Philadelphia Phillies Top 26 Prospects

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Philadelphia Phillies. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the fourth year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but we use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Phillies Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Andrew Painter 20.7 AA SP 2025 60
2 Mick Abel 22.4 AAA SP 2024 55
3 Starlyn Caba 18.1 R SS 2028 50
4 Aidan Miller 19.6 A 3B 2027 45
5 Bryan Rincon 19.9 A+ SS 2026 45
6 Eduardo Tait 17.4 R C 2029 45
7 Justin Crawford 20.0 A+ CF 2028 40+
8 Orion Kerkering 22.7 MLB SIRP 2026 40+
9 Alex McFarlane 22.6 A SIRP 2026 40+
10 Michael Mercado 24.7 AAA SIRP 2024 40
11 Christian McGowan 23.8 AAA SIRP 2025 40
12 Aroon Escobar 19.0 R 2B 2027 40
13 William Bergolla 19.2 A SS 2027 40
14 Emaarion Boyd 20.4 A CF 2027 40
15 Nikau Pouaka-Grego 19.3 R 2B 2027 40
16 Alexis De La Cruz 19.3 R SP 2028 40
17 Robert Moore 21.8 A+ SS 2027 40
18 McKinley Moore 25.4 MLB SIRP 2024 40
19 Andrew Baker 23.8 AA SIRP 2025 40
20 Devin Saltiban 18.4 R SS 2028 35+
21 Gabriel Rincones Jr. 22.8 A+ LF 2027 35+
22 Jean Cabrera 22.2 A SP 2026 35+
23 Samuel Aldegheri 22.3 A+ SP 2026 35+
24 Wen Hui Pan 21.3 A+ SIRP 2027 35+
25 Griff McGarry 24.6 AAA SIRP 2025 35+
26 George Klassen 21.5 R SIRP 2026 35+
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60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Calvary Christian HS (PHI)
Age 20.7 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 55/60 55/60 40/50 50/60 96-98 / 100

Painter ended 2022 as one of the best two or three pitching prospects in baseball. He overpowered hitters with his fastball at the lowest levels, but by the end of the year, he was carving Double-A and looked like a fully-formed, four-pitch monster. He entered the spring of 2023 with a legitimate shot to break camp in the Phillies rotation, like a pitching version of Fernando Tatis Jr. a few years ago. Instead, Painter’s elbow barked at him and he was shut down with a partial UCL tear after his first Grapefruit League outing. Painter and the Phillies opted for a plasma-rich platelet injection rather than an immediate Tommy John, which gave Painter a chance, with rest, to pitch at the end of a 2023 season in which the Phillies correctly anticipated that they’d be contenders. But Painter’s elbow didn’t heal completely from the PRP and rest, and he needed Tommy John toward the end of July, putting his 2024 season in doubt. It’s incredibly rare to value a prospect who will have missed two years this highly, but Painter has rare ceiling and the success rate of Tommy John surgeries is high enough to anticipate that he’ll return to his old self.

Healthy Painter has a prototypical pitcher’s frame and then some, standing in at a broad-shouldered 6-foot-7 (which Painter has sculpted since his days as a high school prospect), a stature you’d more often associate with NBA wing players than pro pitchers. Doug Fister is a fair baseball body comp. Good luck getting on top of Painter’s fastball when he locates it at the top of the zone. Even though he’s so big and his pitches travel downhill toward the zone, it has still been hard for hitters to snatch his high fastballs, similar to the way Justin Verlander’s fastball plays despite his size and release height. Painter will work six or more innings and never throw a fastball below 95 mph, sitting 96-98 for the bulk of the outing.

Both of Painter’s breaking balls have huge movement. His slider has two-plane sweep, while his curveball (more commonly used as an in-zone pitch and against lefties) is north/south and sometimes also has arm-side direction. If he can consistently create that arm-side finish on the curveball, it will give him a weapon against lefties. He had to whip out his changeup against upper-level hitters late in 2022, and some of those were quite good. Hitters seem to take more comfortable swings against his breaking stuff later in outings, so perhaps there’s something about Painter’s fastball angle that makes it easier for guys to see his breaking balls pop out of the hand once they’ve had a look at them. In a vacuum, though, he has a shot to have four plus pitches and an inning-eater’s frame. If he looks like his late-2022 self upon his return from TJ (which hopefully will be during instructs or in the 2024 Fall League), then Painter will rocket toward the top couple of spots on our universal prospect list.

55 FV Prospects

2. Mick Abel, SP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Jesuit HS (OR) (PHI)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/65 55/70 55/60 40/50 30/45 95-97 / 101

Abel didn’t have an especially good 2023, walking more than five batters per 9 IP at both Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In spite of this, I’m not inclined to slide him or adjust his FV grade from last year’s list. Abel still has most all of the ingredients needed to be an impact starter, he just isn’t totally baked yet. The 22-year-old is still a lanky and projectable 6-foot-5 he has tremendous arm speed and bodily flexibility, and he’ll occasionally touch triple digits (his fastballs averaged 96 mph throughout all of 2023) and show you plus secondary stuff, it’s just that the timing of his arm swing and release varies too much for him to throw strikes consistently. This has been the case since he entered pro ball and it needs to improve for him to hit his ceiling, but for a 22-year-old built like Abel is, and who throws as hard as Abel does, this is not unusual or alarming.

It is a little frustrating that some of Abel’s blemishes have persisted for the last couple of years. His fastball shape isn’t optimal, his slider would probably be nastier if it were harder and it often blends into Abel’s curveball, and he still doesn’t have great changeup feel. But Abel is freaky. His stride down the mound is huge, his hips, shoulders and upper back are incredibly loose and explosive, and all that energy ends up leaving his body through his fingertips and into the baseball. Ideally, he’ll have functional four- and two-seam fastball variants at maturity and be able to work both north/south and east/west with his fastball. Abel has a strong natural proclivity for spinning his breaking stuff but because his release is so inconsistent, so too is the shape and quality of those pitches. His mid-80s slurve is already an above-average pitch and could be a 70-grade shove machine at maturity. Abel will also flash a really good changeup once in a while; that pitch tends to be in the 86-89 mph range and feasts on hitters who have to cheat to catch up to his fastball. I’m projecting heavily on Abel’s command in anticipation of him growing into his body and arm speed. If he can consistently locate his stuff, then Abel will be a front-end arm. If not, he’s going to be a high-leverage reliever thanks to what I anticipate will be a 98-plus mph fastball if he’s allowed to air things out one inning at a time.

50 FV Prospects

3. Starlyn Caba, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 18.1 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/70 30/40 20/35 60/60 45/80 55

This is an aggressive projection and value grade for Caba, who just got done hitting .301/.423/.346 in his DSL pro debut. Some of it is supported by his data. Caba’s 3% swinging strike rate and 90% contact rate in 2023 were both among the best in all of the minor leagues. The visual scouting report of Caba’s hit tool was strong when he was an amateur, and now the data (insofar as DSL performance data can be useful) indicates he may have a superlative future as a contact hitter. On tape, you can see him manipulating the barrel with precocious skill for a teenage switch hitter, enough that I feel comfortable pushing his future hit tool projection a grade above where I had it when Caba was an amateur.

I’ve buried the lede a bit here because what makes Caba very special is his defense. His footwork and actions are ridiculous, among the most deft and electric I’ve seen on a shortstop, reminiscent of José Iglesias. There are some overall similarities with a young Francisco Lindor in terms of Caba’s build, glove, and switch-hitting, though Lindor had substantially more power at Caba’s age.

Frequent readers know I love to the use the draft as a lens through which to FV pro teenagers, and in Caba’s case, I think you can argue he’d have gone as high as sixth in the 2023 draft (where Oakland took contact maven Jacob Wilson) and no lower than 22nd, where Seattle drafted hit-tool stalwart Colt Emerson (who probably should have gone much higher than that). I do worry about repeating my over-evaluation of Yankees shortstop Alexander Vargas here, but the possibility of two potentially elite carrying tools (and the early evidence we have that they’ll manifest) has me excited enough to put Caba toward the back of the Top 100 list.

45 FV Prospects

4. Aidan Miller, 3B

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from JW Mitchell HS (FL) (PHI)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 55/70 25/55 40/40 30/50 55

Miller had among the fastest hitting hands in the entire 2023 draft, and his bat speed gives him impressive present power and his frame portends more. He also has a gnarly bat wrap that his bat speed currently enables. As fun as it is to watch him swing, it’s often tough for hitters to have such an extreme wrap and succeed against upper-level velocity, but that’s still a long way off for Miller. He already swings underneath his fair share of in-zone fastballs because of the looped path his bat takes through the zone, and there are examples of prospects succeeding with swings like this until they reach the big leagues and then struggling to make adjustments, like Carter Kieboom. Despite the bat wrap, Miller still managed a 2-to-1 ball in play-to-swinging strike ratio against high school showcase foes according to Synergy, but it might require a tweak at some point in the future. The power potential here is exciting and gives Miller an everyday player’s ceiling, but after Kieboom, Keston Hiura, and the rocky history of other hitters whose hand paths work like this, readers should know there’s hit tool risk here.

5. Bryan Rincon, SS

Drafted: 14th Round, 2022 from Shaler HS (PA) (PHI)
Age 19.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 40/45 30/40 50/50 45/55 55

As far as Phillies go, it appears that the biggest gap between industry evals and my own from last cycle was right here with Rincon, who is rumored to have been a popular trade target during the last year or so. The slick-fielding, zone-controlling Yinzer high school draftee has plus defensive hands and actions, and is a virtual lock to stay at shortstop. He’s compactly built and not especially strong, but Rincon tracks pitches well, rarely chases, and moves the bat around the zone from both sides of the plate. His swing isn’t always well connected from the ground up, especially his right-handed swing, which often features an awkward weight transfer; in Rincon’s lefty swing, his hands have a late move that sometimes causes his whole operation to be tardy. The latter issue is small enough to project that it will get cleaned up with time. Otherwise, Rincon’s cut is short and to the point but still has a fair amount of natural lift.

A high-probability utility prospect in the Geraldo Perdomo mold, Rincon has terrific soft skills, and his ceiling will be dictated by how much stronger he can get. Because we’re not talking about a super projectable frame in this case, I’m not inclined to forecast a huge uptick in that realm, but the progression of Rincon’s measurable power from 2022 to 2023 (16% hard-hit rate to 25%, with a max exit velo that rose nearly 10 ticks to 108 mph) was pretty substantial.

6. Eduardo Tait, C

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Panama (PHI)
Age 17.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 50/65 25/55 30/30 20/40 50

Tait (pronounced with two syllables, Tah-eet) was part of Panama’s U18 World Cup team in the fall of 2022, only about six weeks after he turned 16. He signed with the Phillies the following January and was the youngest player in the organization throughout the 2023 season, when he hit an amazing .333/.400/.517 in the DSL. The physical young catcher already has nearly average raw power, which is incredible considering he only turned 17 in late August. He’s chase-prone, which hasn’t yet had a meaningful impact on his ability to make contact but might as Tait faces more advanced pitching. He also has lots to work on defensively, right on down to the way he crouches, but that’s typical of a catcher this age. Tait’s plus lefty bat speed and overt big league physicality give him the ceiling of a power-hitting primary catcher. There is hit tool risk stemming from his immature feel for the zone and tendency to swing underneath fastballs in the up-and-away part of the zone, but Tait has viable big league strength right now, at age 17, which I can’t say for any other teenage hitter in the org.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Bishop Gorman HS (NV) (PHI)
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 30/40 20/30 70/70 45/60 45

MLB did Crawford and the Phillies a bit of a disservice by selecting Justin to play in the 2023 Futures Game, as Crawford’s batting practice session was easily the least impressive of the event. He is much less physically developed than the majority of pro baseball players, including many who are younger than he is. It takes him so much effort and time to get the bat going that Crawford often drives the ball into the ground and to the opposite field. His spray chart looks like that of Takuya Nakashima, with his groundball rate hovering around 70% in 2023. For comparison, the qualified hitter with the highest 2023 GB% was Tim Anderson at 61%. There’s a ton of work to be done here to get Crawford’s swing and strength to a big league-worthy spot.

That’s not to say he’s a bad prospect. When Crawford swings, the bend and athleticism in his lower half is amazing. Despite his physical immaturity, he doesn’t whiff a ton, and there’s a dynamic gap-to-gap hitter lurking here. Crawford is also a plus-plus runner who could be an impact center field defender with time. This package of contact, speed, and defense is exciting if you anticipate that more strength will come, but it’s imperative that it does. I’ve slowly slid Crawford down from his 45+ FV pre-draft grade because he’s far less developed at this stage than I anticipated, which has become evident as he’s been surrounded by other pro athletes.

8. Orion Kerkering, SIRP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2022 from South Florida (PHI)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/60 80/80 30/35 96-98 / 100

Kerkering spent his underclass seasons in South Florida’s bullpen before he had a rocky 2022 draft spring shuttling back and forth between multiple roles. The Phillies didn’t attempt to start him, instead putting him right in the bullpen, where Kerkering’s stuff was both more explosive (he was 92-95 mph as a starter in college, then sitting 97 and up to 100 as a big leaguer) and, perhaps more importantly, consistent as he raced through their entire minor league system and onto Philadelphia’s playoff roster.

He still has issues with fastball quality (due to sinking shape and movement) and command, which is why I don’t have Kerkering projected as a slam-dunk contender’s set-up man (45 FV) or better. Even with premium, upper-90s fastball velocity, Kerkering is more apt to lean on his incredible sweeper than his heater, which generated closer to an average miss rates all year despite its velocity. His slider is incredible and can be used as a vertical in-zone pitch or as a two-plane, glove-side monster. There aren’t enough strikes here for me to consider Kerkering to be one of the two best relievers in a bullpen if you’re trying to contend, but he fits as a third banana.

9. Alex McFarlane, SIRP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2022 from Miami (PHI)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
65/70 60/60 30/40 95-98 / 101

I considered McFarlane to be a pure relief prospect when he was at Miami, but the Phillies decided to try to develop him as a starter, and for the first two months of 2023, it looked as though they really had something. He punched out 50 hitters in his first 37 innings and worked efficiently enough to pitch into the fifth and sixth inning during several starts, a rarity for him at Miami. After his June 10 start, however, the Phillies began to drastically limit the length of McFarlane’s outings, his stuff waned, and he was ultimately shut down at the end of August. A source close to the situation told me McFarlane had Tommy John during the offseason (I’m not sure of the exact date), which will put him out for all of 2024.

Healthy 2025 McFarlane could enjoy a Kerkering-like rise through the minors, especially if the Phillies decide to ‘pen him. When he was totally healthy early in 2023, McFarlane was sitting 98-100 mph, then he backed into the 94-97 range closer to when he was shut down. His monster arm strength helps make up for his fastball’s tailing shape, created by McFarlane’s nearly side-arm delivery. His gyro slider induced a plus-plus 21% swinging strike rate against A-ball hitters (an important caveat) in 2023, and McFarlane also has a rare changeup that he threw fewer than 50 times last season.

There were good reasons for the Phillies to try to develop him as a starter. Miami doesn’t seem to max out their pitchers on campus, and McFarlane’s fastball featured better sink in pro ball. He also has a great pitcher’s frame and is a fabulous on-mound athlete. But now that he’s going to miss all of 2024 and enter his 40-man evaluation season (2025) with so few innings under his belt, it’s much more likely McFarlane is moved quickly as a potential late-inning weapon, assuming his stuff comes back after his rehab.

40 FV Prospects

10. Michael Mercado, SIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Westview HS (CA) (TBR)
Age 24.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 40/40 60/60 40/40 93-97 / 98

In 2023, Mercado amassed 95 strikeouts in 62 innings split between Double- and Triple-A, albeit with a 4.79 ERA. Blocked by a myriad of other worthy 40-man candidates in Tampa, he was traded to the Phillies ahead of the 2023 roster deadline and added to their 40-man. Poised to be an optionable middle reliever in 2024, Mercado’s relatively new cutter really tied the rest of his repertoire (mostly fastball/curveball) together when he added it in 2022. His velocity has yo-yo’d throughout his pro career and did so again in 2023 with a move to the bullpen, ticking up to the 94-96 mph range, which he’d only occasionally shown as a starter. Mercado is capable of missing a bat when he executes any of his three main pitches, but his stuff isn’t so nasty that he can carve when he’s imprecise. He has minor league experience as both a closer and a long reliever, but I consider Mercado much more likely to play a consistent three-out middle-inning role in the big leagues once his option years start to dwindle.

11. Christian McGowan, SIRP

Drafted: 7th Round, 2021 from Eastern Oklahoma St. (JC) (PHI)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 30/40 40/50 94-96 / 98

McGowan, who touched the upper-90s a few times but was mostly 92-94 before he was drafted, returned from TJ in the middle of the summer of 2023 and was deployed for as many as four innings at a time until he totaled 42.2 innings combined between the regular season and the Arizona Fall League. With a revamped delivery, he was able to sustain 94-96 mph sinkers and 85-89 mph slider/cutters for that span. McGowan looks like a reliever from a stuff, build, and mechanics standpoint. His changeup lags behind his sinker/slider combo, and the 2024 season is his 40-man evaluation year, so there are internal and external pressures funneling him toward relief even though the Phillies’ usage of him in 2023 suggests they might keep stretching him out. Pushed all the way to Triple-A late in 2023, McGowan has a shot to debut in 2024 if the Phillies just ‘pen him like they did with Orion Kerkering, and he’s a virtual lock to debut in 2025 if he holds this stuff.

12. Aroon Escobar, 2B

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Venezuela (PHI)
Age 19.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 40/50 20/40 50/50 30/50 50

Escobar is a stout, versatile infield prospect with a contact-driven profile. His lively hitting hands are short and direct to the ball, making Escobar very difficult to beat in the strike zone. Though he’s already quite stocky and lacks anything close to typical projection for a teenage hitter, Escobar’s hands have promising thunder in them, and he’s a loose and explosive rotator in his hips. Despite Escobar’s relative physical maturity, there’s power projection here based on his capacity for movement and contact quality.

It’s harder to reconcile his size with his defensive forecast. Though he’s played all the infield positions but first base, it’s tough for infielders with his build to stay at shortstop long-term. An agile, low-to-the ground athlete, he’s a suitable infielder more in the 2B/3B mix. Here again we have a prospect whose ability to be an impact player will need to be driven by a premium hit tool, and the early indications are that this is plausible for Escobar. Given that he raked in the 2022 DSL and is more filled out that most teenage infield prospects, it was surprising to see Escobar repeat the DSL in 2023. He should come to the U.S. in 2024 and will hopefully hit his way off the complex and onto Clearwater’s roster in the second half of the season.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Venezuela (PHI)
Age 19.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 20/30 20/30 50/50 40/50 55

I wrote last list cycle that Bergolla’s lack of explosion and athleticism may not be a problem because his feel for contact is so exceptional, but as he matures physically, it appears that his ceiling is actually going to be capped pretty significantly by those attributes. It’s atypical to write such a thing when we’re talking about a pro ball legacy prospect, as Bergolla’s father played for over a decade, but the younger Bergolla is a stocky and relatively unathletic prospect. He does have fantastic feel for contact, however. Bergolla struck out just three times all summer in the 2022 DSL and then had the highest contact rate in the minors in 2023. His swing is ultra simple and geared for lots of opposite field contact. A fair shortstop defender, Bergolla will probably need to play a bunch of other positions in order to claim a big league role. He projects as a Cesar Izturis type of utilityman.

14. Emaarion Boyd, CF

Drafted: 11th Round, 2022 from South Panola HS (MS) (PHI)
Age 20.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 177 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 30/40 20/30 70/70 30/45 40

Boyd’s early-career contact performance has been very impressive (90% z-contact% in 2023), though the speedy young outfielder has surprisingly mostly been deployed in left field rather than center, where a speedy/contact skill set like his is much more likely to profile. Boyd has a poor arm and isn’t the most instinctive nor sound defender, which is probably why he only started 17 games in center field in 2023. He needs to improve his reads, routes and ball skills in the outfield. The contact and speed carrying tools give Boyd a fair bet to be a big league reserve outfielder, but many of those guys (Nyjer Morgan 모건, Travis Jankowski) tend to hit left-handed or play a better center field.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from New Zealand (PHI)
Age 19.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/70 30/40 20/30 50/50 30/40 40

After he hit .301/.424/.466 on the complex in 2022, Pouaka-Grego suited up for the New Zealand national team during the WBC qualifiers in September and was set to play for the Adelaide Giants in the Australian Baseball League over the winter, but he tore his ACL after just four games and did not play in 2023.

The Kiwi Rake is similar to Bergolla, just not as good a defender. He was perhaps the Phillies’ most exciting complex-level prospect in 2022, as he made searing all-fields contact throughout extended spring training and then again during the complex season proper, walking as much as he struck out and barely ever swinging and missing. He’s a compact, short-levered lefty stick with fantastic barrel feel and hand-eye coordination, as well as enough physicality to do doubles damage right now. Additionally, Pouaka-Grego has a coherent two-strike approach, ditching his leg kick once he’s deep in counts, spoiling tough pitches, and grinding away at opposing pitchers until he gets something to put in play. Because he is not physically projectable, it’s likely that NPG’s hit tool will need to carry most of the water if he’s going to be an impact player, but all the early-career indicators here suggest that’s plausible. While Pouaka-Grego is short, he isn’t small, and his lower body is especially muscular and strong, so he’s not in danger of lacking big league physicality as much as it’s tough to project that he’ll have big raw power at maturity.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/50 45/60 30/50 20/45 89-92 / 95

De La Cruz has a massive (if relatively mature) inning-eater’s frame at a robust 6-foot-6, and the natural depth on his upper-70s curveball, as well as the way it plays in concert with the line on his low-90s fastball, gives him a terrific two-pitch foundation on which he and the Phils can build. He threw 31.1 innings across 10 DSL appearances in 2023 and struck out 12.35 per 9 IP. He’s similar to the high school pitchers who get $750,000 or so in a typical draft, and is a fair low-level developmental project.

17. Robert Moore, SS

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Arkansas (MIL)
Age 21.8 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 40/45 30/40 60/60 45/55 45

Moore came over from Milwaukee in a trade for older, overachieving second baseman Oliver Dunn. Moore has been a known prospect since his underclass high school days, and he ended up matriculating to college early in order to be an extremely young (20.3) junior for his draft year. The apex of Moore’s stock came while he was a sophomore at Arkansas, when he looked like a potential top 10 or 15 pick for the following year’s draft. He had a substantial downtick in performance as a junior and there was a rumor at the time that he might go back to school to try to recoup some draft helium with an age-21 senior season. Instead, Moore signed with the Brewers for $800,000 as a second rounder.

He spent 2023 at High-A Wisconsin, where he slashed .233/.321/.361. Plus actions and advanced defensive acumen are now his carrying tools and enable him to project as a viable defender at both middle infield positions. The tiny Moore struggles to hit for power and has some plate coverage issues from the left side, struggling to contact pitches on the outer third. A bounce-back candidate for the last year and change, I now see him as having more of a utility ceiling.

18. McKinley Moore, SIRP

Drafted: 14th Round, 2019 from Arkansas-Little Rock (CHW)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 30/30 96-99 / 101

Moore stood out pretty much immediately upon entry into pro ball because of his near-elite arm strength. He was sitting 95-98 mph and bending in a plus mid-to-upper-80s slider on the White Sox backfields in 2021, one of the few breakout prospects in a scant farm system. The Phillies acquired him a year later in a trade for former first rounder Adam Haseley, and Moore had a better 2022 than anticipated from a strike-throwing standpoint, “only” walking 26 batters in 49.2 innings at Reading. He entered 2023 camp looking svelte and trim compared to prior years, but he was again excessively wild and walked more than a batter per inning in 2023, though he looked quite good during the last month of the season.

Moore scatters upper-90s fastballs all over the place and has a big breaking upper-80s sweeper. His new-ish physique might help him better control his body and repeat his release as he gets comfortable with it over time. If that’s the case, he’ll establish himself in a consistent relief role. Until then, he’s a classic up/down reliever whose stuff is good enough to miss big league bats but whose control isn’t good enough to inspire regular confidence in his manager. He and Andrew Baker are hard-throwing mustangs with big “if it clicks” ceilings in this system.

19. Andrew Baker, SIRP

Drafted: 11th Round, 2021 from Chipola JC (PHI)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
70/70 60/60 60/60 20/30 96-99 / 101

Baker’s raw stuff is nastier than all but the top couple of prospects in the Phillies system, but he walked a batter per inning in 2023 and needs to find at least one more full grade of control if he’s going to be a big leaguer at all. Baker sits 96-99 mph with plus movement, he’ll touch 101, and he has two nasty, distinct breaking balls that both have bat-missing action. But Baker, who began throwing two ticks harder in 2022, scatters pitch locations like dandelion seeds. There are some Josh Staumont similarities here, which communicates both his ceiling, and how precarious and unstable I’d expect his performance to be even if he kisses it.

35+ FV Prospects

20. Devin Saltiban, SS

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2023 from Hilo HS (HI) (PHI)
Age 18.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 40/50 20/45 55/55 30/45 40

Saltiban had a strong showing for the West Virginia Black Bears (formerly Pittsburgh’s Penn League affiliate) in the 2023 MLB Draft League and then looked good during workouts at the Combine; the Phillies gave him a little over $600,000 to sign. I had him written up as an outfielder prior to the draft, but he played shortstop after signing and will continue to do so in 2024. Saltiban is a very athletic, medium-framed infielder with above-average bat speed and exciting power potential for a middle infield defender. His surface-level stats in a 10-game Complex League sample don’t indicate this, but Saltiban really struggled with breaking ball recognition after he signed. There’s a huge margin for error projecting Saltiban’s hit tool and so he still fits into more of a “athletic dev project” bucket for now, which is appropriate for a player who signed for this sort of bonus.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2022 from Florida Atlantic (PHI)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/55 35/50 40/40 30/50 40

Rincones’ father pitched briefly in the Mariners system before an injury derailed his career. His family moved to Venezuela and then later to Scotland for his dad’s new job in the oil industry. Rincones would eventually find his way to prospect factory Plant High School in Florida, where he would initially struggle to make the team before establishing himself as a junior college prospect. He then spent two seasons at St. Petersburg College before transferring to FAU, where in just one season he slashed .346/.451/.658, hit 19 homers, and elevated his stock into the third round of the draft. Because Rincones’ childhood featured much less baseball than is typical for a prospect, and because his high-level amateur tenure was impacted by the pandemic, it’s plausible he still has a lot of skill development remaining. Sadly, after watching him at length in the 2023 Arizona Fall League, I’m not sure his swing or breaking ball recognition are viable, though. There is above-average raw power here, it’s just hard to envision Rincones getting to enough of it to profile in an outfield corner. He could conceivably be a Seth Brown type of big leaguer if indeed Rincones has some late-arriving pitch recognition.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (PHI)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 40/45 45/55 35/60 92-95 / 97

Cabrera took a huge step forward as a strike-thrower in 2023 and cut his walk rate in half, albeit as a slightly older prospect than is typical for Low-A. A lanky and athletic young righty with mid-90s arm strength and burgeoning changeup feel, Cabrera works in an even mix of three pitches. He throws a ton of his firm, upper-80s one-seam sinker-style changeups, then will reach back for 96-97 mph at peak. There still isn’t a plus pitch here, but Cabrera was written up as a frame/arm strength projection prospect last year and made significant improvements in a couple of areas. He now looks like he has a spot starter’s floor and a chance to be a consistent backend arm if he can continue to tune up his breaking ball.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Italy (PHI)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 50/55 45/50 45/50 35/55 90-93 / 95

Look out Tommy DeVito, Aldegheri is actually from Italy and is likely to begin his 2024 season down the Jersey Shore after wrapping 2023 there. Similar to DeVito, Aldegheri looks like a spot starter barring an unexpected velo boost. He has feasted on A-ball hitters’ tendency to chase his well-located sliders and changeups. The short-striding southpaw can climb the ladder with his fastball thanks to its angle, but at mostly 90-93 mph, it will be a vulnerable pitch against good hitters. His advanced feel for all four offerings should enable him to mix and match whatever pitch in whatever count en route to a culturally meaningful big league role, the first Italian-born pitcher in several decades.

24. Wen Hui Pan, SIRP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Taiwan (PHI)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops
55/60 40/45 40/55 30/40 94-98 / 99

Signed for $350,000 in January of 2023, Pan became the talk of the Phillies’ 2023 minor league spring camp because he arrived throwing very hard. Pan sat 92-94 during amateur international competition and would reach back for the occasional 95-96 mph fastball, but during his first spring, he was sitting 96-98 while topping out at 99 mph. The Phillies deployed him for as many as four innings per outing early in the 2023 season before his workload tapered off when he became Clearwater’s closer. Pan’s fastball sat close to 96 mph for the duration of his Low-A stay, and his full-season line — 63.2 IP, 88 K, 24 BB, 44 H — was strong despite a sour six-game stint in Lakewood to end the year. He mostly bullied A-ball hitters with big velocity and does not have a consistently plus secondary pitch. Pan’s 2-to-7, low-80s slider is ahead of his inconsistent splitter right now, but his best splitters are his nastiest pitches. It’s important that one of his secondary offerings gets better because Pan’s fastball is likely to play down a bit as he climbs. The velo/age combo here is exciting, but I’m not projecting heavily on the secondary stuff or command because Pan is a relatively stiff athlete. I have him more in an up/down bucket.

25. Griff McGarry, SIRP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Virginia (PHI)
Age 24.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 30/30 93-95 / 98

McGarry had a rough 2023 and was ultimately put on the Developmental List and shut down in September because he was struggling so badly at Triple-A. His stuff regressed, and by the end of 2023, he was throwing two ticks slower than in 2022. McGarry has been a plus stuff guy with 30-grade command since college. For a stretch in 2022, it looked liked his pitch mix would be so good that he’d find a way to be a late-inning weapon relatively soon, but instead he regressed. There’s still a righty-thwarting fastball/slider combo here; the pure movement of McGarry’s slider is comfortably plus. Was his 2023 dip the start of a broader downward trend, or just an anomaly? Either way, McGarry is going on 25 and has never thrown strikes. Past hoping things will click, I’d settle instead for McGarry’s stuff bouncing back enough for him to be an inefficient middle reliever. The 2024 season is McGarry’s 40-man evaluation year. Considering the way his 2023 ended and that he’s months away from potentially being available via the Rule 5 draft, this FV grade is probably a half tick better than McGarry’s real-world value at this stage.

26. George Klassen, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2023 from Minnesota (PHI)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
60/70 50/55 20/30 96-98 / 101

Klassen is an extremely hard-throwing relief prospect with a plus-flashing curveball. He sat 96-98 mph and would often touch 100-plus as a starter at Minnesota, but Klassen walked about a batter per inning. His arm action is incredibly long and inconsistent but there’s exciting raw stuff here, especially if Klassen somehow throws even harder in relief. He needs to develop as a strike thrower pretty significantly to be a big leaguer at all.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Jenga Tower of Outfielders
Carlos De La Cruz, 1B/OF
Símon Muzziotti, LF
TJayy Walton, RF
Raylin Heredia, RF
Leandro Pineda, RF
Hendry Mendez, LF
Ethan Wilson, OF

I’m just a bit too skeptical of this group to ascribe trade value to them at this time. Readers will be familiar with De La Cruz and Muzziotti. De La Cruz has plus-plus power and hit 24 bombs at Reading in 2023, but there are virtually no precedent-setting outfielders who chase and whiff as much as he does. He’s 24. Muzziotti has been a prospect here at the site for about eight years now and is on the 40-man roster. The rub for me is his propensity to chase, combined with a left field-only fit on defense. I still love his rotational athleticism and was glad he was healthy in 2023, a rarity for him. Walton is a 2023 draftee who signed out of IMG Academy in Florida for just shy of $500,000. He is a gigantic and strong 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, and needs to get more comfortable lofting the baseball. Heredia, 20, and Pineda, 21, are frame/power sleepers who whiff too much to be considered true prospects. Mendez came over from Milwaukee along with Robert Moore. He had an exciting contact and frame projection combo as a very young prospect, but he’s stiffened up as he’s matured and I’ve grown less confident that he’ll hit. Wilson is a former second rounder who hit 17 bombs at Reading in 2023, but he’s extremely chase prone (over 50% chase with two strikes).

Catching Depth
Kehden Hettiger, C
Caleb Ricketts, C
Guillermo Rosario, C
Leonardo Rondon, C

Hettiger was pried away from an Oregon commitment for close to $400,000 in 2023. He’s a strapping 6-foot-2 and switch hits, though his defense is ahead of his bat right now. Ricketts was a bat-first timeshare catcher at the University of San Diego, but has been very chase prone in pro ball. Rosario (DSL) and Rondon (Florida Complex) have shown promising bat-to-ball ability; Rondon probably can’t catch long-term.

Young Dev Project Pitchers
Angel Liranzo, LHP
Micah Ottenbreit, RHP
Joel Heredia, RHP
Enderson Jean, RHP
Claudio Gatier, LHP
Brad Pacheco, RHP

Liranzo was still just 16 years old for most of the DSL season. He has a short, consistent arm stroke that currently produces a flat-angle, upper-80s fastball, as well as a fair upper-70s curveball and a low-80s changeup. He’s not super projectable, but I love the look and consistency of his delivery and think he’s a nice starting pitcher prospect to have stashed at the lowest levels of the system. If the Phillies can help him throw harder, then Liranzo could break out in a big way because he already has command and “round-up” fastball characteristics. Ottenbriet, 20, signed for over $700,000 as a 2021 fourth rounder but has thrown just 14 career innings due to a TJ, which he returned from mid-2023 before he was promptly shut down again. I liked him as a high school prospect because of his lankiness and curveball proclivity. In his two 2023 outings, he was 91-93 with a good breaker and zero feel for strikes.

Heredia and Jean are two of the DSL pitchers who I think have a chance to throw very hard as they mature. Heredia is a 6-foot-6, 19-year-old righty who will reach back for 95-96 on occasion, but he tends to sit a few ticks below that. He’s currently a bunch of 40s with plus-plus body projection and a loose, athletic delivery. The 19-year-old Jean (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) is a more tightly wound athlete with a naturally short arm action and big arm speed that generates a 92-93 mph fastball that peaks above that. He needs to be much more mechanically consistent. So too does Gatier, a 21-year-old lefty who signed in 2022. Gatier is a massive guy who is much bigger than his listed height and weight, probably more like 6-foot-4, 215 or so, with a huge wingspan. He takes a gigantic stride down the mound and hides the ball forever. He’s an extremely uncomfortable at-bat and should at least be a solid lefty reliever if he can develop better control. Pacheco spent 2023 on the Restricted List (I could not ascertain why), then popped up at instructs, where he sat 91-93 with big ride and a plus-flashing 12-to-6 curveball. He’s on the smaller side (think Jeremiah Estrada) and is probably a reliever.

Leaning on Arm Strength
Dominic Pipkin, RHP
Alex Rao, RHP
Jaydenn Estanista, RHP
Jake Eddington, RHP
Tommy McCollum, RHP

The 6-foot-4, 24-year-old Pipkin has finally had a velo spike, though it took a move to the bullpen and he barely threw 20 innings on the season. He’s now sitting 95-96 and could conceivably have more in the tank. Rao will sit 93-94, touch 96, and has an above-average changeup, but he was hurt and wild for much of 2023. Estanista took a step back in 2023. His combination of body projection and pure arm strength made him one of the more exciting, high-variance prospects in this system during the last list cycle, but after his spring training was altered by the WBC (Estanista pitched for the Netherlands) and the middle of his summer was interrupted by a 60-day IL stint, he just never got off the ground. Estanista was already behind the developmental curve last year — his career got off to a delayed start due to the pandemic and he hadn’t yet pitched above rookie ball when he turned 21. While his combination of velocity and an ideal pitcher’s frame (and the fastball projection one could argue it affords) has kept him on this list, he needs to throw more strikes if he’s going to be a big leaguer. I love the arm speed of Eddington, a 2023 seventh round righty who touched 97 at Missouri State. McCollum needs a ton of effort and violence to sit 94-96, and has more of a fringe breaking ball.

Sneaky, Sneaky
Tristan Garnett, LHP
Tyler McKay, RHP
Wesley Moore, LHP
Danny Wilkinson, LHP

Garnett, a 2021 undrafted free agent from Cal State Dominguez Hills, is a changeup specialist with a due north arm slot and a slower, vertical fastball/curveball attack. His repertoire depth and fastball utility put him at the head of this group because he could conceivably make a spot start. McKay, a 2018 16th round JUCO draftee, and Moore, a Canadian undrafted free agent out of Kansas State, are both changeup-heavy sidearm relievers sitting about 92. Both are potential specialists or “look” relievers. Wilkinson is a deceptive, funkadelic lefty from Villanova. He only sits 90, but his fastball has extreme uphill angle, he hides the ball really well, and his slider has above-average length.

System Overview

The Phillies system is comfortably below-average right now, and there aren’t a ton of youngsters poised to help the big league team in the coming season. Aside from a couple of vanilla middle relievers, Mick Abel is the only prospect on this list within striking distance of the 2024 big league season.

There are some comforting details Phillies fans can fixate on, however. First, the Phillies have traded prospects for big leaguers each of the last few years and haven’t had second round picks in either of the last two drafts due to their pursuit of good free agents. The big league team is stacked in part because of those trades (especially the bullpen), and aside from the very back of the rotation, the major league roster doesn’t have an obvious area in need of upgrading in order to contend. Like the Braves, things are fairly settled and stable up and down the Phillies’ lineup and pitching staff.

So much of this system’s value is tied up in exciting teenage hitters that while it’s a bad system right now, it may be poised to climb the farm rankings over the next two years or so as those hitters mature. If a couple of the high-upside sticks in the 40+ and 45 FV tiers pan out, and if just one or two of the contact-oriented youngsters in the 40 FV group ends up joining them, the Phillies will have a hearty handful of Top 100-type position player prospects on the verge of the big leagues just as some of their veteran hitters’ contracts start to expire.

Where this system’s lack of depth does feel precarious is on the pitching side of things. Yes, I think Andrew Painter and Mick Abel will both be impact players in 2025 and beyond, but the lack of viable starting pitching depth in place for the upcoming season is concerning and puts the Phillies at risk of collapse if they suffer just a couple of injuries. David Parkinson (a soft-tossing lefty with good breaking stuff) and Tyler Phillips (a low-90s sinker/slider guy who was once a Pick to Click with Texas) seem likely to be the first two Iron Pigs in line for spot start duty.

We don’t know whether the Phillies are capable of home-growing pitching depth under the current player dev regime because the team’s draft strategy in the middle rounds has mostly been to target lots of mid-six-figure high school hitters. That strategy is a brilliant way for a club like this (which often loses draft picks via free agent compensation) to simultaneously add a mix of depth and upside to their system, with many of the fun and interesting prospects on recent lists having arrived via this approach (Logan O’Hoppe, Rincon, Saltiban, Boyd, and several of the honorable mentions). But it’s also come at the cost of drafting guys who become pitching depth, which is what most of the rest of the industry tends to devote its resources to on the second and third day of the draft. The group to watch in 2024 will be the pitchers currently in the honorable mention section of this list, especially the kids coming up from the DSL. If a few of them bubble onto the main section of the list during the next 12 months, it’ll be a sign things are heading in the right direction.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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1 month ago

we’re talking about the fightins