Fall Instructs are winding down in Florida, but don't worry! Because prospects are now scattering across the globe to play winter ball. Speaking of across the globe, the Phillies also signed a left-handed pitcher out Russia, which is pretty cool. Oh, and the playoffs are going on still, and if they continue like the end to the Nationals-Dodgers series, they will be continue to be awesome into December due to pitching changes.
Prospect Spotlight: Kevin Gowdy, RHP
There has been a lot spotlight on the Phillies' young Latin American pitchers, like Sixto Sanchez, Franklyn Kilome, and Adonis Medina, but there is one other American arm that needs to be in that same conversation. Part of this is that workload and a leg injury limited Gowdy's innings and, with playoffs included, his line was 5 GS, 11 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. But the lack of exposure hides a very good pitching prospect within. The Phillies gave Gowdy the 12th-highest bonus in the draft, and while that is higher than where his talent was, he was one of the best prep arms available in the draft.
So far in pro ball (GCL and Instructs), Gowdy has been sitting 91-94 with his fastball, putting to rest reports about reduced velocity. He has flashed a plus wipeout slider and feel for what should be a good changeup. The ease of his delivery and feel for pitching show that there should be good future command. What he adds that Adonis Medina and Sixto Sanchez do not is a projectable frame that should allow for future velocity growth (not that Sixto really needs more velocity). There is potential here for a pitcher with two plus secondary pitches who sits 92-96 with good command and feel for adjustments. That, at its fullest, is a really good pitcher, and one who has been lost in a shuffle of new talent.
Plus, his stirrup sock game is on point.
(Video by Jim Peyton of Phuture Phillies)
@Matt_Winkelman how do you feel about Larry Bowa moving forward? The Mike Schmidt criticism has me think Bowa is similar— John Wetzel (@John___Wetzel) October 13, 2016
I was very skeptical about Larry Bowa with a young, rebuilding team, but I have come to really appreciate what Bowa brings to the Phillies. He is still crotchety and he still has bad opinions on some players, but he is also not making baseball ops decisions. Instead, he is the enforcer; he yells at the umpire so Mackanin doesn't have to. There is a reason that Pete was not ejected until the end of the season.
It seems that he is responsible for infield defense, and this year Galvis, Hernandez, and Franco all improved in that category. The part I am most interested in is how involved Bowa is in defensive shifting. He gets reports from the front office on hitter tendencies and sets the defense accordingly based on the reports and what the hitter has done that night. This shows the intersection of what we view of stats and scouting. Maybe Bowa is not the best person for the job, but he seems to have found a place as the angry old grandpa who doesn't yell at his own family like he used to.
@Matt_Winkelman how soon could the Phillies have the top rated group of prospects?— Matt Sigafus (@nurseintime) October 13, 2016
To get the top group of prospects, you need to have good draft picks, good trade returns, some Latin American talent, and some lucky breakouts. I am going to throw out the upper minors prospects because they will either graduate or regress. The most major trades have already happened, so it would be hard to get some more help there. As for the draft, the Phillies have a solid base; they have Mickey Moniak, Cornelius Randolph, Kevin Gowdy, and their top 10 pick in 2017. As for Latin America, the Phillies already have good pitchers in Sixto Sanchez, Franklyn Kilome, and Adonis Medina. Then, throw in other high upside prospects like Jhailyn Ortiz, Arquimedes Gamboa, Daniel Brito, and Jose Pujols who aren't on lists now.
Now, without trades, you need a lot of breakouts to make this happen. I doubt that happens for 2017 lists just because so many guys will be far away. If you said the Phillies had a chance for post-2018 when guys like Moniak, Randolph, and Kilome could be finishing up Double-A with the next group in Clearwater...that is a real possibility, especially if guys like Moniak hit their ceiling. This could be true of a lot of farm systems, though I do think this 2nd (or 3rd) wave of Phillies prospects is very strong.
@Matt_Winkelman does being selected in the rule 5 and then returned (i.e a Carlos Tocci situation) effect a players development?— Kieran Foote (@Footie_23) October 13, 2016
I believe so. A player taken in the Rule 5 draft is going to be 100 percent focused on making the big league roster because the opportunity is so big. Throw in a new set of coaches and voices and you have a lot of work that is going to be lost when the player is returned to his original organization. Something like this could swing the other way for a prospect who is stuck and could benefit from these new voices. I would be less worried about a hitter in this situation and much more worried about a pitcher who might be working as a reliever in his new organization when, say, the Phillies were developing him as a starter.
Baseball America League Top 20s:
Gulf Coast League:
#1 Mickey Moniak
#7 Sixto Sanchez
#12 Daniel Brito
#15 Jhailyn Ortiz
New York-Penn League:
#11 Adonis Medina
South Atlantic League:
#8 Franklyn Kilome
#19 Jose Taveras
Florida State League:
#14 Scott Kingery
#6 J.P. Crawford
#12 Jorge Alfaro
#13 Dylan Cozens
#4 J.P. Crawford
#13 Nick Williams