For the second year in a row I polled the blog and writing community about what they think will happen during the Phillies’s 2016 season. You can read last year’s results here, where everyone but Eric Chesterton guessed wrong about which prospect makes the biggest impact during the 2015 season. My goal was to make the questions vague in order to get a broad amount responses, and the 30 people who responded gave a large diversity of answers. Not everyone chose to make their answers or participation public, not everyone answered all questions, and some questions received multiple answers.
Jason Polinsky (The Good Phight), Kram (Horn and Bell), Craig Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus), Bill Baer (NBC Sports), Spencer Bingol (Beyond the Box Score/Crashburn Alley), Josh Norris (Baseball America), Eric Longenhagen (ESPN), Ethan Witte (That Ball’s Outta Here), Victor Filoromo (The Good Phight), Corinne Landrey (Crashburn Alley/The Hardball Times/Today’s Knuckleball), Nick Stellini (Beyond the Box Score/Baseball Prospectus), David Cohen (The Good Phight), Kirsten Karbach (Clearwater Threshers), CJ Wittman (Perfect Game/2080 Baseball), Chris King (Perfect Game/2080 Baseball), Jim Peyton (Phuture Phillies), Mike Drago (Reading Eagle), Mitch Rupert (Williamsport Sun-Gazette), Adam Dembowitz (Crashburn Alley), Caitlyn Ebbenga (Phillies Minor Thoughts), Eric Chesterton (The Good Phight/Today’s Knuckleball), Michael Baumann (Baseball Prospectus/D1Baseball/Today’s Knuckleball), Brad Engler (Crashburn Alley), Baseball Betsy (Baseball Betsy), @dj_mosfett (Twitter), Matt Veasey (That Ball’s Outta Here), Trevor (The Good Phight), Wet Luzinski (The Good Phight)
Who is your favorite prospect to watch in the Phillies’ system?
9 – J.P. Crawford
6 – Roman Quinn
3 – Nick Williams
2 – Franklyn Kilome, Cornelius Randolph, Thomas Eshelman
1 – Jake Thompson, Malquin Canelo, Jose Pujols, Edubray Ramos, Rhys Hoskins, Jorge Alfaro
I got to see him in Reading a couple times last season, and expect to see him both there as well as Allentown this season: Roman Quinn. That kind of speed is fun to watch at the game. He’s up and the other team immediately has to worry about the bunt. With the infield in, it makes a hit more likely. Then, once he’s on the base-paths, the likelihood that he takes another base or steals a base has the other team on edge, giving the next hitter a decided advantage. It’s the “chess game” of baseball of course; he makes it fun and exciting to watch. It’s dramatic in person. – Kram
I’m very excited to see what Franklyn Kilome does in full-season ball. The top prospect lists gave him a lot of love this offseason while his size, projection, and present velocity give him the most exciting ceiling in the system (non-J.P. Crawford division). – Spencer Bingol
I want to say Jimmy Cordero because he’s got show stopper stuff, but there’s a right answer to this question and it’s J.P. Crawford. – Corinne Landrey
JP Crawford, and it isn’t close. I’ve only seen him a few times but the ease with which he moves in the field is otherworldly. I’ve referred to him as “Baseball Jesus” on social media more than once and there’s plenty of reason for it. The dude’s special. – Nick Stellini
Extremely hard to answer this with so many fun players to watch in this system. If you asked me 5 times, I might give you 5 answers. Position player wise, I’m not sure anybody grabs my attention like Jose Pujols. The power threat at the plate is there during any AB and in the field watching his arm can be just as entertaining at times. Not to mention the suspense of what his route will look like on a fly ball can be quite entertaining as well albeit in a negative fashion. On the mound it’s Franklyn Kilome. There isn’t an arm in the minors that I’ve seen grow from the moment he stepped on the backfields like I have with Kilome. He gets better every time I see him and he seems to add something new to his bag or tricks as well. For the sake of this poll, I’ll pretend you’re twisting my arm for just one answer, so I will go with Pujols since he provides extreme entertainment value on both sides of the field. – Chris King
I’ve never watched him as a Phillies prospect, but Thomas Eshelman is a joy to watch. He refuses to walk opposing hitters and doesn’t have anything near the stuff to overwhelm anyone. Yet, despite hitters knowing he’ll be in and around the zone, he gets people out by putting the ball right where he wants it. It remains to be seen how far that elite skill can take him, but his journey is more the journey of the everyman than that of, say, Vincent Velasquez. We watch baseball, to some extent, because it is possible to imagine ourselves doing what we are watching others do. With Eshelman, that dream feels just a little more real. – Eric Chesterton
Who is your choice for biggest breakout in 2016?
4 – Maikel Franco
3 – Jimmy Cordero
2 – Franklyn Kilome, Nick Williams, Mark Appel, Jorge Alfaro, Adonis Medina, Dylan Cozens, Vincent Velasquez, Jerad Eickhoff
1 – Andrew Knapp, Cornelius Randolph, Malquin Canelo, Jose Pujols, Lucas Williams, Nick Pivetta, Scott Kingery, Thomas Eshelman, Elniery Garcia, Dailier Hinojosa, Roman Quinn
Well, following the definition for a break out player that we used at Phuture Phillies last season, “… a player who is expected to perform well but who does so with a much better year than anticipated and comes from the upper tier of prospects, say from within the top 15-20”, I would expect Franklyn Kilome to have that breakout season. In spite of his high ranking, a of of my readers have question about him. He has reported to camp in better physical shape after attending a winter workout program in Clearwater. His FB has the same pop and downward movement, his off speed pitches still have good movement, his CB still snaps off. If he can avoid the type of injury that slowed his development last season and can pitch through the rigors of a full season in Lakewood (where I expect him to begin the season, they are already stretching him out to 4-5 innings in ST), I would expect him to show the progress that will quiet any doubters. – Jim Peyton
Jimmy Cordero. The Phillies have had a knack, since the departure of Brad Lidge, for developing and harnessing electric bullpen arms. Cordero has the velocity to be the sort of fear-commanding relief ace every fan wants. He probably needs to walk fewer guys if the 9th inning and not hold-your-breath-for-three-
outs-in-the-eight guy will be his destination, but the Phillies seem adept at reigning this profile in so I’ll put them on the case of this again. I’m not at all worried about the development of his slider as Brad Lidge, Justin De Fratus, and Ken Giles–and let’s not forget AAA pitching coach Ray Burris– have likely left behind a long lineage of slider teachers. – Eric Chesterton
Who will be the top rookie for the Phillies in 2016?
9 – J.P. Crawford, Tyler Goeddel
2 – Nick Williams, Jake Thompson
1 – Jimmy Cordero, Brock Stassi, Roman Quinn
Non-rookies receiving votes Velasquez (3), Eickhoff (1), Aaron Nola (1)
Tyler Goeddel and Darnell Sweeney are the only two candidates to consider right now, and based on projected playing time and upside I’ll go with Goeddel. If J.P. Crawford and/or Nick Williams are brought up earlier than August/September, then that would change the situation significantly. – Adam Dembowitz
J.P. Crawford. Tyler Goeddel might end up with better counting stats just because he’ll be up all year, but I have no trouble imagining a scenario in which Crawford does more or less what Francisco Lindor did last year–come up just before the break and play All-Star-level ball from the word go. – Michael Baumann
Which player MLB/MiLB are you most interested to see how their 2016 season plays out?
5 – Jorge Alfaro
3 – Maikel Franco, Andrew Knapp, Franklyn Kilome, Mark Appel
2 – Jose Pujols, Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, Tyler Goeddel, Roman Quinn, Odubel Herrera
1 – Scott Kingery, Vincent Velasquez, Brock Stassi, Elniery Garcia, Jhailyn Ortiz
Jorge Alfaro. He’s kind of doing the over/underrated dance. I know he was pumped hard and hasn’t developed as hoped, but he’s been better than adequate offensively, is a hell of an athlete, and if it clicks…damn. Maybe he’s an outfielder down the line, but if he sticks behind the plate the bat doesn’t have to be what people hoped for, for him to be a real asset. That ceiling his still massive. – Craig Goldstein
Jorge Alfaro. He has looked very impressive down here in Clearwater. I have read about his deficiencies as a catcher. Either the reports were wrong or he was really bad and improved a whole lot. Sure he still needs work behind the plate. And he’ll need to improve on his whiff rate. But when you see the whole package, you salivate. I watched him run out a ground ball. He has the better than catcher speed where you could see him in the outfield. But, if he can stay behind the plate, his bat could lift him close to an elite catcher status. – Jim Peyton
Vince Velasquez. Velasquez has truly special stuff and should have an opportunity to try to harness it at the major league level. Watching his electric repertoire should be a blast regardless of whether or not it works out. – Corinne Landrey
Tyler Goeddel. Going first overall in Rule 5 is always fascinating and the kid seems to be rather toolsy. If they go 2-for-2 on Rule 5 between him and Herrera, that’s fun. – Nick Stellini
Who will be the Phillies best major league hitter in 2016?
27 – Maikel Franco
3 – Odubel Herrera
Franco, and I don’t think he’ll have much competition on that front. – Adam Dembowitz
Odubel Herrera will have the highest batting average and will show that there will be no sophomore slump. – Jason Polinsky
Who will be the Phillies best major league pitcher in 2016?
23 – Aaron Nola
4 – Vincent Velasquez
1 – Jerad Eickhoff, Jeremy Hellickson
Vincent Velasquez. When he arrives, I think his swing and miss stuff will vault him over Nola, who still is having trouble with his stuff being homer-prone thus far this spring. – Ethan Witte
Aaron Nola. If for nothing else, just because there isn’t quite anybody else with his raw upside. It’ll be interesting to see how Nola adjusts as the league adjusts to him. But his great control seems to make it plausible that he’d be able to succeed in a manner that’s expected of him. – Mitch Rupert
Aaron Nola has had a tumultuous Spring, but he should be fine. He’s the best pitcher on the team. – Spencer Bingol
Do Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz make it through the season with the Phillies?
12 – Both
10 – Neither
6 – Just Howard
2 – Just Ruiz
Unfortunately, I don’t think so. They’ve been great Phillies over the years, but success and trades on one end, or injuries and failure on the other end, lead me towards ‘no.’ Both may get pushed from the minors, too. Knapp and/or Arencibia may push Ruiz, and Stassi may push Howard (as Stassi in turn is getting pushed by Hoskins.) – Kram
Yes to both. It will be a long, melancholy farewell tour. – Corinne Landrey
Yes and no. Howard is just not attractive to another club, but Ruiz is an August waiver rental waiting to happen. – Brad Engler
I am going to say “no” on both. I see no reason why, assuming each is healthy and playing even remotely well, that the Phillies should keep them at the deadline. If for no other reason than to give each player another shot at a winning postseason, I think the club should swallow whatever remains of their deals at that point, and ship them to a contender on the cheap. They have been loyal soldiers and key pieces to a champion. Now, if either/both can yield anything decent in return, all the better, but I doubt it. – Matt Veasey
Do the Phillies bring Mackanin back for the 2017 season?
27 – Yes
2 – No
To be fair this was asked before the extension, Mack is great and we all appreciate Klentak’s trust in him, and Matt gave this answer before that.
I think Pete did a nice job after the terrible Sandberg resignation a year ago. Things could have seriously deteriorated, but he kept the club on an even keel. I see no reason they don’t bring him back in 2017, perhaps with a nicer 2-3 year deal. Now, will he be the skipper that actually is around when they return to the postseason? That remains to be seen. – Matt Veasey
Who do the Phillies take with the #1 pick in the draft?
17 – Jason Groome
6 – A.J. Puk
1 – College SP, Delvin Perez
Jason Groome. Groome has a low to mid 90s fastball, potential plus curveball and potential solid average changeup, feel for all pitches and command coming from a 6’6″ highly projectable frame. He’s an arm to dream on. – C.J. Wittmann
Unless some hitter completely blows up this spring, I think it’s Groome’s spot to lose. – Ethan Witte
Who will be the highest ranked prospect in the system next year, excluding the #1 overall pick?
7 – Franklyn Kilome, Jorge Alfaro, Cornelius Randolph, J.P. Crawford
2 – Nick Williams
1 – Roman Quinn, Scott Kingery, Andrew Knapp, Jason Thompson
Cornelius Randolph. He’s going to get exposure in full season ball and we’re going to see just how good he is with the bat in his hands. If he’s as good a hitter as we already believe him to be, showcasing it in full-season ball is only going to make him skyrocket up lists. – Mitch Rupert
If he proves to be healthy for a full season and makes solid on-field progress, it’ll be Jorge Alfaro. A lot of the prospects currently ahead of him may graduate from the list, and his tools could propel him over those that remain. Given the relatively small amount of time he’s spent in the upper Minors, there’s also little chance he graduates, even if he were to really break out. – Spencer Bingol
Randolph. I’m torn between Randolph and Kilome so I’ll use TINSTAAPP as a tiebreaker and go with the position player. – Corinne Landrey
What pick will the Phillies have in the 2017 draft?
5 – #4
4 – #2, #7
3 – Top 10
2 – #1, #3, #5, #6
1 – #8, #9, #5-#8, #3-#5, Top 5
#3. I think Atlanta and Cincinnati will be worse in 2016. – Eric Chesterton
How many games will the Phillies win to make that happen?
6 – 70
5 – 68
3 – 69, 73
2 – 71, 72, 74, 75
1 – 62, 65, 67, 78
Anyone who says anything other than 69 is trying too hard. – Brad Engler
It’s going to be a tight race to be the cream of the crap, but something tells me Atlanta’s gambit isn’t going to work.- @dj_mosfett
What year will the Phillies make the playoffs again?
14 – 2018
8 – 2019
5 – 2020
3 – 2017
I think the safe bet is 2019 or possibly 2018. But with the young talent they have coming up mixed with how much money they will have to spend, I think they could make a run for a WC spot in 2017 with a quality young players and a good mix of veterans. – C.J. Wittmann2020. I think they’ll suck this year while they start to bring up the new core, win about 75-80 games in 2017, have one of those fake contender years in 2018 where they play over their heads for a while and stay in it past the deadline before actually contending in 2019. Tack on one year after that because the modal outcome is failure. – Michael BaumannThe next division title may be a ways down the road, but that doesn’t mean what it used to. I think playoffs are a real possibility as soon as 2017–even if that means one and done in the wildcard round. Once they feel they’re close, they have the money and perhaps even the trade pieces to try to get to the next level. – KRAM
2019. I’m tempted to say 2018, but, as we saw with the Royals, the best laid plans either go awry or run into a ton of unexpected delays. Let’s say they hover around .500 in 2017 and 18 before taking a leap forward in 2019 to make the playoffs. – Eric Chesterton