The GCL Phillies steamrolled through the GCL this year until they reached the championship game and the GCL Cardinals. The GCL is a 17 team league, so getting 2 on the list would get you in the top tier, instead the Phillies placed the most on the list with 4. It is important to note that while this is a ranking it is not necessarily a finished prospect ranking (we will get to that later). What the GCL team did this year was really show just how deep the Phillies farm system is. First the list, then some thoughts, and then I will update with things from the BA chat later today.
#1 – Mickey Moniak
#7 – Sixto Sanchez
#12 – Daniel Brito
#15 – Jhailyn Ortiz
John (Philly): How would you compare Sixto Sanchez to Franklyn Kilome and Adonis Medina at the same stage?
Ben Badler: I would put Sanchez ahead of both of them at the same stage. Sanchez is 18, and Kilome only signed when he was 18 and debuted in the GCL at 19. But even in the GCL, Kilome was more about size, arm speed and physical projection, with a fastball that was up to 95. Sanchez is already sitting around the mid-90s and touching the upper-90s, with two secondary pitches he can use to get swing-and-miss. Medina had more weapons than Kilome did when he was in the GCL, but Sanchez’s stuff across the board is a little more electric, he commands it better and he’s a better athlete than Medina.
Rich (NJ): Do you feel Mickey Moniak has shown enough to be assigned to Lakewood in Low A to begin next season? Thanks
Ben Badler: Definitely. If there’s a first-round pick out of high school this year who isn’t going to Low-A next year, that’s problematic. But Moniak is polished enough that, if the Phillies want to push him, he might even be a candidate to finish the year in High-A, like the Astros did with Kyle Tucker this year.
Matt (Internet): The Phillies seem to churn out breakout Latin pitching prospects every year in the GCL. What has led to their success on not just guys like Sanchez (and Kilome/Medina before him) but second tier guys like Mauricio Llovera this year?
Ben Badler: They have a great international scouting director in Sal Agostinelli (you can go back to guys like Carlos Carrasco, etc. to see his track record), they have a good scouting system in place and they have the people on the ground who know what to look for when they’re out seeing players. Even the Phillies would tell you there’s a lot of luck involved in signing a guy like Sixto Sanchez given how they signed him, and I think every team will tell you there’s a good amount of luck involved when it comes to some of their own best low-dollar signings. But in Latin America, you can also create your own luck and increase your probability of finding a pitcher like Sanchez for cheap—and there are plenty of good arms who sign for low bonuses—by having good area scouts and supervisors on the ground in countries like the DR and Venezuela. That creates more opportunities to find that hidden gem, and when you have good evaluators in place, they can capitalize when they see a pitcher like Sanchez and realize, hey, this is a guy we need to make sure doesn’t leave here without signing.
Das (Hawaii): Mauricio Llovera (7-1) and Nick Fanti (7-0) both seemed to have fantastic seasons, are they getting overlooked because Sixto Sanchez is just that much better?
Ben Badler: They both elevated their prospect status this year, they just weren’t good enough to make the Top 20. Llovera has a plus fastball that’s been up to 96 and he backs it up with a plus breaking ball. His command was scattered early in the year but he improved his strike-throwing ability this season, which helped him take a big step forward, but the scouts I spoke with saw high reliever risk there. Fanti was a nice late-round sign, doesn’t have big stuff but he can get the fastball into the low-90s, used the breaking ball to get strikeouts and kept hitters off balance with his pitchability.
- I am not going to add anything from the writeups because it is pretty much what we know; Moniak is an allround talent lacking in power, Sanchez has 3 potential plus or better pitches and tops out at 98 with size as a concern, Brito can hit, and Ortiz has big raw power, but is still raw as a player and is going to take some time.
- On raw talent Kevin Gowdy is well in this group, but he didn’t pitch enough to qualify or show that talent.
- Given the depth of the league, the only other player I thought had a chance was Cole Stobbe, but his disastrous playoffs (0-16 10 K) probably didn’t help his cause, for me he is in the Brito and Ortiz group as a prospect.
- Speaking of Daniel Brito, his inclusion this high on the list was a bit surprising, but BA is more bullish on his power than I am, and he certainly showed more of it this year with more room to grow. Outside of the debate on the power, Brito can really hit and his approach is solid with 21 walks to 27 strikeouts in 47 games. He can also really field it at second, and while that isn’t shortstop, he should be a very good defender going forward.
- If you think Sanchez should be higher, I won’t argue with you, he is the #2 pitcher on the list behind the #9 overall pick in the draft so it isn’t like he got snubbed. He is really really good.
- On the pitching front, I don’t think Mauricio Llovera, Kyle Young, Nick Fanti, or Luis Carrasco should have been on this list, but that does not mean they aren’t decent prospects in their own right. Same thing for Josh Stephen, Ben Pelletier, and Malvin Matos who were not that great statistically but point to the Phillies overall depth.
- Moniak obviously came from the draft, as did Stobbe and Gowdy. But it is amazing how much the core of this team came from Latin America with Brito and Ortiz coming from the high money side and Sanchez being another in a long line of breakout low money pitchers for the Phillies.
- I feel like it has been forgotten that for his GCL year Franklyn Kilome was 89-93 T95, it wasn’t until 2015 that the 97s started appearing, he also threw a crappy slider in the GCL, not the plus hammer curve he does now.
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