2017 Top 50 Phillies Prospects: 16-20

This part of the rankings ends the long journey through a tier of prospects. There is not a huge difference between Gamboa at 16 and players 20 spots below him. What these players represent are upside and risk. Players like Ortiz, Gamboa, Stobbe, and Brito could be special, but that time is far away. Mark Appel flashes stuff that makes you remember he was the first overall pick, but it only glimpses. After this the list takes a turn for the concrete and the tangible.

Top 50 Rankings: Intro|1-5|6-10|11-15|16-20|21-25|26-30|31-35|36-40|41-45|46-50|Under 25|Supplemental Rankings

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16. Arquimedez Gamboa – SS (Profile)

DOB: September 23, 1997 (19)
H/W: 6’0” 175lbs
B/T: S/R
Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent by the Phillies in July 2014.
2016 Stats:

Williamsport (SS)35147256.1%19.0%.200.254.292

Role: Above Average Regular
Risk: Extreme – Gamboa has only shown flashes of his abilities so far. He also missed the last portion of the season, depriving him of much needed at bats.
Summary: In 2014 the Phillies signed three Latin American shortstops to bonuses over $600,000. Last year Jonathan Arauz was the star of the group (Arauz was traded to Houston in the Vincent Velasquez trade). This year Gamboa and Daniel Brito got their chance in the spotlight. Gamboa is still incredibly raw and is a good distance away from being a major league contributor. He profiles to stick at shortstop long term, and he has the tools and athleticism to be a plus defender at the position. He is prone to getting to fancy in the field, but the Williamsport coaching staff helped him make strides in his consistency. Offensively, the Phillies knew that facing the New York-Penn League at 18 would be a tough task for Gamboa. His plate discipline is still a work in progress but was improved compared to his GCL campaign. He has the bat speed to catch up to anything from both sides, and showed some unexpected power. Gamboa is a plus runner, which is an asset on the base paths and in the field. Gamboa shows flashes of being an impactful player, but right now they are only flashes, and he has long way to go.

2017 Outlook: Despite an injury shortened season, Gamboa likely gets a shot at full season ball in 2017 with Lakewood. If he struggles, he could get a midseason demotion to Williamsport.
Previous Rank: 35
ETA: 2020

17. Jhailyn Ortiz – OF (Profile)

DOB: November 18, 1998 (18)
H/W: 6’3” 215lbs
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent by the Phillies in July 2015.
2016 Stats:

GCL (Rk)47197888.6%26.9%.231.325.434

Role: First Division Regular
Risk: Extreme – Ortiz showed the ability to hit for game power in his pro debut. He still has a lot of swing and miss in his profile, and he will need to work on chasing less. While Ortiz is fairly athletic now, many people think he will need to move to first base eventually.
Summary: After years of spreading the money around in Latin America, the Phillies gave Jhailyn Ortiz a $4M deal in July 2015. The Phillies had to trade two pitchers for pool money and sacrifice most of a signing class to complete the long rumored deal. At the time ,there were a lot of skeptics, as Ortiz had fallen from one of the top players in the class to one that many were trashing, and the Phillies had already agreed to a deal at a premium price. It is possible the Phillies “overpaid”, but that doesn’t mean Ortiz is not a very good prospect. Ortiz is a massive human being, and he has the power to go with it, launching absolute monster home runs in the GCL (he finished third in the GCL in home runs). Ortiz still needs improvement in approach and pitch recognition, but he showed growth in both areas this season. Most evaluators expect Ortiz to eventually end up at first base, but he has shown solid range and a strong arm in right field, and he has a chance to stick in a corner outfield spot for at least his younger years. The thing for Ortiz is that he needs to hit. It won’t matter how much the Phillies signed him for or where he is playing if he is able to consistently tap into his raw power. He has the chance to be a middle of the order slugger for the Phillies, but it is still going to take some time.

2017 Outlook: A trip to Lakewood would be an aggressive assignment for the 18 year old to open the year, so it is likely he will stay in Extended Spring Training before going to Williamsport.
Previous Rank: 22
ETA: 2021

18. Daniel Brito – 2B (Profile)

DOB: January 23, 1998 (19)
H/W: 6’1” 155lbs
B/T: L/R
Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent by the Phillies in July 2014.
2016 Stats:

GCL (Rk)47215279.8%12.6%.284.355.421

Role: Above Average Regular
Risk: High – Brito can hit and field, which gives him a decent floor, despite his lack of full season experience. Normally, second base only prospect are risky, but Brito’s glove is very good, and he likely could handle center field if needed.
Summary: The Phillies signed 3 Latin American shortstops in 2014, and Daniel Brito ended up being the odd man out in 2015 when Jonathan Arauz and Arquimedes Gamboa got their start in the GCL. After splitting time between 2B and SS in the DSL last year, Brito moved full time to second base for his stateside debut. I have written a lot about the risk of second base only prospects, but Brito checks all the boxes for a player who profiles to be pretty good at the position. Evaluators all believe that he is going to hit and that he is going to field. In many organizations, Brito would probably still be at shortstop with the “future second baseman” caveat due to an average arm. Because of their shortstop depth, the Phillies moved him to second base, where he projects to be a very good fielder. At the plate, Brito once again showed that he can maintain high contact rates while still drawing walks at a good rate. Brito is able to hit the ball to all fields, and this year he showed more power, especially to his pull side. He is still very skinny, but at 19 he has time to add strength to his frame, and that combined with his hitting abilities means he could hit 10-12 home runs a year at his peak. Brito is also a plus runner and has shown some ability to steal with success this season. Second base only prospects are risky, but Brito’s ability to hit has him on the short list of players that could have a breakout year in 2017.

2017 Outlook: He is polished enough to go to full season ball and should be the everyday second baseman on a talented Lakewood team.
Previous Rank: 41
ETA: 2020

19. Mark Appel – RHP (Profile)

DOB: July 15, 1991 (25)
H/W: 6’5” 220lbs
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 draft by the Astros. Traded along with RHP Vincent Velasquez, RHP Thomas Eshelman, RHP Harold Arauz, and LHP Brett Oberholtzer to the Phillies for RHP Ken Giles and SS Jonathan Arauz on December 12, 2015.
2016 Stats: 

Lehigh Valley (AAA)883-338.14.469.40.711.6%19.8%

Role: #3/#4 Starter or High Leverage Reliever
Risk: Extreme – In the right at bat, Appel will look like a high end starter, but he rarely strings those appearances together. Injuries took away most of his 2016 season, but he should be fully healthy going forward.
Summary: It wouldn’t be a Mark Appel season if there were clarity about his future. During the 2016 season, all of these things occurred; his fastball touched 97, his fastball didn’t break 91 for an inning, his slider was plus, he had plus control, he could not find the strike zone, he had a shoulder injury, he had bone chips removed from his elbow, and he imploded with runners on base. Appel was apparently back, healthy and throwing at the end of the year, but no one saw him throwing enough to know if the Phillies changed anything in his time off. If you are optimistic, then you can see a mid rotation starter with at least two plus pitches. If you are realistic, then there is a path as a reliever, along the lines of Luke Hochevar, where his fastball-slider combination allows him to handle high leverage innings. It is also possible that he will never put together the skills to get anything more than a cup of coffee in the majors. The Phillies believed in Appel enough to protect him in the Rule 5 draft. The indications are that the Phillies will give him another shot in the rotation before moving him to the bullpen.
2017 Outlook: Regardless of whether the Phillies use Appel as a starter or reliever, he is likely set for a return trip to Lehigh Valley. Even if he starts the year as a starter, Appel could move to the bullpen, based on the team’s needs.
Previous Rank: 4
ETA: 2017

20. Cole Stobbe – SS (Profile)

DOB: August 30, 1997 (19)
H/W: 6’1” 200lbs
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft by the Phillies.
2016 Stats: 

GCL (Rk)44168438.3%17.9%.270.337.405

Role: Above Average Regular
Risk: High – Stobbe is probably not a shortstop, and the Phillies are already trying him out at third base. He has a good power and solid feel for hitting, so he should be able to handle the move down the defensive spectrum.
Summary: After taking Mickey Moniak and Kevin Gowdy in the first two rounds of the draft, the Phillies went overslot with the first pick of Day 2 in taking Nebraska HS shortstop Stobbe. The shortstop part of Stobbe’s profile appears to be in doubt, as not many evaluators give him a chance to stick there. The Phillies had already experimented with him at third base in Instructs. With a solid glove and above average arm he should be a fine defender at the hot corner. Stobbe’s bat should be fine at third base, as he shows the potential to have average hit and power tools, with a bit more power if he fills out well. Stobbe was a bit streaky in his first experience in pro ball, including a horrendous GCL playoffs. In the end, his walk and strikeout rates were fine, and while his line was nothing special, it was a respectable start to a career. Stobbe doesn’t have star level tools, but if can hit his offensive and defensive ceiling, he could make a few All-Star teams and be a solid contributor. If the Phillies move him full time to third, he needs to beat out the previous 3rd round pick, Luke Williams, for Lakewood third base job.

2017 Outlook: Based on talent, Stobbe should be the starting third baseman for Lakewood. If not, he will open up in Williamsport after a trip to Extended Spring Training.
Previous Rank: N/A
ETA: 2020

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Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman
Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.


  1. allentown1

    It Stobbe goes to Lakewood, as I think he should, what happens to Lucas Williams? Is his Phillies future starting to look as a fade out?

  2. SirAlden

    Nice Lakewood Infield.

  3. Brad

    Speaking of Jonathan Arauz, where would you have him on your list?

    • Matt Winkelman

      I didn’t follow it too closely, but I suspect in the 16-18 range alongside Gamboa, Ortiz, and Brito