Monday, March 26, 2018

2018 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #1 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 is primed to make an impact very soon with the 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 a Florida State League All-Star.

Following a promotion to Double-A Reading, Kingery batted .250 with two homers and 18 RBI.  He played in the Arizona Fall League that off-season as well, representing the Phillies in that league's All-Star Game.

Kingery began the 2017 campaign with Reading. In 69 games there, he would sport a .313 batting average with 18 home runs, 44 RBI and 19 stolen bases. Following a promotion in June, the 23-year-old moved up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. With the IronPigs, Kingery batted .294 with eight home runs, 21 RBI and 10 steals.

He also represented the Phillies in the annual MLB All-Star Futures Game last year and was honored as the offensive Paul Owens Award winner, an award given to the top performers in the Phils minor league system each year.

Additionally, he was one of nine recipients of a minor league Gold Glove Award last year. That should speak volumes about the gleaming defense he displays on the field. He has also seen action at third base and shortstop during this year’s spring training season after playing some third with Lehigh Valley.

The five-foot-10 180-pounder swings a bat that flashes consistent contact and quite a bit of pop. Coaches praise Kingery’s work ethic and they like that he is a student of the game.

Kingery is definitely a stolen base threat. With above average speed, Kingery could really enhance his offensive efforts by contributing on the bases.


He has been excellent in spring training this year, make considerable contributions with the big club.  Through 21 games, Kingery has a .418 average with five home runs and eight RBI.  The output has impressed the Phillies so much that they signed Kingery to a six-year contract, with options for three additional seasons, before he has even played a regular season big league game.

The re-build in Philadelphia is approaching completion and Kingery is now locked in as a major part of that.


You can keep track of this year's Phillies prospect countdown at this link.

Friday, March 23, 2018

2018 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #2 RHP Sixto Sanchez

Sixto Sanchez, image- Jay Floyd
Hefty impressions were made in 2017 by right-handed pitcher Sixto Sanchez.  The Dominican native proved why many people that had seen him pitch at the lowest of the minor leagues' levels were high on his potential.  He's now widely ranked as the Phillies' top pitching prospect.

Sanchez signed with the Phils for a reported $35,000 at the age of 16.  He would begin his professional career in 2015 as a member of the Phillies' Dominican Summer League team.  In 11 appearances (two starts), the talented hurler 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 in 2016, the six-foot 185-pounder made 11 starts, posting impressive numbers.  In 54 innings, Sanchez allowed just three earned runs, to post a remarkable 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 that summer.


Last season, Sanchez opened the campaign with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.  He would miss a month or so due to a reported neck strain from May to June, but still dominated the league.  In 13 starts there, Sanchez sported a 5-2 record with a 2.41 ERA and a .191 BAA.

He was promoted to join Class A Advanced Clearwater's starting rotation in August.  With the Threshers, Sanchez would notch a 0-4 record with a 4.55 ERA and a .252 BAA in five outings.

Overall for the year, in his combined efforts for Lakewood and Clearwater, Sanchez put together an 8.0 K/9 mark.

A shortstop as a youth player, Sanchez has made quite the conversion to the pitchers mound.  The skilled youngster is equipped with a rave-worthy repertoire, including an upper-90's fastball that gets into triple digits and features sink.  He also sports very good secondary offerings with exceptional upside...a reliable curve ball that has some nice movement as well as a standout change up.

Coaches really find his feel for pitching as a major asset for his future.  Those same individuals in charge of Sanchez's development cite his work ethic and approach at the ball park as praise worthy aspects.  He's someone that embraces his tasks and loves to get better.

Sanchez worked last year to add and subtract from his offerings, instead of letting them rip each time.  This will help him become a more complete pitcher and keep the opposition guessing.

With his workload limited to this point in his career, soon it will be time to really stretch out the 19-year-old's arm and boost his innings to a true full-season level.


It's likely that Sanchez will be assigned to Clearwater to open the 2018 season.  As one of the organization's most promising young talents, it's not too far fetched to think that he could get some time at the Double-A level before the season is out.

The ceiling for Sanchez is to one day lead the Phillies' big league rotation.  An estimated time of arrival for a big league audition for that duty could come by next year.


You can keep track of this year's Phillies prospect countdown at this link.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

2018 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #3 OF Adam Haseley

Adam Haseley, image- Jay Floyd
Last year's first round draft pick, outfielder Adam Haseley, is a promising young talent that the Phillies have very high hopes for. 

Selected with the 8th overall pick, Haseley signed for a reported $5.1 million. A two-way player in college, Haseley was a very reliable pitcher and was an offensive standout at Virginia.

Upon making his pro debut, the lefty batting Haseley went 7-for-12 in three games with the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.

He was swiftly promoted to short-season Class A Williamsport. With the Crosscutters, Haseley posted a .270 batting average with nine doubles, two home runs and 18 RBI in 37 contests.

Another promotion was in order and Haseley wrapped up the regular season with the full season Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.  In 18 games, he would tally a .258 average with three doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBI.

Following the regular season, the six-foot-one 195-pounder participated in the Florida Instructional League, learning from Phillies coaches and organization mates that he had not gotten exposure with until that point.  He also attended mini-camps that the Phils put on for strength and speed development in Clearwater.

While there, Haseley met former Phils hurler Roy Halladay the week of his death.  Halladay gave the youngster multiple books and offered lessons from his own playing days to to help with his mental approach to being an athlete.

Coaches like Haseley's ability to hit to all fields.  He features excellent bat speed and touts an inside-out swing.

Haseley, who turns 22 years old on April 12th, has drawn comparisons to Jacoby Elsbury throughout his playing career.  Haseley also was a fan of Elsbury's game while watching baseball throughout his youth.

On the bases, Haseley hasn't shown exemplary speed so far in his pro career, stealing six bases in 11 attempts.  Though, he is said to have above average speed.

Defensively, Haseley has played mostly center field, but he spent some time in left field as well once he joined the Lakewood team.  He shows very good range and has a strong arm to keep runners from taking too many liberties. 

Loaded with potential, Haseley should find himself opening the 2018 season with Class A Advanced Clearwater.

Haseley may be a few years away from making a true splash at the Major League level, but until he gets there, he is definitely a prospect worth keeping an eye on.


You can keep track of this year's Phillies prospect countdown at this link.

Friday, March 16, 2018

2018 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #4 OF Mickey Moniak

Mickey Moniak, image- Jay Floyd
Taken with the first overall selection in the 2016 MLB amateur draft, outfielder Mickey Moniak has garnered loads of attention with many eyes watching closely, in hopes he can live up to the high expectations that come with being such a high pick.

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 sported a .284 batting average with 11 doubles, four triples, a home run and 28 RBI.  He also 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.

In 2017, as a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, Moniak tallied a .236 batting average with five home runs, 44 RBI and 11 stolen bases.  Coaches were pleased with the 19-year-old's output for the Claws, despite some fans already feeling like he is a bust based on last year's production.  Progress throughout the season was there in the eyes of the Phillies even though Moniak's stats (.721 first half OPS vs. .525 second half OPS) didn't prove the point.

His hitting coach last year, Nelson Prada, suggested that perhaps Moniak was chasing pitches out of the zone at times, due to statistical struggles impacting his approach.

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

Described as a natural on the baseball field Moniak has the make up to be a strong performer that leads by example and showed enough last year, competing against much older pitchers with college experience, that coaches are confident he's still going to hit very well as a professional.

Moniak is a great contributor on defense as well, displaying solid range and a strong arm in center field.

He won't be the quickest player on most teams, but he will be speedy enough to help out with some steals.

It's possible Moniak will open the coming season back with Lakewood, but could move up to Class A Advanced Clearwater this year.


You can keep track of this year's Phillies prospect countdown at this link.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Major rule change in the minors

Image- Jay Floyd
The national pastime is changing.  At least at the developmental level for affiliated professional teams.

In a rule change announced by Minor League Baseball on Wednesday, all extra innings will start with a runner on second base.

The goal with the rule adjustment is to expedite games and reduce any over-usage of pitchers.

Specifics on the announcement from MiLB are listed below.

The runner at second base will be the player in the batting order position previous to the lead-off batter of the inning (or a substitute for that player). By way of example, if the number five hitter in the batting order is due to lead off the 10th inning, the number four player in the batting order (or a pinch-runner for such player) shall begin the inning on second base. Any runner or batter removed from the game for a substitute shall be ineligible to return to the game, as is the case in all circumstances under the Official Baseball Rules.

The extra inning rule change was tested in rookie level leagues (Gulf Coast League and the Arizona League) in 2017.  Also, the World Baseball Classic used the guideline in its tournament last year as well.

Reactions from fans regarding the modification throughout the minors haven't been good.  Baseball purists have expressed concern with alterations to the tradition of the game.  Others worry that the update will reach the big leagues at some point.  A certain spouse of mine, upon hearing the news of virtual ghost runners being inserted into a contest, asked if adding the 10-run rule, common in children's games, was next on the agenda.

In years past I have talked with Phillies minor leagues coaches that have advocated for an innings limit, with overall health and development concerns in mind.  Following a stretch in 2015 when Double-A Reading played into extra innings for three straight days, playing 45 innings and having to use three position players on the mound, coach Mickey Morandini expressed an interest in seeing games ruled a tie.

"I don't see a reason why there can't be a tie in the minor leagues," Morandini a former big league All-Star that went on to also coach in the majors, said at the time.  "They're really not going to affect anything really.  So, I hope it's being talked about a little bit.  I hope it doesn't come down to position players start getting hurt before they start making decisions and changing their minds and coming up with something to alleviate having to throw position players in a game."

Current players contacted for feedback were reserved with their replies, expressing minimal opinions on the matter.  However, former players with no worries about how their opinions will land on the ears of higher-ups in their organization were far more open.

Former reliever Stephen Shackleford, who set the Reading Fightins Phils' saves record in 2015, was outspoken on the matter.

"Honesty, I think it's stupid.  They keep trying to change the game to make it quicker.  This is completely changing the game.  It's no longer just a (pitch clock) to follow.  It is now a whole new rule that is changing baseball.  My opinion is if the game is too long for you, it's not for you and you're never going to get those viewers," Shackleford asserted.

Another former Phillies minor league reliever, lefty Zach Morris, also doesn't necessarily care for the new rule.

"I understand why they would propose this but at the same time it's taking away from the excitement of extra innings," Morris said.  "Some of the most exciting games I have been a part of have come on super late inning walk-offs and I feel that, as a fan, it would be less exciting starting with someone on base."

Additional changes to the minor league rule book for the coming season include a 15-second pitch timers for hurlers when there are no runners on base.  If the pitcher fails to begin his wind up in the time permitted, the batter will be awarded a ball.  Previously in the minors, the pitch clock was in place only when runners were on base.

Also there is a limitation on mound visits by coaches and position players, with Triple-A clubs allowed six total visits per team, Double-A clubs allowed eight visits per team and full-season Class A teams will be allowed 10 visits per team.

With the minors and its players serving as the testing ground for these rules, it'll be easier to adopt such changes at the top level at some point.  The pitch clock, in some fashion, will likely be the first rule change to graduate and reach the big leagues.  Until then, head on out to a minor league game and see the alterations to the game you love for yourself.

Monday, March 12, 2018

2018 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #5 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 hurler looks to be pushing his way toward making an impact in the big leagues.

Signed by the Phillies as an international free agent in 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 post a 3-1 record with a 3.12 ERA and a .235 batting average against in 11 appearances. 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 when their season began in June. 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.

In 2016 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.

Last season, Kilome would notch a 6-4 record with a 2.59 ERA and a .264 BAA in 19 starts for Class A Advanced Clearwater.  In August, he was promoted to Double-A Reading to wrap up the season.  In five games, Kilome had a 1-3 record with a 3.64 ERA.  Overall last season, his K/9 mark was at 7.3.

His arsenal features a dominant upper-90's fastball that can get up to 100 MPH. Kilome also tosses an excellent curve ball and a solid change up that tends to fool opponents. 

Having walked 3.6 batters per nine innings in his professional career, the 22-year-old has plenty of room for improvement on that front.  Refining his command could be the main difference maker for how much Kilome can succeed at the upper levels of the sport.

Kilome has a slim six-foot-six 175-pound frame.  He's durable and could certainly still add some muscle.

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

A member of the Phillies' 40-man roster, Kilome has gotten some time with the big club in spring training.  It is likely that he will open the 2018 back with Reading with Triple-A on the horizon.


You can keep track of this year's Phillies prospect countdown at this link.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

2018 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #6 OF Jhailyn Ortiz

Jhailyn Ortiz, image- MiLB.com
The Phillies signed outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz at the age of 16 for a reported $4 million.  Teams don't make that sort of investment or shell out the largest signing bonus for an international player in organization history without a boat load of high hopes.  It seems the talented youngster is well on his way to living up to those expectations.

The powerful Dominican Republic native made his regular season pro debut as a member of the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2016.  In 47 games there, Ortiz batted .231 with eight home runs, 27 RBI and eight stolen bases.

In 2017 Ortiz was with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters.  He sported a .302 batting average with 15 doubles, a triple, eight homers and 30 RBI in 47 contests.  Having turned 19 years old in November, he was among the youngest players in the New York-Penn League last year.  His .961 OPS would have been good enough to lead the league if he has notched enough plate appearances to qualify.

Ortiz, a righty batter, features boast-worthy power with plus potential. He can knock the ball out of any park he plays in and has the ability to hit to all fields.  He took strides toward becoming a more complete hitter, as was evidenced by the 71-point jump in his average from the previous campaign.  He makes excellent contact, barrelling up the ball in all areas of the strike zone.

Last season, working on plate discipline was key for Ortiz, as the Phils want to see him reduce his strike outs. At roughly a 26% strike out rate in the minors, he has a lot of work ahead to improve in that aspect.

On top of all the offensive praise, he also is a quality defender with a strong arm.  He has played strictly right field in the minors to date.

As a base runner, Ortiz likely will not be a regular stolen base threat, but he is quick-footed enough that he won't be a detriment to his club.

Listed at six-feet-three and 215 pounds, Ortiz is a strapping young man and could add even more strength as he progresses in the professional ranks.

Coaches think Ortiz is a special talent with a very bright future.  He'll likely be in the middle of the lineup for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws for much of this coming season.


You can keep track of this year's Phillies prospect countdown at this link.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

2018 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #7 RHP Drew Anderson

Drew Anderson, image- Jay Floyd
Righty hurler Drew Anderson earned a brief call up to the big leagues last season and is deservedly regarded as a valuable prospect in the Phillies system.  The promising 23-year-old is certainly a name that Phils fans should be familiar with by now.


The Reno, NV native was selected in the 21st round of the 2012 draft out of high school.  Upon turning pro, Anderson posted a 1-1 record with a 4.76 ERA in eight appearances with the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.

The following year, his first full season as a pro, Anderson tallied a 6-3 record with a 2.00 ERA, a .214 batting average against and a 6.4 K/9 mark in 15 starts as a member of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters.

In 2014, the six-feet-three 185-pounder posted a 4-4 record with a 4.68 ERA, a .266 batting average against and a 9.4 K/9 mark in eight starts for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.  He would miss time that year with an elbow strain and returned to action rehabbing with the GCL team in July but would miss the remainder of the season following a setback.

Rest and rehab did not do the trick and when pain returned in his elbow the following spring, Tommy John surgery took place in early April to repair his ulnar collateral ligament.

After missing the entire 2015 season, Anderson returned to action in late May 2016 after some rehab appearances in extended spring training.

As a member of the BlueClaws, Anderson would sport a 1-3 record with a 3.38 ERA, a .220 batting average against as well as a 10 K/9 mark in seven starts.  He would earn a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater where he continued to stand out. 

Upon joining the Threshers, he was the starter in a game in which the team notched a combined no-hitter.  For the Threshers in eight starts, Anderson put together a 2-1 record with a 1.93 ERA, a .217 BAA and a 10.2 K/9 mark.

In 2017, Anderson impressed with Double-A Reading, sporting a 9-4 record with a 3.59 ERA and a 7.2 K/9 mark.  Those overall numbers were good enough to earn him an All-Star nod, but his efforts early on were lackluster.  He tallied an 8.59 ERA in four April starts.  Following that, his ERA at that level was 2.81.  

Anderson would earn a promotion to the majors for two relief outings that didn't go very well (he allowed five earned runs in 1 1/3 innings) in August. Additionally, he wrapped up his regular season and went into the playoffs with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, allowing four earned runs and striking out 11 in 12 2/3 innings.

Prior to the surgery to repair his elbow, Anderson was mostly known as a control pitcher.  However, with conditioning work and improved strength in his lower half, he was able to add velocity following his return from injury.  Reports had him touching 97 MPH with his fastball at multiple times in 2016, regularly clocking in the mid-90's.

Also in his pitch repertoire are a very good curve ball that can miss a lot of bats and an improving change up that Anderson has worked to improve.

Locating pitches and his command will continue to be a plus for Anderson.  Coaches want to see him work to refine his pitches and improve his game calling.

The intangibles are what the organization likes about him the most.  Anderson is a focused and determined pitcher.  He is tough, wants to compete and loves to learn about the sport that is his career.

Anderson says he gauges his own success simply based on if he feels healthy the day after he pitches and if his team won.  His statistics, velocity and other things that key in reviewing baseball talent aren't details that he keeps tabs on at all.

With a bit of big league exposure under his belt, the talented youngster should be ready to contribute on a larger scale soon.


You can keep track of this year's Phillies prospect countdown at this link.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

2018 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #8 RHP Enyel De Los Santos

Image- MiLB.com
Acquired over the off-season in a one-for-one trade that sent Freddy Galvis to San Diego, Enyel De Los Santos is a talented hurler that instantly landed among the Phillies' top pitching prospects.

A native of the Dominican Republic, De Los Santos signed with Seattle at the age of 18.  He would make his professional debut in 2015 in the Rookie level Arizona League. There, he posted a 3-0 record with a 2.55 ERA in five starts.  The righty earned a promotion to Class A short-season Everett where he would notch a 3-0 record with a 4.06 ERA through eight starts.

During the following off-season, he was traded to the Padres in a deal for Joaquin Benoit. 

In 2016, making his debut in the Padres organization, De Los Santos would open the season with Class A Ft. Wayne.  In 11 appearances (seven starts), he tallied a 3-2 record with a 2.91 ERA and a .199 batting average against.  

De Los Santos was promoted to Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore in June.  As a member of the Storm rotation he would sport a 5-3 record with a 4.35 ERA and a 6.8 K/9 mark in 15 starts.

In 2017, he moved up to Double-A San Antonio.  There, he posted a 10-6 record with a 3.78 ERA, an 8.3 K/9 mark as well as a .237 BAA.  De Los Santos improved greatly as the season went on, seeing his 4.92 ERA in the first half improve after tallying a 2.75 ERA following the All-Star break.

Listed at six-foot-three and 170-pounds, the 22-year-old features a fastball that regularly clocks around 94-95 MPH and features sink to help draw ground ball outs.  Additionally, he offers a curve ball, a solid change up along with a nice slider that can present concern if he hangs it for the opposition. The slider was a new addition to his repertoire, so he's still working to refine it.

After quickly moving through the SD system, De Los Santos should land at the Triple-A level this year for the Phillies. 

Some may view De Los Santos as being far from a finished product, but he has all the tools to become a stable part of a big league starting rotation in the comings seasons.


You can keep track of this year's Phillies prospect countdown at this link.