The minor league season is nearing a close and the playoffs are beginning. It's an exciting time! The Phillies have four ffiliates in a strong position to make the playoffs right now, with a fifth needing a miracle stretch of luck (which may have already run out by the time you are reading this). However, we will continue ever onward just the same.
Prospect Spotlight: Daniel Brito (18 years old), 2B, GCL: 47 G, .284/.355/.421, 2 HR
In the summer of 2014 the Phillies dropped over $2,100,000 on Caribbean shortstops (they would also give catcher Lenin Rodriguez $300,000). The first guy to jump forward was Jonathan Arauz, who was sent to the Astros in the Vincent Velasquez deal. The second guy to jump forward was Arquimedes Gamboa, who was always seen as the best talent of the three, but was starting to put things together as one of the youngest players in the New York-Penn League before injury troubles hit. The third shortstop, Brito, got left in the DSL last year before coming to the GCL this year, and...isn't actually a shortstop.
Brito's physical frame will have you thinking "Carlos Tocci" immediately, and it is true that the second baseman doesn't have a lot to him physically. But he is only 18, and his frame suggests there is some room for growth. He will never have a lot of power, but he hit two out of the park this year with a decent pile of doubles. Brito is a plus runner who had more success on the bases this year than last. His approach at the plate has been stellar in both of his pro years, and he is also a great defender at second base. Overall, we don't appear to have an elite profile here, but there is enough bat for him to stick at second base, and the glove should keep him on the infield dirt. Brito won't shoot up prospect lists, but he is worth filing away as a guy to watch going forward.
Video of Brito hitting by Jim Peyton of Phuture Phillies
If you have questions for future weeks, tweet them to me @Matt_Winkelman, or email them to email@example.com. The goal is to answer 3-4 questions each week that are more abstract, and less about rankings or lists
@Matt_Winkelman @TheGoodPhight What needs to happen for this month of September to be considered a "success" for the Phillies.— Brandon Warne (@Brandon_Warne) September 1, 2016
Have no one get hurt! It is going to be a tough month of September for the Phillies. They are going shut down Jake Thompson and Vince Velasquez at some point in favor of less exciting starters from Triple-A. They are going to back off of Gomez, Neris, and Ramos, which means more mediocre relievers getting innings in almost all situations. The hitters will likely stay mostly the same, unless we get Roman Quinn and Jorge Alfaro at some point, which would obviously be highly enjoyable.
Really, the big, long-term impacts of September will be if Tommy Joseph can sustain his performance enough to keep the club from giving a Major League contract to a first baseman this offseason, and if they can triage which relievers get to keep a 40-man spot. We all know that a significant 40-man roster purge is coming, so for guys like Michael Mariot, Colton Murray, Patrick Schuster and others, this is about not getting a DFA or non-tender situation this offseason. If we can all survive this as fans, I will consider it a success.
@Matt_Winkelman @TheGoodPhight Of the Phils' prospects in/near top 100 lists, which would you be most open to trade & why? For what return?— David Jason Fischer (@dajafi) September 1, 2016
I think it is safe to immediately take J.P. Crawford and Mickey Moniak off the table. Moniak's value is only going to go up, and I can't see the Phillies making the kind of move where they'd need to include Crawford. I don't think moving Nick Williams would be productive; his value is down and you are better off trying to get him back on track. I think the same is true of Cornelius Randolph, though if someone valued him at peak, I wouldn't take it personally if they used him in a trade. I personally would not move Jorge Alfaro because I think he is special and I don't know if teams are buying him at special prices. I also wouldn't trade Sixto Sanchez, if he can establish what he did this year next year he would be worth a ton.
I would not sell low on Jake Thompson or Roman Quinn, but both also exist at positions of relative strength for the Phillies, so moving them does not really hurt the organization on depth. What's more, if they can get something of need in return, they are certainly moveable. Franklyn Kilome is a personal favorite and I would be very sad if they traded him, but if a team is in love with him and he is the piece that gets you an impact player, it is hard to argue against selling high on a low-A arm. Somewhat related: If anyone is buying Dylan Cozens as a Top 100 prospect, I would sell because the risk is enormous, but anything lower than that and you are better off rolling the dice on him.
So, what are you buying if you are trading? Something (someone) young and controllable. The most obvious places of need or upgrade are a big corner outfield bat or frontline starter. Essentially, the idea is that you would be cashing in some depth and upside for less risk and now production. If you aren't getting that big impact piece, it might be more worth it to package up some of that second level of prospects for something in the solid regular or No. 3 starter range that isn't really a core piece, but can help keep the team moving forward.
@Matt_Winkelman @TheGoodPhight Where do you see Velasquez fitting long-term? Does he remain a starter or does he eventually move to closer?— Dan M (@dannmaal) September 1, 2016
I think Velasquez is a starting pitcher. He has the pitches, he just doesn't really know how to use them right now. That sounds drastic for a 24-year-old pitcher in his second Major League season, but you have to remember he pitched just five starts in the upper minors and didn't make many starts in the Majors last year. He is probably a bit stubborn at times and the 16-strikeout game may have gone to his head a little bit. However, he struck out over 10 per nine innings this season while only walking 3.3. Maybe he is not an ace, but can he be a high-3 ERA starter who frustrates you because the stuff is so good? Absolutely. Unless he regresses or shows significant injury concerns, there is no reason to not keep him in the rotation.
@Matt_Winkelman what are the chances that Galvis remains at SS and JP is moved to 2b temporarily next season?— Mike Lacy (@MikeLacy_215) September 1, 2016
Crawford has never played second base in his life. Even if Galvis is the better defender at SS (he probably is), it is not worth having your top prospect worry about learning a new position until you deal with the incumbent. Anyway, given how players are hitting right now it probably makes more sense to use Galvis off the bench everywhere and leave Cesar at second, even if he is maddening in his own right.