Last year I held off until August 1 to a midseason ranking, with the Phillies big trade chips it made sense to wait to integrate them. This year I am going to hold off until August 1 for a different reason, I want time. Right now the Phillies have not signed all of their draft picks, only some have started playing, Williamsport has played 4 games and the GCL Phillies have played none. Given that rankings for me are less about the order and more about the writing, so I want the best information before embarking on that task. However, we are right about the midway mark of the minor league season so might as well talk about something.
Part of the joy of covering a single system is that you learn of the deeper players system who could be something. I would like to say I predicted a bunch of breakouts, but that isn’t true. Every year there are groups of players who could be something, and only some of them get to be something, so let’s write about those that are something now. Here are some players who were off the Top 50 who have a good chance to make the midseason list.
Tyler Viza, RHP
Viza was thrown into a bad situation his first full year, he was a guy who saw his velocity jump from off the map to somewhat interesting as a high school senior, and got an “overslot” bonus in the 32nd round. He got thrown into a full year of Lakewood due to pitching injuries in the system, the league tore him to shreds but he stuck it out. His second year in Lakewood was much improved as an uptick in stuff kept hitters from hitting him around. This year his fringe average fastball has ticked up to above average as he sits 90-94 with good command. Viza will show a pair of future average second pitches and he will throw all his pitches for strikes. He is still young (21) and has a solid frame, so there might be a bit more in his arm, but for now he has plenty. He won’t blow anyone away, but he could be a major league back end starter, and now that he is in AA, that is very valuable.
Drew Anderson, RHP
Anderson is a former Top 30 prospect for me after having a good year in Williamsport in 2013. The 2012 21st round pick then spent the next two years injured, including Tommy John surgery in Spring 2015. His stuff is back, and maybe even a bit better than it was before the injury. He has three average pitches right now and advanced feel for pitching. Command is the last thing to come back from Tommy John surgery, and the fact that Anderson looks rusty and is still showing decent command should hint at what is potentially in his future. Much like Viza, he is not a front line arm, but he could be some sort of major league pitcher. There are some concerns about his slight frame, so it is important to see if he can remain healthy.
Seranthony Dominguez, RHP
Dominguez got on my radar last spring when he was touching 96 in Extended Spring Training. He was a bit wild and then he got hurt early in the GCL season. This spring he was back to touching 96, this time it was easier and he showed command. To go with the velocity he also has shown a pair of potential plus pitches in his curveball and changeup. This year marks Dominguez’s 5th pro season, so he is actually Rule 5 eligible after the year despite being only 21. He is still far away from the majors, but unlike the first two pitchers on this list Seranthony could be an impact major league arm. Dominguez is still behind Adonis Medina, but he could start to get into the same conversation if he builds off a very good first start in Williamsport.
Jiandido Tromp, OF
Tromp has been on a bit of a roller coaster for a few years. Tromp is all tools and has been low on consistent results up to now. This season represents his 4th with time in Lakewood, but finally now at age 22 he is posting a career high walk rate and career low strikeouts rate, and thanks to a scorching June he has a .274/.335/.506 season line. Outside of the statistical side, Tromp can play a decent center field, hit for power (he set the Williamsport HR record in 2014), and he can run. The 2016 improvements are not entirely a fluke as he put up much better numbers in the second half of last season. Tromp’s stock is still highly volatile and he could flame out at the next level, but he has enough big time tools to have some sort of major league future if he keeps succeeding.
Angelo Mora, 2B/SS/3B/LF/CF/RF
Not every player is a star, and not every prospect is a regular. I was not ready to believe in Mora coming into the year because the offensive improvements did not seem entirely believable. He is currently in the midst of his worst month of the year, so this could look real dumb in a couple of months. Mora has some pop, and he can play every position but catcher (he hasn’t played first, but he probably could). As benches get shorter the more important having a player with defensive versatility is because teams still need to carry a backup shortstop and center fielder. Mora can fill both of those roles on a bench giving a big league club flexibility for another corner bat. He will need to rebound from his rough June, but he could battle it out with Jesmuel Valentin and others for that spot in the Phillies future.
Edgar Garcia, RHP
Garcia actually made BA’s Top 30 this past year after a good year in the GCL. Garcia is only 19 and is fairly slight but he is armed with a mid 90s fastball and good slider. The bad news is it looks like he is a reliever going forward. But the combination of stuff and control could make him a very good reliever and he could move very quickly. So far this year he has a 1.31 ERA and 4 walks to 25 strikeouts over 20.2 innings.
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