Keith Law Ranks the Phillies Farm System #25 Overall

Today Keith Law kicked off his ranking season with his Org Rankings.  The Phillies came in at #25 (down from #14), and before giving my thoughts here is Keith Law’s write up (All 30 are here).

They might have been 28th or 29th had they not traded Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers for a pair of solid pitching prospects, but the system still lacks depth up top, and aside from J.P. Crawford, their best teenage position players are still a long way off. More trades could obviously help push this system up.

Last year Law ranked the farm #14 overall with this to say.

Similar to Texas but with fewer prospects who are potential grade 65 or better players in the majors. I thought the Phillies had one of the best drafts, perhaps the best of anyone, in 2013, landing a few high-ceiling high school kids — such as shortstop J.P. Crawford — while mixing in some solid college bats like catcher Andrew Knapp.

With this Top 10 (Top 100):

  1. J.P. Carwford (46)
  2. Maikel Franco (63)
  3. Jesse Biddle (77)
  4. Kelly Dugan
  5. Severino Gonzalez
  6. Cord Sandberg
  7. Roman Quinn
  8. Andrew Knapp
  9. Carlos Tocci
  10. Deivi Grullon

So here are some thoughts on all of this:

  • There seems to be some real inconsistency here.  I don’t think it is much of a stretch to say that the farm is better now than it was a year ago, especially since Law ranked Crawford #15 at midseason
  • I really struggle to see how a farm system headed by Crawford, Nola, and Franco is anywhere near #28 or #29 overall
  • I may be a bit biased (I think the farm is more in the 15-18 range), but I fail to see how this system is worse than the Marlins with Tyler Kolek and not much else
  • I understand the lack of depth at the top, I also don’t see a lot of teams around them matching their depth
  • This could all make sense over the next two days or just become more confusing


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. Dave47

    No one who follows the Phillies minors would dispute the fact that we have few if any exciting hitters near the top of the system but we seemingly improved the top of the system pitching last year – this is a curious ranking…….10 teams improved their systems more than the Phillies in the last year?

  2. Agreed. I am not getting to big drop, since it would seem that our system has improved over the last year, not become significantly worse.

    I am assuming his top 10 doesn’t include 2014 draft and the offseason acquisitions?

  3. The Original Will

    I dunno. In fairness, looking at the 2014 Top 10, only JP Crawford took a step forward; at best, the rest could be said to have held serve, and in several cases took a big hit to their prospect status. The Top 10 looks a lot different today, and I don’t disagree it looks better, but it’s not as if there was much competition from the current stock. I would also add that none of the oft-mentioned toolsy, lottery ticket types not on last years lop 10 made much noise during the season.

  4. msb

    did he not put Nola in his top 10 for the Phils?

    • Eddie

      This. I cannot fathom how Nola is not a top-10 prospect

    • chance

      that top 10 link is to last year’s Top 10

  5. phillysf

    How and the multiple words that children shouldnt read did we not at least stay the same or improve our farm system from last year ? I really think Law dislikes the Phillies, maybe he grew up a Mets or Braves fan and just still hasnt gotten over that , oh well. I could be wrong but, 25 he is crazy. I could understand some of our guys didnt exactly light the world on fire, but to downgrade the system as whole 11 positions. I wonder where he would rank us if we signed Moncada
    Suck it Keith

    • Romus

      It may go back to his Blue Jay days about ten years ago, and any cross-sectional interaction with the Phillies.
      Before he joined ESPN, not sure if he was offered a good shot at the vacant Ed Wade GM position that Gillick got.
      Who knows…..though he is no dummy…very intelligent.

  6. Andrew Cleveland Alexander

    Can I be the first to say: Keith Law hates the Phillies!

    No, I cannot be the first to say it, someone inevitably beat me to it.

    I think it’s fairly easy to see why the farm was downgraded in Law’s estimation: he has never been a big fan of Franco and the critics’ take on Franco (swing problems/discipline will be exposed by higher-level pitching) could be seen as validated by his mediocre season at AAA. Biddle, Dugan and Gonzalez (?) all took steps back for different reasons: injury/command issues; injury; being Severino Gonzalez. Sandberg is no longer a new toy, he’s a toy with some serious functionality issues. Quinn had to switch positions, Knapp couldn’t hack it at Clearwater, Tocci is still scrawny. Really, only Crawford and Grullon took steps forward out of this list of prospects, and who knows whether Law is as excited about Grullon’s defense as you are, Matt.

    So, what you have there is a list on which 8 of 10 made lateral or downward moves. And if you’re not into what the Phillies did in last year’s draft with Nola and the rest of the college guys–going for polish over tools–you’re not exactly going to be blown away by the guys they got back in trades, who were similar.

    That’s basically the case for Keith Law, as I imagine it. I don’t agree that the system is worse, but I can see a reasonable route to that conclusion.

    • Cole M

      Sorry to knit pick a little, but I don’t recall Severino being hurt, he threw 158 innings. Biddle and Dugan both struggled with injuries, but when Dugan was healthy he showed what kind of player he is, the walk numbers came back. The power was absent, but I’m attributing that to the wrist injury he suffered. Biddle was the most concerning of this trio.

      • Romus

        ColeM….’being Severino Gonzalez’….I do not think he implied Severino Gonzalez was injured but his make-up and I am assuming, the Phillies wanting Gonzalez to change his repertoire a bit and concentrate on other specific pitches.

  7. Marc H

    Something doesn’t quite fit. They had a decent draft of some fairly advanced college players. in the past, he has criticized the Phillies for taking too many high risk/high reward types. They finally narrow the odds a bit and take more polished players. The result? Fall 11slots. Doesn’t seem to make sense to me

  8. Marc H

    The prior comment by Andrew Cleveland Alexander does raise some very good points, though