Sign Up! Join our newsletters, get a FREE e-Edition
Crawford first popped onto the Phillies' radar in 2012 when their convoy of scouts was watching his high school teammate, righthander Shane Watson. They popped Watson with their sandwich-round choice that year and then returned a year later to nab Crawford with the No. 16 overall pick. They handed him a $2,299,300 bonus to steer him away from a commitment to Southern California. While Watson has failed to ascend past low Class A, Crawford overcame a spring oblique injury to become a midseason all-star in the Double-A Eastern League. He has athleticism in his blood: his father Larry played two years in the Canadian Football League and his cousin is Dodgers all-star outfielder Carl Crawford. While he's no more than an average runner, Crawford has the range, athleticism and actions to stick as a shortstop at the highest level. He relies on an excellent first step and above-average instincts. He's not a flashy player, and while he made 21 errors to rank second among EL shortstops, he paced the league with 64 double plays, and he generally gets the job done in reliable and consistent fashion. The Phillies did work to hone his backhand this year, a minor wrinkle in his overall game. He also worked to maintain consistent concentration to keep from whiffing on routine plays, which was a bugaboo at times in 2015. His arm is above-average, too, and it plays even better because of the accuracy of his throws, which helps his arm play up to double-plus for some evaluators. His quick hands and exchange also help his arm play up. At the plate, Crawford's discipline is above-average, especially for someone his age, and he has nearly as many career walks (160) as strikeouts (163). That falls in line with the views expressed by those who saw him in the EL this season and praised Crawford for an advanced two-strike approach. That plate discipline helps his already excellent hit tool play up to the point that he could be a plus hitter once he reaches the majors. Scouts also note he does an excellent job staying inside the ball with a compact lefthanded stroke. He's got pull power now, and most evaluators give him a chance for at least average pop at the highest level. His instincts will allow him to steal a bag every now and again, but he'll never be a major threat on the basepaths. The Phillies at this point are just concerned with Crawford getting more repetitions. If there is one thing they'd like to see before he heads to the major leagues, it's a little more strength on Crawford's frame. He'll need that extra muscle to hold up against the rigors of a full season in the major leagues. After an excellent season at Double-A, Crawford embarked on a trip to the Arizona Fall League to continue to add polish. Unfortunately, his time there ended when he tore a ligament in his left thumb. Even so, he's still slated to begin 2016 as the gem of a stocked Triple-A Lehigh Valley club that will also house Andrew Knapp, Jake Thompson and Nick Williams. Shortly thereafter he'll have a chance to join Maikel Franco and Aaron Nola as the new core of the Phillies. At his best, he has a future as an all-star shortstop who can play above-average defense and hit for power.
Williams was incredibly toolsy as an amateur, showing 6.5-second speed in the 60-yard dash to go with bat speed and strength at the plate and range in the field. The Rangers signed him for $500,000 as part of a draft class that included Lewis Brinson, Joey Gallo and Keone Kela. He represented Texas in the 2015 Futures Game before becoming part of the six-player Cole Hamels trade in late July. Since his raw amateur days, Williams has made incredible strides. He still boasts well above-average bat speed as well as one of most skilled sets of hands in the minor leagues. Though Williams is criticized for playing too deep and for a wandering sense of effort in the outfield, nobody questions his raw ability. With a few adjustments, he could easily stay in center field over the long term. If he does have to move to a corner, his plus throwing arm makes right field a viable option. He's a true five-tool player whose ceiling will be determined by how hard he works. While Williams missed 11 days late in the season with a concussion sustained in an outfield collision, he returned to hit three home runs over eight games in the Eastern League playoffs. He should move up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start 2016, with a spot in Philly there for the taking when he's ready.
Just four seasons into his pro career, Thompson already has been traded twice. Originally drafted by the Tigers, he signed for $500,000, then was sent to the Rangers for Joakim Soria in July 2014. One year and eight days later, Thompson was part of the six-player package the Rangers used to pry lefty ace Cole Hamels during the Phillies' dismantling. He pitched 10 scoreless innings for USA Baseball's Pan American Games in 2015. Thompson sports a five-pitch mix, which includes a 92-94 mph four-seam fastball, an 89-92 two-seamer and a plus slider that parks in the high 80s. He's also got a curveball and a changeup, both of which are still developing. He's a big-bodied pitcher who weighs in near 250 pounds, so some evaluators note that he'll have to watch his conditioning in order to work deep into games. The Phillies brought Thompson to instructional league to get him in front of more coaches and to help him work on further developing his pitchability. He needs the most help with his command and the quality of his changeup, for he allowed lefthanded batters to hit .283 in 2015. He appears destined to head to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2016 and profiles as mid-rotation starter with the ceiling of a No. 2.
Knapp's career hit a bump in the road shortly after he signed for $1,033,100. He felt a pop in his throwing arm during instructional league in 2013 and required Tommy John surgery. While he played 98 games in 2014, he spent just 42 behind the plate. He caught 94 games in 2015, broke out with the bat and earned the organization's minor league player of the year honors. Knapp's bat will be his carrying tool. He's a switch-hitter with a balanced swing from both sides of the plate and power to each pull side. He hits better against righthanders--all but three of his 13 home runs this year came against them--but his numbers against southpaws improved greatly once he moved to Double-A. He also shows enough plate discipline and doesn't chase many pitches out of the zone. There still is some honing to do when it comes to blocking and receiving, but scouts praise Knapp's ability to call a game as well as his quick release. He used a solid-average arm to throw out 36 percent of basestealers. After a magnificent second half at Double-A Reading, plus a stint in the Arizona Fall League, Knapp probably will move up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where most of the club's top-end prospects will play in 2016.
Signed for $1.3 million, a record for a Colombian player, Alfaro has had injuries slow his development. He dealt with a broken left hand in 2013 and hamstring issues in the past, and in 2015 he missed most of the second half with a broken left ankle that required surgery. He was part of the six-player group the Rangers sent to the Phillies for lefty ace Cole Hamels. Alfaro's hallmarks are his athleticism and strong throwing arm, which have long given scouts reason to believe he would be an excellent defensive backstop. His lost development time hurts behind the plate, though, for Alfaro's receiving and blocking remain below-average due to carelessness and poor technique. His offensive game also lacks polish. He has plenty of raw power, but his lack of selectivity and tendency to swing and miss suggest he won't be an average hitter in the future. If he can't stick as a catcher, his arm and athletic ability would make him a strong right-field candidate, as long as he retains enough speed after his ankle injury. With Andrew Knapp likely moving up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Alfaro is a good bet to start 2016 at Double-A Reading. He'll continue to work on his defensive chops and refining his approach at the plate before a possible midseason move to Triple-A. DAVID SCHOFIELD
From the same high school the produced the Rays' Tim Beckham, the No. 1 overall pick in 2008, Randolph spent his prep years as a shortstop but was immediately shifted to left field as a professional. The Phillies thought enough of him as a hitter to draft him 10th overall and give him a $3,231,300 signing bonus, the third-largest in team history. He ranked second in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in doubles (15), on-base percentage (.425) and walks (32). Randolph's value lies in his bat. He's an extremely balanced hitter with a compact lefthanded swing geared for line drives. There's enough strength to his swing and body that he could project for at least average power as well. He does an excellent job staying back on the ball and then using his strong hands to whip the bat through the zone. The Phillies worked with him this fall to get him turn on inside pitches instead of pushing them the opposite way. Randolph is new to the outfield and is a solid though unspectacular athlete. While his arm is at least average if not a tick above, he fits best as a left fielder. He'll have to work to maintain his body and athleticism. Randolph's bat is polished enough for a move to full-season ball, even though his defense probably isn't ready for competition at low Class A Lakewood. He has the bat to profile as a first-division regular in left field.
When the Phillies signed Kilome for $40,000 in 2013, he was a scrawny, spindly teenager with long limbs and lots of potential. Since then, he's put on more than 50 pounds and has slowly begun to fulfill his promise. He spent the beginning of 2015 in extended spring training before moving to short-season Williamsport. He missed a little bit of time with a strain in his rib cage, but finished with five scoreless innings in a New York-Penn League playoff victory. With some meat on his bones now, the 6-foot-5 Kilome runs his fastball up into the mid-90s and has touched as high as 97 mph. He couples the pitch with an above-average hammer curveball in the mid- 70s and a below-average changeup in the low 80s that ranks as a clear third pitch right now. The Phillies have worked hard to remake Kilome's delivery, particularly when it comes to using his legs to gain more power, but he can still get out of whack at times. When that happens, his control and command suffer. After a successful season at Williamsport, Kilome should be ready to move up to low Class A Lakewood in 2016 for his first test of full-season ball. He's gotten his body into better shape to handle a full-season workload, and his consistency has improved. His potential for two plus pitches could put him at the front of a rotation if his control improves.
A dual-sport star in high school, Quinn intended to go to Florida State before the Phillies used a last-ditch effort--and $775,000--to sign him as a second-rounder in 2011. So far, he's proved worth the investment. Originally signed as a shortstop, Quinn moved off the position and has had his progress slowed by injuries. He broke his wrist in 2013, blew out his Achilles heel later that year and then missed the last two months of 2015 with a torn left quadriceps. Only in 2014, counting the Arizona Fall League, did he surpass 100 games played. Despite his leg injuries, Quinn has retained his top-of-the-scale speed. It allows him to turn grounders into hits and his own miscalculated routes in the outfield into outs. He made tremendous strides in center field as it pertains to his routes and jumps, and he is transitioning away from an infielder's throwing motion DAVID SCHOFIELD DAVID SCHOFIELD into something more suited for an outfielder. His arm is average and accurate. He's never going to be a slugger, but he's not going to be a pushover, either. He'll spray the ball around but also has occasional home run power. The Phillies want both Quinn and Nick Williams to get reps in center field, so they could be split up or share time there at Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2016. Quinn must prove he can survive the full-season grind to profile as a regular.
Signed for $70,000 as a projectable righthander when he was throwing in the 89-90 mph range, Medina caught the Phillies' eye with his athleticism and loose, quick arm. He pitched in the Dominican Summer League as a 17-year-old in 2014 and showed well. Brought to the U.S. in 2015, his stuff ticked way up, and he joins Franklyn Kilome as another steal by the Phillies' international scouting department. Medina matured physically and has seen his velocity bump up dramatically. His fastball has become a 91-94 mph weapon, with plenty of sink and hints of 97 every now and again. He couples the pitch with a curveball that has a chance to be plus, as does his changeup, which features excellent angle and sink. As with any 18-year-old, Medina needs to work on consistency and command, the latter of which ranks as well below-average. The Phillies love Medina's feel to pitch and are waiting to see him mature physically as he gets older, but are understandably very excited about his future once he gets into games under the lights. All the ingredients are present for Medina to be part of the Phillies' rotation in a few years. Much as Kilome did in 2015, Medina likely will begin 2016 in extended spring training before jumping to short-season Williamsport in June.
After signing for $759,000 as a 16-year-old, Tocci has been handled very aggressively. The Phillies pushed him to low Class A Lakewood as a 17-year-old in 2013 and kept him there, even as he hit an empty .209. Tocci repeated the level in 2014 and started 2015 there again before moving up to high Class A Clearwater at midseason. He has struggled to gain weight as a professional, but has slowly put on more than 20 pounds since signing. He'll need that extra bulk to help sustain him over a full season. Tocci handles center field particularly well despite lacking burner speed. He's a graceful strider with the ability to cover plenty of ground and at least an average arm as well. With that added strength has come a hint more power, as shown by his .423 slugging percentage in a pitcher's park at Lakewood before he moved up. Tocci has feel to hit as well, and he started out well during his first month at Clearwater before taking a nose-dive in August. He didn't turn 20 until August, so time is still very much on his side, and the Phillies will continue to bet that there's more growth to come. Given his age, Tocci probably will return to Clearwater to begin 2016. If all goes well, and a position is available, he could move to Double-A Reading in the second half. DAVID SCHOFIELD
Pinto has done nothing but improve in his first four pro seasons since signing with the Phillies in 2011. He was the best arm on the staff at short-season Williamsport in 2014 and pitched well enough at low Class A Lakewood and high Class A Clearwater in 2015, going 15-4, 2.97 in 24 stats, to earn the organization's minor league pitcher of the year award. Pinto is armed with three pitches: a fastball, changeup and slider. His fastball, which can hit the mid-90s, and changeup both grade out as plus pitches. His slider lags behind, grading well below-average for most scouts, but can flash a little bit better. Scouts who saw him in 2015 believe his slider can develop enough to earn consistent average grades. If that happens, Pinto could fit in a major league rotation. After a successful 2015 season, as well as time in instructional league, Pinto's next test will come at Double-A Reading in 2016.
Canelo is a testament to what can happen when a player adds strength. He bought into the Phillies' conditioning program, gained good weight and as a result got a lot better with the bat in 2015. He hit his way out of low Class A Lakewood with a strong half-season that culminated with MVP honors at the South Atlantic League all-star game and a promotion to high Class A Clearwater. Canelo's defense alone could have bought him a ticket to the majors, but now that his bat has upgraded, his future could be brighter. He still needs to improve pitch recognition and mute his willingness to chase outside the zone, but all signs were positive in 2015, when he hit .281/.331/.396 with 40 extra-base hits and 17 stolen bases in 126 games. In addition to his solid glove work, Canelo also has a plus throwing arm and is an above-average runner. He probably will return to Clearwater to begin 2016, where he'll hope to turn a breakout into a turning point.
Eflin landed in Philadelphia in December 2014 after a pair of trades shuffled him from the Padres to the Dodgers (in the Matt Kemp deal) and then from the Dodgers to the Phillies. Eflin, who signed for $1.2 million as a sandwich pick in 2012, advanced to Double-A Reading in 2015. He also spent part of the summer pitching for Team USA at the Pan American Games, where the U.S. squad fell just short of gold. Eflin pitches to contact, so the Phillies spent the summer trying to teach him to finish hitters to get more strikeouts. His arsenal consists of a low- to mid-90s fastball with above-average life, a low-80s slider that flashes above-average and a changeup and cutter with average potential. Eflin has plenty of weapons with which to generate more whiffs, which will be a goal as he advances to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2016.
A recruited walk-on, Kingery teamed up the middle at Arizona with Pirates first-rounder Kevin Newman. He led the Pacific-12 Conference with a .392 average in 2015, and his five home runs placed second on the Wildcats. The Phillies signed Kingery, their second-round pick, for $1,259,600. Though he didn't show it in his stint at low Class A Lakewood, Kingery profiles as an offensive second baseman with enough defensive skills to keep him at the position. Those who saw him in pro ball saw a physically mature player who flashed plus speed but below-average power. His solid bat-to-ball skills will make him at least an average hitter, and he has enough athleticism to have average range at second base or in the outfield, if necessary. His arm also grades as average. After a long year in 2015 between college, the minors and instructional league, Kingery should benefit from the offseason rest. Given his draft pedigree, he should start 2016 at high Class A Clearwater.
Pivetta found his way from British Columbia to New Mexico JC, where the Nationals drafted him in 2013. The Phillies acquired him from the Nationals in July 2015 for Jonathan Papelbon. Pivetta sailed through his time at high Class A Potomac before the trade with above-average stuff but below-average command. Hitters caught up to Pivetta at the Double-A level, both before and after his trade to the Phillies, as his walk rate doubled. His low- to mid-90s fastball plays up because of the downhill plane produced by his 6-foot-5 frame. He couples the pitch with two breaking balls--a slider in the low 80s and a curveball in the high 70s--and a changeup with fade and dive that ranks as his fourth pitch. The Phillies will continue to give Pivetta, who strained an oblique toward the end of the 2015 season, a chance to start, beginning back at Reading in 2016.
A physical monster who played defensive end in high school, Cozens signed for $659,800 as a Phillies second-round pick in 2012, passing on a commitment to Arizona. The two-sport background meant Cozens would be a bit raw coming into pro ball, but the Phillies were content to wait on someone with the power potential he possesses. Philadelphia asked him to cut down his stroke to hit for a higher average in 2015, and he did just that by hitting .282 at high Class A Clearwater to rank eighth in the Florida State League batting race. He had hit just .248 at low Class A Lakewood in 2014. Cozens lost a bit of power and a few walks in the trade. Cozens' critics still see him as a stiff, unathletic, corner player with minimal defensive value who will be too streaky to be a regular contributor. He does run surprisingly well for his size and can swipe a bag, even after missing a month with a foot injury. He has an average arm, though a forearm strain kept him out of the Arizona Fall League. He's headed back to Double-A for 2016.
Signed by the Cardinals in 2010, Ramos pitched one season in the Venezuelan Summer League and then drew his release prior to the 2011 season when the Cardinals scrapped their Venezuelan academy. He sat out 2011 and 2012 before signing with Philadelphia in November 2012. He joined the 40-man roster in November. From a max-effort delivery with a bit of recoil, Ramos brings a mid-90s fastball and a hard, low-80s slider as his primary weapons and is working to refine a changeup as well. He ran into control issues once he reached Double-A, walking 4.4 per nine innings, and he'll need to throw more strikes to take the next step. Showing progress in that regard, Ramos did not walk a batter in 10 innings in the Arizona Fall League. He will head back to Reading in 2016 to continue sharpening his control and command.
One of the more electric arms in the Blue Jays system, Tirado was one of the 11 pitching prospects Toronto parted with in 2015 as they completed in-season trades for the likes of David Price, Troy Tulowitzki and Make Lowe. Tirado and righthander Jimmy Cordero are products of the deal in which the Phillies traded Ben Revere north of the border. From a pure stuff standpoint, Tirado is an obvious acquisition target. He works primarily with two pitches: a mid-90s fastball that can touch triple digits and a hard mid-80s slider that can make hitters look downright silly and projects as at least a plus offering. The Phillies helped him work on his changeup in the instructional league, and Tirado will have to work to keep his delivery in sync to get the most out of his repertoire. He will return to high Class A Clearwater in 2016 and will work as a starter to help him get experience in a variety of scenarios, though his long term appears to be in the bullpen.
Drafted twice before--by the Pirates out of high school and by the Indians as a draft-eligible sophomore-- Brown signed in 2014 for $750,000 with the Phillies, after leading Pepperdine to a super regional. After reaching low Class A Lakewood in 2014, he advanced to high Class A Clearwater in 2015, where he showed the tools that the Phillies coveted so highly in the draft. The lefthanded-hitting Brown smacked 11 home runs in 110 games and actually ranked fifth with a .149 isolated slugging percentage in the power-depleted Florida State League. Evaluators see a strong-bodied outfielder who would benefit from a more refined hitting approach. He has solid power, but he tends to fall in love with it and gets out of whack as a result. The Phillies would like to see him trade a pull-first attitude for a more all-fields approach. Brown played all three outfield positions at Clearwater but profiles best in right field because of his strong throwing arm. He will move up to Double-A Reading in 2016.
Grullon, who signed for $575,000 in 2012, has obvious strengths and also obvious weaknesses. His body has gone south in a major way, for he has added more than 40 pounds since signing as a 16-year-old. Grullon did not hit particularly well at low Class A Lakewood in 2015, batting .221 with a poor strikeoutto- walk ratio--though he did slam 28 extra-base hits, including eight home runs, in 107 games while playing half the time in an extreme pitcher's park. In addition to his above-average raw power, Grullon's double-plus throwing arm helps him produce consistent pop times of 1.9 seconds on throws to second base. He has room to improve his agility and footwork and make even stronger, more accurate throws. A return to Lakewood seems probable, with a chance to reach high Class A Clearwater if he plays well. If everything breaks right for Grullon, he could be a strong-armed backup catcher with a sprinkle of pop.
The 16-year-old Arauz signed out of Venezuela in 2014 for a bonus of $600,000. He played well in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League during his pro debut season of 2015. Scouts saw an instinctual defender at shortstop with above-average range and an average arm for the position. He's not flashy, but Arauz's feel for the game helps him get the job done in the field. At the plate, the switch-hitter makes plenty of hard, line-drive contact. His power grades as below-average, but he finds the gaps often enough to not be a liability. Arauz hit two home runs in 2015 and, as managers like to say, he has just enough power to get himself in trouble when he begins selling out to pull the ball. He's an average runner. The Phillies have been aggressive with young, talented players in the past--for example, Domingo Santana and Carlos Tocci both played at low Class A Lakewood as 17-year-olds--so a jump to the South Atlantic League in 2016 is not out of the question for Arauz. A return to extended spring training and then short-season Williamsport appears more likely.
Garcia teamed with righthander Ricardo Pinto at the outset of 2015 to add sizzle to a low Class A Lakewood rotation that ranked third in the South Atlantic League with a 3.27 ERA. Garcia, whose ERA ranked eighth in the league, is an athletic lefthander with a promising three-pitch mix as well as youth and athleticism on his side. He begins his repertoire with a lively fastball in the low 90s that tops out around 93 mph. He complements the pitch first with a downer curveball that, while still developing, evaluators see as a possible plus in the future. Garcia also throws a changeup in the low 80s, but the pitch is straight and flat at this point and clearly lags behind the curveball in terms of hierarchy among his secondary pitches. With high Class A Clearwater in 2016, he will work to fulfill his potential as a back-end starter.
Minor league first basemen know the drill: If they want to advance, then they must hit, and hit a ton. Hoskins, a fourth-round pick from Sacramento State in 2014, did just that in his first full season, batting .319/.395/.518 with 17 home runs and 90 RBIs in 135 games at low Class A Lakewood and high Class A Clearwater. He ranked inside the top 20 among all full-season minor league batters with 59 extra-base hits and a .913 OPS. The Phillies credit Hoskins' success, in part, to a solid approach at the plate and a leg kick he added before the season. He's still has a long way to go defensively at first base. Scouts see poor range, bad hands and slow-twitch athleticism with a stiff body and actions, all of which hinders his playability in the field. He's a below-average runner as well, but he has a long track record of hitting now that includes a star turn in 2013 in the Cape Cod League (.326, seven homers). After a solid second half at Clearwater, Hoskins will head to Double-A Reading in 2016s.
Dominican righthanders Franklyn Kilome and Adonis Medina stand as the Phillies' most promising international arms. Fellow countryman Garcia lurks in the next tier behind that pair. He signed with the Phillies in 2013 and made a smooth transition from the Dominican Summer League to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2015, when he brandished a 34-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 32 innings. Garcia starts his arsenal with an above-average fastball in the 93-95 mph range and complements the pitch with a powerful low- to mid-80s slider that projects as an out pitch. He also throws a changeup, but it's in the nascent stages at this point, and he hasn't thrown it much while working primarily as a reliever. His command is a tick below-average. As a 6-foot righthander, Garcia will have to deal with the stigma that comes with being on the short side, especially because his delivery is high-effort. Even so, his fastball/slider combination and ability to throw strikes gives him plenty of promise going forth, particularly if he stays in the bullpen. He's a candidate to begin 2016 at low Class A Lakewood.
The Phillies spent big for Ortiz, signing the mammoth Dominican slugger for $4 million in July 2015. His calling card is obvious: light-tower power, with most scouts agreeing that he had more power than any international amateur in his signing class. Ortiz put his power on display at international showcases during his amateur days, including one in Cary, N.C., that coincided with the National High School Invitational. He doesn't just impress in batting practice, either. Ortiz garnered plenty of attention when he homered off of former big league reliever Fautino de los Santos the summer before he signed. The Phillies are trying Ortiz in the outfield for now, but his jumbo frame and slow-footed gait make most evaluators believe he'll wind up at first base sooner rather than later. He can crush a fastball, but he has trouble recognizing breaking pitches and will chase them out of the zone. If Ortiz can adjust and tap into his premium power, he has the potential to hit 25 or more home runs annually. He will begin his pro career in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2016. Did not play--Signed 2016 contract
The Dodgers selected Sweeney in the 2012 draft out of Central Florida, where he was teammates with fellow Phillies farmhand Ben Lively, a righthander. The Phillies acquired Sweeney in August 2015 when the Dodgers used him and righthander John Richy to acquire Chase Utley for their playoff run. Sweeney has the actions to play the infield and has spent most of his pro career at shortstop and second base, and he has gained experience as an outfielder. Promoted directly to the majors following his trade to the Phillies, Sweeney saw time at all three outfield positions as well as second and third base--but he started most often in left field and at the keystone. He struck out in 28 percent of his big league plate appearances and profiles best as a utility player due to his inconsistent approach. Scouts who liked Sweeney in the minors saw a speed-oriented switch-hitter who can spray the ball around the park and steal a bag, though he must become a more efficient basestealer. He has fringe-average power. Look for him to fill a utility role if he makes the big league club out of spring training in 2016.
Acquired in December 2014 in a one-for-one swap with the Reds for outfielder Marlon Byrd, Lively gained attention in 2014 for a monster first half at high Class A Bakersfield that saw him go 10-1, 2.28 in 13 starts with 95 strikeouts against just 16 walks. Lively worked in a prospect-laden rotation at Double-A Reading in 2015, and pitched primarily to his scouting report. The owner of a four-pitch arsenal, he spent all season working to improve his secondary offerings. His fastball, which he controls impeccably, sits in the low 90s with sink. He backs it up with an average slider and changeup and a below-average curveball. Managers in the Eastern League noted that Lively's delivery made it easy to pick up pitches out of his hand, and he absolutely needed to command the ball to be successful. He allowed EL opponents to hit .290, which ranked fourth-worst in the league among those with at least 100 innings. Lively made a few mechanical tweaks to improve the quality of his breaking pitches, and he'll continue working toward that goal in 2016 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Along with righthander Alberto Tirado, Cordero was the price the Blue Jays paid to acquire Ben Revere from the Phillies in July 2015. Cordero's main attribute is a top-of-the-scale fastball that topped out at 102 mph from a free-and-easy delivery. He backs up the pitch with a sharp but inconsistent slider in the high 80s. Cordero's trouble stems from an inability to command his stuff. Without the threat of a strike, opposing batters can neutralize his velocity. Big and physical at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Cordero struggles to repeat his delivery, and he tends to waste motion going side-to-side rather than directly toward home plate. Still, Cordero has uncommon arm strength and is a worthy development project, one whom the Phillies shielded from the Rule 5 draft by adding him to the 40-man roster in November. He gained more experience by pitching briefly for Escogido in the Dominican League in winter ball. Cordero will compete for a spot in the Phillies bullpen in 2016 but likely will open the season at Double-A Reading.
Windle, a Dodgers second-round selection in 2013 out of Minnesota, joined the Phillies along with righthander Zach Eflin in December 2014 as compensation for Jimmy Rollins. Windle started 2015 in the prospect-packed rotation at Double-A Reading but eventually moved to the bullpen after displaying poor command and mechanics and running up a 5.35 ERA in 14 starts. Windle pitched much better out of the bullpen, recording a 1.69 ERA and fanning 21 in 27 innings. He works primarily with a combination of fastball and slider, with the former sitting between 93-95 mph with tail and sink. His slider is a mid-80s offering that morphs into something more akin to a cutter at higher velocities, and he must refine the pitch in his relief role to combat lefthanded hitters. He also throws a changeup in the low 80s, but the pitch has been put on the back burner while he establishes command of his two primary pitches. Windle's delivery is funky and deceptive, but he has a tendency to get severely out of whack, and lefthanded hitters have had too much success against him to this point. He could return to Reading or be pushed to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League.
Martin mashed in the Southeastern Conference in 2015, slugging .635 at South Carolina to rank second only to Baseball America College Player of the Year Andrew Benintendi of Arkansas. Martin's .455 on-base percentage ranked third and his .350 average ranked eighth. He also added 14 home runs. All this made his return to campus for his senior year in 2015 look wise after he had been drafted in the 20th round by the Angels as a junior. The Phillies apparently liked what they saw because they popped the lefthanded-hitting Martin in the fourth round and signed him for $200,000. Assigned directly to low Class A Lakewood, he showed off plus raw power, hitting 28 extra-base hits in 65 games, as well as a strong, accurate arm at first base. A rigid swing gives evaluators pause that Martin will hit for a high average, but he clearly has big power. Despite his hefty size, he turns in slightly below-average run times, and he has modest defensive ability at first base. With Rhys Hoskins moving to Double-A Reading in 2016, Martin is a safe bet to start at high Class A Clearwater.
In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.
Login or sign up