Phillies Trading Josh Tobias Shows Confidence in Second Base Depth

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Oct 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies infielder Scott Kingery of the Scottsdale Scorpions against the Glendale Desert Dogs during an Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies infielder Scott Kingery of the Scottsdale Scorpions against the Glendale Desert Dogs during an Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Phillies traded second-base prospect Josh Tobias in exchange for Clay Buchholz. They were okay with trading Tobias because the team has considerable second-base depth.

The Phillies acquired an inconsistent pitcher that could be a potential trade chip in Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox earlier this week. In return, they sent Boston 24-year old second-base prospect Josh Tobias. In parting ways with Tobias, they showed confidence in the other second baseman in the organization.

Tobias is a solid-hitting second baseman who hit .291/.362/.422 between Low-A Lakewood and High-A Clearwater in 2016. Those numbers are great, but he was 1.6 years older than the average player in the South Atlantic League and 0.3 years older than the average player in the Florida State League. That on its own raises some red flags.

Projection systems aren’t particularly fond of Tobias either. Fangraphs’s KATOH system projects Tobias to accumulate just 0.3 fWAR through his first six seasons. Nearly 80% of their projections have Tobias never even reaching the major-leagues.

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Whether or not you bought into Tobias, the Phillies’ willingness to trade him shows that they have enough confidence in the second baseman at the upper levels of the organization.

In The Good Phight’s second-base prospect rankings, Tobias came in at No. 3 out of the five second baseman ranked. Scott Kingery ranked as the best in the system, which is a consensus among most people you’ll talk to.

Kingery has the hit tool, speed, and defense to be a solid contributor at the second-base position. Team officials like him, and he is on pace to be in the majors within the next two seasons.

Ranking behind Kingery as the next-best second base prospect is Jesmuel Valentin. He played in just 31 games in 2015 after a domestic violence incident, but he returned to action this season. He performed well at Double-A Reading, posting a .276/.346/.399 in 89 games. Valentin didn’t post the same numbers at Triple-A Lehigh Valley as his average fell to .248 and his OPS fell from .745 to .706. Even then, the club likes him enough to warrant adding him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

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The team still has an intriguing second-base prospect in the lower-minors in the 18-year old Daniel Brito. Ben Badler of Baseball America called him the sleeper prospect of the system. He said Brito is a “high contact hitter with the ability to hit all types of pitches and control the strike zone with good defense at second base.” BA also named him the No. 12 prospect in the Gulf Coast League this season. You could really make an argument for Brito as the second-best second-base prospect, but Valentin would likely win out because of his proximity to the majors.

Of course, the team already has Cesar Hernandez at the major-league level.

You could even count Freddy Galvis as an option there once J.P. Crawford arrives to the majors.

Next: Nick Williams Needs to Shape Up or Ship Out

Overall, there are so many options for the Phillies at second base currently and down the line. Parting ways with Tobias won’t hurt the team that much, if at all, because they have more than enough second-base prospects.

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