Much like Nick Pivetta in the Carolina League, the Phillies acquired some players at the deadline that had some previous pedigree. Today’s group come from the small (but prospect laden) Texas League and were the core of the deal that sent Cole Hamels to Texas to lead the Rangers to the playoffs (though Jerad Eickhoff is making a case that he was the real headliner). All three players have some major flaws to their games, but plenty of talent and the ability to be major parts of the next contending Phillies’ team.
7. Nick Williams (CF)
Williams is always going to have his vocal detractors. He doesn’t walk enough, he strikes out a decent amount, his routes aren’t crisp in the outfield, his speed is underutilized, and lefties give him fits. Yet Williams hit .303/.354/.491 across two organizations this year. This is not to invalidate the concerns, but they are not just faults, they are growth points for a player who just turned 22 this September. Williams is a great athlete with quick hands and more power than he is often given credit for. What is encouraging is that Williams shows that he knows what the positive things are to do at the plate and in the field, he just doesn’t always do them. That ability should come more as he is actually challenged by better competition and cannot be as reliant on his natural abilities. There is a lot of ceiling here and more floor than some give him credit for. He should go to Lehigh Valley next year with an eye on a midseason call up.
14. Jorge Alfaro (C)
Alfaro makes Williams look safe, but a lot of that is no one really knows what Alfaro is. He is listed as a catcher because that is where his highest value is, and he has shown growth there. But he also might have above average to plus speed and played some center field in instructs last year for the Rangers (his best fit outside of catcher is right field). He is a giant human being with crazy raw power, but his approach and pitch recognition have drawn some concern from evaluators. The pieces are all there for a monster player, but no one really knows how they will all fit together. The Phillies think he is a catcher and that is where he has played in Instructs and where he will play in winter ball. With Andrew Knapp likely to get the AAA reps, Alfaro likely goes back to AA where the Phillies are fine to patiently wait for a giant payoff.
17. Jake Thompson (RHP)
Thompson is what you draw up prototype right handed power arms to look like. He is big bodied, he can throw strikes, he has good downhill plane, and has a wipeout breaking ball. His velocity has not peaked the way some thought it would, but he was 89-93 T94 with the Phillies, showing both a 4 seam and 2 seam fastball. His slider is still a wipeout pitch and is just nasty when it is on. His curveball is solid and the changeup shows promise. He can generate a lot of weak contact with his fastball down in the zone and late in the year he was able to dominate in the playoffs by getting misses with his slider. The ceiling on Thompson may have diminished some as he hasn’t added some of the velocity that some projected for him, but he can be a mid rotation or better starter going forward. He should start in AAA and could be in the Phillies’ rotation at some point early next year.