Time to kick off the actual list. The back end of any prospect list is going to be players with some serious flaws. For some players that is the lack of impact major league tools For others it is that they are half a decade from the high minors, or it could be specific struggles that have hurt their prospect stock to this point. The past tells us that a couple of these players may step forward or have a major league role. Last year Adam Morgan and Jonathan Arauz were both ranked in this range before having breakout seasons.
*All ages are as of opening day 2016, videos by Baseball Betsy and Minor League Baseball
41. Daniel Brito – SS (Profile)
DOB: January 23, 1998 (18)
H/W: 6’1” 155lbs
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent by the Phillies in July 2014 ($650,000 bonus)
Role: Major League Regular
Risk: Extreme – Brito is very physically underdeveloped, and there are a lot of questions about what position he plays long term. Due to his low amount of at bats stateside, the amount of information on him remains low.
Summary: When the Phillies signed three 16 year old shortstops in the summer of 2014 there was always going to be an odd one out. So while Arquimedez Gamboa struggled and Jonathan Arauz excelled in the GCL, Daniel Brito went down to the Dominican Summer League. Brito came back stateside for Instructional Leagues, but no one I talked to saw him enough to really nail down what they thought about his future. Brito is still lanky and skinny, lacking the necessary strength to make a real impact with his bat. He has a natural feel for contact and has shown a good approach at every level. His swing is not geared for power (even if he had the strength), so he will likely be more of gap hitter as he matures. He was an average runner when he signed, and he wasn’t able to be successful on the base paths this summer. There is some debate as to what position Brito will play long term, and the Phillies have already begun playing him at both second base and shortstop. If he has to move off the infield, center field has also been mentioned as a possibility. Much like Carlos Tocci, Brito is going to struggle to be impactful until he puts on muscle mass, but as he does the contact quality is going to make a large jump forward. Because information on him is so scarce, his future is mostly a mystery. What we do know is that he is a projectable hitter, with a good approach and feel for contact, who is going to play up the middle somewhere.
2016 Outlook: Brito will almost certainly go to Extended Spring Training and the GCL. It is likely that he will still struggle to make hard contact due to his size, but making contact and having good ABs will be key. Given that Arauz was traded, and they didn’t sign any big name Latin SSs in 2015, Brito will probably continue to see time at both second base and shortstop.
Previous Rank: 44
42. Bailey Falter – LHP (Profile)
DOB: April 24, 1997 (18)
H/W: 6’4” 175lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th Round (#144) by the Phillies in the 2015 draft ($420,000 bonus)
Role: #3 Starter
Risk: Extreme – Falter is far from being a completed player, so projecting a mid rotation ceiling is counting on future growth in stuff across the board.
Summary: Bailey Falter was one of a couple of curious day 2 picks for the Phillies in the 2015 draft. While he lacks in now stuff, Falter is a bet on the Phillies’ developmental staff because he has all of the building blocks to be a very good starting pitcher. Falter sat in the hi-80s in pro-ball and has touched into the low-90s in short bursts, but has the frame to add enough velocity to sit in the low 90s. Additionally, Falter’s fastball features some natural run. There is some debate over his delivery, with some leaning more smooth and easy and others finding it a bit stiff, but the delivery is fairly low effort. In addition to the fastball and its future growth, Falter shows feel for solid off speed pitches. The more advanced of the two pitches is his changeup, which shows good deception and fade. His curveball lacks sharpness and bite, but was also hurt by the poor fastball in the GCL. Falter also shows solid control, but his command lags behind like most young players. The next step for Falter will be refining his pitches while putting on weight and gaining velocity. The optimistic view here is that the Phillies’ development staff can repeat its previous success with adding velocity to their young pitchers (Medina, Kilome, Pinto, to name a few). The counter is that physical development is far from a sure thing. Falter’s development is unlikely to be linear with a jump coming when he adds enough velocity to make hitters respect his fastball.
2016 Outlook: Unless he shows up to camp with a big jump in stuff, it is likely that Falter will go to Extended Spring Training and then on to Williamsport. Until the velocity comes for Falter, the numbers may not reflect his future promise.
Previous Rank: N/A
43. Cameron Perkins – LF (Profile)
DOB: September 27, 1990 (25)
H/W: 6’5” 195lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 6th round (#218) by the Phillies in the 2012 draft ($152,900 bonus).
Role: Bench Outfielder
Risk: Medium – Perkins took a step back to start the 2015 season before making adjustments to tap into more power. If Perkins can carry the power surge over, he can be a major league contributor, as his defense is passable in both outfield corners.
Summary: It was a strange year for Cameron Perkins who mashed through AA last year on the back of a .342/.408/.495 line. He was then promoted to AAA and was just completely overmatched by the upper level pitchers there. In addition to his struggles against upper level pitchers, there were large questions about how Perkins fit onto a major league roster. As a corner outfielder (better in left field), his pre-2015 career high of 6 home runs was not going to work going forward. In 2015, Perkins started off very poorly in AA with a good approach, but very little power. Much like Rhys Hoskins, the Phillies added a leg kick to Perkins swing to get him in a position to drive the baseball. From May to July, after adding the kick, Perkins hit 11 home runs and 18 doubles in 235 ABs (67 hits). He struggled in August, as he missed time with injury before finding his hitting stroke in the playoffs going 10 for 29 against Binghamton and Bowie. Even with the change in swing, Perkins was able to keep a solid approach, with 9 walks to 11 strikeouts during his torrid .309/.392/.554 July, part of a career low full season strikeout rate of 12.7%. Even with the improvements it is hard to project Perkins as an average regular. His frame and new power numbers suggest future average power potential and his .252 batting average hides what is probably an average hit tool (he posted a .264 BABIP), with a chance at a little more than that. At his best, Perkins will have an aggressive approach and won’t walk at a prolific rate, but will have a low strikeout rate. In the outfield, Perkins plays and throws with all of the awkwardness of Hunter Pence without the freneticism. Overall his defense is above average in left field with an above average to plus arm. It all comes together a bit short of what a contending team wants in a corner outfielder. Perkins does not show large platoon splits, which does make him an interesting bench option if he cannot make a large improvement (given that he will be 25 on opening day, the improvements will mostly need to be mental). Perkins can play both outfield corners and first base if needed, so he does have some flexibility. If you look optimistically there is a major leaguer here, but there are a lot of players like Perkins in the minors fighting for a limited number of roster spots.
2016 Outlook: Perkins should get another crack at AAA in 2016, and with good results he could be an outfield option at some point for the Phillies. Due to the Phillies’ hitting depth in the outfield, Perkins will need to distinguish himself this year to have a long term future in the Phillies organization.
Previous Rank: 32
44. Cord Sandberg – LF (Profile)
DOB: January 2, 1995 (21)
H/W: 6’3” 215lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round (#89 overall) by the Phillies in the 2013 draft ($775,000 bonus).
Role: 4th Outfielder/Second Division Regular
Risk: High – Sandberg showed improvement in the second half of the 2015 season, but his tools are still down from where he was pre-draft. There is room for Sandberg to grow into a major leaguer as he gains experience, but he has a long way to go and not much margin for error.
Summary: To call Cord Sandberg’s career so far anything but a disappointment would be lying, but that is different than saying that his career is over. The former overslot draft pick is still a good athlete and a hard worker, but has yet to put the tools to use on the baseball field. In the field, Sandberg started as a center fielder before moving to right and now left field. In 2014 he showed good instincts for the outfield, but those have reportedly backed up, and his arm has come in way below expectations. He has shown in the past that he can be an above average defensive left fielder, so there is hope that he can return to that in the future, but for now the outfield remains a struggle. At the plate, Sandberg has the strength for at least above average power, but the problem has been getting to that power. His swing has a lot of movement, and his pitch recognition matches a two sport athlete in his 3rd year of pro-ball. The result has been a lot of ground balls (49.8%) and infield fly balls (9.7%), which has prevented him from hitting the ball with authority. When he has connected, all of his power has been to his pull side. The good news is that in the second half he did hit the ball a bit harder (though at the expense of overall contact and strikeouts), but he carried that over into better power, more balls in the air, and a more all-field approach in Australia this winter. The best course of action for Sandberg is to just let him play and see if he can put the tools to use. He does have the ability to be a major leaguer, but the odds are a lot lower than they were last year after his struggles on the field and the regression of key tools. The system has gotten deeper, so Sandberg will need to differentiate himself to keep his playing time.
2016 Outlook: This next season won’t be make or break for Sandberg, but that time is getting close. Sandberg should be the everyday left fielder for the Threshers next year, and while the Florida State League won’t be good for his numbers, the Threshers’ home park is hitter friendly.
Previous Rank: 19
45. Tyler Gilbert – LHP (Profile)
DOB: December 22, 1993 (22)
H/W: 6’3” 190
Acquired: Drafted in the 6th round (#174) by the Phillies in the 2015 draft ($279,300 bonus).
Role: #4 Starting Pitcher
Risk: High – Gilbert is still really raw as college arms go, and he was not a full time starter in his year at USC. While he flashes solid stuff across the board, he still needs a lot of refinement.
Summary: Gilbert is really inexperienced for a college junior. He spent two years at junior college before joining USC last season and splitting time between the rotation and bullpen. The Phillies sent him to Williamsport where they eased him into the rotation with great results. Gilbert is an athletic lefty who features a fastball in the high 80s, with movement, that will get to 92-93, a curveball, and a changeup. Both secondary pitches are below average for now, but there is the base for future improvement. His delivery shows some inconsistency, so he will need to work to smooth it out and repeat it better. The most impressive part of Gilbert’s debut was his control numbers. He walked two batters in his first appearance (1.2 inning), but then only 4 over the next 40.1 innings, while striking out 42 in that time. His command is more in flashes than solidified, but even that is fairly advanced for a short season arm. Gilbert still has a lot of work to do, and he personally thinks he can add another 1-2 mph to his velocity making the fastball more of an above average offering. He will need to keep his athleticism and find increased feel for his secondary pitches over that time to advance, but there is time and room for that to happen. There is also a feeling that if he can’t develop both secondaries that his stuff would play up well in the bullpen, but the Phillies have expressed that they will continue to develop him as a starting pitcher.
2016 Outlook: Traditionally, after having a year like he did in Williamsport, Gilbert would almost assuredly open the year in Clearwater. However, given the Phillies’ pitching depth, he could end up starting the year in Lakewood with a possible midseason promotion to Clearwater.
Previous Rank: N/A
46. Josh Tobias – 2B (Profile)
DOB: November 23, 1992 (23)
H/W: 5’9” 195lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 10th round (#294) by the Phillies in the 2015 draft ($10,000 bonus)
Role: Second Division Regular/Utility Infielder
Risk: High – Tobias hit well as a college senior in short season ball, so there are questions about whether he can repeat his success against better competition. Additionally, Tobias’ bat will only work as a regular at second base, otherwise he will need to make his way as a utility player.
Summary: Tobias is a really divisive prospect, because he teeters on the edge of nothingness. Without talking about the actual tools, he was a 22 year old college senior playing in short season ball against kids much younger. He is also a second baseman who is not a prospect if he needs to move off the position. It is incredible that Tobias is even this high on this list given that starting point. Tobias is a switch hitter with some feel for contact from both sides of the plate. He has good bat speed to go with a relatively short swing. The approach was not great in the New York-Penn League, and he got over aggressive in the second half of the season. He could be an average hitter long term if he can control his approach and let his swing do the work. To go with the contact ability is some power. It is mostly to the gaps right now, and due to a relatively maxed out frame, future power growth will have to come from increases in quality of contact. There is enough present strength that at his peak he could hit 10+ home runs with a large amount of doubles. In addition to the power as a secondary skill, Tobias is an above average runner, but he does need to work on his base stealing instincts to provide value. The biggest question for Tobias is his defense. He was a third baseman in college, and the bat does not work there as a regular in the pros. The Phillies moved him to second base and while the raw ability is there, the instincts are not there. He is a poor defender there now, and long term average might be a bit optimistic, but passable is within the realm of possibilities. It is likely that in addition to second base, Tobias could play third and the outfield if needed to. There are a ton of questions here, compounded by his struggles in both his sophomore and junior years at Florida. With a lot of optimism he could be an everyday second baseman. If the bat comes and the glove does not, he could try and carve out a utility role in a 2B/3B/OF spot for a team where his switch hitting gives them flexibility. If both the glove and bat come in anywhere below expectations it is going to be tough for him to be a major leaguer.
2016 Outlook: Normally we could write Tobias in for a spot in Clearwater next year, but the second base spot looks to be occupied by Scott Kingery. This could force Tobias to take the slow route through Lakewood. Alternatively, the Phillies could look to get creative with both of them splitting time in Clearwater.
Previous Rank: N/A
47. Gabriel Lino – C (Profile)
DOB: May 17, 1993 (22)
H/W: 6’3” 200lbs
Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent in December 2009. Traded to the Phillies with Kyle Simon for Jim Thome on June 30, 2012.
|Lehigh Valley (AAA)||53||206||0||0||3.9%||27.2%||.215||.244||.272|
Role: Back Up Catcher
Risk: Medium – Lino struggled in AAA at the plate, and while he has the tools to be a good defender, he has not yet reached his defensive peak.
Summary: Gabriel Lino has always had tools, but outside of his 2011 in the GCL, Lino has yet to demonstrate that he can translate those tools onto a baseball field. In 2015 he received an aggressive assignment to AA and just hit the ground running, showing a decrease in strikeouts, while walking more, and showing his best power since his 2011 season. The Phillies pushed Lino to AAA, and it all fell apart. It wasn’t just his bat that gave hope for Lino in 2015; his defense improved greatly, and he showed a better ability to block balls in the dirt and frame balls in the zone. Lino has always had a strong arm and was able to make some improvements in controlling the running game in Reading, but like much of his game, that also collapsed some in AAA. At the plate Lino’s swing is a bit long, and while he will work deep counts, he shows some immaturity in his approach, leading to high strikeout numbers. Lino does have above average raw power, but his lack of consistent contact has limited his ability to drive the ball. Despite all of the negatives, Lino ended the year in AAA and won’t turn 23 until May of this year. This gives Lino plenty of time to develop at a catcher’s pace and still be a major league contributor. Unfortunately for Lino, he is buried in the Phillies’ system and will likely be a backup in whatever level he plays. Fortunately for Lino, he will be a minor league free agent after the season and could find himself with plenty of suitors and opportunities.
2016 Outlook: Based on his struggles in 2015 and the Phillies’ other catchers it seems like Lino could make a return trip to Reading to be Jorge Alfaro’s backup. He should get a decent amount of work, but it might not be enough to get all of the development he needs.
Previous Rank: UR
48. Kyle Martin – 1B (Profile)
DOB: November 13, 1992 (23)
H/W: 6’2” 240lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round (#114) by the Phillies in the 2015 draft ($200,000 bonus).
Role: Second Division Regular/Platoon First Baseman
Risk: High – Martin mostly is a finished product, but as a college senior first baseman, he has to hit at every level to make the majors.
Summary: Martin was one the top college seniors available in the draft, and while the Phillies took him in the 4th round, they paid him closer to a 6th or 7th round pick. Martin is a giant at first base, with big raw power. His swing is a bit long and stiff, but he showed a good approach in college and some signs of that in the majors. In pro ball his weaknesses started to show more clearly. His power numbers were masked a bit by the Lakewood ballpark, which turned some home runs into doubles and fly outs. His approach did suffer on the road, as did his quality of contact. By far though, his biggest weakness was against left handed pitchers. Martin walked 3 times and struck out 25 times vs left handed pitchers in 62 at bats, with greatly reduced power numbers. It is going to be a tough road for Martin, because he is going to need to mash at every level. While he does have large platoon splits, he is on the correct side of the platoon so he can provide value to a major league team if he continues to mash against righties. However, the platoon split does limit his overall upside and value, especially in the modern game with shorter benches. Because of his age and skillset, Martin is likely to move quickly.
2016 Outlook: With Rhys Hoskins moving to Reading, Martin will almost certainly start in Clearwater. The park there should help his numbers some, but the league will do him no favors. If he hits, he could move up to Reading to push Hoskins.
Previous Rank: N/A
49. Jan Hernandez – 3B (Profile)
DOB: January 3, 1995 (21)
H/W: 6’1” 195lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round (#96) by the Phillies in 2013 draft ($550,000 bonus).
Role: Major League Regular
Risk: Extreme – Hernandez has the raw tools to be a major leaguer, however his immature approach at the plate limits how his tools play in games. Hernandez has also not played a full year in full season ball due to struggles at the short season level.
Summary: It has been over two years since the Phillies took Hernandez with their 4th selection in the 2013 draft, and he still remains a bit of an enigma. Hernandez started 2014 in Lakewood, before struggling and going to Williamsport. He did not get a chance at full season ball in 2015, instead he stayed back in Extended Spring Training before making a return trip to Williamsport. His numbers continued to look bad, however he showed signs of growth. Hernandez has above average to plus raw power stemming from good bat speed and strong wrists. His ten home runs in Williamsport looks a bit low in comparison to the record setting performances by Zach Green and Jiandido Tromp the past two seasons, but it was good enough for 2nd in the New York-Penn League this year. Most of the power is to his pull side, but he has shown the ability to go the other way. The big impediment at the plate is that the combination of a poor approach and poor pitch recognition has lead to both a high strikeout rate and poor contact. Hernandez did lower his strikeout rate to a career low in 2015, but at 29.9% it remains too high. Additionally, his low batting average was driven by a low BABIP, but the low BABIP was driven by a high number of fly balls, especially infield fly balls. Hernandez will need to overcome these issues to progress past Lakewood, let alone to the majors. In the field, Hernandez shows plus arm strength, but he does not always maximize it, and his accuracy can vary greatly. Additionally, his glove shows large inconsistencies with the ability to pull off great plays while struggling to accomplish the simplistic. Overall everything plays below average at third base, but there is room for improvement. Hernandez was one of the leaders of this year’s Williamsport team, and by all accounts has great makeup, so there is hope that he can overcome his current issues on the field. It will likely be a slow rise for Hernandez, but the bat speed and strength give him intriguing future potential.
2016 Outlook: Hernandez will get another crack at Lakewood in 2016, and while there may be improvements to his game, his numbers may struggle due to the park. The big things for him will be cutting down the strikeouts while finding some of his walk rate again, all while improving his contact quality. It will be a tall order, but it these improvements could that feed into each other.
Previous Rank: 42
50. Edgar Cabral – C (Profile)
DOB: September 12, 1995 (20)
H/W: 5’11” 210lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 11th round (#324) by the Phillies in the 2015 draft ($100,000 bonus).
Role: Major League Regular
Risk: Extreme – Cabral hit well in the Gulf Coast League out of junior college, but he has a short track record of success. Cabral has some intriguing tools, but he still lacks the feel for the game that will be needed to have a major league career.
Summary: When the Phillies took Cabral in the 11th round, no one had a writeup on him, making him a bit of a puzzler for a round where teams usually take the top overslot guy on their board. The Phillies did give Cabral the full $100,000, but no one really knew what they had until he started playing in the GCL. What they have is an intriguing catching prospect with good tools and a solid body. At the plate Cabral walked more than he struck out in pro-ball, after doing the same in his second year of junior college. He will need to improve his approach at the plate, and it is important to note, while not old (he will play 2016 at age 20), he was a bit older for the GCL. In addition to good walk and strikeout rates, Cabral exhibited a solid feel for contact with room for more in the future as a better approach will lead to more quality contact. Cabral showed good raw power potential, which will appear more consistently in games as his contact improves. Cabral has the ability to stay behind the plate, but his glove and arm are not good enough to carry him on their own to the majors. His pop times (around 2.0) in pro-ball showed average arm strength, and he caught a decent number of base stealers in the GCL (though numbers can deceptive). He is a decent athlete and he should be able to grow into a solid receiver. Cabral is still a bit of an enigma, but he has the offensive potential to be a major leaguer if he can polish up the defensive side of his game. It is going to be a long path, and the track record is short for Cabral, but he is much more interesting than he was when his name was called on draft day.
2016 Outlook: It really depends on what happens with the players above him, if Deivi Grullon repeats Lakewood, Cabral will almost assuredly go to Extended Spring Training before making the trip to Williamsport. If Grullon moves to Clearwater, then Cabral should get a shot at winning a job in Lakewood with a good spring.
Previous Rank: N/A