News and Notes: January 13, 2014

The past week and a half I have been buried in writing the Top 50 and generally neglecting the news around the organization.  So lets pack some important things into a single post.

Phillies Prospect Program:

This week the Phillies are hosting their upper minors prospects in Philadelphia for their Prospect Program.  The usual participants are the new additions to the 40 man roster sprinkled with other players who are expected to make the majors in the following year.  Last year’s group included Kelly Dugan, Aaron Altherr, Maikel Franco, Jesse Biddle, Ken Giles, and late addition David Buchanan.

Due to their recent trades the crop of prospects this year has more firepower than recent years.  According Larry Shenk this year the participants are Zach Eflin, Tom Windle, Aaron Nola, J.P. Crawford, Severino Gonzalez, Nefi Ogando, Roman Quinn, Joely Rodriguez, Cameron Perkins, and Ben Lively.  Everyone will be in Reading or higher and all are in my Top 50.  Hector Neris was invited but will be remaining in winter ball to help his team in the DWL playoffs (Neris is the only member of the group to have appeared in the major leagues already).  Overall a very impressive list of players.

Phillies Prospects in Florida:

In addition to the prospects in Philly, there are already prospects headed to Florida.  At minimum both Kyle Bogese and Jason Zgardowski have reported that they are in Clearwater.

Cubans:

A lot of people on Twitter have asked me about the Phillies and whether they are going to spend on specific Cubans.  With Joan Lopez signing with Arizona this morning, it makes sense to talk about this now.

It seems widely expected that the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 signing periods are the only two years left before there is some sort of draft.  It appears that teams are gearing up on when to take their shot.  For the Phillies this is coupled with rumors that they might go over their signing pool next year.  The wrench in all this are the Cuban players who are subject to the bonus pool.  A player like Lopez will take the signing team out of spending $300,000 on the next two signing periods, and it will invoke a 100% tax.  Removing the looming specter that is Yoan Moncada for a minute, on a player like Lopez this means the Phillies are choosing between spending $16M now on a single player or spreading some amount of money among high bonuses this July.  For the Phillies it might make more sense to spread the money around, as it is a strategy they have had success with.

Now we add in Moncada, and the fact that we don’t know which signing period he will be a part of.  Lets assume the Phillies are in on Moncada and are willing to meet the large demands (something no one knows for sure either way).  If he is part of the current signing period, he is good enough to piss off trainers in Latin America and break already made deals.  The risk for signing players right now, is that if you are in on Moncada and you sign Lopez now, but Moncada is in the next signing period.  Now you have taken yourself out of the Moncada sweepstakes for a lesser player.  In the end the Cuban market is far from simply “just go sign Player X”.

Other Rankings:

Nick Melotte put up his Top 20 Phillies Prospects on Minor League Ball, Nick used a more statistical basis for his rankings.  The Phuture Phillies Reader Top 30 is in mid-swing with poll #16 up.  The Phillies Nation, Prospect Nation countdown has begun with Andrew Knapp and Aaron Brown sharing #25 and Carlos Tocci at #24.

A Personal Note:

At some point in the next day or two this site will pass 100,000 views since I started it this past summer.  It isn’t a large number, but it is more than I really hoped for when I broke out on my own.  You all have shown great and continued support of this project, so thank you to everyone who stops by and reads the stuff I write.

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.

9 comments

  1. Philly SF

    The only issue I see with the Phillies waiting until the final international signing period before the draft is that , won’t every other team wanna spend big before the draft, I mean if we know there is a draft approaching then every gm in the league must be aware , and the laws of supply and demand are gonna drive the price through the roof I would think. Now I think the Phillies should all in on Moncada and suck really bad this year which is a given let the young kids play and get a top 3 pick , so in fact this year end up with basically two top 3 picks , be a crap team in 16 and get another top five , so in 2 years time with any luck you get at least two future Allstars and first team regular , that is how I would roll , plus what ever you can add to the end team in supplemental rounds and rest of the draft and oh yeah and part ways with Amaro or make him some kinda Latin American scout allowing him to use his Spanish language skills

    • furtigan

      @Philly SF Your point about everyone knowing the draft is coming driving the price up is correct, except that

      1) Several teams already shot their wad in 2014; IIRC, the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays went over the limit this past year, and so as I understand the rules they are out of the big-money signing race for the next two years.

      2) Even if it is a free-for-all among the other 27 teams, if the Phils are willing to spend, they can do really, really well for themselves, especially with the Yankees and Red Sox out of the mix. For smaller market teams, the fact that a looming draft drives up prices just makes them even less inclined to go out and spend hundreds of thousands each on a bunch of Dominican 10th graders. It’s be the Phillies, Dodgers, and a few others duking it out.

      I’d rather they wait and go all in on this July. If Moncada is still unsigned and we can include him in the haul, great. If not, so be it. If I have to choose, I’d rather spend the money on a dozen promising kids instead of the one great hope.

      Matt — Have you read anything on what an international amateur draft would look like? Would they be drafted at the same age as now, or would they be held off until the same age as American HS graduates? Would the draft have assigned slotted values?

      • Matt Winkelman

        There isn’t a lot of details, but I would imagine it would be similarly structured to domestic draft. Maybe 5 rounds with slots on each and then you can spend up to $50,000 on any player outside the draft and overages go against your other slots. But honestly I have no clue other than it will hurt teams that makes their money by scouting and finding hidden talents, and because it is the international market there will be all sorts of underhanded dealings.

        Personally I am of the mindset that everyone should be able to spend what they want.

        • furtigan

          The underhanded dealings are a given, but how would this hurt teams that succeed by finding hidden talent? Wouldn’t the truly hidden talents be the ones that fall out of the top few rounds?

    • Romus

      PhillySF…..’ suck really bad this year ‘, if it is any consolation FanGraphs has projected the Phillies to win 69 games in 2015. One Vegas book put the over/under wins for the Phillies at 74.5.
      In either case that should get them a pretty decent pick, perhaps numero uno.

      • allentown1

        Huh? This year 73 wins got us pick #10, so 74 wins isn’t exactly going to be primo.

        • Romus

          Sixty-nine wins gets you in the top five, based on ’14 records/standings….that make you happier?

  2. Is there a timeline on when Moncada will be available? Does he need to be available/signed by July 2nd? Or will he be available much sooner than that?

  3. DisFrigginGuy

    Nice shout out to Phuture Phillies! Keep up the great work, Matt. You’re one of my favorite Phillies prospect writers and you’ve taught me a lot.