MLB.com released their annual list of the top 100 prospects in baseball.
Last year at this time, the Phillies farm system was not highly regarded, and the 2013 top 100 list reflected that. They only had two representatives on the list: #60 Jesse Biddle and #80 Ethan Martin. The Phillies system seems to be in much better shape this year, yet they still have only two players on the list. The good news is, this year’s players are ranked higher. Maikel Franco is ranked as the 26th best prospect, while Biddle moved up to 53.
Franco – rated as the 4th best prospect at third base – burst onto the scene with an outstanding 2013 season. Splitting time between Clearwater and Reading, Franco hit 31 home runs with a .926 OPS. Franco has been invited to the Phillies’ big league camp this Spring, and although he is expected to start the season at AA, if he continues to mash he could conceivably end up on the major league roster this season.
Biddle’s 2013 season wasn’t quite as strong. He was inconsistent, mostly due to problems with control. He had an impressive strikeout total (154 Ks in 138 innings), but that was offset by a high number of walks (82). Like Franco, Biddle has been invited to the big league camp. Considering the Phillies’ lack of depth at starting pitching, Biddle could also find his way to the major league team this season.
Martin was removed from the list because he made it to the big leagues in 2013. He made eight starts for the Phillies, but did little to dispel the notion that his future is in the bullpen. He has impressive stuff, but struggles with endurance, leading many to believe that he could eventually be a dominating reliever. While he might be an intriguing addition to the 2014 Phillies’ bullpen, due to the Phillies’ poor starting pitching depth, it is more likely that he’ll begin the season as a starter in AAA.
The Phillies’ minor league system may still not be one of the best in baseball, but at least things seem to be headed in the right direction. Franco and Biddle both appear to be future major league contributors, and I suspect that if not for his recently suffered Achilles tendon injury, shortstop Roman Quinn would have also been included on this list.
If you enjoy reading about Phillies’ prospects, make sure to return on Monday as the writers at TBOH will begin our countdown of the team’s top 15 prospects starting with third baseman Zach Green.