The Good Phight has even MORE predictions for the upcoming season, but on a much minor level. Victor, Cormican and I scribbled down our boldest takes for the 2017 minor league season as it pertained to Phillies prospects. Leave your thoughts and own predictions in the comments so we can revisit later this season.
Victor’s Bold Predictions:
1. Sixto Sanchez is the Phillies’ top prospect by season’s end
Now, you might think to yourself, “This wouldn’t be that big of a deal,” particularly if Nick Williams, J.P. Crawford, and Jorge Alfaro graduate from prospect status at some point this season. But it would require a pretty big leap for Sanchez, and it would mean he put together a better season than either Franklyn Kilome, Adonis Medina, or Mickey Moniak. Sanchez will begin the season at Lakewood, dominate the Sally, and be putting up hard-to-believe strikeout numbers in Clearwater by season’s end, en route to top prospect status this winter.
2. The Iron Pigs actually won’t be that good, in a way
Crawford, Alfaro, Quinn, Williams, Thompson… a quick peek at the Iron Pigs’ roster and there’s plenty of reason to be excited. A 90-win season and International League title will come easy, some would say. Well, not so fast. Through a combination of Major League injuries and certain players getting promoted, along with a few disappointing seasons from other guys on the roster, the Iron Pigs will only win about 80 games and miss the post-season. Having a relatively young team and a lack of minor-league lifers ends up hurting the Pigs in the standings come September.
3. It’s a huge year for the Reading outfield
The Phillies’ 2019 outfield might feature Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera, and Bryce Harper (What? Who said that?), but there’s always plenty of competition for that coveted 25th spot on the roster. Brock Stassi says hello, by the way. As for 2017, Andrew Pullin and Carlos Tocci put things together in Reading, and the race is on between them to find out who gets that 5th outfielder spot for the Phillies in 2019.
4. Mark Appel has a rough start, but then finds his calling
Appel, scheduled to be in the Iron Pigs’ rotation to begin the year, will have a few rough starts before the Phillies decide to try him out as a reliever. It works, and after trading Joaquin Benoit and/or Pat Neshek at the deadline, Appel finds himself in the Phillies’ bullpen in August and September as a solid 7th inning relief option.
5. This is the end of Dusty Wathan’s time in the minors
Despite a decent season with some progress in the Majors, the Phillies win about 75 games and say farewell to Pete Mackanin as manager, assigning him to an advisor/scouting role in 2018. Enter Dusty Wathan, who will manage the Iron Pigs this year and move up to Philadelphia starting in 2018. That line of thinking didn’t go so well the last time around for the organization, but things go a bit more smoothly this time around.
Cormican’s Bold Predictions:
1. A new Phillies Top 5 Prospects and more!
At the end of 2017 the top 5 Phillies prospects, in order, will be:
1 Mickey Moniak
2 Sixto Sanchez
3 Tanner Houck
4 Franklyn Kilome
5 Seranthony Dominguez
Someone will give those 4 pitchers a cutesy nickname and I'll be annoyed about it for the next 5 years.
2. Roman Quinn will get called up in May and be a popular pick for NL Rookie of the Year...
...before being placed on the DL in mid-August.
3. Jose Pujols will set the new Threshers franchise record for Home Runs...
...while simultaneously hitting below the Mendoza line.
4. Jhailyn Ortiz will finish the year with the Threshers...
...forcing the Phillies to trade Cord Sandberg for a literal bag of balls to prevent the Threshers from running out of them.
5. The Paul Owens award will be won by Yukon Cornelius Randolph and, in continuing the tradition of giving it to a future journeyman pitcher, Tyler Viza
Jay’s Bold Predictions:
1. Nick Williams is the first outfielder called up to the big leagues
Williams lights the International League on fire with a renewed outlook and approach under the tutelage of Dusty Wathan.
2. Carlos Tocci hits 10 HRs in Reading
Tocci has a total of 9 state-side homeruns in 5 seasons combined. I believe he doubles that by season’s end.
3. One of Mark Appel, Ben Lively or Ricardo Pinto leave the organization via trade
I think a trade will happen at some point in the season in a swap of minor leaguers.
4. Alberto Tirado plays for the Phillies
Perhaps not so bold given that he is on the 40 man roster, but the kid hasn’t played above High-A ball. There are certainly questions concerning whether he is even a starter long-term. I believe he breezes through Clearwater by midseason where he meets some obstacles in AA. Phillies will sell off bullpen parts at the deadline and we see Tirado in September.
5. Mickey Moniak is a top 10 prospect in baseball
While maintaining and building upon his current collection of tools, the power potential begins to blossom for Moniak, gaining the national attention that usually warrants a #1 overall pick.