2015 Organization Report: Philadelphia Phillies

by Brent Hershey

Organization grades:

Hitting: C- ... Pitching: C ... Top End Talent: D ... Depth: C-  ... Overall: C-

Minor League Affiliates:

Triple-A: Lehigh Valley (IL)
Double-A: Reading (EL)
High-A: Clearwater (FSL)
Low-A: Lakewood (SAL)
Short-season: Williamsport (NYP)
Rookie:  GCL Phillies (GCL)

1. J.P. Crawford (SS) … 6-2, 180 … L/R … 20 … 2013 (1) HS (CA)

Team (LG)           AB     BA/OBP/Slg     bb%   ct%    Eye   HR/SB
==============     ===   ==============   ===   ===   ====   =====
Lakewood (SAL)     227   .295/.398/.405    14    83   1.00    3/14
Clearwater (FSL)   236   .275/.352/.407    11    84   0.76    8/10

Comments: Fast-riser continues to impress on both sides of the ball. Excellent eye and contact skills at the plate, and if his surprising burst of power in the 2H sticks, could be a 20-HR guy. So far SBs come from instincts more than raw speed. Smooth actions in the field and around the bag, and has a rifle arm.

Development Path: Considering 2014 was his first full professional season, the club is thrilled that he’s met just about every challenge. He’s likely to begin 2015 at Double-A, where he’ll work on defensive consistency and get a shot at advanced pitching. With Jimmy Rollins no longer in his way, Crawford’s success will dictate his timeline from here. Figure an arrival at some point in 2016.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: The tools are there for an above-average BA, very good OBA, and excellent pop for a SS. His raw speed—especially his first step—is a tick below average, so it would not be a surprise to see his SB numbers decline a bit as he faces better defenders as he climbs the ladder. But the overall package is exciting.

Upside Rating:  9C

2. Maikel Franco (3B) … 6-1, 180 … R/R … 22 … 2008 FA (D.R.)

Team (LG)           AB     BA/OBP/Slg     bb%   ct%    Eye   HR/SB
==============     ===   ==============   ===   ===   ====   =====
Lehigh Valley (IL) 521   .257/.299/.428     5    84   0.37   16/ 3
Philadelphia (NL)   56   .197/.190/.214     2    77   0.08    0/ 0

Comments: Triple-A pitchers had their way with him early on, exposing his long swing and impatient approach. A second-half rebound helped his final line, but still gets fooled by offspeed stuff and can be beaten inside. Shows enough in the field to stay at 3B for now, though moving to 1B in the future is still a possibility.

Development Path: The Phillies will give him the chance to duke it out with Cody Asche for the starting 3B job in 2015. But he looked overmatched at the plate in both spring camp in 2014 and in his September call-up, so it’s very likely he heads back to Triple-A for more seasoning. He should be up for good, though, later this summer.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: He has the raw power you like to see at 3B, and he’s made excellent contact most of the way up the ladder, which should minimize his BA downside. But he’ll never be an OBP asset, and if he does move across the diamond, his fantasy value would take a hit.

Upside Rating:  9C

3. Aaron Nola (RHP) … 6-1, 195 … 21 … 2014 (1) Louisiana State

Team (LG)          IP     ERA   WHIP   Ctl   Dom   Cmd   oppBA
==============    ====   ====   ====   ===   ===   ===   =====
Clearwater (FSL)  31.0   3.16   0.94   1.5   8.7   6.0    .214
Reading (EL)      24.0   2.62   1.25   1.9   5.6   3.0    .272

Comments: Comes as a highly-polished college product who is not that far away. Low 3/4 arm slot produces good fastball movement. Slider and change-up grade as average pitches, but boasts impeccable command of all three. Some deception in delivery, and has a heavy ground-ball lean, though does get hit hard when he leaves pitches up in the zone.

Development Path: Likely heads back to Double-A Reading, though would be a surprise if he’s doesn’t make his big-league debut this season.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: Though a first-round pick with lots of polish, he’s not a top-of-the-rotation dominator. A bit on the smallish side, but very athletic, he’ll likely end up as a durable, mid-rotation starter who pitches to contact and gets lots of ground balls. He won't be a high-strikeout pitcher, but his excellent Ctl will keep his WHIP in check. In addition, he’ll have a low potential for wins in the near future with PHI.

Upside Rating:  8B

4. Zach Eflin (RHP) … 6-4, 200 … 20… 2012 (1) HS (FL)

Team (LG)            IP      ERA   WHIP   Ctl   Dom   Cmd   oppBA
================    =====   ====   ====   ===   ===   ===   =====
Lake Elsinore (CAL) 128.0   3.80   1.32   2.2   6.5   3.0    .281

Comments: Athletic and durable starter held his own in the CAL going 10-7 with a 3.80 ERA. Was the piece from SD in the Jimmy Rollins trade. Still young with a bit of projection left. Throws from a ¾ arm slot and likes to change speeds by cutting and sinking plus fastball and mixing in excellent change-up with similar arm speed. Has a nice feel for pitching and throws lots of strikes, but fails to adequately drop curveball in the zone. His strikeout rate is a bit low and is more of a flyball pitcher.

Development Path: Eflin will move up to Double-A Reading and it will be interesting to see how he fares. He did a better job of keeping the ball down in the zone and could be poised for a nice breakout in 2015. Because of his youth, he probably pitches the entire year at Double-A, and will make his debut in 2016.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: Eflin has the size, control, and power stuff to be a solid mid-rotation starter, but without a spike in Dom his fantasy potential will be limited.

Upside Rating: 8D

5. Roman Quinn (CF) … 5-10, 175 … B/R … 21 … 2011 (2) HS (FL)

Team (LG)           AB     BA/OBP/Slg     bb%   ct%    Eye   HR/SB
==============     ===   ==============   ===   ===   ====   =====
Clearwater (FSL)   327   .257/.343/.370    10    76   0.45    7/32

Comments: Achilles injury kept him out the first half, but grabbed SB in bunches upon return. Still learning most efficient routes in the OF (was moved there from SS), but has speed to compensate. Has surprising gap power from both sides of the plate; opened some eyes with solid AFL season. Patient approach, which gets him on base, but ability to make consistent contact still a question mark.

Development Path: Quinn will move up to Double-A Reading, where he’ll encounter better pitching. He has an exciting tool set, but will need to continue to prove its utility in the next few seasons in the high minors.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: There is significant upside here with Quinn’s elite wheels if he can handle the bat at the highest level; a full-time MLB job could net 40-something SB. But there’s risk attached; too—if he can’t catch up to premium velocity or can’t lay off breaking stuff out of the zone, he’ll be limited to a bench and pinch-running role.

Upside Rating:  8D

6. Ben Lively (RHP) … 6-4, 190 … 23 … 2013 (4) Central Florida

Team (LG)          IP     ERA   WHIP   Ctl   Dom   Cmd   oppBA
==============    ====   ====   ====   ===   ===   ===   =====
Pensacola (SL)    72.0   3.88   1.33   4.5   9.5   2.1   .232
Bakersfield (CAL) 79.0   2.28   0.92   1.8  10.8   5.9   .201

Comments: Lively continues to post better numbers than his stuff suggests he’s capable of by relying on a deceptive delivery, advanced feel for pitching, and quality pitch mix to keep hitters off balance. He’s struck out more than a batter per inning at each of his four stops in the CIN system. He has also shown great durability, has been able to pitch deep into games, and his advanced repertoire has kept hitters guessing, limiting line drives and home runs. Lively throws a fastball at 92-94 with good downward tilt, a tight curveball that earns lots of swings and misses, as well as a slider and a change-up. All four pitches have the potential to be average or better at maturity. He doesn’t throw as hard as someone his height typically would, but solid mechanics and delivery suggest he will be able to handle heavy workloads in the future.

Development Path: He was traded in January to PHI, and will likely start the season at AA-Reading, which could boast a rotation of Nola, Biddle, Eflin and Windle, in addition to Lively. It's not out of the question that he could debut for PHI in 2015.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: At maturity, Lively should be counted on as a #4 starter who throws lots of innings along with nice ERA, Dom, and WHIP contributions.

Upside Rating:  7C

7. Jesse Biddle (LHP) … 6-5, 220 … 23 … 2010 (1) HS (PA)

Team (LG)          IP     ERA   WHIP   Ctl   Dom   Cmd   oppBA
==============    ====   ====   ====   ===   ===   ===   =====
Reading (EL)      82.1   5.03   1.48   4.8   8.8   1.8    .250
Clearwater (FSL)  10.0   0.90   0.90   5.4   8.1   1.5    .097

Comments: Freakish head injury (suffered concussion during a hailstorm) in May clouded entire season. At his best, he’s a sturdy southpaw with 90-92 FB, sharp CB and usable CU, but control history and a tendency for difficulties to snowball are valid concerns. Winter-ball elbow issue another factor to monitor. More than any other prospect, needs to step forward with a solid season.

Development Path: Biddle will return to AA-Reading and hope for mental and physical health. In a best-case scenario, he pitches the whole season and is ready for a cup of coffee in Philadelphia by September. But the risk factor is slowly growing, and the downside is a low-leverage reliever, as he doesn’t have one outstanding pitch.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: Control issues appear to be a permanent part of his profile; but on the flip-side, he is built to eat up innings in a rotation. As a middle-rotation starter, he would provide a source of strikeouts, but with considerable ERA/WHIP risk.

Upside Rating:  8D

8. Aaron Brown (OF) … 6-2, 220 … L/L … 22 … 2014 (3) Pepperdine

Team (LG)           AB     BA/OBP/Slg     bb%   ct%    Eye   HR/SB
==============     ===   ==============   ===   ===   ====   =====
Williamsport (NYP) 180   .256/.301/.356     3    77   0.15    3/ 8
Lakewood (SAL)      55   .309/.339/.473     2    65   0.05    1/ 0

Comments: A physical and intense two-way player in college, was drafted as an OF. Though not reflected in his stats, has an advanced hit tool, a fluid and balanced swing, and above-average raw power with exceptional hand/eye coordination. Can be too aggressive at the plate—but with polish, could rise quickly due to broad base of skills and excellent work habits.

Development Path: Given his college pedigree, he’ll get to show his wares at Advanced-A Clearwater. Being more patient at the plate, which will allow him to use his above-average speed more, and slowing the game down while in the box, will be two things to work on this season.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: Has the skill set and desire to impact the game in a number of ways, and if everything falls right could eventually peak at a .270/20/15 level. But even falling short of that, he would hold some fantasy value in deeper leagues.

Upside Rating:  8D

9. Carlos Tocci (OF) … 6-2, 160 … R/R … 19 … 2011 FA (Venezuela)

Team (LG)           AB     BA/OBP/Slg     bb%   ct%    Eye   HR/SB
==============     ===   ==============   ===   ===   ====   =====
Lakewood (SAL)     487   .242/.297/.324     5    80   0.26    2/10

Comments: Body type is the question: Will he ever be able to add real strength and muscle to his frame? Or is this what he has to work with? Has the defensive chops in CF; glides to the ball and has an adequate arm. Made strides at the plate and hit for a bit more pop, but physical growth is coming slowly.

Development Path: Even though he’s hardly mastered full-season A-ball, he’ll make the move to Advanced-A Clearwater in 2015, where he again will be one of the youngest players in the circuit. Advanced athleticism is just waiting for some strength to show up. Could also benefit from more patience at the plate, to give his running game more opportunities to develop.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: Probably will never be a big power hitter, but he could evolve into a player with doubles power with some good SB seasons. As a true centerfielder, that has fantasy value. Still so young that one hopes a team doesn’t give up on him too soon.

Upside Rating:  8D

10. Dylan Cozens (OF) … 6-6, 235 … L/L … 20 … 2012 (2) HS (AZ)

Team (LG)           AB     BA/OBP/Slg     bb%   ct%    Eye   HR/SB
==============     ===   ==============   ===   ===   ====   =====
Lakewood (SAL)     509   .248/.303/.415     7    71   0.27   16/23

Comments: Big-time power is the attraction from a hulking frame. There's a good bit of present swing-and-miss, though, as off-speed ties him up. He benefits from long strides on the basepaths, where his SBs were a big plus. Has typical RF size and arm. Still a raw baseball player due to playing 2 sports in HS, but big upside if it clicks.

Development Path: Will continue to benefit from baseball reps, which will take place in Clearwater in 2015. PHI can take their time with him, and continue to focus on cleaning up his defense, bringing a better approach to the plate, and making as much contact as possible.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: One of the few high-ceiling impact players in the system, but one that is far from a sure thing. Potential here for a middle-of-the-order, 25+ HR thumper—or a power-hitting platooning 4th OFer.

Upside Rating:  9D

11. Matt Imhof (LHP) … 6-5, 220 … 21… 2014 (2) Cal Poly

Team (LG)           IP     ERA   WHIP   Ctl   Dom   Cmd   oppBA
==============     ====   ====   ====   ===   ===   ===   =====
Williamsport (NYP) 12.0   0.75   0.83   3.0   8.3   2.8    .154
Lakewood (SAL)     27.0   4.28   1.39   2.0   9.0   4.5    .302

Comments: Height allows him to work on a big downward plane that benefits both his 89-91 FB and his overhand CB. Has the ability to spot the FB, and a deceptive delivery benefits all of his pitches, including an average CU. Continued development of secondary stuff will hold the key to his future.

Development Path: As with Nola, Brown, and other 2014 draftees, coming in with pedigree from a big-time college program sets Imhof up to move quickly through the system if necessary. He’ll likely report Clearwater where off-speed pitches will be his focus.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: Lack of pure stuff will probably limit his ceiling to a back-end starter, though one that has a respectable Ctl and even WHIP with some ERA risk.

Upside Rating:  7C

12. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (RHP) … 6-3, 200 … 28 … 2013 FA (Cuba)

Team (LG)           IP     ERA   WHIP   Ctl   Dom   Cmd   oppBA
==============     ====   ====   ====   ===   ===   ===   =====
Clearwater (FSL)   15.1   4.70   1.89   5.4   6.6   1.2    .317
Reading (EL)       14.1   3.14   1.19   4.5  15.4   3.4    .192
Lehigh Valley (IL) 16.2   1.62   1.20   5.3  10.1   1.9    .172
Philadelphia (NL)   5.1   6.75   2.25   5.1   8.4   1.7    .346

Comments: Role is biggest question: Given chance to start in spring 2014, he floundered, but then found success out of bullpen at AA and AAA. May be given chance to start again in 2015, where vast array of pitches (FB, SP, CU, CB, CT) could work if he can command them. Otherwise, bullpen is a likely destination.

Development Path: Gonzalez figures to break camp with PHI in some fashion, depending on how he throws in spring. The team hopes he can stick in the rotation after some time off—his move to the bullpen in 2014 was due to a “dead arm”—and there will be an opportunity there.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: In the rotation, he has the arsenal and build to be a league-average back-end starter with a decent strikeout rate, but with control issues that translate to ERA/WHIP risk. If moved to the bullpen, his upside is likely a set-up guy with very little fantasy value.

Upside Rating:  7C

13. Kelly Dugan (OF) … 6-3, 215 … L/R … 24 … 2009 (2) HS (CA)

Team (LG)           AB     BA/OBP/Slg     bb%   ct%    Eye   HR/SB
==============     ===   ==============   ===   ===   ====   =====
Reading (EL)       253   .296/.383/.435    10    78   0.50    5/ 1

Comments: Often overlooked due to lack of loud tools and recurring injury troubles, he has been a quiet producer when on the field. Knows the strike zone, hits for average and a bit of power, a solid defender with above-average arm. A high-floor, low-ceiling type likely to have an extended career if he can stay off the DL.

Development Path: He’s missed a lot of times with injuries, but he’ll move up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and wait for an opening on the big league club.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: At best, Dugan is probably a second-division starter with barely enough offensive impact to hold a job (or produce much fantasy value). He’ll be a more-valuable-in-real-life kind of player, with a batting average that won't hurt and the occasional HR.

Upside Rating:  7B

14. Yoel Mecias (LHP) … 6-2, 160 … 21 … 2010 FA (Venezuela)

Team (LG)           IP     ERA   WHIP   Ctl   Dom   Cmd   oppBA
==============     ====   ====   ====   ===   ===   ===   =====
GCL Phillies (GCL) 17.0   4.76   1.59   4.2   5.3   1.3     .279
Lakewood (SAL)     34.0   3.21   1.12   2.4   6.1   2.6     .246

Comments: On his way back from 2013 Tommy John surgery, showed glimpses of the mid-rotation upside he had prior to the injury. Thin but athletic, uses a low-90s FB with some movement, and pairs it with an excellent fading CU. His SL lacks depth and still needs refinement. Young and growing into his body; he is aggressive but could enhance overall approach.

Development Path: He’ll report to High-A Clearwater, where he’ll attempt to build his arm strength back up, hope to continue to improve on missing bats, and get ready for a shot at the high minors.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: A fastball-change-up lefty who pitches from the #3 slot with decent control. Unless his fastball ticks up, doesn’t look like he’ll be a huge strikeout guy.

Upside Rating:  8D

15. Tom Windle (LHP) … 6-4, 215 … 23 … 2013 (2) Minnesota

Team (LG)            IP     ERA   WHIP   Ctl   Dom   Cmd   oppBA
===============    =====   ====   ====   ===   ===   ===   =====
R. Cucamonga (CAL) 139.0   4.26   1.37   2.8   7.2   2.5    .271

Comments: Tall lefty continues to show good command and strong pitchability that allows his three-pitch mix to play up and generate lots of ground balls. Comes at hitters with a low-90s fastball up to 94 at times with good sink, an inconsistent slider that shows potential, and a solid average change that keeps righties from squaring up his other offerings. He generates good downhill plane using his size, but stiffness in his delivery have led many to believe the pen is his future. Was traded to PHI in the Jimmy Rollins deal.

Development Path:  Windle held his own in the CAL and will move up to Double-A in 2015. For now he remains in a starting role, but his plus fastball/slider package from the LH side could lead to a move to relief soon.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: If Windle remains a starter, he profiles as a solid back-end starter, but a move to relief could increase his value.

Upside Rating: 7C

2015 Contributors: Nefi Ogando (RHP); Adam Morgan (LHP); Cameron Perkins (OF); Tommy Joseph (C), Aaron Altherr (OF); Austin Wright (LHP)