2019 Philadelphia Phillies Top 10 Prospects Chat
To see the Phillies top 10 prospects, click here.
Ben Badler: Greetings from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Let's get started.
Frank (Indianapolis, IN):
- How many of these guys could make your next top 100 updated list?
Ben Badler: I think at least three, being conservative, and Adonis Medina gives them a fourth prospect with a good chance to be in the Top 100. Adam Haseley has to show a little more to jump into that mix.
- Ben, thanks for the chat. I see the Lakewood BlueClaws frequently and it was tough to watch Jhailyn Ortiz swing a bat last season. Are you as pessimistic as I am regarding his lack of production? Is there any hope for him?
Ben Badler: It was disappointing. Given how raw he looked as a hitter before he signed, I thought he made a ton of progress in 2017 with Williamsport, so there were a lot of reasons to be optimistic heading into 2018. But both the numbers and the reports from scouts on Ortiz this year weren’t pretty. He just looked lost at the plate. I think he has to repeat the league.
- What does lhp Kyle Young bring to the table, besides his towering frame?
Ben Badler: A surprising amount of finesse, touch and feel for someone who's nearly 7 feet tall. Nothing overpowering but he commands his fastball well and it plays up because of his extension. Needs to develop an out pitch among his secondaries to take the next step.
J.P. (Springfield, IL):
- Compare the Phillies' Luis Garcia to the Nationals' prospect with the same name. Who are you higher on? And which of the two is more likely to be playing at short in five years' time?
Ben Badler: I'm a big fan of both. I think we'll have the Nationals' Luis Garcia ranked higher in our Top 100, but the Phillies' Garcia could pass him quickly and I think has more upside because he projects to be a plus defender at shortstop, whereas Nationals' Garcia is a good hitter but isn't the same type of lockdown shortstop.
Chris Kennedy (Brandon, MB):
- There have been a few Pedro Martinez comparisons in prospect arms over the years. Carlos Martinez received them and now Sixto Sanchez is getting those comparisons. How would you compare the two pitchers and who would you have bet on to be the better starting pitcher at the same stage of their years as a top prospect?
Ben Badler: I don't think I've ever compared anyone to Pedro Martinez. A lot of 6-foot and under Dominican pitchers with huge fastballs seem to get people trying to compare them to Pedro, but that comp never fits.
- Love what Luis Garcia brings to the table. Do you think the Phillies push him this upcoming year, or will they be conservative with him?
Ben Badler: He'll go to Low-A Lakewood in 2019, so being there as an 18-year-old is pushing him, although he definitely deserves to be there given what he's shown on the field. If he rakes there, I wouldn't be surprised to see him finish the year in the FSL.
Warren (New London):
- It seems like the Phillies are doing a good job of finding later round talent from the Long Island high schools: Kyle Young, Logan O'Hoppe, Ben Brown. Is it too soon to put Brown and O'Hoppe in the 30? Surely Young must be there.
Ben Badler: They have scoured that area really well. O'Hoppe is definitely going to be in the top 30, and he might already be the best of that group. A lot to like with him on both sides of the ball, especially in the 23rd round.
- Cornelius Randolph and Mickey Moniak so far look like two wasted high draft picks; they are still young but is there anything you or others have seen that implies either can be full time major leaguers? Thanks
Ben Badler: Moniak showed a glimmer of hope in the second half of the season. He's been a disappointment so far, but there are still ways he can turn things around. Randolph has solid bat-to-ball skills, but the raw power and the hitting approach just aren't going to fit as a corner outfielder in the big leagues.
- Where do you think Alec Bohm starts next year? Thanks
Ben Badler: Probably Clearwater, put him on the same Adam Haseley path.
- Alec Bohm's debut was...let's call it lackluster. What are the scouts saying? Any cause for concern (especially the lack of power) or is this just an example of a guy who didn't debut the best after playing through the college season?
Ben Badler: More the latter. I don't think anyone questions the raw power, and he's a guy with a fairly length track record of hitting, including with wood bats, so I think it's more just a case of a guy struggling for a brief period at the end of a long year. If he goes out next year and has those kinds of numbers by the end of May, yeah, we've got a reason to be concerned, but I think that debut will be more of an aberration for him.
- This seems like a very pitching heavy system. Does that speak more the quality of pitching prospects the Phils have or to a weak crop of position players?
Ben Badler: The arms are solid but a lot of that is due to the lack of position prospects in the system beyond Bohm, Garcia and Haseley. Some of that is the Phillies having just graduated a big wave of position prospects to their big league team, but some of the underperformers at the top of the draft play into that as well.
- Over/under- Bohm plays 300 big league games at 3B? Is his bat above average at 3rd? How about 1B if he has to move?
Ben Badler: I'll take the over. I think he has the attributes to be an adequate defender at third base, and when guys go from college to pro ball, they have a lot more time, coaching and resources at their disposal to transform themselves defensively.
- Was Mickey Moniak close to the Top 10? Or where will he rank? Also, what's his realistic future - as a 4th outfielder?
Ben Badler: Fourth outfielder at this point is fair, but there's enough upside for him to exceed that if what he showed in the second half is a sign of things to come.
Tyler S (Waltham, Mass):
- Out of the pitchers in the higher up levels of the minors; Romero, De Los Santos, Suarez, and Irvin; which are you most likely to find as a rotation regular in the major in 2019, if any? And which based on their depth are Phillies more likely to trade for a better bat/glove?
Ben Badler: De los Santos probably gets the first crack at a rotation spot next season, although I think Romero has the most upside of that group and could be there by the all-star break if he's pitching well. A trade depends on who you're dealing with, but Romero and de los Santos would be the two most requested players from other teams among that group.
Tyler S (Waltham, Mass):
- Do you think the Phillies recent lack of outfield production and Haseley’s strong finish with Reading in 2018 means he could find his way in the majors in 2019 or would he not be rushed? Also it’s well known his pure hitting ability is his best tool but what do you think his potential ceiling could be in regards to power?
Ben Badler: It depends on the specific circumstances, although I think finishing the year in Triple-A is more likely for him. There's average raw power in there, but his approach and the way his swing is geared isn't conducive to getting his barrel out front and turning on balls for power.
- How worrisome is Sixto's elbow, from what you've heard?
Ben Badler: It's a concern. Getting a lot of questions about whether he's going to need surgery, but when it comes to medical issues, that's beyond my knowledge or even informed speculation. I know the Phillies are expecting him to be ready to for 2019, but the injury does add some elevated risk to his projection.
- How did JP Crawford go from future building-block (maybe that's too generous) to being dealt to Seattle? Do you think he will figure things out with the M's?
Ben Badler: Well, they got back Jean Segura, a 4-win shortstop in 2018 still in his prime and under control on a team-friendly deal for a few more seasons, so it's not like they dumped Crawford for nothing. But I do think Crawford can still develop into the player he looked like coming up as a prospect. Injuries and intermittent playing time didn't do him any favors last year.
theKraken (Pacific Ocean):
- The scouting reports on Spencer Howard are consistently glowing, yet I don't think he is sniffing the top 100. Is that correct? Is a triple digit FB, plus SL and some feel for two more pitches along with reasonable command, a good frame along with solid results one of the more exciting packages in the minors? In other words, what am I missing?
Ben Badler: With the upside Howard has, he has the potential to jump into our midseason Top 100 next year. The pure stuff is exciting, barrel-evading, mid-to-front end of the rotation type starter material. You'd also like to see a 22-year-old showing better command against Low-A hitters, but I think the arrows are at least pointing in the right direction on that for him. Garrett Richards had a lot of similarities early in his career, so I do think the upside with Howard is big, if everything clicks for him.
Luis Garcia (Future Grades?):
- I raked as a 17 year old in the GCL while playing great defense at SS. The glove has never been the concern with me. After my state side debut, what do scouts think my offensive ceiling is now. Would a 60/65 hit and 50 power too be rich? Given my proficiency at playing a premium position, If my power can get to average isn't that the makings of a future top 20 prospect?
Ben Badler: I think a future 60 or better hit tool on Garcia is entirely reasonable. I'd probably take the under on 50 future power, but shoot, that's always a tough one when we're talking about 17-year-olds. And yeah, a plus defensive shortstop with a potential plus or better bat are the makings of an elite prospect once he shows that performance at higher levels.
- Has José Pujols legitimately made changes to approach and if so does he become a prospect again?
Ben Badler: I'm still skeptical. Granted, I was thinking before the 2018 season that it might be time to see what he looks like on the mound, so he did make real progress this year, but I just don't see the pure hitting ability or pitch recognition for him to keep his strikeouts to a manageable level against big league pitching. I could see him going over to Japan at some point and making himself a bunch of money over there.
Warren (New London):
- How would you compare Simon Muzziotti to Carlos Tocci at the same stage? We're still waiting for Tocci to get stronger—is there any chance that Muzz will?
Ben Badler: Yeah I think they have a bunch of similarities... skinny center fielders who field the position well, instinctive players who put the bat to the ball, but without much strength or impact. Muzziotti isn't quite as thin-boned as Tocci was (or I guess still is), but a huge part of his development is going to be about how much more strength he can add.
Ben Badler: Thanks for all the questions. Busy week here at the Winter Meetings and in the final weeks before we finish the Prospect Handbook. If you're a BA veteran you already know this, but if you order your Prospect Handbook directly from us at BaseballAmerica.com, you get it shipped weeks ahead of anywhere else, so while I'm very biased here, I highly recommend it. Talk to you guys again soon!