Thoughts On Keith Law’s Phillies Top 20

Ranking season is almost over, with only a few more lists to go.  Today we got our strangest list so far from ESPN’s Keith Law.  First the ranking and then a lot of thoughts about it.  You can find the full piece here.

  1. J.P. Crawford
  2. Jake Thompson
  3. Mark Appel
  4. Nick Williams
  5. Jorge Alfaro
  6. Scott Kingery
  7. Cornelius Randolph
  8. Franklyn Kilome
  9. Ricardo Pinto
  10. Rhys Hoskins
  11. Roman Quinn
  12. Thomas Eshelman
  13. Carlos Tocci
  14. Nick Pivetta
  15. Darnell Sweeney
  16. Andrew Knapp
  17. Arquimedez Gamboa
  18. Dylan Cozens
  19. Adonis Medina
  20. Malquin Canelo

Now onto some thoughts:

  • It must be really hard to be a singular person writing top 10s for 30 orgs.  I can go 150 deep on a singular system, but that is really only 8 affiliates to cover, plus trades.  For one person to cover 30 teams is 240 some affiliates to pay attention to.
  • Law had Kingery over Randolph at the time of the draft, Law was also the lowest on Randolph and the highest on Kingery.  I don’t think Kingery is advanced as Law thinks he is, and I think Randolph’s bat and glove are much better than Law is giving it credit for.
  • I have nothing wrong with Kilome’s ranking, but I do with Law’s writeup:
    • Franklyn Kilome is still throwing heat in the 94-96 mph range and his breaking ball crept up toward above average by the end of the year, with a big frame that could end up filling out like J.R. Richard’s did. It’s tempting to call it ace upside in his case, but he’ll turn 21 in June and is just now getting to full-season ball, without the command he should have at his age, although the Phillies’ player development folks praise his intelligence.

    • I am very confused, by the command at his age comment.  Kilome will enter the year at age 20, in just his third year pitching in the Phillies organization.  He walked 5 in his last start of the regular season (2 innings pitched), otherwise he had 16 walks over 47.1 innings or 3.0/9 which is not really that bad for a guy who has experienced huge upheavals in his pitching profile (4 mphs of added velocity, a new curveball, and a new changeup)
  • Pinto is one of my breakout guys for 2016, so no complaints, it is all about slider dev.
  • It feels like Law feels a lot of regret for missing on Paul Goldschmidt so when Rhys Hoskins comes along with a similar dominance, Law latched on.  I like Rhys, but if your whole explanation is that we should watch him because you missed on a Goldy seems strange.  Hoskins can hit and has power, the ranking is not egregious, just a strange explanation.
  • Let’s talk about Roman Quinn and being injury prone.  I am as guilty as the next person of calling him injury prone, but the truth is, he isn’t really injury prone.  The 2016 season will be his 6th in the Phillies’ org.  He missed 2011 due to the signing deadline, played a full healthy season in 2012 (albeit in Short Season ball), and then had his 2013 cut short by a rogue pitch.  He tore his Achilles that fall and was worked back slowly in 2014, but returned healthy.  He then hurt his hip this year.  That is 3 injuries in 5 years, one of which was entirely out of his control.  He has certainly missed valuable developmental time, but I think we are rushing on the injury prone tag.
  • The industry and fans of college baseball are all much higher on Eshelman than I am, but I also might have watched too much of Severino Gonzalez.
  • Tocci and Pivetta are fine, they have upside and risk, it depends on how you weight those two things.
  • I hate second base prospects, because there is no floor, that sums up my feelings on Sweeney, but I am likely harsh on him.
  • Law has been really down on Knapp having seen him once in the EL and then in the AFL.
  • I get why to love Gamboa, he can really pick it at shortstop, and he is really athletic.  He has also shown zero reason to believe he can hit.  I get the ranking, you can justify it.
  • Now we get to really irks me, here is what Law wrote about Adonis Medina
    • Adonis Medina (19) — man, that’s a tough name to grow up with — looks the part of a starter with heat that sits at 94-95 mph mixed in with the occasionally average breaking ball, but he’s still a long ways off and needs to develop some sort of changeup.

    • All year the reports on Medina were plus curveball and potential plus changeup.  If you want to go average on both because you don’t want to be that aggressive on a GCL pitcher, that is fine.  But the changeup is real and got as much praise as the curveball this year.  Then there is the fastball velocity.  It is easy to get excited about Medina, and he sits 94-96 in relief, but in the rotation this year he was 91-94 touching 96-97
  • Zach Eflin off the list and among a pile of relief prospects is just wrong.

Overall I can get past individual rankings, these seem strange, and like last year they are littered with jabs and incorrect information.

Photo by Chris La Barge

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman
Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.


  1. Keith

    What really irks me about the Medina is his comment about his name. Really… Law? Stick to baseball.

  2. Kurdt Kobeyn

    ESPN is for the casual fans. Keith Law, Dan Rafael, etc cannot impress any knowledgeable because they have a lot of inconsistencies in their arguments. Their salary doesn’t equate to their knowledge.

    I like your rankings and other other blogs ranking way better.

  3. Spongehead

    I’m not really having an issue with Law’s comments. Kingery I get- he probably saw him while living in Arizona quite a bit and has a bit of bias there. He does say Corny can really, really hit and kilome’s breaking ball is now above average. Agree that elfin as a relief prospect is off, but very surprised he is that high on a potential breakout year for Cozens. Law was very critical of his high school situation where he pushed (?) a coach or player.

  4. Tim

    I’m not to worried about Kingery in front of Corny it’s just 1 spot. Both are in my top 10 Kilome, Medina there both will be A ball I hope this yr.

  5. Anonymous VOR

    You disagreed with Law’s comment regarding Kilome’s command, then referenced the amount of walks Kilome had in 2015. Walk totals are related to ‘control’, not command. Low walk totals have nothing to do with command.