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Phillies Top 30 Prospects 2016: 21-30

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Not the sexiest part of the list, in fact it may be less sexy than the players who missed the Top 30. There is, however, real talent here and some will certainly play some role on the Phillies in the future.

Ah, 30? Really?
Ah, 30? Really?
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

There are some high ceiling players here and some very low floors, but a large part of this section of the list is about fairly high floors and low ceilings. It's like that floor in Being John Malkovich except the door mostly puts you in the body of Michael Martinez or Philippe Aumont. That said, Ken Giles was on this part of the list a few years back and a few of the arms have that potential.

30. Darnell Sweeney, 2B/SS
We've all seen a bit of Sweeney, who came over from the Dodgers in the Utley trade. One of the better comps I've seen is that he's a poor man's Dee Gordon. Sweeney has Plus speed, but his technique and jumps aren't very good, so his success rate typically hovers in the 55-65 percent range. Pretty unacceptable for a guy with his speed, though it has been on an improving trend somewhat. As a hitter, Sweeney hits switch, but is better from the Right side facing Lefties. He has Dee Gordon-esque power from both sides, but with his bat speed some have professed hope that a little power may be coming to get him to borderline Average. I'd expect instead that he makes a career as a hitter by using his speed to steal singles and stretch some hits into an extra base here and there. I expect he may get to double-digit homers once or twice in his career, but he's going to be a small ball player primarily. His movements and instincts aren't great as a Middle Infielder, but he could play there in spots. His likely role will likely be as a better hitting version of Michael Martinez, providing passable Defense at a large array of positions, but with enough flaws to stay firmly on the bench. Expect to see a lot of Sweeney in 2016 with all of the player movement the Phillies are likely to make given the highly touted prospects on the cusp, he'll be valuable spackle to fill in and serve as an injury replacement for as many as 6 positions on the field.

29. Edubray Ramos, RHP
I mentioned Giles above and Ramos is the most likely guy on this list to potentially grow into the next Ken Giles. Obviously, that's easier said than done and this is my second year touting that kind of potential for Ramos. I'm near certain that Ramos can carve out a career in an MLB bullpen, the question is what that role is. Ramos has a Plus fastball that sits in the mid 90's and a Breaking Ball that goes from Slider to Curve depending upon how Ramos throws it that also show Plus potential. Ramos was excellent in 2015 in limiting Walks. He's able to pound the Strike Zone, but not necessarily hit his spots. If Ramos can bury his Breaking Ball teasingly on the outside corner he could freeze hitters, then drop one off a shelf and get guys to swing at pitches that end up well out of the zone. If he can do that he's a top Closer. If he can't he can still end up being a valuable set-up man by doing it occasionally. If the Command never comes, he's still a playable middle reliever who might occasionally leave up some hittable mistakes. but will rarely get victimized by free bases.

28. Lucas Williams, 3B
Lucas Williams is a weird prospect and I can honestly say I wasn't sure where to rank him. He's built not all that differently from Carlos Tocci, tall and lanky. He looks to have a better frame to add muscle to than Tocci, but he's never going to be a big guy. He was well off the radar when the Phillies took him in the Third Round last year. There are famous stories of teams grabbing a guy no one else had on their radar and that player becoming a star (Mike Trout and Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton - among others - were both considered reaches at the time) and that thought snuck into my head when Williams looked like a good hitter last Summer. He struck out too much for a kid with no power, but he also Walked a ton. It's hard to tell from GCL play whether that was because he just wasn't very aggressive or if he has a good eye, but with a K rate below 20%, I lean towards the good eye explanation. If Williams reaches his ceiling he could be a guy who hits 10-15 Homers, but steals 30+ bases a year with a high OBP and solid Defense. It would be an odd 3B profile, but by no means a bad one. That said, there's a long way to go here and the Delta is about as wide as an anyone in the Org. I like the hitting skills though so I'm risking that this may be an over rank.

27. Juan Luis, CF
Luis is older than you think and he's taller than I thought. He's also the second consecutive guy I'm going to compare to Carlos Tocci, but this time more directly. Luis is 6'4" and weighs under 180 lbs making him 2 inches taller and maybe 10-15 pounds heavier than Tocci. Like Tocci, he's a good runner and potential Plus defender. Like Tocci, he should add some muscle and get to a level of Power that would be playable for a Centerfielder and keep Pitchers from pounding the Strikezone. The difference is we all got excited about Tocci when he was 17, while Luis is really only a few months younger than the now 20 year old Tocci, but is just getting ready to play his second year of pro ball. He'll need to be pushed and his skills will need to keep up. There's a lot to like here, but a lot of risk that the skills don't grow to match the tools.

26. Jimmy Cordero, RHP
Cordero is another guy who might be on the cusp of being Ken Giles. He throws even harder than Giles and he has a Slider that is close to as good as Giles' was. The command seemed to be coming late in the year and if it does Cordero may travel North out of Spring Training. Expect to see Cordero in 2016 and think of his floor and ceiling as being similar to Ramos', but with a floor more like Aumont, as Cordero's control can go quite haywire for stretches. He'll never be a control artist, but while prone to Walks he can be an effectively wild Pitcher capable of dominating in late Innings.

25. Alberto Tirado, RHP
Tirado is somewhat like Phillipe Aumont (though he's Spud Webb comparatively in terms of height), he has enough of an arsenal of very good pitches to be a #2 Starter, or better, but enough lack of control to drive you nuts. Tirado works mid-to-upper-90's with his Fastball, features a wipeout Slider and a Changeup that shows good promise. That's a Starter's profile, if he can get the stuff to go anywhere near where he wants it. It's a TOR profile if he can actually get it to go exactly where he wants it. It's a double edged sword, you don't want flat, straight pitches because hitters will cream them, but when you have stuff with great movement it can be really hard to throw it to an exact spot. Tirado is pretty unlikely to sniff his ceiling, but that's okay, it's entirely possible he gets halfway there and becomes a valuable Reliever with a Plus-Plus Slider. Like Aumont, I expect they'll keep sending him out there as a Starter until it becomes obvious he's a Reliever, or he asks to Relieve.

24. Thomas Eshelman, RHP
Eshelman is a 6'3" control master. His floor is basically #5 Starter. He has an average Fastball and the Command to play in the Majors right now. The problem is the opposite of Tirado. Eshelman can get the ball just about exactly where he wants it, the problem will be whether or not he can fool anyone with it. There's a lot of maybe/probably with Eshelman. That's because he was Drafted in 2015, so there's only a handful of innings worth of data on him. There's no question his stuff could get College bats out. There's no doubt his stuff can probably get Low and High-A guys out. But once he gets to Double-A, is he going to be exposed by the more advanced hitters or will his stuff hold up? Of course, his stuff can also still improve and his Command can help stuff play up a little. He can be up pretty quick, maybe even late 2016. He's kind of a poor man's Aaron Nola or Mike Leake.

23. Alec Asher, RHP
Asher's not all that different from Eshelman. I think his raw stuff is very slightly better, but his Command is worse. Asher has enough stuff to grow into a #4 Starter and a varied enough arsenal of mediocre stuff to keep hitters off balance if he sequences and locates the pitches well. He has a low-90's Fastball that might be 1-2 MPH faster than Eshelman's. He's got a Sinker thrown at essentially the same speed. A show-me Curveball, that he should probably just dump. His Change-up shows average potential and his best pitch is likely a Slider that can look Plus at times. This may be a slight over-rank for Asher, who is prone to getting hammered, but I have some faith in his command improving. That said, the Phillies seem to have about 100 prospects with #3 Starter potential, so getting innings for both Eshelman and Asher will be tough. Their likely value will be either as spackle while better arms develop or you hope one of them gets hot like Vance Worley or JA Happ and becomes a good trade chip.

22. Victor Arano, RHP
My lord, do I have a lot of Pitchers to write about here. Arano is an improvement over Asher in terms of ceiling as he can top out at #3, and unlike Asher he has good Bullpen potential where his stuff has already played up in the Minors. That stuff includes a low-to-mid-90's Fastball that cranks to upper-90's in the 'pen, a kind of slurvy breaking ball that shows good potential and a Change that runs average. He has already dominated in the Bullpen and if moved there he'd rise up the system pretty quickly, but it would be a shame to lose out on the #3 ceiling. His issue is his Command. He can pound the Strike Zone, but not place the pitches where he needs to, sometimes leaving things up and causing him to struggle turning the lineup over more than once. A minor improvement could go a long way here.

21. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
Rhys can hit, there's not much doubt about that. Nobody in the system has a clearer path to the Majors than Hoskins. First Base is a wasteland in the system and it's pretty much the same in the Majors. You can platoon Howard and Ruf, but First Base platoons are less than ideal if the guys can't play other positions. So if Hoskins hits in Double-A in 2016, he could be in the Majors this summer. Hoskins seems to have a good eye and approach at the plate and has carried a .300+ Average and a near .400 OBP. He has the Power to hit 15-25 HRs per year, though the 25 will take some growth in his power beyond current skills. My first thought is that he's maybe a Right Handed James Loney. That's not a bad player to be, even if Right Handed First Basemen are not preferred. Defensively, he's fine. He moves well, has a good glove and size for the position. His speed isn't bad for a First Baseman and his arm is actually above average (for whatever that's worth at First). In short, he's potentially a very solid First Baseman, but he's not going to be a star.