Being Positive About the Future

Lets be honest, its been a rough month to be a Phillies fan.  We built a delusion of getting a big payoff at the deadline in the form of prospects with names we didn’t recognize that we could dream on.  Cliff Lee has been a shell of himself with an injured elbow that makes us all sad and pine for the days of 4 healthy aces and a murderer’s row of lineup.  But sadly those days are gone and since 2012 the Phillies have slowly rebuilt the farm system, but that is for another post.  Until then, lets be happy and positive with some statistical joy.

  • Aaron Nola was dominant again last night, going 5 innings allowing 2 hits and a run while walking only 1 and striking out 8.  Nola walked 3 in his first professional outing, he has only walked 2 batters since, while striking out 27, on the year he has a 3.16 ERA, 1.37 BB/9, 7.52 K/9.  If you take away his first start Nola has a 2.17 ERA, .62 BB/9, 8.38 K/9, it has been as good a debut as you could hope for.

  • J.P. Crawford has “slumped” a bit lately, with only one XBH in his last 10 games, and only 6 total in 37 games since being promoted to the Florida State League.  But the league’s youngest batter has managed a 13:9 BB:K ratio in July and recently had gone 11 games without striking out.  Crawford still needs to find consistency with his power, but the Phillies top prospect has had an incredible season to this point.

  • Maikel Franco hit .343/.371/.596 in July, he still isn’t walking at a good clip (other than in May), but he has been attacking and driving the ball more and his power numbers have started to rebound.

  • Its been an up and down season for Roman Quinn, but with 8 stolen bases in his last 10 games the speed is back.  In July he has hit the ball with authority more than he had earlier in the year, he has been really hot of late with a .359/.447/.513 line in his last 10 games, with a very encouraging 7:7 BB:K ratio.

  • After walking on 5 times in 56 AA games last year there were plenty of questions about Kelly Dugan‘s approach, but he now has 19 walks in 53 games this year and his strikeout rate has dropped from 23.9% to 19.0% across the same time period.  He is hitting .279/.375/.407 on the year.

  • A year ago Carlos Tocci finished with a .209/.261/.249 line in the South Atlantic League as the youngest hitter in Low-A, he has seen remarkable improvement this year as he ended July with a season line of .251/.302/.338, the 18 year old still needs to add more muscle and strength, but he has been hitting the ball harder each month and should be good to move up the FSL next year.

  • Personal favorite Yoel Mecias returned to Lakewood after making some rehab starts in the GCL, the left handed starter has been good in the SAL so far, the stuff is back to being dominant, but getting back healthy has been a big step in the right direction.

  • Andrew Knapp‘s first try at the FSL went poorly has he hit .157/.222/.205 in 23 games while coming back from Tommy John surgery, but after his demotion to the South Atlantic League he has hit .290/.351/.430 in 53 games while catching near full time.  It is easy to forget the switch hitter is a catcher, and he is showing plenty of bat for the position.

  • Dylan Cozens season numbers don’t look great, and his walk rate has been poor this year, but some changes to his swing and approach have allowed him to get the power back on track with 5 July homeruns, and he still keeps stealing bases, which is impressive for a large man with a current fringe average speed tool.

  • Aaron Nola isn’t the only 2014 drafted pitch off to a good start,  2nd round pick Matt Imhof across three levels has a 1.57 ERA in 23 innings with 6 walks and 20 strikeouts, meanwhile 6th round pick Brandon Leibrandt has a 2.39 ERA in 37.2 innings with 6 walks and 40 strikeouts, he has allowed only 1 run in 18 innings in Williamsport.

  • Its been a weird year for Andrew Pullin as the numbers have never all been there for him in a single month, but the second baseman is hitting .274/.345/.368 on the year.  His defense is still suspect and the power is less than ideal, but a very good bounceback year.

  • 16 year old Luis Encarnacion is the youngest player in stateside affiliated ball and has put up a current 11 game on base streak, the youngster has flashed good power and on base skills, but has struggled statistically in the GCL, but there is plenty of time for him to get better.

  • He is off most prospect radars but Leandro Castro has made small incremental improvements each month and is batting .274/.322/.393 on the year, he can play all three OF positions, hit for some power, and steal a base.

Stats are not necessarily indicative of future success or current talent, but there is plenty to be happy and positive about right now.  The Phillies farm system is healthy and taking steps forward.

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. Ben

    “The farm system is healthy” with the exception of 3 of our 5 best pitching prospects?

    • cpmill20

      Other intriguing arms have filled the void of Morgan and Wright (assuming you are referring to those two along with Biddle). Also, Morgan and Wright while decent, were not in my opinion, on track to have as much of an impact at the major league level considering their hype. More so Wright, he had an above average season as a 22 year old in Clearwater and not much else, hardly enough to say this guy is still one of our top 5 pitching prospects. Guys like Nola, MAG, Imhof, Mecias and depending on who you ask Severino Gonzalez are now among the org’s top pitching prospects. Shane Watson is one injured former top prospect that I hope can get back on track, age is on his side.

      • cpmill20

        as much as their hype might have suggested*

  2. philabaltfan

    Matt, your report was very objective and refreshing like an oasis in the desert. I can’t stand most of the Philadelphia newspaper columnists anymore as they ignore the talent coming up.