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2015 Phillies Top 30 prospects - 1-10

Everyone know who the Top 3 will be this year, but who will step up from the remainder of the Top 10 to fill the likely void on next year's list left by Franco and Nola graduating to the big club?

J.P. looking honored to have made my list.
J.P. looking honored to have made my list.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

10. Yoel Mecias, LHP - Mecias is another of those somewhat slightly built Pitchers from Latin America. Mecias is taller than the others at 6'2", but he's very slim and while he could still add some muscle he doesn't have a very projectable frame. He should still be able to add enough to get to a low-mid-90's Fastball, which would be Plus from the port side. He has a pretty special Changeup which allows him to be effective against both Righties and Lefties. His breaking ball needs work, but even if he can get it to just fringe average he can survive on the Fastball and Changeup. Of course, all this was before his Tommy John. He needs to get his pitches back, but he could end up being a solid #3, but a #2 profile isn't out of the equation.

9. Ben Lively, RHP - Ben Lively has average tools across the board. What makes him special is, wait for it, a very deceptive delivery. The Phillies clearly have developed a strategy of acquiring Pitchers who can play up with their delivery. I see a lot of potential for him to be able to get through a lineup a few times on his deception and outstanding command. I can see a mid-rotation Starter here eating innings. This will be a big year for him to see if he can continue to look as dominant against advanced hitters as he did in the very Offense friendly Cal LEague where he put up a 2.28 ERA (2.43 FIP in case you think it was just luck), 10.8 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9.

8. Kelly Dugan, OF - I've been a big fan of Dugan for years, he has a plus arm in Right, he's a good defender and every other tool is essentially average, though I think his hit tool may be above-average as well. What also seems to be above average has been Dugan's bad luck. He has a pretty long list of unrelated injuries that have derailed a few of his seasons. If he can stay healthy I think he'll be a really good, sub all-star level Right Fielder. I've written a lot about Dugan in the past. At this point, I think he'll need half a season or so to acclimate to Triple-A and if he stays healthy, there isn't much left on the big club to block him from a call-up mid-season.

7. Deivi Grullon, C - It's always good to have succession plans and the Phillies currently have 3 eventual decent options at Catcher. The problem is one may never be able to hit, one might never be able to catch and one might never be able to play. Grullon is the first of the 3 (Knapp and Joseph, respectively the other 2) and that might leave you asking what gets him to #7 given that description. Easy. He has one of the best arms behind the plate in the game, he needs a little refining, but he projects to be a Plus defender behind the dish and with those skills his hitting really only needs to get to quite bad for him to be a decent starter in the Majors one day. Even there on Offense he does have some decent contact skills (a lot of worm burners, but still). He turns 19 in 2 weeks so you can hope for improvement with that bat. Even if that never happens, his floor is quality MLB backup, not bad for a kid in Low-A.

6. Jesse Biddle, LHP - Biddle had an awful year and I'm pretty sure he'll avoid the city of Reading the rest of his life. In two years there he's gotten Whooping Cough and got clobbered by a giant hail stone, he also stalled his career and created a lot of questions about where he might end up. Jesse's hard to gauge. Last year I gave him a pass for having an 19th Century Disease and Plantar Fasciitis. I'd love to give him a pass this year for having a rather severe sounding concussion, but it seems cheap to do that two years in a row. I still really like Biddle and hold out hope he can still be a #3 Starter. Truth is, even without his bad luck, his Command was still wobbly even when he did dominate. With a healthy year and some Command improvement I could see Biddle being back in the Top 5 next year.

5. Zach Eflin, RHP - Eflin is a 6'4" 20 year old Starter. He still has a projectable frame, so one can imagine additional heat on his heater. His current heater is low-mid 90's to go with a low 90's 2-seamer. Dream about a few MPH there and you could be talking Plus. He currently also has a show-me Slider and a Plus level Changeup. His control is improving, but not there yet. His floor is probably inning eating #4 Starter, but there's good reason to hope for a solid #3. This will be his first crack at Double-A, so it will be interesting to see how his stuff fares against more advanced hitters.

4. Roman Quinn, OF - Some analysts seem down on Quinn. Not me. With the move to Center I'm more confident than before in him. I timed him during Arizona Fall League in the 3.5-3.6 range on the Left side to the 3.8 range from the Right. That's grade 80 Speed (for reference Billy Hamilton routinely times 3.3-3.4 from the Left and Brett Gardener reportedly timed 3.4 when he was a prospect. Many questions about Quinn circle around his hit tool. I also don't see him as a great hitter for Average, but he has shown in the past to have good patience (though not in the AFL). I'm banking that the switch to Center allows him to focus more on hitting and unlock some skill so that he can get to being a guy who can slash .260/.340/.370 on a regular basis. 2015 will see a move to Reading and more advanced Pitching, so I could regret this ranking, but I think the tools are there for Quinn to grow into a solid regular in Center.

3. Maikel Franco, 3B - There isn't a ton of new stuff to write about Franco. He had a great winter and final month in Triple-A, but he still has the pronounced load in his swing. That load causes Franco to have to start his swing early and guess a bit at pitches. His bat control allows him to make frequent contact even when he's wrong. It remains to be seen whether he can manage to do that against MLB pitching, or if they'll eventually fool him right out of his shoes. It's also worth noting that even that frequent contact is not hard contact. All that said, at each level he's generally made adjustment and made successful contact. At the end of the day, don't get bummed when Franco likely starts off looking very bad when he eventually gets his shot (as he did in September), he may eventually adjust.

2. Aaron Nola, RHP - Aaron could probably start for the Phillies in April. It's unlikely he will, but Nola's a fairly finished product. He has a Fastball that comes mid-90's with good movement, a curve that's swing and miss and a changeup that can be an out pitch. He does have a small problem to iron out with his curve in that his release point can wobble a bit. That may have just been him being tired last year, but if he can keep the delivery consistent, it's a Plus pitch. Nola's profile is generally looked at as mid-rotation Starter, but what gives him a bit more upsed than his raw stuff is his Pitching ability. He can mix pitches well (though he should probably use the Changeup more), locate them successfully and that could allow him to be a top of the rotation Starter when all is said and done.

1. J.P. Crawford, SS - After 10 years of pretty subpar Drafts the Phillies seem to be on a bit of a roll, and it's not all draft position, as the Phillies grabbed Crawford at roughly the same spot they drafted Joe Savery in 2007. Crawford is looking special, possibly one of the top Shortstops in baseball if he performs in the Majors as he has so far in the Minors. His approach is stunningly good at the plate where he almost draws equal Walks to K's. He's got plus speed, he'll probably end up with average power and defensively he'll be at least above-average. If I lived in Reading I'd get season tickets, as I think Crawford is going to be a blast to watch develop into the next Phillies Shortstop. We're all at risk of being spoiled with back-to-back (virtually) great Shortstop play.