Are We Overrating How Bad the Phillies System Is?

I have heard a lot lately about how bad the Phillies farm system is, and frankly it bugs the crap out of me, so you all get to join me on the exploration process.  Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Fangraphs have put out varying amounts of lists, so we are going to compare them to the Phillies list.  If not lists exist for an org, we will go to the lists, but keep in mind they have not been updated.

So lets start with the Phillies system and set our baseline (keeping in mind neither Eflin or Windle is listed but the consensus is that they are Top 10 prospects.

RankBaseball AmericaBaseball ProspectusFangraphs
1J.P. CrawfordJ.P. CrawfordJ.P. Crawford
2Aaron NolaAaron NolaMaikel Franco
3Maikel FrancoMaikel FrancoAaron Nola
4Roman QuinnYoel MeciasMatt Imhof
5Carlos TocciJesse BiddleJesse Biddle
6Aaron BrownDeivi GrullonYoel Mecias
7Matt ImhofKelly DuganDeivi Grullon
8Jesmuel ValentinCarlos TocciRoman Quinn
9Yoel MeciasElniery GarciaDylan Cozens
10Franklyn KilomeDylan CozensKelly Dugan



Now that we have our baseline, lets eliminate some team from our experiment, because their systems are clearly better than the Phillies.  Those teams being the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Royals, Twins, Astros, Rangers, Mets, Pirates,Cubs, and Rockies, which puts our peak ranking at #11.  As we move forward, you can play along and put an either up or down next two a system to see where they would rank for you and we will get to that at the end.

Cincinnati Reds:

Keep in mind the Reds acquired Anthony DeSclafani and Jonathan Crawford in trades during the winter meetings.

RankBaseball ProspectusFangraphs
1Robert StephensonRobert Stephenson
2Jesse WinkerMichael Lorenzen
3Michael LorenzenJesse Winker
4Yorman RodriguezRasiel Iglesias
5Nick HowardNick Howards
6Alex BlandinoAlex Blandino
7Ben LivelyPhil Ervin
8Nick TraviesoNick Travieso
9Phil ErvinYorman Rodriguez
10Gavin LaValleyAristides Aquino


St. Louis Cardinals:

RankBaseball Prospectus
1Stephen Piscotty
2Marco Gonzales
3Alexander Reyes
4Jack Flaherty
5Rob Kaminsky
6Charlie Tilson
7Tim Cooney
8Sam Tuivailala
9Luke Weaver
10Carson Kelly


San Diego Padres:
1Austin Hedges
2Matthew Wisler
3Max Fried
4Hunter Renfroe
5Trea Turner
6Rymer Liriano
7Casey Kelly
8Joe Ross
9Jose Rondon
10Taylor Lindsey


Los Angeles Dodgers:
1Corey Seager
2Julio Urias
3Joc Pederson
4Grant Holmes
5Chris Anderson
6Zach Lee
7Chris Reed
8Scott Schebler
9Alex Verduge
10Jose De Leon


Baltimore Orioles:

RankBaseball ProspectusBaseball America
1Dylan BundyDylan Bundy
2Hunter HarveyHunter Harvey
3Chance CiscoChristian Walker
4Christian WalkerChance Cisco
5Josh HartDariel Alvarez
6Zach DaviesZach Davies
7Mike WrightTim Berry
8Tim BerryMike Wright
9Stephen TarpleyMike Yastrzemski
10Mike YastrzemskiJomar Reyes


Tampa Bay Rays:

RankBaseball ProspectusBaseball America
1Willy AdamesWilly Adames
2Justin O’ConnorAlex Colome
3Alex ColomeJustin O’Connor
4Adrian RondonAdrian Rondon
5Brent HoneywellNate Karns
6Nate KarnsMickie Mahtook
7Taylor GuerrieriRyan Brett
8Casey GillaspieBrent Honeywell
9Justin WilliamsBlake Snell
10Blake SnellCasey Gillaspie


Detroit Tigers:

RankBaseball America
1Devon Travis
2Steven Moya
3Buck Farmer
4Derek Hill
5Domingo Leyba
6Kevin Ziomek
7Robbie Ray
8Hernan Perez
9James McCann
10Tyler Collins


Cleveland Indians:

RankBaseball America
1Francisco Lindor
2Bradley Zimmer
3Clint Frazier
4Justus Sheffield
5Mike Papi
6Tyler Naquin
7Francisco Mejia
8Erik Gonzalez
9Bobby Bradley
10Cody Anderson


Chicago White Sox:

RankBaseball AmericaFangraphs
1Carlos RodonCarlos Rodon
2Tim AndersonTim Anderson
3Spencer AdamsFrancellis Montas
4Micah JohnsonSpencer Adams
5Francellis MontasTyler Danish
6Micker AdolfoTrey Michalczewski
7Tyler DanishMicah Johnson
8Trey MichalczewskiCourtney Hawkins
9Courtney HawkinsMicker Adolfo
10Rangelo RaveloTrayce Thompson


Seattle Mariners:

RankBaseball America
1Alex Jackson
2D.J. Peterson
3Ketel Marte
4Patrick Kivlehan
5Austin Wilson
6Edwin Diaz
7Gabby Guerrero
8Luiz Gohara
9Ryan Yarbrough
10Carson Smith


Los Angeles Angels:

The Angels added LHP Andrew Heaney via trade from the Dodgers

RankBaseball America
1Sean Newcomb
2Ricardo Sanchez
3Cam Bedrosian
4Chris Ellis
5Joe Gatto
6Victor Alcantara
7Jairo Diaz
8Alex Yarbrough
9Nick Tropeano
10Kyle McGowin


Oakland Athletics:

RankBaseball America
1Daniel Robertson
2Franklin Barreto
3Matt Olson
4Matt Chapman
5Renato Nunez
6Kendall Graveman
7Sean Nolin
8Dillon Overton
9Raul Alcantara
10Chad Pinder


Atlanta Braves:

RankBaseball AmericaBaseball Prospectus
1Jose PerazaLucas Sims
2Lucas SimsJose Peraza
3Christian BethancourtChristian Bethancourt
4Jason HurshBraxton Davidson
5Ozhaino AlbiesGarrett Fulenchek
6Braxton DavidsonOzhaino Albies
7Tyrell JenkinsAlec Grosser
8Johan CamargoKyle Kubitza
9Garrett FulenchekJ.R. Graham
10Kyle KubitzaMauricio Cabrera


Miami Marlins:

The BP list was released before the Winter Meetings, and the BA list was released after the meetings.

RankBaseball AmericaBaseball Prospectus
1Tyler KolekAndrew Heaney
2J.T. RealmutoTyler Kolek
3Justin NicolinoJ.T. Realmuto
4Jose UrenaTrevor Williams
5Avery RomeroJose Urena
6Domingo GermanAnthony DeSclafani
7Isael SotoAvery Romero
8Trevor WilliamsJustin Nicolino
9Brian AndersonNick Wittgren
10Jarlin GarciaMichael Mader


San Francisco Giants:
1Kyle Crick
2Tyler Beede
3Andrew Susac
4Adalberto Mejia
5Keury Mella
6Ty Blach
7Clayton Blackburn
8Chris Stratton
9Aramis Garcia
10Steven Okert


Milwaukee Brewers:

RankBaseball Prospectus
1Orlando Arcia
2Tyrone Taylor
3Devin Williams
4Taylor Williams
5Monte Harrison
6Gilbert Lara
7Jorge Lopez
8Tyler Wagner
9Kodi Medeiros
10Miguel Diaz


Arizona Diamondbacks

You can choose to either include or exclude Yasmany Tomas, it is up to you.

RankBaseball ProspectusFangraphs
1Archie BradleyArchie Bradley
2Braden ShipleyBraden Shipley
3Aaron BlairAaron Blair
4Touki ToussaintBrandon Drury
5Brandon DruryTouki Toussaint
6Jake LambJake Lamb
7Jimmie SherfyNick Ahmed
8Sergio AlcantaraAndrew Velazquez
9Marcus WilsonJustin Williams
10Kaleb FleckSergio Alcantara


New York Yankees

RankBaseball ProspectusBaseball America
1Aaron JudgeLuis Severino
2Luis SeverinoAaron Judge
3Gary SanchezJorge Mateo
4Ian ClarkinGreg Bird
5Jorge MateoGary Sanchez
6Rob RefsnyderIan Clarkin
7Greg BirdRob Refsnyder
8Leonardo MolinaJacob Lindgren
9Jacob LindgrenLuis Torrens
10Luis TorrensMiguel Andujar


Washington Nationals:

RankBaseball Prospectus
1Lucas Giolito
2A.J. Cole
3Michael Taylor
4Reynaldo Lopez
5Erick Fedde
6Steven Souza
7Jackson Reetz
8Jake Johansen
9Rafael Bautista
10Wilmer Difo

The End Result:

Go through and add your tallies up, along with our 10 locks from the top and find the number above and below and where the Phillies then fall in the middle.  Let me know where that number is:

The point of all this isn’t to say the Phillies system is secretly the Cubs, but that there are a lot of really crappy farm systems out there.  If the Phillies are very, very bad, then there are a lot of absolutely horrendous farm systems.  I wrote about this a while ago, but its key to remember that the majority of top prospects are with a handful of teams.  Either we need to adjust our views on the Phillies system or realize the vast majority of systems are just not good.

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. Romus

    This is definitely a difficult chore to correctly assess and time-consuming.
    Probably the most difficult I have encountered, primarily not knowing the prospects from many of the clubs after their top 4/5 prospects. And just going on what the pub experts say.

  2. biancs

    This is a great example of how using a top 100 as a quick shorthand of the strength of a system is a valuable tool. The new statement I am getting a little tired of hearing is well all of these guys from # to # are all the same and just projection. It is stating the obvious that all but the elite prospects are such a gamble, and that is why all it takes is a player like Crawford to completely turn around a system and when players of that magnitude graduate a system can just as easily drop to nothing. But it is that grouping that shows how much the system has grown over the last few years. That grouping has grown from 3-7 to 4-12 to 5-20 and then you are getting into an odds game where the more guys that have the potential to be an MLB regular (1st,2nd, or 3rd doesn’t much matter) the more likely you hit on a couple.