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August 05, 2019

Phillies prospect watch: Spencer Howard a rising star; Alec Bohm, Mickey Moniak bust out of slumps

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Mickey-Moniak-Phillies-prospect-050419_USAT Kim Klement /USA Today Sports

Mickey Moniak was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft.

The MLB's trade deadline came and went last week — and there was no change in the Phillies top 10 prospects.

The squad elected to make minor moves, like signing Drew Smyly and trading for Corey Dickerson and Jason Vargas. And by doing so, they kept their farm system intact. 

When rosters expand in September, some of the players examined below may get their big breaks. Here's a look at who is hot and who is not currently in the Phillies minor league system:

Who's hot?

Spencer Howard, SP, Reading

Howard, a 23-year-old recent second-round pick, is on such a tear that he might wind up pitching in Citizens Bank Park before the end of the season (at least until the Phillies get their starting rotation on solid ground). After making two starts in rookie ball, Howard went 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA in seven Clearwater starts, prompting a promotion to Double-A last week. In two starts, Howard has allowed three total runs, striking out 14 hitters in eight innings. Howard could become a household name in the coming months and offseason for a team desperate for competent starting pitching.

Alec Bohm, 3B, Reading

So, we were all ready to add Bohm, the Phillies' 2018 first round pick, to our "who's not" list. He had been slumping for a few week with his batting average, which at one point was over .300, slipping all the way down to .248 on July 26. But then he busted out in a big way. Saturday he had three hits and blasted a three-run homer in a Fightins' win, and Sunday he hit another homer, his 17th of a season and a two-run shot. It's hard to justify calling someone who has hit home runs on back-to-back nights (with five combined RBI) anything other than hot. Bohm is 23 and the Phillies' top-rated prospect. The demotion of Maikel Franco is a sign that Bohm could be the third baseman of the future.

Mickey Moniak, CF, Reading

Moniak, like Bohm, was in a bit of a slump before he mustered 10 hits in his last seven games, including three hits Saturday. The 2016 first rounder is still just 21 years old and is hitting .264. We have read the comment section for previous Prospect Watch posts — we know many fans are very quick to label Moniak a bust. His overall numbers are pretty un-impressive, but it's hard to give up on a player with such high potential before he's even the age of a college graduate.

JoJo Romero, SP, Reading

Though he's not blowing anyone away with his stat sheet, Romero shows he has the stuff to be one of the Phils best pitching prospects start after start. He has not allowed more than three runs in seven straight appearances and is 5-2 with a 3.72 ERA over his last 10 starts.

Simon Muzziotti, CF, Clearwater

Just 20, Muzziotti has made a really strong case for a promotion out of the Florida State League recently, hitting .351 over his last 10 games. He has been in the Phillies lower levels of minor league baseball for four years now and is close to becoming a top 10 franchise prospect.

Adonis Medina, SP, Reading

We are grading Medina, the organization's top arm, on a curve and calling him hot. Why? Well, after allowing eight runs in a start on July 21, he allowed four on July 27 and just one run in six innings against Altoona on Sunday. He has a 4.36 ERA in 18 starts as Reading's ace but is trending in the right direction.

Luis Garcia, SS, Lakewood

As we just covered with Medina, hot and not are relative. And though Garcia — an 18-year-old infielder inside the Phillies top 15 prospects — is hitting an ugly .198 in Single-A this season, he is in the midst of an eight game hit streak and has hit .275 over his last 10 games. 

Who's not?

Francisco Morales, SP, Lakewood

The 19-year-old has been having some issues keeping runs off the board lately. Over his last 13 inning he's allowed 12 runs. There is still lots of room to grow for the big 6-foot-5 right-hander.

Jhailyn Ortiz, RF, Clearwater

Ortiz can't seem to buy a hit. He's seen his average drop from .263 to .213 over the course of the last few months. 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 hitting a freezing cold .184 this season. He's 21 and has never been much of a hitter in the minors with a .213 career average over four seasons. His talent is all currently concentrated in his impressive defensive skills. He started the year on the Phils' 40-man roster but unless he find a hitting stroke he won't be in the majors any time soon.

Who's hurt

Cornelius Randolph, LF, Reading

Randolph had six hits over a four-game stretch before landing on the injured list on July 24th. It is his third stint of the year on the list. The former first rounder has a .246 batting average in 86 games.


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