Phillies Prospect Depth Necessitating Trades

From 2008 to 2012, blockbuster trades stripped the Phillies of a lot of their prospects, making the ones they had all the more invaluable to them. However, as the system now looks to be one of the best in baseball, there is excess at certain positions in the organization. While of course the team would love to keep all their prospects and have them be major-league contributors, some of them may be stuck in the roster crunch. If the Phillies want to get as much value as possible from their prospects, the team would most likely have to trade some of their prospects.

For example, take the pitching in the Phillies system. Matt has broken down the Phillies pitching excess in terms of spring training, but this excess permeates into the long-term as well. With three of the five spots in the major-league rotation seemingly set with Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Nola, and Vince Velazquez, spots will be limited for the numerous pitching prospects in the minors. Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, and Mark Appel could all be in the pros by the end of this season, and that already fills out the major-league rotation and then some.

While the Phillies already have plenty of pitching in the upper minors, there are plenty of pitchers as you move down the minor-league ladder as well. Ricardo Pinto, Nick Pivetta, Thomas Eshelman, Franklyn Kilome, and Alec Asher are all at Single or Double-A this year with at least some chance of becoming major-league pitchers.

This depth exists in the outfield as well, with Nick Williams, Carlos Tocci, Roman Quinn, and Dylan Cozens all at the upper minors below Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr at the majors.

Sooner or later, the roster crunch will leave some players stranded in the Triple-A/MLB gap, like Darnell Sweeney and Adam Morgan already are. While I wouldn’t consider these two trade bait, the same thing could happen to a much more skilled player like Eflin or Tocci if their respective positions become too clogged up.

At the same time, the trades of players stuck in the roster crunch could build depth at other positions. Behind Maikel Franco, third base has little depth in the minors and the middle infield is light as well. The Phillies could secure more all-around depth thanks to the fat at certain positions created by the yearly roster crunch.

Photo of Carlos Tocci by Baseball Betsy

Author: johntown99


  1. Bad News Boars

    I’ve thought for some time this roster crunch could eventually happen, though I don’t see it as an immediate issue requiring action this season. I think we should be focusing on determining which of the high-minors prospects we want to keep, which may mean giving them an extended run in the majors in the second half of the season. This would also enable us to figure out where we need help.

    In the off-season, what I’d like to see happen is a Hamels-like trade in reverse, where we give a big package to a team on their way down in exchange for a star. I suspect a package like:

    a. the one we least want to keep of Knapp and Alfaro
    b. the one we least want to keep of Quinn and Tocci.
    c. the one we least want to keep of Eflin and Appel.

    would be tempting, especially if we don’t require the team to pay any salary, since our payroll going forward is so low.

    • johntown99

      that trade idea could work, the team may end up waiting a year so one from each of the pairs you talk about has a more solid outlook

    • a. the one we least want to keep of Knapp and Alfaro

      This would be foolish. If/when one of them becomes a established starter — which will not be by the end of this season — then you flip the other. The odds are only about 50/50 that *either* one hits their potential.

    • Trout? Go big! Local kid, Angels farm is the Sahara. Phils are loaded even before the draft in the minors. You have one OF position locked up for 15 years with a HOF player, a special kind of player, really special. I say do it after the draft and all the $ they have to spend in south America. Phils put a big package for Trout, they are the only team that really can.

  2. I can see it with the pitching, since there are already 3 young guys pitching well at the ML level, but not seeing it so much in the OF. Herrera is a keeper; Altherr is a guy that has earned a chance, Williams will likely be up soon, and I suppose Cozens might be ready by the end of this year; but prospects being what they are (especially given that all have had approach issues in the past), the odds are good that a year from now — when Quinn might be ready — at least one if not two of those guys will be back in AAA, having failed to stick. And given injuries and all, I’m not seeing a crunch as likely. Possible, yes.

    Carlos Tocci currently has a .588 OPS in the low minors, so he’s not in the conversation.

  3. BobSmith80

    I don’t get the OF prospect depth the Phils supposedly have given the players listed above and what is currently on their MLB roster. If anything, they’ll likely have to go out and acquire a corner OF bat the next year or two if they want to seriously upgrade their production there.

    • Trout. that is the corner outfielder you crave! Go big, we are the only team that can. Even if we swap Howard with Pujols and pay all of Howard’s contract and Pujols it’s worth it. Angels farm is destroyed, Phils have money and are loaded with picks and prospects.

      • steve

        considering some recent trades, what kind of package do you think they would want for trout? probably 1.1 whoever he may be, Randolph, at least one starter and a throw in. Trout is great, but the price will be too high IMO.

  4. GDub

    I hear rumors about moving Herrera to 2nd if our prospects like quinn, williams and Cozens pan out. Is that a realistic move? I know he’s played there before but isn’t that at stretch to move a guy after hes played a few successful years in the OF back into the IF? I know that would be great for creating space for our players but that just seems like a stretch to me.