Phillies

Baseball America offers its opinion on Phillies' top 10 prospects

Baseball America offers its opinion on Phillies' top 10 prospects

Baseball America is in the midst of publishing its Top 10 prospect lists for every major league organization. The publication posted its Phillies Top 10 list Wednesday and there is a familiar name at the top: shortstop J.P. Crawford, the team's first-round draft pick in 2014. Crawford, who played at Double A and Triple A in 2016, is tops on the list for the third straight season. He could make it to the majors sometime in 2017.

Another first-round pick — centerfielder Mickey Moniak — is second on the list. The 18-year-old from Southern California was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft. Moniak, who has added 20 pounds of muscle, was recently profiled here.

Many publications and organizations produce Top 10 prospect lists. Baseball America has always focused on youthful talent, tools and upside.

Here's BA's list of the Phillies' Top 10 prospects heading into 2017, with a note from us on each player:

1. J.P. Crawford, SS (21)
His exceptional plate discipline impresses a front office that values that trait. If he doesn't poke his head into the majors some time in 2017, something's wrong.

2. Mickey Moniak, CF (18)
Phillies gave him a club-record $6.1 million signing bonus. He should play in nearby Lakewood in 2017. He projects to be a level-by-level guy. If all goes well, could end up as a Steve Finley or Christian Yelich type of player. 

3. Jorge Alfaro, C (23)
Power-armed and power bat catcher. Entering a huge season — he will be asked to carry the load every day behind the plate at Triple A as the Phillies try to find out if he's their next catcher.

4. Nick Williams, OF (23)
An enigmatic talent. There's nothing he can't do on a baseball field except lay off pitches outside the strike zone.

5. Sixto Sanchez, RHP (18)
A young talent that has a lot of baseball people buzzing about his power, poise and pitchability on the mound.

6. Rhys Hoskins, 1B (23)
Big right-handed bat who knows how to drive in a run — he hit 38 home runs last season and has 206 RBIs the last two.

7. Franklyn Kilome, RHP (21)
Lanky right-handed Dominican with huge potential. Had a 3.85 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 114⅔ last season at Lakewood.

8. Roman Quinn, OF (23)
An exciting talent with the on-base and defensive skills the Phillies value. The front office is currently debating whether to put him in the opening day lineup or pursue a veteran rightfielder. Injuries have long been a hindrance and he's got to stay healthy.

9. Scott Kingery, 2B (22)
Dustin Pedroia-type second baseman. Heads-up player who could be the Phillies' 2B of the future. More on Kingery here.

10. Dylan Cozens, OF (22)
Physically imposing left-handed bat. Has huge power to all fields. Led minor league baseball with 40 home runs in 2016 and was recently honored for it. Will join Hoskins and Alfaro on the Triple A cast in 2017.

Last year, BA's list of top Phillies prospects looked like this:

1. J.P. Crawford, SS

2. Nick Williams, OF

3. Jake Thompson, RHP

4. Andrew Knapp, C

5. Jorge Alfaro, C

6. Cornelius Randolph, OF

7. Franklyn Kilome, RHP

8. Roman Quinn, OF

9. Adonis Medina, RHP

10. Carlos Tocci, OF

Thompson, Alfaro and Quinn all made their major-league debuts in 2016. All three could be on the team's opening day roster in 2017.

Larry Bowa recalls two special seasons with (almost unanimous) Hall of Famer Derek Jeter

Larry Bowa recalls two special seasons with (almost unanimous) Hall of Famer Derek Jeter

Larry Bowa asked a question Tuesday afternoon.

“You think he’ll be unanimous?”

Derek Jeter was a 14-time All-Star and a five-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees. He won a Rookie of the Year award, was a World Series MVP and finished in the top 10 in American League MVP voting eight times. He won five Gold Gloves at shortstop and finished his career with 3,465 hits. Only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Tris Speaker had more.

We’re talking rare air here, folks.

We’re talking icon.

So, six hours before the official Hall of Fame announcement was to come down early Tuesday night, the question that Bowa posed wasn’t whether Jeter would make it through the doors of Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility – that was a slam-dunk, take-it-to-the-bank, lead-pipe cinch – it was would he be just the second player ever to be elected unanimously.

“He should be,” Bowa said.

The answer to Bowa’s question came soon enough.

No, Jeter did not make it into the Hall unanimously, as his great Yankee teammate Mariano Rivera did the year before. But he still received historic support as he sailed into Hardball Heaven on his first try.

Jeter appeared on 396 of the 397 ballots cast by voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Voters are encouraged but not required to make their ballots public. The identity of the one writer who did not vote for Jeter was not immediately known. That person will likely come forward at some point, not that it will matter a whole lot in the final analysis. The 99.7 percent of the vote that Jeter did receive is the highest ever for a position player.

Hard-hitting outfielder Larry Walker, an MVP and three-time National League batting champ, was also elected. He made it by six votes in his 10th and final year on the writers’ ballot.

Former Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling missed by 20 votes, but his 70 percent bodes well for future election. He needs to get to 75 percent of the vote in his final two years on the ballot.

Another former Phillie, third baseman Scott Rolen, received 35.3 percent of the vote in his third year on the ballot.

Bowa, the great former Phillies shortstop and manager, played 2,222 games at shortstop, seventh-most all time. Jimmy Rollins played 2,227 games at short, sixth-most all-time. Omar Vizquel ranks first on the list at 2,709 and Jeter is second at 2,674.

Bowa enjoyed an up-close look at Jeter’s greatness during the 2006 and 2007 seasons when he was third-base coach for the Yankees. Jeter still had another seven seasons to go in his career, but even at that point, Bowa knew he was looking at a Hall of Famer.

“He just had an aura about him that said, ‘If you want to be a big-leaguer, watch me,’ “ Bowa recalled. “It was that way in everything he did. He never sulked if he didn’t get any hits.

“In my two years there, I don’t think I ever saw him make a mental mistake. He was always well prepared. He was very coachable and open to advice. He never jogged. He always played the right way. In big situations with the game on the line, he wanted to be at the plate. And he produced.”

Bowa compared Jeter to a couple of players he managed with the Phillies, one a Hall of Famer, one a potential Hall of Famer.

“He reminded me of Jim Thome, the way he handled himself,” Bowa said. “Very humble guys. Both team-first. If it was the eighth inning and a guy led off with a double, you didn’t have to tell Jeter to get the ball to the right side and get him over to third.

“He was a little bit like Chase Utley. You wind him up in April, say good luck and have a good year, and at the end of year he’d have a great season. He could have played without any leader or manager. Incredible work ethic.”

Like any other player, Jeter could have an off day, though not often. Bowa recalled a time in 2007 when the Yankees played an awful game. 

“I think it was a Sunday game,” Bowa said. “It might have been the worst game I’d ever seen the Yankees play.”

The performance left manager Joe Torre quietly seething. He called the team together after the game.

“I’d never seen Joe angry before,” Bowa said. “He usually got with guys one-on-one in his office if he wasn’t happy and no one knew about it. But this time, we played so bad that he felt like he had to get everyone together.”

Torre didn’t go after the 25th man.

He went right for the heart – Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

“He was all over them,” Bowa said. “It was the only time I ever saw Joe get on a guy like that. There was no swearing or anything like that, but he literally pointed them out and told them they were better than that and he expected more.”

The next day, Jeter was getting ready to do some early work with Bowa in the infield. Bowa asked him about what had gone down the day before.

“Jeter was completely accountable,” Bowa said. “He said he deserved it. That really showed me something. Here was a guy putting together a Hall of Fame career and he just got it. He didn’t take it personally.”

And he won’t take not being a unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame personally, either.

Ninety-nine-point-seven percent.

We’re still talking rare air here, folks.

“The guy was just solid, man,” Larry Bowa said. “So professional. Just a pleasure to watch. I’m really happy for him.” 

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Make that 2 buy-low bullpen moves for the Phillies

Make that 2 buy-low bullpen moves for the Phillies


Drew Storen wasn't the only reliever the Phillies added early this week.

The Phils also agreed to a minor-league deal with veteran right-hander Bud Norris, according to Robert Murray.

The Phillies worked out Norris late last season but did not sign him.

Norris last pitched in 2018 with the Cardinals. He was pretty effective, posting a 3.59 ERA in 57⅔ innings with 67 strikeouts. He saved 28 games.

Relievers are so volatile from year to year that it stands to reason one of Storen or Norris will recapture some success in 2020. The Phillies have seen quite clearly over the last two seasons that big relief contracts are a gamble. They paid David Robertson, Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek a combined $57 million and all three dealt with long-term injuries.

The big wild-card in the Phils' bullpen is Seranthony Dominguez, who missed most of last season with arm injuries but could be a much-needed and useful weapon if he can revert to his 2018 form.

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