The Philadelphia Phillies farm system is universally considered to be greatly improved, which reflected in new rankings released by a respected source.
Baseball America’s annual Prospect Handbook is being delivered all across the country. I received my copy yesterday, and reading online of others receiving theirs today. It is considered the bible of prospect evaluation by many, ranking each Major League Baseball organization, as well as ranking and commenting on the top 30 prospects in those organizations.
It would not be a surprise for most fans of the Phillies to learn that our favorite ball club has not fared well in recent annual organizational rankings by Baseball America. Since ranking 11th prior to a 2011 season that saw the team finish with its best record in franchise history, the Phils have tumbled, finishing 27th, 23rd, 22nd, and 22nd again over the last four seasons.
But this year, thanks to the last three drafts and the trades of veterans such as Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Papelbon, Marlon Byrd, Ben Revere, and Chase Utley over the last two seasons, the Phillies are now listed as 8th in the new Baseball America organizational rankings.
Even more encouraging is the fact that this ranking was put together before the trade of Ken Giles to the Houston Astros for another haul that included former #1 overall draft pick Mark Appel, lefty pitcher Brett Oberholtzer, righty pitcher Vincent Velasquez and more.
Houston is rated by BA as having the #2 organization in baseball. Appel was their #2 overall prospect a year ago, and came in at #8 this season. Velasquez was #4 on the Astros Top 10 last season.
Their pre-Giles trade Phillies Top 30 looks as follows:
- J.P. Crawford
- Nick Williams (from TX in Hamels deal)
- Jake Thompson (from TX in Hamels deal)
- Andrew Knapp
- Jorge Alfaro (from TX in Hamels deal)
- Cornelius Randolph
- Franklyn Kilome
- Roman Quinn
- Adonis Medina
- Carlos Tocci
- Ricardo Pinto
- Malquin Canelo
- Zach Eflin (from LAD via SD in Rollins deal)
- Scott Kingery
- Nick Pivetta
- Dylan Cozens
- Edubray Ramos
- Alberto Tirado (from TOR in Revere deal)
- Aaron Brown
- Deivi Grullon
- Jonathan Arauz (sent to HOU in Giles deal)
- Elniery Garcia
- Rhys Hoskins
- Edgar Garcia
- Jhailyn Ortiz
- Darnell Sweeney (from LAD in Utley deal)
- Ben Lively (from CIN in Byrd deal)
- Jimmy Cordero (from TOR in Revere deal)
- Tom Windle (from LAD in Rollins deal)
- Kyle Martin
In their “Best Tools” section, Baseball America has Crawford as the Best Hitter for Average, Best Strike-Zone Discipline, Best Defensive Infielder, and Best Infield Arm. Quinn is rated as the Fastest Baserunner, Best Athlete, and Best Defensive Outfielder. Hoskins comes in as the Best Power Hitter.
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On the mound, Cordero rates with the Best Fastball, Ramos with the Best Curveball, Thompson with the Best Slider, Pinto with Best Changeup, and Eflin has the Best Control.
Josh Norris, who wrote up the Phillies for the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, had this to say about the organization in summation:
“Combine the bursting upper levels of Philadelphia’s system with the emergence of Franco and Nola, and there’s reason to hope again in Philadelphia. The 2016 season isn’t likely to see the Phillies return to the playoffs, but there should be incremental improvement from 2015 with sustained success not far off.”
That’s a pretty hopeful review for an organization that has been about as moribund as possible over the last couple of years. As we have stated repeatedly in recent months, the Phillies are an organization that is once again on the rise, and this review is just one more example that the industry feels the same way.
Here at TBOH, our staffers have been polled on their own Phillies Top 10 Prospects, and asked to give some commentary on those players. Beginning this weekend and continuing until the start of spring training, we will present our own Phils’ prospect rankings and outlook on each player in a daily series.