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BA Releases its Phillies Top 10 Prospect List of 2015

A Cautionary Tale of a "very, very bad system"

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

We all love lists, let's just admit it now. Rankings are fun because it spurs debates and there isn't any possible way for any one person to be right. Josh Norris (@jnorris427) of Baseball America released his Top 10 Phillies Prospects of 2015.  Here is how it all shook out:

  1. J.P. Crawford, SS
  2. Aaron Nola, RHP
  3. Maikel Franco, 1B/3B
  4. Roman Quinn, CF/SS
  5. Carlos Tocci, CF
  6. Aaron Brown, OF
  7. Matt Imhof, LHP
  8. Jesmuel Valentin, 2B
  9. Yoel Mecias, LHP
  10. Franklyn Kilome, RHP

From year to year, you often see shuffling between prospects with the mixing in of recent draftees. This year, we see only four players returning from last year's list. Crawford moves to the top of the list, as expected. The 2013 1st rounder has exceeded all expectations since joining the organization. He is firmly cementing himself as one of the premiere shortstops in the minors and will likely be on many Top 25 MLB prospect lists by the start of the season. Others returning include Franco (who slips down 2 spots), Roman Quinn and Carlos Tocci (who both move up a spot). The influx of talent has come from a variety of avenues. Aaron Nola, Matt Imhof and Aaron Brown all represent draft picks from the most recent amateur draft. Nola was able to even reach AA Reading by the end of the 2014 season. Jesmuel Valentin was acquired in the trade of Roberto Hernandez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Considering the minimal investment in Hernandez, the get of Valentin looks like a huge steal. Valentin automatically becomes our top 2B prospect (not a slight to Andrew Pullin) and a potential replacement for our beloved Chase Utley in a couple years. Yoel Mecias (Venezuela) and Franklyn Kilome (Dominican Republic) were international signings that are looking to pay off big time. Mecias is among the most buzz worthy over the past year. He missed significant time undergoing Tommy John surgery, but started showcasing himself this season once again. 2015 could be a huge potential breakout year for Mecias, who could carry a very good #2-3 starter if he reaches his potential. The inclusion of Kilome kind of startled me. I've seen significant buzz between him, Ricardo Pinto and Elneiry Garcia among prospectheads this offseason. From what I've read, I'm not sure I include him over a guy like Jesse Biddle (who just disappears off the 2015 list) or Victor Arano (the other piece obtained in the Hernandez trade).

Mr. Norris was kind of enough to share his thoughts on the list and the Phillies minor league roster in a chat yesterday. He is not a fan of our minor league system and goes out to say it's very, very bad. I hate to disagree with someone who is paid to do what he does, but I think it's a little short-sighted. While the system may lack premiere prospects (I still believe Crawford, Nola, Franco are Top100 prospects), it's still packed with potential at the lower levels. Not mentioned are guys like Luis Encarnacion, Jose Pujols, Dylan Cozens, Zach Green, Kelly Dugan, Aaron Altherr, Adam Morgan, Drew Anderson, etc. There are potential contributors littered throughout the organization.

He did note in the chat his thoughts on the potential pieces coming back in the Rollins deal:

Eflin would have been in the top 10 (probably in the 6-10 range) and Windle would have been in the 11-15. With that in mind, come on, Phillies, finish this trade.

This of course would be referencing Padres prospect Zach Eflin and Dodgers pitcher Tom Windle. It also goes without saying that any list done between now and a potential Cole Hamels trade is going to change dramatically.

He also talked about the divisive Severino Gonzalez and brought up an interesting point on a reason for his disappointing season.

Gonzalez had an interesting year, and he’s a prime reason why box score scouting is to be avoided. Yes, his numbers were ghastly, but that was in part because the Phillies asked him not to throw his cutter for the first part of the season to help develop his changeup. The team believes the pitch made progress, which will help him in the long run. No consideration for the 10.

Perhaps with a full arsenal he can repeat his 2013 success. His dramatic uptick in HR/9 last season was concerning. Speaking of disappointing, I was a bit upset with this description for Dylan Cozens, who I have aspirations of an Adam Dunn-lite:

The organization likes him, but scouts from other teams are concerned by his swing-and-miss and his ability to adjust to better pitching. The consensus on him seems to be a AAAA type of guy who can hit mistakes.

Norris goes on to say other interesting things about Larry Greene, Cord Sandberg and many other prospects. I'll end on this note. Another respectable prospect haven released their top 10 list a few weeks ago. Who is right? Who is wrong? What are your top10 Phillies prospects?