The Phillies are a team that is clearly in win now mode, and that often leads to trading intriguing prospects for immediate help. However Philadelphia has managed to hold onto a pair of impressive prospects who could quickly become stars for the team. After that things get a little bit murky, and there are questions about the potential of the rest of the system. With that in mind, let’s take a look:
1) Alex Bohm – Third Baseman
ETA – 2020
Grade – B+
The 2018 first round pick thrived in his first full season of professional baseball, hitting .305 with 21 HR, 80 RBI and 76 R over 475 AB across three levels (including 63 games at Double-A). While people will point towards the lack of power that he displayed last season, at 6’5” and 225 lbs and having added 34 additional extra base hits (30 doubles and 4 triples), it’s easy to envision the power continuing to develop. To this point it’s possible that he’s sacrificed a little bit of his power in favor of his approach, which is likely his strongest skill:
- Strikeouts – 13.5%
- Walks – 10.6%
- SwStr% – 7.7%
It’s a makeup that resembles that of Rhys Hoskins (at Triple-A in 2017 he posted a 15.8% strikeout rate, 13.5% walk rate and 6.3% SwStr%), and we know the type of instant impact he made. Maybe Bohm doesn’t explode quite at that level, but as he matures don’t be surprised to see the power improve to go along with the potential for a strong average.
2) Spencer Howard – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2021
Grade – B+
Had shoulder issues not limited him to 71.0 IP in 2019 he likely would be on radars to make an impact in 2020, as he’ll open the year at 23-years old and has already reached Double-A. A potential innings limit obviously will loom large in terms of his immediate impact, though at the same time it wouldn’t be shocking for a team pushing for a World Series title to bring their top pitching prospect to the Majors.
When healthy Howard showed everything we like to see from a pitcher, with the size and repertoire (which allowed him to post a 16.0% SwStr%) to thrive:
- Strikeouts – 11.92 K/9
- Control – 2.03 BB/9
- Groundballs – 45.1%
He also continued to pitch well in the Arizona Fall League (2.11 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 27 K over 21.1 IP). Sure we’d like to see a few more groundballs (42.3% over 30.2 IP at Double-A), but as he continues to improve on his secondary pitches he could only get better and better.
3) Francisco Morales – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2022
Grade – B
The pure stuff is there to thrive, and he’s shown it with a 12.01 K/9 (courtesy of a 16.3% SwStr%) over 96.2 IP at Single-A. However there are two key questions that he needs to answer in order to take the next step forward in his development:
- Will he be able to find consistency, leading to better control (4.28 BB/9)
- Will he be able to develop his changeup
Those two things will determine if he can become a top of the rotation starter (where his upside lies), or whether he’s more of a backend option. The potential is there to take a gigantic step forward and emerge as a B+ prospect or better, but there’s just as good of a chance that he stagnates.
4) Bryson Stott – Shortstop
ETA – 2022
Grade – C+
The 12th overall selection in 2019, Stott showed an impressive approach in his professional debut with a 12.4% walk rate and 9.2% SwStr%. Couple that with the potential to develop some power (9 doubles, 3 triples and 6 HR) and the potential to steal some bases (5-for-8 after being selected, and while he may not be a stolen base machine it’s possible he swipes 10-15 bases annually) and it’s easy to get excited. With a strong approach he could move quickly up the system, having been selected out of college.
5) JoJo Romero – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2020
Grade – C+
While we could argue Romero should be more of a “B-“ prospect it was obvious that a lot of his struggles came while pitching at Triple-A and that’s a concern:
- Double-A (57.2 IP) – 8.12 K/9, 1.87 BB/9, 49.1% groundball rate
- Triple-A (53.2 IP) – 6.71 K/9, 5.87 BB/9, 49.2% groundball rate
Home runs became a significant issue after the promotion (1.34 HR/9) and he simply wasn’t missing bats (8.7% SwStr%). Even after returning to the level late in the season his control wasn’t there (14 BB over 20.2 IP in August) and home runs could continue to be a problem, despite the solid groundball rate. He’s shown he has the stuff, but he needs to prove it at the highest levels in order for us to believe.
The Next Five:
6) Johan Rojas (OF, Grade – C+) – He struggled after being pushed to Low-A (.244 over 172 PA), but we have to remember that he played most of the season at 18-years old (he turned 19 in August). What’s impressive, though, is his relative ability to make contact at his age (10.5% SwStr%) and obvious speed (he has 33 SB over 128 games the past two years). As he matures and develops a little bit more power, he will likely quickly draw significantly more attention. The Phillies are generally aggressive with their prospects (see Luis Garcia, for example), and it will be interesting to see if Rojas responds.
7) Luis Garcia (SS, Grade – C+) – There was a lot of hype surrounding Garcia heading into ’19, and an aggressive promotion to Single-A may have been too much for him to handle. Playing at 18-years old he hit a meager .186 showing little power (21 extra base hits) and speed (9-for-17 in SB attempts). He also showed poor command of the strike zone, with a 25.2% strikeout rate. Obviously the level was likely a factor, though his lack of progress as the season moved on is concerning. If he doesn’t respond with a strong start to 2020, his prospect stock will plummet.
8) Mickey Moniak (OF, Grade – C) – The former #1 pick has continued to lack success, hitting .252 with 11 HR and 15 SB in 465 AB at Double-A. There is a little bit of upside, considering his 52 total extra base hits, so maybe the power starts to develop? He needs to improve his approach, however, after a 14.1% SwStr% (which could regress as he advances further) if he wants to ultimately thrive.
9) Adonis Medina (RHP, Grade – C) – He pitched to a 4.94 ERA over 105.2 IP at Double-A as he struggled to generate swings and misses (8.6% SwStr%) and lacks significant groundball stuff (45.1%). It didn’t lead to significant home run issues yet (0.94 HR/9), but as he advances that could become a problem. Throw in mediocre control and the rumblings that he may be a better fit for the bullpen makes sense.
10) Enyel De Los Santos (RHP, Grade – C) – He’s already had 30.0 lackluster innings in the Majors (5.70 ERA) while he’s had mediocre underlying metrics at Triple-A over the past two years (220.2 IP). Does a 7.87 K/9, 3.18 BB/9 and 39.3% groundball rate really entice us? It’s possible the secondary pitches improve and he emerges as a solid back-end starter, but he’s not there yet.
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings: