The Phillies are not in a good place right now. They are supposed to be rebuilding but it is difficult to be optimistic about the results so far. Jake Thompson has spent the last couple of games proving why the Phillies might be in worse shape than previously presumed. Even with Thompson’s performance last Wednesday, it is clear that the team lacks top pitching prospects, an issue that should factor into your decisions if you choose to bet on the Phillies this season.
The game against the Angels last Wednesday saw Thompson allow eleven of the 25 batters he faced to make it to base, this with five extra base hits and three home runs. The Phillies saw fit to send him back to the minors after the game. One can argue that the Angels game redeemed Thompson from the five scoreless innings on his record from previous games.
And it is worth noting that Thompson is still a young man. Sure, he wasn’t quite the prospect that everyone was hoping for. But the pitcher is likely to get better with time. Unfortunately, Thompson is not the only problem weighing the Phillies down. Not so long ago, it looked like the Phillies would rise from the ashes using the young arms in their ranks.
Things haven’t worked out as planned. Maikel Franco has regressed over time, and Mickey Moniak and Cornelius Randolph’s struggles have been difficult to ignore. And even the presence of bright spots like Aaron Altherr, Scott Kingery, and Rys Hoskins hasn’t extinguished the doubt in the hearts of some fans.
No one expected Vince Velasquez to be the shining light of the Phillies when they acquired him for Ken Giles in 2016. But he was certainly expected to bring so much more to the table than simply walking too many batters, throwing too many pitches and giving up a boatload of home runs. The only thing Vince can boast about is his good fastball and that isn’t enough.
Even Mark Appel failed to become the success story the Phillies badly needed. Thompson is just icing on the cake. He is definitely an unexpected setback. The athlete joined the Phillies machine in 2015.
Keep in mind the fact that Thompson was a top 100 prospect at the time and everyone thought he would work well with Aaron Nola. And for a while, it looked like the Phillies had acquired the power pitcher they were looking for. But then Thompson’s stats began to fall.
Thompson was definitely great at Triple A Lehigh Valley last season (2.50ERA in 21 starts). But his walk rate eventually fell and he began missing bats and, before long, he was struggling to find the zone.
It is unfortunate that Thompson is just one of many athletes that should have been top 100 prospects but have since fizzled, and it is unlikely that they will grow into competent and contributing members of the team.
Right now, the Phillies have their hopes in Sixto Sanchez who has been promoted to High-A Clear water. Sixto needs to become the best pitching prospect down the line, otherwise, someone is going to start questioning the decisions being made by the Phillies.