Who is the Phillies' best non-Top 100 prospect?

Starlyn Caba isn't a Top 100 prospect in baseball just yet, but he's rising in the Phillies' organizational prospect rankings.
Philadelphia Phillies v Cleveland Guardians
Philadelphia Phillies v Cleveland Guardians / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Last winter, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Starlyn Caba from the Dominican Republic as an international prospect. The 18-year-old shortstop's defensive prowess and speed have been praised by scouts, and many believe that he can develop the tools to become a solid major league hitter as well.

MLB Pipeline recently picked Caba as the Phillies' top prospect to not appear on the recent Top 100 Prospect list update.

Entering 2024, Caba is ranked as the Phillies' third-best prospect according to FanGraphs and the organization's fifth-best young talent by Baseball America. His first season in the Dominican Summer League was cut short due to an elbow injury that required surgery. It's likely that he will play in the United States this year, either in the Florida Complex League or Class-A Clearwater.

The speedy young infielder spent last year in the DSL, where he hit .301 and posted an on-base percentage of .423. He's a switch hitter who can make contact. His power numbers aren't there yet, as he slugged just .346. However, that could develop as he matures and grows into himself physically. He has already shown that he has gap-to-gap power, but the home runs aren't there yet and may never show up.

While the power is not yet apparent or known, the speed is. In just 38 games in 2023, Caba stole 16 bases. He also scored 29 runs while driving in 17. His plate discipline in his first professional season was impressive as well. He struck out just 9.8 percent of the time while he drew walks at an astonishing 17.1 percent clip.

As he advances through the minor league system, those numbers are unlikely to hold. However, he has at least shown that he has some knowledge of the strike zone at a young age. Like many other young players in the club's farm system, Caba is in no rush to rise through the different minor league levels.

At just 18, there's still a ton of development, maturing, and learning the international signee must go through. His position is currently held by Trea Turner — who will be in a Phillies uniform for nine more seasons — currently anyway. Perhaps Caba will be ready if and when Turner's age catches up to him and he has to move from the middle infield. Until then, the club will let Caba grow and develop into a more advanced hitter.

manual