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April 2019 prospect review

A loom at who was hot and who was not in April

Philadelphia Phillies Photo Day Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Who’s hot:

Alec Bohm
.373/.449/.590, 3 SB, 0 CS, 9 2B, 3 HR, 13% BB, 15.2% k

Twelve XBH in 98 plate appearances is pretty impressive. it’d be nice if another couple of those doubles cleared the fence, but it’s hard to argue with a .228 ISO. He’s got a .400+ BABIP, so (surprise) the .373 BA is not sustainable, but if it goes down 100 points, that’s still a damned good line. The defense has been... hey, look at that triple slash, will ya?

Spencer Howard
1-1, 2.25 ERA, 1.91 FIP, 1.60 xFIP, 13.5 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 38.5% K, 5.1% BB, 55% GB

I think at this point, these two are 1-2 in prospect rankings for the Phils (I could see a case for either/or being #1). Howard has top of the rotation potential and if he keeps up this pace he’s probably not long for Clearwater. I don’t trust batted ball data in the minors, so I doubt 55% is accurate, but I do trust that it’s probably a good indicator that he’s inducing a lot of worm burners. Maybe it’s 45% and not 55%, but it’s a good rate, either way.

Malquin Canelo
.310/.390/.366, 4 2B, 30.1% K, 9.6% BB, .468 BABIP

It’s nice to see the triple slash, but the K rate and BABIP are both red flags the size that might get pulled behind a plane down the shore. The glove is good, but once the BABIP regresses it’ll be clear the bat isn’t even good enough for a utility role. Of course, to be fair, it’s a month and the K rate could come down such that even with a lower BABIP he could still have a solid enough AVG for a bench role down the line.

Deivy Grullon
.393/.441/.656, 4 HR, 4 2B, 27.9% K, 8.8% BB, .513 BABIP

The power has been nice (and legit). The AVG is inflated and the K rate is a little higher than you’d like, but with his defense (and Knapp’s lack of), there may well be a point this year when Grullon gets a shot catching for the Phillies.

Rafael Marchan
.315/.393/.426, 6 2B, 11.5% BB, 9.8% K, .354 BABIP

Marchan is fairly new to catching, so the defense needs some work still (though it’s promising), but the bat is a hit (sorry). I’m not even going to mention the BABIP, because in 4 years, that’s just barely above average for Marchan. Friend of the blog Matt Winkleman compared him to Willians Astudillo except good at catching. It’s pretty close. A few more walks and K’s, but the same profile otherwise.

Matt Vierling
.310/.389/.488, 3 HR, 6 2B, 6 SB, 3 CS, 24.2% K, 9.5% BB, .397 BABIP

There were concerns about Vierling’s ability to hit with a wood bat in College. It’s early in year 2, but I’m pretty confident he can hit with a wood bat. BABIP is high, but he carried a high BABIP last year too. Near .400 is unsustainable, but maybe he can maintain something in the .330’s as he moves up. He’s a corner OF and probably just a Left Fielder, but if he keeps hitting like this, that’s fine.

Connor Brogdon
1-0, 2.04 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 3.06 xFIP, 10.19 K/9, 2.55 BB/9

A 10th Round pick in 2017, Brogdon’s a bit old for the FSL, but he’s been a solid reliever and you can only pitch to the guys the team puts you at the level of. He was a Senior sign pick when he was drafted and he’s from a small school, so I didn’t know anything about him at the time. He’s big, well tall, but skinny. Brogdon has a plus fastball and pretty good control. I’d like to see him get to Reading, because I suspect he’s a steal. He’s not going to be a Closer, but I think he might be a possible bullpen piece which is eons beyond what I expect from a 10th round pick.

JD Hammer
0-0, 0.73 ERA, 1.23 FIP, 1.83 xFIP, 12.41 K/9, 2.19 BB/9

Continuing the theme of unexpected relief parts is Hammer. He doesn’t have dominating stuff, but he keeps racking up numbers. Same as Brogdon, he’s not a future closer, but he certainly could get a shot in the bullpen in Philly. Whether he stuff gets results there is a very open question, but if he keeps performing, he’ll get a shot.

Kyle Young
1-3, 4.29 ERA, 2.36 FIP, 1.92 xFIP, 10.71 K/9, 0.43 BB/9, 58.6% GB

The first 2 stats make him look out of place, but he’s just been unlucky. He walked the first batter he faced this year, but since then 25 K’s without a walk. Young is a seven foot tall unicorn and I just wanted to spend a couple minutes appreciating the unprecedented RHP.

Who’s not

We all know the big names who have struggled out the gate, so I want to touch on just a couple guys I had higher hopes for.

Carlos de la Cruz
.205/.262/.256, 4 2B, 2 SB, 32.1% K, 6.0% BB, .314 BABIP

Carlos is raw as hell. I’m a fan of weird prospects and a 6’8” hitter fits that bill. I can hold out a little hope, but if you’re the size of a Power Forward carrying that average you better have more than a .051 ISO. Even Ben Revere carried ISO’s higher than that most of the time.

Thomas Eshelman
0-2, 9.53 ERA

I left out a lot of extra stats from that line, because they surprised me quite a bit, so I wanted to talk to them here. I think Eshelman might be... better than he was previously. Or at least very, very unlucky. First, he’s facing an absurd .488 BABIP. His K rate is a career high 10.32/9, substantially higher than his previous high water mark with a walk rate right in his career average range. In person reports have the contact against him being pretty well crushed, but even then a nearly .500 BABIP is unrealistic. It’s still early so, unlike de la Cruz, I have hope that Esh’s luck will turn. I’m still convinced his ceiling is AAAA starter who gets a couple cups of coffee, but I hate to see a guy go all Joe Cowley and end up out of baseball (something I didn’t know before I started typing: Cowley’s train wreck ‘87 season lasted one-third of an inning longer than Eshelman’s season has gone right now. That said I remember watching that historically bad 11.2 innings and actually feeling really bad for that guy.)