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Phillies Midseason Top 20 Prospects

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No surprise in the top spot, but it gets really tough to rank past that.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

1. J.P. Crawford, SS
It would be pretty surprising to me if this surprises you. Crawford has torn through every level of the Minors, save Triple-A in a few short years. While his Batting Average is down in Double-A it's largely due to a low BABiP that seems more bad luck than hitting too many grounders or overall weak contact. In addition his Defense is well reviewed and he's recently been ranked by multiple National sources as a top 10 prospect in baseball. BB and K rates are excellent. I am literally not going to write anything you probably don't already know about Crawford.

2. Aaron Nola, RHP
Another prospect I'm not going to tell you much new information about. Nola looks like he'll be a long time staple in the Phillies' rotation. Perhaps from here on out the Phillies should target double-jointed Pitchers, as this has gone exceedingly well so far. Nola won't be eligible for this list much longer, but he's moved so quickly that I hated the idea of taking him off so soon. The ceiling is a #2 Starter, which is very valuable.

3. Nick Williams, OF
Williams is the kind of player the Phillies used to draft and fail to develop. He's a 4-tool player (his arm being his one weak tool) who was very raw when drafted. He's got bat speed for days and enough strength in his 6'3" 195 lb frame to project above-average to plus power (maybe 25-30 HRs). Up until this season though, he had the weird distinction of managing to carry a very high Batting Average, while Striking Out in nearly a third of his at bats and Walking about once per full moon. This season he's cut the K rate nearly in half and gotten the BB rate to a respectable level. He's played some Center Field, but he's most likely to eventually end up in Left (admittedly if Altherr ended up in Right and Quinn in Center you might have the fastest OF in baseball and not many baseballs hitting patches of grass). Williams had been a well known first pitch swinger and this year he said he realized he didn't need to swing at every pitch, so perhaps the adjustment is real. If it is, the ceiling is an All Star LF.

4. Franklyn Kilome, RHP
You want ceiling? Kilome's got a very high ceiling. We also probably have at least 3 years to be excited about it, because he's pretty far away. There's so much to like: He's tall, athletic, already Plus Fastball with more possible, a Curve that's right there behind the Fastball and a really easy delivery he repeats well. At present the Change needs work as he tends to overthrow it. He's also working on getting control of his Curve consistently. The ceiling is right up there with the top prospects in baseball.

5. Jake Thompson, RHP
Another of the players acquired at the trade deadline. I'll admit this was the first tough spot in the rankings. To me the top three are crystal clear with Crawford and Nola being known commodities (to Phillies prospect followers) and Williams being reasonably close to his ceiling. This one got tough. Thompson could be a #3 Starter that gets inked into the rotation for years to come one spot behind Nola or his Secondary pitches and control could stay where they are now and he could use his 2-Seamer and one of the better Sliders in the game to be a dominant back of the bullpen arm generating K's and grounders. I actually have good confidence that Thompson can harness enough control of his stuff (and imagine what Ray Burris the Slider whisperer can do far that already plus or better Slider) to be a viable #3 Starter. It's not a big stretch to get him there. Don't read too much into his high ERA from the Texas system, he did that with pretty respectable composite numbers that suggest he had some bad luck.

6. Cornelius Randolph, OF
Yukon has an approach at the plate that rivals J.P. Crawford's, drawing a virtually equal number of Walks and K's. He's got a little more power presently, but his frame and swing suggest more is coming. He won't ever be Giancarlo Stanton, but he should develop at least average power. Combine that with his Plus contact skills and what has seemed to be natural OF defense so far and he could be a perennial All Star at his peak. There's a way to go here, but after a decade of bad drafts the Phillies really seem to be on a roll.

7. Jorge Alfaro, C
If this ranking was solely looking at ceiling, Alfaro might be #1. He has Plus raw power, a plus-plus arm and at least average speed (quite rare for a Catcher). Ultimately I think he's a better version of Sebastian Valle. Every one of Alfaro's tools is slightly to much better than Valle had been, except Hitting and Defense. He's a worst Defensive Catcher than Valle was, but he's probably about equal as a Hitter. He doesn't take Walks, he K's quite a bit and flashes enough of the power to remind you of the ceiling. He has managed to stink at throwing out runners despite one of the stronger arms in the game. This could be an easy fix, as he has a long wind up in his throw that slows his pop-time. There should be enough arm strength for him to be able to short arm his throws and still have enough mustard to nail closer to 40% of runners. The hitting is tougher, but the Offensive bar is pretty low for Catchers, so with his Power he might be quite playable even if he only ever gets to hitting in the .240-ish range. If the switch ever comes on though, he's Yadier Molina-lite.

8. Roman Quinn, OF
I'm a huge fan of Quinn's speed and it's where he gains most of his value as a player. That makes him a struggle to rank right now with his thigh injury. If I knew he'd come back with all his speed and his leg injuries were behind him, I'd rank him 4th here, but if he comes back just a Plus runner, I'd likely rank him around 10 spots lower, so I'll split the difference here. He should be back this fall and we'll find out then if his speed seems to be coming back.

9. Zach Eflin, RHP
Eflin is young for Double-A, so that partly explains the low K rate (which has been on the rise). Still he's kept the Walk rate low and has limited the baserunners. He's a bit more fly ball prone and will be susceptible to Home Runs, but the profile is still there for a #3/4 starter.

10. Carlos Tocci, OF
Tocci added strength over the winter and it showed up this year in a huge jump in performance. Now, there's always a concern about huge jumps in performance for guys repeating levels, but given Tocci's youth I think that concern is largely eliminated. Tocci's K and BB rates took big steps. They've taken big steps in the opposite direction since his move up to Clearwater, but that's not uncommon for players to struggle initially as they move up to a new level. Tocci is still managing a solid Average with a BABiP in line with his prior record.

11. Malquin Canelo, SS
Canelo's calling card is Defense, so when he came out the gate in Lakewood going .311/.364/.466 it was pretty eye opening. With his Defense, if he can hit even 30 or 40 points lower than that he'd be a really valuable, potential star. He's cooled considerably in Clearwater, but the Defense is still there and he's a little young for the level so I remain pretty high on him. Even if the bat doesn't improve he profiles as a valuable bench player who should be able to cover 3 positions.

12. Aaron Altherr, OF
Altherr is another guy who took a step forward. Altherr took a similar big step in 2013 before taking a bit of a step back in 2014. It remains to be seen how permanent Altherr's current improvements are, but Scouting Reports have been pretty solid to glowing - one scout, perhaps prone to hyperbole, noting he has seen the guy who will start in Center for the Phillies for the next decade. I won't go as far as that scout, but I think Altherr could be John Mayberry, Jr. with less power and better defense and speed. He can be a nice starting bridge in Center until Quinn, Tocci or Williams are ready, then move to Right and possibly to a reserve role where he can cover all 3 spots.

13. Scott Kingery, 2B
The Phillies 2015 Second Rounder. I'm a big fan of Kingery and his plus speed and solid contact profile with good pop for Second. The Phillies challenged him by sending him straight to full season Lakewood, which suggests to me the Phillies are both quite high on him and overloaded in shortseason with prospects. Kingery has lived up to the challenge slashing .265/.316/.370 which is pretty reasonable for a guy hitting with wood bats the first time and taking a bigger competition jump.

14. Jonathan Arauz, 2B/SS
Arauz is one of the youngest prospects in the system. An IFA signee last summer Arauz has enough tools to play Shortstop, but may eventually end up at Second (simply because of the large number of simply better defenders the Phillies have at that position). Arauz has shown good contact skills and approach at the plate for a 17 year old and projects to develop at least average power. It's one of the more intriguing profiles in the system and if he sticks at Short, he'd have above average power for the position and could be a pretty special player.

15. Andrew Knapp, C
Andrew Knapp is really hard to rank right now. His Defense wouldn't really be playable in the Majors yet, but he's suddenly hitting at superstar levels. While I believe in the bat having made real changes - namely he is no longer useless hitting from the Right side, he's showing power and a better swing. I think that's for real. His current numbers are playable anywhere, but how much is luck and how much is legit improvement? He's only got around 160 At Bats since his Double-A explosion and I don't know how to read it yet. In a year I have a feeling there's an equal chance this ranking looks 10 spots too high or 10 spots too low, but I'm really hesitant to push a guy too far up the rankings off of a quarter of a season sample size.

16. Ricardo Pinto, RHP
Pinto is another potential #3 Starter type who currently has a Plus Fastball that sits low to mid-90's and tops out in the 95-96 range. Pinto has 3 solid pitches in the Fastball, a Slider and Changeup. He has good control and command and is a fairly safe bet for an A ball pitcher. Not the sexiest profile, but mid-rotation starters are always in demand.

17. Kelly Dugan, OF
Dugan can hit, he's got good patience, he has the arm for Right and the speed to be a solid threat on the bases. I've always been a big, big believer in Kelly. That said, his power kind of disappeared 2 years ago (6 Home Runs since 2013). I've been willing to write that off to the foot injury for this year and the oblique for the previous year, but it's also possible he's lost some from the injuries. If the power doesn't return he's like a better Steve Susdorf. If he can get the power back and stay healthy, I still think he could be a second division regular or borderline first division in Right.

18. Victor Arano, RHP
In many ways I like Arano better than Pinto. He's taller, he has potentially better stuff and he should have a safer profile to stick in the middle to the back of a rotation. That said, 2015 has not been kind to Arano. His K rate is way down (probably a by product of working on his secondaries, but still), hits are up and he has looked bound for the bullpen at points. I'm still kind of amazed this came back for Roberto Hernandez.

19. Jesse Biddle, LHP
Biddle has been working his way down lists for a few years. He is currently in Lehigh Valley, having escaped Reading, which was a city clearly intent on cursing him with various acts of god. In Lehigh Valley he's going through a bit of an overhaul. Working in a Slider, making his Curve less loopy and learning to locate everything more consistently. If the changes take Biddle could still end up a rotation mainstay in the Majors given his size and Lefty profile.

20. Deivi Grullon, C
Grullon will likely make the Majors as a backup Catcher. If his hitting were to develop he could be a very solid starter. Even if he spends his career around the Mendoza line, his Defense has Molina level potential, so it's okay if his bat also has Molina like potential (sans Yadier). The arm alone is drool worthy.