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December 14, 2016

Baseball America's latest list: Phillies have a new top pitching prospect

The Phillies have a top pitching prospect, at least according to the folks at Baseball America, the premiere prospect publication in the industry.

Rising teenage right-hander Sixto Sanchez ranked fifth in Baseball America’s top 10 prospects in the Phillies organization – and first among pitchers – in the latest list, published on BA’s website on Wednesday morning.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising – anyone that saw the 18-year-old Sanchez pitch at any point in 2016 came away somewhere between the line of jaw-dropped or moderately impressed, including first-year general manager Matt Klentak, who visited the Gulf Coast League Phillies team in Clearwater, Fla., not long after the 2016 amateur draft. Sanchez was teammates with, among others, No.1 overall pick Mickey Moniak, second-round pick Kevin Gowdy, and top 2015 international signee Jhailyn Ortiz on the GCL Phillies last summer.

Even looking at Sanchez’s numbers left most people more than a little interested in the previously unheralded kid who was signed out of the Dominican for just $35,000 two years earlier. Sanchez went 5-0 with a 0.50 ERA in 11 starts with the GCL Phillies, sporting a 0.759 WHIP while striking out 44 and walking just eight in 54 innings.

Although he doesn’t turn 19 until July 29, Sanchez could very well spend the majority of 2017 at Low-A Lakewood. Baseball America projects that Sanchez has “a chance to develop into a No.2 or No.3” starter, although at age 18 it’s probably a bit early to put final projection labels on a pitcher.

More from BA on Sanchez:

"His explosive fastball sits at 92-96 mph and can reach 99 with good movement—a combination of sink and armside run that helps him generate weak contact. He’s a good athlete who commands his fastball well for his age to all areas of the strike zone. Between his curveball and changeup, Sanchez has two offspeed pitches that flash plus and with more consistency should allow his strikeout rate to jump."

Perhaps the most surprising omission – and I'm not even sure you can call it that, given the Phils' rich farm system – is 2015 top pick Cornelius Randolph. Then again, Randolph was limited to 63 games at Low-A Lakewood in his first full season due to injuries.

Here is the full list of Baseball America’s Top 10 Phillies prospects, with a small excerpt from the publication's expansive scouting reporting and projections:

1. J.P. Crawford, SS, 21

“His power hasn’t developed as quickly as some expected, but between his bat speed and room to fill out his frame, he could develop average pop.”

2. Mickey Moniak, CF, 18

"Moniak is a premium position prospect who does a lot of things well with few glaring weaknesses."

3. Jorge Alfaro, C, 23

"Plate discipline remains a weakness. … Alfaro still has room to improve his blocking and receiving but took major steps forward in those areas in 2016."

4. Nick Williams, OF, 23

"He walked less (4 percent of the time) and struck out more (26 percent) in 2016 than he did the previous season. Williams must develop better plate discipline to tap into his potential."

5. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, 18

           See above.

6. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, 23

"Hoskins doesn’t have the same athleticism or tools as fellow Reading masher Dylan Cozens, but he is the better pure hitter."

7. Franklyn Kilome, RHP, 21

"Kilome pitches with a plus fastball with good movement that sits at 91-95 mph and can touch 98. … If Kilome can improve his changeup and tighten his command, he can develop into a mid-rotation starter with a chance for more."

8. Roman Quinn, OF, 23

"His game has to be about getting on base, and while he showed more patience in 2016 than he did the year before, he must develop more selectivity to have a better grasp of the strike zone."

9. Scott Kingery, 2B, 22

"Kingery seems to grow on scouts the more they see him. He has a quick righthanded stroke that’s short, simple and repeatable."

10. Dylan Cozens, OF, 22

"Cozens has the power to mash in the middle of the lineup, but a long list of power-hitting prospects have been stymied by contact issues."

Again, you can read much more about each prospect (and the Phillies system in general) in Baseball America's story.

Here's how the Baseball America list looks next to Baseball Prospectus's own Phillies prospect list (released last month) and's list (updated somewhat regularly throughout the year): 

 Baseball America Baseball Prospectus 
 1.J.P. Crawford J.P. Crawford J.P. Crawford 
2. Mickey Moniak Jorge Alfaro Mickey Moniak 
 3. Jorge AlfaroNick Williams Nick Williams 
 4. Nick WilliamsMickey Moniak Jorge Alfaro 
 5. Sixto SanchezFranklyn Kilome Cornelius Randolph  
 6.Rhys Hoskins Adonis Medina Dylan Cozens 
7. Franklyn Kilome Sixto Sanchez Roman Quinn 
 8.Roman Quinn Roman Quinn Franklyn Kilome 
 9.Scott Kingery Cornelius Randolph  Kevin Gowdy
 10.Dylan Cozens ---- Mark Appel 

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