Jhailyn Ortiz

Phillies farm director Joe Jordan: Jhailyn Ortiz has highest ceiling in system

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Phillies farm director Joe Jordan: Jhailyn Ortiz has highest ceiling in system

Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan, who admitted to feeling like a "proud papa" watching so many prospects graduate to the majors and succeed this season, joined Jim Salisbury's At The Yard podcast this week for the second time.

Back in April, Jordan offered thoughts on a host of Phillies prospects, many of whom made it up to the big leagues in 2017. 

Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams exceeded expectations.

Jorge Alfaro has held his own offensively, hitting .304 in over 100 plate appearances.

J.P. Crawford has looked brilliant on defense and maintained a .350-ish on-base percentage.

Ben Lively has nine quality starts in 14 tries.

But there's one young Phillies prospect who Jordan thinks has a chance to be better than all of them: outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz.

"If you put every player in our system on a board and say every one of them gets to their potential, this guy would arguably be the best player," Jordan said. "He has that kind of ability."

Ortiz, 18, just wrapped up his second season in the Phillies' farm system. In 187 plate appearances with Short Season Class A Williamsport, Ortiz hit .302/.401/.560 with 15 doubles, eight homers and 30 RBIs.

It was an extremely impressive year from the rightfielder the Phillies signed out of the Dominican Republic for $4.2 million in 2015.

"This was a really big year from him," Jordan said. "His pitch recognition got better, he grew as a hitter. He's a hitter with power."

Notice Jordan used the phrase "hitter with power" rather than "power hitter." The same could be said of Hoskins, who has clearly shown he's got a ton of pop but doesn't approach each at-bat by looking to hit a home run. Hoskins recognizes pitches, works counts and makes adjustments. Ortiz is building that skill set as well.

"We have to keep him humble, keep him hungry," Jordan said. "He's a wonderful young man, smiling all the time, happy. The English language is coming pretty easy to him, he's working hard at that. We have a long way to go, but he's just been terrific."

Checking in on Moniak
Last year's first overall pick, Mickey Moniak, did not finish strong in his first full season in the minors. He hit just .236/.284/.341 in 509 plate appearances with 22 doubles, six triples, five homers and 44 RBIs.

Keep in mind, however, that Moniak played nearly 100 more games this season than ever before. That's a major reason the Phillies are preaching patience with his development.

"I think it's a big, big mistake to put too much emphasis on the final numbers that he posted," Jordan said. "I think if you look at his numbers through July 1, July 15, they were very respectable for a 19-year-old hitter out of last year's draft. The Sally League was a very challenging league for pitching this year, a lot of good pitching in the league."

Through July 1, Moniak was hitting .271 through exactly 300 plate appearances with 24 of the 33 extra-base hits he finished with. His final two months weren't pretty. But in describing the fatigue a first-year player can feel, Jordan brought up Scott Kingery, who was the Phillies' very-best minor-leaguer this season.

"I think that [Moniak] went through more adversity than he'd ever had and he wore down. His numbers at the end of the year are what they are, but Mickey's going to be a good player. ... He had his hands full this year.

"Go ask Scott Kingery how he felt last year at the end of the year (in 2016) and he'd say he felt pretty much how [Moniak] feels now. It's just something they have to go through."

For more from Jordan on many, many Phillies prospects, listen to the podcast above.

Future Phillies Report: Jake Thompson looks MLB ready, Aaron Altherr eases through rehab

Future Phillies Report: Jake Thompson looks MLB ready, Aaron Altherr eases through rehab

It’s been another stellar week down on the Phillies’ farm. Not just for the organization’s top prospects, teams at every level are working up the standings. The Phillies’ minor league teams collectively have a .619 win percentage — the highest of any organization in baseball.

All rankings below are according to MLB Pipeline. Let’s get right into it.

RHP Jake Thompson (AAA) – No. 2 prospect
Thompson’s name may not be on this list for much longer. With rumors swirling around Jeremy Hellickson, Thompson appears to be the guy most likely to get the call up if Hellickson is moved at next week’s deadline (see story).

And deservedly so. Thompson is 9-5 with a 2.29 ERA with 82 strikeouts to 36 walks in 117.2 innings. He’s also given up just nine home runs on the year.

Thompson continued to cruise this week, picking up two wins along the way and lowering his ERA from 2.58 to 2.29. The righty tossed seven shutout innings vs. Dom Brown and the Buffalo Bisons. He followed that up with a taxing six innings vs. Indianapolis, walking four batters, but still working his way out of jams over six scoreless innings. With another great week, what more is there to prove for Thompson at Triple A? Not much.

OF Aaron Altherr (Rehab)
He’s not really a prospect, but Altherr is making his rounds through the minor leagues while rehabbing from wrist surgery. Altherr tore his way through six games in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .375 with a 1.190 OPS. He hit a home run, drove in three runs and worked six walks.

Altherr grew closer to a return with two stellar games in Single A Clearwater this week, hitting .375. The 25-year-old hasn’t flashed his gap power that garnered him praise with the big-league club last year, but he’s played in only eight games after missing almost a year of regular action. The power will return.

A decision must be reached soon on the outfielder, who on Thursday was moved to Double A Reading. His rehab assignment ends on July 27, when he must be activated and join the Phillies or be optioned to Triple A if he needs more at-bats. Either way, Altherr will rejoin the Phillies at some point this season and provide the outfield with some desperately needed power.

OF Nick Williams (AAA) – No. 3 prospect
While Altherr has been manning right field during his rehab stint, Williams — who has been moved around the outfield at Triple A — has settled into left field for 12 of the past 17 games. Coincidence? Williams, like Thompson, doesn’t have much left to prove at the minor-league level. He could be an August or September callup, where, with Altherr in right field, left field would remain open for the 22-year-old.

Williams leads the IronPigs in just about every offensive category except for batting average, home runs and walks. Unfortunately, that means he also leads the team in strikeouts.

In five games this week, Williams struck out six times, keeping his average around one per game. He is an extremely aggressive hitter but has seen his strikeout rate go down over the past three years in the minors. Even with the strikeouts, Williams has hit for average during his career, consistently hovering around a .300 batting average. And with his power — three of his five hits this week went for extra-bases — the strikeouts can be overlooked.

2B Scott Kingery (High A) – No. 11 prospect
All he does is hit.

Kingery, the Phillies’ second-round pick in 2015, had himself another great week, picking up nine hits and five runs in five games for Clearwater.  He doesn’t have much power, but he more than makes up for it with his contact. Kingery has stuck out just 51 times in 91 games. And when he gets on base, the 22-year-old is always a threat to steal (25 stolen bases). Kingery looks to have the makings of a true top of the order guy. A lineup with Kingery and J.P. Crawford manning the middle infield down the road is an exciting possibility.

1B Rhys Hoskins, OF Dylan Cozens (AA) – No. 19 and No. 22 prospects, respectively
How about a little history for the bash brothers this week? With Cozens’ 25th home run of the season at New Hampshire on Monday, the duo became the first pair of teammates in Reading’s 50-year history to both hit 25 home runs in the same season, according to CSNPhilly.com’s Corey Seidman. 

Other than that, it was a relatively quiet week for the duo. Cozens continued to chug along, while Hoskins has hit a bit of a slump, hitting just .229 over his past 10 games.

SS J.P. Crawford (AAA) - No. 1 prospect
A bit of a down week for Crawford, who hit .181 in six games. It wasn't likely he (or anyone) could have kept up his astronomical numbers (see last week's Future Phillies Report), though a down week is nothing to worry about. The 21-year-old struck out just twice though, so his signature contact is still there. Though the hits weren't falling, Crawford was still able to make an impact, scoring four runs during the week.

OF Cornelius Randolph (Low A) – No. 5 prospect
Randolph continues to hum along at Lakewood after returning from a back/shoulder injury last week. The 19-year-old has hit .308 over 10 games, raising his average to .261. The Phillies’ selected him 10th overall out of high school in 2015 because of his bat, but his defense has also been steady so far. A converted shortstop now playing left field, Randolph has just two errors in 28 games between Lakewood and the Gulf Coast League.

OF Jhailyn Ortiz (GCL) – No. 25 prospect
Ortiz, a 17-year-old slugger from the Dominican Republic, is fitting in nicely with the Gulf Coast Phillies. Ortiz has hit .297 in 19 games since signing with the Phillies and had himself quite the game on Monday. Ortiz went 3 for 4 with three runs scored, a home run, three RBIs and a walk. He’s only 17, but with his raw power — 10 extra-base hits in 22 at-bats — it’s easy to see why the Phillies are high on him.

OF Mickey Moniak (GCL)
Not to be outdone by Ortiz, this year’s No. 1 overall pick is off to a torrid start in his professional career. After a modest first few games, Moniak is hitting .341 over his last 10 games to raise his season average to .317. He’s providing the GCL Phillies with clutch at-bats, too. In 16 games, Moniak already has 15 RBIs, including three in Wednesday’s win over the GCL Pirates. So far, so good for Moniak.