While the Phillies system is thin on projectable talent and ranks in the bottom tier among all organizations, things are starting to look up thanks to the emergence of slugger Maikel Franco and shortstop J.P. Crawford.
Franco announced his presence as one of the top power hitters in the minor leagues last season, as the 21-year-old third baseman combined to club 36 doubles and 31 home runs in 581 plate appearances between High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. With a knack for making consistent contact and generating backspin carry, Franco’s power projects favorably at the major league level and could even play up at Citizens Bank Park.
Meanwhile, Crawford, the team’s first-round pick in 2013, flashed huge upside last summer by winning the batting title in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League with a .345 average in 168 plate appearances. And for the record, speedster Roman Quinn would have ranked in the top five had he not suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the fall.
In terms of pitching, left-hander Jesse Biddle once again gets the nod as the team’s top young arm after a solid but inconsistent showing at Double-A Reading as a 21-year-old. Although he ranked third in the Eastern League with 154 strikeouts in 138.1 innings, the southpaw struggled with his control and command to the tune of a career-worst 5.33 walks per nine innings.
Beyond those players, the Phillies’ prospect pool features its usual mix of high-risk, high-reward position players, such as outfielders Aaron Altherr and Dylan Cozens as well as third baseman Zach Green. And similar to previous years, the organization also houses its share useful major league arms including right-handed starter Ethan Martin, who debuted in late 2013, and flamethrowing reliever Ken Giles.
Here’s a look at the Philadelphia Phillies’ top 10 prospects for the 2014 season.