Phillies Triple-A Outfield Will Be Loaded to Start 2017

Sep 12, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Roman Quinn (24) on deck during the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Roman Quinn (24) on deck during the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phillies are loaded with minor-league outfield depth, and their Triple-A outfield should be chock-full of talent thanks to that depth.

The Phillies have completely revamped their farm system in the past two years through trades and the draft. Thanks to that revamping, they have accumulated depth at multiple positions, one of which being the outfield. That depth is starting to rise to the upper minors, culminating at Triple-A Lehigh Valley with the Ironpigs next season.

Returning to Lehigh Valley next season is the team’s No. 3 prospect according to, Nick Williams. He had a disappointing season in 2016 as he finished with a .258/.287/.427 line and 136 strikeouts in 527 plate appearances with the Ironpigs. He was added to the 40-man roster this offseason, but he will likely start next season back in Triple-A.

The biggest addition to the Ironpigs’ outfield next year will likely be Dylan Cozens. The 2012 second-round pick had a monster season with Double-A Reading in 2016, leading all minor-leaguers with 40 home runs. Cozens racked up honors after the year, including the Paul Owens Award for the top hitting prospect in the Phillies minor-league system. He was also added to the 40-man roster, but don’t be surprised if he spends the entire season at Triple-A as he adjusts to the higher level of pitching.

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While Roman Quinn skipped right from Double-A to the majors last season, he might still see some more time in Triple-A before returning to the majors. Quinn, who was the No. 8 prospect heading into 2016 for the Phils according to Baseball America, hit for a .802 OPS and stole 31 bases in 75 games with Reading this year. He had an even 100 wRC+ in 15 games at the major-leagues in September.

As always, injuries plagued Quinn as he battled an oblique injury both at Reading and in Philadelphia. The first time, it cost him nearly a month and a half, and the second time it ended his major-league debut a few games before the season ended. Quinn also missed a week due to a concussion towards the end of the minor-league season.

Quinn’s presence in Triple-A will depend on if he can win the starting right field job out of spring training. Both he and Aaron Altherr are considered in the running for the position. If Altherr beats out Quinn for the job (or if the club signs someone to be the starting right fielder), it would likely be better off for Quinn’s development if he goes down to Triple-A to start the year. That way he could still get everyday at-bats rather than ride the bench.

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Tyler Goeddel, the Phillies Rule 5 pick last year, will also likely return to the minor-leagues after spending all of 2016 with the big-league club. Goeddel hit for a meager .192/.258/.291 line as he was worth -1.4 wins above replacement according to Fangraphs. He did show some success when he was in the lineup every day, posting a .850 OPS and 127 wRC+ between May 5 and June 1. Perhaps if he can find consistent time at Lehigh Valley, Goeddel could channel some of the success that made him a worthy Rule 5 pick.

One player that may not be in Triple-A to start the year but will likely reach it before the end of the season is outfielder Andrew Pullin. He hit quite well in 2016, carrying a .885 OPS between Double-A Reading. However, Pullin only played in 82 games after missing time due to a brief retirement and multiple injuries. He was left off the 40-man roster in favor of other prospects, but was surprisingly not taken in this year’s Rule 5 draft. Now that the Phillies have him for another year, he may reach Triple-A before the season is over and force the team to protect him.

Considering all these players and their skillsets, Lehigh Valley’s starting outfield would likely be Williams in left, Quinn in center, and Cozens in right if Quinn starts the year in Triple-A. If Quinn starts the year in the pros, Williams would likely move to center and Goeddel would man left field instead. Considering both Williams and Cozens are on the 40-man roster, a 2017 major-league debut is borderline guaranteed for each of them.

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Considering the talent starting to accumulate in the outfield in the upper-minors, some of it will soon bubble over into the major-leagues. A hypothetical Triple-A outfield of Cozens, Williams, and Quinn would certainly draw some Phillies fans eager to see the future of the team in action.