Phillies Place 7 Prospects in MLB Top 100

Oct. 14, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Mark Appel plays for the Salt River Rafters during an Arizona Fall League game against the Surprise Saguaros at Salt River Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct. 14, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Mark Appel plays for the Salt River Rafters during an Arizona Fall League game against the Surprise Saguaros at Salt River Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Phillies led all of Major League Baseball with seven prospects named to the MLB Pipeline Top 100 tonight.

Further demonstrating that a minor league system which had slipped to near laughingstock status in recent years has been quickly and substantially revitalized, the Phillies had prospects named to the list at almost every position on the field.

In the #99 spot, just making the list, was outfielder Roman Quinn. The speedy Quinn was the Phils’ 2nd round selection in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft out of Port St. Joe High School in Florida. He will turn 23 years old in mid-May, and is a candidate for a call-up at some point this coming season.

The MLB scouting report on Quinn states: “He remains one of the fastest players in the Minor Leagues, one who is a major basestealing threat. He’s improved his routes and jumps as well, projecting as an above-average defender with a solid arm. A full, healthy season is the most important thing for Quinn at this point. That should help him develop into an athletic leadoff hitter who will wreak havoc on the basepaths in Philadelphia.

At #96 is catcher Jorge Alfaro, who turns 23 years of age on June 11th. Alfaro was part of the big package that the Phillies received at last year’s trade deadline from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Cole Hamels.

Their scouting report on Alfaro states: “Alfaro has two plus tools…his power bat and his power arm…but he has yet to refine his approach and strike-zone judgement… Alfaro has as strong an arm as just about any catching prospect in the game, but the rest of his defensive tools remain a work in progress. Injuries have certainly stunted his development. Alfaro has played some first base in games and done some work in the outfield, and he is athletic enough to handle such a move if it’s necessary.

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The #84 prospect is outfielder Cornelius Randolph, who will turn 19 years of age on June 2nd. Randolph was the Phillies’ 1st round selection in last year’s MLB Amateur Draft out of Griffin High School in Georgia.

In their writeup, MLB states: “It will be Randolph’s bat that will get him to the big leagues, and it has the chance to be a special one. He has a very advanced approach at the plate, especially for his age, with outstanding plate discipline from the left side of the plate. He can hit the ball with authority to all fields and will hit for power, thanks to outstanding bat speed.”

Mark Appel came to the Phillies from the Houston Astros as part of the package in exchange for closer Ken Giles, and is ranked in the #70 position by MLB, whose scouting report on the right-hander reads: “His fastball sits easily in the mid-90s and he can reach back for more when he needs to, maintaining his velocity deep into starts. Both his slider and his changeup are outstanding weapons, with his breaking ball acting as an out pitch at times. His walk rate went up in 2015, but he’s generally around the plate, though command within the zone can be an issue for the big right-hander. Appel gets to wipe the slate clean and start over with the Phillies. If they can crack the code, Appel still has all the tools to be a frontline starter.

In the #64 spot is outfielder Nick Williams, another player who came in the Hamels haul from Texas last year. The MLB scouting report on him includes: “Williams has an impressive combination of hand quickness and strength at the plate that allows him to drive just about any pitch he sees. That caused some trouble early on, as he was overly aggressive, but the left-handed hitting outfielder has improved his overall approach and plate discipline tremendously. More patience should continue to allow him to use his power more effectively.”

The MLB #55 prospect is still another who came in that Texas deal for Hamels, right-handed pitcher Jake Thompson, about whom the scouting report reads: “Thompson has four pitches that will be Major League average or better. His fastball will sit in the low-90s, topping out at 95, and thrown with plenty of sink. His plus upper-80s slider is a true out pitch, with plenty of depth. He mixes in his curveball and changeup, behind the heater and slider, but with a chance to be more than serviceable weapons for him. Big, strong and durable, Thompson has been a fairly consistent strike-thrower throughout his pro career.”

The seventh and final Phillies prospect in the MLB Pipeline Top 100 is shortstop J.P. Crawford, who was rated the 5th best prospect in all of baseball. Crawford was the Phils’ 1st round pick at 16th overall in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of Lakewood High School in California. He just turned 21 years old in early January, and could push for at least a September call-up this coming season, if not sooner.

In their scouting report on Crawford, MLB stated: “Crawford has the chance to be an impact all-around player. He’s one of the best defensive shortstop prospects, with outstanding range…terrific hands and a very strong arm, allowing him to stay at the premium position for the long-term. At the plate, he has a very advanced approach…plate discipline that allowed him to walk more than he struck out in 2015. Crawford has more gap power right now, but he should grow into a little more over-the-fence pop from the left side of the plate.”

A top 5 overall prospect. Three MLB Top 100 Prospects in the outfield, two on the mound, one each at the key positions of shortstop and catcher. Things are clearly moving in the right direction with the Phillies rebuilding project. Fans need to remain patient, because it is going to take a couple of more years for these kids to reach the Majors and begin to produce. But things are definitely moving in the right direction after years of back-sliding.

Next: Phils DFA Jesse Biddle