2018 Top 50 Phillies Prospects: 41-50

It is list time of year again, or in reality we are reaching the end of the list season. I apologize for the late start to this and the lack of content in general. Before getting into the numbers and names, my hope is that I provide you the resources to create your own order based on what you prioritize in a prospect. Much of the order here reflects my thoughts on prospects and development, and in reality there is very little difference between most of the prospects on this list. Putting together this bottom of the list was a bit of an eye opener at how much talent was on the GCL team this year. Without a Sixto Sanchez or Mickey Moniak the press went to guys like Francisco Morales, Jonathan Guzman, and Simon Muzziotti, and while we will get to them in time, there were many more worth watching in Florida this past year.

Index: 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 

All ages are for major league opening day.

41. J.D. Hammer – RHP (Profile)

DOB: July 12, 1994 (23)
H/W: 6’3″ 215lbs
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 24th round (#710 overall) of the 2016 draft by the Colorado Rockies. Traded to the Phillies Jose Gomez and Alejandro Requena for Pat Neshek on July 26, 2017.
2017 Stats:

Team (LVL)GGSW-LIPERAH/9HR/9BB%K%
Asheville (A-)2404-130.01.205.10.04.4%41.6%
Lancaster (A+)1200-112.05.257.50.016.7%33.3%
Clearwater (A+)1202-115.20.574.60.03.6%36.4%
Glendale (AFL)1000-013.20.662.60.013.7%25.5%

Role: High Leverage Reliever
Risk: Medium – Hammer has some things to work out on his secondary pitches, but he has shown enough success that he could move quickly.
Summary: Thanks to a great name and a great set of glasses, Hammer has been the most famous piece of the return for Pat Neshek. Every so often, a late round college senior transitions from the rotation to the bullpen and takes off. Hammer’s success is thanks to a large velocity jump that saw him start sitting in the mid 90s and touching up to 97. For the most part, he throws strikes with his fastball, but as he showed in his first trip to hi-A and his time in the AFL, he can lose his command. Hammer’s biggest area of potential improvement is finding more consistency and movement on his slider. The pitch has two plane movement and sits in the mid 80s, and right now is below average. Hammer put up spectacular numbers on the season, but guys who can throw 97 are just not rare anymore. Hammer should move quickly, and if he polishes things, he could see the majors as early as late 2018, but he will need to make some improvements, or he may just be an up and down middle reliever.
2018 Outlook: Despite only a few innings in hi-A, Hammer should open the year in AA. If Hammer can put up big numbers there, he should reach AAA quickly, and in the world of relievers, it is just not a far jump if the circumstances align.
Previous Rank: N/A
ETA: Late 2018

42. Alberto Tirado – RHP (Profile)

DOB: 12/10/1994 (23)
H/W: 6’0″ 180lbs
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent by the Blue Jays on July 7, 2011. Traded to the Phillies with Jimmy Cordero for Ben Revere on July 31, 2015.
2017 Stats:

Team (LVL)GGSW-LIPERAH/9HR/9BB%K%
GCL Phillies (Rk)200-02.00.004.50.037.5%12.5%
Clearwater (A+)15125-463.13.698.41.413.5%20.6%
Reading (AA)1000-012.06.759.80.028.4%11.9%

Role: High Leverage Reliever
Risk: Extreme – In 2017, Tirado not only saw his already poor control get worse, but his stuff go from being electric to rather ordinary.
Summary: The end of Alberto Tirado’s 2016 season was probably the most encouraging stretch of pitching of his career. He was lasting 5+ innings in starts, missing bats, and more importantly, not walking everyone. As a starter, his fastball was routinely sitting mid to high 90s, touching 99-100 at times. His slider had good two plane break, and while a bit long and loopy, it missed bats. Things did not go well for Tirado in Clearwater as good starts were sandwiched between poor starts. Eventually, the Phillies pitching depth and his control problems forced a move to the bullpen. He was quickly promoted to Reading, where his control took an even bigger step backwards. More concerningly, his velocity was down as well, often sitting 92-96 with some 97s. Eventually, he went on the DL with a shoulder injury and missed about 3 weeks, before making some rehab appearances to close out his year. Tirado’s slider appears to still be around after the regression in stuff, but his fastball is ordinary. The combination of stuff regression and control issues caused the Phillies to remove him from the 40 man roster over the offseason. If Tirado can get back to throwing 95-98 T100 with good movement, while throwing the slider and just staying near the zone, he could get back on track for a major league role.
2018 Outlook: Tirado is in the bullpen to stay now. If he can have a good spring, he could start in Reading’s bullpen. He still is only 23, so he could spend the full year in AA working through things, but if he cannot get his control to even fringe average, he could find himself even more buried in the organization.
Previous Rank: 23
ETA: 2019

43. Ben Pelletier – OF (Profile)

DOB: 9/22/1998 (19)
H/W: 6’2″ 190lbs
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 34th round (#1014 overall) in the 2015 draft.
2017 Stats:

Team (LVL)GPAHRSBBB%K%AVGOBPSLG
GCL Phillies (Rk)46180314.4%16.7%.333.361.474

Role: Average Regular
Risk: Extreme – Pelletier had an up and down year in the GCL, and despite 2017 being his 3rd pro season, Pelletier still has not had many at bats.
Summary: When the Phillies took Pelletier in the 2015 draft he was the youngest draftee ever. He didn’t play his first year while finishing school, and then didn’t arrive until late in Extended Spring Training in 2016, before then playing 27 games as a 17 year old. At age 18, Pelletier got a second crack at rookie ball and found much more success. Like most 18 year olds, Pelletier had some problems with consistency and with approach at the plate. However, over the last month of the season, Pelletier hit .388/.416/.482, but more importantly he only struck out 9 times in 23 games. Unfortunately,that only came with 4 walks. If he can get the mental side of the game down, Pelletier has the physical tools to shoot up prospect lists. Pelletier has a prototypical right field build with a strong arm and good power, but more importantly a good feel for contact. Like any corner outfielder, Pelletier will need to keep hitting to have a future, but he is young enough that he still has plenty of time to make improvement.
2018 Outlook: With the Phillies’ depth, Pelletier probably makes another trip to Extended Spring Training before heading to Williamsport. Given that his Rule 5 clock started ticking early, the Phillies could look to move Pelletier quickly if he can prove he can hit low level pitching.
Previous Rank: UR
ETA: 2022

44. Elniery Garica – LHP (Profile)

DOB: 12/24/1994 (23)
H/W: 6’0″ 155lbs
B/T: L/L
Acquired: Signed as an international amateur by the Phillies on December 9, 2011.
2017 Stats:

Team (LVL)GGSW-LIPERAH/9HR/9BB%K%
GCL Phillies (Rk)220-05.00.005.40.010.0%15.0%
Reading (AA)552-125.21.756.10.015.6%9.2%
Glendale (AFL)441-214.05.799.61.36.4%21.0%

Role: #5 Starter/LOOGY
Risk: High – Before an arm injury and PED suspension derailed his 2017 season, Garcia looked poised to be at least a #4 starter with a chance for a bit more, but his stuff has all gone backwards, and he will need to rebuild his stock.
Summary: Elniery Garcia broke out late in the 2016 season, when he started touching 94-95 over the summer and then touched 97 in the playoffs. This year, after spending Spring Training with the Phillies, Garcia suffered an arm injury and received an 80 game suspension for PEDs. Garcia did not take the mound until the end of July and made a pair of rehab appearances for the GCL Phillies before heading to Reading to end the regular season. Garcia pitched for the IronPigs in the playoffs before going to the Arizona Fall League. Garcia was not the same pitcher he was in 2016 when he got back. He was more in his 2015 form with a fastball around 90, a loopy curveball, a fringe slider, and an average changeup. Garcia’s control wasn’t sharp in Reading, but by the time he reached the AFL, he showed that if he has all his pitches going he can be successful, but without his pre-injury/suspension velocity he just doesn’t have any out pitches. Garcia was removed from the 40 man roster at the end of the year and has been passed by fellow lefties Ranger Suarez and JoJo Romero in the organization. If Garcia can’t make it work in a rotation, his curveball could make him an interesting LOOGY candidate.
2018 Outlook: Garcia likely returns to Reading, but he will need to show that he is a better rotation option than the pitchers that have come up through the system during his missed year.
Previous Rank: 22
ETA: 2019

45. Jake Holmes – 3B (Profile)

DOB: 7/2/1998 (19)
H/W: 6’3″ 185lbs
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 11th round (#323 overall) of the 2017 draft.
2017 Stats:

Team (LVL)GPAHRSBBB%K%AVGOBPSLG
GCL Phillies (Rk)32122259.0%13.9%.252.331.355

Role: Average Regular
Risk: Extreme – Holmes has only played in the GCL and is moving from shortstop to third base, where he will have to hit at a higher rate to have a major league future.
Summary: With the changes in draft bonus pool rules, the 11th round has become a time of intrigue. This year, the Phillies took Holmes in the 11th round and gave him a bonus equal to a late 5th round pick. Holmes was a SS in high school and possibly could stick at the position for a few years in the minors, but with a larger frame that will slow his actions as he fills out and a plethora of other shortstop options, the Phillies moved him to third in Fall Instructs. Holmes is a far from a finished product, but he has many of the tools valued in a projectable high schooler. He is a plus runner who has a solid swing and room to add power. In his brief introduction to professional ball, his approach was not terrible. Long term, Holmes could be a good at many things, great at nothing player at third base, which is probably good enough to be a regular. It will likely take time for him to fill out physically to actualize his power potential, and given the struggles of Phillies HS 3B before him, he will probably have some stumbles along the way.
2018 Outlook: As a non first round high school pick, Holmes will almost certainly start in Extended Spring Training before going north to Williamsport. He is likely a level a year prospect and will slot into the system depth chart behind Cole Stobbe and Luke Williams at third.
Previous Rank: N/A
ETA: 2022

46. Manuel Silva – LHP (Profile)

DOB: 12/18/1998 (19)
H/W: 6’2″ 145lbs
B/T: L/L
Acquired: Signed as an international amateur by the Phillies on July 7, 2015.
2017 Stats:

Team (LVL)GGSW-LIPERAH/9HR/9BB%K%
GCL Phillies (Rk)996-045.02.608.40.47.8%16.7%

Role: #4 Starter
Risk: Extreme – Silva still is a project who needs to fill out his frame and improve on pitches that are still mostly projection.
Summary: Despite spending most of their bonus pool on Jhailyn Ortiz in the summer of 2015, the Phillies were able to still sign some interesting prospects, of which Silva was one of the more prominent. Silva was a bit of a project and still is to a large extent. He is listed at 6’2” 145, and he might not even weigh that. By the end of the GCL season, Silva was sitting 90-92 with his fastball. His best secondary pitch is a promising slider, and he also throws a changeup. In both of his stops in pro ball, Silva has not missed many bats, but he has limited walks for the most part. Given how skinny he is, it might take a few years before we see what kind of potential Silva really has, but he has a solid base, and the Phillies have been very successful developing Latin American pitchers like him.
2018 Outlook: At just 19 and with a lot of physical growth ahead of him, Silva is destined for another spring in Florida in Extended Spring Training. After that, he should be a part of the Williamsport rotation.
Previous Rank: UR|
ETA: 2022

47. Jhordany Mezquita – LHP (Profile)

DOB: 1/30/1998 (20)
H/W: 6’1″ 185lbs
B/T: L/L
Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 8th round (#233 overall) in the 2017 draft.
2017 Stats:

Team (LVL)GGSW-LIPERAH/9HR/9BB%K%
GCL Phillies (Rk)993-037.20.724.80.08.6%25.2%

Role: #4 Starter
Risk: Extreme – Despite being 20 years old to start the 2018 season, Mezquita will have only 37.2 innings of GCL baseball as his high level pitching experience.
Summary: Jhordany Mezquita probably had the strangest story of the 2017 draft and probably the strangest in a while. The Phillies scouted the 19 year old lefty in his native Dominican Republic, and when they went to sign him they found out he was draft eligible and not able to be signed as a free agent. The Phillies then took him in the 8th round of the draft, where he might actually have been a steal. After starting off the GCL season throwing in the high-80s, Mezquita was sitting in the low 90s, touching up to 94. He has a promising curveball, but will need to work on his changeup to stick in a rotation. Mezquita was able to carve up the GCL in much the same way that Nick Fanti was a year ago, but with a bit more fastball, he should surpass his fellow lefty.
2018 Outlook: Despite being on the older side, Mezquita’s lack of innings and experience point to a start in Extended Spring Training before going north to Williamsport over the summer.
Previous Rank: N/A
ETA: 2021

48. Abrahan Gutierrez – C (Profile)

DOB: 10/31/1999 (18)
H/W: 6’2″ 214 lbs
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Signed as an international by the Braves on July 2, 2016. Granted free agency because of Braves penalties. Signed with the Phillies on December 21, 2017.
2017 Stats:

Team (LVL)GPAHRSBBB%K%AVGOBPSLG
GCL Braves (Rk)35141107.1%14.9%.264.319.357

Role: Average Regular
Risk: Extreme – While his glove work has gotten positive reviews, Gutierrez’s bat has plenty of doubters, and he has yet to leave the complex.
Summary: The Braves agreed to a $3.53M bonus with Gutierrez before the 2016 signing deadline because of his physical maturity and upside behind the plate. By the time July 2 came around, Gutierrez’s stock had dropped, because the perceived upside may have come from skill and feel and not athleticism and future projection. Gutierrez had a fine year for the GCL Braves before being granted his release in this fall’s scandal. While he lacks big upside, Gutierrez has the skills, including a strong arm, to stick behind the plate. The big questions surround his hit tool. He has some power due to his size, but not impact power like Jorge Alfaro. Meanwhile, his swing can be a bit stiff, and while his approach isn’t a mess, it isn’t advanced either. If his glove can progress above expectations, he could be a defense first backup, but for him to reach the majors as a regular he is going to need to prove that he can make enough contact.
2018 Outlook: The Phillies have a lot of Latin American catchers who need innings behind the plate. With two GCL teams, Guttierez will be in a competition with Rafael Marchan and others on who stays in Florida and who goes north to Williamsport.
Previous Rank: N/A
ETA: 2022

49. Dalton Guthrie – SS (Profile)

DOB: 12/23/1995 (22)
H/W: 5’11” 160lbs
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 6th round (#173 overall) in the 2017 draft.
2017 Stats:

Team (LVL)GPAHRSBBB%K%AVGOBPSLG
GCL Phillies (Rk)9281117.9%3.6%.182.333.364

Role: Average Regular
Risk: Extreme – Guthrie suffered an arm injury in college that hurt him both at the plate and in the field. If his arm strength does not bounce back enough for him to play shortstop, then he might not be a major leaguer.
Summary: The Phillies took Guthrie in the 6th round of the 2017 draft and gave him a 5th round bonus. Entering the year, Guthrie was looking like a top 2 round pick as one of the few pure shortstops out of the college ranks. He suffered a shoulder injury that sapped his arm strength and limited him at the plate. It also caused Guthrie to only play 9 games in the GCL, where he walked 5 times to 1 strikeout. In the College World Series, he showed off the range for shortstop with some highlight plays, but he will need his arm strength to come back for him to stick at shortstop in the pros. Guthrie has poor power and average speed, so he will need to continue to make plenty of contact to have enough offensive impact. If he can be an above average defender at short, then he has a chance to be an average regular, but any slip offensively will make him more of a utility infielder. If he can’t play shortstop in some role, then he is going to have a hard time being a major league prospect.
2018 Outlook: If Guthrie can come into Spring healthy, then he should go to Lakewood, where he should get middle infield reps with fellow 2017 draftees Nick Maton and Jake Scheiner.
Previous Rank: N/A
ETA: 2021

50. Alejandro Requena – RHP (Profile)

DOB: 11/29/1996 (21)
H/W: 6’2″ 200lbs
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Signed as an international amateur by the Rockies on September 5, 2013. Traded to the Phillies with J.D. Hammer and Jose Gomez for Pat Neshek on July 26, 2017.
2017 Stats:

Team (LVL)GGSW-LIPERAH/9HR/9BB%K%
Asheville (A-)19198-3117.02.857.80.75.4%20.8%
Lakewood (A-)221-111.01.645.70.00.0%18.0%

Role: #5 Starter
Risk: High – Requena was on the older side for low-A, and while he succeeded in the harshness of Asheville, he does not have an arsenal to survive any setbacks.
Summary: Requena had a nondescript first 3 seasons in the Rockies organization, putting up middling numbers at 3 short season and rookie levels. He had a breakout start to the 2017 year while pitching in Asheville, one of the worst pitching environments in the minors, for the Rockies’ South Atlantic League affiliate. He only made 2 starts for Lakewood after joining the Phillies in the Pat Neshek trade due to innings limits. Requena doesn’t excite on the scouting grade side. His fastball is in the high 80s to low 90s, and he has a changeup and a loopy curveball that both will show average potential. He throws all three pitches for strikes and has a good feel for mixing them up and keeping hitters off balance. If he can get to 3 average pitches, he could be a backend starter. If any come in below that, he is probably organizational depth or he gets a chance to see if anything plays up in middle relief.
2018 Outlook: Given his success in Low-A Requena, should be in the opening day rotation for Clearwater.
Previous Rank: N/A
ETA: 2020

Photo of J.D. Hammer by Baseball Betsy

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.

8 comments

  1. Murray

    Matt, a great start, I enjoyed your in depth comments. FYI – you have the Braves listed in error for Guthrie. I don’t have a few of your guys in my 41-50 so I’m curious who is on my list that you left off. Llovera? Aponte? Vargas? I guess I’ll see. Thanks Matt

    • Matt Winkelman

      Thanks for catching that.

      As for guys that missed, yep all three of them. I will do a larger piece when this is all over, but some quick thoughts on them and others.
      Llovera – I think he is purely a reliever because of the command and the lack of changeup. Just couldn’t squeeze him on, but there is definite bullpen upside.
      Vargas – Amateur reports are great, but ultimately they were all I had and he didn’t have the track record of Luis Garcia (who is higher on the list) to overcome that.
      Aponte – Similar to Vargas, because of the hurricane messing with Instructs I just didn’t talk to anyone who got stateside eyes on him.
      Jacob Waguespack – I think he is a reliever because of the delivery, just couldn’t find room for another bullpen arm.
      Austin Davis – Struggled a bit down the stretch and was completely dominant, see other relievers who didn’t make it.
      Yacksel Rios – See reliever comments.
      Keudy Bocio – Was in a lot of iterations of the list, once he moved to CF his profile made more sense.
      Darick Hall – I just got zero reports that indicated he could hit LHPs or offspeed pitches. Combine that with a long, slower swing, his walk numbers, and problems vs lefties I couldn’t rank him. In the next group there will be Dylan Cozens who has a lot of the same issues with better power and defensive profile.
      Nick Fanti – Ultimately I thought Requena had a better chance to start and that Silva, Mezquita, and Falter had more upside.
      Ethan Lindow – There is projection there, but he gave off a lot of Fanti vibes in his first year.
      David Parkinson – Another one of the may have 3 average-ish pitches, lost out on proximity to the majors to other guys like that.

      I don’t think it is a surprise I tend young and upside in my preferences which kept some relievers and low upside (maybe safer to reach the upper minors) guys off. The weird Instructs schedule and my own time issues this offseason probably affected the rankings of some of the guys who weren’t stateside this year.

      • Murray

        We have prospects 51-60 with a legit chance to reach the majors. I include relievers in my list if I think they could become “impactful” in the majors. You definitely hit on some names on my top 50 list but your comments always give me reason to rethink my rankings. Thanks for that.

  2. msb

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year— love the top 50 countdown. Thanks Matt

  3. dlhunter

    Thanks for all of this, Matt.

  4. John K

    Matt,
    I’ve been watching for this the past few weeks and was very excited tonight to sit back and read the ranking and all the analysis of this 41-50 segment. Great stuff! Pelletier, Mezquita, Holmes, Silva, and hope for a bounce-back from Elniery remain most interesting to me of this group.
    Btw, I appreciate that you rank with a bent to youth and upside. No methodology is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, but I agree with your criteria. Thank you again for all your work on this! I look forward to the rest.

  5. Kurdt Kobeyn

    Good to hear/read from you again Matt! PMT prospect ranking has been my go-to reference every year. I do follow your philosophy of age, projection, upside and risk consideration.

    Looking at your 41-50, it is easily to see the depth of the farm has become. Most of these are can be Top 30 in most organizations.

    I understand that you don’t give premium to projected relievers, but I’m interested to see how you rank Edgar Garcia (he’s my #29), Jakob Hernandez (he’s my #50) and Grant Dyer (he’s my #52). Even though he projects to be a LH Ben Lively, I do like Parkinson’s (my #51) projection especially he is supposed to pitch as a starter in 2018.

    My own Top 41-50 are as follows (we have the same 6 guys):

    41. Jose Gomez
    42. Gutierrez
    43. Irvin
    44. Hammer
    45. Mills
    46. Pelletier
    47. Guthrie
    48. Holmes
    49. Silva
    50. Jakob Hernandez

  6. allentown1

    A kit if the guys in your 41-50 range strike me as prospects and half of those you left off the list are at least extremely intriguing. I can easily envision Fanti spending some time in an MLB rotation. Same with Austin Davis and Hall has a shot to make an MLB team and start games.

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