The arrival of the offseason means that it's time to rank stuff. Already this winter, we've sized up the 60 best free agents, both on an overall and positional basis. There's no law that prevents us from ranking minor-league players in addition to their big-league counterparts. As such, we're going to spend the winter evaluating every team's farm system.
The lack of a minor-league season makes that more of a challenge this year. It doesn't help that some teams opted against sharing video and data from their alternate-site camps with the rest of the league. As such, we've opted against overthinking this. Our rankings will essentially be the same as they were last winter with a few changes. First, we'll exclude anyone who graduated by exhausting their rookie eligibility; second, we'll replace them with draftees or other worthy prospects; and third, and lastly, we'll present the information in a new format.
In every article in this series, you'll find a team's top five prospects as well as five others we felt like including, either because of their promise or some other reason. For those top five prospects, you'll find a quick summation of their pros (their saving grace, if one will) and their cons (their fault line), as well as beefier report and our attempt to peg their "likeliest outcome."
These rankings were compiled by talking to industry folks -- scouts, analysts, and other evaluators -- and include a touch of our own evaluative biases. Remember, that this is more of an art than a science, and that the write-ups matter more than the rankings themselves.
Now, let's get on to the top five prospects in the Philadelphia Phillies system.
1. Mick Abel, RHP
Age (as of 4/1/2021): 19
Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 190 pounds
Acquired: No. 15 pick in the 2020 draft (Jesuit High School, Oregon)
Highest level: High school
Saving grace: Upside
Fault line: Inexperience
Scouting report: It takes a lot for a right-handed prep arm to go early in the draft. In that sense, it shouldn't have been too surprising that Abel slid to the Phillies despite possessing a high upside. He has everything you could want in a young pitcher: a strong frame; three budding pitches; athleticism; and projectability. There's risk that he gets hurt or doesn't develop as hoped, of course, but there's also a chance he turns into one of the better values of the 2020 draft.
Likeliest outcome: Above-average starter
2. Bryson Stott, SS
Age (as of 4/1/2021): 23
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 200 pounds
Acquired: No. 14 pick in the 2019 draft (UNLV)
Highest level: Low-A
Saving grace: Pop
Fault line: Hit tool
Scouting report: Stott is on the bigger side for a shortstop, and probably would've slid over to third base already had he played in a different era. Luckily for him and his value, there's reason to think he'll remain at short for the next several years. That could make him an intriguing two-way contributor provided his bat lives up to its promise. Stott has above-average pop, but he struck out more frequently in his first taste of pro ball than he had in college. If he can get a handle on that, he has a chance to become the first notable UNLV hitter since Ryan Ludwick.
Likeliest outcome: Power-dependent shortstop
3. Francisco Morales, RHP
Age (as of 4/1/2021): 21
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 185 pounds
Acquired: Third-round pick in the 2019 draft (Seminole High School, Florida)
Highest level: A-ball
Saving grace: Fastball-slider combination
Fault line: Changeup and command
Scouting report: Given Morales' age, athleticism, and fastball-slider one-two punch, it's possible that he develops into a middle-of-the-rotation starter. In order to get there, he's going to need to improve his changeup and his command. The latter would seem to be more of a challenge because of a less-than-graceful delivery. For the time being, it feels more realistic to view him as a high-leverage arm in the making rather than a realistic long-term rotation piece.
Likeliest outcome: Late-inning reliever
4. Adonis Medina, RHP
Age (as of 4/1/2021): 24
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 187 pounds
Acquired: International amateur free-agent signing (Dominican Republic)
Highest level: MLB
Saving grace: Fastball-slider combination
Fault line: Changeup
Scouting report: Medina made a spot-start for the Phillies late in the season, giving him his first big-league appearance before he had toed a Triple-A rubber. Though he's athletic and has a solid fastball-slider pairing, there's some reason to think he might end up in the bullpen. Namely, he hasn't developed a way to neutralize left-handed hitters. In 2019, the opposition hit for an .858 OPS against him when he lacked the platoon advantage. (Comparatively, he held right-handers to a .633 OPS.) The Phillies will likely give Medina the year in Triple-A to see if things click. If they don't, it might be time to tinker with him in bursts.
Likeliest outcome: Back-end starter or reliever
5. Rafael Marchan, C
Age (as of 4/1/2021): 22
Height/Weight: 5-foot-9, 170 pounds
Acquired: International amateur free-agent signing (Venezuela)
Highest level: MLB
Saving grace: Defense
Fault line: Power
Scouting report: Marchan made the leap from High-A to the majors this year, making three appearances for the big team late in the season. Improbably, he delivered his first home run as a professional in the process -- you read that correctly, he'd previously failed to clear the fence in any of his 210 minor-league games. Marchan's offensive game is instead centered on contact and putting the ball in play. His overall value, meanwhile, is buoyed by his mitt and his above-average arm. He should have a couple more seasons of development ahead of him, but at this point in time it looks more likely that he'll be a backup than a starter.
Likeliest outcome: Backup catcher
Five others to know
- Casey Martin, SS
Martin is a tantalizing athlete who has above-average power and speed, and who should be able to play an up-the-middle position. (Center field is his likeliest landing spot.) He slipped to the third round because of usability concerns. Martin has below-average pitch recognition skills, and punched out about 2.5 times as often as he walked. The Phillies taking a third-round gamble on him is understandable; just don't expect them to hit the jackpot.
- Simon Muzziotti, OF
The Phillies are Muzziotti's second organization. His original contract, signed with the Red Sox, was voided after the organization was found to have violated the rules. Anyhow, Muzziotti has quality bat-to-ball skills and enough speed to play center. His aggressive approach could limit his effectiveness against more advanced pitching, and he might be just a fourth outfielder.
- Mickey Moniak, OF
Moniak, the top pick in the 2016 draft, reached the majors in 2020 without taking a cut against Triple-A pitching. He appeared in eight games, recording three hits (all singles) and striking out in six of his 14 at-bats. Moniak isn't going to live up to his draft stock, but he could become a decent big-league contributor thanks to a mostly average base of tools.
- Luis Garcia, SS
Not to be confused with the Nationals' shortstop prospect of the same name, this Garcia had an abysmal 2019 that saw him hit .186/.261/.255 at A-ball. That's one way to halt a hype train. Garcia's only 20, however, and he has the physical gifts to stick at shortstop. Provided he hits, even a little, that should be enough to keep him prospect-relevant until he reaches the Show.
- Cristopher Sanchez, LHP
Sanchez is a hard-throwing lefty with a promising slider whom the Phillies acquired from the Rays last winter. He'll spend the entirety of next season as a 24-year-old, but the Phillies could hasten his arrival by moving him into a relief role. That's where he's expected to end up anyway.