Just when you thought ranking season might be over another list comes along. This is the first list from 2080 Baseball, a new venture founded by former head of Baseball Prospectus. Their minor league team includes a lot of familiar names from previous scouting teams at places like Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs. The list this year was compiled by C.J. Wittmann, Mauricio Rubio Jr., and Mark Shreve. You can read the thoughts behind the compilation of the list here. The actual list is here and it has 8 Phillies prospects on it. One important note is that while this is technically another offseason list, it really is not as it includes new information gathered since players started taking the field this spring. Without being in the discussion room, I can tell you it moved some names around as it would if I was recreating my Top 50 right now.
Here is what was written about the Phillies on the list, I highly encourage you to read the whole list to get context because the writers did a really good job of showing the balance between upside and risk.
#4 J.P. Crawford
Crawford has shown leadership skills at every level he’s played. Add to that his five-tool potential and premium position, and he’s deserving of a top spot on our list.
#11 Nick Williams
There are not many in the minors with the pure bat-to-ball ability of Williams. Pitch selection and plate discipline improvements were key to his successful 2015. Improvement in those tools will prove valuable to him going forward.
#35 Jake Thompson
With a big, physical workhorse build, and a solid four-pitch mix with a plus slider and sinker, Thompson was a solid low-risk get for the Phillies as part of the Cole Hamels deal with the Rangers last year. The upside may not be as high as some, but his low risk and proximity to the major leagues pushes him up to the top 1/3 of our list.
#48 Jorge Alfaro
The top catching prospect on our 2016 list, Alfaro was one of the main pieces coming to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade. He has unique athleticism for a catcher and some of the best raw power in the minors. Agility behind the plate should translate to the MLB level, but if not, he would be able to handle a corner outfield spot. With just a slightly below-average hit tool and above-average game power from the catcher spot, Alfaro could project to an all-star caliber future.
#70 Mark Appel
Appel has been an interesting case since not signing with the Pirates after his junior year at Stanford, eventually being drafted 1.1 by Houston, and then traded to the Phillies in the Ken Giles trade. Appel flashes command of his plus fastball, plus slider and solid-average changeup, but they are very visible to hitters out of his hand, and he gets hit due to the lack of deception. Appel isn’t lacking in stuff but he will need to find a way to get around his deficiencies to reach his ceiling.
#82 Roman Quinn
Quinn’s move to center field has paid dividends for him since it allows his elite speed and plus arm to play more. Quinn has more power than people project him to have, and an average hit tool is likely. Overall, a profile of first-division regular is in the cards for him.
#89 Franklyn Kilome
Kilome features the highest upside of anyone on the bottom third of our list. With a fastball that touches the high 90s, a plus curveball and potential above-average changeup, Kilome can have mid-rotation, or higher, upside. If command and control doesn’t reach average or better, though, Kilome could show future value as a shutdown reliever.
#92 Cornelius Randolph
Playing shortstop in high school, Randolph was arguably one of the best prep outfield bats in last year’s draft, and he showed it in his short pro stint. A potential plus hit tool for average, and average power, means Randolph could be an above-average regular in leftfield.
Overall it seems like a good list from the Phillies perspective. The Nick Williams ranking is a bit aggressive for my tastes, but 2080 has some of the biggest backers of Williams on the internet and while I don’t agree with their evaluations completely, I have talked enough with them to know where they are coming from. Alfaro over Appel is a pretty easy call with what we now know this spring. Alfaro has shown to be fully healthy, his swing is better, his approach is better, and he looks more competent behind the plate. He is still incredibly risky, but it has been a positive month for him. I constantly change my mind on Quinn, Randolph, and Kilome so their close ranking pleases me.