The Top 10 prospect list is the most universal ranking, and it is supposed to represent the top of the top. By splitting the Top 10 into two parts, a separation occurs as the elite are removed. As I mentioned in the 11-15 introduction, the prospects ranked 8-10 on this list are part of the same group as those in 11-15 section in terms of value. There is a gap up to Roman Quinn and Sixto Sanchez at the top of this list. Both have elite tools and elite ceilings. They have their weaknesses and potential downfalls, but if they hit their absolute ceilings, they could be cornerstone pieces for the Phillies.
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6. Sixto Sanchez – RHP (Profile)
DOB: July 29, 1998 (18)
H/W: 6’0” 185lbs
Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent by the Phillies in February 2015
Role: #2 Starter
Risk: Extreme – Sanchez is very young, and his track is limited. He has shown the raw stuff and polish to be a high end starting pitcher, but a lot can go wrong between the GCL and the majors.
Summary: No prospect raised their profile more this year than Sanchez. He started the year completely off of prospect radars, and he was not one of the players brought stateside for spring training. Even though he was the opening day starter for the GCL Phillies, he was throwing 91-95, and was more of an intriguing prospect, than a breakout one. Between that first start and the end of the year, Sanchez evolved from a 17 year old throwing low 90s to an 18 year old routinely touching 98 to 99. It is not just velocity for Sanchez, who sports a curveball and changeup that both flash plus potential. He also flashed a low 90s slider in his last few appearances of the regular season. In addition to his pitches in isolation, Sanchez has shown the ability to locate his pitches at a rate beyond his years. Sanchez dominated the Gulf Coast League by keeping hitters off balance and generating a large quantity of weak contact. The weak contact, coupled with a stingy walk rate and solid strikeout rate, allowed Sanchez to pitch deep into games without racking up high pitch counts. There are few young starters who can match Sanchez’s raw stuff, but he does have some detractions. The most obvious is his height, Sanchez is listed at 6’0”, and that might be slightly generous. His solid build and plus stuff should answer most questions about his ability to stick as a starter, but the questions will remain until he has success at upper levels. Additionally, he is only 18 and an absolute eternity from the majors. Sanchez’s stuff and feel give him the ceiling of a front line starting pitcher, but he is far away from that.
2017 Outlook: Sanchez is polished enough to make the jump to full season ball at age 18. The only question is how many innings the Phillies let him pitch at Lakewood, as they could look to limit his workload.
Previous Rank: UR
7. Roman Quinn – OF (Profile)
DOB: May 14, 1993 (23)
H/W: 5’10” 170lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft by the Phillies.
Role: Above Average Regular
Risk: Medium – Quinn has already reached the majors and could start there in 2017. He has so far avoided long term consequences from injuries, but if he loses any of his speed or athleticism, he will have trouble being an everyday player.
Summary: Is a player injury prone if they suffer many different injuries, with some freak injuries, without showing a pattern of injury to a certain body part? The answer to that question could sway your opinion of Roman Quinn. In 2016, Quinn missed time in the middle of the season due to an oblique injury and then missed a week at the end of the minor league season due to a concussion. The soft tissue injuries (oblique, hamstring, and to a lesser extent Achilles) are concerning, but Quinn missing time to broken bones (HBP) and concussion (pick off throw) isn’t something that should be concerning going forward. Despite the lower body injuries, Quinn has maintained elite speed and is one of the fastest runners in baseball. In the field, Quinn has taken well to center field, where his speed allows him to make up for mistakes in route running. He is also able to play both outfield corners, and he still has a shortstop’s plus arm. At the plate, Quinn has become a credible switch hitter. He has more power when hitting left handed but is able to maintain higher contact rates from the right side. Quinn’s strikeouts did rise a little in 2016, as he got off to a slow start in Reading, hitting only .233/.290/.337 in April with 5 walks to 23 strikeouts. Despite his injuries, he closed out his minor league season well, hitting .329/.402/.495 from May 1 until his promotion to the majors (10.3% BB%, 19.0% K%). Quinn had a fine major league debut too, drawing walks and being a terror on the bases. Despite his size, Quinn has some power and could hit close to 10 home runs a year at his peak. Additionally, his speed allows him to stretch singles into doubles and doubles into triples. Quinn still needs to work on becoming a more successful base stealer, but his speed alone allowed him to steal 41 bases in 92 games. Over a full season of major league games, he could be close to 50 steals. In an ideal world, Quinn would strike out less, and he does need to do better than his major league rate, but if he can maintain his walk rate he should get on base enough to cause problems. The Phillies don’t have a spot in center field, now that Odubel Herrera is locked up long term, but there is still a role in the outfield for Quinn if he can hit at a high rate.
2017 Outlook: With the Phillies signing Michael Saunders, Quinn will open the year in AAA. He will have to race fellow outfielders Nick Williams and Dylan Cozens for the chance to unseat Howie Kendrick or be the first injury call up. The important thing for Quinn will be getting regular at bats, something that will require him to stay healthy.
Previous Rank: 8
8. Cornelius Randolph – OF (Profile)
DOB: June 2, 1997 (19)
H/W: 5’11” 205lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 draft by the Phillies.
Role: Above Average Regular
Risk: High – As a left fielder, Randolph needs to have offensive impact. His lack of average power right now puts him behind on achieving that goal.
Summary: Cornelius Randolph can really hit. That is not a fact that has ever really been up for debate. All of the other parts of Randolph’s game are up for critique. A shortstop in high school, Randolph is a left fielder going forward. He still has not shown a good glove for the position, which has some evaluators feeling he may have to move to first base. Randolph has a good approach at the plate and should maintain a high on base percentage. The big problem for Randolph is his power production, or more clearly, his lack of power production. Home runs are up in the majors, raising the offensive bar and expectations across all positions. Randolph doesn’t hit for power in games or batting practice. His swing is geared towards high contact rates and spraying line drives around the field. Randolph is a compact player with good strength, but he is also fairly maxed out physically, so he won’t be adding much strength in the future. This means almost all Randolph’s future power will have to come from changes in his swing and approach. The other complicating factor is that Randolph missed 2 months in 2016 because of a nagging shoulder injury. He came back from the injury to post good contact and walk rates, but there is a chance the injury did sap some power. Randolph has the hitting foundation to still be a very good player if he can get his home run output into the 15-20 range. He has yet to take the first steps on that path. However, he was one of the youngest players in the 2015 draft and won’t turn 20 until June.
2017 Outlook: Staying in Lakewood won’t magically fix Randolph’s power, and right now that is the biggest weakness in his game. This means that Randolph will head to Clearwater to start the 2017 season.
Previous Rank: 6
9. Adonis Medina – RHP (Profile)
DOB: December 18, 1996 (20)
H/W: 6’1” 185lbs
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent by the Phillies in May 2014.
Role: #3 Starter
Risk: High – Medina struggled with striking out batters in 2016, and he is far away from the majors. However, he has 3-4 above average to plus pitches and good feel and command, which makes him safe to stick as a starter.
Summary: Sometimes when evaluating prospects, we encounter players where we are unable to reconcile the statistics with what we see. Medina’s season contains one such discrepancy, his strikeout rate. Medina’s breakout came in 2015 when he went from a high 80s strike thrower to an 18 year old flashing 3 potential plus pitches. Given his youth, the Phillies sent Medina to Williamsport. Medina was dominant out of the start, allowing only 2 runs over his first 5 starts. He also carried a no-hitter into the 9th inning of a start. Even during that dominance, he did not strike many batters out. This is where things get puzzling, because Medina should be getting strikeouts. Like Sixto Sanchez and Franklyn Kilome, he has a heavy sinking fastball. His sits 91-94, but he showed that he can touch up to 97. Medina mixes in both a curveball and changeup that show above average to plus potential. At the New York-Penn League, he unveiled a slider with plus potential, including late bite. Medina has more polish and feel for pitching than the average 19 year old, and he has the easy repeatable delivery to throw good strikes. He just did not miss bats this season. It was short season ball, so there is no reason yet to have concern. In 2015 Kilome had a similarly concerning strikeout drop, before coming out this year and missing more bats than ever before. Medina has mid rotation upside if he can continue to progress with all his secondaries. If that doesn’t work out, he flashed the upside to be dominant reliever.
2017 Outlook: Medina is polished enough to start in Lakewood. There may be some ups and downs, but if he can harness is offspeed, he could see a similar strikeout rebound to Kilome’s in 2016.
Previous Rank: 13
10. Kevin Gowdy – RHP (Profile)
DOB: November 16, 1997 (19)
H/W: 6’4” 170lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft by the Phillies
Role: #3 Starter
Risk: Extreme – Gowdy has barely thrown in professional ball. While he is polished for a high school pitcher, there is always a risk that stuff that showed up once a week, won’t show up in a 5 man rotation.
Summary: The prize for getting the #1 overall pick wasn’t just Mickey Moniak, it was also having the money to buy Gowdy out of his UCLA commitment. The Phillies paid Gowdy like a Top 10 talent. He is not a top 10 talent, but he is a significant talent. Gowdy lacked the raw upside of some of the other high school pitchers in the draft, but what he does have is a great combination of polish and upside. Gowdy has a prototypical starter’s build with room for future growth. He has an easy delivery that leads to solid current and future above average to plus command. Gowdy does not lack in current stuff, with a fastball that sat 90-94 in pro ball and touched 95+ as an amateur. His slider is already a good pitch and profiles as plus in the future. He also shows advanced feel for a changeup. Gowdy missed most of the GCL season due to a non-arm injury (the Phillies were also looking to be conservative with his workload). If Gowdy fills out his frame and has normal growth elsewhere, he profiles as a good mid rotation starter.
2017 Outlook: Gowdy should move quickly due to his advanced feel for pitching, and an opening assignment to Lakewood would not be too aggressive. However, though the Phillies could opt to be conservative and send him to Williamsport.
Previous Rank: N/A
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