Rank the Phillies Prospects-A Survey by Mike Drago of the Reading Eagle

Again this year, I was privileged to be asked by Reading Eagle Sports Writer Mike Drago to be part of the “Rank the Phillies Prospects” survey. He asked us to “rank the top players in the Phillies organization from No. 1 to No. 25, based on their present value to the organization and their major league ceiling/potential. (A weighted ballot will be used, with first-place votes earning 25 points, second place 24 points, etc.)”

This is one of my favorite things to take part in as it’s so cool to be included with so many other reporters and bloggers whose work I enjoy reading.

So I talked through my list with Baseball Ross and we realized that we have seen so many of the prospects as they have progressed, save for a few that were acquired via trades or the draft.  So here’s “our” list:

Jake Thompson
Jake Thompson

1. Jake Thompson

Dylan Cozens
Dylan Cozens

2. Dylan Cozens

Rhys Hoskins
Rhys Hoskins

3. Rhys Hoskins

Jorge Alfaro
Jorge Alfaro

4. Jorge Alfaro

JP Crawford
JP Crawford

5. J P Crawford

Roman Quinn
Roman Quinn

6. Roman Quinn

Mickey Moniak
Mickey Moniak

7. Mickey Moniak

Franklin Kilome
Franklin Kilome

8. Franklyn Kilome

Elniery Garcia
Elniery Garcia

9. Elniery Garcia

Nick Williams
Nick Williams

10. Nick Williams

Jose Taveras
Jose Taveras

11. Jose Taveras

Scott Kingery
Scott Kingery

12. Scott Kingery

Ben Lively
Ben Lively

13. Ben Lively

Tyler Viza
Tyler Viza

14. Tyler Viza

Jose Pujols
Jose Pujols

15. Jose Pujols

Cornelius Randolph
Cornelius Randolph

16. Cornelius Randolph

Jhailyn Ortiz
Jhailyn Ortiz

17. Jhailyn Ortiz

Andrew Pullin
Andrew Pullin

18. Andrew Pullin

Andrew Knapp
Andrew Knapp

19. Andrew Knapp

Jiandido Tromp
Jiandido Tromp

20. Jiandido Tromp

Alberto Tirado
Alberto Tirado

21. Alberto Tirado

Jimmy Cordero
Jimmy Cordero

22. Jimmy Cordero

23. Sixto Sanchez
24. Nick Fanti

Adonis Medina
Adonis Medina

25. Adonis Medina

As you can see, I have been able to take pictures of all but two, and I have seen all 25 but sadly the two I missed were on days where I didn’t have my camera with me or the battery was dead by the end of the day during spring training. So Ross and I really put a lot of thought into our list.

The list from Drago as complied by all my fellow reporters and bloggers:

Reading Eagle Phillies minor league prospect ranks
(with position, current club)
1. J.P. Crawford, SS, Lehigh Valley
2. Jorge Alfaro, C, Reading
3. Nick Williams, OF, Lehigh Valley
4. Jake Thompson, P, Philadelphia
5. Mickey Moniak, OF, Gulf Coast
6. Dylan Cozens, OF, Reading
7. Roman Quinn, OF, Reading
8. Cornelius Randolph, OF, Lakewood
9. Franklyn Kilome, P, Lakewood
10. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Reading

11. Scott Kingery, 2B, Reading
12. Andrew Knapp, C, Lehigh Valley
13. Adonis Medina, P, Williamsport
14. Nick Pivetta, P, Lehigh Valley
15. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF, Gulf Coast
16. Ricardo Pinto, P, Reading
17. Elniery Garcia, P, Clearwater
18. Ben Lively, P, Lehigh Valley
19. Kevin Gowdy, P, Gulf Coast
20. Carlos Tocci, OF, Clearwater

Others receiving multiple votes( in order of vote total):
Mark Appel, P, Lehigh Valley
Sixto Sanchez, P, Gulf Coast
Jimmy Cordeo, P, Reading
Cole Stobbe, SS, Gulf Coast
Jose Pujols, OF, Lakewood
Alberto Tirado, P, Lakewood
Alec Asher, P, Lehigh Valley
Thomas Eshelman, P, Reading
Drew Anderson, P, Clearwater
Andrew Pullin, OF, Reading
Cole Irvin, P, Williamsport
Arquimedes Gamboa, Williamsport
JoJo Romero, P, Williamsport
Malquin Canelo, SS, Clearwater
Tyler Viza, P, Reading

It’s enlightening to see where all they players fall per the weighted vote. Of the list, Ross and I could see almost any of them on the list though may be in a different position (as was evidenced by our differences on our list). I will find it interesting to see how this pans out in the future.

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Opening Day of the New York-Penn League

Baseball Ross and I recently travelled over 1,100 miles from Clearwater to Williamsport to see the “kids” we’ve been watching since last March move into their first summer of “real” baseball.

The look on their faces when they saw that we made the trip made it all worth while!

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Your 2014 Williamsport Crosscutters

Alejandro Arteaga was the starting pitcher

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Cord Sandberg led off and fouls a ball off of his calf, ouch!

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Deivy Grullon looked good at the plate

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Ricky Bielski looked good, with no hits in his first two innings

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Rhashawn, the Director of Smiles and Williamsport Icon sang “Take me out to the ballgame

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It was a great time, even if our Cutters took the loss.

Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning’s End

Extended Spring Training has ended and now it’s time for short-season New York-Penn League to start.

It’s been the best of times and the worst of times. We watched some good friends get promoted to Williamsport and others were either left for the Gulf Coast League, sent to the Dominican Summer League (DSL) or given their outright release.

Last summer was the first summer that Baseball Ross and I spent nearly every day sitting in the stifling noon-day heat watching these young guys play in the rookie league of GCL.

GCL is special for the simple fact that the fans that go are either related to the players or die-hards. What other kind of crazy people would sit out in the heat at noon? There usually are only 5 or 6 “non family” members there so the players get to know you and you really feel invested in their progress.

The short-season New York-Penn League starts on Friday and Ross and I will be on our way to Pennsylvania. We are hoping to see Williamsport, then AA Reading, AAA Lehigh Valley and A- Lakewood, though not necessarily in that order. Couple that with seeing the GCL Phillies and the A+ Threshers the day we return and we will have seen EVERY team in the Phillies’ minor League system! By the end of the week, I will wager that we will travel close to THREE THOUSAND MILES!

I think we are going to be tired!

I plan to blog as we go so be sure to check back!

BREAKING: Ramon Hernandez out as Clearwater Manager

The Phillies announced today that Ramon Hernandez “will not manage Clearwater this season as previously announced for personal reasons.”

Williamsport Crosscutter Manager, Nelson Prada has been promoted to take the helm in Advanced-A Clearwater.

My End of Season Top 10 Prospects in the Phillies’ System

Baseball Ross and I have lived in Clearwater for the last two years. We moved here specifically for the baseball. From Spring Training, to Extended Spring Training, to Gulf Coast League, to the Fall Instructional League and the Florida State League Clearwater Threshers, there’s a lot of baseball to see.

For the ten prospects on the list, they are players I have watched and am excited to see progress.

  
1.  Cody Asche. Recently called up to the majors, he has always been a guy that we’ve had our eyes on. He’s a solid third baseman and has the numbers to back that claim. We watched him most of last season with the Threshers before he was moved up to Reading.

  
2. Maikel Franco. He started the season here in Clearwater before moving to Reading. He plays third and what we like about him is that he has soft hands. He will field the ball, taking time to catch it, then will fire it with laser-like precision. He can also hit the long ball.

  
3. Jesse Biddle. This much-touted southpaw certainly has what it takes. During a game in April that we watched on MiLB.tv, he racked up sixteen strike outs in seven innings against Harrisburg. He also lead the Eastern League in strike outs at the all-star break.

  
4. Severino Gonzalez. He’s moved around a lot this season, Extended Spring Training, Lakewood and Clearwater. Gonzalez has been both a reliever and a starter this season and been successful no matter when he’s pitched.

  
5. Kelly Dugan. He started the season on the disabled list but has come back to amaze. He has a bat that most people notice, but what impressed me was his arm. I saw him catch a ball deep in right field and fire it to third with pinpoint accuracy. No bounce.

6. JP Crawford. A first round draft pick this year, he’s already shown why. He started in the Gulf Coast League and has already leap-frogged over Williamsport to Lakewood. This 18 year old short stop was hitting as high as .380 before being sent to Lakewood last week.
  
7. Cameron Rupp. Rupp played in Clearwater last season, started this year in Reading and has already moved up to Lehigh Valley. He’s a solid back stop. He hits and is a great defensive player. While he may not be the replacement for Ruiz next year, could he be a solid back up for the Big Team?

  
8. Roman Quinn. This shortstop had an on-base percentage of .669 and 32 stolen bases before being sidelined by a broken left wrist. He’s one of the fastest players we’ve even seen. While he’s been a little error-prone, his speed more than makes up for it.

Cameron Perkins
Cameron Perkins
9. Cameron Perkins. He is a solid outfielder with a very strong arm and bat. He was hit by a pitch during a game and suffered a broken wrist. He’s returned to the team though he is just getting his timing back and looks to finish the season strong.

10. Kenny Giles. This reliever is one to watch. Last season, we saw him hit 101 on the speed gun in Dunedin. While not quite as fast after his injury this year, he still has a fast ball that just can’t be hit.

Honorable Mention:

  
Hobby Milner-This Threshers pitcher is one to watch. He’s one pitcher we will go out of our way to see. After his first three starts of the season, he’s become one of the most consistent pitchers. With 11 wins and is tied for the most wins in the Florida State League.

Finally, our ‘Unsung Hero’ award would go to Carlos Alonso. Alonso is spending his second year in Clearwater. He’s one guy that we truly admire, we can’t think of another player who plays as hard, every single play. He’s a solid second baseman who has only had two errors all season. He also has a knack for getting on base, drawing walks and scoring runs.

Carlos Alonso posing with me after signing his jersey for me.
Carlos Alonso posing with me after signing his jersey for me.

Divergent Paths-A View of Two Brothers, Sam and Jesse Biddle

Over the years of watching baseball, especially minor league baseball, I have had the privilege of meeting players as well as their families. I met Jesse Biddle last season when the Threshers introduced the team to the fans at the beginning of the year party. I talked to Jesse about driving two hours just to watch him with his first game with the Williamsport Crosscutters two years earlier. We struck up a bit of a friendship and I wrote about it on my blog. You can read it HERE.

Jesse’s dad, David Biddle read that blog and sent me an email so we’ve also gotten to be friends.  It was David who told me about the movie, which was created by his son Conor, a filmmaker. The movie is about his brothers Sam and Jesse and how these very different brothers have both excelled in two very different careers.

I enjoyed the movie and would highly recommend it as a view into two very successful people who are driven to become the best at their chosen professions.

If you’d like to view the movie, you can see it on YouTube:

Divergent Paths-A True Story by Conor Biddle