|Age||Likely 2015 Level||Top 50|
Like many positions on the field for the Phillies, shortstop is transitioning from a long time incumbent into the unknown. With Jimmy Rollins at shortstop, the Phillies had more stability at the position than any team other than the Yankees. Rollins is the best shortstop in the franchise’s history, and it looks like they may have another good one on the way in J.P. Crawford. But, it could be a bit before he is readying to take over the reigns so there could be a bit of a transition period where former prospect Freddy Galvis gets another shot. Outside of the top of the system, the Phillies added some major talent up the middle when they inked three Latin shortstops to bonuses exceeding $600,000. The system is not overflowing with shortstop talent, but it is certainly in good hands going forward.
Best Prospect: J.P. Crawford
When the Phillies took Crawford with the 16th pick of the 2013 draft there were very not many people who expected him to ascend the Phillies system this quickly. Crawford was supposed to be a bit raw, but he has proven to be one of the most polished players in draft. There is still a lot of work that Crawford still needs to do as his swing can get a bit long and pull centric, and his actions in the field could use a bit of smoothing out. All of this is just nitpicking as Crawford has one of the highest ceilings in the minor leagues. If he can continue to grow like he has the past year, he could be a plus defensive shortstop that hits 15+ HRs a year while making plenty of contact and drawing a large amount of walks. The Phillies are not loaded with impact talent right now, but Crawford is the kind of player you can build a team around.
2015 Impact: Freddy Galvis
This is a bit of a cheat because Galvis isn’t actually a prospect anymore (and hasn’t since he played 58 major league games in 2012). But the Venezuelan shortstop will only be 25 on opening day, and 2015 will mark his first real attempt at a starting shortstop job. Last year was a bit of a disaster for Freddy as he suffered injury (broken collarbone and MRSA) and ineffectiveness (.176/.227/.319 MLB line). In the past Galvis has shown top echelon potential defensively, and a surprising amount of pop at the plate (.185 ISO in AAA last year). The Phillies will look to tone down his all or nothing swing and try to keep some of the power but while cutting the strikeouts. Freddy likely won’t hit enough to hold down the job for very long, but if he can hit some and return to his previous defensive levels, he could be a very interesting player.
Sleeper: Jonathan Arauz
Arauz was relatively under scouted coming into the July 2 signing period, and his young age held off his signing until August. Arauz combines potential average to above average tools across the board and has the ability to stick at shortstop. He got plenty of hype out of Instructional League this fall. He then went on to hit .301/.447/.438 in the Panama junior winter league. Arauz could vault his fellow July 2 shortstops with a good start in 2015. He should start the year in the GCL.
Player of Interest: Malquin Canelo
Canelo has flown under the radar the past two seasons. His 2014 was altered significantly by the presence of JP Crawford. The consequence was that Canelo spent most of the year in Clearwater before a very quick move to Williamsport before finally settling in for Lakewood. There he hit at a rate better than his previous talent showed he was capable of. If Canelo can find regular playing time, he could really show what kind of player he is and whether he is more than a glove only fringe major leaguer.