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August 28, 2019

Phillies prospect watch: Spencer Howard looks ready for promotion, Bryson Stott looks at home in pros

September call-ups are, well, coming in September — making this our final Phillies Prospect Watch of the season. For those wondering, players in Lehigh Valley will likely be called up before Reading, as the Fightin's look poised to make a minor league playoff push.

Rosters will expand to 40 men in just a few days, making for the familiar return of several players — for better or for worse — like Maikel Franco and Nick Pivetta. But they could also invite the big league debuts of several key prospects who have yet to break through to the majors.

We will focus on the Phillies' top 10 system prospects (or so). Here's a look at who is hot and who is not in the Phillies farm system as the dog days of August are almost through:

Who's hot?

Spencer Howard, SP, Reading

Cursed with no-decision after no decision up in Reading this Summer, Howard has a 1.99 ERA over his last 10 starts despite just a 2-0 record to show for it. The 23-year-old has fast become the most impressive pitcher in the Phillies farm system — a farm system devoid of much by way of promising arms. The 2017 draftee has 88 strikeouts in 65.1 innings pitched to just 13 walks. He's also limited opposing bats to a .175 batting average. Whether he will see Citizens Bank Park this season is anyone's guess, but he's not on the 40-man roster. He will likely see his shot come next season.

Alec Bohm, 3B, Reading

Bohm has pretty much performed as advertised so far in Reading, seeing a slight drop in his career minors batting average to .268 of late. However, he began his stint with the Fightin's in a slump, and he's hit his way out of it at a .306 clip over the last 10 games — including multi-hit games in four of his last eight. Bohm, like Howard, is also 23 and also not on the Phils' 40-man roster. Expect him to get a spring training invite and have a real chance at making the Phillies roster next season.

Bryson Stott, SS, Williamsport

Stott isn't technically on the Phillies top 10 prospect list, but as this year's first round pick he's certainly worth including. In 42 games for the Crosscutters this season, the 21-year-old out of UNLV is hitting .308 with 24 RBI. Stott has an impressive defensive tool as well, and could be on a fast track — like Bohm — to Double-A next season and then who knows?

Cornelius Randolph, LF, Reading

Randolph is a former first round pick and just came off of his third stint of the year on the injured list. He hasn't been too good since then, hitting just .243. He has, however, knocked in seven RBI in his last four games along with five hits — three of them home runs. That's enough to land him on our "hot" list. 

JoJo Romero, SP, Reading

Romero was really really bad earlier this season but he's rounded into top 10 prospect form. His 4-3 record and 3.06 ERA through his last 10 starts is a good sign of what the 22-year-old is capable of. With the Phillies valuing players with proven (or perhaps unproven) big league experience on their 40-man roster, Romero is another of those prospects who'll have to prove it next spring to get to the majors.

Francisco Morales, SP, Lakewood

Though young and only in Single-A, Morales is 19 and has the chance to be a real contributor at the big league level if all things go well. He hasn't allowed more than three runs since July 14 and has a 3.89 ERA over his last 10 appearances.

Simon Muzziotti, CF, Clearwater

The Phils' 20-year-old single-A outfielder continues to show he has what it takes to hit, mowing down low level pitching with a .333 average over his last 10 games. It will be interesting to see how his prospect status changes next offseason as he likely gets a promotion to Double-A.

Who's not?

Mickey Moniak, CF, Reading

Moniak was showing signs of life mid-season this year in Reading but he's fallen back to earth. The former No. 1 overall pick has flirted with a "bust" label since he was drafted, and it doesn't look like he will be shedding that moniker this season. The center fielder has hit .163 over his last 10 games even as Reading keeps winning games. Still just 21 years old, it's too early for the Phillies to give up on him, but it's not looking good.

Adonis Medina, SP, Reading

Medina, 22 and in his sixth season as a Phillies prospect, continues to struggle — a good summation of the Phillies issues developing starting pitching in a nutshell. The top pitching arm in the organization, Medina has a 1-5 record and 7.17 ERA over his last 10 starts. Oof. He had a quality start back on August 4th, but that comes in between outings where he allowed eight, four, and seven runs in recent starts. Medina is on the 40-man roster, so he may still earn a trip to Philadelphia in September. 

Luis Garcia, SS, Lakewood

Garcia is 18 but finds his name on top prospect lists for the Phillies across publications. And even though he found himself on our "hot" list a few times this season, his recent play has landed him most assuredly on the "not" list. The teenage infielder has hit just .139 over his most recent 10 games.

Jhailyn Ortiz, RF, Clearwater

Ortiz can't seem to buy a hit. He's seen his average drop from .263 to .213 and now to just .201 over the course of the last few weeks. Ortiz is a big 20-year-old corner outfielder who projects as a power hitter and who is in the Phillies organizational top 10.

Arquimedes Gamboa, SS, Reading

Gamboa is 21 and has never been much of a hitter in the minors and that continues, as he struggles at a .138 clip over his last 10 games. His talent is all currently concentrated in his impressive defensive skills. He started the year on the Phils' 40-man roster and shockingly, he may take a few reps in the big leagues if he stays there through September call ups.

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