Philly Baseball Insider wraps up our look back at the Top 50 Phillies Prospects as they were ranked coming into the season. Our review includes a look at their performance in 2018. You can find the previous reviews here…
Ages listed are as of April 1, 2019
1. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, 20 – Injuries limited the top Phillies prospect to just eight starts with Clearwater this past season. Sanchez was put on the DL in June with right elbow inflammation and had hoped to return late in the season but the timetable kept being pushed back. It was then decided to shut him down until the Florida Instructional League to get him ready to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, but a soreness in his collarbone prevented him from pitching in the AFL, as the Phillies elected to be cautious with the injury. All signs are that Sanchez should be fine for spring training and will start the 2019 season, most likely back with Clearwater.
Sanchez has tons of talent and pitched to a 4-3, 2.51 mark this season. Providing that the injury doesn’t bleed into next season, he should be fine, but his arrival in the majors will likely be slowed. It’s not out of the question that once they determine he’s healthy, the Phillies could look to push Sanchez on to a bit of a faster track during the upcoming season.
2. Scott Kingery, INF, 24 – It’s hard to judge Scott Kingery’s season. Just prior to the season, the Phillies pulled a surprise move and signed the infield prospect to a six-year, $24-million contract and kept him with the big league club rather than have him head to Triple-A for more development time. Kingery wound up playing in 147 games with the Phillies, but hit just .226 with eight home runs and 35 RBI on the season. Why it’s difficult to judge Kingery is because he spent much of the season learning to play shortstop and getting somewhat uneven playing time.
It’s likely that more time with the IronPigs at Triple-A and the chance to learn the shortstop position at that level rather than in the majors would have been a good idea. Figure on Kingery to be back with the Phillies for 2019, although his role is still undefined. At this point, he would serve as somewhat of a super-utility type player, but offseason moves could adjust that to get him into an everyday starting spot with the team.
3. J. P. Crawford, SS, 24 – The 2018 season saw Crawford miss considerable time with both a right forearm strain and then a broken left hand. When the season was over, Crawford has played in just 49 games with the Phillies and spent some time late in the season with Lehigh Valley, seeking to get his swing back. At the major league level, Crawford hit 3-12-.214/.319/.393 and over parts of two seasons, now has a line of 3-18-.214/.333/.358 in the majors.
It would have been good to see how Crawford would have responded had he been healthy all season and able to get regular playing time. Likely, his offensive numbers would have been higher. One concern is that his defensive stats were lower than where they need to be at shortstop, where he had just a .931 fielding percentage, compared to a .973 league average. This is going to be an interesting offseason, because the Phillies could address the shortstop position – Manny Machado? – or they could have Kingery and Crawford come into camp and battle for the spot.
4. Adam Haseley, OF, 22 – Just as the Phillies hoped that he would do, Haseley is progressing through the system at a healthy pace. He reached Low-A Lakewood in 2017 and then went to Clearwater to open the 2018 season before a promotion to Reading in July. Between the two stops, Haseley hit a combined 11-55-.305/.361/.433 and played well in all three outfield spots.
You have to figure that the Phillies want him to have more than just the 39 games that he played at the Double-A level. Haseley, the eighth overall pick in the 2017 Draft, will likely open the season at Reading and jump to Triple-A Lehigh Valley as soon as they deem him ready. It’s not out of the question that he could make a debut with the Phillies as a September call-up, although, much like Cole Irvin this season, the Phillies won’t have to add him to the 40-man roster to protect him, so they could just wait for 2019. Much of that will depend on the numbers that Haseley puts up against tougher pitching.
5. Adonis Medina, RHP, 22 – Medina made 21 starts for High-A Clearwater with a 10-4 record and a 4.12 ERA. In 111 1/3 innings, he struck out 123 batters, many coming with an improved slider that he can now command well and throw at any point in the count. Much of the time, Medina still counts on his simple mid-90s fastball that he can blow by hitters even though he’s not in the upper-90s range with the pitch. The key is good, late movement and the growth of his slider as a second pitch has made the fastball more potent because Medina can use both in key spots. Medina also throws a very serviceable change-up that he disguises well to give him three solid pitches. The curve lags behind, but Medina uses it in the right spots to keep hitters guessing.
The 2019 season is going to be a key one for Medina, who will reach Double-A at some point and could possibly open the season there. Hitters at that level start to get tougher to fool and Medina has seen slight raises in his ERA, which went from 2.92 at Williamsport in 2016 to 3.01 the following season at Lakewood and then moved to 4.12 this past season. If he can reverse that trend, Medina could project as a number-two starter, but for now, he’s a solid three, but in danger of being a back of the rotation guy if the trend continues.
6. Jorge Alfaro, C, 25 – The Phillies catching situation was somewhat fluid during the 2018 season. For a while, Alfaro was the main guy before Andrew Knapp started to pick up some more at-bats. At the trade deadline, the Phillies dealt for Wilson Ramos and he picked up some time down the stretch, although not as much as planned because of injuries. For Alfaro, it all meant an opportunity to play in 109 games this season during which he hit 10-37-.262/.324/.407 with the Phillies. The biggest knock on Alfaro was his lack of an ability to put the ball in play on a constant basis. He struck out 138 times during the season. Defensively, Alfaro still maintains his cannon-like arm, but he was actually a little below the National League average for throwing out baserunners, posting a 26-percent caught stealing number compared to the league average of 28-percent. It’s likely that he would have been at or slightly above average had Phillies pitchers done a better job of holding runners.
The catching situation is still fluid. Ramos is likely gone, having filed for free agency, but that’s not to say that the Phillies won’t determine that they’ve got to find someone to either take over for Alfaro or to complement him as a catcher, looking to use two catchers with somewhat similar playing time for the two.
7. Jhailyn Ortiz, RF, 20 – The Phillies continue to wait for Ortiz to put up the type of numbers that they projected him to reach when they signed him as an international free agent in 2015. In 2017, he upped his average from .231 to .302, playing in 47 games in both seasons, the first with the GCL Phillies and his second season with Williamsport. In the same number of games, he hit eight home runs in each of the two seasons. The hope was that he could keep the average near where it was in 2017 but boost his power numbers in 2018; that didn’t happen. His average dipped to just .225 and he went from one home run every 20 at-bats in 2017 to one every 31 at-bats this past season.
Yeah, you do have to keep in mind that Ortiz is still developing, but his 2018 season was disappointing. The 2019 season will see him back with Lakewood where he was this past summer as the Phillies hope that he figures things out and takes some definitive steps forward offensively.
8. Franklyn Kilome, RHP, 23 – There’s no denying that Kilome’s star started to dull a little in 2018. The dullness led to Kilome being dealt to the Mets in late July for infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. With Cabrera filing for free agency, it’s likely that the Phillies gave up Kilome for two months of a utility player. That’s dull. It will be interesting to see if a new set of eyes on Kilome will help him to regain the form that at one point had him as a pretty significant prospect in the Phillies organization. Of course, Kilome may find himself elsewhere since he is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft and the Mets have not added him to their 40-man roster as of yet. Odds are though that nobody is going to figure he can make the jump from being a Double-A pitcher with a combined 4.18 ERA this season to someone that a team would want to carry on their major league roster for a full season.
9. JoJo Romero, LHP, 22 – The bad news is that Romero’s season was cut short by an injury, ending after 18 starts. The good news is that the injury was a strained oblique and not anything with his arm or shoulder. In those 18 starts with Reading, Romero went 7-6 with a 3.80 ERA and posted 100 strikeouts in 106 2/3 innings of work. His walks were a little high at almost 3.5 walks per nine innings and is something for him to work on reducing during the 2019 season. Romero is blessed with a fastball that has dramatic cut to it, making it more effective than most low-90s fastballs. He’s also got three other solid, although not dominating pitches, with a change-up, curve and slider. He commands all four pitches well, which makes his walk numbers surprising.
Did the Phillies see enough to send Romero to Lehigh Valley to start the 2019 season? If they didn’t, then it shouldn’t take them long into the season to move him up to the IronPigs starting rotation once the season begins. Odds are though that they have seen enough and will likely push him – provided he has a good spring – and assign him to Lehigh Valley for the start of the season.
10. Seranthony Dominguez, RHP, 24 – While Dominguez has been in the Phillies organization since signing with them in October of 2011, he moved quickly through the upper levels in 2018, having opened the season with Reading and then moving to Lehigh Valley. Between the two levels, he pitched in just 11 games before being summoned to Philadelphia and making his MLB debut on May 7th. Early on in the majors, Dominguez was lights out and pitched 15 2/3 scoreless innings to open his career with the Phillies. Through his first 12 appearances, Dominguez posted a 1.74 ERA and had 11 saves. Whether it was a matter of teams adjusting to him, a matter of overuse by manager Gabe Kapler, or a combination of both, Dominguez sputtered through August, but rebounded to form over the last month of the season.
The Phillies are keeping their eyes open for a closer but if they can’t come up with one, look for Dominguez to at least compete for the job in camp and likely open the 2019 season closing out games for the Phillies. He converted 16 of 20 opportunities last season.