We love talking about prospects in baseball much in the same way we love talking about the prospects of our own lives. It’s the hope of a better future, of something that can make you feel like good things are in store if you just keep your eyes on the horizon. For some, it can lead to unrealistic expectations of players that have a high variance of hitting their ultimate ceilings. The old saying “prospects are made to break your heart” is made for a reason.
Now, as the spring training games are ramping up, the various major outlets for prospect prognostication have all posted their top lists and the Phillies are still....there. They don’t dominate the lists in the way that the Dodgers (good at drafting and developing), Orioles (that’s a lot of high picks!) and other teams do, but we have seen the same trio of arms show up over and over. At time they are higher than maybe we thought, at times they are lower than maybe we thought.
*thanks to schmenkman for compiling this list
Andrew Painter, Mick Abel and Griff McGarry are all, in some form, showing up on national lists as you can see from above. Painter has been the darling of prospect people all offseason long, so seeing him vary about in the top fifteen prospects is comforting to see. Abel has bounced around the lists while McGarry has seen himself on some lists and off of others.
Painter, as we have already known, is now regarded as a top fifteen prospect in the sport. His combination of size, stuff and poise puts him squarely in the mix to take the fifth starter’s job this season, something the team seems eager for him to do. Mick Abel looks to be considered a top 50 prospect outside of Keith Law, who is usually down on non-premier pitching prospects anyway. There isn’t much expectation that Abel is going to be ready to step into the rotation this season outside of an injury need, but looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, he’ll play a large role in the team’s future. Griff McGarry still looks like a solid prospect, just not one some consider to be a top 100 version. People who are higher on his raw stuff place him among those elite prospects while other still see control/command issues and pump the brakes a bit more.
There are no hitters as of yet from the Phillies’ system that teams are high on, but there are intriguing names. Hao Yu-Lee and Justin Crawford lead the way, though both still look to be a ways away. Johan Rojas might get some time this year if something happens to the depth chart by way of injury, but he’ll need to improve the hit tool if he wants to be a major player. Still, even with the lack of bats, the team looks to be in a much better place than they were a few years ago. It should be an exciting year to watch the team’s minor league system.