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May 24, 2022

Phillies prospect watch: Andrew Painter is a stud, Logan O'Hoppe could be a trade chip

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Citizens-Bank-Park-Opening-Day-2022-UST Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

Citizens Bank Park on Opening Day 2022.

It's been hard to get legitimately excited about the Phillies this year, as spurts of brilliance inevitably lead to struggles and losses. The team is mired yet again around .500.

The team's pool of top prospects has to be a source for optimism, right?

One of the biggest frustrations with the organization in recent years has been their inability to take young and promising talent and turn them into homegrown stars. Year after year, there is a divide among the team's top rated prospects, with them either falling into the "nowhere near ready" category, or the "almost 25 years old, what's the hold up" category.

After a recent update to the league-spanning list, the Phillies' have three players in MLB.com's top 100, and two of them are too young to buy a beer, starting their careers in Single-A, with the other 24 and struggling to make the leap to the majors.

How has that trio, as well as other noteworthy farm hands done in recent weeks? Here's a look at who's hot and who's not among the Phillies top 20 prospects:

Who's hot

Andrew Painter, SP (Team's No. 2 prospect)

Painter leapfrogged Mick Abel to become the Phillies' top pitching prospect and it's not hard to understand why. Baseball's 76th rated prospect has 53 strikeouts in 26.2 innings pitched in Clearwater, boasting a 1.35 ERA over five starts. The 19-year-old is destined to be fast tracked to Double-A at some point soon. The Phillies haven't had luck with a pitching prospect since Aaron Nola. Here's hoping Painter (or Abel) wind up being solid rotation pieces soon.

Logan O'Hoppe, C (No. 5)

Leave it to the Phillies to have the best hitter in their farm system currently completely blocked from making an MLB impact. O'Hoppe is doing it all in Reading, hitting .304 with eight homers and 23 RBI through 33 games. Unfortunately, he's blocked from starting anytime soon by J.T. Realmuto. Perhaps the Phillies will seek to leverage the 22-year-old backstop as a trade chip this summer.

Ethan Wilson, OF (No. 7)

We'll be generous to Wilson, the Phillies 22-year-old second round pick from a year ago, as he has turned around his struggles this week. Over his last three games he's collected five hits, including a homer and on Saturday he drove in four runs. On May 10 his batting average was .202 — and today it's .233. That's progress.

Francisco Morales, RP (No. 10)

If the Phillies need help in the pen, you can be almost positive they'll look to Morales, a converted starter who has been absolute money in both Double and Triple-A this season. The 22-year-old has allowed one, yes one, run this season in both minor league baseball's highest levels. He also tossed three scoreless innings during a limited stint in the majors (when Zach Eflin and Zach Wheeler had COVID) before being sent back down on May 15. 

Erik Miller, SP (No. 11)

Miller has been reliable in Reading, sporting an impressive 2.16 ERA over 16.2 innings. He has 24 strikeouts and eight walks in that span.

Jhailyn Ortiz, OF (No. 12)

Ortiz has been a member of the Phillies organization for just one year fewer than Nola has — he was inked in 2015 for $4 million as an international signee. He's had ups and downs but is finally hitting well in Double-A. He had three games in a row with homers in mid May, and has raised his season batting average by more than 20 points over the last 10 days,

Hao Yu Lee, 2B (No. 19)

Never heard of Lee? It might be time to take an interest. Signed last year out of Taiwan, Lee is mauling the ball in Clearwater, hitting .316 with six homers, six doubles and 32 RBI over 37 games. He is just 20, and his hot bat could earn him an early promotion soon.

Who's not

Bryson Stott, SS (No. 1)

Stott is technically still the team's top prospect and is ranked No. 40 overall by MLB.com, but the 24-year-old has not shown much in his second big league opportunity. He has had just four hits in 31 at bats since May 8 (after being sent down to Triple-A) and has lost at bats to Johan Carmago and Alec Bohm in the infield. Sooner or later he needs to turn it on or another trip to Lehigh Valley could be in the cards. 

Mick Abel, SP (No. 3)

Abel isn't really hot or not hot, he's floating somewhere in the middle with a 4.15 ERA so far in April. So far in Jersey Shore, the former first rounder has been fine, but not as impressive as Painter. He's shown some growing pains allowing 12 runs in 27 innings pitched. The sample size is small, and the numbers don't tell the full story — but the expectations are certainly higher for the 20-year-old.

Johan Rojas, OF (No. 4)

Rojas is the top rated international signee and top prospect for the team not inside the MLB 100 — and he's struggled in Single-A this May. So far on the year, the 21-year-old .196 through 37 games with an anemic .532 OPS this year (his OPS last year was .746). Rojas has some work to do to get right at the plate.

Griff McGarry, SP (No. 9)

McGarry was Philly's fifth round pick last draft, and has not had the best go of it during his second year of professional baseball. In his most recent start last week he was roughed up for six runs in three frames. He has a 6.91 ERA this season.

Casey Martin, SS (No. 14)

Martin was a third rounder in 2020, and is following up his .198 hitting campaign from a year ago hitting .192 in Jersey Shore.

Yhoswar Garcia, OF (No. 15)

Garcia is just 20, and perhaps that explains his early struggles in Clearwater as he is hitting just .214.

Kendall Simmons, 2B/3B (No. 16)

Simmons has had injury and COVID issues to start his career and the recent former draft pick is struggling to hit above the Mendoza line in A-ball.


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