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Top Prospects Review: Part 4

Enyel De Los Santos (Photo by Cheryl Pursell)
Enyel De Los Santos pitches against the Buffalo Bisons on June 12, 2018. De Los Santos was the winning pitcher in the IronPigs 2-0 win. (Photo by Cheryl Pursell)

Philly Baseball Insider continues to look back at our list of the Phillies Top 50 Prospects coming into the season to find out just how they performed in 2018. You can find our previous reviews here…

Top Prospects Review: Part 1
Top Prospects Review: Part 2
Top Prospects Review: Part 3

Ages listed are as of April 1, 2019.

11. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP, 23 – De Los Santos came to the Phillies in exchange for shortstop Freddy Galvis. As things worked out, it wouldn’t have been so bad to have Galvis at short, but the Phillies are more than happy with De Los Santos as the return for the slick fielding veteran. De Los Santos opened the season in the Lehigh Valley rotation and pitched well right from his first start. As the season went on and the Phillies needed another healthy arm in the rotation, they plucked De Los Santos from the IronPigs to make his major league debut on July 10th in New York, where he allowed three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings of work. He made his second MLB start five days later and was hit around by the Marlins.

De Los Santos would bounce back-and-forth a couple more times and make five relief appearances with the Phillies. he finished with a 1-0 record – getting the win in his debut against the Mets – and posting a 4.74 ERA.

There is some thought that De Los Santos may be more valuable to the Phillies out of the bullpen but they figure to give him every possible shot at sticking in the rotation. With a decent major league rotation and other young arms coming through the organization, it’s possible that some starters could wind up as relievers in the future.

12. Tom Eshelman, RHP, 24 – The 2018 season was one to forget for Eshelman. He went from winning the Paul Owens Award as the Phillies top pitching prospect in 2017 to wondering just where he stands in the organization after a 2-13, 5.84 performance at Triple-A in 2018.

At one point, the Phillies thought they had discovered some mechanical flaws in his delivery that were preventing Eshelman from returning to his 2017 form. At times, he looked like the guy who pitched to a combined 13-3, 2.40 mark with Reading and Lehigh Valley in 2017, but more often than not, he struggled to get guys out.

There’s still a lot to like about Eshelman and it would be hard to give up on him. The problem is that he’s eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if he’s not placed on the 40-man roster where openings are scarce. Count Eshelman among the tough decisions that the Phillies have to make during the offseason.

13. Roman Quinn, OF, 25 – You know the story on Quinn; one injury after another that has derailed his progress and ascent to the majors. He played well in a 2016 audition with the Phillies (.263/.373/333) but injuries prevented him from getting back to the majors until this season. In a more expanded role, Quinn got to play in 50 games with the Phillies and was somewhat of a regular in the lineup by late in the year. He finished with a .260/.317/.412 line and was successful in 10 of 14 stolen base attempts.

It’s very tempting to just want to write Quinn’s name in the lineup for the 2019 season and leave him there but you have to keep the fact of just how injury prone he is in mind. The good news is that although Quinn did spend more time on the DL this season, he played in a combined 78 games between the majors and the minors. The 2018 season was the most encouraging in a long time for Quinn and the Phillies will at least pencil him into the lineup for the 2019 season.

14. Arquimedes Gamboa, SS, 21 – The rip on Gamboa has always been that his offense lags way behind his defensive skills. Far enough that it’s difficult to overlook the offensive issues even though his defense is so good. In 2017, Gamboa seemed to have figured things out and he hit .261/.328/.378 at Lakewood, good enough to where you could easily put up with those numbers. In his first season at Clearwater though, he regressed to .214/.304/.279. It could be a matter of being young and needing more time to adjust, but the bigger question is what happens when he reaches the Double-A level where pitchers start to be much better?

The Phillies sent Gamboa to the Arizona Fall League and he’s playing well against some of the better young prospects in the game. Through 11 games, he’s hitting .250/.405/.313 with nine strikeouts in 32 at-bats. The good news is that he’s also drawn nine walks, which helps to account for the on-base percentage.

It’s likely that Gamboa will open the 2019 season back at Clearwater.

15. Daniel Brito, 2B, 21 – Brito played the 2018 season with both Lakewood and Clearwater and put up consistent, although not overly impressive, offensive numbers. The 21-year old is much like Gamboa in that his offense lags behind his defense at times, but not to the point where you have to be concerned. On the season, Brito hit a combined .252/.307/.342 with the ‘Claws and Threshers and made just six errors for a combined fielding percentage of .988 at second base.

There is some thought that Brito could improve offensively, at least a little. If that happens, it’s possible that he could become a Freddy Galvis type of infielder, which would be a great find for the Phillies. They do happen to have a number of young middle infielders both at the major league and minor league levels, so Brito will have to continue to develop to stand out among the crowd. With just 27 games at Clearwater this past season, it’s likely that he returns to the Threshers for the upcoming season.

16. Nick Fanti, LHP, 22 – Nick Fanti had a dream season in 2017. First, he pitched for Italy in the World Baseball Classic and then went out and threw two no-hitters for Lakewood on his way to a 9-2, 2.54 mark with the BlueClaws. In 2018, he was going to have a tough time topping that, but he didn’t even come close. Injuries marred his season with Clearwater and he was only able to make six starts, going 3-3 with an explosive 7.22 ERA. A back injury kept him on the DL until mid-May and he struggled in his first two starts and was taken off the roster temporarily. He spent time in extended spring training and returned to Clearwater, but after a particularly bad start he was placed back on the DL with recurring back issues that finished off his season.

Back injuries can be tricky, but they can also often be overcome through special training and exercise regimens. Obviously, the first step is to get Fanti healthy and then see if he can get back to where he was in 2017. He’ll start with Clearwater and look to work his way back from there.

17. Mickey Moniak, OF, 20 – The Phillies were encouraged with the progress that Moniak showed in 2018 after a rough 2017 season. The Phillies challenged him with a move up to Clearwater even though he had struggled at Lakewood the year before and he hit .270/.304/.383 with the Threshers, which is respectable. The power hasn’t developed yet and he hit just five home runs, the same number that he had at Lakewood in 2017. The promising part is that Moniak hit .311 in August and over the final two months of the season, he hit .297 with four of his five home runs.

Defensively, Moniak has played well and posted a .996 fielding percentage playing all three outfield positions in 2018. He also had six outfield assists.

It’s likely that the Phillies again challenge Moniak and move him to Reading to open the season. If he is back in Clearwater, likely it won’t be for too long.

18. Cornelius Randolph, LF, 21 – The Phillies used the 10th overall pick in 2015 to draft Randolph as a high school player. They knew at the time that Randolph would be a bit of a project and he is turning out to be every bit of that and more. At times, it appears that things are starting to click but the spurts haven’t been sustained. Perhaps that’s going to change though as Randolph hit a combined 4-24-.314/.391/.429 over the last two months of the season at Reading. Up until that point, Randolph was hitting just .187/.274/.238 at the Double-A level.

Defensively, Randolph is solid and has a combined fielding percentage of .984 in the minors with 16 outfield assists – eight of which came in 2018 – to his credit.

It’s likely that the Phillies will keep moving Randolph through the system and have him start the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The key will be patience as it may take some time for him to adjust, just as it did at the Double-A level.

19. Ranger Suarez, LHP, 23 – At the beginning of the season, Ranger Suarez was an odd choice to be the guy that would end the Phillies streak of games without a left-handed starter. The streak reached 267 games when Suarez broke the string with his major league debut in late July. The lefty opened the season with Double-A Reading and after 12 starts and a 2.76 ERA, was promoted to Lehigh Valley. When the Phillies had an opening for a starter, Suarez got the call ahead of fellow lefty Cole Irvin, primarily because Suarez already held a spot on the 40-man roster and Irvin didn’t. Suarez made three starts and a relief appearance for the Phillies during the season and finished with an 8.40 ERA. In the minors though he was a combined 6-3, 2.75 in 21 starts.

The Phillies like Suarez a lot. Like De Los Santos, it’s possible that he could find his way to a more permanent footing in the majors as a reliever. With left-handers being scarce though, it’s likely they seek to keep him in the rotation. Odds are that he opens 2019 back in the Lehigh Valley rotation and ready to move to the majors, if needed.

20. Luis Garcia, SS, 18 – No, not that Luis Garcia. This Luis Garcia is a shortstop prospect out of the Dominican Republic with a bunch of talent. The Phillies signed Garcia as an international free agent in July, 2017 and brought him to the states for the 2018 season, placing him in the Gulf Coast League. Garcia is Gamboa and Brito without the concerns of how well he’ll play offensively. In his first pro season, Garcia hit .369/.433/.488 in the GCL with a .969 fielding percentage as a shortstop.

So, just where do the Phillies send Garcia to open the 2019 season? That’s going to be interesting, but it’s not likely that they push him too much. He’ll more than likely open the year in extended spring training and then go to either the GCL or to Williamsport when the short-season leagues begin in June. It’s not out of the question that he gets a bit of a taste of baseball at Lakewood before the season is out.

 

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