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 started the 2016 Phillies Power Poll last week with Honorable Mention candidates. Yesterday we unveiled 50-41. Wednesday is 30-21, Thursday is 20-11 and Friday is 10-1. Today we’re unveiling numbers 40 to 31.
40. Tom Burgoyne
Entertainer, Phillie Phanatic
While exciting and youthful, the Phillies’ on-field product will still likely be hard to swallow for fans this year. That only increases the importance of other entertainment outlets at Citizens Bank Park, and none is more important than the fuzzy green thing with the megaphone nose. Burgoyne has an important job to do this year, attracting more kids to Phillies baseball through belly thumping and bald-head-rubbing. We’re sure he’ll pull it off.
Director of Major League Scouting
A respected super-scout who was promoted to the directorship a few years ago, Lakey is responsible for overseeing the scouting of major league players for potential acquisitions. He was instrumental in acquiring Brad Lidge before the 2008 season – that worked out well. Recently he hasn’t been in the spotlight, since the Phils have been selling major league assets for minor league talent. But as Matt Klentak begins switching his focus to adding major league talent, he’ll be relying much more on Lakey’s experience.
38. Tyler Goeddel
Outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies
Last year the Phils took a chance on Rule 5 castoff Odubel Herrera, and so far, that gamble has paid off in spades. The Phils hope Goeddel is another Herrera story; the 23-year-old outfielder is a good hitter (.279/.350/.433 in 2015) who still has to improve his all-around game (defense, power, polish). He’ll get every chance to do so in 2016 on the big-league roster; in short, he has the power to make himself a major league starter.
37. Rob Holiday
Director of Amateur Scouting Administration
Another longtime Phillie retained by Andy MacPhail and Klentak, Holiday was a scout and scouting director who now oversees the systems that allow for amateur scouting to occur. Chiefly he’ll work closely with the scouting budget, and work closely with other directors and front office officials to identify strategies and targets. It’s one of those essential jobs whose importance is felt behind the scenes. Holiday – along with amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz – is integral to operations for a team in the middle of a large-scale rebuild.
36. Brett Oberholtzer
Projected Starting Pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies
Delaware native Oberholtzer, 26, is on the short list of finalists for the starting rotation in 2016. He deserves inclusion, recording a 3.94 career ERA with 166 strikeouts and 58 walks over parts of three seasons with Houston. At his best he can be a regular rotation piece, but at the least the Phillies hope he provides important depth for a team transitioning.
35. Zach Eflin
Projected Starting Pitcher, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
One of the early additions in the Phillies rebuild, Eflin is now part of a deep group of starting pitchers prepared to debut or make an impact in 2016. He went 8-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 2015 for Reading, proving himself worthy of another promotion. He’ll start the season in triple-A and could get his major league debut by mid-summer, but he still needs to improve his command and breaking offerings (slider, curveball). While Eflin now comes after the likes of Jake Thompson, Mark Appel and Vincent Velasquez on the hype train, his success will go a good ways in improving the Phillies for 2017 and beyond.
34. Jeremy Hellickson
Starting Pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies
Not a prospect, but not filler, Hellickson can do some serious reconstruction on his future this season in Philadelphia. Once a hot prospect, and a former Rookie of the Year, Hellickson has in the last three seasons struggled with both injury and poor performance. There is reason to believe, though, that the injuries (elbow mostly) were the primary reason for those struggles, and Hellickson can rebound and be a decent strikeout pitcher who keeps the ball in the yard better than ever. A good Hellickson means trade value or, if the Phils are interested, a relatively low-cost extension to shore up the back of the future rotation.
33. Roman Quinn
Projected Centerfielder, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Already on the 40-man roster, Quinn is a few quick strides (or an injury to a major leaguer) away from making his debut. In Reading last season, Quinn hit .306/.356/.435 with 29 steals (just 257 plate appearances). The kid, 22, is fast and plays exceptional defense. He can hit, too. There’s reason to believe Quinn is the centerfielder of the future in Philly, but there’s also reason to believe that role is Herrera’s … or Nick Williams’. Either way Quinn is on the short list to make an impact this year. One big problem: injuries. He’s had plenty of them. Quinn could start the year back in Reading, but he’s really one move away from Philly.
32. Mike DiMuzio
Director of Ballpark Operations, Philadelphia Phillies
Starting his work life at Veterans Stadium in 1971 (junior ground crew), DiMuzio is another Phillie lifer who helps make the franchise hum behind the scenes. DiMuzio is in charge of making Citizens Bank Park look pretty and playable and, well, he does a hell of a job. Citizens Bank Park is one of baseball’s best parks and, at least to this biased individual, one of the best places in America to spend a summer day or night. Much like Burgoyne, DiMuzio is tasked with keeping things running smooth while the on-field product struggles to get back to a respectable level.
31. Andrew Knapp
Projected Catcher, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
After slaughtering the baseball for the Reading Fightin’ Phils and Clearwater Threshers in 2015 (.360/.419/.631 in 241 Reading appearances), Knapp is a franchise top-10 prospect and slated to make his debut in 2016. His bat is great but his defense still needs work. Still, Knapp could potentially slide to first base if the Phils are so concerned about his glove, and the Phils can wait until September to make any early decisions on the 24-year-old. There are options here. But hopefully Knapp forces those decisions sooner, rather than later.