Philadelphia Phillies 2022 Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat
Following today's release of our new Phillies Top 10, Chris Trenkle answered your questions below.
- How close was Jhailyn Ortiz to making the Top 10 He seemed to be showing improved offensive production while playing a lot of CF. Thanks
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: First off, thanks for the question Rich. Ortiz had by far his best season as a pro, impressing the organization in a variety of ways. He came to camp in better shape and showed the best contact ability of his career, allowing him to get to his plus-plus power. The gains he made this year had him on the verge of the Top 10, and another year like this one would certainly push him into the Top 10.
Bill B (Glen Allen, VA):
- Bryson Stott had a really nice year in the minors. Can you comment on his ceiling and floor? Just wondering your opinion on whether or not he can become a top 10 offensive shortstop (average, power, runs, RBI, and SB) over the next 3 years or so. Thanks
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Bill, Stott indeed had a really productive season and I know the organization was happy with the progress he made. He made significant gains in his approach at the plate, as well as tapping into more power after adding muscle in 2020. I would say Stott's floor is a utilityman who can fill in when needed, but I think he'll become an everyday shortstop in the big leagues. Best-case scenario he's probably hovering around 9 or 10 among big league shortstops, considering how talented of a group that is at the moment, but I would imagine it would take a few years for him to get there. He's improved each year and produced on the field, so there's every reason to believe he'll at least be a solid starter.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):
- Although he rates "best outfield arm" and "best power", and was a top 30 prospect in the 2021 Handbook, I'm thinking Jhailyn Ortiz's prospect status is taking a dive this coming year - what say you?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hey Karl, coming into the season Ortiz's stock certainly had taken a dip after an uninspiring 2019 season, but he arrived in the best shape of his career and made big strides at the plate. His bat-to-ball skills have improved, allowing him to tap into his plus-plus power, and he impressed the organization with his work ethic. He's also a sneaky good athlete for his size. If he keeps these improvements going he should be a Top 10 player in the system next year.
- In BA's accompanying 2025 Projected Lineup, Andrew Painter does not crack the rotation. Meanwhile, Khalil Watson was available to the Phils at #15 last year, but presumably they did not want to go 600K over slot to sign him. When I look at the Phils' system, I don't see a lot of 4-5 tool talents (other than Rojas). All of which begs the question: wouldn't you rather have Watson than Painter?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Jim, Khalil Watson is certainly an impressive prospect, but I don't think the Phillies chose the wrong guy at 15. Painter had an encouraging debut, then averaged 97.6 mph on his fastball at instructional league. He has two potentially plus pitches in his fastball and slider, and two more average offerings in his curveball and changeup, with advanced control for such a young arm. Painter not being in the projected 2025 lineup had more to do with his age than anything else. Plus the organization feels like it has an everyday shortstop in Bryson Stott, who will make his big league debut next season.
Kyle Weatherly (Timmonsville, South Carolina):
- Who has the highest ceiling? Abel, Painter, or Crouse? Thanks in advance.
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hey Kyle, Abel has the highest ceiling, followed by Painter. Abel's mix of stuff, command and control gives him the ceiling of a front-of-the-rotation arm. I see Painter as more of a mid-rotation arm, with Crouse more likely a back-end starter or reliever.
Warren (New London):
- Not a question, but at 9 you have Rafael Marchan listed as an outfielder.
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Thanks Warren, that's fixed.
Herman Munster (Mockingbird Lane):
- Andrew Painter absent from projected 2025 lineup. Was that a function of being so young and you believe he will still refining his stuff in the minors in 2025? Or a vote of confidence for Ranger Suarez? Or acknowledgment of the high risk on Painter to get there? Can you share your thought process?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Herman, Painter being absent from the projected lineup has more to do with his age than anything else. He certainly has the talent to get to the majors by that time, but we opted for a more conservative approach, given the fact that he's a prep righthander. I know the organization is really high on Suarez as well.
Hinkie (South Jersey):
- Hoping the Phillies draft Connor Prielipp next year. Where would he fit on this list?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Hinkie, that's a good question. Prielipp has two excellent pitches in his fastball and slider and has impressed in his brief collegiate career. If healthy, he would certainly be a top-three player in the system.
- Ray Butler of Prospects365 provided a promising writeup of Rojas a couple of years ago and I have had him stashed in a dynasty league since then. Hit tool/contact issues seemed to be a continuing concern coming into 2021. Your writeup today is quite encouraging!
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Bob, thanks for reading! Rojas is a player who's going to require a lot of patience due to the rawness of his game, but the organization was pleased with the progress he made over the second half of the season. He cut down on his chase rate, had a better approach at the plate and did a better job of getting the ball in the air. He's the toolsiest position player in the system, but he's still a few years away from reaching his potential and he'll need to continue making more contact.
Juan (Domninican repúblic):
- Luis García is near???
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Juan, Luis Garcia struggled out of the gate this season but put together a much better second half and showed the highest exit velocites of his career at instructional league. He's going to likely start the season back at High-A Jersey Shore next year, where he'll look to start the season the way he ended this one. He needs to continue improving offensively, but he's a very good defender at shortstop.
Warren (New London):
- Given the organization's well documented problems with drafting and developing outfielders, I'm surprised to see Ethan Wilson at 5 on this list, and astounded to see him ahead of Logan O'Hoppe, and I was wondering if you might comment on that decision. Clearwater is a tough place to hit, but .215/.282/.374 for a bat only player who is older than O'Hoppe?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Warren, that's a really good question. O'Hoppe had an impressive year, but I went with Wilson over him given Wilson's power and hittability combination. I know the pro debut wasn't great, but it was a small sample and he looked much better at instructs. I don't think the gap between the two is significant, but Wilson's upside as a hitter led me to put him ahead of O'Hoppe.
- Thanks for the chat. Any thoughts on Casey Martin‘s poor performance this year?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Zak, Martin was dealing with an ankle injury that led to surgery, which explains in part the struggles. Even so, the 2022 season is a make-or-break year for Martin. His tools are really impressive, but he hasn't made enough contact to access them and this season did not do anything to dissuade concerns.
- How is Francisco Morales viewed inside and outside of the organization? Is he trending towards reliever outlook with the walk rate?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Rob, I would imagine Morales is viewed more favorably within the org than outside of it. He put on some bad weight and struggled mightily with his command. The org still wants to work him as a starter, but the 2022 season is likely his last chance in that role. He hasn't developed his changeup enough, and despite having upper-90s fastball velocity and a plus-plus slider he hasn't commanded the pitches well enough.
MikeR (Lockport, NY):
- Is Francisco Morales destined to be a reliever ? Is he still in the top 30 ?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Mike, I do believe Morales is destined to be a reliever, but I think the Phillies will give him one more year as a starter. His lack of command and lack of a third pitch have hurt his development. He's still a 30 guy based on the upside, but he's gotta show improvement this season.
- Chris - Please give me hope! The Phillies have not drafted well early in drafts (Randolph, Moniak, Hasely) and have compounded this issue by not developing their draftees well either. Guys like Kingery, Spencer Howard, Monial, Bohm, etc were hyped up but never lived up to the hype. Should the new player development team in place give us hope that Stott, Painter, Abel, etc don't fall into the same trap? Thanks!
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hey nb, I'm here to help! No doubt the team swung and missed on its draftees in the past, but the development of Stott has been a success for the organization. He's grown into more power, improved his approach and looks like an everyday big leaguer. Abel and Painter are both impressive arms, but patience will be required with both. Logan O'Hoppe (23rd round, 2018) has also improved mightily in the last year, spending time at Driveline to improve his bat path and cutting down on swing and miss while showing plus raw power. Griff McGarry and Ethan Wilson are two other draftees from 2021 to keep an eye on.
- Matt Vierling, what do you think is his upside? Is he just a utility/4th OF type or can you see him reaching another level?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Frederick, I tend to believe Vierling is more of a 4th outfielder, but the organization believes he can be a starter in the big leagues. He recorded some of the best exit velocities in the org and produced at the big league level while showing improved tools.
- How close was Erik Miller to being in your Top Ten? Other publications list him as high as seventh... Was it due to him being injured most of the season? Thank you..
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Larry, Miller is certainly close to the Top 10, but the injuries caused me to leave him off the list. He's got impressive stuff, but we need to see it play over a full season first.
- what kind of offensive upside does Stott have? Would you "buy" or "sell" him right now based on his hype vs his upside? He seems like a guy who could be an impact player, but doesnt seem to have a lot of prospect hype.
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Brad, that's an interesting way of looking at it. Given the fact that Stott isn't a top 100 prospect I would be more likely to buy than sell. He has the profile of an everyday player and has made significant strides at the plate since being drafted.
- Do you see Logan O’Hoppe forcing Realmuto from behind the plate?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Rich, I like O'Hoppe a lot. He's a hard worker, made big improvements with his approach and bat path and has plus raw power. But the only way I see him taking over for Realmuto behind the plate is if the Phillies opt to put Realmuto at first base to try and extend his career.
Roger (Central PA):
- I don't always agree with the Phillies 1st Round picks in the MLB Draft, but I think they nailed it with their first 3 picks in 2021. What is your evaluation of Ethan Wilson and Jordan Viars? Also, on the International side of things, where do you see Starlyn Castillo and Yhoswar Garcia?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Roger, I think the Phillies had a good haul in this draft. Painter has impressive stuff and a mature approach for a prep arm, Wilson's combination of hittability and power could lead him to move quickly through the system and Viars looks like a candidate to take a leap after a year in the system. Griff McGarry was also an interesting pick. Great stuff, but zero control in college. Castillo and Garcia are both years away, but they're certainly Top 30 guys who have talent. And you've gotta love a player whose nickname is "The Drone."
Matt Veasey (Philadelphia, PA):
- Hi Chris. Talk a little about Logan O'Hoppe. He really impressed in 2021 and now in the fall. Are we talking about a guy who could push to split catcher with Realmuto as soon as 2023, assuming the NL as a DH? I mean, considering JT aging a bit by then, O'Hoppe continuing to develop, and JT ability to play some 1B and be used at DH. Is O'Hoppe or Marchan the future at the position in Philly?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Matt, O'Hoppe had a really good year and the org was thrilled with his progress. He impressed at the alt site and worked on his bat path at Driveline after the 2020 season. He's got good power and is a plus defender behind the plate. Girardi loves him, and if the NL adds the DH then I could see him becoming the starter. His ability as a hitter makes him the guy over Marchan. I'm looking forward to seeing how O'Hoppe does next year.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):
- Cornelius Randolph was Phillies 1st round choice in 2015, and Moniak was their 1st round choice in 2016 - yet so far Moniak has just had a few not remarkable games in the majors. Is it time to write these fellows off, or is there still hope they can develop into solid players as apparently though by Phillies brass in years past?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Karl, Randolph is now a minor league free agent, so it's safe to say his time with the organization is over. Moniak could soon reach that point as well. At best he's likely a backup outfielder in the big leagues.
Bill B (Glen Allen, VA):
- Former top prospect Scott Kingery hasn’t done as well as projected. Given you show jean segura at 2B at age 35 in your projected lineup, is another quality middle infielder (in addition to Bryson stott) the biggest need for the minor league system? Thanks
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Bill, I'm not sure I would say it's the biggest need in the organization, but I do think the Phillies could really use another upper-level middle infielder to pair with Stott. Stott can play both shortstop and second, giving the org flexibility in who it pairs with him.
Hinkie (South Jersey):
- Where do Francisco Morales, Griff McGarry and Erik Miller land on an extended Phillies list?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hey Hinkie, no spoilers! I'll just say McGarry and Miller aren't far off.
Andy B. (Washington DC):
- Any impressions on Yhoswar Garcia and how close was he to the top 10? While he was a year older than anticipated, the debut at Clearwater was still pretty aggressive for a kid his age and he held his own. Seems to have more power potential than someone like Muzziotti to go with the speed and defense.
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Hi Andy, Garcia has really impressive tools, but he needs to add a lot more weight moving forward. He has no power at the moment, but he's exciting on the basepaths and is a plus defender. I see him competing for a top 10 spot once he gets another season under his belt. He's still years away, but the upside is there.
Hinkie (South Jersey):
- Could you share your thoughts on three of the team's younger, most exciting bats: Jordan Viars, Alexeis Azuaje, and Hao Yu Lee ?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: I really like Viars. Big, big power. Should be a candidate to take a leap. Lee has plus bat speed and impressed at instructs. I'm excited to see how he does in 2022. Azuaje needs to cut down on his chase, but he hits the ball hard for his size and the results were impressive this season.
Hinkie (South Jersey):
- Do the Phillies have another Curtis Meade type of prospect(s) ... a kid they may under value, that other organizations (Rays for instance) really like?
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Interesting question. I'm not sure about someone they undervalue, but an under-the-radar guy is Hao Yu Lee. He has good barrel awareness and bat-to-ball skills. Definitely someone to keep an eye on.