Back in August, I was contacted by Mike Drago (Twitter: @mldrago) of the Reading Eagle to participate in the publication’s annual survey regarding the Phillies’ top prospects.
The task was to provide my own personal Top 20 prospects list from the team’s minor league system. Those were then pooled with the results of lists provided by twenty or so others who also closely monitor the team, and a Top 10 Phillies Prospects feature was released on August 30th.
One thing that became apparent from this effort was the obvious improvement in the number of serious prospects among the top players in the Phils’ system. Another was the growing depth of that system. A 3rd was that the team has a stud at the top who should be a future MLB All-Star in shortstop J.P. Crawford.
For the first time in a long time, there has been clear improvement in the Phillies farm system. That now shows in both the quality and quantity of the club’s better prospects, but also in the on-field success of the minor league clubs. As Drago said in his piece:
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“After a wild series of trades, and back-to-back strong drafts, the once-lagging Phillies minor league system now ranks among the strongest in baseball.”
The AA Reading Fightin’ Phils finished in 1st place in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League with a record of 80-61, and are now playing in the Eastern League Championship Series. The High-A Clearwater Threshers finished on top of the overall standings in the Florida State League’s North Division with a 79-58 mark.
At the A-ball level, the Lakewood BlueClaws finished in 3rd place in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League with a 73-65 record. The Williamsport Crosscutters finished in 1st place in the short season New York-Penn League’s Pinckney Division at 46-30 overall.
Even the team’s Rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliate finished strong, with a 36-24 record, good for 2nd place in the Northwest Division. Only at AAA Lehigh Valley, where the IronPigs lost 10 of their final 14 to finish at 63-81 did the minors system experience a losing record.
Overall, the Phillies minor league affiliates compiled a 377-319 record. In their mid-season update, MLB Pipeline ranked five Phillies’ prospects among the top 89 in the game. Those are the best results the system has produced in a long time.
Here is the Reading Eagle Top 20 Phillies Prospects. In parentheses, I show where I placed that player on my own submitted list. Following the list are the players who I picked in my list who did not make the overall Top 20 final ranking.
1. J.P. Crawford, SS (1)
2. Jake Thompson, P (3)
3. Nick Williams, OF (2)
4. Cornelius Randolph, OF (4)
5. Jorge Alfaro, C (6)
6. Roman Quinn, OF (7)
7. Franklyn Kilome, P (5)
8. Zach Eflin, P (8)
9. Ricardo Pinto, P (NR)
10. Carlos Tocci, OF (17)
11. Aaron Altherr, OF (NR)
12. Andrew Knapp, C (19)
13. Jerad Eickhoff, P (14)
14. Scott Kingery, 2B (10)
15. Nick Pivetta, P (15)
16. Ben Lively, P (9)
17. Darnell Sweeney, 2B (NR)
18. Rhys Hoskins, 1B (NR)
19. Alberto Tirado, P (16)
20. Malquin Canelo, SS (20)
My listees who didn’t make the combined Reading Eagle poll Top 20: Tom Windle (11), Matt Imhof (12), Alec Asher (13), Jesse Biddle (18). I really like Windle to develop as a lefty arm who can help out of the Phillies pen as soon as next season. Turned in this list before Asher’s big league performances, which have been a major turnoff.