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:
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”.
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.