The last time the Phillies had a winning record was back in 2011, when they won the National League East but lost in the NL Division Series to the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. That team, in retrospect, was kept together a little too long, with a decision
The last time the Phillies had a winning record was back in 2011, when they won the National League East but lost in the NL Division Series to the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. That team, in retrospect, was kept together a little too long, with a decision to rebuild not coming until 2015.
• MLB's Top 10 farm systems | Phillies Top 30 Prospects list
But let's look forward, not back, shall we? It's easy to do because, despite a last-place finish in 2017, the Phillies are headed in the right direction for the future.
:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::
There were glimpses of it on that 2017 team, with some young players continuing to establish themselves in Philadelphia while many members of the top of this new Top 30 got to introduce themselves. The Phillies had one of the youngest rosters in baseball in 2017, a trend that will surely continue this season.
This should be the last time J.P. Crawford sits near the top of this list. Yes, he's down at No. 3 now, but after the trade of Freddy Galvis, the 23-year-old should be the Opening Day shortstop. He should be joined up the middle soon by 23-year-old Scott Kingery, whose 20-20 season jumped him ahead of Crawford in the rankings. No. 7 prospect Jorge Alfaro will be the No. 1 catcher at the ripe old age of 24. There a number of arms who could impact the rotation and bullpen as needed this season up and down the list.
:: Top 10 Farm Systems ::
None of them have the upside that the new No. 1 prospect, Sixto Sanchez, has. The right-hander wasn't on the overall Top 100 a year ago at this time, but he has soared all the way up to No. 26 this year. He is just one of many young players in the lower levels who has tremendous upside. Thanks to work on the international market, pitchers like Adonis Medina and Franklyn Kilome are on the rise and a hitter like Jhailyn Ortiz could very well join the Top 100 before the 2018 season has come to a close.
Even if there isn't anyone to immediately replace the top players who will graduate soon off the list as elite-level prospects, the depth of this system should keep things humming along for some time. The 2018 Phillies should be fun to watch. The 2019 Phillies should be very competitive. The 2020 Phillies? Watch out.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2017 preseason list to the 2018 preseason list.
Jump: Arquimedes Gamboa, SS (2017: NR | 2018: 11)
Fall: Kevin Gowdy, RHP (2017: 8 | 2018: 30)
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 55 - Scott Kingery (J.P. Crawford, Mickey Moniak, Adam Haseley, Daniel Brito)
Power: 60 - Dylan Cozens (Jhailyn Ortiz)
Run: 80 - Roman Quinn
Arm: 70 - Jorge Alfaro
Defense: 60 - Crawford (Quinn)
Fastball: 70 - Sixto Sanchez (Franklyn Kilome, Seranthony Dominguez)
Curveball: 55 - Kilome (Sanchez, McKeenzie Mills)
Slider: 60 - Victor Arano
Changeup: 60 - Ranger Suarez
Control: 70 - Thomas Eshelman
How they were built
Breakdown by ETA
Breakdown by position
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.