Phillies farm system still stuck near the bottom of the league in MLB Pipeline update

Despite improvements, the Phillies' development system still ranks in the bottom third of the league.
Philadelphia Phillies No. 1 prospect Andrew Painter tops the Phillies farm system
Philadelphia Phillies No. 1 prospect Andrew Painter tops the Phillies farm system / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

As Opening Day approaches, MLB Pipeline has updated its prospect rankings ahead of the new season. While the Philadelphia Phillies probably aren't impressed with where the farm system ranks in this most recent update, there's reason for optimism.

MLB Pipeline ranks the Phillies' development system at No. 22. That doesn't seem all that encouraging at first glance, but if you consider where the organization was just two years ago, 22nd overall feels like a win. Last year at this time, the Phillies ranked 21st, and at midseason ranked 23rd, so instead of breaking out of the bottom third of the league, they settled in the low-20s for the third straight update.

Here's how the system has been graded in the most recent rankings:

  • 2024 preseason rank: 22
  • 2023 midseason rank: 23
  • 2023 preseason rank: 21
  • 2022 midseason rank: 25
  • 2022 preseason rank: 26

You can see the improvement, but what's the rationale behind the placement?

Phillies' Top 100 prospects are high-end talents

The Phillies have four players in the Top 100 prospect rankings, so that's a good start. Starting pitchers Andrew Painter (No. 27) and Mick Abel (No. 49) sit inside the Top 50, while third baseman Aidan Miller (No. 61) and outfielder Justin Crawford (No. 77) rank in the second half of the Top 100.

Painter is obviously a non-factor this season, so we don't know how much weight he carries in Pipeline's system rankings. Although to be fair, if he hadn't been injured and gone under the knife, he wouldn't even be a prospect anymore.

Abel has impressed this spring, including a big game against the New York Yankees and his Spring Breakout showing, as reported by NBC Sports Philadelphia's Corey Seidman.

Miller had a big hit during the Spring Breakout and looks poised to be the Phillies' third baseman of the future. Crawford showed off his elite speed in the Spring Breakout, a tool everyone from scouts to MLB execs has been raving about.

Starlyn Caba, the team's No. 5 prospect, didn't make the Top 100 but might be there next year or even at the mid-season rankings reshuffle.

Good news on the horizon for Phillies' farm system

Phillies director of player development and assistant general manager Preston Mattingly has certainly had a positive impact on a development system that was in shambles not too long ago. The Phillies' farm didn't receive any kudos from MLB executives as one of the top systems in an offseason poll, but it did get votes as one of the most underrated systems.

Between Johan Rojas' successful debut in 2023, Orion Kerkering posed to make a bit impact this season, Abel hanging out in the weeds waiting for his opportunity this year, and Painter a rotation hopeful for 2025, the Phillies farm system is starting to produce for the big league club. Hopefully, we'll see more talent come through the pipeline in the next few years.