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…

2017 Reading Fightins 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 Reading Fightin Phils. 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.

It is premature to call Reading the worst roster in the Phillies’ system, but it is definitely the one lacking the most in star prospects. What it does have is a young group of players with breakout potential, especially up the middle defensively and starting on the mound. So while you may not recognize all of the names immediately, you should pay attention, because there are some players here worth knowing.

Quick Pitch

With many of its top prospects moving up to AAA this year, Reading will field its weakest team in a while. The roster lacks star power, but it makes up for it with intrigue. The lineup is full of a mix of very young prospects and older prospects trying to recapture some shine lost in recent years. Reading’s rotation features 2016 breakout prospects Drew Anderson, Tyler Viza, Shane Watson, and Elniery Garcia, once he returns from injury. It is hard to know who will break out in Reading this year, but the raw talent indicates that someone may be due. Continue reading…

2017 Lehigh Valley IronPigs 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 kick off Crashburn’s preview of the minor league system with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. 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 Lehigh Valley IronPigs might be the best team in the minor leagues. They probably won’t have the most top 100 prospects or the highest ranked prospects, but what they do have is more prospects than positions to play them. There are 11 players that made my top 35 prospects in the Phillies system, and they will be joined by a former Top 100 prospect in Jake Thompson, and eventually another young starter in Zach Eflin. It should make for an exciting year in Allentown.

The Quick Pitch:

The IronPigs are loaded with prospects. The only positions without a legitimate major league prospect will be third base and designated hitter. The rotation is full of young arms that will likely be up with the big league club this season. It isn’t just quantity, as the team has J.P. Crawford and Jorge Alfaro who stand out even on a star studded team. On top of the future potential of the players involved, these prospects bring plenty of excitement, whether it is Quinn’s speed, Crawford’s glove, or the power of Hoskins, Alfaro, and Cozens in the middle of the lineup. Continue reading…