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2014 Top Prospects

Prospect Nation 2014: #1 3B Maikel Franco

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, March 20, 2014 07:00 AM Comments: 8

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Maikel Franco (center) keeps things loose with teammates, Image- Jay Floyd

Since he arrived in North America, third baseman Maikel Franco has put his skills with the bat on display.  An outstanding offensive campaign last year made him the buzz name in the Phillies’ organization and has landed him in the top spot among the club’s promising crop of upcoming prospects.

Signed as an amateur free agent by the Phillies in 2010, Franco would make his professional debut with the rookie level  Gulf Coast League Phillies that same year.  As a 17-year-old, he posted respectable numbers, with a line of .222/.292/.330 in 51 games.

A year later, the righty hitting Franco began the season in extended spring training and later competed with the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters.  Franco looked great against New York-Penn League competition, posting a .274/.339/.389 line while driving in 28 runs in 42 games before earning a promotion to Class A Lakewood.

In the South Atlantic League, at the age of 18, the baby-faced Franco struggled quite a bit. In 17 contests for the BlueClaws, Franco went 8-for-67 (.123 avg) and racked up an awful .349 OPS. The Phillies realized Franco was over-matched and that he was growing discouraged, so he was re-assigned back to Williamsport, where he finished the season by batting .333 with seven extra-base hits and 10 RBI over his final 13 games with the Crosscutters. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #1 3B Maikel Franco

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Prospect Nation 2014: #2 LHP Jesse Biddle

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, March 16, 2014 06:00 PM Comments: 3

Jesse Biddle, Image- Jay Floyd

In recent years, Jesse Biddle has become the prospect that Phillies fans have heard the most about.  This year though, the hometown kid may go from highly touted prospect to major league rookie and the stuff that Philadelphia faithful have heard will be on display at the top level of the sport every five days.

Upon signing his first pro contract, Biddle quickly made his minor league debut, beginning his journey toward donning the uniform of the team he cheered on from the seats of Citizens Bank Park all throughout his teenage years. The graduate of Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia combined to post a 4-1 record with a 3.92 ERA and a .241 batting average against in 12 starts with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies and the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters in 2010.

The following year, Biddle became an All-Star in the Class A South Atlantic League as a member of the Lakewood BlueClaws. As the team’s most dependable starter through much of the season, Biddle posted a 7-8 record with a 2.98 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) and notched 124 strike outs in 133 innings pitched. Also, he held opponents to a .219 batting average.

In 2012, Biddle had a very good season, representing the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League All-Star Game.  That season he sported a 10-6 record with a 3.22 ERA, a 9.53 K/9 mark and a .237 batting average against.

He followed that up with another All-Star campaign in 2013 for Double-A Reading. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #2 LHP Jesse Biddle

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Prospect Nation 2014: #3 SS J.P. Crawford

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, March 13, 2014 03:15 PM Comments: 0

JP Crawford, Image- Jay Floyd

Equipped with big-time athleticism, a strong baseball IQ and all the right on-field tools, J.P. Crawford joined the Phillies system last year and quickly proved to be among the organization’s best prospects. Drafted in the opening round of last year’s amateur draft, Crawford looked sharp and put himself on the map as a fast rising talent in baseball.

Last year, Crawford posted great numbers at Lakewood High School in California, batting .432 in 25 games during his senior season and he stands as the school’s all-time leader in hits and runs scored at a school that also produced former Phillies 1st round draft choice Travis d’Arnaud.

Upon signing his first pro contract and making his minor league debut as an 18-year-old with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, Crawford was very impressive. He lead the GCL in batting for a considerable stretch and posted a .345 average with a homer, 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases through 39 games. To wrap up the regular season, the youngster was promoted two levels up to Class A full season Lakewood.

In the South Atlantic League, Crawford handled the jump quite well enough for a kid that was playing high school ball just three months earlier. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #3 SS J.P. Crawford

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Prospect Nation 2014: #4 2B/OF Cesar Hernandez

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, March 10, 2014 07:05 AM Comments: 4

Cesar Hernandez, Image- Jay Floyd

Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent at the age of 16 in 2006, Cesar Hernandez swiftly proved himself as a capable prospect that had quite a future in baseball. Last year, the young Venezuelan was honored as a Triple-A All-Star and made his big league debut. This year, he’ll be doing everything in his power to earn another chance to compete at the top level of the sport.

Hernandez, a switch-hitter, made his professional debut with the Phillies’ Venezuelan Summer League team in 2007. In two seasons there, he tallied a .296 batting average with three home runs and 45 RBI in 114 games. He followed that effort with a campaign in which he batted .267 with five doubles and a triple in 41 games for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2009.

The following season, with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, Hernandez was voted as the Most Valuable Player of the club by his teammates and was a New York-Penn League All-Star. Overall that season, Hernandez sported an impressive .325/.390/.392 line with 13 doubles and two triples in 65 games and placed second in the New York-Penn League in stolen bases, with 32. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #4 2B/OF Cesar Hernandez

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Prospect Nation 2014: #5 OF Kelly Dugan

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, March 07, 2014 07:00 AM Comments: 1

Kelly Dugan, Image- Jay Floyd

It took Kelly Dugan about four years to show and prove why he was once the Phillies’ top draft choice (2nd round, 2009).  An excellent campaign in 2013 has many believing that the young outfielder could be close to helping the team at the big league level.

Much hype surrounded Kelly upon being drafted to the Phillies, as an image of him on the set of his director father Dennis Dugan’s film Grown Ups, with many of Hollywood’s comedy elite, made the rounds.  In the years that followed, Dugan dealt with a series of injury concerns that kept the 6-foot-3-inch 195-pounder from fully establishing himself as a potential rising star.

Dugan would debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2009, after signing his first professional contract, posting a .233 average with eight doubles, a triple and eight RBI in 45 games.  The following year, with the GCL team and short-season Class A Williamsport, Dugan sported a .366 average with a homer and eight RBI in 28 combined games.  He missed roughly two months of action that year after he was hit in the leg with a batted ball during batting practice in June and later developed a staph infection that required draining.

In 2011, Dugan returned to Williamsport and represented the club in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.  With the Crosscutters, in 47 games, he sported a .284 batting average along with two home runs and 21 RBI. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #5 OF Kelly Dugan

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Prospect Nation 2014: #6 RHP Ethan Martin

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, March 03, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 0

Ethan Martin, Image- Jay Floyd

After a season in which Ethan Martin made his big league debut, the Phillies entered spring training with hopes that the young righty hurler would show enough in camp to prove they could rely on him as a contributor this year.  After experiencing discomfort in his throwing shoulder recently, not only where he’ll pitch this season, but also how much he’ll be able to pitch is unclear.

Diagnosed with a strained capsule and a strained triceps, the 24-year-old Martin has been shut down.  Ordered to rest for three weeks, the Georgia native will be re-evaluated following the down time.  Several months back, the Phils’ 2012 top draft selection Shane Watson, another right-handed pitcher, was diagnosed with a similar capsule injury and prescribed rest as well.  Watson required surgery to repair the issue when rehab did not have great results.

Originally selected by Los Angeles in the 1st round (15th overall) in the 2008 amateur draft out of Stephens County High School (GA), when scouts weren’t sure if he would proceed as a pitcher or a third baseman in his career, Martin had not posted great numbers in the minors prior to 2012.  He was acquired in the trade that sent Shane Victorino to the Dodgers. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #6 RHP Ethan Martin

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Prospect Nation 2014: #7 SS Roman Quinn

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, February 27, 2014 02:55 PM Comments: 0

Roman Quinn, Image- Tug Haines

Selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft out of Port St. Joe High School, speedster Roman Quinn was immediately a prospect that many thought would be on a fast track upward in the Phillies system.  Hampered by injuries last year, it could be a difficult road back for the athletic shortstop.

Listed at five feet ten inches tall and weighing 170 pounds, Quinn showed great improvement during his first year as a pro.  After signing late, he did not play in his first official minor league game until 2012.  With short-season Class A Williamsport, Quinn sported a .281 average with nine doubles, a league-leading 11 triples, one homer and 23 RBI while swiping 30 bases in 36 opportunities.

Those excellent offensive efforts came while learning to switch hit and adapting to a defensive switch to the infield after playing mostly outfield in high school.

Comfort was a big factor for Quinn in 2013, according to his Class A Lakewood coaches, who saw things get easier for him at the plate as the season went on.  Quinn opened last season as a 19-year-old.  He got off to a rough start, batting .202 with a .556 OPS in 22 April games.  In May, things began to look up offensively for Quinn as he tallied a .304 average with an .874 OPS in 26 contests.  His season would not last much longer, as the Florida resident was hit by a pitch that resulted in a broken left wrist in June. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #7 SS Roman Quinn

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Prospect Nation 2014: #8 RHP Kenny Giles

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, February 24, 2014 12:00 PM Comments: 2

With a fastball that is regularly clocked at 100 MPH, right-handed pitcher Ken Giles has garnered increased attention since joining the Phillies’ organization and is primed to be a fast moving prospect that could make an impact on the big leagues in the near future.

Selected in the 7th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Yavapai (Junior) College, although he was committed to transferring to Arizona at the time, Giles began his professional career with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies that year. After facing a difficult decision to turn pro and leave college behind, Giles struck out seven batters in 4 2/3 innings over three outings with the GCL team. Prior to making his debut in the minors, Giles, a big-time strike out artist, notched 67 strike outs in 38 innings during the 2011 college season.

Giles began the 2012 season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws where he went 3-3 with five saves, a 3.61 ERA and a .215 batting average against in 29 outings (six starts). Giles was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater in July and proceeded to pitch exclusively as a reliever for the Threshers, going 1-0 with three saves, a 3.07 ERA and a .183 batting average against in 10 appearances. Combined at those two levels, Giles sported a 12.18 K/9 mark

Last year, Giles was limited after dealing with two separate oblique strains (one on each side).  In just 24 appearances with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Giles sported a 2-2 record with six saves and a 6.31 ERA.  Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #8 RHP Kenny Giles

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Prospect Nation 2014: #9 OF Carlos Tocci

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, February 23, 2014 02:15 PM Comments: 2

Carlos Tocci, Image- Tug Haines for PhoulBallz.com

Outfielder Carlos Tocci was signed by the Phillies for a reported signing bonus of $759,000 in the summer of 2011 on his 16th birthday.  Since that time, many have raved about the teen’s talent and he’s done his best to live up to the hype.

A native of Maracay, VZ, Tocci participated in the Florida Instructional League after he signed his first professional contract, but made his official minor league debut in 2012 as a member of the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

His ability to compete with older players is definitely something that has Tocci standing out in the eyes of coaches, scouts and fans alike.  In 2012, the righty batting “Toch” posted a .278 average with two doubles and nine RBI in 38 contests in the GCL, with all but one of his games played before his 17th birthday.  He described the competition there as easy and the pitchers as predictable.

The following year, Tocci found his opposition to be improved and tougher to handle.  He continued to impress as he made the opening day roster for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws and stayed on their roster for the entire season, but his statistics weren’t great. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #9 OF Carlos Tocci

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Prospect Nation 2014: #10 RHP Severino Gonzalez

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, February 22, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 2

Right-handed pitcher Severino Gonzalez had a breakout season in the Phillies’ system last year, putting himself on the map as a rising star in the team’s developmental ranks.  The Panama native had previously not pitched above the Venezuelan Summer League, but truly excelled pitching in the United States for the first time in 2013.

After signing with the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 2011, Gonzalez made his pro debut that same year in the VSL, putting together a 1-1 record with a save and a 2.11 ERA in 17 games as a reliever.  The following season in the same league, Gonzalez tallied a 7-3 record and a league best 1.65 ERA in 14 starts.  He also led the league in strike outs (86), innings pitched (92 2/3) and complete games (two).

In 2013, at the age of 20, Gonzalez came to the United States for his very first spring training and showed no great issues when dealing with the cultural change.  He was able to bond with countryman Carlos Ruiz, who was serving a drug suspension at extended spring training which helped Gonzalez adapt.  His comfort level was clear, as he was impressive enough to earn a spot with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers by early May and shined brightly in the months that followed.   Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #10 RHP Severino Gonzalez

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