By Bob Brookover, Matt Gelb and Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writers | Produced by Matt Mullin, Philly.com
It's time for the midseason installment of The Inquirer's list of the Phillies' top 25 minor-league prospects.
The biggest change from our preseason top 25 is that power-hitting third baseman Maikel Franco has jumped from third to first, replacing lefthander Jesse Biddle at the top.
Nine players on our preseason list - Jonathan Pettibone, Tyler Cloyd, Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Brody Colvin, Zach Collier, Tyson Gillies, Dylan Cozens, and Kyle Simon - have been removed. Some of them were deleted because of big-league service time and others because of poor seasons. Cozens is the one most likely to return at some point.
Our nine new players are J.P. Crawford, Cameron Perkins, Aaron Altherr, Zach Green, Mitch Gueller, Cord Sandberg, Mitch Walding, Severino Gonzalez, and Yoel Mecias.
Three scouts from outside the organization were willing to comment on the players, but only players who have performed at low-A Lakewood or above have comments from the scouts.
A concussion that the catcher suffered in early May turned the first half of this season into a nightmare. Joseph, who turned 22 on Tuesday, got off to a slow start at Lehigh Valley, then missed more than a month because of the concussion. He went 1 for 18 in a brief return at Clearwater before sitting out 11 more days. After suffering the concussion, he went 6 for 52 in 14 games playing for Clearwater, Reading, and the Phillies' Gulf Coast League team.
Scout's view: "He's really had a rough time. You almost have to view it as a lost season. Just get him healthy and push the reset button in 2014."
Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Shane Victorino deal last summer, the 24-year-old righthander has been inconsistent during his first full season in the Phillies organization. He was 1-2 with a 7.54 ERA after his first five starts, but went 9-2 with a 3.93 ERA in his next 13 starts. Command has been an issue. He has walked four or more batters eight times in 18 starts.
Scout's view: "I see this guy as a very serviceable bullpen piece. I don't see him as a starter. His control and command are very spotty. I see him as a bullpen guy."
When spring training ended, Morgan was considered among the most likely to get a call to the big leagues this season. Instead, he has been on the disabled list and rehabilitating in Clearwater, Fla., since the middle of May because of a small tear in his shoulder. Morgan, 23, gave a brief glimpse of his ability by posting a 1.42 ERA in his first three starts with the IronPigs.
Scout's view: "I like him a lot. I see him as a more polished version of Biddle. I think he has better stuff, but I still see him as a number-four starter in the big leagues."
The Phillies' 2013 first-round draft choice started his career with a nine-game hitting streak for the GCL Phillies. Unlike Roman Quinn, who was an outfielder, the 18-year-old Crawford was a high school shortstop and projects to remain at that position, which should make things interesting as the two climb through the system.
The Phillies' first overall pick in 2009 had a slow start to his professional career because of an assortment of injuries. He dealt with another injury at the start of this season, but once he got on the field at Clearwater he excelled, hitting 10 home runs and posting a .940 OPS in 56 games before being promoted to Reading.
Scout's view: "He was hurt when I was in Clearwater this year, but I liked him a lot last year at Lakewood. It's impressive that he made it to double A this season."