The Phillies ended another season by missing the playoffs after seeing the bullpen struggle throughout the year. Between those struggles and the team’s all-hands-on-deck approach to contend, it allowed them to give some of their prospects a chance to play. How’s that for an optimistic approach to the 2020 season?
The team has 9 free agents and 11 players who are arbitration-eligible which could potentially open up 20 spots on the roster next year. Combine that many openings with a potential limit on free-agent spending with a high payroll, it gave the organization an opportunity to see which players could contribute inexpensively going forward. Nine prospects who appeared on my Phillies Top 50 Prospects published in January were promoted and they performed to varying degrees of success. Let’s take a closer dive into how each of the players looked this year.
Alec Bohm, 3B
Age: 24, Date of Birth: 08/03/1996
Ranking on Preseason Top 50 List: 1
2020 stats: .338/.400/.481 180 PA, 24 R, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 1 SB
Bohm was called up in mid-August and doubled in his first major league at-bat. He looked very comfortable both at the plate and in the field during his first season in the majors. In the past, he started slowly when promoted to the next level but it was welcome to see he had no problems against major league pitching throughout the season. The power will come and he probably won’t hit .338 in future years, but the OBP is what we can expect from Bohm going forward. He’s considered a front-runner for NL Rookie of the Year.
Verdict – Successful
It has come to our attention that some people are still sleeping on Alec Bohm.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 25, 2020
Spencer Howard, RHP
Age: 24, Date of Birth: 07/28/1996
Ranking on Preseason Top 50 List: 2
2020 stats: 24.1 IP, 23 K, 10 BB, 5.92 ERA, 5.86 FIP, 1.64 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 2.30 K/BB
The stats don’t show just how successful of a rookie season that Howard experienced. He pitched well on the mound with a lot of confidence even when his stuff wasn’t perfect. Howard was did in by the long ball giving up 6 home runs in his 24 innings. Another item that is concerning is that Howard spent time on the IL for the 2nd straight year with shoulder stiffness. He only missed two starts and the team was taking it careful with their top pitching prospect but it’s something to keep an eye on going forward.
Verdict – Rather Successful/Expected/Disappointing (injury)
Adonis Medina, RHP
Age: 23, Date of Birth: 12/18/1996
Ranking on Preseason Top 50 List: 6
2020 Stats: 4 IP, 4 K, 3 BB, 4.50 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 1.50 WHIP, 9 K/9, 1.33 K/BB
The team called up Medina for one start against Toronto and he fared rather well in his 4 innings. The team’s former top pitching prospect was coming off a down year in 2019 so it was a nice surprise to see him added to the player pool and even better to see them call upon him for a spot start this year.
Verdict – Pleasant Surprise
Rafael Marchan, C
Age: 21, Date of Birth: 02/25/1999
Ranking on Preseason Top 50 List: 14
2020 stats: .500/.556/.875 9 PA, 3 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB
Marchan was a surprise call-up in mid-September, never having played a day above A+ ball. He hit his first professional home run in his 2nd major league game. You read that right. In almost 900 plate appearances in the minor leagues, he never hit a home run. In his 5th major league at-bat, he hit his 1st home run ever. How can you not be romantic about baseball? Marchan has a good hit-tool and strike-zone judgement. If the power continues to develop, he could be a top-10 catcher in the majors. With J.T. Realmuto all but gone, look for the team to sign a veteran catcher to split duties with Marchan in 2021 with an eye on him becoming full-time starter in 2022.
Verdict – Successful and Exciting
Rafael Marchan with his first professional home run to lock things up at 5-5-. pic.twitter.com/oJm4K9OCED
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) September 19, 2020
JoJo Romero, LHP
Ranking on Preseason Top 50 List: 27
Age: 24, Date of Birth: 09/09/1996
2020 stats: 10.2 IP, 10 K, 2 BB, 7.59 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.40 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, 5 K/BB
With the team desperate for any consistency from the bullpen, it called on their 2016 4th round pick to help and, for the most part, Romero did well, actually getting 4 holds and pitching in some late situations. The left-hander never pitched out of the bullpen in the minors but between his solid relief appearances in the Arizona Fall League in 2019 and this past MLB season, he may have found a quicker way to stick in the majors. If all else fails, he could find employment crushing cans on his wrist.
Verdict – Solid
JoJo Romero chugs a RedBull and then crushes the can on his forearm before pitching 2 scoreless innings pic.twitter.com/a0ZxrnHRkJ
— Bush Leaguer (@BushLeague101) September 16, 2020
Mickey Moniak, OF
Age: 22, Date of Birth: 05/13/1998
Ranking on Preseason Top 50 List: 28
2020 stats: .214/.389/.214 18 PA, 3 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB
Moniak was a September call up, entering his first game a pinch runner then starting the next game going 0-4. He actually held his own in his first taste at the big leagues, drawing 4 walks against 6 strikeouts in his 18 plate appearances. Moniak will never match the expectations of being the 1st overall pick of a draft but he has been improving year over year and could contribute as a 4th-type outfielder/occasional starter in another year or two.
Verdict – Expected and Apprehensively Pleasant
Connor Brogdon, RHP
Age: 25, Date of Birth: 01/29/1995
Ranking on Preseason Top 50 List: 35
2020 stats: 11.1 IP, 17 K, 5 BB, 3.97 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 0.88 WHIP, 13.5 K/9, 3.40 K/BB
Take away Brogdon’s first appearance and his ERA decreases to 1.80. Small sample size applies but Brogdon was one of the team’s most effective relievers even without removing that first game. He throws an effective, mid-90’s fastball and if he can harness his command slightly more, he could be the closer of the future for the team.
Verdict – Surprising and Welcome
Mauricio Llovera, RHP
Age: 24, Date of Birth: 04/17/1996
Ranking on Preseason Top 50 List: 37
2020 stats: 1 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 36.00 ERA, 7.19 FIP, 6.00 WHIP, 9 K/9, 1 K/BB
Llovera only appeared for one inning this season and was obliterated by the Mets, giving up 4 runs and 5 hits in 1 inning. Llovera has impressed in the minors and, obviously, we cannot judge him by one inning but by being called up to the majors shows the team’s confidence in his abilities. With his high-90’s heat, Llovera will get more chances in the big leagues. He profiles more as a reliever but he’ll get every opportunity to show he can be a mid-rotation start in the majors.
Verdict – Disappointing but hopeful
Ramon Rosso, RHP
Age: 24, Date of Birth: 06/09/1996
Ranking on Preseason Top 50 List: 39
2020 stats: 9.2 IP, 11 K, 8 BB, 6.52 ERA, 5.50 FIP, 1.75 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 1.38 K/BB
Rosso was another surprise call up this season and struggled, giving up runs in 4 of his 7 appearances. The team used Rosso as a reliever after starting 60 of his 62 games pitched in the minors, which could have been a factor in his struggles. Rosso looked extremely sharp in the training camp prior to the season but could use more seasoning in Triple-A in 2021.
Verdict – Disappointing