Phillies top 25 under 25: Ranking the team’s best young players

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 12: Starting pitcher Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 12, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 12: Starting pitcher Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 12, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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No. 25: LHP Elniery Garcia

Garcia jumped up prospect lists last year after a strong campaign in High-A Clearwater with a 2.68 ERA in 20 appearances. This season, Garcia was primed to take the next step before he was suspended for 80 games for PEDs. He has since returned, making two appearances in the GCL before returning to Double-A. He has made two starts in Reading, allowing just one run in each of his first two starts, walking five and striking out six in nine innings. There’s enough to like about Garcia to see a back-end starter, and the team likes him enough to keep him on the 40-man roster.

No. 24: 2B Jesmuel Valentin

Valentin was added to the 40-man roster last winter to the surprise of some, but Valentin was solid enough to warrant it. This year, Valentin impressed in spring training before heading back to Triple-A. The team wanted him in the lineup at Triple-A to get more consistent playing time as opposed to being on the major-league bench. Valentin slashed a dismal .229/.282/.292 through 29 games this year before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery. Most people view him as a utility infielder, but this injury does put a hamper on it.

No. 23: 3B Maikel Franco

Franco started off his major-league career well in 2015, but it has gone downhill since then. Most viewed last year as a failure for Franco, and this year is worse. He is hitting .223 with a .276 on-base percentage. His -0.5 fWAR and 71 wRC+ are both league-worst among qualified third baseman and his fWAR is 10th-worst overall. There’s still the hope he can turn it around as he has hit 17 home runs and a .228 batting average on balls in play. After this season, it’s understandable if the front office tries to move on from him.

No. 22: LHP McKenzie Mills

Mills was the return for Howie Kendrick and he’s actually a better prospect than I would’ve expected for him. He had a breakout with Washington in his first year in full-season action, striking out 28.4 percent of opposing hitters while walking just 5.3 percent in Low-A. He had a 3.01 ERA before being traded to Philadelphia. In three starts, he has a 4.60 ERA in High-A Clearwater. He has the potential for a solid three-pitch mix and if this step forward this year is any indication, he could make some major jumps.

No. 21: OF Jhailyn Ortiz

Ortiz was the big signing of the 2015 international signing period, with the Phillies dropping four million dollars to sign him. He had a decent start to his professional career in the GCL, but the 18-year-old has taken a major step forward in short-season Williamsport this year. Through 39 games, he has a .284/.398/.530 line with seven home runs. The uptick in batting average and OBP is a great sign for Ortiz’s development and he should only go up from here.

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