KATOH Projects: Philadelphia Phillies Prospects

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Yesterday, lead prospect analyst Dan Farnsworth published his excellently in-depth prospect list for the Philadelphia Phillies. In this companion piece, I look at that same Philly farm system through the lens of my recently refined KATOH projection system. The Phillies have the ninth-best farm system in baseball according to KATOH.

There’s way more to prospect evaluation than just the stats, so if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read Dan’s piece in addition to this one. KATOH has no idea how hard a pitcher throws, how good a hitter’s bat speed is, or what a player’s makeup is like. So it’s liable to miss big on players whose tools don’t line up with their performances. However, when paired with more scouting-based analyses, KATOH’s objectivity can be useful in identifying talented players who might be overlooked by the industry consensus or highly-touted prospects who might be over-hyped.

Below, I’ve grouped prospects into three groups: those who are forecast for two or more wins through their first six major-league seasons, those who receive a projection between 1.0 and 2.0 WAR though their first six seasons, and then any residual players who received Future Value (FV) grades of 45 or higher from Dan. Note that I generated forecasts only for players who accrued at least 200 plate appearances or batters faced last season. Also note that the projections for players over a relatively small sample are less reliable, especially when those samples came in the low minors.

1. JP Crawford, SS (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 15.3 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 65 FV

KATOH absolutely adores Crawford. His WAR forecast is not only tops of any Phillies farmhand, but better than any other rookie-eligible baseball player on the planet. Crawford split last season between High-A and Double-A level, where he hit .294/.387/.420 at the tender age of 20. Most impressive of all was the way he controlled the strike zone. He walked significantly more than he struck out last year, which is mighty impressive for a player with a reasonable amount of power. Crawford’s combination of offensive skills and defensive skills is exceptionally rare for a 21-year-old, which bodes extremely well for his future in the show.

JP Crawford’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 J.J. Hardy 13.5 17.5
2 Alberto Callaspo 14.5 7.3
3 Jimmy Rollins 13.2 25.6
4 Edgar Renteria 15.6 24.5
5 Asdrubal Cabrera 11.6 13.3
6 Mike Caruso 11.9 1.7
7 Nomar Garciaparra 14.3 32.8
8 Jose Lopez 18.5 6.1
9 Alex S. Gonzalez 14.2 8.3
10 Edgardo Alfonzo 19.6 28.8

2. Nick Williams, OF (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 4.8 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 60 FV

Williams had questionable plate discipline in his early minor-league days, but he made significant strides in that area last year. Impressively, he did so while also adding more power to the mix. Williams’ plate discipline could still use some work, but even so, KATOH thinks his rare combination of power and speed will be enough to carry him.

Nick Williams’ Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Rondell White 4.8 19.8
2 Brooks Kieschnick 3.5 0.1
3 Derrick Gibson 3.2 0.3
4 Jeremy Dodson 3.1 0.0
5 Alex Ramirez 4.7 0.1
6 Jermaine Dye 6.6 11.2
7 Dan Peltier 3.8 0.0
8 Steve Pegues 3.0 0.4
9 Troy Hughes 2.5 0.0
10 T.J. Staton 5.6 0.0

3. Andrew Knapp, C (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 4.4 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 45 FV

Knapp opened last year by hitting .262/.356/.369 in High-A and kicked things into high gear by hitting .360/.419/.631 at Double-A in the second half. Those would be tremendous numbers for any player, let alone a catcher. As a 2013 college draftee, Knapp’s already 24, and he’s struggled to make contact in the past. But given the low offensive bar for catchers, Knapp’s hitting makes him extremely promising.

4. Dylan Cozens, OF (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 3.7 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 40 FV

After an underwhelming full-season debut in 2014, Cozens produced a much more promising 2015 campaign, slashing .287/.341/.430 with 20 steals. Cozens made significant progress in the strikeout department last year, while still maintaining respectable power numbers. Plus, at 6-foot-6, it’s very plausible that more power is on the way.

5. Jake Thompson, RHP (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 3.4 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 50+ FV

Thompson pitched exclusively in Double-A last year, where he’s put up an unimpressive 4.72 ERA, but a more promising 3.80 FIP. Despite his stuff, Thompson’s strikeout and walk numbers have been merely average. Average numbers aren’t discouraging from a 21-year-old in Double-A, but KATOH would like to see him start missing more bats.

Jake Thompson’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Kurt Ainsworth 3.1 1.0
2 Jason Isringhausen 3.6 6.5
3 Tony Armas 4.0 7.3
4 Michael Bowden 4.1 0.2
5 Matt Morris 4.0 20.7
6 Taylor Buchholz 3.8 3.6
7 Jason Grilli 4.3 0.3
8 Sun-Woo Kim 3.2 2.4
9 Eric DuBose 3.4 1.3
10 Dan Cortes 3.4 0.1

6. Tyler Goeddel, OF (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 3.3 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 45+ FV

The Phillies took Goedel in the Rule 5 back in December following a strong showing with Tampa Bay’s Double-A affiliate. He hit a solid .279/.350/.433 with 12 homers and 28 steals, which came after a similar performance at High-A in 2014. Goedel’s strikeout numbers are of slight concern, but his intriguing mix of power and speed outweigh those concerns.

7. Carlos Tocci, OF (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 2.8 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 45 FV

Although it feels like he’s been around forever, Tocci’s still just 20 years old. Last year, he hit .287/.339/.362 between two levels of A-ball with 17 steals. Power is the one piece that’s still missing from Tocci’s profile, but he makes up for it by having so many other skills at such a young age.

8. Deivi Grullon, C (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 2.6 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 35+ FV

Grullon hit just .221/.273/.335 in Low-A last year, but did so as a 19-year-old catcher, which somewhat excuses the poor hitting. He’ll need to improve on his 25% strikeout rate in the upper levels, but as someone who just turned 20, time is still on his side.

9. Jorge Alfaro, C (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 2.2 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 45 FV

Alfaro hit a respectable .253/.314/.432 in Double-A last year, but showed major issues in the plate-discipline department. Although he demonstrated enticing power for a catcher, his 4% walk rate and 29% walk rate suggest he doesn’t have much of a plan at this point. Alfaro certainly has upside, but KATOH’s concerned about the adjustments he still needs to make. Alfaro has the tools to succeed in the show, but his lack of refinement creates a wide range between his floor and ceiling at the moment.

10. Cornelius Randolph, OF (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 2.2 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 50 FV

The Phillies drafted Randolph 10th overall last summer, and he closed out his draft year by hitting a scorching .302/.425/.422. KATOH’s not completely sold, though, as a lot of that success was due to walks and BABIP — metrics which don’t always carry over to the high minors. Still, Randolph could shoot up the KATOH leaderboards with a strong showing in full-season ball this year.

11. Luis Encarnacion, 1B (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 2.0 WAR
Dan’s Grade: Unranked

Encarnacion hit .271/.313/.370 in Rookie ball last year. That isn’t particularly a particularly impressive line for a first baseman, but was promising enough for KATOH coming from a player who was just 17. Encarnacion’s performance has been a little light in the power department thus far, but that’s acceptable given his youth.

*****

Remaining 1-2 WAR Prospects
Rank Name Position KATOH WAR Dan’s FV
12 Darnell Sweeney OF 1.8 45+
13 Malquin Canelo SS 1.7 45
14 Gabriel Lino C 1.6 Unranked
15 Roman Quinn OF 1.5 50+
16 Mark Appel RHP 1.4 50
17 Cam Perkins OF 1.4 Unranked
18 Rhys Hoskins 1B 1.4 40
19 Zach Eflin RHP 1.2 40+
20 Logan Moore C 1.2 Unranked
21 Alec Asher RHP 1.0 Unranked
22 Severino Gonzalez RHP 1.0 35+

Roman Quinn runs wild on the bases, but his offensive performance has been otherwise mediocre. He slashed .306/.356/.435 in Double-A last year, but relied heavily on a .360 BABIP over a small sample of games. In 2014, he struck out a concerning 21% of the time in High-A. Despite his electric stuff, Mark Appel only managed a 4.30 FIP in the minors last year with an unremarkable 20% strikeout rate. That’s not particularly encouraging, especially since Appel’s nearly 25.

Gabriel Lino‘s been around for ages, but is still just 22. He caught in Double-A and Triple-A last year and didn’t completely embarrass himself at the dish: .234/.277/.329. Cam Perkins is a 6-foot-5 outfielder who showed an encouraging combination of contact and power last season. Logan Moore hit .253/.312/.349 between Double-A and Triple-A last year. He’s already 25, but hits decently for a catcher. Alec Asher’s first taste of the big leagues was pretty terrible, but there’s value in a 6-foot-4, 24-year-old who’s big league ready.

*****

Remaining 45+ FV Players
Name Position KATOH WAR Dan’s FV
Ben Lively RHP 0.9 45
Ricardo Pinto RHP 0.8 45+
Franklyn Kilome RHP 0.4 45+

Ben Lively pitched decently in Double-A last year, but didn’t miss many bats and is already 24. In spite of his quality stuff, Ricardo Pinto only managed an 18% strikeout rate in A-Ball last year. Franklyn Kilome has tremendous upside, but he posted a disappointing 4.02 FIP is Short-season A-Ball last year.

We hoped you liked reading KATOH Projects: Philadelphia Phillies Prospects by Chris Mitchell!

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Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. He's also on the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell None of the views expressed in his articles reflect those of his daytime employer.

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tz
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My first comp for Crawford was Trammell, but I had Nomar right behind him.

Come to think of it, Lindor’s not a bad comp either, if you swap a little defense for a little offense.