The Philadelphia Phillies top prospects have been the subject of numerous ranking services in recent weeks.
Over the next 10 days, I’ll be presenting our TBOH staff ranking of the Phillies Top 10 Prospects. Our seven staff members have each submitted individual top ten lists along with some commentary. I tabulated those individual lists, and have come up with the cumulative top ten.
The top nine names on the list were nearly unanimous choices, with eight of the nine ranked on every list. The other player was named on six of our seven lists. So that top nine is representative of our entire staff. Of course, in all but one case those players were ranked in differing orders. That one exception? The top-ranked player, who was the same on all ballots. I think you might already have some idea of who that player will be.
However, getting a 10th-ranked prospect proves much more difficult. Five different players outside of our consensus top nine received at least one vote. So I’ve decided to take a bit of a cop-out, and have reserved this #10 slot for “the field”, those five players who received support from our writers for the Top 10, but who didn’t elicit enough support to clearly claim a place.
The Phillies 2015 Paul Owens Award winner for position players was catcher Andrew Knapp, who received votes from three of our staffers. One of those was a 7th place vote, and he also received a pair of 10th place ballot places. If I were going to force a #10 prospect, he would be it.
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Selected with their 2nd round pick in last year’s MLB Amateur Draft, 2nd baseman Scott Kingery received a pair of votes, one for 9th and another for the 10th spot.
Three other players each received a single top ten vote: 19-year old Dominican right-handed pitcher Adonis Medina, 23-year old lefty reliever Tom Windle, and 23-year old Rule 5 outfielder Tyler Goeddel.
About Knapp, our Ethan Witte, who gave him a 7th place vote, actually said a prayer: “Please, baseball gods, let him be even average on defense.” As if to help answer those prayers, Mike Azzalina stated “…his defense has improved in many areas…Knapp has a chance to become a very solid catcher in both facets of his game.” He and Tyler DiSalle each gave Knapp a 10th place vote.
Kingery received a 9th place vote from our Ryan Gerstel, who stated that “he has the bat skills and speed to get on base and be a scrappy catalyst from the top of the order.” Both Ryan and Alexis Girardo tossed a 10th place vote to the 21-year old University of Arizona grad.
Azzalina gave his #9 slot to Medina, a righty who just turned 19 years of age back in December. Medina was signed by the Phillies as an international free agent on May 29th, 2014 out of the Dominican Republic. Mike called him his “underdog pick for the season” and further opined “he has the potential for three plus pitches, with his fastball possibly reaching plus-plus.”
David Mosemann gave his own #10 slot to Goeddel, a 23-year old righty outfielder who was the Tampa Bay Rays supplemental first round choice at #41 overall in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. He was selected by the Phils with the top overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft this past December after being left unprotected by the Rays.
I was the one who slotted Windle into the 10th position. I absolutely love the talent of players like Medina, Knapp, Goeddel, Kingery and a few others who didn’t receive a top ten vote at all, such as Ben Lively, Ricardo Pinto, Carlos Tocci, and Jose Pujols.
My reasoning, what I do like about Windle, is what I consider to be his certainty. He was a starter during his first two minor league seasons with the Dodgers after being taken by LA with their 2nd round choice in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, and came to the Phillies along with Zach Eflin in the Jimmy Rollins trade.
After his trade to the Phils, he continued as a starter at the beginning of last season. However, all along he looked like a reliever to me. The Phillies finally came to this realization after giving him 14 starts at AA Reading last summer. Once moved to the pen, Windle registered a 1.69 ERA over his final 26 2/3 innings.
He will turn 24 years old during spring training in March, and I see him battling for a role as a lefty out of the big league bullpen as early as Opening Day. His competition should come from incumbent lefty Elvis Araujo, or possibly from either Adam Morgan or Brett Oberholtzer, both currently considered starters, but either of whom could eventually move to the pen.
I see the Phillies beginning the season with either Morgan or Oberholtzer as the 5th starter behind Charlie Morton, Jeremy Hellickson, Aaron Nola, and Jerad Eickhoff. The loser in that battle to be the lone rotation left-hander would then head to AAA Lehigh Valley and continue as a starter. For me, that puts the main lefty pen battle as Araujo vs Windle, though both could make the opening roster.
It’s early to make such guesses, but it goes to my reasoning on Windle. I like him as a long-term Phillies lefty bullpen option. While some other prospects in the system might have higher ceilings, might have more natural talent, I think that Windle is a sure thing as a big league contributor. For now, that got him my #10 Phillies prospect slot.
Over the next nine days, keep coming back for the rest of our TBOH Phillies Top 10 Prospects. Again, there will be a new one in the countdown to number one presented daily right up until pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Clearwater.