Sunday, March 19, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #1 SS J.P. Crawford

JP Crawford, image- Jay Floyd

It's probably no surprise that the player widely regarded as the Phillies' top young talent sits atop this year's prospect countdown.  Shortstop J.P. Crawford is likely be making his way to the major leagues soon enough.

After he was selected by the Phillies 16th overall out of Lakewood High School (CA) in the 2013 draft, Crawford joined the Phillies system and quickly proved to be among the organization's most talented young players.

Upon making his minor league debut as an 18-year-old with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, Crawford was greatly impressive. He was tops in the GCL in batting for a considerable stretch, posting a .345 average with a homer, 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases through 39 games. To wrap up the regular season, he was promoted up two levels to Class A full season Lakewood.

As a member of the BlueClaws in the South Atlantic League, Crawford handled the jump well for a youngster that was playing high school ball just three months earlier. He sported a .208 average with a double, two RBI and two stolen bases in 14 games.

Crawford, a lefty batter, would open his 2014 campaign back with Lakewood and showed a great deal of progress. In 60 games for the BlueClaws, he tallied a .295 average with three homers, 19 RBI along with 14 stolen bases. After he was honored as a Sally League All-Star, a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater was in order.

In 63 games for the Threshers, Crawford would post a .275 batting average along with eight home runs, 29 RBI and 10 stolen bases, en route to being named the top positional prospect in the Florida State League by Baseball America. He also represented the Phillies in the MLB All-Star Futures Game that year.

In 2015, Crawford missed the opening few weeks of the season with an oblique strain. Once the California native was healthy, he was activated for the Threshers. In 21 games in the FSL he batted .392 with a home run, eight RBI and five steals. Proving worthy of another promotion, Crawford moved up to Double-A Reading, where he was able to handle, as a 20-year-old, the older and more experienced competition, posting a .265/.354/.407 slash line in 86 games for the Fightin Phils. He earned a spot as an Eastern League All-Star, but skipped the event to, again, head to the Futures Game.

During the following off-season, following a 3-for-20 start in five games, Crawford left the prominent Arizona Fall League with a small tear in his thumb, but was fully healthy to open the 2016 campaign with Reading.

In 35 games with the Fightins, Crawford sported a .265 average with three home runs, 13 RBI and five steals.  He would move up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in May.

As a member of the IronPigs, Crawford batted .244 with four home runs, 30 RBI and seven stolen bases in 87 games.

The hit tool is key for Crawford, who has quick hands and an ability to drive the ball to all fields. He features raw power and can lay down an occasional bunt. Situational hitting and moving runners over are areas that Crawford has excelled at. There isn't anything lacking for him at the plate.

With a career .372 on-base percentage, Crawford draws plenty of walks, which is a great aspect for a player that the team will count on to be an offensive catalyst for years to come.

With a very athletic frame, the six-foot-two 180-pounder could still add muscle and increase his power even more.

Defensively, Crawford features outstanding range and has a strong, accurate arm with a quick release. He is able to make challenging plays look routine, can turn double plays with the best of them and is more than dependable at shortstop.

On the bases, Crawford, sporting a lean build and long strides, has solid speed. His 67% success rate in stolen base attempts as a pro will continue to climb as he reaches higher levels and has more coaches to work with to be a threat on the bases.

The ceiling for Crawford is very high. He thrives on high-pressure spots and will fit in well at the big league level some day soon. He is expected to be a future mainstay for the Phillies and could very well become a perennial All-Star.

Look for the 22-year-old to return to Lehigh Valley to open the 2017 season.  Before long though, the long awaited arrival of the organization's top prospect should happen in Philadelphia.

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Friday, March 17, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #2 Catcher Jorge Alfaro

Jorge Alfaro, image- Jay Floyd

Acquired as part of the the return for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman from Texas in 2015, catcher Jorge Alfaro quickly became one of the Phillies' most promising prospects. With a powerful bat and outstanding skills behind the dish, Alfaro could become a fast moving performer for his new organization.

Originally signed by the Rangers for a reported $1.3 million in 2010 at the age of 16, the Colombia native would make his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League that same year. In 48 games, the righty hitting Alfaro posted a .221 average and a home run along with 23 RBI.

The following year, with Class A short-season Spokane, the talented catcher tallied a .300 average with six homers and 23 RBI in 45 contests.

In 2012 with full season Class A level Hickory, he batted .261 with five home runs, 34 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 74 games.

A repeat campaign with Hickory was in order the following year, although he played a handful of games for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach. In 113 combined games, Alfaro put together a .265/.346/.463 slash line, also swiping 18 bags. He'd also spend most of his 2014 with Myrtle Beach, earning a promotion to Double-A Frisco for the closing month of the season. In 121 total games that year, Alfaro batted .261 with 17 homers and 87 RBI.

In 2015 Alfaro opened his campaign with Double-A Frisco, but missed considerable time with a broken ankle that required surgery in June.  In 49 games, he hit .253 with five home runs and 21 RBI.

After joining the Phillies organization, Alfaro played in three rehab games with the rookie level Gulf Coast League team and took part in the Florida Instructional League following the regular season.

The six-foot-two 225-pounder posted a .262 average with a homer and three RBI in 13 games with La Guaira in Venezuelan Winter League over that following off-season.

Last season, Aflaro sported a .285 batting average while slugging 15 home runs and driving in 67 runs with Double-A Reading, though he would miss time with an oblique strain, playing in just 97 minor league games.  Honored as an Eastern League All-Star with Reading, his production was enough to earn him a big league promotion during the season.  In six games with the Phillies, Alfaro was 2-for-16 (.125 avg).

The 23-year-old features big time bat speed and a smooth swing. He strikes out quite a bit, but with an ability to drive the ball to all fields, as Alfaro progresses, watch out for his developing power. The Phils will want to see him take more pitches and build better pitch recognition abilities this year.

Despite a pair of double-digit steal seasons to his credit in the minors, it doesn't appear that speed will be a major part of Alfaro's offensive game, as he has swiped just 11 bases over the past three seasons.  He is faster than most catchers, though, and that sneaky quickness could help Alfaro and his team in some clutch spots on occasion.

On defense, Alfaro is an outstanding backstop with a plus arm and good footwork. He's very athletic and loves being a field general involved in every pitch of a game.  Coaches have cited that Alfaro has taken strides with his receiving since he joined the organization. 

Alfaro, who hates to lose, plays the game with aggression and will be a player that Phillies fans will love to root for, as long as that hard-nosed approach doesn't continue to result in injuries and cost him playing time.

Look for Alfaro, who is in major league spring training, back at the top level of the sport this year.  It is likely, though, that the team will hope for a bit more seasoning at the Triple-A level to start this season. 

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #3 OF Nick Williams


Nick Williams, image- Jay Floyd
Included among the collection of prospects the Phillies obtained in the 2015 trade that sent Cole Hamels to Texas, slugging outfielder Nick Williams is as promising as any of the very talented young players the team has in their developmental ranks.

A second round pick of the Rangers out of Ball High School (TX) in 2012, Williams quickly signed and debuted as a pro. In the rookie level Arizona League, he posted a .313 batting average with a pair of home runs and 27 RBI while swiping 15 bases in 48 games.

The following year Williams played with Class A Hickory in the Sally League. In 95 games, he tallied a .293 average with 17 homers, 60 RBI and eight steals.

In 2014 Williams would open the season with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, where he notched a .292 batting average with 13 home runs and 68 RBI in 94 games. That production earned him a promotion to the Double-A level to wrap up that season in August, where he posted a .226/.250/.290 slash line in 15 contests.

The lefty batting Williams returned to Double-A Frisco in 2015, batting .299 with 13 homers and 45 RBI through 97 games. He also represented the Rangers in the MLB All-Star Futures Game. By late July, the trade to the Phillies occurred and Williams transitioned to Double-A Reading, where he suffered a concussion as the result of a collision on defense in the field and missed some time.

Despite that stint on the shelf, Williams posted a .320/.340/.536 slash line in 22 regular season games, helping the Fightins reach the Eastern League playoffs.


Last season, Williams played the Triple-A level for Lehigh Valley, where he batted .258 with 13 homers and 64 RBI. 

There was some concern last year with the production at the plate from Williams, as his offensive statistics took a dip, while his walks went down and his strike outs increased.  Coaching concerns with his hustle, or lack thereof, at times also began to negatively impact Williams's reputation.  Those within the organization don't feel that his 2016 numbers are indicative of what's to come, as Williams, a member of the Phillies' 40-man roster, has been contributing nicely this year in big league spring training (.320/.414/.480 slash line through 13 games).

The hit tool is outstanding for the 23-year-old. With super-fast hands and a considerable amount of power, the Texas native is able to drive any pitch that's within his reach.

Speed may not be a huge factor of his game, but Williams can swipe a bag here and there and he worked hard last year to improve his base running.  In his professional career, he has been successful in 48 of 75 (64%) stolen base attempts.

Primarily a left-fielder in the pro ranks, Williams has the quickness and range to play all three spots in the outfield.  He is known to make amazing catches with ease and is as reliable on defense as they come.  He also has a solid arm that can keep runners conservative.

At six-foot-three and 195 pounds, Williams has a well-proportioned and athletic frame that could still pack on some muscle.

I would expect Williams to open this coming season back with Lehigh Valley, however, if he is able to display the ability to hit the way he's done in spring training, it shouldn't be long before he makes his big league debut.  The exciting Williams certainly projects as an everyday big leaguer.

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Monday, March 13, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #4 OF Mickey Moniak

Mickey Moniak, image- Joe Wombough
Taken with the top overall selection in last year's MLB amateur draft, outfielder Mickey Moniak has garnered a lot of attention as a highly promising talent in the Phillies' developmental ranks.

After signing out of La Costa Canyon High School for a reported $6.1 million, the lefty batting Moniak had a very good professional debut.

In 46 games with the Phillies' Gulf Coast League team, Moniak posted a .284 batting average with 11 doubles, four triples, a home run and 28 RBI.  Additionally, he showed some speed, swiping 10 bases in 14 opportunities.

Following the regular season, Moniak participated in the Florida Instructional League and spent time at the Phillies' training facility in Clearwater, where he worked to add strength and muscle to his six-foot-two 185-pound frame.

At the plate, Moniak, who was committed to play at UCLA prior to the 2016 draft, makes steady, hard contact.  He is touted as a line drive hitter that can stroke the ball to all fields.

Cited for his exceptional tools, the California native is the type of player that fans will love, as he seems to be an energetic grinder on the field with a team-first attitude.  Praised for being mature and composed, the athletic youngster is described as a natural on the baseball field.  He has the make up to be a strong performer that leads by example.

Moniak is a great contributor on defense as well, displaying solid range, an ability to make impossible catches and a strong arm in center field.  

It is likely that Moniak will open the coming season with Class A Lakewood.  He'll turn 19 years old in mid-May.

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link

Saturday, March 11, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #5 First Baseman Rhys Hoskins

Rhys Hoskins, image- Jay Floyd
First baseman Rhys Hoskins proved to be a prospect on the fast track for the Phillies with a breakout campaign last year. With a powerful bat and a great approach at the plate, the righty hitting slugger drew a lot of attention in his second full season as a pro.

A product of Cal State-Sacramento, Hoskins posted a .319 average with 25 home runs and 128 RBI in 168 college games prior to turning signing with the Phillies.

Drafted by the Phillies as a 5th round selection in 2014, Hoskins made his minor league debut as a member of the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters that same summer. In 70 games there, the California native posted a .237 average with nine home runs and 40 RBI.

Hoskins, who stands six-feet-four and weighs 225 pounds, would spend time at the Florida Instructional League following the regular season. It was there that coaches implemented a leg kick as a timing mechanism, to assist with his efforts at the plate. It worked very well and the proof was in the numbers to come.

After a strong spring, Hoskins would open his 2015 campaign with Class A Lakewood. In 68 games for the BlueClaws, he put together a .322/.397/.525 slash line en route to being named a South Atlantic League All-Star as a 22-year-old.  Those numbers would prove worthy of a promotion.

At the time of the move, Hoskins led or was near the top of the Sally League in many statistical categories including hits, OPS and RBI.

After moving up to Class A Advanced Clearwater, Hoskins would notch a .317/.394/.510 slash line in 67 games for the Threshers.

That off-season, Hoskins is playing with Sydney in the Australian Baseball League. Through 44 regular season games, Hoskins posted a .324 batting average with eight home runs, 38 RBI and a .944 OPS.

In 2016 Hoskins spent the entire season with Double-A Reading.  In 135 contests, he tallied a .281 batting average with 38 home runs, 116 RBI and eight stolen bases.  With his tremendous offensive efforts for the Fightin Phils, Hoskins was honored as co-winner of the Paul Owens Award, which is bestowed upon the Phillies' top offensive and pitching prospects each year.

Over this recent off-season, Hoskins played in the Dominican Winter League, where he batted. 224 along with four homers and 16 RBI in 21 games for the Gigantes.  Hoskins asserts that his time playing abroad was valuable for his development.

Hoskins, who turns 24 years old on March 17th, has impressed his coaches with having a good feel at the plate and is cited as being a cerebral hitter.  A strong offensive performer with plenty of bat speed, Hoskins can hit the ball to to the opposite field and has shown that he recognizes pitching patterns and can have a plan at the plate. 

Additionally, Hoskins gets on base a lot, drawing a hefty amount of walks, as he sports a .372 career on-base percentage in the minors.

Speed is not a factor on the field for Hoskins.  He is more of a traditional power hitter in that regard- a masher, not a speedster.

On the defensive side of the game, Hoskins has very good reaction time and solid range to handle batted balls at first base.

Hoskins should open the 2017 season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  If his offensive efforts there are anything like the standout collection of numbers he posted with Reading last season, it may not be very long before fans can expect to see him reaching the big leagues.  His ceiling is as an everyday middle of the lineup RBI guy in the majors.

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Friday, March 10, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #6 RHP Franklyn Kilome

Franklyn Kilome, image- Jay Floyd
One of the most promising young pitching prospects in the Phillies organization is right-hander Franklyn Kilome. Armed with outstanding velocity and a remarkable repertoire, the talented youngster will soon be among the collection of the team's rising hurlers pushing their way toward the big leagues.

Signed by the Phillies as an international free agent in January, 2013, Kilome would make his professional debut the following year.

With the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, as an 18-year-old, Kilome would notch a 3-1 record with a 3.12 ERA and a .235 batting average against. He struck out 25 and walked 11 in 40 1/3 innings.

The Dominican Republic native opened 2015 in extended spring training, then joined the short-season Class A Williamsport team. He helped the Crosscutters storm into the postseason with a 3-2 record with a 3.28 ERA and a .230 BAA. He struck out 36 and walked 21 in 49 1/3 innings.

Last year, Kilome would pitch in a full-season league for the first time and opened the season with Class A Lakewood, struggling out of the gate.  In his first three starts, as a 20-year-old, he posted a 0-3 record along with a 15.83 ERA and a .435 batting average against.  The cold early-spring weather was said to be a factor, but Kilome worked hard to iron things out.  For the remainder of the regular season, he sported a 5-5 record, a 2.74 ERA and a 10.5 K/9 mark over 20 starts and helped the BlueClaws reach the South Atlantic League championship series.

His arsenal features a dominant upper-90's fastball that can get up to 100 MPH. The 21-year-old also touts a solid curve ball that coaches saw noteworthy improvement with last year and a solid change up that continues to fool opponents.  Outside of his initial three starts of 2016, Kilome's command has typically been one of his strengths.

This off-season, Kilome spent plenty of time at the organization's new Dominican facility with a goal of adding muscle to his projectable and slim six-foot-six 175-pound frame.

According to Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan, the organization may not have a pitcher with bigger upside if all things go right for Kilome.

For now, it looks like Kilome's path will continue as a starter, but with his exceptions velocity, he could possibly flourish as a reliever if the club ever wishes to change his role. 

It is likely that he will open the 2017 campaign with Class A Advanced Clearwater in the Florida State League. 

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #7 OF Roman Quinn

Roman Quinn, image- Jay Floyd  
Outfielder Roman Quinn used his short stint in the big leagues late last season as a chance to show that he belonged at the top level of the sport.  It would appear that he's primed to make a return to the Phillies this coming season, perhaps to stay for good.

Selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 MLB amateur draft, Quinn was converted to shortstop upon making his pro debut.  It was an experiment that did not prove successful, however, as he has returned to the outfield.

Quinn would make his pro debut as a 19-year-old with short-season Class A Williamsport in 2012, posting a .281 average with nine doubles, a league-leading 11 triples, one home run and 23 RBI while swiping 30 bases in 36 opportunities.

Comfort was a big factor for Quinn in 2013, according to his Class A Lakewood coaches.  They saw things get easier for the talented youngster at the plate as the season went on and he displayed success with another experiment on the offensive side of his game...the assignment of learning to switch-hit.

That year, he got off to a rough start, batting .202 with a .556 OPS in 22 April games. In May, things began to look up, at the plate, for Quinn, as he tallied a .304 average with an .874 OPS in 26 contests that month. His season would not last much longer, as the Florida resident was hit by a pitch that resulted in a broken left wrist in June, ending his campaign with .238 average with seven doubles, three triples, five home runs and 32 stolen bases in 41 chances through 67 games.

Unable to compete in that autumn's Florida Instructional League, due to the slow healing wrist, Quinn continued to work out and suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon while running sprints. Surgery came soon afterward and Quinn missed considerable time while recovering.

Originally expected to miss the majority of the 2014 season, Quinn, who is listed at five-foot-10, 170-pounds, was back on the field by mid-May and impressed many with the strides that he took.

Playing in 88 contests, the most he's played in any of his three pro seasons to that point, for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Quinn returned to post a .257 batting average along with 10 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 36 RBI.

In the interest of making up for lost time, the Phillies wanted Quinn to see more action in the off-season and sent him to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. In 24 games with Scottsdale, he batted .250 with two triples, two home runs and nine RBI.

In 2015 Quinn opened the season with Double-A Reading, where he would tally a .306 batting average with six doubles, six triples, four homers, 15 RBI and 29 stolen bases in 39 opportunities through 58 games before he was sidelined with another injury. Initially diagnosed as a quad strain, the ailment was later revealed to be a muscle tear, which kept Quinn out of action much longer than was initially anticipated.

He reached full health in the off-season and spent some time with Licey in the Dominican Winter League, posting a .212 average with a pair of home runs, seven RBI and eight stolen bases in 25 games played.

Last year, Quinn would continue to live up to his often-injured reputation, missing more than a month with an oblique strain.  He would go on to sport a .287 average with 14 doubles, six triples and six home runs while driving in 25 runs and swiping 31 bags in 71 games with Reading.  

He was then promoted to the big leagues to wrap up their regular season after Reading was eliminated from the Eastern League playoffs.  In 15 MLB games, the 23-year-old posted a .263/.373/.333 slash line.

Defensively, Quinn is primarily a center fielder.  He has a strong arm and has displayed excellent range in the outfield during his career.

At the plate, Quinn displays gap power from both sides, as he strives to work on his switch-hitting ability.  Quinn is a natural right-handed batter, but has improved greatly, seeing his OPS as a lefty hitter go from .673 with Clearwater in 2014, to .755 with Reading in 2015, to .813 with Reading last season.  He draws walks a fair amount, but will need to improve his contact in order to be best effective at the top of the order.

Coaches like Quinn's personality a great deal. He plays smart, does all he can to get on base and score runs, plus displays a solid ability to adapt to whatever is thrown his way.

On the bases, Quinn's speed returned following Achilles surgery, to where it had been prior to the injury. He sports a 78% success rate in stolen base attempts in his career and that could continue to climb as he develops better reads on pitchers.

In addition, he has a tendency to get into pitcher's heads while on the bases and can take advantage of lax infield defense with a keen ability to drop a bunt for a base hit. He seems like a potentially prototypical lead-off man.

The youngster possesses the tools to become an impact player in the majors. Look for Quinn to open the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley or on the big league team, depending on his spring campaign with the Phils.

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #8 OF Dylan Cozens

Dylan Cozens image- Jay Floyd
Outfielder Dylan Cozens entered last season as one of the Phillies' most underrated prospects.  A huge offensive year at the Double-A level helped the lefty batting slugger begin to garner some much deserved attention.

At six feet six inches tall and weighing 235 pounds, Cozens has an imposing frame that was well-suited for the grid iron, as he was a two-sport star in his high school days. 

After he was selected in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft, Cozens debuted in the minors with the rookie level Gulf Coast Phillies. In 50 games there, he notched 15 doubles, two triples, five homers and 24 RBI. Cozens also participated in the Florida Instructional League in 2012.

Following a productive spring in 2013, Cozens was retained in extended spring training and made his official season debut with the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters when they began playing in June. Cozens was among the league leaders in many categories that year, placing second in doubles (19), extra base hits (30), and runs (50) while ranking third in slugging percentage (.469). Additionally, he batted .265 with two triples, nine home runs and 35 RBI in 68 games for the 'Cutters.

In 2014, with Class A Lakewood, Cozens had a solid campaign, posting a .248 average with 16 homers and 62 RBI.  He followed that up with a great effort in the Australian Baseball League in the off-season that followed. In 45 games with Melbourne, he tallied a .255 average with eight home runs, 23 RBI and 11 steals.

The 2015 season saw Cozens opening his year with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers.  In 96 games in the Florida State League, he sported a 282/.335/.411 slash line.  Despite missing a month with a foot sprain, he earned a promotion to Double-A Reading late in the season and found the transition easy.  He batted .350 with three homers and nine RBI in 11 regular season games before continuing to contribute into the Fightins' postseason.

Cozens would spend a portion of the following off-season dealing an arm injury, but he joined the Indios in the Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico for a stretch.  In 26 regular season games there, he posted a .275 average with three home runs and nine RBI.

The ailment did not present any issues for his 2016 campaign, which saw Cozens return to Reading and earn the Eastern League's Most Valuable Player Award.  In 134 games for the Fightin Phils, the Arizona native posted a .276 batting average while leading the league in both home runs (40) and RBI (125).  He also was honored as the co-recipient of the Paul Owens Award, an annual nod for the top position player and pitcher in the Phillies developmental ranks. 

A fluid swing, considerable hand speed and plus raw power for Cozens should have him as a sure thing to reach the majors, though his pitch selection still needs work. His 186 strike outs in 586 plate appearance show much room for improvement there.  His coaches cite that he's still learning how to hit, so there is still plenty of patience related to those whiffs at this stage in his development.

On the bases, Cozens isn't as slow as some might expect of a big-bodied masher type. He has proven to be a threat on the base paths, swiping 21 bags in 22 attempts last season. He sports a 79% success rate in steal attempts as a professional and should continue to contribute with his slept-on speed.

Cozens, who has played a majority of his games in right field, has been praised for his adaptability and is a very capable fielder. He covers a very good amount of ground on defense and has a rather strong arm in the outfield.  

Look for Cozens, to open this coming season at the Triple-A level while he continues to work closely with his coaches, focusing on making a splash at the big league level in the near future.





You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #9 Second Baseman Scott Kingery

Scott Kingery, image- Jay Floyd
A second round draft choice in 2015, second baseman Scott Kingery is a talented player that many feel could be a fast moving prospect for the rebuilding Phillies.

Kingery, who was a walk-on as a freshman at Arizona, was named Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2015, in his junior season. That year, he posted a .392/.423/.561 slash line while driving in 36 runs and stealing 11 bases in 54 games as a member of the Wildcats.

In three college seasons, the right-handed batting Kingery sported a .351 batting average while driving in 80 runs and stealing 38 bases in 149 games.

Making his pro debut following the draft, the five-foot-10 180-pounder joined the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. In 66 games he tallied a .250/.314/.337 slash line while swiping 11 bags in 12 opportunities.

In 2016 Kingery opened the season with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers.  In 94 games in the Florida State League, the 22-year-old posted a .293 average with 29 doubles, three triples, three homers, 28 RBI, 60 runs scored and 26 stolen bases.  He would be honored as an All-Star.

Promoted to Double-A Reading in late July, Kingery batted .250 with two homers, 18 RBI four steals in 37 contests. 

Also, he played in the prestigious Arizona Fall League over the off-season where he was once again honored as an All-Star.  In 20 games, Kingery batted .234 with three doubles, a home run, six RBI and five stolen bases.

Phillies fans will certainly love Kingery's style of play, as he is a very exciting young player with all the right tools to become an offensive catalyst at the highest levels of the sport.  He plays the game smartly and is a gritty, blue collar type of guy. 

Coaches in the Phils' system have been impressed with the Arizona native's preparation, standing out with his game preparation and work ethic.  He's also praised for being very coachable.
Very capable with the bat, Kingery projects to be a very good hitting second baseman that has some consistent pop and can spray the ball to all fields. He is a player that can set the table for his team at the top of the lineup, a spark plug that puts together great at bats.

Speed is a key weapon for him. Very quick-footed, Kingery should be a steady stolen base threat, even against the toughest batteries.

A great defender, Kingery features excellent range and quick hands. He's an exemplary second baseman with a strong arm that can lay out on batted balls in the hole and can turn double plays with the best of them. 

The Arizona native lists Chase Utley and Ian Kinsler among players that he admired and wished to emulate in his younger days.

In big league camp early in spring training, Kingery will get some valuable experience and some well-deserved exposure.  Look for him to open the 2017 campaign back in Reading, but with some solid numbers, he could see a promotion to Triple-A by mid-season.

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Monday, February 27, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #10 Catcher Andrew Knapp

Andrew Knapp, image- Jay Floyd
Following a breakout season in 2015, catcher Andrew Knapp continued to take strides and looked to be near-ready to make a big league splash during his 2016 campaign. 

In 2013 the switch-hitting Knapp was the Phillies' 2nd round draft choice out of the University of California and made his professional debut, tallying a .253 batting average with four home runs, 23 RBI and seven steals in 62 games for the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters.

That off-season, the righty throwing Knapp required Tommy John surgery to repair a damaged elbow. He was back on the field by the following May, getting at bats, but sitting out on defense for some time to allow additional recovery for his elbow. He joined the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers during the fifth week of the season. It was mid-June by the time he would play on the defensive side of the game.

Upon joining the Threshers, Knapp struggled with the bat, posting a .157 average with a home run and seven RBI in 23 games. After a 5-for-48 (.104 avg) stretch that wrapped up on June 1st, Knapp was demoted to Class A Lakewood, where he would rebound offensively. In 75 games as a member of the BlueClaws, he posted a .290 batting average along with five homers and 25 RBI.

To open the 2015 season, Knapp returned to Clearwater and represented the team as a mid-season All-Star. In 63 games with the Threshers, the six-foot-one 190-pounder notched a .262 average with a pair of home runs and 28 RBI. By late June, Knapp was promoted to Double-A Reading, where his offensive output was on fire. In 55 games with the Fightins, he batted .360, slugging 11 homers while driving in 56 runs.

For his tremendous efforts, the man known as "The California Kid" was honored with the Paul Owens Award, which is an annual nod bestowed up the top performing offensive player and pitcher in the Phillies' developmental ranks.

During the 2015 off-season, Knapp played in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, where he put together a .235/.294/.375 slash line in 15 games and represented the Phils in the league's Fall Stars Game exhibition.

Last season, Knapp notched another All-Star nomination, this time with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.  In 107 games, the six-foot-one 195-pounder posted a .266 batting average with eight homers and 46 RBI.

Coaches praise Knapp's leadership abilities. His battery mates tend to credit Knapp with their success and praise his ability to call a game. He is described as polished and has proven to be a great captain for his pitching staff.

The 25-year-old has quick hands and uses them to drill line drives.  While his numbers from alternate sides of the plate where more even in years past, last season he appeared to have more success  when facing lefties (.772 OPS as a right-handed batter, .684 OPS as a lefty).

Overall, Knapp would not be considered a stolen bases threat, having swiped just 14 bags in 25 attempts (56% success rate) as a professional.

Knapp makes up a pair of backstops among the Phillies' top 10 prospects along with Jorge Alfaro. If both progress at a rapid pace, it may be necessary for one of them to switch positions. Knapp considers himself athletic enough to adapt to that type of change, citing his efforts on defense in the outfield and at first base during his college career. He also played some first base in the AFL in the 2015 off-season. Behind the dish, though, he has a strong arm and displays good footwork. Some critics state that receiving pitches is the area of his game that requires the most improvement, but I consider him a quality defender at the position.

Expect Knapp to return to the Triple-A level this year, but he could be first in line to take on big league duties should an injury take place or if the Phils have a vacancy behind the dish for another reason.



You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #11 OF C. Randolph

C. Randolph, image- Jay Floyd
Drafted with the 10th overall selection in the 2015 MLB amateur draft as a shortstop, C. Randolph quickly placed among the Phillies' top prospect rankings.

After being drafted out of Griffin High School in Georgia, the five-foot-11 205-pounder was converted on defense to the outfield, where he has looked comfortable and capable

During his senior season in high school, Randolph drew loads of attention from professional organizations, posting great offensive numbers with a .533 batting average, seven home runs, 33 RBI and a 1.631 OPS in 26 games, leading his team into the state tournament.

As an 18-year-old, Randolph had a tremendous professional debut in 2015, posting a .302/.425/.442 slash line in 53 games for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.

Last year as a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, Randolph sported a .274 average with two homers and 27 RBI in 63 games.  The youngster would miss more than two months of action with an injury (muscle strain in back/shoulder blade area) from April to June, but he finished the season healthy and spent time this off-season working with a strength coach as well as former big league outfielder Mike Cameron at his training center in Georgia.

Touted by Phils scouting director Johnny Almaraz as the top high school hitter in the country at the time he was drafted, Randolph was a great choice by the Phillies. Armed with a quick bat, the lefty batting Randolph has the ability to hit for average as well as power. A Clemson recruit out of high school, he is described as a patient hitter that has a good approach at the plate.


On the defensive side, Randolph has played left field exclusively. He has a strong arm and is athletic enough to display quality range in the outfield.

Speed wise, Randolph can be quick but with just 12 steals in 21 attempts in his brief professional career to date, he doesn't appear to be a runner that will strike fear into opposing batteries as a notable threat.

It'll be at least a couple years before Randolph may reach the upper levels of the sport, but once he does, he is expected to be the type of batter that will help the big league team in a significant way.




You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link

Saturday, February 25, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #12 RHP Adonis Medina

Medina, image- MiLB.com
Widely ranked among the Phillies' top prospects by many outlets, right-handed pitcher Adonis Medina has already made a name for himself at quite a young age as coaches really like his potential while Phils' brass adores his ability.

Medina is equipped with a mid-90's fastball along with a curveball and a change up that are considered to have plus potential and has used that arsenal to impress at the lower levels of the minor leagues as a teenager. 

Signed in 2014 at age 17, Medina made his pro debut that year as part of the Phillies' Dominican Summer League club.  In 11 games (two starts) he tallied a 2-3 record with a save, a 1.27 ERA and a 7.5 K/9 mark.

In 2015, the six-foot-one 185-pounder competed with the rookie level Gulf Coast League team, sporting a 3-2 record with a 2.98 ERA and a 6.9 K/9 mark in 10 games (eight starts). 

Last season, at the age of 19 he pitched with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters and was the team's opening day starter.  In 13 games, all starts, Medina tallied a 5-3 record with a 2.92 ERA along with a 4.7 K/9 mark. 

Medina is praised for having a great feel for pitching.  His fastball arrives at the plate featuring sink, helping to result in ground balls from the opposition.  Additionally, both secondary pitches are strong.  The Dominican Republic native already has the control of an elder pitcher.

His ceiling would seem to be a big league starter, but development will certainly shed more light on where among a team's starting staff he could land as a contributor.

I would expect Medina to open the 2017 campaign with the Class A full-season Lakewood BllueClaws.  He'll be 20-years-old for the entire season.

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.





Friday, February 24, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #13 RHP Alberto Tirado

Alberto Tirado, image- Jay Floyd
Right-hander Alberto Tirado has an arm that scouts can go wild for. Acquired by the Phillies from Toronto in 2015 as part of the Ben Revere trade, the talented hurler could develop into a considerable performer on the mound for the Phillies.

Despite concerns with his control, what Tirado is known better for than missing the strike zone is missing bats.  Also he clocks big numbers on radar guns as well.  Both of those mesh well to result in serious strike out numbers.

Signed by the Blue Jays in 2011, Tirado would make his professional debut as a member of their rookie level Gulf Coast League team in 2012 as a 17-year-old. In 14 games started, combined with the rookie level Appalachian League and the Gulf Coast League teams, he tallied a 3-2 record with a 2.63 ERA and a .198 batting average against.

He returned to the Appalachian League the following season posting a 3-0 record with a 1.68 ERA and an 8.2 K/9 mark in 12 games (eight starts).

In 2014, splitting time between Class A short-season Vancouver and Class A Lansing, the Dominican Republic native posted a combined 2-2 record with a 5.00 ERA and a 9.0 K/9 mark in 30 appearances (10 starts).

He was honored as a Class A Advanced Florida State League All-Star as a member of the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2015. In 31 games there, pitching strictly in relief, Tirado sported a 4-3 record with three saves, a 3.23 ERA and a .213 batting average against while striking out 61 and walking 35 in 61 1/3 innings.

After he was dealt to the Phillies, as a member of the Clearwater Threshers, also in the FSL, he notched a 1-0 record with a 0.56 ERA and a .130 BAA. His strike out numbers were his usual dominant style (16 K’s in 16 innings), but he also walked quite a bit with 18 free passes issued.

Last season, the six-foot 180-pounder opened the season with Class A Lakewood as a reliever.  Following some missed time in May when he was assigned to the extended spring training roster, he appeared for a brief stint out of the bullpen with Clearwater, but would later return to Lakewood in order to gain experience as a starter, which worked out extremely well. Over 11 regular season outings in the rotation, Tirado posted a 7-1 record with a 2.19 ERA, a .195 BAA and an exceptional 14.0 K/9 mark.

In the postseason last year for the BlueClaws, Tirado was winless, however, going 0-1 in two starts, allowing three earned runs over nine innings.

Tirado’s offerings are described as electric. His repertoire features a fastball that has steadily been clocked in the upper 90’s, touching triple digits with some regularity. His slider and change up have great potential. The slider already compliments the fastball well, getting swings-and-misses with great movement.

On the mound, Tirado keeps things simple with his delivery, getting a good load and repeating his mechanics with ease.  

The youngster’s pitching coach with Lakewood last season, former big leaguer Brian Sweeney, cites Tirado’s mental toughness and ability to dictate the pace of the game on the mound as some of his strengths.

Last off-season I had Tirado pegged as a serious bullpen contributor at the big league level down the line, but if he continues on the path he was on last year, he could be destined for the Phillies’ starting rotation.

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #14 RHP Sixto Sanchez

Sixto Sanchez, image- BaseballBetsy
Right-handed hurler Sixto Sanchez made a big impression last year, proving himself worthy of soaring quickly on many prospect lists and is regarded currently as one of the Phillies' most promising pitching talents.

The Domincan Republic native signed for a reported $35,000 at the age of 16.  He would begin his professional career in 2015 as a member of the Phils' Dominican Summer League team.  In 11 appearances (two starts), the youngster posted a 1-2 record with a 4.56 ERA and a .291 batting average against. 

As a member of the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies last summer, the six-foot 185-pounder made 11 starts, posting impressive numbers.  In 54 innings, Sanchez allowed just three earned runs, good for a 0.50 ERA.  Additionally, to go along with his undefeated 5-0 record, he would tally a .181 BAA with a 44-to-8 strike out-to-walk ratio.

The success he enjoyed in the GCL came while facing batters that were mostly multiple years older than he was, as Sanchez was only 17-years-old until July 29th.

The talented Sanchez is equipped with a rave-worthy repertoire, including a mid-to-upper-90's fastball with sink.  He also sports very solid secondary offerings with nice upside...a reliable curve ball that features good movement as well as a consistent change up.

Sanchez is said to be quite athletic and can field his position well.  He was mainly a shortstop prior to signing with the Phillies.

Expect Sanchez to be part of the Class A Lakewood rotation when the 2017 gets started in April. 

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #15 RHP Nick Pivetta

Nick Pivetta, image- Jay Floyd
Valued by the team that acquired him in 2015 in a trade for the organization’s all-time saves leader Jonathan Papelbon, right-hander Nick Pivetta used a successful campaign last year to launch himself into consideration as a rising commodity among the Phillies' collection of top pitching prospects.

A 4th round draft selection in 2013 by Washington, Pivetta would debut as a pro with the Nationals’ Gulf Coast League team, sporting a 1-0 record and a 2.13 ERA in four appearances. He would later be promoted to Auburn of the New York-Penn League that year. In five starts there, he would post a 0-1 record with a 3.38 ERA while striking out 17 and walking 11 in 21 1/3 innings.

The following season with Hagerstown of the Class A South Atlantic League Pivetta would post a 13-8 record with a 4.22 ERA, a .277 batting average against as well as a 6.7 K/9 mark in 26 outings (25 starts).

In 2015, he opened his campaign with Potomac of the Class A Advanced Carolina League. In 15 appearances (14 starts), Pivetta had a 7-4 record, a 2.29 ERA and a .225 BAA. He would earn a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg where he did not look great, going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA prior to the swap.

After joining the Phillies, Pivetta would stay in the Double-A Eastern League on the Reading roster. He continued to struggle, recording a 7.31 ERA in seven starts there.

Pivetta opened his first full season in the Phillies’ organization in 2016 looking to bounce back with Reading and he definitely did. Through 22 starts for the Fightins, the six-foot-five 220-pounder posted an 11-6 record with a 3.41 ERA, a .235 batting average against as well as an 8.0 K/9 mark. He was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to close out the season, tallying a 1-2 record with a 2.55 ERA in five regular season starts.

The British Columbia native can bring the heat with his fastball, regularly clocking in the 95-96  MPH range. He serves up quality breaking balls from his arsenal, said to be separately a slider and a curve. His change up can assist with keeping batters guessing, but could use some refinement, per scouting reports.

With the Phils, Pivetta went through some mechanical changes that took some time to get used to.  Coaches say he matured a considerable amount over his first full year with his new organization.

Where Pivetta can continue to improve the most is with thinking ahead and having a plan on the mound. Learning from the Phillies' big league staff and guest instructors like Brad Lidge in spring training could certainly be beneficial to the youngster as well.

He is also set to participate in the World Baseball Classic with Team Canada along side veteran hurlers Eric Gagne and John Axford as well as former Phillies Adam Loewen and Scott Mathieson.  The WBC will definitely be another great learning opportunity for Pivetta.

A taste of relief this spring could be helpful exposure, so the player and the organization can see what other options they may have going forward.

For those that may regard Pivetta as a sleeper prospect, Pivetta’s manager with Reading last year, Dusty Wathan, feels that Pivetta deserves as much attention as all of the more highly regarded guys within the Phils’ system.

Look for Pivetta back with the IronPigs to open the 2017 season.  

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #16 LHP Elniery Garcia

Elniery Garcia, image- Jay Floyd
Elniery Garcia is one of the Phillies' most prominent pitching prospects and possibly the top southpaw among the organization's rising performers.

Signed as a 17-year-old in 2011, Garcia would open his professional career in the Dominican Summer League the following year, sporting a 2-1 record with a 4.18 ERA and a .253 batting average against in eight appearances.

The following year, he pitched in the rookie level Gulf Coast League posting a 1-3 record with a 5.15 ERA and a .291 BAA in nine starts.

In 2014, the progressing Garcia would split his time in the GCL and with the short-season Class A Williamsport team.  In 11 combined games (four starts), he tallied a 2-2 record with a 2.64 ERA and a .254 BAA while striking out 28 and walking six in 30 2/3 innings.

He would debut in full season ball the following year with Class A Lakewood.  In 21 starts for the BlueClaws,Garcia notched an 8-9 record with a 3.21 ERA, a .275 BAA as well as a 5.0 K/9 mark.

Last season, the six-foot tall 155-pounder stepped up and looked more like a standout talent.  In 20 games (19 starts) as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, en route to being honored as a Florida State League All-Star,  he posted a 12-4 record with a 2.68 ERA, a .219 BAA along with a 7.0 K/9 mark.

The left-hander would make his Double-A debut with Reading in the post-season last year, collecting a win in the Eastern League division series against Trenton.  In six innings of work, he surrendered three runs (two earned) while striking out four and walking one.

Garcia's repertoire includes a solid three-pitch mix.  In previous seasons, his fastball resided mainly in the low-90's but saw some added zip in 2016 getting up to 95 MPH on multiple occasions.  His curveball looks to be a go-to offering with good, sweeping movement.  His change up appeared to be a pitch    that the youngster focused on improving, as it's key for starters to have a good collection of offerings.

In his career, Garcia has added strength and has shown steady improvements.  Members of the coaching staff have praised his ability to work through difficult spots and they like his mental toughness.

A member of the Phils' 40-man roster, Garcia is set to get some exposure with the big club during spring training.

He'll pitch the entire 2017 season as a 22-year-old and would likely return to the Reading rotation to open the year. 

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #17 RHP Ben Lively

Ben Lively, image- Jay Floyd
Right-hander Ben Lively notched a highly successful season last year, helping to garner loads of attention as one of the Phillies' most promising young pitching prospects.

Originally selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, Lively would begin his pro career as a member of the rookie level Billings Mustangs in the Reds organization. In 12 starts that year the talented hurler posted a 0-3 record with a 0.73 ERA and an 11.9 K/9 mark. He was promoted to Class A Dayton to close out the season with a single start, allowing one earned run in four innings of work while striking out seven and walking one.

This was fresh off his junior season at the University of Central Florida where, in 15 games, he went 7-5 with a 2.04 ERA and an 8.6 K/9 mark as the team’s ace.

Lively would follow up his exceptional year by becoming the Reds’ minor league player of the year in 2014. Opening his first full professional season with Class A Advanced Bakersfield, Lively tallied a 10-1 record with a 2.28 ERA, a .201 batting average against along with a 10.8 K/9 mark in 13 starts. A stretch of 31 consecutive scoreless innings as a member of the Blaze got Lively some considerable attention and he was selected as a California League All-Star.

In mid-June, he was promoted to his hometown Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. There, he would sport a 3-6 record with a 3.88 ERA, a .232 batting average against and a 9.5 K/9 mark.

On New Years Eve 2014 Lively was traded to Philadelphia for OF Marlon Byrd.

After joining the Phils organization, he was assigned to the Double-A Reading Fightins' to open the 2015 season. The six-foot-four 190-pounder posted an 8-7 record with a 4.13 ERA and a 6.9 K/9 mark in 25 starts there. He missed a couple turns in the rotation in August with a shoulder strain.

He would open the 2016 campaign back with Reading and his numbers there were gleaming. In nine starts, the 24-year-old tallied a 7-0 record with a 1.87 ERA and a .185 batting average against, showing he had nothing left to accomplish in the Eastern League. An overdue promotion to Triple-A came in late May.

As a member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs last year, Lively posted an 11-5 record with a 3.06 ERA and a .196 BAA in 19 starts. He looked excellent down the stretch, helping his club reach the International League playoffs, sporting a 1.66 ERA over his last seven regular season starts.

A big key for Lively in 2016 was working ahead in the count, getting strike one consistently.

The Florida native’s repertoire features a low-90’s fastball, a quality slider, a change up and a curve ball. The fastball plays better than the velocity can indicate, as batters don’t often see the ball well when Lively is on his game. All of his offerings come with a deceptive delivery which helps the young hurler and he proved to be very consistent with all of his offerings last year.

Lively projects to remain a starter and should return to the IronPigs' rotation to open the 2017 season. A member of the Phils' 40-man roster, Lively will get a fair look with the big club in spring training.

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link