Minor League Hope, Major League Despair – A Phillies Prospect Mailbag

In an effort to get through as much as I can this week, not a lot of long answers and not a long intro.

@comedicCPA – What can JP Crawford do to add power? change in approach? Can he do it while also keeping a .400ish OBP?

The raw strength is there for Crawford, I saw him take BP at the Futures Game in 2014 (when he had just been promoted to Clearwater) and he was taking the ball out of Target Field, which is a terrible place to hit for a LHB. His big problem is he does not fully use his lower half in his swings, and it is something he is working on this season, though it does not look great at times. If he can get his whole body fluid in his swing he should be able to keep his current approach will driving the mistake pitches he does get. I believe in the power coming, but it may also be 3-5 years from now before it manifests, the good news being he will only be 24-26 in that time.

@motherofgrm – Does the emphasis on spin rate and curveballs translate throughout the organization? can we expect prospects to cont trend?

There is no org emphasis on spin rate and curveballs, it was all an unfounded assumption by writers looking at leaderboards. The Phillies do emphasize consistency in delivery and throwing your best pitches and having confidence in them. They just happened to 5 starters to open the year who had very good curveballs.

@EricDeBoskey – my question is about Aaron Brown . . . Will the Phillies send him back to Fl and work on pitching? He’s really struggled

Brown currently is batting .220/.304/.319 and has a career high walk rate through 27 games in AA, and this is after starting the year 0-15 with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. Brown on the mound is likely a LOOGY if it all works out, Brown in the field is great defender who is still improving after splitting time between pitching and hitting, give me the hitter and it isn’t close.

@tssmythe – Rule V is designed to help players stuck in deep orgs. Does it more often stunt the development of prospects?

Yes it can, but it is also time working with major league coaches and getting a major league salary, so there is certainly a trade off that may favor the player.

@theotherguysmom – Should the Phillies try trading Neris or Gomez for more prospects?

I mean if someone is dumb and overpays, sure. Gomez has very little value, he is a middle reliever on a hot streak. I don’t know if Neris has the profile that another team is going to pay for. Either way I would not be actively shopping them, just listening to offers.

@PaulSocolar – Thoughts on the Alfaro-Knapp situation? Crazy to keep Alfaro in AA so they both can play every day?

Alfaro still has not played many games this season so I would not read too much into his stats in terms of AAA readiness. His defense is still also a work in progress, as is Knapp’s. Having them both play every day is the most important thing, if we get to another month from now and Alfaro is still mashing,  you have to reevaluate the situation. If Knapp can get hot, he might get a shot at the major league job as Cameron Rupp is really struggling.

@bapter23 – With Quinn, Williams and Herrera in the outfield mix moving forward, where does that leave guys like Cozens, Altherr, etc

If Quinn, Williams, and Herrera somehow all pan out as plus outfielders then the rest of the guys either give you a great bench or are trade bait to fill other holes. The odds of everything working out and leaving guys stuck are low.

@kunzw99 – Are they any “non-prospects” that have forced their way into the prospect discussion with their play this year?

Angelo Mora is still not a great prospect, but there may be a solid major league bench player there. I think Tyler Viza and Ranfi Casimiro are at least interesting with their increased velocity and command. Mitch Walding’s changes in swing and power production make him more interesting. I still don’t entirely believe in his bat, but he has a good glove which should buy him at least another year to figure things out. There have been some good reports on Emmanuel Marrero, but they are in the utility player mold. I also think I consider more players prospects than non-prospects.

@dannmaal – Which players on the current Phillies major league active roster do you think will still be on this team by 2018?

2018 is so  far in the future, but let’s give this a shot. Odubel Herrera, Aaron Nola, Maikel Franco, Vincent Velasquez, and Jerad Eickhoff (bullpen).

@KeithWinder – which is more fun for you. Poor/avg Phils with alot MiLB excitement Good/great Phils with less MiLB excitment

Good majors, there is always intrigue in the minors, even if it is bad players, there is always something to learn. Good majors is just so much more fun and enjoyable.

@HighHopes17 – With the possibility of adding a LHP in Puk or Groome, what other lefties in the system have MLB rotation potential?

The only three lefty starters to make my Top 50 were Elniery Garcia, Bailey Falter, and Tyler Gilbert, they all have rotation potential, none are aces but I do like Gilbert and Garcia has back of the rotation and I don’t really know what Falter will be because he so far away. Beyond them Manuel Silva and Nick Fanti have projection, but that is so far away to really consider. Matt Imhof and Brandon Leibrandt are in Clearwater, but I don’t see enough stuff from either of them to be a major leaguer starter.

@pbraxmeier – Do you think Cozens stay in the OF or does he end up at 1B long-term?

He will stay in the outfield for a good bit of time. It isn’t that he can’t handle it now, it is that history says that 6’6″ players who aren’t speedy and athletic will become slower with time. Cozens seems like a guy who ends up at 1B/DH with emergency LF potential by his late 20s, but if he can stick in the majors to that point, it won’t matter.

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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. Eric D

    mmm thanx for answer my ?, wondering why you blocked me tho . . . ?

  2. Eric D