Photo Credit: CBS Sports
While the MLB season isn’t quite over yet, the Philadelphia Phillies’ season is. Heading into the offseason, the Phillies have the 4th best farm system in baseball according to Bleacher Report. This is a team in rebuilding mode, so you probably won’t see them very active in the free agent market. You’ve seen a little bit of their young talent on display this year, as Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, Aaron Nola, and Tommy Joseph all played this year. With that being said, I thought we should take a look at what the Phillies still have in store for the future. Here’s what the Phillies’ future roster will most likely look like.
Ace: Aaron Nola
Nola showed that he has the stuff to be a productive No.1 pitcher in Major League Baseball. He just has to stay healthy and put it all together. If he can do that, the Phillies will have a really good ace in their staff for a while to come.
No. 2: Jake Thompson
Thompson got some play in the MLB this season and was clearly still finding his way, as he did not do very well. But he showed promise with his very good breaking pitches. Once he finds his way, he’ll be a productive No. 2 pitcher for years to come.
No. 3: Zach Eflin
Before he got hurt, Eflin was one of the more productive pitchers on the Phillies. Sporting an ERA just over 3.00, he unfortunately landed on the disabled list. He just has to continue to pitch like he was before he got injured, and the Phillies could have a very effective 1-2-3 pitching punch in the near future.
No. 4: Jerad Eickhoff
Eickhoff was acquired in the Cole Hamels trade with the Texas Rangers and pitched very well this year. He proved that he is a solid pitcher for the back end of the rotation. Now if his team could only get him some run support…
No. 5: Vince Velasquez
Velasquez dazzled in the beginning of the season with a 3-hit, 16-strikeout, complete game shut-out against the San Diego Padres. But for the rest of the season, he was very streaky. He needs to learn to control his high velocity pitches and work a little bit on the accuracy of his curveball. If he can do that, then he could easily work his way into the top 3 in the rotation.
Other notable mentions for future starting pitching: Alec Asher, Phil Klien, Mark Appel, Franklyn Kilome, Ben Lively, and Ricardo Pinto
Long man: Jeanmar Gomez
Gomez is the Phillies’ closer as of right now, but after his rough second half of the season, I don’t think he’ll be in that role in the future. He was a long man in 2015 and was very good, finishing with an ERA below 3.00. I think that if the Phillies decide to keep him, he will be put back in this role.
7th inning guy: Joely Rodriguez
Rodriguez just got called up and has the perfect arm for the bullpen and could even compete for the closer role in the future. But for now, he’s part of the big 3 out of the bullpen. He can hit 98 miles per hour with his fast ball and has a nasty splitter. He reminds me of Aroldis Chapman in a way.
Setup Man: Hector Neris
Neris is often overlooked for two reasons; one is that he plays for the Phillies, and another is that he is so overused that his ERA is higher than the level he’s playing at would indicate. The Phillies need to figure out how they are going to use this guy in the future because he is a great talent. He just needs less of a workload.
Closer: Edubray Ramos
Ramos played a little bit this year and really showed off his arm. His arm is ready, willing, and able to throw 100 miles per hour. He needs to work on his accuracy with his breaking pitches, but it’s the velocity he gets on his fastball that makes me think he can be a closer.
Catcher: Jorge Alfaro
Alfaro was acquired in the Cole Hamels trade with the Texas Rangers and is the No.1 catching prospect in baseball. The Phillies have a number of options at catcher in the future. One is their catcher right now, Cameron Rupp, who hit 16 home runs and 28 doubles this past season. If neither Rupp or Alfaro pan out, then they have Andrew Knapp who hit 22 home runs in AAA this past season. The Phillies will have a franchise catcher; the question is who?
First Baseman: Tommy Joseph
Tommy Joseph was acquired in the Hunter Pence trade with the San Francisco Giants back in 2012. In his rookie year this season, he hit 21 home runs and 14 doubles. With Ryan Howard on his way out of Philadelphia, it appears the Phillies have found a more than suitable replacement. They also have first baseman Rhys Hoskins in AA who hit 38 home runs and drove in 116 runs this past season. If one doesn’t pan out. the other will step in.
Second Baseman: Cesar Hernandez
Hernandez led the Phillies in hits this season and also led the team with a .293 batting average. He also had a career high in home runs with 6, and was tied for the league lead with 11 triples. He’s a very good table setter and continues to get better from both sides of the plate. The Phillies also have Scott Kingery who hit .281 in AA this past season.
Third Baseman: Maikel Franco
Franco proved that he can hit major league pitching with ease. He finished with 25 home runs and 87 RBIs. He continues to improve as a hitter and is the best fielder the Phillies have in the infield. No one is going to challenge his spot for a while. Cole Stobbe was drafted in this past year’s draft class and in now in the GCL (Gulf Coast League). It will be a while before he’ll be in the majors.
Shortstop: JP Crawford
Crawford is the No. 1 shortstop prospect in baseball and the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball behind Yoan Moncada of the Boston Red Sox. He hit .244 in AAA this past year and then went down with an injury, but he is still one of the best prospects in all of baseball. Freddy Galvis is the Phillies current shortstop and he has power (20 home runs this past season) and is a very good fielder, but he strikes out a lot and other than power, he doesn’t have much else going for him.
Left Fielder: Cornelius Randolph
The Phillies selected Randolph with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft as a shortstop, but they moved him to the outfield and he has done very well, as he is the Phillies 5th ranked prospect. He went down with an injury in his first year of AA this year, but figures to come back strong next season. The Phillies have other options in left as well; Tyler Goeddel played in the majors this year and did well in a reserve role, Carlos Tocci is in A right now and played very well this year hitting .284, and Jose Pujols is in A as well and had an excellent year, batting .291 with 24 home runs. All are future options for the Phillies’ left field position, but Randolph is the favorite for now.
Center Fielder: Odubel Herrera:
Herrera made his first All-Star team in his second big league season this year. The Phillies, however, have several options for center that could push him to either the bench or the trade market. This year’s No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak is certainly a favorite to win the spot in the near future. Roman Quinn stole 54 bases this year in AAA before being brought up for September call-ups and has played very well in his short time in the majors. Herrera stays the favorite for now.
Right Fielder: Nick Williams
If you think the Phillies have a lot of options at any other position, then you won’t believe the competition there is for their future right fielder. Aaron Altherr is the current right fielder, but with all the young talent the Phillies have at the position, he probably won’t be the starter for long. Nick Williams is the Phillies’ No. 3 prospect and No. 2 outfield prospect. Williams batted .258 with 13 home runs in a shortened season in AAA due to injury. Dylan Cozens just won the AA league MVP while batting .276 with 40 home runs and 125 RBIs, so he’ll be up soon. Jhailyn Ortiz is currently in the GCL, but he batted .271 with 9 home runs in 30 games. I think that at least one of these guys will pan out and be a star, but if they all do, look out…
The Phillies have a bright future. I don’t know if any of these players will turn out to be the stars that they are capable of being, but if they do, the Phillies could be contenders for years to come.