Scott Kingery and Tom Eshelman Win Paul Owens Award

The Phillies announced that a pair of IronPigs had won the Paul Owens Award for the best minor league pitcher and hitter in the system this season. The award is supposed to combine some level of performance and prospect pedigree. On the hitting side recent winners include Darin Ruf, Maikel Franco, J.P. Crawford, Andrew Knapp, Dylan Cozens, and Rhys Hoskins. On the pitching side over that time period the names are much less illustrious with Tyler Cloyd, Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Ricardo Pinto, and Ben Lively all taking home the award. Enough of about past winners and more about the current winners.

It is hard to argue that Scott Kingery had a better hitting year than Rhys Hoskins, but Hoskins won the award last year and his resume in the majors kind of makes things unfair. What you can argue is that Scott Kingery had the best all around season of any Phillies prospect. He hit .304/.359/.530 between AA and AAA. He has 26 home runs and 29 stolen bases. He played high level defense at an up the middle position. His walk and strikeout rates in AAA leave a little bit to be desired, but don’t detract much from his overall success. Kingery could step into the lineup on opening day if the Phillies trade Cesar Hernandez this offseason, and with Crawford’s promotion he is the best position prospect the Phillies still have in the minors. Continue reading…

Phillies Trade Juan Nicasio for Real Person

When the Phillies acquired Juan Nicasio on waivers on August 31 it looked like a pure salary dump for the Pirates and opportunistic way of shoring up a struggling bullpen for the Phillies. I personally scoffed at the idea that the Phillies would flip Nicasio for anything in trade…

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Phillies To Call Up J.P. Crawford: Looking Forward

This piece is a companion to my J.P. Crawford retrospective on Phillies Minor Thoughts.

The most anticipated transaction in the Phillies system for the best 3+ years was the promotion of J.P. Crawford to the majors. It was a move that was meant represent the start of the new age of Philadelphia baseball. Crawford has slipped a bit from this path, but he is still the Phillies top prospect and his promotion is still probably the biggest event of the Phillies 2017 season. Instead of being the start of the new age of Philadelphia baseball, Crawford will be asked to augment what already looks like a bright future highlighted by Odubel Herrera, Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. There has been much written about Crawford over the years and what he might mean to the Phillies, but here on the eve of his callup we get a chance to step back and look at his full minor league resume and see what he might be for the Phillies.

It is hard to translate any sort of statistical defensive numbers from the minors to the majors. What we do know from scouting is that Crawford has great instincts at shortstop and a strong and accurate arm. For the most part he is not a flashy player because his body control makes his motions appear smooth, but he is capable of the making the play deep in the hole at short or making a play on pure athleticism.

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Crash Bag Vol. 31: Looking Back 3 Years

The trade deadline is over, and the Phillies traded nearly everyone they could and got some stuff back. The team is still bad, and a sweep at the hands of the Angels reinforced that the bullpen is a major problem and the starting pitching is shaky on days when Aaron Nola doesn’t pitch. But, let’s just forget about all of that and take a step back in time to talk about some prospects and some of your other questions this week.

@PaulSocolar: Your 2014 prspct list led w Crawford-Nola-Franco; top 10 also had Biddle-Sandberg-Dugan. Where would those 3s 2014 selves be on current list

I am just going to go for the whole list and not just the groupings of 3. For those that want to read 3 year old wrong opinions, here is the link, but for those with less time, here is my 2014 midseason top 10 (which I have no clue why I wrote it on June 24).

  1. J.P. Crawford
  2. Aaron Nola
  3. Maikel Franco
  4. Roman Quinn
  5. Jesse Biddle
  6. Deivi Grullon
  7. Cord Sandberg
  8. Carlos Tocci
  9. Kelly Dugan
  10. Aaron Altherr

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2017 GCL Phillies Season Preview

The future of the Phillies rests in their minor leagues. Not every prospect will come up to help the major league team, some will be traded, and some will stumble along the way. Today we continue Crashburn’s preview of the minor league system with the GCL Phillies. The goal is to give a quick overview of the team and the top prospects, but also a deeper dive into the full roster.

The Gulf Coast League season started almost 3 weeks ago, but with the draft signing deadline passed the roster has finally settled. The league serves as the first stop for domestically drafted players as well as the first organized stateside league for the organization’s international signees. The level of baseball is often very low, but it is also a league of teenagers just trying to figure out what it takes to make it professional baseball.

Quick Pitch

The Gulf Coast League is an important league. It is our first look at high school draftees and big international signings. We have been spoiled the last few years, as the GCL Phillies have played host to Mickey Moniak, Jhailyn Ortiz, Sixto Sanchez, Daniel Brito, Arquimedes Gamboa, Jonathan Arauz, Adonis Medina, Cornelius Randolph, Elniery Garcia, and Franklyn Kilome. This year’s version lacks the star power from the draft, but a quartet of Latin American players make this year’s version just as intriguing, even if it lacks in domination. Continue reading…

2017 Williamsport Crosscutters Season Preview (Pre-Draft Edition)

The future of the Phillies rests in their minor leagues. Not every prospect will come up to help the major league team, some will be traded, and some will stumble along the way. Today we continue Crashburn’s preview of the minor league system with the WIlliamsport Crosscutters. The goal is to give a quick overview of the team and the top prospects, but also a deeper dive into all 25 player on the roster.

The Williamsport Crosscutters kick off their season Monday night. The Phillies are still triaging and signing draft picks, so the Crosscutters will start with a roster in transition. There are a bunch of teenagers here, not all of which will be on the roster long term. We will have a full update when all of the draft assignments have been made.

Quick Pitch:

The Williamsport roster is lacking in star power, with Kevin Gowdy lagging behind and the 2017 draft players still signing and working out in Florida. What it does have is a bunch of teenagers, both on the field and on the mound. The offense lead by four million dollar man Jhailyn Ortiz should have plenty of power. The pitching is not as well known, but features the remainder of a dominant 2016 GCL rotation, including the lanky Kyle Young and the loose armed Luis Carrasco. The team should see reinforcements soon, but for now there is a lot of young talent that could breakout on this roster. Continue reading…

2017 DSL Phillies (Red and White) Season Preview

Even though their major league team is much improved (or looked like it would be), the future of the Phillies rests in their minor leagues. Not every prospect will come up to help the major league team, some will be traded, and some will stumble along the way. Today we continue Crashburn’s preview of the minor league system with the two DSL teams. The goal is to give a quick overview of the team and the top prospects.

For American fans, it is difficult to obtain consistent reports of complex leagues like the GCL. For the Dominican Summer League, there are no reports, there are only box scores. Occasionally there are one liners that trickle out through people like Ben Badler of Baseball America. For the most part we won’t know too much about players until they show up stateside. In this preview I am going to be heavily reliant on Badler’s work. You can read his full writeup of the Phillies’ signing period here.

Quick Pitch:

Because of Jhailyn Ortiz’s giant bonus, last year the Phillies had four prospects of note between their two teams (they signed a 5th in OF Simon Muzziotti after MLB punished the Red Sox). Two of those, SS Jonathan Guzman and C Rafael Marchan, took steps forward, with Guzman establishing himself as one of the top breakout prospects in the system. This past year, the Phillies had the largest international signing bonus pool. They didn’t end up spending the most, but they did spend all of their over $5.6 million pool. The Phillies also did not give any bonuses over $1M, instead they gave over $400,000 to 7 different players with significant bonuses to even more than that. Most of the Phillies signings came from Venezuela, but other countries have representation, with the Phillies returning a pair of Italian pitchers to their DSL rosters. While we might be reduced to scanning box scores, there are plenty of interesting players to watch for everyday. Continue reading…

The Phillies Have Starting Pitching Depth?

The Phillies were supposed to have a young rotation full of upside. They were supposed to have depth on the way to fill in any cracks. As we open June, the rotation is still young, with only Jeremy Hellickson over 26 years old. They have had cracks, as Vince Velasquez joins Clay Buchholz on the DL. They have had depth that has been shoved in the cracks in a desperate attempt to hold the whole thing together. Right now the rotation is Hellickson, a struggling Jerad Eickhoff, and a fresh off the disabled list Aaron Nola. Nick Pivetta and Zach Eflin have had their shot at the rotation and have had mixed success, but both are in AAA right now. The Phillies have two rotation spots to fill and a lot of depth to fill them, but is it really going to hold back a complete collapse? Continue reading…

2017 Lakewood BlueClaws Season Preview

Even though their major league team is much improved, the future of the Phillies rests in their minor leagues. Not every prospect will come up to help the major league team, some will be traded, and some will stumble along the way. Today we continue Crashburn’s preview of the minor league system with the Lakewood BlueClaws. The goal is to give a quick overview of the team and the top prospects, but also a deeper dive into all 25 player on the roster.

Outside of Lehigh Valley, the most interesting team in the Phillies system will be in Lakewood, New Jersey. The team has impact talent at the top, complemented by a group of young high upside players that could join the Phillies upper echelon prospects by the end of the year. The BlueClaws may not be as dominating as the IronPigs, but they should be plenty of fun.

Quick Pitch:

Any discussion of the BlueClaws starts with their pair of 18 year old top prospects. Mickey Moniak was the #1 pick in the draft and has the chance to be a 5 tool center fielder. Sixto Sanchez is only 18 and is already touching 98 this spring. He needs to improve his offspeed pitches, but he is already electric on the mound. Those two will be surrounded by a young rotation that includes fellow top 10 prospect Adonis Medina and a group of hitters highlighted by the Venezuelan double play combination of Arquimedez Gamboa and Daniel Brito. With much of Lehigh Valley slated to graduate this year, Lakewood represents the future core of the Phillies farm system. Continue reading…

2017 Clearwater Threshers Season Preview

Even though their major league team is much improved. The future of the Phillies rests in their minor leagues. Not every prospect will come up to help the major league team, some will be traded, and some will stumble along the way. Today we continue Crashburn’s preview of the minor league system with the Clearwater Threshers. The goal is to give a quick overview of the team and the top prospects, but also a deeper dive into all 25 player on the roster.

The Clearwater Threshers have always been the team out of sight. The other three full season affiliates are within an easy drive of Philadelphia and many public evaluators. This year’s Clearwater team does not feature a lineup that is full of recognizable names, but their rotation should provide plenty of excitement.

Quick Pitch:

The 2017 Clearwater Threshers look a lot like the 2016 Lakewood BlueClaws, a team that rode a couple good hitters and lights out pitching to the South Atlantic League Championship Series. The hitters are highlighted by outfielders Cornelius Randolph and Jose Pujols, both flawed players with big time upside. The real excitement comes from a starting rotation that is topped with 3 young, hard throwing Dominican righties. Franklyn Kilome, Alberto Tirado, and Seranthony Dominguez are all impact arms for the Phillies. Continue reading…