Earlier today, MLB.com announced their top-30 prospect list for the Philadelphia Phillies. Ben Harris (@Ben27Harris) of Crashburn Alley published a comprehensive review of the MLB.com’s evaluation and offered his own feelings on the prospects that were discussed. Check out the article, it is really well done.
Taking a look at a couple of the top prospects in the organization, I am less than impressed. As Harris noted, J.P. Crawford (#1) and Nick Williams (#3) seem to have flat lined in 2016.
After hitting .288 between A+ and AA in 2015, Crawford scuffled to the tune of a .250 AVG. between AA and AAA. Crawford’s OBP also fell from .380 to .349. To be fair, Crawford was only 21 years old last season and competing against players that are much older than him at both levels.
While a dip in numbers would be expected, especially for a young player at the upper levels of the minor leagues, it is a bit troubling. When comparing Crawford’s numbers to those of Mets top-prospect Amed Rosario, they are rather pedestrian. Rosario was hitting .309 before his promotion from A-ball to AA, where he then went on to hit .341 in 214 AB’s. Rosario was only 20 years old last season.
Trea Turner, another superstar shortstop prospect from the NL East (article coming on that tomorrow), also adjusted to AAA ball better than Crawford. Turner was 22 years old when he made the jump to AAA in 2015, and he continued to hit for a high AVG (.314) and hit .302 for a few months at AAA in 2016.
As for Nick Williams, his first season at AAA was pretty average. Hitting .258 with 13 HR’s and a weak .287 OBP. Williams also struck out 136 times in 497 AB’s. Throughout his career in the minors, Williams has struck out in more than 25% of his AB’s.
While Mickey Moniak, Sixto Sanchez (great baseball name) and Daniel Brito all made the list and seem to have plenty of upside and momentum, they are years away.
Crawford and Williams will need to improve in 2017 to legitimize their place at the top of the Phillies prospect rankings and ultimately earn their place on the Major League roster. This is a year of transition for the organization, and both should be playing a role in the show by the All-Star break. Spring Training and the first few months of the season will be pivotal in their overall growth.
Check back tomorrow for an analysis of the next generation of shortstops in the NL East (minus the Miami Marlins).