First the old news. A few weeks ago the Phillies gave the Paul Owens award to the best Hitting and Pitching prospects in the system (I enjoy the timing with the visit from an actual Pope in Philly too at almost the same time). The winners were Double-A Catcher Andrew Knapp, who went hit happy this summer and Ricardo Pinto who was one of the few bright spots for the Threshers this year. H/T to Johntown99 who did a nice write-up on this in the fanpost section. Both players went from being names to watch to guys who are now on the fringes of the top 10 prospects in one of baseball's deepest systems. I'll write-up both prospects later this winter, but I've been a fan of Knapp from pre-draft articles I wrote where I saw him as a nice target for the Phillies. And Pinto offers much more than just an opportunity to write jokes about explosions. He's a legit Starting prospect and he won this award in a year with some solid competition from Zach Eflin, Tyler Viza, Joey DeNato and, were it not for call-up to the bigs, Aaron Nola.
It was a good year for the system with a bunch of breakouts, some great new pieces from trades and some top prospects continuing to produce. This is reflected very well in the Baseball America Rankings of top 20 prospects in each league, which are thoroughly littered with current Phillies Prospects and recent grads of the system.
Starting at the lowest level the Gulf Coast League, the Phillies had Left Fielder, and 2015 First Rounder, "Yukon" Cornelius Randolph ranked 5th in the league and the under mentioned Adonis Medina, RHP ranked 18th (I plan to write more about this great name later this month, as he was kind of overlooked this year in all of the breakouts).
In the New York-Penn League the Phillies had Right Hander Franklyn Kilome ranked 5th (all your 5th spots are belong to us!), Outfielder Jose Pujols ranked 13th (a mild surprise to me, as a lot of the Prospect heads had been down on him prior to this season) and Second Baseman and 2015 draft pick Josh Tobias ranked 19th.
In the South Atlantic League (commonly referred to as the SALLY) the Phillies are not as well represented with only Malquin Canelo, SS at 14th and Rhys Hoskins, 1B at #20. Interesting, to me, here is that Hsokins split his season almost exactly evenly between Low-A and High-A, but with the High-A performance being against slightly better Pitching in a tougher league for hitters (generally), I would have expected him to get ranked a bit higher for that league where his stats were, essentially, identical.
In High-A the Phillies littering begins, as we have to start looking beyond the traditional Phillies leagues for trade parts. In the Carolina League, RHP Nick Pivetta ranked 8th. The league, honestly, wasn't very strong, but Pivetta did have a good year there. In the Florida State League the Phillies had...
Moving on to Double-A where the Phillies had a ton of good play and the new Phillies also had had a lot of good play with their old club. Starting in the Eastern League I'll begin by noting that, far and away, this was the best, deepest league in all of Minor League Baseball. The guy ranked 20th in this league would probably be a top 10 or better prospect for the Phillies and could make some Top 100 Prospect lists. Keep that in mind when you see how highly (and low) some Phillies names appear. #2 on the list is J.P. Crawford, ranked behind only Nationals mega-prospect Lucas Giolito. It's not beyond possibility that these two could be #1 and #2 on Top 100 lists and both are near locks for Top 10 spots on all those lists. Crawford had a solid season as the youngest player in the league and even "struggling" he had a .761 OPS for a Shortstop with stellar defense. But wait, there's more. At the 6th spot is Aaron Nola who was lights out in Reading for the first 2+ months of the season. At 14th is Paul Owens award winner Andrew Knapp (Right behind him: Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, Brandon Nimmo and Josh Bell. This a deep, deep league). Over in the Texas League, which is nearly as deep, frankly, our acquisitions from the Rangers make appearances: Outfielder Nick Williams is 7th (behind a murderer's row of prospects including Julio Urias, Joey Gallo and Trea Turner), Catcher Jorge Alfaro is 14th despite missing time to injury and RHP Jake Thompson comes in ranked 17th.
Triple-A teams tend to be thin on Prospects and most of the guys on the International League list have either graduated to the Majors, or spent less than half a season there. For the Phillies the list includes Third Baseman Maikel Franco who ranked 3rd, among some damned impressive company (just behind Francisco Lindor and Luis Severino and just ahead of Trea Turner, Greg Bird and Daniel Norris among others). Ranked 19th on the list is flying Centerfielder Aaron Altherr.
Lastly is a note that the Arizona Fall League kicked off yesterday and Baseball America has a nice short article about Andrew Knapp. Here's a brief stats recap of that game:
Andrew Knapp: 1 for 3, 2B, BB, R
J.P. Crawford: 1 for 4, BB, K, 2 R
Yacksel Rios: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, HR, BB, 2 K
Jesen Dygestile-Therrien: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, K
Tom Windle: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 K