We will be spending all offseason talking about prospects, so this is the moment to honor those that put up the best statistical years for the organization. This list was put together with input from the staff here.
Andrew Knapp (.290/.354/.438 5 HR LKW)
It was a rough start for Knapp in his comeback from Tommy John surgery, but the former second round pick bounced back with a very good season in the South Atlantic League.
Jake Fox (.308/.373/.591 22 HRs)
Any time you can lead an org in HRs and only play 78 games it is a real accomplishment. Fox helped provide veteran leadership to a Reading team, and could have set himself for a long career in baseball working with minor leaguers about the mindset of hitting and approaching games.
Andrew Pullin (.270/.332/.374 9 HR 6 SB)
There weren’t any real standouts at second base this year as guys put up solid seasons. Carlos Alonso could have deserved this position, but was edged out because he played half his games at third base this year.
J.P. Crawford (.285/.375/.406 11 HRs 24 SBs LKW/CLW)
The Phillies top prospect could not have had a better first full season. Crawford showed more power than expected, a great approach (65 BB 74 K), and ended the year holding his own in Hi-A.
Maikel Franco (.257/.299/.428 16 HRs)
Franco takes home the third base crown due to a real lack of competition. Jan Hernandez and Zach Green were ok to bad in seasons that saw them face injury and adversity. Franco came on strong late in the year and put numbers that are respectable enough to make this list.
Tromp broke the Williamsport single season home run record this year while playing solid defense in CF and LF. He struggled in Lakewood, but after the good return trip to Williamsport he should be able to handle the jump to full season ball next year. Peter Lavin was a bit old for both Clearwater and Reading, but the 26 year old just kept hitting across both levels, additionally he played stellar defense in all three outfield positions, ending the year with 21 outfield assists. Dylan Cozens edges Kelly Dugan for the last spot due to games played, Dugan put up the better slash line but Cozens played 56 more games and put up a solid stat line. Cozens may not always have his speed going forward, but the power/speed combo while playing home games in Lakewood was impressive.
Willians Astudillo (.333/.366/.433 19 BB 20 K 4 HR)
Astudillo’s best position on the field is hitter. No one in the Phillies organization is better at putting a bat on a baseball. There are real questions about where he plays on the field and his power potential, but for now he is the best pure hitter in the organization.
Aaron Nola (2.93 ERA 55.1 IP 10 BB 45 K)
Mark Leiter Jr (4.35 ERA 149.0 IP 141 K)
Brandon Leibrandt (2.82 ERA 60.2 IP 1.5 BB/9 9.9 K/9)
Ranger Suarez (1.56 ERA 80.2 IP 1 BB 78 K)
Adam Loewen (3.25 ERA 113.2 IP 60 BB 84 K)
Aaron Nola was the Phillies top draft pick in 2014, and the RHP didn’t disappoint as he reached AA in his season. The innings were the only downside compared to other pitchers in the organization, but his quick ascension and proficiency was impressive this year. Mark Leiter Jr may not have put up the flashiest numbers this year, but 22nd round pick logged a ton of innings for pitching starved affiliates while leading the organization in strikeouts by a large margin. Brandon Leibrandt didn’t have the best ERA on the Williamsport pitching staff, nor did he have the best stuff, but the 2014 6th round pick was the most dominant, leading starting pitcher in the org in K/9 while also limiting his walks significantly. No one knows what Ranger Suarez will be as a pitcher, but the 18 year old lefty but up one the best statistical season in recent memory with a 1:78 BB:K ratio, while sporting a 1.56 ERA on the season. Adam Loewen’s story is a great one, former top pitching prospect gets hurt, becomes a hitter, makes it to the majors, converts back to a starting pitcher. Loewen wasn’t always sharp this year in the rotation, and his control came and went during starts, but he lead the org in ERA for pitchers who logged more than a 100 innings this year.
Luis Garcia may be a AAAA relief pitcher, as his stuff has never seemed to work in the major leagues. But that is irrelevant to the AAA results where he was spectacularly dominant for the Iron Pigs. Ken Giles did his best work in the major leagues, but his 29 strikeouts in 15 AA innings was impressive for a guy who couldn’t find the strike zone the previous year. The fact that he continues to improve and is one of the most dominant relievers in the majors certainly helped his case.
Photo by Tom Hagerty