Each year it seems like the talent in the Arizona Fall League gets even more crazy. This year the Phillies are adding to the very high end talent present by sending the #2 prospect in baseball to the desert. It wasn’t clear whether the Phillies would push J.P. Crawford’s season to make up for his lost month this spring or just let the star shortstop rest up. The answer is that he will be the best player in Fall League, not just for the Phillies, but in the entire league. There isn’t a ton for Crawford to work on, but he has been weak against LHPs so the extra plate appearances should help, otherwise the more he learns, the scarier he becomes. Crawford won’t be going along though.
On the hitting side the Phillies are sending outfielder Dylan Cozens and catcher Andrew Knapp. Cozens is having a great end to a weird year where he missed a month due to injury. Even though at he AFL is not heavy on pitchers, Cozens will face the most advanced arms of his career. However, that might be neutralized by how his power plays in the desert where the ball has a tendency to fly out of the ballpark. There are far fewer questions about Knapp’s bat than there were two months ago, so this all about defense for him. Fall League will give him a good opportunity to work with new pitchers and coaches on his receiving, game calling, and control of the running game.
The pitching side lacks the star power of Crawford, but it bring plenty of punch. Nick Pivetta brings a big arm and plus curveball, but his command and changeup need further growth for him to stick in the rotation. If he can make it work he has mid rotation upside, if he cannot continue to grow he could slot into an impact bullpen role. Speaking of bullpen, the Phillies are sending a trio of bullpen arms. Tom Windle has found a home in the bullpen, where his fastball, control, and slider all play up. Given the lack of left handed arms in the org, Windle could be on the fast track to the majors. The other to arms are Rule 5 eligible, Edubray Ramos brings a fastball at 94-96 T97 and a wipeout slider, his command has been shaky in AA, but he could be an impact reliever for the Phillies soon. Yacksel Rios is an interesting arm on a slow trip through the org since the 2011 draft. He is a live armed righty sitting 94-95 with ok secondaries, and can start and relieve, but his long term home is in the bullpen. It will be hard for the Phillies to protect Rios without a big jump in stuff, but another team could be interested if he is available in the draft.