Top 10 Prospects (2019): Philadelphia Phillies: A System Rich In Pitching, But An Intriguing Bat Could Emerge

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It would be easy to argue that the Phillies’ system should be better, had they made a better selection than Mickey Moniak with the first overall selection a few years back.  That said they’ve done a good job of accumulating talent since, though the bulk of it is on the mound.  Philadelphia has a slew of intriguing arms who could come quickly, with a few hitters sprinkled in (and one who could quickly emerge).  Who are the prospects to watch?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Sixto Sanchez – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A-
ETA – 2020

Sanchez has emerged as one of the best pitching prospects in the game, though an elbow injury ended his season in June (after just 8 starts and 46.2 IP).  When he was on the mound he was just as good as he’s ever been, posting a 2.51 ERA and 1.07 WHIP at High-A while displaying all of the skills we look for (8.68 K/9, 2.12 BB/9, 52.3% groundball rate).

There is no questioning the potential, the issue now is his health (and to an extent his ability to hold up to a full workload, listed at 6’0” and 185 lbs.).  How big of an issue the elbow turns out to be remains an unknown, though the concerns grew larger after he skipped the Arizona Fall League due to a “setback”.  As of today the expectations are that he’ll be healthy ahead of the start of the 2019 season, but until we actually see him on the mound and taking the ball every five days we’ll have to take a wait and see approach.

 

2) Alec Bohm – Third Baseman
Grade – B+
ETA – 2020

Selected third overall in 2018 out of college, Bohm has the potential to move quickly through Philadelphia’s system.  He didn’t quite live up to the billing in his first taste of professional baseball, hitting .252 with 0 HR.  However he did show a strong approach, with a 7.0% SwStr%, and it’s very possible that he simply tired after playing a full college season.  There is no questioning his approach and at 6’5” and 225 lbs. there is power potential that he should be able to tap into.  It was too small of a sample size to read much into and don’t be surprised if he establishes himself quickly in 2019.

 

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3) JoJo Romero – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2019

Romero spent 106.2 innings at Double-A in ’18 and easily could be the first of the Phillies “Big 3” pitching prospects to arrive in the Majors.  The fact that he’s left-handed helps his cause, though the pure skills appear to be a step behind both Sanchez and Medina:

  • Strikeouts – 8.44 K/9
  • Control – 3.46 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 52.3%

His best skill has been his ability to consistently generate groundballs (1.67 GO/AO) thanks to a solid sinker.  The owner of a diverse pitch mix, reports have him altering his approach after a slow start focusing more on his sinker/changeup as opposed to throwing everything and trying to confuse hitters.  From May-June he had 87 K and 31 BB over 86.2 IP while continuing to generate a slew of groundballs.  If he can carry those improvements into the start of ’19 more and more people will begin paying attention.

 

4) Adonis Medina – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2019

Obviously a 4.12 ERA over 111.1 IP at High-A isn’t going to blow you away, especially from a 21-year old, but it’s the underlying numbers that are going to excite you:

  • Strikeouts – 9.94 K/9 (courtesy of a 13.4% SwStr%)
  • Control – 2.91 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 50.2%

That’s an exciting mix of skills and it wouldn’t be surprising if he continues to improve in his strikeout stuff.  He has been moved along slowly thus far, but at his age it wouldn’t be surprising if the Phillies accelerate his ascent as they look to battle for a playoff spot.  While he should open the year at Double-A, would it be surprising to see him arrive in the Majors in 2019?

 

5) Luis Garcia – Shortstop
Grade – B
ETA – 2022

Signed in 2017 Garcia is the type of prospect who could explode and emerge as one of the elite in short order.  Just 17-years old he played 43 games at Rookie Ball and impressed with an ability to make consistent contact (7.0% SwStr%) and hit the ball hard (25.9% line drive rate).  He may never develop into a true power hitter, but he could be a near .300 hitter with some speed (12 SB last season) making him an intriguing top of the order threat.  He has a long ways to go, but he’s an exciting name to watch and one who should emerge as one of the team’s Top 3 prospects by year’s end (think a B+ or better).

 

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The Rest:

6) Adam Hasely – Outfielder (Grade – B)
The team’s first round pick in ’17 (eighth overall), Hasely split time between High-A and Double-A hitting .305 with 11 HR and 7 SB over 466 AB.  Obviously his average was his best asset last season, making consistent contact (8.9% SwStr%).  The problem is just how impressive is that average when it comes from an outfielder who may have a 10/10 type ceiling (he only added 17 doubles and 5 triples, showing that the potential isn’t there for too much more).

 

7) Ranger Suarez – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
He split time between Double (75.0 IP) and Triple-A (49.1 IP) while also getting a cup of coffee in the Majors (15.0 IP).  The question is what happened to the strikeout stuff, with a 9.4% SwStr% leading to a 6.15 K/9.  Maybe it was the move up against more advanced hitters, with a 9.39 K/9 and an 11.6% SwStr% between Single-A and High-A the year before, so expecting a rebound into the 8.00ish K/9 range can be expected given his stuff.  Couple that with solid control (2.53 BB/9) and enough groundballs (49.7%) and there’s a lot to like.

8) Spencer Howard – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
Howard pitched at Single-A as a 21-year old, so you can argue that he was old for the level, but an 11.81 K/9 (courtesy of a 14.4% SwStr%) is impressive regardless.  He needs to further improve his control (3.21 BB/9) and home runs could ultimately become an issue (38.4% groundball rate).  However capping off his season with a no-hitter in the playoffs showed off just how good he could potentially be.

9) Enyel De Los Santos – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
De Los Santos is easy to argue as the first up when a need arises in the rotation, throwing 126.2 innings at Triple-A last season (and he did make his MLB debut last season, throwing 19.0 innings).  While his Triple-A numbers were impressive (2.63 ERA), he benefited from a .264 BABIP and 82.5% strand rate while struggling to generate strikeouts (7.82 K/9) and groundballs (41.1%).  There is some hope in the former, with an 11.7% SwStr%, and if he can improve in that regard the upside will be there.  If he can’t get there as a starter there’s a good chance that he ultimately transitions to a bullpen role.

10) Francisco Morales – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
Morales is an 18-year old who struggled to a 5.27 ERA over 13 starts at Low-A last season, though his 13.4% SwStr% shows how electric his stuff could be.  He needs to improve his control, with a 5.27 BB/9, but he has time to mature/adjust.

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com, Baseball Reference

** PRE-ORDER ROTOPROFESSOR’S 2019 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE **
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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 Top 10 Prospect Lists:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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