2021 Philadelphia Phillies Midseason Top 30 Prospects Update
Just days away from the trade deadline, the Phillies stand in second place in the National League East and in a position as buyers as they attempt to complete their first winning season since 2011.
Thanks to key contributions from outfielder Andrew McCutchen, shortstop Ronald Torreyes and utilityman Brad Miller, not to mention another strong season from outfielder Bryce Harper, the Phillies have managed to stay afloat despite a slew of injuries to regulars including shortstop Didi Gregorius, second baseman Jean Segura and catcher J.T. Realmuto.
On the mound the Phillies have gotten exactly what they expected from righthander Zack Wheeler in year two of a five-year contract, but the rotation has struggled behind him, as righthander Aaron Nola has posted the second-worst ERA+ (91) of his career and the team has been unable to count on more than three suitable starters. Righthander Zach Eflin, the No. 3 starter, landed on the injured list in late July, making it more likely the Phillies could attempt to acquire starting pitching help before the deadline.
The system has improved behind righthander Mick Abel after the Phillies added a pair of top 25 BA 500 prospects in the 2021 draft—Andrew Painter and Ethan Wilson—and some big arms later in the draft, giving the Phillies more flexibility in trading for established big leaguers.
There’s still work to be done on the farm, but the system is moving in the right direction.
Top 10 Prospects
1. Mick Abel, RHP
Age: 19. Team: Low-A Clearwater
The 2020 first-rounder was as good as advertised in his first taste of pro ball, with two plus pitches and a third average offering in his changeup. He needed to work on improving his stamina to go deeper into games, adding a grade to his curveball, throwing more strikes and improving his command, but Abel has the upside of a front-of-the-rotation starter.
2. Andrew Painter, RHP
Age: 18. Team: N/A
Just as Mick Abel was the most well-rounded pitcher in the 2020 prep class, the 6-foot-7, 215-pound Painter stood out for his all-around arsenal in the 2021 group, with four above-average or better pitches and plus control, including a fastball that sits 93-96 mph and tops out at 99. The ingredients are there for a frontline starter, but Painter still carries the risk of being a high school righthander and will need to improve the consistency of his curveball. Even so, the Phillies were happy to get him with the 13th pick.
3. Bryson Stott, SS
Age: 23. Team: Double-A Reading
Stott worked on hitting the ball to all fields and adding more power at the alternate training site in 2020 and the organization was pleased with the growth he showed in those areas during the 2021 season, leading to a career high in home runs after just 29 games between High-A and Double-A. The added power led to more swing and miss, but the organization still believes Stott has an above-average hit tool to go with above-average defense at shortstop.
4. Johan Rojas, OF
Age: 20. Team: Low-A Clearwater
Perhaps the toolsiest player in the Phillies system, Rojas has the potential for four plus or better tools in his power, running, defense and arm strength, but his on-field production hadn’t matched his lofty tool set. The organization was encouraged by Rojas cutting down on the amount of ground balls he hit in 2021, as well as improved offspeed recognition and overall approach, and will be patient while Rojas goes through the normal growing pains felt by many young prospects.
5. Ethan Wilson, OF
Age: 21. Team: N/A
After an outstanding first full season in 2019 at South Alabama, Wilson struggled out of the gate in 2021 but finished the season on a tear and remained one of the top college bats in the class, leading to a selection in the second round. Wilson has an all-fields approach and strong pitch recognition skills to go with plus raw power, and could be a quick riser through the system thanks to his offensive profile. Defensively, he’ll be limited to a corner, with below-average running ability and a 45-grade arm.
6. Hans Crouse, RHP
Age: 22. Team: Double-A Reading
Crouse, acquired from the Rangers as part of the Kyle Gibson-Ian Kennedy trade, is a big, hard-throwing righthander who leads the way with a plus fastball that sits 92-97 mph with sinking life. His arsenal also includes a plus slider that’s a swing-and-miss pitch, and an above-average changeup. Previously slowed by injuries that hindered him in his first three seasons of pro ball, Crouse has remained healthy this season and pitched effectively at Double-A. He has the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter with average control.
7. Logan O'Hoppe, C
Age: 21. Team: High-A Jersey Shore
In addition to spending time at the alternate site working on his contact skills, hitting approach and lowering his strikeout rate, O’Hoppe went to Driveline Baseball in Seattle during the offseason. He focused on flattening his bat path to create less swing and miss and lowered his strikeout rate from 2019 to 2021, but his hit tool will need more improvement. With plus power, strong catch-and-throw skills and impressive makeup, O’Hoppe is one of the most beloved players in the system.
8. Rafael Marchan, C
Age: 22. Team: Triple-A Lehigh Valley
A favorite of manager Joe Girardi, Marchan split time between the majors and Triple-A in 2021 and continued to show the same impressive pitch recognition, catch-and-throw skills and low chase and whiff rates. Marchan needs to develop more physically to add power and strengthen his bat speed.
9. Erik Miller, LHP
Age: 23. Team: Low-A Clearwater
Miller missed time to start the season due to injury but returned to full-season ball after two rehab appearances in the Florida Complex League. The 23-year-old lefty has an imposing build at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds with a power fastball that tops out at 97 mph with carry up in the zone, a plus low-80s slider and a mid-80s changeup that needs continued improvement.
10. Matt Vierling, OF
Age: 24. Team: Triple-A Lehigh Valley
Vierling improved more than any other player in the organization during the lost season in 2020 and turned himself into a legitimate power threat, leading to exit velocities up to 115-116 mph in training and 110 mph in games. Vierling made quick work of Double-A in 2021 and split time between the majors and Triple-A while cutting down on his strikeout rate and raising his walk rate. He’s a solid runner, and his likely defensive home is in an outfield corner.
11. Simon Muzziotti, OF
12. Casey Martin, SS
13. Mickey Moniak, OF
14. Luke Williams, 2B
NEW Williams worked hard to improve his hit tool and had a storybook run with Team USA to help the team qualify for the Olympics before cruising through Triple-A en route to the majors in June. Williams provided defensive versatility both in the infield and outfield, with plus speed and solid contact ability, albeit with little power.
15. Nick Maton, 2B/SS
16. Jordan Viars, OF
NEW The Phillies were excited to get the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Viars in the third round out of Rick Reedy High in Frisco and were impressed by the way Viars crushed balls during batting practice with a wood bat. The lefthanded hitter has an advanced approach for a high school bat, with above-average to plus raw power currently, and the Phillies feel he can develop an above-average hit tool in the future while fitting in a corner outfield spot. Viars had not signed as of July 25.
17. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF
18. Luis Garcia, SS
19. Yhoswar Garcia, OF
20. Micah Ottenbreit, RHP
NEW Ottenbreit signed for overslot money in the fourth round out of Trenton (Mich.) High to pull him away from a Michigan State commitment. At 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, Ottenbreit’s fastball has ranged from 89-94 mph, but the Phillies believe he can add more velocity to the pitch once he gains 15-20 pounds. He combines the offering with a high-spin curveball and changeup to give him an intriguing three-pitch mix.
21. Francisco Morales, RHP
22. Daniel Brito, 2B
NEW Brito had never hit above .252 at any full-season level before the 2021 season, but after hitting .296 with an .820 OPS at Double-A Reading he received a promotion to Triple-A on July 22. The 23-year-old second baseman was one of the most impressive hitters at the team’s alternate training site, improved his bat speed during the offseason and stayed busy by playing in the Venezuelan Winter League.
NOTE: Brito collapsed during a July 31 game with what the team described as a medical emergency and had two surgeries in the following days. The Phillies report that he is in stable condition, according to The Athletic.
23. Rickardo Perez, C
24. Bailey Falter, LHP
NEW Falter worked hard during the lost 2020 season and came into the 2021 season with more velocity on his fastball, getting into the 92-95 mph range from the left side with extension and riding life to go with a plus changeup and plus command. He put up impressive numbers at Triple-A as a starter and posted a 21-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in a relief role at the big league level as of July 20, giving the team hope that he can be a back-end starter in the majors.
25. Cristopher Sanchez, LHP
26. Cristian Hernandez, RHP
NEW After not pitching since 2018 due to injury and the canceled 2020 season, Hernandez impressed in his full-season debut at Low-A, sitting 93-94 mph on his fastball with the ability to spin a plus curveball. The 20-year-old righty has a pair of average secondaries in a slider and changeup, as well as command that projects to be average.
27. Logan Cerny, OF
The Phillies were pleased when Cerny fell to them in the 10th round after an impressive season at Troy in 2021. The 6-foot-1 outfielder combines four above-average tools, but he needs to massively cut down on the swing and miss to access his above-average power consistently.
28. Christian McGowan, RHP
NEW McGowan dominated the juco level during the 2021 season at Eastern Oklahoma State JC, sitting 94-96 mph on his plus four- and two-seam fastballs and topping out at 98 to go with a power, 82-84 mph above-average slider and an 86-89 mph above-average changeup. McGowan has average control. McGowan had not signed as of July 25.
29. Griff McGarry, RHP
NEW There’s no denying that McGarry has impressive stuff, with a fastball that comfortably sits in the mid 90s and tops out at 98 mph to go with a low-80s slider with two-plane break and a plus changeup, but he struggled with severe control issues throughout his collegiate career, walking 9.2 batters per nine innings. McGarry’s biggest focus moving forward will be improving his control to allow him to succeed at the next level.
30. Kendall Simmons, SS
Rangers Will Take Patient Approach With Spencer Howard
The Rangers plan to let their newest addition build his pitch count up in the major leagues in a starting role.
RHP Cristian Hernandez impressed in his first taste of full-season ball, thanks to a mid-90s fastball, a plus curveball and two average offerings that allowed him to mow down Low-A hitters.
C Logan O’Hoppe handled the move to full-season ball with ease, frequently accessing his plus power at High-A while showing the same impressive makeup and catch-and-throw skills that have made him a favorite within the organization.
OF Matt Vierling returned from the 2020 shutdown with some of the best power in the organization and quickly moved from Double-A to Triple-A before making a brief cameo in the major leagues.
After struggling at Double-A in 2019, 2B Luke Williams had a storybook 2021 season. First, he helped Team USA qualify for the Olympics in the Americas Qualifier, then he handled Triple-A pitching before making his big league debut in June and more than holding his own.
OF Jhailyn Ortiz showed up for the 2021 season in the best shape of his pro career and impressed while playing center field and showing impressive speed for his size. Ortiz improved his bat speed and hit tool and his power numbers started to trend up after declining at the start of the season.
RHP Francisco Morales has impressive stuff, but he proved very hittable while having trouble throwing strikes in his first taste of the upper minors in 2021.
C Andrick Nava showed impressive bat-to-ball skills in the past, but he lost developmental time after missing more than two months with a shoulder injury.
SS Luis Garcia added 20 pounds of muscle in 2020 and it led to increased power production in 2021 in his second stint at Low-A, but swing-and-miss issues and contact problems lingered.
OF Yhoswar Garcia has impressive tools and one of the best nicknames in baseball (“The Drone”), but he has trouble facing spin, chases pitches regularly and needs to put on significant weight.
SS Kendall Simmons has loud tools but can’t seem to stay on the field, playing in just 24 games through late July at Low-A.
RHP Starlyn Castillo tore his elbow ligament after 20 innings with Low A Clearwater. He will miss the remainder of the 2021 season and part of 2022 after June Tommy John surgery.
LHP Bailey Falter was placed on the Covid-19 injured list on July 20.
LHP JoJo Romero went down with an elbow injury in May that resulted in Tommy John surgery.
C Andrick Nava went on a rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League and is set to play his first games in full-season ball after missing the start of the season with a shoulder injury.
OF Yhoswar Garcia hadn’t appeared in a game since fouling a ball off his leg during a July 1 contest and went on the injured list July 9.
OF Johan Rojas went on the injured list on July 24 for an unspecified reason.