Creating any prospect list is a ton of work behind the scenes, but along the way there are many neat little facts and discoveries. One of my favorite is the list itself. The names involved in it can tell you a lot about the organization and how it acquires talent. There is not a lot of deep meaning to these numbers, it is more just a curiosity, but one that I found can give a nice positive look at the future of the organization.
The Top 50 Breakdown:
Here are the two quickest breakdowns of the list; how where the players acquired and what position do they play:
We will get to comparisons to previous year’s later in terms of how the system has been built over the years, but immediately the number of international signings jumps out to me. There are more Draft prospects in the Top 30 (12 to 10), but the sheer number of players signed out of Latin America is staggering. The low relief pitcher numbers I will get to in a later post, but it is an inherent part of how I rank prospects, rather than a mark of the position’s strength or weakness.
From here we move on to one of my favorite talent markers, how a player was originally acquired. This gives a good feel for initial talent acquisition.
Given the depth of the list, the draft breakdown is unsurprising, especially with 4 of the 5 first rounders appearing in the Top 6 (Jesmuel Valentin at #22 was the lowest). The big surprise here is the Latin American presence. First is the bolstering of the $500,000+ group with three shortstops this summer, but the second is more impressive, and that is 14 players signed for less than $50,000 or an unknown bonus. Of that group, 4 were acquired from outside the organization, but the other 10 were brought in by the Phillies scouting staff.
Top 30 over the Years:
Since this is my first year writing up a Top 50 list, the full list is hard to compare to previous lists. For that I have reduced it down to just the Top 30 in this list. I have then compared that to my two previous lists from before the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
The draft has given way to other matters of talent acquisition, particularly in Latin America. The trade returns have also improved as the 2013 list included freshly acquired Ethan Martin and Tommy Joseph, but also such luminaries as Tyson Gillies, Phillippe Aumont, and Gabriel Lino.
Positional Breakdown: (All prospects listed at the position they played at the time of the list’s construction)
Here is that same data in graph form:
My first instinct was concern over the decline in up the middle hitters (C, 2B, SS, CF), but it turns out that with a catcher, two second baseman, and five shortstops in the next 20 players, it appears to only be a temporary problem. The big gains are in pitching as the Phillies addressed their weaknesses (in 2014 the highest ranking RHSP was Severin Gonzalez at #19) in a convincing manner.
Beyond all of these graphs, the best way to see the system growth is to see it side by side with the system in the past. Here are the last three years of Top 30’s for comparisons (click to expand)
► Top 30’s
|1||J.P. Crawford||Maikel Franco||Jesse Biddle|
|2||Aaron Nola||Jesse Biddle||Adam Morgan|
|3||Maikel Franco||JP Crawford||Roman Quinn|
|4||Yoel Mecias||Carlos Tocci||Tommy Joseph|
|5||Zach Eflin||Kelly Dugan||Ethan Martin|
|6||Jesse Biddle||Aaron Altherr||Maikel Franco|
|7||Roman Quinn||Roman Quinn||Cody Asche|
|8||Kelly Dugan||Deivi Grullon||Carlos Tocci|
|9||Deivi Grullon||Ethan Martin||Jonathan Pettibone|
|10||Carlos Tocci||Cord Sandburg||Shane Watson|
|11||Ben Lively||Yoel Mecias||Larry Greene Jr.|
|12||Tom Windle||Dylan Cozens||Mitch Gueller|
|13||Matt Imhof||Andrew Knapp||Phillippe Aumont|
|14||Victor Arano||Ken Giles||Darin Ruf|
|15||Franklyn Kilome||Luis Encarnacion||Dylan Cozens|
|16||Elniery Garcia||Zach Green||Justin De Fratus|
|17||Jose Pujols||Jose Pujols||Andrew Pullin|
|18||Dylan Cozens||Cesar Hernandez||Austin Wright|
|19||Cord Sandberg||Severino Gonzalez||Zach Collier|
|20||Ricardo Pinto||Adam Morgan||Sebastian Valle|
|21||Zach Green||Shane Watson||Cesar Hernandez|
|22||Jesmuel Valentin||Tommy Joseph||Mitch Walding|
|23||Andrew Knapp||Cameron Rupp||Zach Green|
|24||Joely Rodriguez||Jan Hernandez||Ken Giles|
|25||Aaron Altherr||Cameron Perkins||Tyson Gillies|
|26||Aaron Brown||Zach Collier||Kelly Dugan|
|27||Luis Encarnacion||Drew Anderson||Kevin Brady|
|28||Odubel Herrera||Malquin Canelo||Aaron Altherr|
|29||Nefi Ogando||Andrew Pullin||Jose Pujols|
|30||Severino Gonzalez||Samuel Hiciano||Gabriel Lino|
Fun With Numbers and Random Notes:
70’s and 80’s:
Tools at the top end of the spectrum are extremely rare. During the ranking process I went through all the tools for all the players in the Top 50, and in reviewing the spreadsheet I have 3 80 grade tools and 3 70 grade tools among the whole list.
- Deivi Grullon’s Arm
- Roman Quinn’s Speed
- Jose Pujols’ Raw Power (the game power is much lower)
- Nefi Ogando’s Fastball (mostly 96-98 despite the ability to touch higher)
- Jiandido Tromp’s Speed
- Grenny Cumana’s Speed
I wanted to share this because of just how rare these physical gifts are and how good players can be without them. The top player on the list have a lot of 60’s and 55’s, which are all very valuable on a major league roster.
- Only two players J.P. Crawford (3 to 1) and Yoel Mecias (11 to 4) actually climbed in the rankings.
- The biggest fallers on the list (among those that did not fall off) : Adam Morgan (20 to 45), Drew Anderson (27 to 49), Aaron Altherr (6 to 25), Jan Hernandez (24 to 42), and Samuel Hiciano (30 to 47)
- Two players, Roman Quinn and Jose Pujols, did not change spots
- 10 players in the Top 30 were not in the organization a year ago
- Drew Anderson (22nd Round) is the lowest round drafted player on the list
- Jonathan Arauz is the youngest (August 1998)
- Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (28) is the oldest
- Kelly Dugan (signed June 13, 2009) has been in the organization the longest
- Ben Lively (traded for on December 31, 2014) has been in the organization the shortest