When I first became a huge baseball fan in the late 80’s, I took it for granted that the New York Yankees were a pretty crappy team. As the A’s, Giants, Twins, Dodgers, etc. dominated the game from 1987-1992, the Yankees never placed higher than fourth in the AL East. I assumed that’s just the way it was and didn’t realize I was less than a decade removed from back-to-back Championships and multiple World Series appearances.
While the storied Phillies franchise (and most franchises in sports) can’t compare to the lasting greatness of the Yankees, I thought back to this as I poured through the Philadelphia minor league system preparing this list. Kids who came into baseball in the past five years might not realize how close they came to witnessing the Phillies dominance – five consecutive NL East titles, back-to-back World Series appearances and, of course, the 2008 World Series Championship. Five years removed from that last division crown, the franchise has taken its lumps. But through a series of trades that helped them shed salary in exchange for promise, and a number of International Free Agent signings, the Phillies have loaded their farm system. It currently stands as one of the best in the game.
It was a pleasure to analyze the finest aspects of this system piece by piece. It made me feel for the guys slogging through lesser systems (Angels?) and respect the work they’re doing even more. I feel I had it pretty easy. While many of these lists failed to come up with a single player to place in Tier 1, I honestly feel this franchise currently has four. I look forward to tracking each player’s progress this season and seeing how things shake out for 2018. I hope you enjoy reading through these rankings as much as I enjoyed compiling them. I give you my top 50 Phillies prospects for 2017.
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster
1. J.P. Crawford, SS
Age: 22 (DOB 01/11/95)
Drafted out of high school in 2013, Crawford has been the no. 1 prospect in the organization since 2014 and is arguably the top prospect in all of MLB right now. A stellar defensive player at a premium position, Crawford also exhibits patience at the plate. His power is still developing and, though he possesses average speed, he still managed to swipe 12 bags last season. With perennial 20/20 potential, Crawford is expected to make his debut in 2017. I’d draft him in the middle rounds of Dynasty, the later rounds of Keeper, and will be keeping him on my radar in re-draft.
2. Mickey Moniak, OF
Age: 18 (DOB 05/13/98)
Moniak impressed the Phillies enough to make him the 1st overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, and he’s still years away from reaching his full potential. With an ability to put the ball in play anywhere in the field and the speed to turn those hits into extra bases, Moniak is continuing to add strength to his frame. Centerfield at Citizens Bank has a “reserved” sign with his name on it. He could be the piece that drives your fantasy team towards a championship in 2020, a la Trea Turner in 2016.
3. Nick Williams, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 09/08/93)
Arriving with the Phillies as part of the ransom collected in the Cole Hamels deal, Williams is considered by some teammates to be the best player in the entire farm system. He hits, he runs and can play all three OF spots. Though a handful of behavioral issues checkered his 2016 season, the incidents appear to be overblown. While he nearly tops the Phillies top 50 prospect list this season, Nick Williams could realistically find himself in your fantasy top 50 in the next few years.
4. Franklyn Kilome, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 06/25/95)
The top pitching prospect in the organization, Kilome worked through a rough stretch last season and came out the other side with a workable third pitch. He’ll continue to work on his changeup while, at the same time, adding weight to his 6’6 frame. His work ethic is universally lauded and, by 2019, he’s expected to be joining names like Nola and Velasquez as part of what could be the next great Phillies rotation.
5. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
Age: 23 (DOB 03/17/93)
One half of Reading’s Bash Brothers along with Dylan Cozens, Hoskins finished second to only Cozens in HR’s (38) and RBI’s (116) in the Eastern League and third place wasn’t even close. What gives Hoskins the edge over his teammate is a more advanced approach and hit tools. He’s limited to a single corner IF position, though perennial 30+ HR seasons in Philadelphia don’t seem like all too crazy of a stretch.
6. Dylan Cozens, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 05/31/94)
If AA Fantasy were the game, Cozens would’ve likely delivered a championship to most of your teams last season. Setting a new record for HR’s hit by a Fightin’ Phil (mostly at Reading’s launching pad of a stadium), Cozens 40 dongs put him on the prospect map (21 SB’s didn’t hurt either). Unfortunately, the highly publicized Winter League fistfight he was involved in was sparked by trash talking about the one thing that keeps him from being a sure thing – his inability to hit breaking balls. He’s dedicated to fixing his issues, so 2017 will tell us a lot about which one of the former AA players who he passed to set that HR record he’ll come closer to emulating – Ryan Howard or Darin Ruf.
7. Scott Kingery, 2B
Age: 22 (DOB 04/29/94)
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Scott Kingery in a Philadelphia uniform in 2017. Though HR’s are not a part of his game, the hard hitting second baseman exhibits the type of consistency that garners comparisons to guys like Dustin Pedroia. Most notably, he had one Philadelphia official claiming “There are many nights when Kingery is the best player on the field”. If your focus is more on SB’s and OPS, you’ll want to keep this guy earmarked towards the middle of your dynasty draft.
8. Sixto Sanchez, RHP
Age: 18 (DOB 07/29/98)
Sanchez made 11 starts in the GCL in 2016 and was 5-0 with a 0.50 ERA, giving up just 3 earned runs in 54 innings. Those insane numbers have skyrocketed the young pitcher to the top of the Phillies prospect list. His fastball doesn’t drop below an effortless 95 MPH and his slider can also touch 90. He’s expected to spend 2017 in Lakewood, but if he can show the impression he made last summer was no aberration, he could be throwing heat (in the rotation or perhaps as a shut down closer) as early as 2019. Edwin Diaz anyone?
9. Cornelius Randolph, OF
Age: 19 (DOB 06/02/97)
An advanced approach at the plate and exceptional bat speed are the things that have scouts raving about Randolph. The hope is that the power will develop in time. A shoulder injury kept him out of action for two months in 2016, but Randolph will be the first to blow up on you in a Twitter rant about how young he is. He has the time to develop, and though the future outfield in Philadelphia might be getting crowded, there’s always room for a bat like his.
10. Jorge Alfaro, C
Age: 23 (DOB 06/11/93)
One of the top prospects in the organization, Alfaro got some time in the big leagues at the end of the 2016 season and has every right to expect to stick around. He hit 15 HR’s with a .285 AVG at Reading last year, but it’s his defense, most notably his pitch framing, that makes him a major league asset. While that’s exciting to watch, it doesn’t help you stand out in fantasy rankings. He’ll likely be owned in standard re-drafts, but don’t expect to trip over the competition getting to him.
11. Roman Quinn, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 05/14/93)
The Phillies leadoff man of the future might have been a present day phenom were it not for the numerous injuries that have stalled his career. A switch hitter who can get it done from both sides, Quinn is also an excellent defender. The Phillies signing of OF Michael Saunders to a one-year deal, however, indicates the organization intends to keep him in Lehigh Valley this year. A healthy season would certainly change the conversation next spring.
12. Kevin Gowdy, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB 11/16/97)
The expectations are high within the organization for Gowdy. Drafted out of high school in 2016, the lanky Californian possesses three above-average pitches including a fastball that is currently working it’s way into the mid-90’s. ESPN’s Keith Law feels Gowdy will not only reach the majors in relatively short order, but that he could be occupying the 2 or 3 spot in the rotation. In four starts last season in the GCL, Gowdy’s performance was up and down, though he did record 9 K/9. I wouldn’t be surprised if he cracks the Top 50 SP rankings by 2020.
13. Ricardo Pinto, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 01/20/94)
The 2015 Minor League Pitcher Of The Year in the organization lost some of his shine following a promotion to Reading last year. He spent the entire season there, where he put together an average, if unspectacular, year. Part of the issue was Pinto’s focusing on his slider at the urging of management, thus sacrificing his awesome K-inducing changeup. It’s a good sign that he’s willing to do what the brass ask of him, though there isn’t currently a ton of room for promotion. Will he dominate at AA in 2017? He’ll certainly have the opportunity.
14. Andrew Knapp, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 11/09/91)
The Phillies Minor League Player Of The Year in 2015, Knapp seemed on a fast track to Philadelphia before the Cole Hamels trade produced a roadblock named Jorge Alfaro. With both catchers currently stuck behind Cameron Rupp, it’s looking more and more like someone’s got to go. It’s unlikely Alfaro will be that person, which means Knapp’s shot at the majors could come through the handiwork of GM Matt Klentak. He’s got the tools you’d want in a backstop and hits for average and power. He should definitely be on your dynasty radar and could have some redraft value by 2018.
15. Adonis Medina, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 12/18/96)
Medina is the third name to enter the discussion along with Kilome and Sanchez when it comes to a possible golden era on the horizon for the Phillies rotation. His pitching coach in Williamsport described him as a “student of the game” and, like many others, feels he is beyond his years in approach and execution. He came within two outs of a no-hitter back in June and should have his skills on full display in Reading this summer. If you’re stashing mid-rotation guys with big upsides, you’ll want to give Medina a look.
16. Ben Lively, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 03/05/92)
The return on the Marlon Byrd trade to Cincinnati in 2014, Lively was gaining comparisons to Tony Cingrani at that time. He struggled in 2015, started last season in AA and, by late May, he was an Iron Pig for good. He doesn’t do anything that’s going to blow you away, but he does everything very well. He took home Minor League Pitcher Of The Year honors and will be an integral part of the AAA rotation from the first day of the season. He’s an injury away from a spot start on the main roster and could stick around. If you’re reading this, then you probably already know to watch the waiver wire for when that day arrives.
17. Thomas Eshelman, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 06/20/94)
Any pitcher in the minors would love to have a scout compare them in some way to Greg Maddux. Eshelman has received such praise on the command of his fastball. Unfortunately, his average tools limit the comparison, but again, that command. This is a guy who walked just 18 batters in 376 career college innings. That’s insane, and should be good enough to guide him into Lehigh Valley this season and possibly up into the majors. We’ll be keeping an eye on his increasing velocity, as that truly could be a difference maker.
18. Cole Stobbe, 3B
Age: 19 (DOB 08/30/97)
No one attribute jumps out about Stobbe. He played SS throughout high school, but committed errors in 25% of the games he played in GCL last season, leaving most to assume he’ll be bumped over to 3B in 2017. He’s also not much of a stolen base threat, caught in 6 out of 9 attempts. That said, he’s got a solid toolset across the board and his quick swing results in line drives all over the field. At his age, there’s lots of time to see if he can develop into the “poor man’s Trevor Story” assessment he was given by one scout. There are worse things one could be.
19. Nick Pevetta, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 02/14/93)
Known informally as the sole piece the Phillies got back in return for Jonathan Papelbon. With a largely excellent 2016 that saw Pevetta improve the command of all four of his pitches and finish with the fifth best strikeout rate in the Eastern League, the last laugh on that deal may be had by the current first base coach of the Red Sox, former Phillies GM Ruben Amaro. Pevetta is projected to debut in Philadelphia sooner than later this season, though I would expect him to get the majority of his work in the bullpen.
20. Mark Appel, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 07/15/91)
The Astros let Kris Bryant slip to no. 2 in order to make Mark Appel the top pick in the 2013 MLB draft. After a couple years of waiting for him to work through command issues and a low K rate, Houston included Appel in a package to acquire Ken Giles prior to the 2016 season. He then lasted into May before shoulder and elbow surgeries shut him down for the season. And here we are now, waiting to see if the former top prospect can pick up the pieces and work his way into the back of the Phillies rotation or perhaps earn a spot in the bullpen. While I think the odds are good he’ll pitch off the mound in Citizens Bank at some point in 2017, I don’t think there is much fantasy appeal here.
21. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF
Age: 18 (DOB 11/18/98)
The Phillies believed in Ortiz enough to drop M into signing him as an international free agent at age 17. Though his numbers out of the GCL last season left much to be desired, the organization still believes his athleticism and raw power will deliver. He’s relegated to LF or perhaps 1B, so options are thin. He may make for an interesting trade piece involving an American League team in need of a DH. Otherwise, figure on the road to Philadelphia taking another 4-5 years.
22. JoJo Romero, LHP
Age: 20 (DOB 09/09/96)
Following a single season of college ball, Jojo got snagged by the Phillies in the 4th round of the 2016 draft. But not before performing the stuff of school legends – a 15 K championship clinching performance for Yavapai College in the JuCo World Series. From there, it was onto Williamsport, where the young lefty did nothing to sway the opinions that landed him in the organization in the first place. He possesses a 4-seam fastball that gets up to 95 mph, as well as a curveball, slider and changeup that are all good for getting strikes. He’s relatively short – just 6’0 – and that has scouts projecting him for a role in the bullpen. His stuff is good enough to garner him rotation consideration though, and the fact that he’s a coveted LHP will earn him that opportunity sooner than later.
23. Elniery Garcia, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB 12/24/94)
With scarce few spots open in the bullpen this season, it’s hard to imagine a scenario that lands Garcia in Philadelphia any time soon. All but one of his 2016 starts came at Clearwater and, at the moment, the organization still thinks of him as a starter. Still, with the embarrassment of riches the Phillies possess in pitching prospects, scant few are LHP. Garcia continues to work on his above average curve, his fastball now gets up to 92 and his changeup is developing into a genuine third pitch. These are the tools that will land a lefty specialist on a big league roster in some shape or form.
24. Malquin Canelo, SS
Age: 22 (DOB 09/05/94)
Following something of an offensive breakout in 2015, Canelo had some regression last season, including watching his batting average dip from .281 to .246. He’s considered by some to be a better defensive SS than JP Crawford and one would think a call up of the latter would result in Canelo’s debut with Lehigh Valley. Even if he does manage to put his newfound strength and conditioning to work offensively, it’s hard to see when there would be a spot for him in Philadelphia. If the offense never really gets much further along than it has, we may be looking at a utility guy in the mold of Brendan Ryan.
25. Carlos Tocci, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 08/23/95)
The Phillies would love to see Tocci emulate Malquin Canelo’s efforts to gain some muscle through their conditioning program. He’s been in the system since a highly touted international signing in 2011 and is a plus-defender with a great arm and solid contact rate. Yet it always seems to come back to “what if he worked on his strength more”? He’s never likely to be a power guy, but his ability has gotten him through the lower levels of the organization. He can play all three outfield spots and has really gotten the hang of putting line drives into play. But what if he worked on his strength more?
26. Joely Rodriguez, LHP
Age: 25 (DOB 11/14/91)
Picked up prior to 2015 in the trade that sent Antonio Bastardo to Pittsburgh. Rodriguez is a ground out machine and has a K/9 rate that isn’t too shabby either. He can meander into a slump, but showed last season following a demotion down to Clearwater that he’s also capable of getting a fire lit under his flame-throwing ass (did I mention his sinker touched 98 mph?). He struck out 10.8 batters per nine once they made him the High-A closer and capped off his season with a September call up to the Phillies. For me, Rodriguez is the type of guy I pick up when my starting pitching gets thin and I need a limited innings guy to get me some sneaky strikeouts. In that regard, he’s on the 2017 fantasy radar.
27. Jose Pujols, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 09/29/95)
Since his signing as an international free agent in 2012, the Phillies have seen Pujols as a special talent. He exudes raw power and has decent bat speed. He spent spring training last season under the wing of Maikel Franco, and walked away feeling vastly improved for the experience. Organization brass were even quick to point out that they saw him as perhaps the next Franco. The biggest issue with Pujols? Oh, just an alarming 32.6% strikeout rate. As his subpar .241 AVG indicates, if he wasn’t hitting a HR or double in 2016, he was usually swinging and sitting. His power is enough to solidify his spot in Clearwater’s RF. If he could even knock 6-8% off that K rate, he could be moving upward by seasons end.
28. Jesmuel Valentin, 2B
Age: 22 (DOB 05/12/94)
Largely considered to be the second best 2B prospect in the organization behind Scott Kingery, Valentin’s path was cleared following Josh Tobias departure in exchange for Clay Buchholz this offseason. His numbers dropped following a promotion to Lehigh Valley last season, but the club still liked him enough to add him to the 40-man roster. He doesn’t do anything too crazy good, but isn’t that bad either. Daniel Brito is nipping at his heels.
29. Daniel Brito, 2B
Age: 18 (DOB 01/23/98)
To talk about Daniel Brito is to discuss an 18 year old with just over 100 minor league games on his resume who possesses exemplary plate discipline – drawing walks, working counts and putting line drives in every part of the park. It’s a maturity rarely seen in a player so young and will serve him well as he ascends the Phillies system. While it’s easy to picture him manning second at Citizens Bank, it’s hard to see him rising much beyond a utility specialist. His AVG is decent, but he’s not a power guy or a speedster. While he could play a pivotal role in bringing another championship to Philadelphia, it doesn’t seem as likely he’ll make a difference in leading your fantasy team to a similar fate.
30. Jose Taveras, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 11/06/93)
Taveras tore up Lakewood last season with an awesome 10.09 K/9, leading the South Atlantic League in strikeouts. He was practically unhittable in the first month of the season and never really looked all that bad. In fact, he followed up his worst outing with a 15 K gem, which gives you an idea of his resiliency. He could be frustrating hitters in Reading sometime this summer.
31. Darick Hall, 1B
Age: 21 (DOB 07/25/95)
Baseball America gave Hall the “Best Power” honors in their report card of the 2016 MLB draft. Between Dallas Baptist and Williamsport, he boasted 29 home runs on the year. The Phillies have their fingers crossed that they’ve got the next Rhys Hoskins in Darick Hall.
32. Deivi Grullon, C
Age: 20 (DOB 02/17/96)
Another highly-regarded catcher, another player who will place far higher on real-life rankings than in fantasy. That’s not to be glib regarding Grullon. He has a true passion for catching and possesses one of the strongest arms in the minors. By most accounts, he’s also a gem for pitchers to work with. He’s working on adding advanced pitch framing to a repertoire that already features great blocking and an ability to calm pitchers down. He’s just not seen as much of an offensive threat. Should his day come, and he has lots of time to put in the work on the farm, he’ll be one of those “and the rest” catchers left in the pile in 2021 after Gary Sanchez goes off the board.
33. Cole Irvin, LHP
Age: 23 (DOB 01/31/94)
Irvin returned to form and then some following 2014 Tommy John surgery. The command is back and his velocity is reaching into the mid-90’s. Age and inconsistency are the main drawbacks, though there’s no looking past his ERA/WHIP through 7 starts and 10 appearances, which sat at a stellar 1.97/0.96. He’ll likely start the season in the Clearwater rotation with a shot to move up before seasons end.
34. Alberto Tirado, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 12/10/94)
Acquired from Toronto in the 2015 deadline deal that shipped out Ben Revere, Tirado had an interesting ride in 2016. Considered by the organization to be a relief guy, largely due to his crippling command issues, he faltered in the role through the first half of the season at Lakewood. He was then moved into the rotation where things picked up – albeit, not at any kind of all-star level, but an ability to throw strikes and avoid walking too many hitters began to surface. His long-term success still seems tied to the relief role, though he’ll likely return to the BlueClaws rotation, if for no other reason, to have many innings with which to work through his issues.
35. Grant Dyer, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 07/31/95)
A lot of Dyer’s innings in college came in relief and the Phillies were sure to keep him there following last year’s draft. His mechanics are excellent and his control seems beyond his age. He could be a solid Holds pickup sometime in the next two years.
36. Juan Luis, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 03/23/96)
Higher on general prospect lists than on fantasy ones due to his ability to cover CF, which of course comes from his plus-plus speed, which does give him fantasy appeal. His slash line isn’t great, but again, with the speed we could be looking at a Mallex Smith or perhaps even Keon Broxton type piece if he can work his way up the ladder.
37. Felix Paulino, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 03/24/95)
Outside of three rocky starts at the beginning of the season, Prince Felix dazzled in his debut season at Williamsport in 2016, finishing up with a 2.89 ERA in 13 starts. His velocity turns heads and, if the momentum carries over this season, we could see him in Reading before long.
38. Drew Anderson, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 03/22/94)
2016 was a return year for Anderson, coming off Tommy John surgery the previous spring and working through a full season. He didn’t disappoint. Posting similar numbers to his breakout 2013 campaign, Anderson also posted a 10.19 K/9 rate, far improved from that season. He was impressive in Clearwater and is hoping to have a shot at the Reading rotation in 2017.
39. Blake Quinn, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 08/29/94)
45 strikeouts in 32.1 innings pitched with a 1.11 ERA between Williamsport and Lakewood in 2016. He may be the lesser Quinn in the organization, but those numbers will sit with you.
40. Francisco Morales, RHP
Age: 17 (DOB 10/22/99)
We don’t know what we have in Morales, because he’s yet to throw a pitch with the organization. The 6’5, 200lb teenager was signed as an international free agent last July and ranked in the top 20 non-Cuban international prospects eligible list by Baseball America. He’s large and possesses a fastball that already tops 96 mph. He’ll likely get his work in at GCL this year and take it from there.
41. Edgar Garcia, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 10/04/96)
An international free agent from the class of ‘14, Garcia put in his first full season of work this past year in Lakewood where he seemed to find his groove as a reliever. His roots tie him to other successful Latin American signees like Kilome and Medina, and the Phillies are hopeful (wishful?) that equals big things for him as well. He’s in the process of putting together a solid three-pitch repertoire, including a 95 mph fastball and a standout slider. If you ask me, it seems as though he’s destined to be picking up holds on the backs of his Dominican teammates a few years from now.
42. Bailey Falter, LHP
Age: 19 (DOB 04/24/97)
After a rocky start to his short season in Williamsport, Falter got a handle on his control, cut down on his walks and left a lot of hitters swinging, including a 10 K performance in July. The organization has expectations Falter could fill out the back of the rotation, but given his increased velocity in 2016 and strong finish, there’s reason to believe he could exceed those. Expect a full workload in Lakewood this season.
43. Ranger Suarez, LHP
Age: 21 (DOB 08/26/95)
More than just an awesome name, Suarez has taken steps every season since debuting with the organization in the VSL in 2012. This past season saw two complete games. Oh, one was a no-hitter where his only mistake was walking the first batter of the game.
44. Jonathan Guzman, SS
Age: 17 (DOB 08/17/99)
Guzman looks like your typical skinny kid finishing junior year in high school, though he did some things to stand out in Dominican Summer League last season. Batting .300 with a .716 OPS in 240 plate appearances, Guzman also showed decent discipline and flashed some speed. While we’re literally years away with this one, teams in the deepest of dynasty leagues might want to consider stashing him.
45. Brayan Gonzalez, SS
Age: 17 (DOB 01/14/00)
The youngest entry in our Top 50, Gonzalez is another one of the Latin American players snatched up last July. He’s a switch hitter with a good contact rate and high baseball IQ. The Phillies have a solid track record of finding future stars through international free agency, including Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez, and Freddy Galvis. Gonzalez could be a part of the next wave.
46. Andrew Pullin, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 09/25/93)
Entering his sixth season in the organization, and even briefly retiring at the start of 2016, Pullin found some success at AA following a June promotion. Unfortunately, his season was cut short by injuries. What he lacks in raw power and speed he makes up for with solid plate discipline. He would likely have a clear path to at least a September call up in many organizations, but given the depth ahead of him in Lehigh Valley, he’ll likely be a fixture in the minors for a good while.
47. Seranthony Dominguez, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 11/25/94)
His Lordship had some bumps in the road last season, but still managed to close out the year averaging 9 K/9. He possesses a curveball with plus-potential and a mid-90’s fastball. The hope is he ends up anchoring the back of the big league rotation, but it’ll be a journey.
48. Tyler Viza, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 10/21/94)
He’s been kicking around the organization for four seasons now, and just when it seemed like he was putting it all together, a promotion to Reading brought Viza down to earth. Still, he’s young, and his velocity is sneaking into the mid-90’s. There are many more interesting pitchers ahead of him on the food chain, so he’ll have lots of time to figure things out.
49. Brandon Leibrandt, LHP
Age: 24 (DOB 12/13/92)
Liebrandt has struggled with injuries in his short career, making only 10 starts at the end of last season. When he’s healthy, he’s an innings eater, picking up 11 Quality Starts in 2015 and getting two more out of his six starts in Lakewood last year. A healthy season and a slight uptick in his borderline average velocity could open some doors for him in 2017.
50. Jiandido Tromp, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 09/27/93)
The buzz of the lower-level in 2014, Tromp has yet to fulfill his projection and has seemingly regressed. He still hits home runs, but not enough to qualify as a standout power guy. His minor league free agency looms following the season, so we may have to place our unfair expectations on another poor soul in the role of Mr. Irrelevant next season.
Jeff Rush is a small business owner and obsessed fantasy baseball fan living in Brooklyn, NY. He attended the earliest Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Baron’s games as a child and now spends his subway rides in NYC listening to Tacoma Rainiers broadcasts. He owns Trea Turner as a 15th round keeper in a forever league and is never letting him go.