carve out a role with the big league club soon, given his solid skills and positional versatility. Steady, but unimpressive in his 251 plate appearances at Double-A (Reading)—slashing .220/.339/.364, with seven home runs—Listi turned a corner after being promoted to Triple-A (Lehigh) for his final 71 games. He slashed .278/.348/.490 over 259 plate appearances while hitting 12 home runs and driving in 50 runs. His walk rate was halved, to 7.1%, but Listi’s power really took off, with his isolated-power increasing almost 70 points, finishing with a .212 ISO in his time at Triple-A. Given his the combination of his skillset with the lack of quality on Philadelphia’s bench, Listi could be in contention for a backup role with a strong showing in spring.

 

20. Erik Miller, SP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

Taken out of Stanford in the fourth round of last year’s draft, Miller is a big 6’5″ left-hander with a high-90s fastball. He also has a slider and changeup that both dip low in the zone but his bread-and-butter is the heater and unfortunately, he doesn’t always know where it’s going. Miller quickly moved through three levels last year and ended by making his last three starts at Class-A (Lakewood). Pitching a total of 36 innings, Miller finished with a 1.66 ERA, a 33.8% K-rate, and a 9.7% walk rate. That may have been impressive but that’s to be expected with a college pitcher facing much younger competition. Miller could rise quickly in 2020 but we’ll first need to see how he does against more advanced hitting.

 

21. Starlyn Castillo, SP

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: Rookie Ball

ETA: 2025

Yet another high upside arm with a ton of projection built into his ranking, Philadelphia gave the 16-year-old Castillo the second-highest bonus during the 2018 international signing period after the Dominican right-hander was reaching 97-98 mph at showcase events by age 15. Castillo is a stout six-feet tall, and has an athletic frame and clean delivery, in addition to his elite arm strength

 

22. Darick Hall, 1B

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2021

Hall has unlocked new levels of power since embracing the launch angle revolution during his senior year at Dallas Baptist University and hit 20 home runs this past year at Double-A (Reading), a year after hitting 26 at two levels the year prior. Hall spent 80 games at Double-A in 2018, with 15 home runs in 331 plate appearances and a 96 wRC+, before returning to the completely smash the league in 2019. Slashing .235/.344/.454, with 67 RBI and 69 runs scored (to go along with the aforementioned 20 bombs), Hall and his 133 wRC+ couldn’t be ignored for long. Like Austin Listi before him, Hall is a three-outcome player with a similar upside.

 

23. Josh Stephen, OF 

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2022

A bat-first outfielder, Stephen has had an unusual developmental path the last few years after struggling in his first taste of full-season ball at Class A (Lakewood) in 2018, slashing .242/.288/.347 in 337 plate appearances, with four home runs, a .105 ISO, and an 82 wRC+. Even with the rough year, Philadelphia skipped him a level with Stephen playing all season at Double-A (Reading) and the then-21-year-old responded by hitting 12 home runs in 403 PA, with a .368 wOBA and 140 wRC+. Stephen also raised walk rate over four points—to 9.7%—while raising his ISO over 100 points, finishing with a .213 ISO. Regardless of where he starts 2020, Stephen is limited defensively and will need to continue hitting at a prodigious rate if wants to continue advancing through the upper levels of Philadelphia’s system.

 

24. Ethan Lindow, SP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2022

A 2017 fifth-round pick out of high school, Lindow cruised through Philadelphia’s lower levels, before getting his first shot at full-season ball in 2019 at Class-A (Lakewood). All the 6’3″ left-hander did with that opportunity was get named Philadelphia’s minor league player of the year after dominating the level with a 2.66 ERA over 94.2 innings, with a 0.98 WHIP and a 27% K-rate. Lindow then finished his year with a three-start stint at Class-A (Clearwater), posting a 1.69 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 16 innings. Across both levels—and as one of each league’s youngest players—Lindow struck out 119 batters and walked only 22 in his 110.2 innings. Likely to start back at Clearwater, Lindow should reach Reading at some point in 2020.

 

25. Israel Puello, SP

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

Yet another teenage pitcher with electric stuff, Puello struggled at the GCL in 2018 (at the age of 17, mind you), finishing the season with a 4.52 ERA over 65.2 innings with a 13.2% walk rate and only a 21.4% K-rate, even though he sported a 31.2% swinging-strike rate. Going back to rookie-ball this season, it was a different Puello this time around, as the 18-year-old ran roughshod over the competition. In another 65.2 IP, this time Puello finished with a 1.92 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, shaving almost six-points off of his walk rate and raising his strikeout rate over 10 points, to 32.3%—with a 46.9 (!) SwStr%. See; roughshod, ran over. Only recently turned 19, Puello already sits 92-94 mph (touching 95) with a plus slider and an average changeup. 6’3″ and 200 pounds, if Puello is able to keep up his new newfound command as he moves up the system in 2019, he will start rocketing up the Philly farm rankings.

 

26. Christopher Sanchez, RP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AAA

ETA: 2020

Sanchez was acquired on by Philadelphia this past November from Tampa Bay in exchange for one of the Phillies surplus Australians, Curtis Mead. One of the many similar roster-balancing trades that happen every year before 40-man roster decision day, the Phillies grabbed the hard-throwing left-hander to hopefully contribute soon in the big league bullpen. 6’5″ and throwing gas, Sanchez’s velocity has risen to sit in the 92-95 mph range and can reach 98 mph. There might be still more velocity left in the tank too, as those readings were taken when Sanchez was still in a starting role or was being used as a multi-inning reliever. With the Phillies desperately in need of some speed in the ‘pen, Sanchez could compete for an Opening Day job.

 

27. Carlos De La Cruz, OF

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2024

The deeper into a system you move, the more extreme the outcomes can become and 6’8″ Carlos De La Cruz personifies this perfectly. A non-drafted free agent signed out of high school in 2017, Cruz has a slender frame and light tower power, recently finishing his first season of full-season ball at Class-A (Clearwater) with seven home runs, a .220 AVG, and a 34.5% K-rate. The Phillies were aggressive in his assignment to Clearwater and while the strikeouts were still excessive, De La Cruz reportedly made big strides in his recognition of breaking pitches and cut his swinging-strike rate to 19.5% in 461 plate appearances after an unseemly 40.4 SwStr% in rookie ball last year. De La Cruz will likely have a long developmental path but with his size and power, the tail-end outcomes are that of a major league bomber.

 

28. Manuel Urias, SP

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

From a 6’8″ hitter with extreme outcomes to a 6’6″ teenager with gas and advanced command, Urias was overwhelming in his second stint in the Dominican Summer League this season, giving up more than one earned run in only two of his 13 starts and finishing with a 1.48 ERA in 61 innings. He also had a minuscule 3.6% walk rate and a 24.4% K-rate that was backed by a 39.1 SwStr%. He’ll be moved along slowly but Urias has an ace starter-set and time will tell how his development shakes out.

 

29. Jonathan Guzman, 2B

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

After excelling in 2016, Guzman floundered in 2017-18 but came back with a strong 2019 after getting an aggressive assignment to Class-A (Lakewood) even though he struggled in 2018. Guzman has always been more glove than stick but managed to slash .251/.298/.316 with three home runs and an 82 wRC+, while stealing 33 bases. Projected to have an above-average defender at minimum, Guzman’s defensive abilities are good enough that he’ll get plenty of time to allow the bat to catch up.

 

30. Manuel Silva, SP

 

Age: 21 

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

A 6’2″ projectable lefty, Silva made big strides in his first season of full-season baseball at Class-A (Clearwater), going 6-6, with a 3.61 ERA over 89.2 innings. But the biggest stride came in the velocity department, with Silva up to 95-96 mph after sitting in the low 90s previously. Silva throws a two- and four-seamer, along with a curveball that he has an advanced feel for. He also has a changeup that’s not very good yet but one that will need to get better if Silva wants to reach a higher ceiling. Silva tracks as a back-end starter on his current developmental path, but could out much better with the development of his secondaries and continued fastball command as his velocity increases.

 

31. Jose Gomez, 2B

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2021

A long-time KATOH darling, Gomez came to the Phillies from Colorado in a trade for Pat Neshek in 2017. After putting up bonkers numbers in the lower levels of the Rockies system, Gomez struggled for the Phillies in 2017-18 before breaking back out this past year. Starting at High-A (Clearwater) for the third time, Gomez quickly showed he was ready to finally advance and was promoted after slashing .348/.412/.435 in his first 52 plate appearances. While not as successful upon his move to Double-A (Reading), Gomez still managed a 90 wRC+ and slashed .253/.308/.339 over 322 plate appearances. Gomez should repeat the level and with success could be at Triple-A (Lehigh) by season’s end.

 

32. Gunner Mayer, SP

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: R

ETA: 2024

Selected in the fifth round of the 2019 draft, Mayer is yet another high risk, high upside arm in Philadelphia’s system. Signed out of junior college, the 6’6″ right-hander has tons of potential, with a fastball that already reaches 94-95—even though he only turned 19 last June—and also features a pair of breaking balls. Even though he’s a year older than the average high school draft pick, Philadelphia will likely treat him as if he is one and send him to the developmental league for at least one season.

 

33. Zach Warren, RP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2021

If this were a non-fantasy list, reliever Zach Warren would likely be much higher. The 6’5″ left-hander has increased his velocity since college and now sits 94-96 mph and misses a lot of bats in the zone with it, due to a deceptive motion that delivers the ball to batters from an odd angle. This makes him difficult to square up and when paired with a devastating curveball makes him near major league ready for a bullpen role. Warren profiles to be a dominant lefty specialist at worst but is good enough against righties to make him ideal as a multiple-inning fireman. In 2019 Warren ran a 31.1% K-rate over 60 innings, with a 3.30 ERA and could make it to Philadelphia this season.

 

34. Jan Hernandez, OF

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: AAA

ETA: 2020

Hernandez’s career has sparked and sputtered along ever since being selected in the third round of the 2013 draft, with the 25-year-old finally arriving at Triple-A (Lehigh) this past season and posting a 101 wRC+ over 263 plate appearances. Every year since 2015 at Low-A, Hernandez has hit between 10-16 home runs, and a wRC+ between 100 -110. He seems to be a perfectly fine player, but one that may not be quite good enough to stick at the major leagues, especially considering he also ran a 36.2% K-rate in 2019 and is always north of 30% in the category.

 

35. Rafael Marchan, C

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2022

Hey look, a catcher! Another player who’ll probably be better in real life than in fantasy, Marchan has had a solid start to his pro career since signing with Philadelphia at age 16. He handled the short-season levels with aplomb, graduating to Class-A to start 2019 and ending the year at High-A. Athletic, with impressive bat control for a backstop, Marchan is a good bet to eventually be an everyday catcher. But for now, he’s a 20-year-old catcher who likely won’t be helping your fantasy team any time soon; especially with J.T. Realmuto manning the position in the big leagues.

 

36. Mauricio Llovera, RP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2020

Another potentially dominant late-inning reliever, Llovera took a big step back in 2019 after breaking out at High-A in 2018. That year, he struck out 137 batters in 121 innings, with a 14.2 SwStr% and a 6.7% walk rate. Bumped up to Double-A (Reading) this season, Llovera’s K-rate dropped two points and his walk rate jumped to 9.8%. His below-average command will limit Llovera’s success (if any) but with a fastball that touched 97-98 mph as a starter, he could carve himself out a future bullpen role.

 

37. Kyle Young, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2023

It’s a real shame that Young succumbed to Tommy John after only four starts this year, as the unusually sized 22-year-old was off to a terrific start in his first taste of High-A. Young is left-handed and every bit of 6’10”, giving batters a very uncomfortable look. While his stuff is average at best, with his fastball sitting 89-91 mph, and two average breaking balls. But Young gets excellent extension with his athletic frame, releasing the ball at an angle that’s difficult for hitters to pick up. Before his elbow injury, Young had a 29.8% K-rate and 1.2 BB%, with a 1.06 WHIP and 18.1 SwStr% through 21 innings to start the year.

 

38. Edgar Made, 2B

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2023

Made dominated rookie ball in 2019, posting a 155 wRC+ over 184 plate appearances, with three home runs, four triple, 12 doubles, and five stolen bases; slashing .333/.391/.509. Depending on how aggressive Philadelphia wants to be, Made could start 2020 at full-season Class-A. A switch-hitter who’s just as proficient from either side, Made could end up at multiple spots on the infield has the tools to be an everyday big leaguer.

 

39. Andrew Schultz, RP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

Another member of 2019’s draft class, Schultz is a 6’4″ right-hander with a rocket arm who has a lot of upside as a potential successful closer. Schultz sits 97-98 mph with ease and can touch 100-101 with a high-spin fastball that consequentially gets a lot of rising action. With a slider that also flashes plus, Schultz has an exciting ceiling if he can figure out where the ball is going. Schultz walked 36 batters in 46.2 innings his final year of college and walked 11 batters in his 10-inning cup of coffee at Class-A Lakewood. Having had a messy delivery for the whole of his career, its a crapshoot at this point as to whether or not Schultz can be reworked into a new version of Ken Giles for the Phillies, or if he’ll be just another strikeout machine with 40-grade command.

 

40. Rixon Wingrove, 1B

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

From the 40-grade command of Andrew Schultz to the 80-grade name of Rixon Wingrove, we come to yet another Australian in the Philadelphia system. Wingrove struggled in his first shot at the GCL in 2018, slashing .241/.310/.342 with an 88 wRC+ in 87 plate appearances, before returning in 2019 to dominate the level. Wingrove slashed .298/.374/.500 in 203 plate appearances, with five home runs and 37 RBI. With a strong start in 2020, Wingrove could reach full-season ball by the end of the season.

 

41. Raymond Mora, 1B

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: R

ETA: 2024

An international signee in 2016, Mora finished his third shot in the DSL this season, breaking through with a 145 wRC+, slashing .289/.453/.381 with a 14.9% walk rate and 20.3% walk rate over 261 plate appearances, along with 12 steals and 38 runs scored. Mora should move on to the Penn State League in 2020 and has a chance to contribute in multiple categories with continued development.

 

42. Carlos Reyes, SP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: DNP

ETA: 2024

An older signing out of the Dominican Republic during 2018’s international signing period, the 21-year-old dominated the developmental league last season, posting a 2.45 ERA over 62.1 innings, with a 1.01 WHIP. Reyes had a 29.2% K-rate (backed by a 42.1 SwStr%, with only a 5.3% walk rate. Whether the success came from his stuff or from being older than the competition, Reyes will be an arm to watch as he moves out of rookie ball.

 

43. Derek Escobar, 2B

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2025

Signed out of Cuba in 2018, Escobar is a tooled-up outfielder who is just as raw as you’d expect. Escobar more than held his own in his first taste of professional baseball, posting a 123 wRC+ over 141 plate appearances. Slashing .270/.410/.351, Escobar used his plus speed to also steal 12 bases. He’ll likely spend all of 2020 in the developmental league but Escobar’s progress will be one to watch.

 

44. Wilberson Liendo, SP

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

Young, raw, and in the developmental league—that might as well be Philadelphia’s mission statement, as the Phillies have spent the past two years stocking their minors pond with high upside players. Signed out of Venezuela at 17 years old, Liendo just finished his most successful season in the DSL, going 58 innings in 16 games and posting a 1.86 ERA and striking out over a batter per inning, with a 52.4% ground-ball rate and 35.8 SwStr%.

 

45. Wilfredo Flores, 2B

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

Flores just finished his second year in the Dominican Summer League and slashed .342/.365/.425 in 130 plate appearances, a year after posting a line of .320/.395/.390 in his first 260 PA as a professional. Flores already has an impressive hit-tool and is another youngster with wheels, having stolen 32 bases in his 390 PA.

 

46. Edward Barboza, C

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2025

Well, how about that? I knew I’d find another catcher! Like Rafael Marchan before him, Barboza looks like an impressive prospect behind the dish but plays a position that generally takes forever and a day to develop into a fantasy-worthy prospect. Barboza just finished his first full stint in the DSL, slashing .302/.404/.421 and putting up a 134 wRC+ in 152 plate appearances.

 

47. Erik Brito, 2B

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2026

Part of Philadelphia’s most recent international signing class, Brito just finished his first taste of the DSL. Over his first 72 plate appearances, Brito slashed .269/.451/.327 with a 136 wRC+ and .411 wOBA and is firmly in the lottery-ticket section of Philadelphia’s farm system.

 

48. Guarner Dipre, 2B

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

Lookie there, someone older than 17! Dipre is a wizened 19 years old and just finished his second year of rookie-ball. Dipre made big jumps in 2019, raising his average to a .301 AVG from a .222 AVG the year prior and also cut six-points from his strikeout-rate, which now sits at a 18.8% K-rate.

 

49. Brett Schulze, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A-

ETA: 2022

Compared to some of the players ahead of him, the 22-year-old Schulze is downright ancient. Selected by the Phillies in the seventh round of the 2019 draft, Schulze’s future probably lies in the bullpen, which is where he found success after struggling as a starter for the University of Minnesota. Schulze features a curveball and a changeup to go with his fastball that sits in the mid-90s. Splitting time between starting and relieving, Schulze put up a 0.36 ERA in his 26.2 innings this year, with a 32.1% K-rate and a 15.1% walk rate. Control was always in issue in college and Schulze will have to get himself under control if he wants to advance through the system.

 

50. Daniel Brito, 2B

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2022

Brito has always had the tools but has never really advanced from being a guess hitter. Athletic and with a pretty left-handed swing, Brito continues to be frustratingly average and only slashed .243/.296/.325 at High-A this year after 2019 had been looked at as a possible breakout campaign before the season started. There’s still plenty of time, as Brito is still only 21 but time is running out on whether or not he’ll end up as anything but minor league fodder.

Featured Image by James Peterson (@jhp_design714 on Instagram & Twitter)

Nicklaus Gaut

Born scores ago, Nicklaus Gaut is confused by the internet and people in general. But baseball sometimes makes sense, even when it doesn't. So after getting second-place in a writing contest, he now writes for Brad Johnson at his @BaseballATeam, as well as in an editor role at RotoBaller.com. Read Nicklaus for his numbers and stories, but beware of @Nt_BurtReynolds...That dude might be nuts.

  • Avatar Kilgore says:

    JoJo Romero needs some love!

    • Avatar Nicklaus Gaut says:

      Does he? ;) Perhaps he should’ve made the list but I have a large amount of hate when it comes to Romero’s future as a fantasy asset. As a general rule when putting this piece together, pitchers got big downgrades if they fell into the bucket of “may make majors but won’t be fantasy-relevant”. If this was non-fantasy, then Romero (and De Los Santos) would’ve made the list, but as it stands I just don’t think he’s anything more than a fifth starter who loves to walk everyone and strikeout no one.

  • Avatar Richard Rosati says:

    This is great! In Bohm write-up Haseley will play CF, Harper will be in RF

  • Avatar NickFolesMVP says:

    Any thoughts on Deivy Grullon? Assuming you left him off because of Realmuto’s presence, but Grullon had an .851 OPS at AAA and could have an impact if something were to happen to JT (god-forbid).

  • Account / Login
    >