I have had the draft for this post around for a while and keep forgetting to publish it so I get to cheat a little but with a week of data that could be either instructive or misleading. Anyway I think predictions are fun to think about, and so I viewed making this with more fun than seriousness. If you want to see all the things I was right or wrong about last year, here are those predictions.
1. Carlos Tocci hits more than 5 home runs. I did write this before he hit one out already, I just think the contact quality continues to get better and he is going to turn on a couple more this year.
2. Aaron Nola makes his major league debut before July 15. Have you seen the major league rotation? The journeyman RHPs are off to good starts, which means there might be more of a trade market this summer as teams are looking for back end starters. At some point though Nola is going to force the issue at a major league level.
3. Speaking of rotation, the final rotation will be Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle, Severino Gonzalez, David Buchanan, and Adam Morgan. All the veterans are either traded (if good), cut (if bad), or are injured. Along the same note, Joely Rodriguez comes up as a starter but ends up in the bullpen as the second lefty with Jake Diekman.
4. More pitching, as Franklyn Kilome ends the year in Lakewood and is a Top 100 prospect. He is already touching 97 this year and is primed for a breakout, he will probably see time in both Lakewood and Williamsport this year. I think part of the wait is building up his innings count without putting him in a situation where he could stress a bullpen.
5. Edubray Ramos ends the year in Reading and is added to the 40 man roster this offseason. It has been an inconsistent start for Ramos who made the jump over Lakewood, but he is young enough (22) and has sharp enough stuff he is going to need protecting. So far this year Ramos has been 92-94 touching 96 with two breaking balls, and I would expect to see him start missing bats soon.
6. J.P. Crawford is a stud and despite the injury set back I don’t see him not being a consensus Top 10 prospect in baseball and being Top 5 on some lists. He is really really good and that can’t be stated too much.
7. Zach Eflin is not the best starting pitching prospect in Reading (that is Nola), but Eflin should spend the whole year in Reading and I think he puts up the best numbers of anyone on that staff. He has already shown that he isn’t going to walk batters and they are going to hit a ton of ground balls.
8. Between a Cole Hamels trade, a Jonathan Papelbon trade, some deals of ancillary pieces, and general growth the Phillies have a Top 10 farm system next offseason. This is after Aaron Nola, Maikel Franco, and Jesse Biddle all graduate to the majors.
9. Lets so some stats leaders:
Not a lot of explanation here, I think Crawford leads in the plate discipline stats even with missing a month.
A bit more explanations here. For one we have Nola and Biddle graduating to the majors and Yoel Mecias will be starting the year on the DL. Whitehead is the perfect combo of age and efficiency that should get him plenty of innings this year as the team should also let him work through his rough starts. Pinto gets the combination of good stuff and pitching in Lakewood for half of his games. Taylor is in an advantageous situation for him, like Pinto he gets Lakewood home games and like Whitehead he has the age that will cause the Phillies to leave him in games for longer outings. He also has the stuff mix to work against lower level hitters because he is a left hander with a good fastball. As for home runs, someone in Reading has to take the fall and Hoby Milner is no longer a starting pitcher.
10. The Top 10 Phillies prospects a year from now:
- J.P. Crawford
- Franklyn Kilome
- Roman Quinn
- #10 pick
- Zach Eflin
- Carlos Tocci
- Deivi Grullon
- Yoel Mecias
- Ricardo Pinto
- Victor Arano
I obviously have not included any potential trade returns, and we have Nola, Franco, and Biddle in the majors. The other player missing here is Kelly Dugan who I debated a lot on. I just don’t see many scenarios where he keeps eligibility and keeps a high ranking. There are also a lot of guys I want to push up on this list, but I can only risk 10 names so don’t take it as a slight.