Three Phillies Make MLB’s Top 100 Prospect List
MLB.com released their top 100 prospects over the weekend. While there are a couple names on the list that we would expect, overall the Phillies seem to have fewer prospects than we might expect. While the Phillies farm system is loaded with future Major League players, only three Phillies made the list of the top 100. With 30 teams in the league, each team should average just over three.
Here is the breakdown of the three Phillies and related commentary:
7th - J.P. Crawford
Some expected Crawford to quickly rise through the Phillies system in 2016. Beginning the season at Double-A Reading, Crawford was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, even though his numbers might have suggested he needed more time at Double-A. 2017 will be a key season for Crawford.
Since the Phillies drafted Crawford out of high school, it's easy to think that he should be further along in his development. The Phillies drafted pitcher Aaron Nola a season after Crawford, and Nola already has much of two seasons in the big leagues already. But Crawford must almost beat down the Major League door to earn a promotion.
The Phillies could conceivably even keep Crawford out of the Major Leagues all season long, since 40-man roster spots are at a premium. But, if all goes well for Crawford and the Phillies are able to trade some veterans at the July or August trade deadlines, Crawford could find himself a space on the 40-man and Major League rosters.
Crawford placed fifth on the list last year.
19th - Mickey Moniak
Being the number one overall pick in the 2016 draft, there is no way that Moniak could not make this list. But Moniak is a ways away from the Major Leagues, possibly to the point that no one is really sure just how and when Moniak will develop. However, Moniak showed his tools during the Gulf Coast League last season.
In 2017, Moniak may stay behind in extended Spring Training before heading to Williamsport to join the short-season Crosscutters. The Phillies will keep an eye on Moniak's health after he suffered a minor hip flexor injury last season. Right now, baseball is looking at Moniak's tools and waiting for them to develop.
72nd - Jorge Alfaro
Jorge Alfaro jumps from being number 96 on last season's list up to number 72. Alfaro (for the most part) had a healthy full season after missing much of 2015 with an injury. Thanks to being on the 40-man roster, Alfaro even spent some time with the big club for a day in August (when the Phillies were in the process of trading Carlos Ruiz for A.J. Ellis) and as a third catcher in September.
Despite the cup of coffee in the big leagues that included 16 at bats, Alfaro likely begins the season as the starter at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Early on, non-ranked Andrew Knapp is the front runner to back up starter Cameron Rupp heading into 2017. However, the MLB.com scouting report on Alfaro mentions that Alfaro has a higher ceiling than Rupp or Knapp.
Left Out: Five from Last Season's List
Looking at last year's list, the Phillies had seven prospects. Missing from the list are pitcher Jake Thompson, outfielder Roman Quinn, outfielder Nick Williams, outfielder Cornelius Randolph, and pitcher Mark Appel.
Injuries likely kept Appel and Quinn from making the list once again. Both will likely begin 2017 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and show that they can contribute to a Major League club by remaining healthy. Appel made just eight starts in 2016 and Quinn appeared in 77 games at the minor league level before making 15 appearances with the Phillies.
Williams peaked last season in July, but struggled down the stretch. Admittedly, Williams pressed when he saw that the Phillies outfield needed help. Without Cody Asche and Aaron Altherr early in the season, the Phillies turned to the likes of David Lough, Cedric Hunter, and Manny Burriss, all of whom saw time in the Phillies outfield. With the additions of Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders, the Phillies are very stable. Williams will have to prove that he warrants a promotion.
Randolph was displaced on the list by an influx of talent from the 2016 draft and a lack of power early in his career. While Randolph performed adequately in terms of batting average and on base percentage, the power part of Randolph's game has yet to develop. At Low-A Lakewood, Randolph hit just two home runs in 63 games.
Thompson is no longer considered a rookie, as he exceeded the eligibility by three and two-thirds innings in 2016. Thompson will compete for a spot in the starting rotation heading into the season, but may end up beginning the season at Lehigh Valley. The Phillies starting rotation projects to include veterans Clay Buchholz and Jeremy Hellickson, followed by still-young Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Nola (if healthy) and Vince Velasquez.