Phillies could soon have a shortage of infield prospects

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 13: Aaron Altherr #23 and J.P. Crawford #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies react at the end of the game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on September 13, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 8-1. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 13: Aaron Altherr #23 and J.P. Crawford #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies react at the end of the game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on September 13, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 8-1. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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While the Phillies have plenty of pitching and outfield prospects, they could soon be facing a shortage of high-caliber infielders.

The Phillies are regarded as having one of the better farm systems in all of baseball, and for good reason. They crank out plenty of Top 100 prospects and have done well replenishing their empty coffers using the draft and the international signees.

They have racked up serious depth in terms of outfield and pitching prospects. Their last three first-round picks have all been outfielders, plus plenty of others who developed either as later picks or international signings. The club has used trades to rack up plenty of pitching depth, and have developed some high-ceiling pitching prospects in Sixto Sanchez, Aaron Nola, and Adonis Medina.

The one position group that doesn’t have as much depth in the farm system is the infield. Some of the team’s best prospects in recent years have been infielders (Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford, and Jorge Alfaro). Hoskins showed some major power potential in his debut this summer and is expected to be a centerpiece of the lineup. Alfaro and Crawford both showed flashes of success in their late-season debuts.

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Kingery is the last one to make his major-league debut, which should come about midway next season. After that, all of the team’s best infield prospects will be in the major-leagues. Who takes over as the top infield prospect in the system?

The answer to that question is murky at best. According to MLB.com, the next-best infield prospect is third baseman Cole Stobbe.

He was their third-round pick in 2016 and got a $1.1 million bonus out of high school. He had a strong professional debut in the Gulf Coast League last year, but this season in Williamsport he hit just .203. Stobbe still showed some power potential with eight home runs, but he still has a long ways to go.

After Stobbe, there aren’t really any players that have a solid chance of being major-league regulars. Jesmuel Valentin and Eliezer Alvarez are both close to the majors, but suffered injuries in 2017 and didn’t have numbers that jumped off the page. Jose Gomez and Daniel Brito both have strong hit tools, but don’t have enough of a glove to be starters at shortstop and are still in Class-A ball. Luis Garcia and Arquiemdes Gamboa are very toolsy, but still are very young with little to no production in professional ball so far.

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All in all, once Kingery graduates to the majors, Philadelphia will soon be lacking in top-end infield prospects. They don’t have their second-round pick next year after signing Carlos Santana, which could limit their ability to replenish the system. They better hope Stobbe or someone else can develop into a top-tier prospect.

In fairness, it’s not like Philadelphia is in desperate need of more infield prospects right away. They had a logjam before trading Freddy Galvis, and there will be another one once Kingery is ready for the majors.

After the next free agency period, the team could very well have an infield of Santana, Kingery or Cesar Hernandez, Crawford, and Manny Machado. That could be a lot of offensive production from one infield group.

Next: Who is the next Phillies face of the franchise?

Besides, the club has shown that they can develop talent in the minor-leagues. They’ve done it with other position groups; now it’s time to do it with their infielders.

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