Breaking down Phils' new Top 30 prospects

August 12th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Todd Zolecki’s Phillies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The Phillies haven’t had a pitching prospect as exciting as Andrew Painter since Cole Hamels in the early 2000s.

Remember the hype for Hamels? Painter nearly matched it. But after Painter suffered a UCL injury in March, he had Tommy John surgery in July. He will not pitch for the Phillies until at least 2025.

It was a blow to the Phillies’ farm system, but they still have intriguing prospects in the system. MLB Pipeline on Saturday released its updated midseason top 30 Phillies’ prospect list. There are several new names that reside in the lower rungs of the system. The Phillies are a long way from knowing what they have there, but if they continue as they started, the farm system should be more interesting in the next couple years.

Here are some highlights from the updated rankings:

Here’s a look at the Phillies top prospects:
1. Painter, RHP (No. 29 prospect in baseball)
2. Mick Abel, RHP (No. 49)
3. Justin Crawford, OF (No. 83)
4. Aidan Miller, 3B
5. Johan Rojas, OF

Complete Top 30 list here.

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the preseason list:

Jump: Orion Kerkering, RHP (Preseason: 21 | Midseason: 8) -- Kerkering has been a fast riser. He started the season with Single-A Clearwater, moved to High-A Jersey Shore and pitched recently at Double-A Reading. In a combined 40 2/3 innings, he has struck out 59 and walked eight. He has a remarkable mix of power and command, with a fastball that sits in the upper 90s and touches triple digits. He throws a nasty slider, too.

Fall: Rickardo Perez, C (Preseason: 15 | Midseason: NR) -- The Phillies suspended Perez in March for undisclosed reasons, putting a cloud over a once bright future.

New to the list

Here are the players added to the Top 30 from outside the organization:

No. 4 Miller, 3B (Draft)
No. 19 Devin Saltiban, SS (Draft)
No. 20 Tayshaun Walton, OF (Draft)
No. 25 George Klassen, RHP (Draft)

Impact callup

Griff McGarry, RHP (No. 6)
An oblique injury delayed the start to McGarry’s 2023 season, but he has been throwing well overall. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Aug. 4 and made his IronPigs debut Wednesday. McGarry held hitters in the Double-A Eastern League to a .163 batting average and struck out better than 12 per nine. He also walked 5.9 per nine. He has the arsenal to start with four at least above-average pitches, but the command has not come along. Maybe it’s time to shorten him up, put him in the 'pen and let that premium stuff fly while helping the Phillies win a National League Wild Card spot.

Best tools (Players are graded on a traditional 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 -- Crawford (Simon Muzziotti, William Bergolla) 
Power: 60 -- Miller 
Run: 70 -- Crawford (Rojas, Emaarion Boyd, Yhoswar Garcia) 
Arm: 60 -- Miller (Raylin Heredia, Eduardo Tait) 
Defense: 65 -- Rojas 
Fastball: 70 -- McGarry (Painter, Klassen) 
Curveball: 55 -- Klassen (McGarry) 
Slider: 60 -- Painter 
Changeup: 55 -- McGarry (Painter) 
Control: 65 -- Painter