List season has begun and we kick it all off with Baseball America’s Top 10 prospects (the full Top 30 will release with their book). Before looking at Josh Norris’ list I just wanted to say that there are some definite tiers in the Phillies’ system with a lot of interchangeability. Additionally, there are some prospects with plenty of helium that will be very high on some lists because their talent level is undeniable, but they have some risks that would cause others to be hesitant. So without much else let’s start with the list.
- J.P. Crawford
- Nick Williams
- Jake Thompson
- Andrew Knapp
- Jorge Alfaro
- Cornelius Randolph
- Franklyn Kilome
- Roman Quinn
- Adonis Medina
- Carlos Tocci
There are two names that stand out here, Andrew Knapp and Adonis Medina. Let’s start with Knapp. It is higher than I am ready to go right now, but if you think Knapp can catch and he is a plus hitter with solid power from both sides, he is not out of place at #4 on this list. The reports have been positive on Knapp since his promotion (and there is context for previous poor performance) and he is a former second round pick, so there is previously recognized talent. Right now I wouldn’t be willing to put Knapp over Alfaro, but I might be obsessed with Alfaro’s upside, but I can buy it.
I love everything I have heard about Adonis Medina. He is yet another in a long line of scouting and drafting successes from the Phillies in Latin America. I won’t have Medina over Zach Eflin and Ricardo Pinto at this moment, but I don’t think the gap is large. Medina is an 18 year old who can touch 97 but sits 91-94 and will show two plus offspeed pitches. He is not Franklyn Kilome with near infinite potential, but the raw stuff right now puts him in an uncommon realm of pitcher ability.
I don’t know if I will have the two as high on my list, but there is nothing that really makes me pause too much about where they are ranked.
Kelly (St. Cloud, MN): If you had to guess, how many of these guys could make the BA 100?
Josh Norris: I could see 2-3, with Crawford and one or both of Thompson and Williams
Marcus Mariota (Tennessee): I started following the Phillies thinking I'd be a Philadelphia native. I know it's early but who would you take with the #1 pick today?
Josh Norris: I’d take you, Marcus, I’ll always take you. But since you’re not draft-eligible and I have no idea the last time you even tried at baseball, I’d probably go for somebody like Oklahoma RHP Alec Hansen, or Florida LHP A.J. Puk. A guy who really impressed me in the brief time I saw him at Team USA was Georgia RHP Robert Tyler. June is a long way away though, and by then, Marcus, you and Chip Kelly might be reunited.
Jim (Philly): Where do guys like Eflin and Lively end up on this list? Both guys had decent seasons at AA Reading this year. Are these guys still considered "back of the rotation" or "mid rotation" types?
Josh Norris: Eflin will end up higher than Lively, I’ll say that much. Eflin worked this year on sequencing and learning how to better finish off hitters when he got them into two-strike counts. Scouts like what they see from him, including a fastball and slider that project as average or better, and a changeup that fits in that mix, too. Lively is in a similar boat, but his arsenal is vanilla across the board and he learned this year that he can’t get away in Double-A with some of the same stuff he did in A-Ball. None of his offspeeds particularly jump out, which obviously limits his ceiling.
MJ (Valpo): No Dylan Cozens??? He had a pretty major breakout (especially after being promoted)...didn't he? I thought he'd sneak in. So what do the Phillies think about him?Josh Norris: I wouldn’t call what he did a breakout, especially the 11-game stretch at Reading (It was awesome, but 11 games of anything isn’t a breakout). He did what the Phillies asked him to do, which was to work on becoming a more complete hitter even if it meant the power numbers dropped. It was a great first step in the right direction, and at 21 years old he has time on his side. He should be in the 11-15 range too.