This group from 31-40 is full of the players I was excited to put in my Top 30, but the Phillies went ahead and, since August, acquired 7 players that are in the Top 30 of this list. This leaves a group of 10 players with some real talent and major league upside. Traditionally, because of the flatness of rankings after the first tier, this region is populated with a player or two who makes a name for himself the following year. Last year this group included Miguel Nunez, Jiandido Tromp, and David Buchanan.
31. Arquimedes Gamboa – SS (Profile)
DOB: September 23, 1997 (17)
H/W: 5’11” 160lb
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on July 2, 2014 by Phillies ($900,000 bonus)
Role: First Division Regular
Risk: Extreme – Gamboa has yet to play outside of fall instructional league. Also large amounts of physical growth are still required.
Summary: At $900,000, Gamboa’s bonus comes in as the second highest Latin American signing bonus the Phillies have given out in the past 5 years (behind Luis Encarnacion). There was some debate at how good a prospect he was in the Latin market with Baseball America having him as the #8 prospect and MLB.com having him #15. The draw for Gamboa is that he is a projectable athlete with all the tools to stick at shortstop long term. Along with the defense Gamboa has plus speed. At the plate Gamboa is a switch hitter with feel for contact. There is room for power to come into his frame, but probably not enough for him to hit a lot more than 10 home runs a year. It is not a tool set with a bunch of numbers that jump off the page, but there is some upside here in the projection and athleticism. The most important thing is his defensive profile, because if he can get up to being an above average or plus defender at shortstop, the bat doesn’t need to be anything other than solid for him to be a really good player. Gamboa will almost certainly be the primary shortstop on the Phillies GCL team that projects to also have Daniel Brito and Jonathan Arauz.
Previous Rank: N/A
32. Cameron Perkins – RF/LF/1B (Profile)
DOB: September 27, 1990 (24)
H/W: 6’5″ 195lb
Acquired: Drafted in the 6th round (#218 overall) in the 2012 draft by the Phillies ($152,900 bonus)
Role: Second Division Regular/4th Outfielder
Risk: Low – Perkins’ hit tool combined with reaching AAA gives Perkins a lot of certainty in reaching the major leagues.
Summary: Perkins is a player that does a lot of things right on a baseball field, but his is not a profile that necessarily lends itself well to a starting outfield spot at the major league level. He put up a great triple slash line in AA this year on the back of a .393 BABIP, but AAA proved to be a much bigger challenge. At his best, Perkins can put the bat on almost anything, but much like Maikel Franco a year ago, the quality of contact can often suffer from this approach, and Perkins put up a 48% GB% on the year. Additionally, his natural approach lacks power, and while scouts dream of the 6’5” 195lb frame adding muscle, at age 24 he is no longer a projectable teenager. Outside of his time in AA he has never been able to put up a decent walk rate (though he has kept his strikeout rate down) and his speed is closer to fringe average. On defense he can play both outfield corners and first base. He played 3B in college but has not played there in 2 years. All of this sounds very negative, but unlike many players on this list, Perkins’ flaws are things that keep him from being a major league regular, not from being a major leaguer. He has a solid 4th/5th outfielder profile, and given that he ended the year in AAA, it is one that he could see the majors in 2015. Players like Perkins don’t carry teams to championships, but if you can develop them and have them fill the holes on your roster, they can be valuable pieces of team construction.
Previous Rank: 25
33. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez – RHP
DOB: September 23, 1986 (28)
H/W: 6’3″ 200lb
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on August 30, 2013 by Phillies (3/$12M MLB contract)
Role: 7th/8th Inning Reliever
Risk: Medium – The risk here is in his injury history and his control issues, but Gonzalez has already reached the major leagues and is a finished product tools wise.
Summary: Gonzalez makes his first appearance in the rankings this year as I decided to exclude him last year. The indication is that the Phillies will try him out as a starter again, but given his profile and past attempts at returning him to that role, success is unlikely. The good news is that the bullpen role is not a bad fall back for the Cuban righty, because the stuff is electric. Out of the bullpen in the majors his fastball averaged 94.9 mph (per PitchFx) topping out at up to 98 (minor league reports had him more 93-94 touching higher), and he can make it move and cut too. The secondary pitches (mostly curveball/splitter) are more average than anything else. Because he may be able to lock down multiple inning stints out of the bullpen, his ceiling might be higher than Nefi Ogando, but there are some red flags here. For one, there is the shoulder injury that cost him half of the 2014 season and caused his contract to go from 6/$48M to 3/$12M, and while he is healthy now, history tells us that the biggest indicator of future pitching injuries is past pitching injuries. The other problem is control, as he walked 29 batters in 51.2 innings across 4 levels in 2014. Out of the bullpen he may be able to get away with it, especially if he can miss bats like he showed in AA/AAA, but out of a rotation, that lack of precision will be difficult to overcome. Gonzalez will likely never live up to the promise he had when the Phillies first signed him, but he could fit into a flame throwing cheap bullpen in Philadelphia as soon as opening day 2015.
Previous Rank: N/A (unranked last year due to list construction)
34. Jiandido Tromp – LF (Profile)
DOB: September 27, 1993 (21)
H/W: 5’11” 175lb
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on August 8, 2011 by Phillies ($130,000 bonus)
Role: Solid Regular
Risk: High – Tromp’s high strikeout rate, left field profile, and extreme pull tendencies leave some large hurdles for Tromp to trump.
Summary: The 2014 season was a bit of a breakout for Tromp. After a quick stint at Lakewood, Tromp made his third attempt at Williamsport. The result was a new home run record for Williamsport. On the surface, Tromp shows an exciting amount of power, speed, and upside, but not everything is as polished as it seems. Tromp has plus raw power, but all of it, and most of the rest of his contact, is to his pull side.
Tromp has plus plus speed, but he is not a great center fielder, and while he can hold it down, he is likely destined for a corner. His lack of arm makes it left field, not right. His approach at the plate has a lot to be desired, but it is workable. Put it all together and you have an interesting player, but one with a lot of work to do. Tromp’s upside is likely a bit higher than solid regular, but given the negatives, his optimistic outcome is more in the solid LFer mold. If Tromp can show the ability to use the full field while improving his approach, he could climb quickly up the rankings. He will get another chance at full season ball in 2015.
Previous Rank: HM
35. Andrew Pullin – 2B (Profile)
DOB: September 25, 1993 (21)
H/W: 6’0″ 190lb
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th round (#188 overall) in the 2012 draft by the Phillies ($203,900 bonus)
Role: Solid Regular
Risk: High – Despite his hit tool and good work ethic, Pullin’s second base only profile provides plenty of risk in achieving his upside.
Summary: Andrew Pullin, like many in this group, started as a lock to make my top 30. In the end, Pullin fell down the rankings after having done a lot of things right in 2014 and actually having his stock tick up. Pullin doesn’t have any stand out tools, but most everything is close to average or a bit above, except for his raw power. His power itself is below average, mostly due to a swing that generates no loft. Beyond his tools, the glaring problem is that Pullin is a second baseman, and given that he is converted outfielder, his fall back is left field. The defense at second base is improving, but he is not a natural middle infielder like others on this list. Outside the flaws is a guy who does a lot of things right on a baseball field. His hit tool could get all the way to plus, or at least above average, which will help the other tools play up. The overall ceiling for Pullin is as a solid regular second baseman, but the second base only profile is a tough road, and he is going to need to prove himself at each level.
Previous Rank: 29
36. Chris Oliver – RHP (Profile)
DOB: July 8, 1993 (21)
H/W: 6’4″ 170lb
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round (#112 overall) in the 2014 draft by the Phillies ($550,000 bonus)
Role: #3 Starter/High Leverage Reliever
Risk: Extreme – His control problems and lack of a changeup leave a lot of significant development steps that Oliver will need to accomplish in a short time period to be on a path to the majors.
Summary: To call Oliver’s pro-debut a disappointment would be an understatement. The Phillies knew they were getting an unfinished product with the former college reliever, but they may have a lot more work to do than they thought. That being said, the talent is there to be something special. Before a pre-draft DUI, Oliver was a borderline 2nd round pick, but he ended up falling to the Phillies in the 4th round. In college was in the mid-90s as a starter, getting all the way up to 97, with a plus slider. The Phillies have begun working on finding some consistency in Oliver’s delivery, so that he can master the movement in his fastball, as well as find some consistency in his changeup. Oliver showed better results in instructs, and it is likely the Phillies will at least try to develop him as a starting pitcher. If not, his future is in the back of a bullpen where the fastball/slider combination could be devastating. So while the debut was a bit rocky, there is a lot to like with Oliver; he just might be a guy who takes more time to develop than some had expected when he was drafted.
Previous Rank: N/A
37. Rhys Hoskins – 1B (Profile)
DOB: March 17, 1993 (22)
H/W: 6’4″ 225lb
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th round (#142 overall) in the 2014 draft by the Phillies ($349,700 bonus)
Role: Solid Regular
Risk: High – Hoskins has a relatively advanced bat that should carry him into the high minors, however as a first baseman, he is going to hit consistently at every stop along the way.
Summary: Hoskins is going to be a trendy sleeper prospect in The Phillies system now that he has been pushed out of most Top 30s. There are good reasons to believe in the Phillies 5th round pick in the 2014 draft. After getting off to a slow start in Williamsport, Hoskins proceeded to rake for the rest of the year (hit .289/.373/.478 in August), and he hit even better away from Bowman Field (.298/.380/.529). He continued the hot hitting right into instructs. Hoskins has a good feel for contact, but he doesn’t have elite coordination or bat speed. He does have at least plus power and a good approach, so there is the raw potential for his bat to work at first. On defense, Hoskins is a good defender at first base, and pre-draft there were some that thought he could play the outfield. The real thing holding down Hoskins is the profile; as a first baseman he has to hit his offensive ceiling and then keep proving it at every level. If Hoskins starts 2015 in Clearwater, he can begin to answer these questions and could move fairly quickly, he just doesn’t have any margin for error.
Previous Rank: N/A
38. Edubray Ramos – RHP (Profile)
DOB: December 19, 1992 (22)
H/W: 6’0″ 165lb
Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as an international free agent on November 21, 2012
Role: High Leverage Reliever
Risk: High – The stuff might play at a major league level, but Ramos has yet to pitch in full season ball and has an overall limited track record.
Summary: It is hard to properly rank relievers, because the margin between success and failure is so narrow. Elite relievers are very valuable, as we are seeing right now with Ken Giles. Ramos doesn’t come armed with a 100 mph fastball, has never pitched in full season ball, and is already 22, but yet the RHP finds himself among the most exciting arms in the Phillies system. Ramos’s stat line jumps off the page, and he just kept getting better at each level to the point where his Williamsport line was just unfair. Ramos isn’t doing it with smoke and mirrors; his fastball got better all year, and by the end of the year it was at least 92-94 touching 96. He adds a breaking ball and changeup to the fastball. His slider is a wipeout devastating pitch. Ramos is probably strictly a reliever going forward, but he routinely pitched 2-3 innings an outing in Williamsport and even got a 4 inning start to end the year (on two’s day rest). The Phillies might play with him in the rotation in Lakewood, but if he is in the bullpen he probably could make the jump to Clearwater and from there move very quickly up the system. It is unlikely he will launch all the way up the system in 2015, but he is a guy to watch closely.
Previous Rank: UR
39. Willians Astudillo – C/1B/3B/LF (Profile)
DOB: October 14, 1991 (23)
H/W: 5’5″ 182
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent by the Phillies on December 15, 2008
Role: Utility Player
Risk: Low – Astudillo is who he is. It really comes down to whether he can prove it at higher levels
Summary: Astudillo has the best hit tool in the Phillies minor leagues, and it is not particularly close. He struck out in a lower percentage of his at bats than any qualified batter at any level of affiliated baseball (h/t to Carson Cistulli). However, Astudillo finds himself at the bottom of this list because of the rest of his game. He has some power, by nature of making so much contact, but his hitting style does not allow him to drive the baseball. Instead there are a lot more gap doubles than home runs. Outside his lack of power, his hitting style does not lend itself to a high walk rate, and he is not going to add any value with his legs. On defense, Astudillo is surprisingly athletic with a strong arm, but lacks range, and the knee injury that ended his 2013 season before it began also appears to have ended his future behind the plate. The Phillies have been looking to combat all of this by turning him into a versatile utility player, and so far he has 1B/3B/LF on his positional list. Without the defensive value or the secondary skills at the plate, it is hard to see Astudillo ever being a major league regular. However, if he can master enough positions defensively to competently stand at them, he could carve out a career as a very interesting bench player. Overall, Astudillo might be one of the most unique players in baseball and one that could easily outstrip this ranking, but it will take him breaking a lot of trends and conventional wisdom.
Previous Rank: UR
40. Jesus Posso – C (Profile)
DOB: February 10, 1995 (20)
H/W: 5’11” 201lb
Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as an international free agent
Role: Solid regular
Risk: High – Solid defensive skills keep this from an extreme, but the lack of track record lends Posso’s profile a lot of risk
Summary: Posso remains under the radar in the Phillies system. He was on a 2014 GCL team that lacked big names, and he faded down the stretch. When it looks good, Posso may have average contact and power at the plate, which is borderline special from a catcher. Behind the plate he controls the game at an impressive level for a rookie league catcher, and he has the feel to be a solid to plus defender with a plus, accurate arm. He is not the defender that Grullon is, and so he is going to need to be more of a complete package, both on offense and defense. He will need to do it outside of the complex to start getting more notice, but his profile could falter along the way and still end up as a strong MLB back up. The Phillies have used him at first base, but that seemed to be more of an effort to keep his bat in the lineup while they worked in some of their other catchers.
Previous Rank: UR