Baseball America is starting their league Top 20 prospects. Up today was the GCL, where the Phillies fielded a very competitive team full of high upside prospects lead by #10 overall pick Cornelius Randolph. The Phillies placed 3 players on BA’s list and probably would have had quite a few more had the list gone deeper than 20 names.
5. Cornelius Randolph (LF)
Randolph comes in behind breakout stars Anderson Espinoza and Victor Robles as well as two of the Astros’ big money signings in the past draft (Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron). Randolph was among the leaders in almost all offensive categories in the GCL and showing himself to be a very advanced hitter for his age. He didn’t show as much power as you might want in left field but he showed the signs that it is on the way. He adjusted well to the outfield in his short pro debut.
18. Adonis Medina (RHP)
The Phillies’ Latin American scouts are getting really good at handing raw athletic pitchers to the dev staff in Florida where magical things happen (also not spending very much to acquire them, Medina checking in at $70,000). Medina is the next in that line to come through the GCL. He is an athletic 6’1″ righty who jumped from 87-90 to sitting 90-94 and getting all the way up to 97 at times. He can throw strikes and will flash two plus offspeed pitches in a curveball and changeup. There is a lot of upside here and there are some that think Medina’s ceiling is more in the #2 starter range long term.
20. Jonathan Arauz (SS)
Despite being the youngest of the 3 big money shortstops the Phillies signed for more than $600,000 last year, Arauz was the one to make the most immediate impact. He isn’t the athlete that Gamboa is, but he can stick at shortstop due to good hands and a solid arm. Arauz is very polished at the plate (though he is better from his natural left side) and shows good power for his size. His only real flaw is that he is a below average runner.
Notes From the Chat:
Steve B (Philly): Hey Ben - thanks so much for the chats and lists! Am I a total dork for sitting here hitting refresh every day waiting for the new one? What is your take on Luis Encarnacion from the CGL Phils. I sort of expected more from him this year.
Ben Badler: Well there’s about 100 questions in the queue and I love talking rookie ball prospects, so you’re not alone! Encarnacion hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations a lot of scouts (and I) had yet, but he did make progress this year. As an amateur in the Dominican Republic, the debate was whether the best game hitter in the class was Encarnacion or Rafael Devers, but Encarnacion obviously hasn’t taken off like Devers. The power is there but you can still beat him with breaking balls, which he did get a little better at this year, but he’s going to have to learn to chase fewer pitches outside the strike zone, especially now that he’s at 1B. He’s also going to have to keep his body in check, as he’s become a fairly large human being.
Dan (Atlantic City): How highly respected is Sal Agostinelli in the scouting world? He keeps finding gems despite a somewhat limited budget (outside of this year's Ortiz signing).
Ben Badler: Very highly. And if you saw today, he won the organization’s Dallas Green award today. Carlos Ruiz, Carlos Carrasco, Maikel Franco, Domingo Santana, Galvis and Hernandez on the big league team, other guys scattered across other big league teams, and the next wave of guys coming with Tocci, Kilome, Medina, Arauz and probably more I’m leaving out off the top of my head is impressive for a team that, like you said, hasn’t been giving out 7-figure deals outside of Ortiz and Luis Encarnacion.
JW (CA): Like to see Randolph and Arauz from the Phillies on the GCL list - any other Phillies considered?
Ben Badler: A few other names came up from them as longer-range projection types, including Ranger Suarez. He’s a 6-foot LHP with excellent command of an 88-92 mph fastball, hows how to mix and match his stuff and locate his stuff on the edges of the plate and at the bottom of the zone. Not going to blow you away with stuff but a savvy pitcher who could sneak up through the minors and become a back-end starter.
x (Philly): What kind of upside does Arauz have?
Ben Badler: I have a hard time putting an upside or a ceiling on someone when they just turned 17 years old, because even the physical tools like speed and arm strength can improve at that age. I don’t expect Arauz to be a high impact player, but he’s a smart, steady player who will play somewhere in the infield with an advanced bat. Nothing flashy—Gamboa is a quicker twitch guy with more tools but more crudeness to his game—but an instinctive player who won’t have the loudest tools on the field but could have the bat to be an everyday guy up the middle.