Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Phillies Top 10 midseason prospects

A breakdown of the top talent in the minor league system.

Phillies Top 10 midseason prospects

Maikel Franco proved himself at the plate in Clearwater and is even more impressive
Maikel Franco proved himself at the plate in Clearwater and is even more impressive at Reading. The third baseman took over the No. 1 spot in The Inquirer's rankings of Phillies prospects.    RON CORTES / Staff

The Inquirer dropped its Top 25 prospects today, and I'm in agreement with most of it, with a a few minor exceptions.

Here's my Top 10:

1. Maikel Franco, 3B: I suggested Aramis Ramirez as a comparison to one non-Phillies talent evaluator, who offered Edwin Encarnacion as the more accurate projection. If Franco can do what Encarnacion did as a 23-year-old for the Reds -- .276/.359/.473 with 15 home runs in 467 plate appearances -- the Phillies will have a right-handed bat to hit behind Dom Brown (or Ryan Howard, if we're sticking with that).

2. Jesse Biddle, LHP: Every scout I've talked to has him pegged as a mid-to-back-of-the-rotation starter, mostly because he does not have an overpowering fastball. He has done a fine job at Double-A, but he is still fairly raw and probably won't be in the picture until the end of next season, at the earliest.

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3. Adam Morgan, LHP: If you allow concern about his shoulder to factor into the equation, you might drop him down a few more spots. But he recently returned to competition after a two-month layoff due to a concerning shoulder problem, and all he's done is strike out eight without walking a batter in seven innings. Granted, that's in the Gulf Coast League. But we saw what he can do in big league spring training. Frankly, the only reason I don't have him above Biddle is because of the shoulder. From what I've seen, he has better stuff and better command. He just lacks the upside that Biddle and his long frame possess.

4. Cody Asche, 3B: It's easy to see why scouts and managers love him. Not only does he have a nice, compact, line drive swing, but he has a Chase Utley-esque air about him that says he will not accept not being a major leaguer. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in Philadelphia within the next month. There's a reason we keep hearing Michael Young's name surface as a trade candidate. Of course, he doesn't have Utley's power (or, for that matter, Young's when he was in his prime).

5. Roman Quinn, SS: This guy really isn't even projectible yet, at least not projectible in the sense that we should be thinking about an ETA. He has struggled defensively this season and his performance at the plate has been inconsistent. Over his last 20 games, he has one multi-hit game, three extra base hits, and seven walks in 83 plate appearances, good enough for a .189/.265/.230 batting line. In his first 28 games of the year, he hit .196/.262/.277 with five extra base hits (two home runs) and seven walks in 123 plate appearances. In between, he hit .351/.461/.568 with 13 walks, three home runs, three triples and one double in 92 plate appearances. Quinn has the tools, particularly on the basepaths, which is why you keep seeing his name everywhere. But he needs a ton of polish, to the point where it wouldn't be a total shock to see 2013 first round pick J.P. Crawford pass him in the system within the next couple of years. Keep in mind that Quinn is only 20.

6. J.P. Crawford, SS: The Phillies got good reviews for their selection at No. 16 this year, and Crawford has had some success in his first few weeks of play in the Gulf Coast League.

7. Darin Ruf, 1B: This guy showed a lot to me when he hit a 97 mile per hour Tyler Clippard fastball to center field for a double last season. He can hit a fastball, and he has a good enough approach to get enough fastballs to make that ability useful. I don't know if he can play left field, but I really do think he is going to end up playing first base or DH somewhere in the majors. He might not be a star, but a lot of guys have built long careers out of an ability to hit fastballs when they get them.

8. Cesar Hernandez, 2B: Classic case of a guy whose spot in the lineup could come down to his performance on defense, since he does not have the kind of power that would allow you to err on the offensive side of things. I'd say upside is as a No. 2 hitter, realistic projection is more No. 7 or No. 8.

9. Tommy Joseph, C: Pretty much a lost season for the centerpiece of the Hunter Pence deal last year. He has spent most of the year trying to recover from a concussion. Even before the injury, he had struggled. He is a guy who had plenty of work to do offensively heading into the season. Best case scenario then was end of 2014. Now, it's wait-and-see.

10. Ethan Martin, RHP: I think he ends up in the bullpen, which is why I have him this low. Power arm, but command struggles that he has yet to rectify.

 

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