A list of 30 prospects in a system has become standard, and while this list goes to 50, 30 is where it really hits its stride. These 10 players aren’t perfect prospects, but they are players with a chance to make real major league impact. That ranges from back end starting pitchers who could be in the majors this season to teenagers with tons of tools and a lot of time to go.
All ages are for major league opening day.
21. Luis Garcia – SS (Profile)
DOB: 10/1/2000 (17)
H/W: 5’11” 160lbs
Acquired: Signed as an international amateur by the Phillies on July 2, 2017.
2017 Stats: Did Not Play
Role: Above Average Regular
Risk: Extreme – Garcia got a $2.5 million signing bonus and was ranked highly by most evaluators, but he also has only played a hurricane shortened Florida Instructional League and Dominican complex league ball since signing, so he is an eternity away.
Summary: After not making any million dollar commitments in the 2016 signing period, the Phillies waded into the 2017 signing period by giving Garcia one of the largest bonuses of the class. The selling point on Garcia is his glove. He not only looks like he should be able to stick at shortstop, but he might also actually pretty good there. He has good hands and feel for the position, and most think that his arm will be plus down the road. While this leaves few concerns about Garcia’s defensive profile, there are many questions about how good he will offensively. He has a good feel for contact, but he has yet to show much power. He is a switch hitter who is better from the left side, which should help as he adapts to pro ball.
2018 Outlook: It was already a lock that Garcia would start stateside in the GCL in 2018, but it was further cemented when the Phillies added a second team.
Previous Rank: N/A
22. Jonathan Guzman – SS (Profile)
DOB: August 17, 1999 (18)
H/W: 6’0″ 156lbs
Acquired: Signed as an international amateur by the Phillies on August 17, 2015.
|GCL Phillies (Rk)||38||165||1||5||6.7%||14.5%||.248||.299||.320|
Role: Above Average Regular
Risk: Extreme – Despite a good feel for the game and great defensive tools, Guzman is still physically undersized and far away from being a contributor at the major league level.
Summary: Jhailyn Ortiz got the major hype out of the Phillies 2015 international signing class, but Guzman quickly established himself as someone to watch, despite his meager bonus. His biggest asset is his defensive tools at shortstop. He has the ability to be a plus defender there long term, and was good enough that the Phillies moved 2016 top signee, Brayan Gonzalez, to second base in the GCL. Guzman has a great feel for contact and at his best a really advanced approach at the plate. Even when he fills out he is unlikely to have much power, and for now he is physically overmatched for higher levels. He wore down over the course of the GCL season and his numbers dropped off late in the year. Guzman is still a bit of a project physically, so even if he advances quickly he could need extra time eventually to let his body catch up.
2018 Outlook: Before they drafted a bunch of shortstops in 2017, it looked like Guzman was heading to Williamsport in 2017, but after 6 games he was bumped back to the GCL. With Dalton Guthrie healthy, and Nick Maton looking good in his debut Guzman probably goes to Williamsport again in 2018 here he should reunite with Gonzalez up the middle.
Previous Rank: 39
23. Simon Muzziotti – OF (Profile)
DOB: December 27, 1998 (19)
H/W: 6’1″ 175lbs
Acquired: Signed by the Red Sox as an international amateur on July 2, 2015. Granted free agency on July 1, 2016 as part of Red Sox’s punishment for international signing infractions. Signed by the Phillies on July 5, 2016.
|GCL Phillies (Rk)||33||141||0||8||5.0%||5.7%||.269||.305||.388|
Role: Above Average Regular
Risk: Extreme – Like most complex level batters, Muzziotti is ages away from the majors. While his defense, speed, and feel for contact give him a solid base, Muzziotti’s lack of present strength severely limits his impact.
Summary: Much like Abrahan Gutierrez, the Phillies were able to sign Muzziotti because his original contract was voided, in this case because of the Red Sox’s bonus manipulation. Muzziotti hit ok for the Red Sox DSL team in 2016, before struggling to have the hits fall in for the Phillies after his midseason change of teams. In 2017, the Phillies sent Muzziotti to the GCL, where he once again missed time in the season, only this time for an injury and not a voided contract. Because he is a skinny Venezuelan center fielder with little power, Muzziotti is going to draw comparisons to Carlos Tocci. It is true there are some similarities; both have little power, both are good center fielders, and both are plus or better runners. Muzziotti has more strength than Tocci did in the GCL, but he is also 2 years older at the same point. He has shown a better hit tool as well, but at the same age Tocci was having the bat knocked out of his hand in Lakewood. The hit tool is what really separated Muzziotti in 2017. He showed good contact rates in the DSL, but with a 5.7% K% in 2017 he really showed how good his feel for putting the bat on the ball is. He probably is not going to walk very much, because he is going to put the ball in play so much. It isn’t just slap and run either, he can hit the ball to all fields and has shown that balls in the alleys can easily become triples. He will need to get stronger and at least develop enough power to keep pitchers from just pumping fastballs right down the middle to him. In the field, Muzziotti is an above average center fielder and has shown improvements in arm strength as well. There is still a lot of development ahead, but the pieces are there for an everyday major leaguer.
2018 Outlook: Given the players in front of him and his further needed physical development, it seems likely that Muzziotti starts the year in Extended Spring Training before heading to Williamsport. There is a small chance the Phillies aggressively send him to Lakewood.
Previous Rank: UR
24. Drew Anderson – RHP (Profile)
DOB: March 22, 1994 (24)
H/W: 6’3″ 185lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 21st round (#668 overall) by the Phillies in the 2012 draft.
|Lehigh Valley (AAA)||1||1||0-0||6.2||1.35||6.8||1.4||7.1%||25.0%|
Role: #4 Starter
Risk: Medium – Drew Anderson stayed healthy all season in his return from injury. He is near major league ready, but his secondary pitches still need work in the upper minors.
Summary: Drew Anderson entered the 2017 season with a good bit of buzz. In the second half of 2016, he had returned from Tommy John surgery and made the Phillies 40 man roster on the back of a spike in fastball velocity. Despite the buzz, this season was Anderson’s first real test at staying healthy for 5 months of work, and in that aspect he passed admirably, pitching 116.2 innings and making 22 starts. His season was interrupted by two trips to Philly to sit in the bullpen, but otherwise, he made all of his starts. Anderson was not as electric in 2017, sitting more 92 to 95, instead of running it up to 96 or 97 like the end of 2016. His changeup is still a work in progress. It has average potential but is still inconsistent. His curveball continues to be a good pitch for him, allowing him to get swings and misses. Anderson’s overall numbers were poor, as his control faltered later in the season, which is unsurprising given the jump in workload. Another healthy offseason should see Anderson up into the 150 innings range if he stays in the minors all year. Whereas last year, the goal for Anderson was to stay healthy and pitch all season, in 2018 he is going to need to show progression in his changeup to stick in a rotation. If he can’t start, there may be some hope for Anderson as a fastball-curveball reliever, given that we have seen a bit more velocity out of his arm in the past.
2018 Outlook: Much like most of his peers on the 40 man roster, Anderson will be competing for a spot in the Lehigh Valley rotation. He should be in AAA based on merit, but the Phillies may keep him in AA, especially early in the year as they sort out their major league rotation.
Previous Rank: 26
25. Kyle Young – LHP (Profile)
DOB: December 2, 1997 (20)
H/W: 6’10 205lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 22nd round (#674 overall) by the Phillies in the 2016 draft.
Role: #3 Starter
Risk: Extreme – Young still has a backend starter’s arsenal, but his lanky frame hints at plenty of future projection. Young still has a long way to go, but he has a solid base to build up from.
Summary: Kyle Young is weird. He is now supposedly 7’1” tall and still incredibly lanky, while getting noticeably larger in his first year of professional baseball. Young is very much a work in progress. He is surprisingly athletic for his size, and it shows in his control numbers vs advanced hitters in Williamsport. Additionally, his delivery takes advantage of his size, not with a high release point and good plane, but rather with a lower angle delivery that sees him release the ball close to home plate. His stuff however, is not as advanced. Young pitches with a fastball in the high 80s that touches 90-91. He has a loopy slow slurve that is currently below average. He also has a changeup that is also not an impact pitch. Long term, the Phillies think that Young can throw in the mid 90s, and while his offspeed pitches may never be above average, his deceptive delivery should help everything play up. There is a chance that as Young gets bigger he will get stiffer and suffer from a lot of the delivery issues other pitchers have. There is also a chance that he never adds velocity and ends up just a LOOGY with a funky delivery. Either way, it might still be a while before we have a grasp on Young’s future potential.
2018 Outlook: Having mastered Williamsport, Young should open the year in Lakewood. If he repeats his 2017 season, it will be difficult to keep him there all year, but full season ball has caused stumbles to many pitchers before him.
Previous Rank: 43
26. Cole Irvin – LHP (Profile)
DOB: January 31, 1994 (24)
H/W: 6’4″ 180lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th round (#137 overall) by the Phillies in the 2016 draft.
Role: #4 Starter
Risk: Medium – Irvin has already had some success in the upper minors, and with a solid 4 pitch mix and good command, he is near major league ready.
Summary: The reports out of college on Cole Irvin were that he was a soft tossing lefty that might be a quick moving #5 starter. From the minute he joined the Phillies organization, Irvin showed that he had a bit more stuff than a typical soft tosser. As expected, Irvin moved quickly through A-ball in his first full pro season before reaching AA in late June. While he is not a soft tosser, Irvin is not overpowering. He starts with a fastball that sits 88-93. He can run the velocity up to 94-95 if he needs it, and he can also live at the bottom of his range and cut and sink it. He can locate the pitch well to both sides of the plate, which allows him to set up the rest of his arsenal. His curveball is probably his best secondary pitch and is maybe an above average offering. He throws a slider and changeup, both in the mid 80s, both of which have average potential. He can locate all 4 of his pitches and shows the advanced feel for pitching you expect from a college starter. Irvin is never going to pile up large strikeout totals, but if he can continue to generate weak contact, he should be a solid back end starter. Despite missing 2015 to Tommy John surgery, Irvin showed he should be able to handle a full workload, coming second only to Jose Taveras in innings pitched in the Phillies system
2018 Outlook: His lack of domination and the Phillies starting depth in front of him means that Irvin will likely be returning to Reading to start the year. Due to the Phillies organizational lefty shortage, Irvin will start the year as the most major league ready left handed starter in the organization.
Previous Rank: 37
27. Jose Taveras – RHP (Profile)
DOB: November 6, 1993 (24)
H/W: 6’4″ 210lbs
Acquired: Signed as an international amateur by the Phillies on November 10, 2013.
|Lehigh Valley (AAA)||7||7||3-1||41.0||1.32||5.7||1.1||9.2%||22.7%|
Role: #4/#5 Starter
Risk: Medium – Jose Taveras had success in AAA and is pretty much finished developing when it comes to pitch arsenal. His lack of an impact pitch means that he needs to polish and maintain his command and approach to have major league success.
Summary: As a 22 year old, Taveras was dominant in Lakewood so there was was a lot of anticipation for what he could do against higher level hitters. Taveras got off to a good start in Clearwater, his shiny 2.38 ERA hiding background numbers that were more average than overwhelming. In mid-July, the Phillies promoted Taveras to Reading, but organizational needs forced him to AAA after two starts. For Lehigh Valley, Taveras was brilliant, ending his year with three dominant starts where he missed bats and limited his walks. The Phillies rewarded him with a spot on the 40 man roster this offseason. Taveras has average stuff across the board, with a fastball that sits 89-92 and can touch 93-94, a solid changeup, and an ok slider. Taveras gets good deception on his pitches thanks to a delivery that sees him release the ball close to home plate. He has a good feel for mixing his pitches and locating them around the strike zone. At 24 years old and physically filled out, there is not much path to more upside for Taveras. Every year, there are pitchers like Taveras that have success in the major leagues as back end starters, but there are also many who end up going up and down between the majors and AAA because they can’t get major league batters out.
2018 Outlook: In theory, Taveras should start in AAA next year, competing alongside the other members of the Phillies 40 man roster for a major league call up. However, there are more players lined up to do that than IronPigs rotation spots.
Previous Rank: 48
28. Brayan Gonzalez – SS (Profile)
DOB: January 14, 2000 (18)
H/W: 5’11” 172
Acquired: Signed by as an amateur free agent by the Phillies on July 2, 2016.
|GCL Phillies (Rk)||38||152||2||6||7.9%||21.7%||.269||.331||.388|
Role: Above Average Regular
Risk: Extreme – Gonzalez has already moved down the defensive spectrum to second base, putting a lot of pressure on his bat to perform. He also is only 18 years old, so his major league ETA is an eternity away.
Summary: The Phillies gave Gonzalez $900,000 as part of their large 2016 July 2 class. The Phillies sent him directly to the GCL, where he was the youngest member of the Phillies’ squad. A natural shortstop, Gonzalez moved over to second base in deference to Jonathan Guzman. Gonzalez has all of the tools right now to stay at short, which makes him a high level defender at second base. A natural righty, Gonzalez actually performed better from the left side as a pro. Gonzalez has sneaky power, but mostly will be a guy who peppers the gaps with doubles. He moves well, but he is not a burner, and this lack of plus speed likely makes second base his long term home. Gonzalez has a good feel for the game, but lacks the high end tools of some of his GCL teammates.
2018 Outlook: After hitting well for the GCL Phillies, Gonzalez likely will pair with double play partner Jonathan Guzman in Williamsport.
Previous Rank: 40
29. Connor Seabold – RHP (Profile)
DOB: January 24, 1996 (22)
H/W: 6’3″ 190lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round (#83 overall) by the Phillies in the 2017 draft.
Role: #4 Starter
Risk: High – Seabold barely pitched in pro ball after a large innings load in college. On the surface, his arsenal should be fairly safe, but as with more control oriented right handers, there is little margin for slip ups.
Summary: As a command oriented righty out of Cal State Fullerton, Seabold inevitably drew comparisons to Thomas Eshelman. While at Fullerton, Seabold put up good numbers (particularly as a sophomore), but he did not quite reach the strike throwing heights of his fellow Titan. Seabold does have better raw stuff than Eshelman. His fastball sits in the 90-93 range, and he touched 94 in college, andhe can cut it or give it some run, making it not just some well placed dart. He also shows some feel for a changeup that has good deception out of his hand. His curveball is more of a show pitch, and he will need to at least improve it to the point where hitters accept its existence. With no knockout pitch and great, but not elite command, Seabold will need to be near perfect to be more than a #5 starter. Seabold still has a bit of projection left in his frame so maybe there is more velocity or pitch development left. In most systems, Seabold would be a quick moving starter, and he might be able to replicate the quick moving path of Eshelman and Cole Irvin in the Phillies’ system, but the increasing depth in the organization has made promotions on merit not as common as they once were.
2018 Outlook: In a normal year, Seabold would start in Clearwater and with a good spring, he could skip Lakewood, but if the young arms in the system impress this spring, Seabold could end up starting in New Jersey.
Previous Rank: N/A
30. Victor Arano – RHP (Profile)
DOB: February 7, 1995 (23)
H/W: 6’2″ 200lbs
Acquired: Signed as an international amateur by the Dodgers on April 4, 2013. Traded to the Phillies with Jesmuel Valentin for Roberto Hernandez on August 28, 2014.
Role: High Leverage Reliever
Risk: Low – Arano reached the majors at the end of the 2017 season and performed well in his limited appearances. Unless he suddenly regains all of his pre-injury velocity spike, Arano is a finished product, it is just polish left.
Summary: After converting to the bullpen full time in 2016, Arano entered the 2017 season as the Phillies’ best relief prospect. Unfortunately, an arm injury in Spring Training got his season off to a late start. When he did return, he wasn’t the same pitcher. His fastball was 92-93 instead of 94-97, and his breaking ball lacked sharpness. It took him a few months to start missing bats, and then he had a stretch where he struggled to throw strikes. However, by August and September, Arano was back to missing bats and controlling the strike zone. The Phillies promoted him to the majors at the end of the minor league season, and he immediately had success. His fastball was not fully up to pre-injury form, but he was averaging about 94 with it. He also showed that, like many of the Phillies relievers, he could be used in 2 inning stints. He still could sharpen some things up, and while he may never have closer upside, he could pitch in the late innings of a major league bullpen soon.
2018 Outlook: With the Phillies fortifying the major league bullpen, Arano will get his first taste of AAA action. If the Phillies need a reliever during the year, he will probably be one of the first call ups.
Previous Rank: 31
Photo of Jose Taveras by Baseball Betsy