A Minor Review of 2015: Philadelphia Phillies

Welcome to the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 2015.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the ’15 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2016 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues.

Previous Reviews:
Baltimore Orioles
Atlanta Braves
Boston Red Sox
Washington Nationals
New York Yankees

A Minor Review of 2015: Phillies

The Graduate: Maikel Franco, 3B: A wrist injury may have ended Maikel Franco’s season early (He hasn’t played since Aug. 11) but he adapted more quickly to the Majors in his debut than I expected — at least at the plate. He significantly out-played incumbent third baseman Cody Asche and even out-performed Ryan Howard — who he’ll eventually supplant at first base. Fellow rookie Odubel Herrera was worth more in terms of WAR (3.0 to 1.3) but Franco was superior in wRC+ (weighted runs created — 125 to 107). It may not be a stretch to call the third base prospect the best hitter on the 2015 Phillies. On defence, though, Franco struggled as expected and will no doubt move from third to first once the Phillies decide to cut bait with Howard.

The Riser: Franklyn Kilome, RHP: I listed Kilome as the Phillies sleeper on the 2014 version of this series and he continued to improve by leaps and bounds in 2015. The 6-6 right-hander can now tickle the upper 90s with his heater. Once his secondary offerings improve his strikeout rate will no doubt significantly increase. His next challenge will be full-season ball in 2016 after two years of extended spring training and short-season leagues. He has one of the more impressive power arms in the minors but could be four years away from the Majors.

The Tumbler: Tom Windle, LHP: The Phillies had a rather successful season on the player development front and there weren’t many true disappointments. Windle fits the bill from my perspective because I expected bigger things from him in 2015 (and perhaps more than most talent evaluators). A lefty with average raw stuff, Windle’s command and control took a big step back at Double-A. He generated fewer ground-ball outs but was able to keep the ball in the yard reasonably well, which is one of the few positives on his year. He’ll likely return to Double-A in 2016 and look to make good on his projection as a back-end, big league starter capable of chewing up innings.

The ’15 Draft Pick: Cornelius Randolph, OF: I was a big fan of Randolph as an amateur and the Phillies may have gotten themselves a gem with the 10th overall pick. An infielder in high school, he moved to the outfield as a pro and he held his own. The focus on the defensive switch did not hold his bat back in Rookie Ball as he hit for average and showed good gap pop. He also produced an on-base percentage above .400 thanks to 32 walks in 53 games. Just 18 years of age, Randolph is probably ready for full-season ball in 2016 and should be a fast mover through the system.

The New Addition: Nick Williams, OF: The Phillies added three impressive prospects when they traded Cole Hamels to the Rangers (A deal that’s also working out very well for Texas) and Williams had a strong debut in Philadelphia’s system. He hit more than .300 on the year and made significant strides with his approach at the plate. He’s increased his walk rate and trimmed his strikeout rate while tapping into more of his raw power. Williams’ crazy bat speed makes him a huge power threat down the road if he continues to improve his approach. He should be ready for a taste of the Majors at some point in the second half of 2016.

The Lottery Ticket: Deivi Grullon, C: Just 19, Grullon has been moved aggressively through the Phillies system and it’s had a negative impact on his offensive output as his bat hasn’t been given a chance to catch up to his assignment. He struck out 105 times in 107 games in 2015 and he rarely walks so he’s going to have to become both more patient and more selective. He has power potential but needs to wait and swing at better pitches. Behind the plate, he projects to develop into a well-above-average catcher but still needs polish in the finer aspects of the position. The addition of Jorge Alfaro to the system should allow the Phillies to chill out a bit on Grullon and maybe even let him open 2016 back in Low-A ball.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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7 years ago

Thoughts on Altherr? 2nd division starter or platoon/bench/4th OF? Thanks.