Stock Up, Stock Down for Phillies' Top 10 Prospects for Week 1
Last week, I wrote an article about the top-10 prospects in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system, and now it is time for a progress report. With the regular season now underway, we can assess how the 2014 campaign has started for each of these 10 individuals.
Ideally, I would not make changes to this list so early in the season. After only a few games, it really would not be fair to start removing prospects from the list. However, four of the men on my list last week have not played so far this year due to injury. They are Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Roman Quinn, Aaron Altherr and Ethan Martin. As a result, everyone is going to move up accordingly, and I will include the next four-best prospects in the Phillies organization.
10. Dylan Cozens, RF
Dylan Cozens is such a big guy that you wonder if he will eventually have to move to first base, but right now he still has enough mobility play right field. He seems to have a decent amount of speed and has enough power to qualify as a corner outfielder.
This year, he is off to a solid start at Lakewood. He is hitting .286 and has already stolen two bases. It is a bit problematic that he has six strikeouts in 14 at-bats, so that is something to definitely keep an eye on. Nevertheless, he is only 19 years old, and it will be interesting to see how he continues to develop.
9. Tommy Joseph, C
Tommy Joseph has been frustrating. After being the main piece in the deal for Hunter Pence, Joseph had a tough time last season, hitting a combined .179 at four different levels of the minor leagues. He had previously been a major hitting prospect for the San Francisco Giants, but he hasn't been that so far in the Phillies farm system.
This year has been similarly disappointing so far. He does not have a hit through 10 at-bats at Reading. However, he has shown in the past that he is a catcher who can hit with power. It is not just potential we are talking about here, either; he has actually produced great numbers in the past. Now, we need to see him do it with his current organization.
8. Kelly Dugan, RF
Kelly Dugan broke out last season, as he hit a combined 20 home runs with a .291 batting average between High-A and Double-A. His strikeout total was clearly too high, with 114 strikeouts in 429 at-bats. Nevertheless, as he matures, we may see that discipline improve.
He is off to a hot start this year in Double-A Reading, as he is hitting .333 after three games, and he doesn’t have a strikeout yet. Obviously, as a statistician, I would never make a huge assumption based on the small sample size, but it is an encouraging sign, nonetheless.
7. Ken Giles, RHP
I think I am higher on Ken Giles than most other people, but he certainly has impressive raw stuff. According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, his fastball hit 103 mph last season. He also reportedly throws a slider that hits 90 mph.
So far this season, he has made one appearance in Double-A Reading. On the bright side, in one inning, he has three strikeouts. On the negative side, he allowed two baserunners in that one inning. Control has been his issue, but you cannot deny that his stuff is overpowering; he just need to learn how to control it.
6. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
Cesar Hernandez has not seen very much action this year, as he is coming off the bench behind a very hot Chase Utley. In the one game he did play in, he went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored while also playing perfect defense. (He has had one unsuccessful pinch-hit appearance as well).
Coming off of the bench as a utility player at the major league level this season, his numbers will obviously not be huge. But if he can be productive when the Phillies need him to be throughout the season, everyone will be happy with that contribution.
5. Severino Gonzalez, RHP
Severino Gonzalez has done a great job for his entire career coming out of the bullpen, but it seemed as if he has been making the transition to the rotation with ease. In his first start at Double-A Reading, he made it through five innings while only surrendering four hits and one earned run.
He honestly seems to be on a very fast track through the minors. If he is able to maintain this kind of performance throughout the year, I would not be surprised to see a September call-up in his future.
4. Carlos Tocci, CF
I had previously written that I anticipate Carlos Tocci developing more power as he matures since he is only 18 years old. In nine at-bats so far this season, he has only two hits, but one of them was a double. Obviously, you don’t want to read too far into that, but it is nice to see a little something so early.
Tocci is in Single-A Lakewood right now, so he is still a long way from the major leagues, but he honestly had more than enough time.
3. J.P. Crawford, SS
J.P. Crawford really hasn’t done enough yet to tell if he is going to do anything substantially different than last year, as he has three hits in three games this season at Single-A Lakewood. His batting average is .231. He has unfortunately made two errors in the field already, but that does happen to shortstops, so I’m not overly concerned yet.
He hasn’t shown any power yet, which is what I am hoping to see a little bit more of this year. As he matures, it would be great to see a little bit more home-run power, and I still think we might see some of that this season.
2. Jesse Biddle, LHP
Jesse Biddle returned to Double-A Reading to begin the 2014 campaign, but his debut was not all that he hoped it would be, as he only survived 3.1 innings and gave up nine hits. Those nine hits were only converted into four runs, which really is not all that bad when you think about it.
Control was the issue again, as he had two walks. However, he did collect five strikeouts, which was on the positive side. Overall, it was a disappointing beginning to the season, but given his track record I would expect a rebound.
1. Maikel Franco, 3B
There was not a lot to write home about during Maikel Franco’s first week in Lehigh Valley. In three games, he collected two hits in 12 at-bats. He has also played perfect defense at third base so far, but he admittedly only had four total chances with one put out and three assists.
As the season progresses, I would expect these tendencies to flip. He is much better at the plate than he is in the field, and it will be interesting to see if his power can pick back up for the 2014 campaign.