|Age||Likely 2015 Level||Top 50|
It seems like Ben Revere has been around forever, but he is only entering his third season with the Phillies. Revere is an interesting player who has a skillset at the absolute extreme with two plus plus to elite skills and two very poor skills, and then a glove just kind of in the middle. The result has been a player who is just kind of average with both amazing highlights and infuriating moments. Until another player unseats him, Revere should hold down the major league job. The good news is that the Phillies have a center fielder at each level below the majors who should get their shot at the top one at a time until one of them unseats the incumbent and claims the job going forward.
Best Prospect: Roman Quinn
So far so good in Quinn’s transition back to center field. His speed has been an asset as he learns his routes, if he puts both together he could have a huge range. The real problem that evaluators have with Quinn is his ability to hit. His right handed swing is very rotational and lacks impact. So far that has worked for Quinn because he is blazingly fast. From the left side there is more impact, but more swing and miss. It is unlikely that they make dramatic changes right handed, but if he can continue to improve left handed he can really raise his profile. All together if he can’t hit he is an interesting 4th outfielder, but if the left handed swing comes around he can be a good major league center fielder.
2014 Impact: Odubel Herrera
Herrera is currently the darling of Phillies camp. The former second baseman can really hit. So far he hasn’t shown the loft in his swing to suggest more than poor power, but he can hit line drives with the best of them. The outfield defense is still a work in progress, but we are only a short way into the transition. On the bases Herrera is a plus runner, and in the past he has struggled with his jumps. If he can handle centerfield he could develop into a center fielder with similar value as Ben Revere. If the defense is more suspect, he could drive and have a role resembling Skip Schumaker but with more speed.
Sleeper: Aaron Altherr
It has been a winding journey for Altherr through the minors. He has become a good defender in center field and he can easily handle both outfield corners. Consistency at the plate has been a problem for Altherr, and any length added to his swing makes it near impossible for him to make contact. His long arms have made him susceptible to fastballs in and the Phillies have been working to make adjustments. The line between regular and reserve is really thin for Altherr, and if he can hit the glove could carry him into a starting lineup. Despite all the flaws he has the profile to carve out a lengthy major league career on a bench.
Player of Interest: Carlos Tocci
My fandom for Carlos Tocci is well documented; there are huge questions about whether he can hit enough, but he is a great defender in center. This offseason Tocci put on some weight, not as much as the Phillies would have liked, but he is no longer the stick he was a couple of years ago. His 2014 stat line was not amazing, but he took a large step forward, showing much more impact in his bat than his past two seasons. He won’t lead the Phillies in home runs, but moving from Lakewood to Clearwater could help get to 5 or more this year. The added strength in his legs will give him a faster first step which should lend itself to more stolen bases. Tocci’s defense will continue to be his carrying tool and he won’t need to hit at a huge rate to be a useful major league player.