Prospect lists are meant to be fun and are certainly subjective. Scouts, at least the really good ones, will tell you that they get things wrong sometimes. And numbers, even in this age of analytics, never tell the entire story.
So with that in mind, the Inquirer is happy to present our own prospect list compiled by the baseball coverage team of Matt Breen, Scott Lauber, and Bob Brookover. Our list, which is heavy on pitchers and light on position players, comprises 25 players and will be updated around the All-Star break and again at the end of the season.
Read, enjoy, and email us with your own opinions if you’d like. We always love to hear from the readers.
The 22-year-old righthander tops this list based on his increased velocity last season. His mid-to-upper-90s fastball served as a perfect complement to a nasty slider. He is a couple of years older than departed former Phillies top prospect Sixto Sanchez, but his stuff is comparable. The Phillies’ 2017 second-round pick opened this season at high-A Clearwater and could be a fast climber to the big leagues.
The third overall pick out of Wichita State in last year’s draft has the kind of size and power that allow the Phillies to dream big. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound slugger missed a month last season, but he got off to a good start this season at low-A Lakewood and could end up at high-A Clearwater. The big question is whether his future is at third base or first base. He played exclusively at third base last season, but he has played at first base already this season.
The 22-year-old righthander who signed for just $70,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 has made it to double-A Reading and has a chance to get to the big leagues this season. He had his ups and downs last season at high-A Clearwater, but he finished strong, posting a 1.97 ERA in his final five starts. Pitching in a hitter’s park at Reading will provide a real challenge for Medina, who features a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a changeup that is a work in progress, and a nasty slider as a true strikeout pitch.
He was the headliner of the Phillies’ 2017 international class when he signed for $2.5 million and he did not disappoint in his professional debut, batting a league-high .369 for the Phillies’ West team in the Gulf Coast League. The team has given the 18-year-old Dominican Republic native a true test this season by placing him with low-A Lakewood, where the average age of the pitchers last season was 21.4 years old and the average age of the hitters was 21.9.
The first overall pick in the 2016 draft has fallen out of Baseball America’s top 10 Phillies’ prospects and has slipped to No. 9 on MLB.com’s list. We still think he has a chance to be a quality big-league player based on his strong finish last season at high-A Clearwater and his strong start this season at double-A Reading. Add in the fact that Moniak is still only 20 years old and it becomes a lot easier to see a bright future.
Some scouts project De Los Santos as a future bullpen arm and it’s possible the Phillies will need him in that role at some point in the near future. The Phillies, however, still see the 6-3 right-hander as a future starter and he has shown dominating stuff in the early going this season at triple-A Lehigh Valley. He made seven big-league appearances last season after being acquired in the trade that sent Freddy Galvis to San Diego. De Los Santos will surely be back in Philadelphia at some point this season.
The eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft put together two solid seasons to start his professional career, but for some reason no one seems to be in absolute love with the former University of Virginia star. After hitting a combined .305 with a .361 on-base percentage and .795 OPS at Clearwater and Reading last season, he fell out of both Baseball America’s and MLB.com 's top 100 prospect list. It could be that they are unimpressed by his power after he put up just 14 home runs in his first 759 professional plate appearances.
Since signing for $4 million in 2015, the 6-3, 215-pound native of the Dominican Republic has stirred much debate. Ortiz, whose middle name is David, received the largest international signing bonus in Phillies history because of his raw power, and it showed in his first professional season when he hit eight home runs in 47 games to finish third in the Gulf Coast League. Hopes for Ortiz rose even more when he hit .302 with a .401 on-base percentage and a .961 OPS for Williamsport the following season. But then he struggled last season in his first full professional season at low-A Lakewood. The Phillies opted to promote him to high-A Clearwater anyway.
The Phillies once signed a former middle infielder from Panama for $8,000 and turned him into a catcher who will one day find his name on the team’s Wall of Fame. That was Carlos Ruiz. They are hoping to hit a similar jackpot with Marchan, a former shortstop out of Venezuela who signed for $200,000 in 2015. Marchan, 20, has already become the top catching prospect in the system and opened this season at Lakewood.
The jump from Clearwater to Reading was not a smooth one for the Phillies’ fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft. The 22-year-old lefty was 0-4 with a 6.38 ERA in his first seven outings. But he rebounded in a big way and went 7-2 with a 2.44 ERA in his final 11 starts. He got off to another rocky start this season at triple-A Lehigh Valley, posting a 10.13 ERA in his first two outings.
The Phillies’ fifth-round pick in 2016 has had success at every level of the minor-league system and he got to show off his ability in spring training this year. He features a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup and displayed great command last season when he posted a league-best 2.57 ERA for Lehigh Valley. The 25-year-old lefty is off to another strong start for the IronPigs this season and it’s only a matter of time before he pitches in the big leagues.
The 23-year-old Venezuelan signed for $25,000 in 2012 and burst onto the prospect radar two years later when he walked just one batter in 80 2/3 innings in the now defunct Venezuelan Summer League. Command was Suarez’s calling card, but it betrayed him last year during his first cup of coffee in the big leagues -- walked six batters and allowed 21 hits in just 15 innings. He is back at Lehigh Valley for the start of this season.
The Phillies might not have a closer, but the Reading FightinPhils do, and it would not be surprising if Dohy, 22, found his way into the big-league bullpen before the season is over. Through four games and seven innings, he already had 13 strikeouts for Reading while allowing just two hits. He has swing-and-miss stuff, but in order to get to Philadelphia he will have to improve his command.
One scout predicted after last season that the 23-year-old Venezuelan would be this year’s version of Seranthony Dominguez. Right now, he is a starter at Reading and he has struggled to throw strikes, walking seven batters in his first two starts.
The 20-year-old center fielder from Venezuela projects as a leadoff hitter with great speed. He stole 18 bases and was thrown out just four times last season while hitting .263 with a .299 on-base percentage at Lakewood. Muzziotti opened this season at Clearwater.
The 23-year-old lefty was a 12th-round pick out of the University of Mississippi two years ago and he forced his way onto the prospect radar by posting a combined 1.45 ERA at Lakewood and Clearwater last season. Nobody in minor-league baseball had a lower ERA, and that earned Parkinson the prestigious Paul Owens Award as the best pitcher in the Phillies’ minor-league system. He found things to be more difficult in his first two starts at double-A Reading and has also struggled with his command in the early going.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan does not wow with his velocity, but he has a nasty cutter and a great feel for pitching. And at some point you have to look at the numbers and say the kid has a real chance. Phillies assistant general manager Bryan Minniti said after last season that Rosso could have just as easily won the Owens Award that went to Parkinson after going a combined 11-3 with a 2.04 ERA at Lakewood and Clearwater. Now at Reading, he got off to a great start with two scoreless performances and 11 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings during his first two outings.
The 21-year-old pitcher stands out in a crowd because he is 7-feet tall, but he has also solidified his status as a big-league pitching prospect by performing well at every level so far in his career. The Long Island native opened this season at Clearwater and had 13 strikeouts and just one walk in his first 10 innings. Randy Johnson, of course, was the quintessential big lefty, but Young relies more on his command than velocity at this point in his career.
The Phillies took the University of Notre Dame outfielder in the fifth round last year and he got off to an impressive professional start by hitting a combined .321 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 62 games at Williamsport and Lakewood. He opened this season at Clearwater.
With the addition of J.T. Realmuto this offseason, it is not an ideal time for an aspiring catcher in the Phillies’ minor-league system. Grullon, however, has shown steady improvement as he climbed through the minors. A year ago at Reading, the 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic established career bests in average (.273), OPS (.825), home runs (21), and RBIs (59), and he is off to an even better start this season at Lehigh Valley.
The 24-year-old lefty is the grandson of former NBA player Darrall Imhoff, who spent two seasons with the 76ers. He entered the prospect conversation last season by going 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA at Lakewood and he has enhanced his status in his first two starts this season by allowing just five hits and striking out 23 batters in his first 14 innings. He has also walked 10, which means he is obviously a work in progress.
The Phillies’ second-round pick in 2016 had appeared in only four games before this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2017. The 21-year-old righthander is pitching this season at Lakewood.
The Phillies’ seventh-round pick in 2017 proved to be a steady player at the plate and in the field with Lakewood last season. He made just 15 errors in 110 games while batting .256 with 26 doubles, eight home runs, and 51 RBIs. The 22-year-old Illinois native is off to a solid start at Clearwater.
The 21-year-old catcher from the Dominican Republic showed off a powerful arm and bat last season at Lakewood. His 18 home runs were tied for sixth in the South Atlantic League and he played in only 88 games.