Phillies top prospect doesn’t waste any time hitting his first professional home run

Starlyn Caba got his season off to a bang in his first taste of pro ball stateside.
Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies have some serious talent developing in the lower minor league levels. A lot has been written about the impressive performances of the trio of Justin Crawford, Aidan Miller, and George Klassen at the Single-A levels. But the Phillies have another youngster off to a hot start down in Florida by the name of Starlyn Caba.

The slick-fielding 18-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic has had a meteoric rise on prospect ranking lists in the Phillies system since being signed for $3 million as an international free agent back in January 2023.

MLB Pipeline ranked Caba as the Phillies' No. 5 prospect when they released their preseason rankings. His placement is notable because of the four players listed just ahead of him. His early-season success for the FCL Phillies has done nothing to slow down the hype surrounding the Phillies' latest prized prospect.

Obviously Caba is at a very early stage in his development, but his numbers in the Florida Complex League are worthy of some attention. In 19 at-bats, Caba is batting .316 with a 1.059 OPS, six hits, one home run, and two RBI through his first six games in rookie ball. Although he has two stolen bases on the season, Caba has been caught stealing three times, so it's pretty clear he's still developing instincts as a baserunner.

Phillies top prospect doesn’t waste any time hitting his first professional home run

Caba is listed at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, so the youngster is far from an imposing presence in the batter's box. While his bat is advanced for an 18-year-old, and his fielding already looks like it could potentially be Gold Glove-caliber, power is not yet considered a part of his game.

That assessment could change after the switch-hitter hit his first professional home run during the first game of the FCL season on May 4.

In addition to Caba's home run, his most recent performance on May 11 produced a 2-for-5 showing, with both of his hits in the contest being doubles. It's too early to tell if Caba will develop in-game power as a part of his already lofty skill set, but it's a promising sign that he's showing hints of power to the gaps and getting opportunities to wreak havoc on the base paths. His age and athleticism suggest he might hit for more power than many talent evaluators initially expected.

What will Caba's future be with the Philadelphia Phillies? That's already been a focus of debate this season. ESPN's David Schoenfield named Caba as one of the prospects the Phillies could consider moving if the right deal presented itself.

With Trea Turner and Bryson Stott likely manning the middle of the Phillies infield for years to come, it's possible Caba is one of the prospects Dave Dombrowski and the front office could use as a major trade chip if opportunities allow for a major upgrade on the big league roster.