Who are the most important members of the Phillies organization heading into 2016? That’s the question we asked ourselves in creating the 2016 Phillies Power Poll.
Here’s the gist: Rank the 50 people most important to the success of the Phillies as an organization going into the season. They can be executives and administrators, coaches, players, prospects, entertainers or broadcasters. All parts of the organization are fair game. We at Phillies Nation individually ranked entrants, and averaging the ranks together – along with light tinkering – we settled on this list.
We’ll unveil the 2016 Phillies Power Poll starting Monday with 50-41, then Tuesday we’ll do 40-31, Wednesday is 30-21, Thursday is 20-11 and Friday is 10-1. Today we’re bringing you a few honorable mention choices, those who fell just outside the top 50.
2016 Phillies Power Poll: Honorable Mention
Catcher, Philadelphia Phillies
The 51st name on the list, Rupp can either be an integral piece of the Phillies’ future or be discarded relatively easily after 2016. He’ll get an opportunity to keep the starting catching gig, but if he regresses and any of the Phils’ touted catching prospects heat up, his days could be quickly numbered.
Projected First Baseman, Reading Fightin’ Phillies
Of all first basemen in the system, the 23-year-old Hoskins is most likely to be the major league starter in 2020. Moving into the advanced stage of his development in 2016, he’ll need to build on an outstanding 2015 with Lakewood and Clearwater (.319/.395/.518, 36 2B, 17 HR). Another great offensive campaign may make him the clubhouse favorite going into spring training 2017.
Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
Working with all levels of the farm system, Meredith’s job is to work with players, sometimes one-on-one, to get them to the next level of development. He did this last year with Carlos Tocci, which resulted in the outfield prospect having his most productive season yet with Lakewood and Clearwater. Helping the large volume of top prospects build power and stamina will be important in 2016, making Meredith an unsung key to success.
First Base Coach, Philadelphia Phillies
For the first time in 16 years, people in the Delaware Valley will once again have the opportunity to yell “Mick-ey-Mor-an-dini” in their best Harry Kalas voice during Phillies games. Hopefully not for bad reasons. Morandini will be tasked with helping baserunners become better base stealers, while also providing a link to franchise history for the mostly younger-skewing roster.
Projected Starting Pitcher, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs
One of the pieces that returned to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade last season, Asher got off to a bad start with his new team in 2015 (29 IP, 9.31 ERA, 16 K, 10 BB). There’s reason to be optimistic about him, however, as he throws a plus-fastball. He may start the 2016 season as a starter, likely in Lehigh Valley, but he could turn out to be a valuable reliever at some point.
Radio Play-by-Play Broadcaster
“Just a reminder, fans, about ‘Die-Hard Night’ coming up here at the stadium,” announces Harry Doyle, radio play-by-play man of the Indians in the 1989 film “Major League.” “Free admission to anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won a pennant.” Franzke this year will play the slightly less twisted version of Doyle, the guy welcoming us die-hards to Phillies baseball every night on radio. His easy, casual delivery and witty banter with Larry Andersen will be necessary when the chips are down. And they’ll be down.
Projected Second Baseman, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs
One-half of the return in the Chase Utley trade last season, Sweeney can be anything from an everyday starter locked into one position, to the kind of player you bring up randomly to fill a couple quick holes. What happens is up to him. Sweeney (.176/.286/.353) didn’t produce in his first major-league action, but his versatility and still promising bat make him someone to watch as he likely does the I-476 spur in 2016.
Infielder, Philadelphia Phillies
As a veteran bilingual presence, the Venezuelan Blanco is a major asset in the major league clubhouse. If he can come anywhere close to his surprisingly terrific output in 2015 (.292/.360/.502), Blanco will once again be more valuable than almost anyone on the big-league roster.
Outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies
Asche may not be the Phillies’ third baseman of the future. He may not be a long-term solution in the outfield. But in 2016 he may need to prove that he belongs in Philadelphia for good, and not on the Northeast Extension every couple weeks. Being comfortable as a corner-fielding specialist and left-handed pinch hitter could be what he needs to improve on his below-average offensive game (.246/.301/.392 career).
Shortstop, Philadelphia Phillies
Plenty has been written about Galvis, who turned in a charitably average season in 2015 as the team’s starting shortstop (.263/.302/.343). He’ll start 2016 in the same place but could move to second base if and when J.P. Crawford comes to Philadelphia. There’s probably less pressure on Galvis to perform well than on infield partner Cesar Hernandez, who truly has one position on the diamond on which to prove himself.
Coming up Monday, the beginning of the countdown.