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For the third straight season, Crawford ranks as the Phillies' top prospect. It's a ranking that comes after a season in which he didn't take the next big leap forward that was expected of him coming into the year, but he's still one of the game's elite shortstop prospects. His athleticism runs in the family--he's a cousin of Carl Crawford and his father played football at Iowa State and the Canadian Football League--but it's the combination of athleticism and polished baseball skills for his age that have made Crawford stand out since his high school days. The Phillies selected him with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 draft and signed him for $2,299,300. Crawford moved through the system quickly, reaching Double-A Reading as a 20-year-old in 2015 in a season that ended when he tore a ligament in his thumb in the Arizona Fall League. He opened 2016 by returning to Reading, where he spent six weeks before playing the rest of the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He missed one week in August with an injured oblique. Crawford hit .250/.349/.339 with seven home runs in 123 games between the two stops. Crawford's best offensive asset is his plate discipline. He has nearly as many walks (232) as strikeouts (243) in his career and shows a keen eye at the plate by recognizing offspeed pitches and rarely expanding the strike zone. Even as he went through growing pains upon reaching Triple-A, his strike-zone judgment remained intact. Crawford is a high-contact hitter with an efficient, compact swing from the left side, which combined with his plate discipline gives him a chance to be a high on-base threat at the top of a lineup. When Crawford struggled, he had a habit of stepping in the bucket and leaking open early with his hips, creating a longer path to the ball. His ability to keep his hands back and control the bat head still allowed him to make contact, however. When his swing is in sync, Crawford stays inside the ball well, with a chance to be an above-average hitter. Getting stronger will be critical for him because his power is mostly to the gaps, with the occasional home run to the pull side. His power hasn't developed as quickly as some evaluators expected, but between his bat speed and room to fill out his frame, Crawford could develop average pop in the future. In the field, Crawford shows plus defense, a mixture of athleticism, actions and instincts. With average speed, he isn't a burner on the basepaths, but he has a quick first step and reads the ball well off the bat, providing him with plenty of range at shortstop. Crawford is a fluid defender who can make plays to either side with his plus throwing arm, which plays up because of his fast hands and quick transfer. Crawford isn't on the Phillies' 40-man roster yet, though he hasn't shown enough yet to merit a spot in the Opening Day lineup ahead of incumbent Freddy Galvis. Instead, he should return to Triple-A, with an opportunity to force his way to the major leagues by the all-star break. If everything clicks, the Phillies should have a franchise cornerstone at shortstop.
Moniak was the center fielder and two-hole hitter for the U.S. team that won the 18U World Cup in Japan in 2015. A strong high school senior season propelled him to the top of the 2016 draft, with the Phillies signing him for a club-record $6.1 million as the No. 1 overall pick. Moniak is a premium position prospect who does a lot of things well with few glaring weaknesses. He has an easy lefthanded swing that's short, quick and fluid. His barrel awareness and pitch recognition allow him to consistently square up good fastballs and adjust to put the bat on breaking balls. He's a disciplined hitter who goes with where the ball is pitched and uses the whole field. He's still skinny with mostly gap power now, but he should hit 10-15 home runs one day with strength gains, and he added about 20 pounds in the fall after a three-week strength and conditioning camp at the Phillies' Clearwater complex. Moniak is an above-average runner with a quick first step in center field, where his good instincts and above-average arm make him a plus fielder. Moniak's balance of tools and skills on both sides of the ball make him a high-upside prospect without any major risk factors, aside from inexperience. He will make his full-season debut at low Class A Lakewood in 2017.
Dealt to the Phillies at the 2015 trade deadline in the seven-player Cole Hamels deal, Alfaro missed most of the second half in 2015 with a broken left ankle that required surgery. In 2016 he returned showing cleaned-up defense at Double-A Reading before debuting in the majors in September. Alfaro is strong, has plus bat speed and double-plus raw power. He stays through the ball well to use the middle of the field and can drive the ball out to any part of the park. Plate discipline remains a weakness, and a more selective approach will be key to tapping into his raw power more in games. He surprises people with average speed, and his athleticism is evident behind the plate. He has top-of-the-scale arm strength and gets rid of the ball quickly and accurately, resulting in elite pop times. He threw out 44 percent of basestealers in Double-A. Alfaro still has room to improve his blocking and receiving but took major steps forward in those areas in 2016. With Cameron Rupp and Andrew Knapp ahead of him, Alfaro will likely head to Triple-A to start 2017. He has the upside to be an above-average regular behind the plate.
Williams was in the middle of his finest season in 2015 at Double-A Frisco when Texas included him in the blockbuster deal for Cole Hamels at the trade deadline. Instead of continuing his upward trend, Williams went backwards in 2016 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Williams' tantalizing physical talent remains intact, but his hitting approach regressed in 2016 as his offensive performance cratered. He walked less (4 percent of the time) and struck out more (26 percent) in 2016 than he did the previous season. Williams must develop better plate discipline to tap into his potential. His hand speed is top notch. He whips the barrel into the hitting zone quickly with a loose, fluid swing, though it can get long. Williams uses the whole field, has good hitting actions and easy plus raw power evident in batting practice, though it hasn't translated into big home run totals yet. Though he doesn't steal many bases, Williams is a plus runner who can play all three outfield spots with a solid-average arm. Williams can still turn into an above-average regular, but his 2016 struggles add greater risk to his projection. He should return to Triple-A in 2017. Philadelphia's outfield is wide open, so a good start could get him to Citizens Bank Park quickly.
Phillies special assistant Bart Braun was at a workout in the Dominican Republic to scout a Cuban catcher. The player who caught his eye was Sanchez, the 16-year-old pitcher throwing to him, so the Phillies moved quickly to sign him for $35,000. When Sanchez jumped to U.S. in 2016, his stuff and stock soared as he overmatched hitters while leading the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League with a 0.50 ERA. He finished off his season with seven scoreless innings in the GCL playoffs. Prior to signing with the Phillies, Sanchez worked out for teams as an infielder, but he shows polish on the mound with an easy delivery. His explosive fastball sits at 92-96 mph and can reach 99 with good movement--a combination of sink and armside run that helps him generate weak contact. He's a good athlete who commands his fastball well for his age to all areas of the strike zone. Between his curveball and changeup, Sanchez has two offspeed pitches that flash plus and with more consistency should allow his strikeout rate to jump. He sells his changeup with good arm speed, and it runs away form lefthanded batters with good sinking action. He fields his position well. Sanchez is advanced enough to jump to low Class A Lakewood in 2017, with a chance to develop into a No. 2 or 3 starter.
Hoskins has skeptics, but his track record is difficult to dismiss. He hit well in the Cape Cod League and at Sacramento State, then signed with the Phillies for $349,700 as a fifth-round pick in 2014. Hoskins has hit at every level up through Double-A Reading, where he ranked fourth in the Eastern League in 2016 with a .377 on-base percentage and second in slugging (.566) and home runs (38). Scouts who like him see a hitter with plus power, a sound swing path, good timing, the bat speed to catch up to quality fastballs and a smart plan at the plate. His power comes with some strikeouts, but he doesn't swing and miss excessively and is a patient hitter who walked 12 percent of the time in 2016. While Reading is a terrific hitter's park, he still hit .270/.357/.496 on the road. Hoskins' doubters think he's more of a mistake hitter who has a longer swing with stiffness and holes that better pitchers will exploit. Hoskins is slow-footed and isn't very agile, but he has improved his defense to become an adequate defender with good hands at first base. Hoskins doesn't have the same athleticism or tools as fellow Reading masher Dylan Cozens, but he is the better pure hitter. He will start 2017 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley with a chance to get to Philadelphia by the end of the season.
A gangly righthander with a quick arm when the Phillies signed him for $40,000 in 2013, Kilome has filled out, with the additional mass and delivery adjustments helping him become one of the team's top pitching prospects. In his first exposure to the cold at low Class A Lakewood in 2016, his first three starts were a disaster. He allowed 19 runs and 10 walks in 9.2 innings, but he recovered to record a 2.74 ERA with 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings the rest of the way. Kilome boasts a plus fastball with good movement that sits 91-95 mph and can touch 98. He started the season throwing a spike knuckle curveball he had trouble landing in the strike zone. After his early struggles, the Phillies gave him a more standard grip on his curveball and that helped him throw it for strikes, though he still has the spike curve in his arsenal. His curve is a swing-and-miss pitch that flashes plus. His changeup is too firm and a below-average pitch he hasn't used much, so bringing it along will be important. Kilome doesn't always keep his long limbs in sync during his delivery, which leads to spotty command. If Kilome can improve his changeup and tighten his command, he can develop into a mid-rotation starter with a chance for more. High Class A Clearwater is his next stop.
In four years of pro ball, Quinn has yet to play more than 100 games in a season because of a lengthy medical file. A broken wrist and torn right Achilles heel in 2013, leg injuries in 2014 and 2015 and an oblique strain in 2016 have held him back, but he remains an explosive athlete. Quinn performed well when healthy at Double-A Reading in 2016 before making his major league debut as a September callup. Despite an array of lower-body injuries, Quinn remains a true 80 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale. Signed as a shortstop, he has played center field the last three years, where his speed gives him excellent range to go with a plus arm and good accuracy. Quinn isn't a pure hitter, but he has solid bat-to-ball skills from both sides of the plate with good bat speed and the sneaky pop to hit 8-12 home runs. His game has to be about getting on base, and he must develop more selectivity to have a better grasp of the strike zone. Quinn's speed and defense should make him at least a fourth outfielder, though he has the upside to become a regular in center field with more progress as a hitter. Triple-A Lehigh Valley should be his next stop.
Kingery was a walk-on at Arizona, where he formed a double-play combination with Pirates 2015 first-rounder Kevin Newman. Kingery showed enough for the Phillies to sign him for $1,259,600 as a second-round pick in 2015. He hit well at high Class A Clearwater in 2016, but when he got to Double-A Reading in late July he seemed run down, which carried over to the Arizona Fall League as well. Kingery seems to grow on scouts the more they see him. He has a quick righthanded stroke that's short, simple and repeatable. He has good bat control and plate coverage, and he stays through the middle of the field. He has good strike-zone judgment, though that came unglued when he got to Double-A when he got away from his usually disciplined approach. Kingery's power is mostly to the gaps, but he can occasionally pull a ball over the fence. His plus speed and baserunning savvy helped him steal 30 bases in 2016. Kingery can look awkward at times in the field, but he is a solid-average defender at second base who's quick on the double-play pivot with an average arm. Kingery isn't flashy, but he has a chance to grow into an average regular at second base. He appears set to return to Double-A to begin 2017.
Cozens starred in both baseball and football in high school, so he entered pro ball a bit raw after the Phillies made him a second-round pick in 2012. The 6-foot-6 right fielder took giant strides at Double-A Reading in 2016, his fifth pro season, by improving his batting eye and more frequently getting to his monstrous raw power. Cozens led the minors with 40 home runs and 125 RBIs, though he hit just 11 of those bombs away from the cozy confines at Reading. Cozens is a player of extremes. He is a huge, strong, long-armed hitter who generates at least 70 raw power grades on the 20-80 scouting scale, with outstanding leverage when he's in sync, on time and able to get his hands extended. Even when he doesn't square up the ball, it flies off his bat with power to all fields. Cozens' long, uphill swing path leaves him with holes pitchers can exploit. This is particularly true when he faces lefthanders. While contact is an issue, he does show solid plate patience to go with his power. He also moves surprisingly well for his size, with average speed that helped him steal 21 bases in 22 attempts. He has worked his way into a playable defender with an average arm who played all three outfield spots in 2016. Cozens has the power to mash in the middle of the lineup, but a long list of power-hitting prospects have been stymied by contact issues. Triple-A Lehigh Valley is next.
Gowdy and Mickey Moniak were both SoCal high school players, teammates on USA Baseball's 18U World Cup team that won the gold medal in Japan in 2015 and UCLA commits. Neither ended up on campus, but they still ended up teammates. The Phillies drafted Moniak first overall in 2016 and took Gowdy with their next pick (No. 42) in the second round, signing him for well above slot at $3.5 million. After working with Cubs scout Tom Myers as a pitching coach since he was nine, Gowdy shows polished feel for pitching for his age to go with his sharp stuff. His fastball sits in the low 90s with late movement and touches 96 mph. He throws a slider with deep, late-breaking action and power, giving him a second plus pitch at its best. He hasn't needed to use his changeup much yet, but with his clean arm action and feel for the pitch, it could become at least a solid-average third pitch. A black belt in taekwondo, Gowdy's athleticism helps him repeat his low-maintenance delivery with good fastball command. Gowdy will go to low Class A Lakewood in 2017. His feel for pitching could help him move relatively quickly with a chance to develop into a mid-rotation starter or better.
The Phillies traded Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals in July 2015 to get Pivetta, who showed good stuff but struggled to throw strikes during the 2015 season in Double-A. Upon his return to the Eastern League in 2016, Pivetta showed improved command and made it to Triple-A Lehigh Valley the last month of the season. The Phillies worked on Pivetta's mechanics to get him going in a better direction to the plate, which helped him better locate his fastball. His fastball sits at 92-94 mph and can reach 97, combining good velocity, movement and downhill angle. Pivetta's out pitch is his hard curveball, which has good shape and late finish to miss bats. He throws a slider and a changeup, but neither offering is average yet. Improving his changeup to get more separation off his fastball will be key for Pivetta to give him a reliable third pitch against lefties. He projects as a back-end starter with a chance for more if his changeup matures. Pivetta should open 2017 in Triple-A but could crack Philadelphia's big league rotation by the end of the season.
The two biggest international bonuses the Phillies awarded in 2014 went to Arquimedez Gamboa ($900,000) and Brito ($650,000), a pair of Venezuelan shortstops. While the Phillies have pushed Gamboa more aggressively, Brito thus far looks like the better prospect. After a promising season in the Dominican Summer League in 2015, Brito impressed in his U.S. debut last year in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Brito hasn't gained much weight since signing, so he's still a skinny, long-limbed teenager, but he has a mature hitting approach for his age. He's a disciplined hitter who tracks offspeed well and keeps his weight back, trusting his hands to put the ball in play at a high clip. He has a loose, handsy swing with good hand-eye coordination and the bat control to square up all types of pitches. Brito has minimal power right now, though he has the physical projection to grow into 8-12 home runs. An average runner, Brito moved to second base full time in 2016 and likely stays there. He's smooth turning the double play with a solid-average arm and charges the ball well, projecting as an average to slightly better fielder. Brito should compete for a spot with low Class A Lakewood in 2017.
The organization's minor league player of the year in 2015, Knapp's offensive performance was steady but not quite as robust in 2016 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Knapp is a switch-hitter with good balance at the plate, though he got himself in trouble in 2016 when he tried to do too much to force power and got big with his swing, rather staying back and trusting his hands. His strikeout rate also jumped a tick from 2015 as he started to chase more pitches out of the zone. He has a chance to develop into an average hitter who works gap to gap with enough power for 10-15 home runs. Knapp earns high praise for his intelligence and game awareness behind the plate, both in terms of his leadership and game-calling skills. He had Tommy John surgery in 2013, which has slowed his development as a catcher, particularly in terms of his blocking and receiving. He has a solid-average arm and a quick exchange, however, and threw out 38 percent of basestealers. After a full year of at-bats in Triple-A, Knapp could open 2017 in Philadelphia. He should be at least a steady backup with a chance to be a regular.
Randolph was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2015 draft, signed for $3,231,300, then showed why the Phillies were so enamored with his bat by hitting well that summer in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Randolph's 2016 didn't go quite as well. He got off to a slow start in his first 12 games with low Class A Lakewood, then missed two and a half months due to shoulder and hamstring issues before returning on June 29. Drafted as an offensive-minded player, Randolph's lefthanded swing is calm, balanced and compact, with solid bat-to-ball skills and an approach geared toward shooting the ball to the opposite field. Randolph has strong hands, bat speed and average raw power in batting practice, but he shows little game power because of his approach. That power could show up once he learns to pull the ball with more authority and drive the ball in the air instead of putting it on the ground. A shortstop in high school, Randolph immediately moved to left field last season. A below-average runner with an average arm, Randolph made strides defensively, but the lack of outfield experience still shows. He will still be just 19 on Opening Day in 2017 and could return to Lakewood.
When Medina was a 17-year-old in the Dominican Republic, he had an athletic, projectable build, a loose arm and a fastball that touched 90 mph, so the Phillies signed him for $70,000. His fastball has jumped since then and he's had success at every level, most recently in the short-season New York-Penn League in 2016, coming within two outs of a no-hitter in his third start with Williamsport. Medina has an easy, repeatable delivery with a wide release point and does a good job commanding his fastball to both sides of the plate for his age. His fastball sits 90-94 mph and can touch 96 with explosive late action through the zone. He's able to spin a curveball and mix in both a changeup and slider that all flash average, though none is a true out pitch at this point. Medina has a pitch-to-contact approach but needs to sharpen the finish and quality of his secondary offerings to improve his low strikeout rate of 4.7 per nine innings. He's a good athlete who does a good job of holding runners. Medina has a chance to be a back-end to mid-rotation starter, with low Class A Lakewood his next stop.
The Dodgers signed Arano from the Mexico City Red Devils in 2013, then in Aug. 2014 traded him and infielder Jesmuel Valentin to the Phillies for righthander Roberto Hernandez. The Phillies kept developing Arano as a starter in 2015, but last season they moved him to the bullpen and he flourished, racking up 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings between high Class A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Arano has an unusual profile for a relief prospect given his diverse repertoire with good pitchability for his age, but he's looked more comfortable out of the bullpen than he did as a starter. His fastball jumped to 93-95 mph and can touch 97 with tight spin to get swings and misses up in the zone, mixing both four-seamers and two-seamers. Arano's slider is his out pitch, giving him another above-average weapon to miss bats. His changeup has good separation off his fastball, but he doesn't use it or his curveball as much now that he's a reliever. Arano is an excellent strike-thrower who should continue to move quickly and could reach the majors in the second half of 2017, with a chance to eventually pitch high-leverage innings.
Traded from the Reds to the Phillies after the 2014 season for Marlon Byrd, Lively showed up early to 2016 spring training. While there, he made a mechanical adjustment with his lower half to help him create better downhill plane on his fastball. Lively's fastball trajectory had previously gotten flat and he paid for mistakes up in the zone, but now he started to generate better angle and was able to pound the bottom of the strike zone with more frequency. He moved from Double-A Reading to Triple-A Lehigh Valley at the end of May, won the organization's minor league pitcher of the year award and was added to the 40-man roster after the season. Those adjustments were key for Lively, who relies more on finesse and command than pure stuff. He's a four-pitch guy with a low-90s fastball, using a two-seamer more this year to try to get early-count grounders. Lively has a slider he throws more than his curveball and a changeup he improved in 2016, with all of his pitches earning 45-50 grades on the 20-80 scale. A polished strike-thrower, Lively is a durable starter who could stick around as a No. 5 starter, likely making his major league debut at some point in 2017.
The focal point of the Phillies' 2015-16 international signing period was Dominican outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz, who signed for $4.01 million on July 2, 2015. Guzman signed a month later with far less attention, getting a $60,000 bonus on his 16th birthday. He has quickly looked like a bargain. Guzman played nearly the entire Dominican Summer League season as a 16-year-old and hit .300 thanks to his excellent hand-eye coordination and innate feel for the barrel. He does not possess the most conventional stroke, but he's a high-contact hitter who consistently finds the sweet spot. A line-drive hitter with a pull approach, Guzman lacks strength because he's still so young, and while he has a projectable frame, he doesn't project to be a power hitter. An average runner, Guzman is a true shortstop who fields his position well for his age and has an above-average arm. He should jump to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League as a 17-year-old in 2017.
Appel's decision to pass on signing with the Pirates as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 draft paid off, as he returned to Stanford for his senior year, went first overall to the Astros in 2013 and signed for $6.35 million. Thus far, that's been the career highlight for Appel, who had a brutal first full season and was traded to Philadelphia after the 2015 season in the seven-player deal that sent Ken Giles to Houston. Appel made eight starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2016 before having season-ending surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow. Before he got hurt, Appel showed a fastball around 92-94 mph and reached 98, though he had trouble maintaining his velocity deep into starts. His fastball comes in on a flat plane, making it more hittable, especially since he struggles to command it down in the zone. His slider is a plus pitch, while his changeup is below-average. The Phillies intend to keep developing Appel as a starter, though an upper-90s fastball in short bursts combined with a plus slider would be intriguing out of the bullpen. He is expected to be at full strength for spring training and should return to Triple-A.
Taveras had just turned 20 and was looking to sign for any price when the Phillies spotted him in the Dominican Republic and liked his ability to throw strikes. They gave him $5,000 and he has developed into a pleasant surprise for the organization. He spent the first month of 2016 in the bullpen with low Class A Lakewood, moved to the rotation and led the South Atlantic League with 154 strikeouts. Taveras isn't overpowering, but he's able to leverage his size, deception and command from a crossfire delivery. His fastball sits 88-92 mph, but the ball gets on hitters faster than anticipated because of Taveras' ability to generate extension out front. Taveras keeps hitters off balance with his solid-average changeup, mixing in a fringe-average slider too. He's a smart pitcher and a prolific strike-thrower, which should help him move quickly. There's a lot of smoke-and-mirrors to Taveras' game, which is why he has his skeptics until he proves himself at higher levels, but he could develop into a back-end starter. He will start in high Class A Clearwater in 2017.
When the Phillies signed Ortiz as a 16-year-old for $4.01 million, a franchise record for an international signing, they were drawn to the player with the biggest raw power in the 2015 signing class. Other clubs considered the signing a reach, given the concerns about Ortiz's ability to hit live pitching and huge frame. While those risk factors are still valid, Ortiz showed his power translated to games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, where he ranked third in home runs. Ortiz's combination of bat speed and strength allows him to put on a show in batting practice. He can punish a fastball with power to all fields and has the potential to hit 25-30 home runs, but the key will be whether he can improve his pitch recognition and hitting ability. Ortiz doesn't have a long swing, but he lacks natural rhythm and balance and doesn't stay on breaking pitches well, which throws off his timing and makes him susceptible to chasing. He has been better than expected defensively in right field with improving routes and reads and a plus arm. Short-season Williamsport or low Class A Lakewood should be his next stop.
Through his first six seasons with the Pirates, Rodriguez barely distinguished himself as a prospect, with Pittsburgh trading him to the Phillies after the 2014 season for Antonio Bastardo. After a rough 2015 campaign with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Rodriguez returned to Reading in 2016 as a reliever, but by the end of April the Phillies sent him down to high Class A Clearwater. The Phillies wanted to put him in a situation where he could stay calm and work on staying within his delivery with a lowered arm angle. The strategy worked, as Rodriguez took one step backward before zooming forward, getting back to Triple-A in August and making his major league debut as a September callup. Rodriguez's fastball sits at 94-96 mph and can touch 98 with sink to help him get grounders, pounding the bottom of the strike zone especially to his glove side. He throws a solid-average slider that's tough on lefthanded hitters from his arm angle. His changeup is below-average but he hasn't thrown it as much as a reliever. Rodriguez should be able to stick in the big league bullpen as a middle reliever.
Just as 2011 was ending, the Phillies signed Pinto for $15,000 as a 17-year-old out of Venezuela. After two years in the Venezuelan Summer League and one in short-season Williamsport, Pinto became the organization's minor league pitcher of the year in 2015. He followed that with a solid Double-A campaign in 2016 and pitched in the Futures Game. Pinto has proven to be a durable starter, throwing 170 innings in 2016 between Double-A Reading and winter ball in Venezuela. Pinto works off his fastball-changeup combination. Both are plus pitches, with his fastball sitting at 91-95 mph and touching 97. He maintains his arm speed on his changeup, an out pitch that keeps hitters off balance. Pinto's strikeout rate is modest because he's still working to find a reliable breaking ball. He's tried a curveball and a slider, focusing more on the slider recently, but both are below-average. He has clean arm action and coordinated delivery that he repeats to throw frequent strikes, though when he elevates the ball hitters can make him pay for mistakes. If Pinto can develop an average breaking pitch, he has a chance to be a back-end starter, with Triple-A Lehigh Valley his next test.
Eshelman picked apart college hitters with superior command and control, walking just 18 batters over three seasons at Cal State Fullerton and leading Div. I in walk rate each year. The Astros drafted Eshelman in the second round, No. 46 overall, in 2015 but he barely pitched for them, with the Astros shipping him to the Phillies six months later in the seven-player trade that sent Ken Giles to Houston. In his first year in the Phillies organization, Eshelman pitched well at high Class A Clearwater before seeing his ERA swell at hitter-friendly Double-A Reading. Eshelman is a finesse pitcher who is able to succeed by commanding his fastball, moving the ball around the zone and keeping hitters off balance with his pitchability as opposed to his pure stuff. His offerings are fringe-average across the board, with an 87-91 mph fastball that touches 93, a curveball and a changeup, but everything plays up because of his ability to locate and understand hitters' strengths and weaknesses. Eshelman's ceiling is limited, but he could develop into a back-end, up-and-down starter along the lines of former Twins righthander Kevin Slowey.
When the Blue Jays signed Tirado for $300,000 as a 16-year-old, his fastball topped out at 91 mph. Now, Tirado pumps triple-digit heat, though he doesn't always know where the ball will go. Tirado opened 2016 as a reliever with low Class A Lakewood, spent most of May and June in extended spring training to work on his delivery, then moved into Lakewood's rotation at the end of June. He struck out at least eight batters in each of his final six starts, including 11- and 10-strikeout performances to end the season. Tirado's fastball ranges from 95-100 mph and his plus slider can be a wipeout pitch, which is how he racked up 14.1 strikeouts per nine innings in Lakewood. He has a changeup but hasn't thrown it much yet. Wildness remains Tirado's weakness. He has to keep his delivery in sync and under control to avoid racking up walks and falling behind hitters. Putting Tirado in the rotation helped give him a more regimented, scheduled routine that helped his development, but his future is likely in relief. Added to the 40-man roster in November, Tirado should jump to high Class A Clearwater's rotation in 2017.
Garcia is among the many hidden gems the Phillies have uncovered in Latin America and developed into quality pitching prospects. Garcia signed for $92,500 out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and has steadily climbed up the ladder as a strike-throwing lefty with an improving fastball. His velocity jumped in 2016 to sit 90-93 mph and touch the mid-90s, with sneaky late life that allows him to get swings and misses when he pitches up in the zone. Garcia has a four-pitch mix with a curveball, changeup and slider. His curveball has good spin and shape to be an average pitch, though he's still learning how to land it for a strike. Garcia's changeup improved in 2016 and flashed as another average pitch. Garcia is athletic, pitches inside well, repeats his delivery and fills the strike zone, though his lack of a plus pitch leaves him with a modest strikeout rate. Added to the 40-man roster in November, Garcia will move to Double-A Reading in 2017 and could develop into a back-end starter.
One of the top pitchers on the 2016 international market, Morales signed with the Phillies for $750,000 as a 16-year-old out Venezuela. Morales, now 17, has an impressive combination of size and present stuff. He already has a plus fastball, sitting at 90-94 mph and reaching 96. Morales has a tendency to get underneath the ball from his three-quarters arm slot, but when he stays on top he generates good downhill angle. Scouts who followed Morales before he signed were split on his future outlook because of his shaky slider and control. Early on while Morales was working out for clubs, he had trouble keeping his delivery under control, which hurt his ability to throw strikes. He has done a better job since signing of keeping his delivery in sync and his slider has improved, showing good shape, spin and late action. Morales hasn't needed to throw a changeup much yet, but he has shown early signs of having feel for that pitch. Morales should make his pro debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2017
Tocci ranked among the team's Top 10 prospects the past four seasons, but his lack of physical development has slowed his progress. When Tocci signed with the Phillies for $759,000 out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old, he had an extremely skinny, narrow frame, and he has been slow to add weight ever since. Getting stronger has long been the key for Tocci, an instinctive player with a high baseball IQ in all phases of the game. He's a smooth, fluid defender in center field. He's a solid-average runner with a quick first step and gliding strides, getting good reads off the bat with sharp routes to go with an average, accurate arm. Tocci is a sound hitter with solid contact skills, a line-drive approach and the ability to spread the ball to all fields. He has minimal power and needs to get stronger to be able to do more damage on contact. The Phillies left Tocci off their 40-man roster after the season and he didn't get picked in the Rule 5 draft. For as long as Tocci has been on the radar, he will play nearly all of 2017 as a 21-year-old, most likely in Double-A Reading.
Anderson moved through the system slowly his first three years, then had Tommy John surgery that wiped out his entire 2015 campaign. He vaulted his way back to prospect status upon his return in 2016, pounding the strike zone with a plus fastball and struck out more than a batter per inning between low Class A Lakewood and high Class A Clearwater. It was compelling enough that the Phillies added him to the 40-man roster after the season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. After showing an average fastball earlier in his career, Anderson sat at 91-95 mph and touched 97 with explosive life through the zone. He throws an average curveball that he leans on as his primary offspeed pitch. In working his way back from surgery, Anderson didn't focus much on his changeup, a below-average pitch that will be important for him to develop to remain a starter. He shows an occasional slider in his repertoire as well. Durability is a risk factor with Anderson, but he shows the stuff and control to pitch at the back of a rotation or in a big-league bullpen. Double-A Reading is his next stop.
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