Phillies' new No. 5 prospect makes exciting jump up MLB Pipeline Top 30 rankings

A young international shortstop is making big moves up the Phillies Top 30 prospect ranks.

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop prospect Starlyn Caba moves up to No. 5 on MLB Pipeline's Phillies Top 30 prospect rankings
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop prospect Starlyn Caba moves up to No. 5 on MLB Pipeline's Phillies Top 30 prospect rankings / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies farm system has seen vast improvement over the last couple of years. And while the team still has a way to go to be viewed as having one of the top minor league systems in Major League baseball, recent additions through the MLB Draft and international signing period point to an organization that is starting to stockpile some serious talent.

MLB Pipeline recently released its yearly rankings of top prospects in every organization. The Phillies' top five prospects offer an exciting look at young players who are starting to gain notice among MLB talent evaluators. Obviously, some players are closer to contributing to the big club sooner than others, but the steady progression of a few prospects currently playing lower in the minor league system points to some promising advances in player development.

MLB Pipeline top five Phillies prospects for 2024

  1. Andrew Painter, RHP
  2. Mick Abel, RHP
  3. Aidan Miller, 3B/SS
  4. Justin Crawford, OF
  5. Starlyn Caba, SS

Not a ton of surprises here.

It's worth noting that Andrew Painter remains the No. 1 prospect in the Phillies system despite having Tommy John surgery last season. Mick Abel at No. 2 also shouldn't be a shock to anyone. Abel is the closest to major league-ready and will probably debut on the mound sometime during the 2024 season.

Aidan Miller has already reached the No. 3 ranking less than a year after being drafted in the first round in 2023 (subscription required). His development will be watched closely as he climbs the minor league ladder. Dynamic young outfielder Justin Crawford takes the fourth spot, as he will likely take a step from High-A ball to Double-A this season.

Starlyn Caba makes the jump to No. 5 for the Phillies

While four of the top five ranked prospects in the Phillies system were acquired through the MLB Draft, at No. 5, Starlyn Caba is the first international signing to crack this list. Signed for $3 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2023, the switch-hitting shortstop impressed during his time in the Dominican Summer League last season.

In's review of the Phillies' 2024 Top 30 prospect release, Jonathan Mayo explained why the previously unranked Caba moved up to the No. 5 spot:

"In retrospect, Caba probably belonged on the Phillies’ Top 30 right out of the chute," Mayo writes. "But it can be difficult to figure out where to place an international free agent right after they’ve signed and before they’ve played an inning of note. Caba hit .301 with a .423 OBP during his debut in the Dominican Summer League to serve notice that he’s a prospect worth tracking."

Caba ranked high elsewhere on the list when they graded various hitting and fielding tools. His 55 hit tool has him in a three-way tie with fellow top prospect Aidan Miller and William Bergolla as players with above-average bat-to-ball skills. Caba's 65 grade for defense makes him the top position player in the entire system.

At just 18 years old, Starlyn Caba has quite a bit of development to go before he enters into the discussion as a major league-ready ballplayer. But the early returns are positive. Caba will certainly be a player worth watching as he progresses through the Phillies system in 2024.