Yesterday Matt released 11-20 of the top Phillies prospects. For the most part I agree with the group of ten players. But I do have some of my own thoughts, so let’s dive into it a bit more.
- Matt and I pretty much agree on most of this list. Where we differ greatly is Roman Quinn. Matt has him at #13, I’d have him at #16. And for me it’s not so much about talent. I love his speed and ability to get on base, don’t get me wrong. And he’s had a lot of freak injuries that shouldn’t go against him. But eventually availability becomes important and the most games he has played in a season (minors and majors combined) is 88 (382 PA). And he has enough soft tissue injuries to have me concerned about his long term potential, even though none have reoccurred at this point. Even though he’d be three spots lower in my list, it’s not like the separation between him and the three in front of him is that large.
- Speaking of those who’d be in front of Quinn on my list, my #13-#15 would be Seranthony Dominguez, Francisco Morales and newcomer Enyel De Los Santos, respectively. Dominguez is now an interesting situation. Dominguez was pretty darn good as a starter until his shoulder injury last year. And now that he’s on the 40 man roster, we’ll get a long look at him probably in Spring Training this year, as a reliever. Dominguez’s stuff would play great in the bullpen and might accelerate his timetable to the majors to this summer. But I’m a little shocked that as of this moment that they got him off the starter’s role so quickly. The only thing I’ll say about having Morales ahead of De Los Santos is that I would do that because at this moment I think his upside is higher and that De Los Santos’ future is more than likely in the bullpen.
- There are really three guys I’m intrigued to see the most of this group of 10: Cornelius Randolph (#19), Ranger Suarez (#18) and Jojo Romero (#12).
- As Matt so eloquently mentioned in a tweet, Randolph’s profile is weird. He had a lot more pop-ups than line drives in the first half of the season, before reversing that in the a good 2nd half. This is big year for Randolph who will be entering his fourth season of pro ball as a former 1st round pick. His approach is decent and draws his walks and showed an increase in power. It’ll be interesting to see him in Reading this year.
- Romero will also likely join Randolph on Reading’s Opening Day roster. There’s quite a buzz around Romero after a dominating 2017 season across two levels. So much so that many experts have put him in the organization’s top 10. I’m not willing to go that far yet with him and, like Matt, I think #12 in this organization is perfect for him. Being a two pitch pitcher who rarely uses a third pitch tells me he’s more back-end than mid-rotation. Right now he’s got the lead over Suarez as the organization’s top LH starter. I missed watching him live early in 2017 at Lakewood, so I’m anxious to see him this year in the upper levels.
- I had my chance to watch Suarez in late June but opted to go to Scott Kingery’s AAA debut instead. Suarez threw a perfect game for 7.2 innings, striking out nine before allowing a base hit. Suarez really elevated his status this year to looking more like a prototypical back-end starter with a fastball now in the 92-95 mph range. He ended up getting hit a bit more when he got to Clearwater as opponents hit .289 off him in eight starts which led to a 3.82 ERA, so I’m curious to see how he responds to more advanced hitters as he moves along. I think he’s got a 50/50 chance to make the Reading roster on Opening Day. But even if he doesn’t I would think he makes it early after about seven or eight strong starts at Clearwater.
- After watching Spencer Howard‘s pro debut in person, two things were clear: his command needs work but his stuff moves really well to profile as a #3 starter. Two starts really ballooned his ERA to 4.45 in 28.1 innings, but take away those two, he’d have a 1.42 ERA in 25.1 innings. He walked a few two many batters, but 40 strikeouts is pretty darn good, even if 10 came in his final start of the year. It’s also noteworthy that he hadn’t pitched versus actual competition in a couple of months when he made his pro debut, so it was clear he was a bit rusty early before finding his touch late in the year. I think Lakewood is a proper start for him to get his feet wet in full season pro ball, followed by a very quick promotion to Clearwater if things go well like I think they will.