Phillies Prospects: Three breakout candidates in 2020
Who’re some of the Phillies top prospects could could make an impact soon?
Nowadays, Phillies fans have every right to be leery of highly regarded prospects coming up through the organization.
Once upon a time, Dominic Brown entered the limelight in the late 2000s with high hopes of Phillie’s nation that he would extend the “golden era”- instead he was a pallid prospect who failed to meet lofty expectations.
JP Crawford provided reason for optimism during dark times in the most recent rebuild phase, but he quickly flamed out and was traded to Seattle.
Other top prospects, such as Jesse Biddle and Maikel Franco (Ok, Franco gave us some good times every now and then…) were nothing but mirages, fading to very little in the production department.
But hope springs eternal, and now don’t get me wrong, the Phightin’s have seen some players blossom from the organization recently as well in recent years. Aaron Nola, taken seventh overall in 2013 out of LSU, has lived up to the hype since his call up in 2016. The jury is still out on Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery, but their youth provides reason for hope. Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard have a chance to make their mark in 2020 (or perhaps 2021 if the season gets canceled).
Bryson Stott has an opportunity to be a part of the Phillies core in a few years as well.
Here are three prospects to keep an eye on that could burst onto many folks’ radars:
Age entering 2020 season: 20 years old
2019 Stats: Lakewood- 97 innings, 3.82 era, 1.32 WHIP, 129 SO, 12.0 K/9
Scouting report: Morales’ upside is incredible. With true swing and miss stuff, the young Venezuelan has the build of a front line starter at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds. At the moment, scouts have Morales’ fastball rated as high as plus-plus ranging from 93-97 mph. His slider is devastating when he’s clicking. His changeup will determine whether or not he will be a starter in the long term. Adding that third pitch would do wonders for his development and value for the Phillies organization. If he fails to develop his changeup, his stuff plays out as a filthy relief option in the coming years. Keep an eye on Morales as he most likely opens up the 2020 season in Clearwater.
Age entering 2020 season: 21 years old
2019 Stats: Lakewood & Clearwater- .261/.333/.325, 314 AB, 20 doubles, 30 BB, 39 K
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Scouting report: Scouts rave about this kid’s defense behind the plate. Hell, even Phillies manager Joe Girardi had great things to say about Marchan during spring training last month, calling him a “master” blocking balls behind the plate. Marchan is a switch hitter and runs well for being 5-foot-9, 196 pounds. The biggest thing to monitor will be the power stroke.
Marchan has yet to hit a home run in the minors, but keep in mind most catchers tend to develop offense as they move along in the minors. Carlos Ruiz is a prime example of developing offense in the latter part of development. Bottom line, people who follow the system closely think he has the intangibles to be a defensive whiz, and if the bat comes together…watch out.
Age entering 2020 season: 22 years old
2019 stats: (GCL/NYP/Lakewood)- 36 innings, 1.50 era, 1.11 WHIP, 52 SO, 13.0 K/9
Phil’s player comp: Mitch Williams
Scouting report: The hard-throwing lefty product from Stanford was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. The Phillies love his pitch arsenal (fastball, slider, changeup), but his control is the big question mark on whether or not he will become a starter. As of now, the organization would like to see him getting reps as a starter. Miller’s fastball can top 97 and his secondary pitches (changeup and slider) play as average to plus when he’s locked in.
Similar to Fransisco Morales, Miller has a starting pitcher’s build. 2020 will be a telling summer for him but there’s a lot to love about the 6-foot-5, 240-pound southpaw. Polished College players tend to move quicker through minor league systems. Let’s see if the former Cardinal product can put it together in another shortened pro season.