May 18, 2017
The minor league season is six weeks old and our last Phillies Prospect Power Rankings ran a month ago. It’s high time to update this list.
Something to keep in mind: these are ever-shifting power rankings and this is how we feel they stack up right now. Just because someone drops off the list doesn’t mean we’re necessarily down on them, it’s just that, like any power rankings, players/teams will move up or down according to hot or cold streaks.
With nearly a week until Memorial Day weekend, however, we’ve had an ample amount of time to assess where players are at in 2017. Most players have settled in one way or another. Unlike the last edition of these power rankings, this one is based on a bit more than a two-week sample size.
There is more change toward the bottom of this edition’s list, which has more to do with players emerging in the time since rather than other players tailing off. There’s only room for a dozen.
Anyway, let's get to it.
*All stats are through Wednesday’s games
Age:22 | Position: Shortstop | Previous Ranking: 2
2017 stats:.183/.299/.238, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 21 BB, 30 K in 35 games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley
Yes, that slash line doesn’t seem deserving of the top spot in a power ranking of the top prospects in a fertile crop that is the Phillies farm system. But we’re not as down on J.P., perhaps because there have been real signs of life lately. Perhaps it’s not really a coincidence that the IronPigs (winners of 12 in a row entering Thursday) have been piping hot just as Crawford has got going at the plate. Crawford is hitting .240 in May (nearly 100 points higher than his April batting average) but the better numbers to look at are his .356 OBP this month and a rise in his walk rate and drop in his strikeout rate. He has more walks (nine) than strikeouts (eight) this month. Those numbers are more in line for a player who had more career minor league walks (190) than strikeouts (184) upon arriving at Triple-A a year ago. Frankly, we’d be surprised if Crawford doesn’t go on a tear pretty soon given his improved plate discipline in the last month. With that skill set in place and a consistent glove at a premium position, we still have faith in Crawford.
Estimated Time of Arrival to Phillies: 2018
Age: 23 | Position:Catcher | Previous Ranking: 1
2017 stats: .289/.313/.430, 3 HR, 2 3B, 5 2B, 42 K, 2 BB in 31 games at Triple-A
Alfaro still probably has the highest ceiling of anyone in the Phillies system because of his power potential, his arm strength and athleticism. This may be nitpicking since the rest of his numbers in the last two seasons are more than adequate, but Alfaro doesn’t look like a hitter who is ever going to draw many walks. He has all of two in 134 plate appearances this year. In eight minor league seasons, Alfaro has 520 more strikeouts than he has walks (639 to 119) in 581 games. If he’s still able to hit north of .270 with power, it might not be a real problem. You don’t need a whole lineup of guys with .340-plus OBPs, especially if they can 20-25 HR power potential at a premium position.
Age: 24 | Position:First Base | Previous Ranking: 5
2017 stats:.338/.425/.669, 10 HR, 9 2B, 2 3B, 20 BB, 26 K in 39 games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley
Hoskins hasn’t slowed down. And, really, if you look at his numbers since his first full minor league season in A-ball two years ago, he’s barely slowed down since he was selected with the Phillies 5th-round pick out of Cal State-Sacramento in the 2014 draft. Hoskins’ .669 slugging percentage is nearly 100 points higher than the next player in the International League’s leader board, and he has excellent strikeout-to-walk numbers. He’ll probably never be a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman, but that bat can play. UPDATED:As this was being written, Hoskins hit a grand slam in a matinee at Rochester. So, 11 home runs on the year. Have mercy. UPDATE ON THE UPDATE:Another home run in Thursday's game. So, 12 in 40 games. No big deal.
ETA: Late 2017
Age: 19 | Position: Outfield | Previous Ranking:3
2017 stats: .270/.318/.343 with 1 3B, 8 2B, 4 stolen bases, 35 K, 9 BB in 36 games at Low-A Lakewood
Moniak just turned 19 a week ago. He is less than a year removed from sitting in a classroom at LaCosta Canyon High School. It’s unfair to scrutinize the statistics of a teenager with very little pro ball experience, or to use it to project where he might be in a year or three. Moniak is one of the younger players in the South Atlantic League. We really only moved him down a slot because Hoskins is dominating at a higher level.
Age:18 | Position: Right-handed Pitcher | Previous Ranking: 4
2017 stats: 1-2, 3.70 ERA, 0.904 WHIP, 28 K, 3 BB in 24 1/3 innings/5 games at Low-A Lakewood
Sanchez hasn’t pitched since May 7 while battling neck stiffness. He’s likely to rejoin the BlueClaws rotation before the end of the month. Perhaps a small break isn’t the worst thing in the world for an 18-year-old pitching in his first full minor league season. Not a whole lot has changed since our Power Rankings last month: Sanchez has held opponents to a .224 OBP in three starts. You should probably make a point to travel to FirstEnergy Park this summer to check him out since his next stop (Class A Clearwater) isn’t a drivable day trip.
Age: 23 | Position: Second Base | Previous Ranking: 6
2017 stats:.286/.364/.609, 9 HR, 4 3B, 8 2B, 8-for-8 in stolen bases in 33 games at Double-A Reading
The Phillies’ 2015 second-round pick sported an OPS north of 1.000 and six home runs in April and hasn’t slowed down in May. Kingery collected his third, three-hit game of the month on Wednesday, which included his ninth home run of the season. The nine home runs are four more than he hit in 98 fewer games between Clearwater and Reading last season. Only one player in the Eastern League has more home runs. Oh, and Kingery has yet to make an error in 29 games/255 innings at second base this year.
Age: 24 | Position:Outfield | Previous Ranking: 8
2017 stats: .292/.347/.387, 1 HR, 2 3B, 6 2B, 8-for-12 in stolen bases, 42 K, 12 BB in 36 games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley
The IronPigs are averaging 5.42 runs per game in their current 12-game winning streak. It’s not surprising, then, that their leadoff hitter has been on a tear: Quinn entered Thursday slashing .360/.429.507 with seven extra-base in his last 20 games. Quinn strikes out too much (42 in 152 plate appearances) for a guy who would obviously benefit from putting the ball in play more because of his game-changing speed, but the strikeouts haven’t affected his strong OBP numbers in the last four seasons. Still the most likely first position player to be called up if a room opens up in a currently crowded Phillies’ outfield.
ETA: Midseason 2017
Age: 22 | Position: Right-handed Pitcher | Previous Ranking:12
2017 stats:3-0, 2.02 ERA, 1.009 WHIP, 45 K, 13 BB in 35 2/3 IP/7 G at Class-A Clearwater
The hard-throwing Dominican (he can touch 98-MPH) debuted on this list last month and has only gotten better: Dominguez has struck out 31 of the 109 batters he’s faced in his last five games while holding opponents to a .202 batting average. Only five pitchers in the Florida State League have more strikeouts (they also have more innings). No one in the Phillies system has racked up more strikeouts in the season’s first six weeks.
Age: 23 | Position:Outfield | Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
2017 stats:.333/.393/.607, 8 HR, 13 2B, 24 K, 12 BB in 34 games at Double-A Reading
The .393 OBP Pullin took into play on Thursday is identical to his OBP in 46 games at Double-A last season. The former fifth-round pick may be coming into his power stroke, too: Pullin has 22 home runs in 116 games between Clearwater and Reading since the start of last season after hitting a total of 28 home runs in his first 344 minor league games. Pullin’s current 1.001 OPS is second best in the Eastern League.
Age: 20 | Position: Right-handed pitcher |Previous Ranking: NR
2017 stats:1-2, 2.03 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 40 K, 11 BB in 31 innings/6 games at Low-A Lakewood
Medina is a part of the rich crop of hard-throwing prospects in A-ball (with Sanchez, Dominguez, and Franklyn Kilome). He’s 1-1 with a 2.14 ERA in his last four starts and has struck out an impressive 32 of the 90 batters he’s faced over that span. Medina has struck out 10 in two of his last four starts and has yet to allow more than two runs in a start this season.
Age: 23 | Position:Right-handed pitcher |Previous Ranking: NR
2017 stats: 3-0, 4.67 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, 30 K, 9 BB in 34 2/3 innings/7 games at Double-A Reading
The ERA is a little misleading. If we give Anderson a mulligan for his first start of the season, he’d have a 3.13 ERA. During those most recent six starts, Anderson has held opponents to a .171 average and .246 OBP. A Tommy John survivor, Anderson had a 1.93 ERA in eight starts at Clearwater last summer and was protected from the Rule 5 draft when he was added to the 40-man roster in November. Translation: the Phillies’ brass is high on the Nevada-born right-hander, a 21st-round pick in 2012.
Age: 22 | Position: Outfield | Previous Ranking: NR
2017 stats: .213/.285/.461, 10 HR, 1 3B, 3 2B, 58 strikeouts, 14 walks in 39 games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley
Cozens hit more home runs (40) than any other player in affiliated minor league baseball last year, but it wasn’t until early May when he really took off, beginning with five homers in a six-game span from May 7-12. Perhaps he’s repeating history in 2017. On Thursday afternoon Cozen hit a home run in his first at-bat of a matinee in Rochester, his 11th of the season and his sixth home run in his last nine games. Like a couple of others guys on this list, Cozens strikes out quite a bit (in 41 percent of his at-bats this year, entering Thursday). He’ll need to cut those back, but if he’s hitting 40 home runs a season and drawing a fair number of walks (as he did last year in Double-A), you can live with the whiffs.
* * *
Four who dropped out: RHP Franklyn Kilome, 2B Daniel Brito, OF Nick Williams, RHP Nick Pivetta
Three who just missed: Kilome, Brito, RHP Tom Eshelman
Next up: LHP Hoby Milner. No shame in not breaking camp in a talented and crowded Cleveland Indians’ pen, Milner, a returned Rule 5 pick, hasn't allowed a run in 11 games at Triple-A and hasn’t allowed a walk, either, while striking out 10.
Sleepers: Double-A Reading right-handers Yacksel Rios and Jesen Dygestile-Therrien have struck out 64 batters (while walking only seven) in 43 combined innings.
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