Minor league baseball is in full swing! We won’t look at stats from the small sample size so far, but these are the players I’m keeping an eye on from each Phillies affiliate this season.
Kody Clemens, UT – Clemens, the son of 7-time Cy Young Award winner, Roger, came over from Detroit earlier this year in the Matt Vierling deal. Kody has some pop in his bat but hasn’t fully developed a solid hit tool and projects to be a utility/bench type of player for the team.
Simon Muzziotti, OF – Muzziotti, at one time, was a potential leadoff hitter for a big league team with his hitting and speed and defense. He only had a few at bats in 2022 and didn’t look overmatched. This is a big season for him to see if he is still considered a part of the future.
Jhailyn Ortiz, OF – Ortiz was added to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft last winter but was recently DFA’d. He passed through waivers and remains a part of the organization. He has massive power but also strikeout concerns and takes a little while to get hot when he moves up to a higher level. I’m still excited to see if he can make the jump to the major leagues.
Francisco Morales, RHP – Morales transitioned into a relief role last summer and looked sharp coming out of the bullpen. He was also DFA’d earlier this year but passed through waivers. He’s a good option to help in Holds leagues if (when?) the team needs relievers this season.
Jakob Hernandez, LHP – At 26, he’s a little older than other prospects but he has potential to help the team in the rotation if needed. He projects as a 6th starter-type, however.
Hans Crouse, RHP – At one time Crouse was highly ranked and had potential to be a solid starter for a major league team but things have changed. He has struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness during his career.
James McArthur, RHP – McArthur is in his first year at this level after an inconsistent 2022 at AA. He was kept on the 40 man roster over the winter showing the organization’s faith in him and would make him an easy choice to get called up to the majors sometimes this season.
McKinley Moore, RHP – Recently promoted to the big leagues, he made his debut in early April but didn’t look too sharp. He came over from the White Sox in the Adam Haseley deal last year. Moore has always had control issues and doesn’t project to be a solid major league contributor.
Carlos De La Cruz, OF – Nobody’s stock has risen higher in the organization than De La Cruz. He struggled in lower level ball but turned it up once he hit AA last season. He had a strong showing in the AFL and has continued that success into this season. He has a ton of power and is working on controlling his strikeouts. He can potentially be called up sometime this season but expect some growing pains at first. If he isn’t owned in your dynasty leagues, look into obtaining him now.
Carlos De La Cruz – Philadelphia Phillies (1)* pic.twitter.com/NTk7xEk77H
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) February 25, 2023
Baron Radcliff, OF – Radcliff gets on base and has some good power to his game. If all goes well, he could be a solid contributor in OBP leagues. Keep your eye on him this season.
Johan Rojas, OF – One of the fastest players in the minor leagues, Rojas stole 62 bases in 2022. He started the year slow in Single-A but Rojas took off, so to speak, once he was promoted to Double-A Reading. If he can continue to develop his hit tool, he could grow into some power. We could be looking at a very exciting player once it all comes together.
Ethan Wilson, OF – Coming out of college as a polished bat, more was expected from Wilson but he’s struggled the last two seasons. He did steal 26 bases last year but didn’t hit or hit with power as once thought. He’s started this season well and I want to see what he does repeating AA before making any decisions on his rankings.
Mick Abel, RHP – One of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball is in his second year at Double-A Reading. He was a candidate to make the major league rotation out of spring training but the organization (rightfully) decided to go another route to give Abel more time in the minor leagues. Once he’s called up, there may be an adjustment period but, make no mistake, Mick is more than able to be a solid 2-type started with some Ace-level years in him.
Andrew Baker, RHP – Baker has pitched well since being drafted in the 11th round in the 2021 draft. He’s still a couple of years away from making an impact but has some good tools to succeed.
Ethan Lindow, LHP – Lindow pitched well in the lower minors but struggled once he was promoted to Double-A last season. A slow tossing left-hander who relies more on control than speed he could make some spot starts for the major league team this season.
Hao-Yu Lee, 2B/SS – Perhaps the best hitting prospect in the system, Lee has a great hit tool and a good blend of speed and developing power. Lee should move up to Double-A quickly this season.
Marcus Lee Sang, OF – A well-rounded outfielder who hits well and has average speed and power to his game. He won’t wow you with any specific tool but he can fill up a box score on some nights.
Casey Martin, IF – I was initially very high on Martin due to his combination of speed and power but he hasn’t developed enough during his time in the organization to overcome his strikeouts. It’s only been three years and he’s still young enough to improve but he’s going on his third year in A level ball.
Emaarion Boyd, OF – Boyd may prove himself to be the steal of the 2022 draft having been selected in the 11th round. He’s a solid hitter with good speed.
Justin Crawford, OF – Crawford is another exciting player in the organization with his speed and defense. He’s still very young but is a 2nd generation ballplayer and should develop at a good pace.
Gabriel Rincones, OF – Rincones impressed the brass in spring training with his power and ability to get on base. He has power for days and hit well during his time in college.
Gabriel Rincones Jr – Philadelphia Phillies (1)* pic.twitter.com/ksKo4edWNj
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) March 17, 2023
Jordan Viars, 1B/OF – So much potential but injuries have held him back so far. He’s finally healthy this season and it would be great to see what he can do in a normal full season. If he’s unowned in your league, now is the time to grab him.
Alex McFarlane, RHP – McFarlane was hitting 100 mph in spring training but his control is an issue. Keep your eye on him this season.
Alex McFarlane about as advertised … Had 11 pitches in the 1st inning at 99 or 100 for Clearwater with no idea where it was going … He did pick up a strikeout at 99 down the chute … Catcher Caleb Ricketts just setting up down the middle on everything and letting the ball work pic.twitter.com/pfi7A1qjgy
— Mitch Rupert (@Mitch_Rupert) April 7, 2023
Orion Kerkering, RHP – Drafted as a reliever out of college, Kerkering has looked good in the few innings he threw last season. He has good stuff and can move quickly up the ladder in an organization that seemingly always needs relievers.
Nikau Pouaka-Grego, 2B/3B/SS – One of my favorite hitting prospects in the system, he won’t be playing this year after tearing his ACL in the Australian Baseball League this past winter. Assuming he’s healthy, he should start 2024 in A ball. He’s only 18 years old but has shown an advanced approach at the plate slashing .301/.424/.466 over 35 games last year in the FCL.
Tony Bps Spina is a lifelong baseball fan hailing from the City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia! Tony has loved baseball since 1980 and has followed the Phillies through good and bad times. Tony is married with 3 kids and works for a financial institution but has enough free time to play in 20 fantasy baseball leagues with 75% of them being Dynasty Leagues. He lives a few blocks away from Citizens Bank Park and attends many Phillies games per year in addition to their minor league teams in Lehigh Valley and Reading. He can be reached on Twitter at @TonyBps1.
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