The MiLB season is almost upon us! Each season The Good Phight Prospect Brain Trust begrudgingly puts together some bold predictions that almost never come true (except for Victor, that dude is always right). Perhaps (most of) our predictions are the kiss of death for prospects? Maybe we just expect way too much and our optimism for the season hasn’t been beaten down yet by reality. In either case, here are our predictions for the 2019 MiLB season. Make sure to keep up on these predictions with our daily minor league roundups starting next week!
Victor’s Bold Predictions
Simon Muzziotti? Simon Muzziotti.
With just one home run in his three minor league seasons, Muzziotti will never be mistaken for a power hitter. But, you’d at the very least like to see him be an above-average contact hitter, and he has the tools and the smarts to become that. He appears to have bulked up a bit in the off-season, but he’s still thin, probably around 175 pounds. Carlos Tocci is the obvious sort of comparison here, a skinny outfielder who you heard a lot about but hadn’t had a chance to see climb the ladder yet.
He’ll start at Clearwater, and turn heads in April and May. After posting just a .630 OPS in Lakewood in 2018, he’ll end up around a .780 OPS in 2019, continuing to handle the outfield well and showing more promise at the plate than in any previous season.
Austin Listi picks up a key game-winning hit in the Majors in September
Listi didn’t exactly show the same power in Reading as he did in Clearwater after getting the call to the Fightin Phils, but his bat was still potent in the Eastern League. Listi is 25, so despite being a 2017 pick, he’s already a good bit older than many guys in the EL.
He can hit, though. The question is if he can hit consistently enough to succeed in the Majors. He’ll get the chance to be a September call-up after a torrid 2019 in the Eastern League, moving to Lehigh Valley in August and eventually getting a shot with the big club late in the year. I won’t go full Nostradamus with the opponent, but he’ll pick up a key game-winning hit for the Phils in September.
Kyle Dohy is the Seranthony of 2019, but it takes a few months
Dohy was a bit of a darling in 2018 with an outstanding first half of the season in Clearwater. He struggled quite a bit in Reading, but if he can display at least average command, he should find a way to succeed in the bigs. The Phillies certainly have a lot of bullpen depth, but that’s always tested during a 162-game season.
Dohy can reach the mid 90s with the fastball. The slider and change-up could be above-average pitches, but neither one stands out as being consistently above-average at present. He’ll miss more bats in Reading with that slider in 2019, and climb to the Majors by August, playing a role in the bullpen through the end of the season.
The Phillies go back to high school with their first pick
While the 2018 season may have ended in disappointment, there is some good news; the Phillies are picking 14th and not first like they did in 2016. Things are going in the right direction for this organization! So what do the Phillies do with their 14th pick?
They go back to high school, and there is no third consecutive season of the Phils taking a college guy with their first pick. They go with a projectable high school outfielder. Who may that be? Hoo boy, I don’t know, but follow Cormican all spring long for his draft previews and he may be able to tell you. Jerrion Ealy would fit the bill.
JoJo Romero is part of a trade for a big-name pitcher at the deadline
As I write this, the Phillies are wrapping up a sweep of the Braves to go to 3-0 on the season, so it’s obvious at this point that this team is heading towards 140 wins. Even with that happening, you can never have too much pitching.
JoJo will be coveted by a lot of teams if the Phillies are in the market for a starter. In our MLB season predictions. I said the Phillies’ deadline acquisition would be Madison Bumgarner. Well, sorry, JoJo, you won’t get to pitch in Philadelphia, but you will get to pitch in a pretty great pitcher’s park in San Francisco. The Phillies get their man and bolster the rotation, but say goodbye to Romero in the process.
Cormican’s Bold Predictions
Alec Bohm will end the season in Reading
As much as many of us sometimes complain about the Phillies moving prospects slowly they have moved quickly with a few prospects in recent years who were college picks (Nola, Kingery). With Franco having two years of control left, the Phillies would love for Bohm to be fully recovered from last year’s injury woes, prove he can stay at 3rd (read: be at least as good as Franco there) and show what he did in college with the bat. At best maybe they would be confident enough to trade Franco next winter to clear a spot for Bohm, at worst, they could feel very confident going into 2021 that Bohm can be the opening day starter at 3rd.
Mitch Walding will spend the entire year on the 40-man roster
Thanks to a lack of depth on the MLB roster of corner infielders, a lack of a serious logjam of prospects waiting for a shot on the big club and a typical competent Mitch Walding season in AAA, Walding will get more chances to add to his currently weird MLB triple slash.
Mickey Moniak will more than double his career home run total
He only has 11 total career dingers, so this is maybe not terribly bold, but if Moniak can hit 12-15 Homers as a center fielder and carry something close to his late season line as a .290 hitter that can play in center field. He’ll need to draw more walks or he’ll profile more as a 4th/5th OF, but he’s still young enough to expect that he may still get to a starter profile.
Jose Pujols will get a cup of coffee with the Phillies
Pujols will be the 2019 Dylan Cozens, coming up late in the season, piling up ugly strikeouts and majestic home runs while providing somewhat sketchy outfield defense as an added entertainment bonus.
Adonis Medina will have a “bounce back” year
He’s a top prospect, so bounce back is relative, but Medina carried a pretty high ERA last year despite pretty strong K:BB rates, and a high BABiP for a pitcher getting ~50% ground ball rates. As he moves up the ladder the defense behind him should naturally improve and perhaps resolve some of the BABiP discrepancy, though he’ll be in Reading, which may not help his home run rate.
Jay’s Bold Predictions
Spencer Howard finishes the season as the organization’s Top Prospect
I think this a bit bold considering guys like Adonis Medina, Adam Haseley, Luis Garcia and Alec Bohm still exist in the organization, but Spencer Howard started giving me those special feelings in 2018 and I can’t help but think that he’s only going to get (MUCH) better in 2019.
Kevin Gowdy plays a full season
This is probably relatively speaking since he’ll likely be on an innings-cap, but I think this might be the season he makes it through a full playing year without an injury. Will he be any good and flash that raw pre-TJS stuff? I’m not gonna go there quite yet...
Phillies will have two of the top ten catching prospects in league by season’s end
Maybe this isn’t THAT bold, however the Phillies catching prospect stockpile is MIGHTY impressive. Guys like Rodolfo Duran and Rafael Marchan took giant leaps in their offensive developments in 2018 and are the guys I see filling those top spots. That doesn’t preclude guys like the underrated Logan O’Hoppe, Deivi Grullon or Abraham Gutierrez from slipping in there as well with strong 2019 seasons.
Jhailyn Ortiz leads the organization in homeruns...and strikeouts
Ortiz had a pretty forgetful 2018 after looking like a breakout candidate after his impressive 2017 campaign. He did deal with some shoulder issues in last season, but there has been speculation that his glasses/eye sight may have been causing some issues at the plate as well. Honestly after getting my hopes up, I’m expecting more of the same (awesome power and struggling to make contact).
Francisco Morales gets his groove back
Morales was a bit of a disaster in 2018. He missed a ton of bats, but also had some extreme control issues with his pitches. The upper-90’s fastball and wipe-out slider are still wondrous to watch, but I think you start to see him harness those pitches and further develop his change-up to become a more effective pitcher in 2019.