Skip to main content

Prospect Nation 2016 Countdown Prelude

The dawn of a near year brings along with it our annual “Prospect Nation” rankings, which counts down the Phillies organization’s top 25 up and coming young players. Over the next several weeks, with the organization in rebuild mode, I’ll be bringing you reviews for each of the top developmental talents that appear to have the brightest futures for the Phillies.

Always taken into consideration when compiling this list is age, minor league performance relative to levels played, value to the organization as well as future potential and proximity to the big leagues.

These rankings do not include players over 25 years old or individuals that have spent lengthy stretches in the big leagues.

For instance, a talented youngster such as Darnell Sweeney, who wrapped up the regular season on the Major League roster after having played in 37 games for the Phils last year, will not be on this list. Hurlers Alec Asher and Severino Gonzalez, who each made seven starts in the majors last season, are also excluded from the list.

Players who garnered consideration for the countdown but missed the list include a very good collection of right-handed pitchers.

RHP Nick Pivetta was the trade return from Washington for reliever Jonathan Papelbon last summer. He has a promising arm, but posted a 7.27 ERA in 10 starts at the Double-A level last year after tallying a 2.29 ERA through 15 games (14 starts) in the Class A Advanced Carolina League. Pivetta's ceiling is very likely the majors, but the manner in which he'll perform there could range from David Buchanan in 2014, who went from unranked on this list to notching a 3.75 ERA in 20 big league appearances that year, to Buchanan in 2015, who looked like he didn't belong in the majors when he sported a 6.99 ERA in 15 games started with the Phillies last season.

RHP Adonis Medina is a 19-year-old Dominican that many insiders believe has big upside. Still years away from upper levels of professional baseball, Medina already hits mid-90's with his fastball and has impressed scouts with the potential of his secondary offerings (a curve and a change up). In 10 games (eight starts) at the rookie level Gulf Coast League last year, the six-foot-one 185-pounder posted a 3-2 record with a 2.98 ERA and a 6.9 K/9 mark.

RHP Alexis Rivero looked solid as a closer with Class A Lakewood last year (3-0 record, 2.62 ERA, seven saves in 25 games) and earned a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater (1-2, 2.67, three saves in 16 games). The 21-year-old Venezuelan shows an ability to hit upper-90's on the radar gun, which, paired with his excellent slider, is great for a late inning reliever. I would anticipate Rivero getting a look at the Double-A level this year.

RHP Shane Watson was the Phillies' top draft selection (40th overall) in 2012. After missing two full seasons with shoulder issues, he made it back to the mound this past summer. With Class A Lakewood, the 22-year-old notched a 1-5 record with a 4.53 ERA in 11 starts. His control needed refinement, as he struck out 34 and walked 25 in 47 2/3 innings. Watson, who clocked 96 MPH with his fastball late in the season, was likely still getting used to pitching with his surgically repaired shoulder as well as his bulked up frame which now can be measured around 240 pounds, up from his pre-surgery bio listing of 200 pounds. Look for Watson in the Clearwater rotation this year.

Additionally, several youngsters that made last year's list and remain in the organization have slipped from the top 25. Much of that shifting has to do with the manner in which the Phillies have beefed up their farm system and less to do with backwards progress from following players.

LHP Jesse Biddle has been battling injuries for some time. He sat out several weeks in 2014 with a concussion and most recently the Phillies' 1st round draft pick from 2010 has undergone Tommy John surgery to repair his damaged elbow. The 24-year-old made it to Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year, posting a 2-4 record with a 6.25 ERA in nine starts there. He is expected to miss the entire 2016 campaign while he recovers.

2B Jesmuel Valentin was suspended last season related to legal matters that have since been resolved The 21-year-old is still very promising, as he posted a .273/.351/.424 slash line in 31 games to close out the season with Clearwater last year. The switch-hitter is playing in Puerto Rico this off-season to make up for missed time on the diamond.

3B Zach Green has displayed plenty of raw power in his career thus far, but he didn't make progress in 2015, after missing much of the season with a broken left wrist. In 26 games for Clearwater last year, the 21-year-old righty batter sported a .173 average with a home run and seven RBI. Look for Green, the Phillies' 3rd round pick from 2012, to return to full health this year and, hopefully, get his swing back.

OF Cam Perkins reached Triple-A Lehigh Valley in his second full pro season in 2014, but wasn't convincing with his efforts there, as he posted a .216/.259/.298 slash line in 74 games. Last year, back at Double-A Reading, he sported a .252 average with 11 homers and 51 RBI. Perkins is a smart ball player that will likely get another shot at Triple-A this year. The righty batting 25-year-old was the Phils' 6th round draft choice in 2012.

OF Aaron Brown had a good season for Clearwater last year, batting .257 with 11 home runs, 47 RBI and 10 steals in 110 games there, then posted a .627 OPS in 13 games in the prominent Arizona Fall League this off-season. The 23-year-old also pitched in college at Pepperdine prior to the Phils making him their 3rd round draft pick in 2014, but his hit tool is serious and he's strictly an outfielder now. With a big time ability to hit hard and drive the ball, look for the lefty batter to re-enter the top 25 soon and to spend time at the Double-A level this year. For me, Brown was the player I had the most difficulty leaving out of this year's countdown.

In the coming weeks, check back here often for the unveiling of this year’s countdown of the top 25 ranked prospects within the Phillies organization.

Follow this year's full prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

This Guy Speaks For All of You

This individual, interviewed by FOX 29 on Friday as the Phillies arrived back at Citizens Bank Park, said it best. When asked how he felt regarding the Phillies, he told Steve Keeley that he was, "Stoked, baby!" The unidentified phanatic then proclaimed, "We are talking about the Fightins here, the Fightins! Said!" Check out the media player below, as the transcribed version certainly does not do this phireball of phandom justice. The Phillies forced game 6 of the National League Championship Series with a 4-2 victory over the Giants in San Francisco on Thursday night. Game 6 will feature Roy Oswalt vs. Jonathan Sanchez in a return pitching match up from game 2. First pitch is scheduled for 7:57 pm EST at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Be sure to tune in on 97.3 ESPN's Weekend Sports Guide with Tyrone Johnson this afternoon around 1:15pm to hear me chatting about the Phillies! 97.3 is based in Atlantic City. You can listen live online HERE . _________

Who is Your Favorite Willie 'Mays' Hayes?

PhoulBallz.com is wondering which individual who has portrayed Willie "Mays" Hayes is the favorite of the public. Hayes, of course, is the character made famous in the Major League motion picture series. In Major League , Willie "Mays" Hayes was portrayed by budding Hollywood actor Wesley Snipes, who would go on to action movie superstardom. Snipes has starred in major motion pictures like the Blade trilogy, Passenger 57 , Undisputed and many more. Snipes remains an impact Hollywood actor, despite legal troubles related to income tax evasion. Snipes was replaced for the sequel, Major League II when his busy career, and possibly the film's budget, would not allow him to return, by Omar Epps. Another budding actor, Epps had previously worked with director David S. Ward, on the film The Program , and landed the role of Hayes, who had become a Hollywood action star over the off-season that occured between the two films. Epps' career portraying athletes rol

Wassup with dat? Vito Friscia edition

Friscia, image- Jay Floyd What's up with that Vito Friscia guy?  Well, he's a 24-year-old righty batting catcher that was drafted by the Phillies out of Hofstra University in 2019 with the team's final selection, 1200th overall, in the 40th round. But what's his deal?  Friscia opened the season with Class A Advanced Jersey Shore, where, in 16 games, he notched a .264 batting average with a pair of home runs, five doubles and seven RBI.  Last week, when Triple-A Lehigh Valley needed a reserve backstop, Friscia was promoted to fill their void.  When Rafael Marchan returned from a short stint in the big leagues, Friscia was assigned to the Double-A Reading roster.   Is he just a backup catcher?  For now, it seems that's his role.  But check out this quote from BlueClaws skipper Chris Adamson from earlier this month when I asked him about which player stood out to him as a guy that deserved recognition, but may not be getting it. "Vito Friscia is a guy that, earl