Long gong are the stable outfield names of Pat Burrell, Bobby Abreu, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. A new outfield has taken shape, and there's no question that the Phillies are ready to build it around Odubel Herrera. But hey, the guy could use some help, okay?
Nick Williams was a pretty clear-cut top outfield prospect in the system last off-season, but the 2016 MLB Draft changed all of that. Mickey Moniak now sits at the top of our list when it comes to the outfield, a position that could become relatively crowded if Aaron Altherr bounces back and Roman Quinn proves to be a boon in the field and on the basepaths. However, their spots are tenuous, and there is plenty of talent behind them. The first four names on this list were all agreed upon unanimously by Dan, Jay, Matt, and myself.
1. Mickey Moniak
GCL Phillies: 46 G, .284/.340/.409, 1 HR, 28 RBI, 11 2B, 4 3B
Moniak was the first selection in the 2016 draft last June, and for good reason. He's gotten the Christian Yelich comps (fair enough) and has a quick bat that should play well in the Majors. That bat should also prevent many seriously long slumps. By all accounts, his defense was steady in the GCL. Moniak showed up to the winter meetings in December to accept his High School Player of the Year award and said he has worked to add 20 pounds of muscle to what was a relatively thin, yet normal high schooler frame.
If all goes well, Moniak will probably start 2017 in Lakewood. He doesn't turn 19 until May. There's plenty of reason for excitement. The hope is that Moniak is a 25-homer guy some day, but even if he doesn't display that type of power the bat should play well regardless. He'd make a great center fielder, but Moniak may end up in a corner spot if the Phillies decide Herrera is "the" guy in center. Wherever the Phillies play him, Moniak should be a force for years to come.
2. Nick Williams
Lehigh Valley: 125 G, .258/.287/.427, 13 HR, 64 RBI, 33 2B, 6 3B
Williams clashed multiple times throughout the season with manager Dave Brundage, so it's no surprise that the Phillies cut ties with the Iron Pigs' manager. Getting a new voice in the clubhouse seemed important to Matt Klentak and Andy MacPhail, and they'll get that with Dusty Wathan taking over at AAA. Williams had a fantastic 2015, but his 2016 was a disappointment.
That being said, he's still going to show up in plenty of Top 100 prospect lists thanks to his raw power and athleticism. He will have to cut down on his strikeouts next season, as he struck out 136 times in 497 at-bats last year. And, well, being more selective at the plate wouldn't hurt either. A 3.8% BB rate just isn't going to cut it. All that being said, Williams is probably still one of the Phillies' five or six best prospects and is 23 years old. He'll get a chance to work with a new coaching staff in 2017, and should be in the Majors at some point during the season.
3. Roman Quinn
Rookie rehab (6 G)/Reading (71 G): 77 G, .302/.372/.451, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 16 2B, 6 3B
Philadelphia: 15 G, .263/.373/.333, 6 RBI, 4 2B
It's almost somewhat hard to believe that Quinn was drafted back in 2011. He'll be 24 in May, but his time in the minors is just about up, or so it would appear. He finally got a cup of coffee with the big club to end the season, and did well all things considered. He's on track to start 2017 with the Phillies, but he still technically holds prospect eligibility, so he does make our list.
Health has always been the story for Quinn. He missed extensive time at Reading with an oblique issue in 2016, a problem that popped up at the end of the year in Philadelphia, too. The numbers game would appear to be in his favor when it comes to making the Major League roster if he's healthy, though. Sadly that's been a big "if" throughout Quinn's career.
4. Cornelius Randolph
Rookie rehab (5 G)/Lakewood (63 G): 68 G, .264/.347/.343, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 12 2B, 1 3B
Hey, remember Cornelius Randolph? With Aaron Nola making it to the Majors just a year after being drafted, Mickey Moniak being selected last June, and plenty and plenty of trades for prospects, Randolph might have been a bit lost in the shuffle. There's a bit of a reason for that. The Phillies' 2015 first-round pick was out for about two months with shoulder issues that just didn't seem to go away. He was expecting to be in rehab for a week or two in Clearwater but it ended up lasting a lot longer than he expected.
When he was on the field, he wasn't displaying the same power he did in the GCL following his drafting in 2015, where he posted a .442 SLG%. (It was .343 overall in 2016, .357 in Lakewood.) He's still just 19 years old though, and won't be 20 until June, so he can breathe a bit. There wasn't really anywhere else to put him last year but Lakewood, so it wasn't so much that the Phillies rushed him there. He'll likely start there again this season. The hope is that he looks like the guy the Phillies drafted in 2015, with ability to hit to all fields.
5. Dylan Cozens
Reading: 134 G, .276/.350/.591, 40 HR, 125 RBI, 38 2B, 3 3B
I'll go ahead and get this out of the way: I was the only one of the four of us who had Cozens ranked behind Jhailyn Ortiz, who you'll hear more about next. Let's acknowledge this fantastic tweet from Cozens, first though:
Me: cut down on strikeouts in 2017— Dylan Cozens (@dylancozens) December 31, 2016
Inner me: don't worry about it elevate and celebrate
When it comes to that decision, I guess you could say I enjoy the idea of Ortiz more than I enjoy the reality of what Cozens may be, if that makes any sense. Cozens did strike out 186 times last season. There are extreme splits (1.116 OPS at home, .766 on the road, 1.037 vs. righties, .640 vs. lefties). There are questions about the long-term feasibility of his bat. However, there is no questioning he's worked hard to get to this point, and quite frankly, I don't have any issue with this ranking.
He'll probably start in AAA in 2017, so he'll get the chance to be with Wathan again, which you can only hope will make him a bit more comfortable. To those who want the Phillies to sign Brandon Moss to bolster the outfield for 2017, I sort of say, "Can you wait another year?" The Phillies might have their own version of him in Cozens. If that's the type of career he has, there won't be much to complain about. A strong start in AAA could force the Phillies' hand to bring him up to the Majors at some point in June or July.
6. Jhailyn Ortiz
GCL Phillies: 47 G, .231/.325/.434, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 9 2B, 1 3B
When you have the opportunity to sign a kid who has the size and tools that Ortiz has, you jump at it. Ortiz, just 17, is already listed at 6'3" and 215 pounds, and there's plenty to dream about. The Phillies signed him to the biggest bonus of any available Dominican player in 2015, spending $4 million on the power-hitting right-hander.
The defense will need a lot of work, but the hope is that the Phillies found themselves a guy who can bash out 30 homers a season. He has that sort of potential. If he does that, they'll find somewhere to put him on the diamond. He's very raw and pretty far from the Majors, but will be a fun guy to keep an eye on in 2017.
7. Carlos Tocci
Clearwater: 127 G, .284/.331/.362, 3 HR, 50 RBI, 26 2B, 2 3B
The Phillies signed Tocci out of Venezuela in 2011, but if you had told me it was 1911 I probably would have believed you. It's been a long waiting game with Tocci. He's coming up on six years in the organization but just finished last year at Clearwater in his age-20 season. (He turned 21 in late August.)
He was left unprotected this off-season, but was not selected in the Rule V Draft, as the 29 other teams realized he's pretty far away from being a Victorino, Herrera, or Ender Inciarte guy, not worth wasting a roster spot on. So Tocci will continue on in the Phillies' system, and Clearwater seems like a safe bet to begin the season.
He's still skinny, he's still athletic, and he's still sort of just... here. At this point, the best-case scenario is that he maybe ends up being Doug Glanville. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but it would mean he'd be scratching to stay on a Major League roster every year.
One positive: His winter ball numbers were pretty darn good.
Carlos Tocci ends his winter having hit .323/.403/.392 in 59 games, he had 8 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 1 SB, 20 BB, and 36 K https://t.co/2CopqDModb— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) January 2, 2017
8. Jose Pujols
Lakewood: 128 G, .241/.306/.440, 24 HR, 82 RBI, 21 2B, 3 3B
Pujols just turned 21 on September 29, so he's got youth on his side, but he has a long way to go to be able to prove he's a guy worth keeping an eye on. He hit well against lefties (.898 OPS) but not so hot against righties (.692 OPS) and struck out far too much, racking up 179 Ks.
He's known for having a pretty good arm but his defense is still a work in progress. Having the power is nice, but putting everything together won't be easy. He could be one of the most enigmatic prospects in the entire system. Look for him to start in Clearwater in 2017.
9. Andrew Pullin
Clearwater (36 G)/Reading (46 G): 82 G, .322/.362/.522, 14 HR, 51 RBI, 21 2B, 2 3B
We were all surprised when Pullin's "retirement" was announced in a simple transaction in early April. He said he returned home to Centralia, WA to deal with personal issues, but his return was a welcome one. He played well at Clearwater and earned a promotion to Reading, where he hit .346/.393/.559. Insert your own joke here about how it seems like anyone can hit well at Reading.
Pullin will be an interesting name to watch, as he just turned 23 in September. It wouldn't be too surprising to see him start with Lehigh Valley, though of course a lot of that depends on if the Phillies bring a few guys into camp in February to compete for jobs. Like Tocci, Pullin was left off the 40-man roster but wasn't selected in the Rule V Draft.
10. Jiandido Tromp
Lakewood (65 G)/Clearwater (59 G): 124 G, .258/.313/.483, 20 HR, 68 RBI, 33 2B, 5 3B
Tromp is kind of like Pujols without the strikeouts when you look at their lines, so what gives Pujols the edge in this list? Well, Tromp is 23 and didn't really put up stellar numbers in Lakewood in 2014 or 2015, finally putting things together last year before getting to spend the rest of the year in Clearwater. (He did have a strong run in Williamsport in 2014, though.)
As for Clearwater, Tromp didn't really perform well there, hitting just .240/.290/.456. He can pull the ball. He has some power in the bat. But there just doesn't seem to be a ton there to write home about when it comes to the defense, and the Phillies will have better options at the corner outfield spots for the foreseeable future. Tromp's not likely to make an impact in the Majors.
Honorable Mentions: Juan Luis, David Martinelli, Josh Stephen, Zack Coppola, Joey Curletta