Who are the most important members of the Phillies organization heading into 2018? That’s the question we asked ourselves in creating the 2018 Phillies Value 50.
This is our third year of ranking the organization’s top 50 most valuable people, whether player, coach, executive, trainer or personality. Here was our top-10 in 2016:
1. Johnny Almaraz (director of amateur scouting)
2. Joe Jordan (director of player development)
3. Pete Mackanin
4. J.P. Crawford
5. Maikel Franco
6. Mike Ondo (director of pro scouting)
7. Matt Klentak
8. Andy MacPhail
9. Aaron Nola
10. Sal Agostinelli (director of international scouting)
1. Matt Klentak
2. Joe Jordan
3. Aaron Nola
4. Andy MacPhail
5. Pete Mackanin
6. John Middleton
7. Vince Velasquez
8. J.P. Crawford
9. Maikel Franco
10. Matt Stairs (hitting coach)
In 2016 the top-10 focused more on organizational directors whose job was to fill up and manage the farm system. Last year we saw a transition to the on-field product with Velasquez entering the top-10 and Stairs being highlighted. This year? Let’s find out.
30. SCOTT PROEFROCK / assistant general manager
Here’s how we come up with the Value 50: I ask the writers of the website to rank everyone in the organization from 1-50, and then I sort by average ranking. It’s pretty simple, but it does give us a good sense of who we’ll be keeping our eyes on most in the season ahead. There were some wide discrepancies this year, and I’ll touch on some of them here. As for Proefrock, he wasn’t really one of them – typically assistant general managers are ranked a little after the halfway mark of the rankings because we know they’re important, but we also know they don’t have final say on the important things. So he’s here, comfortably at 30.
29. JOHNNY ALMARAZ / director of amateur scouting
As a director, you’d imagine Almaraz generally wields some power. He’s the guy who says “this is who our guys are targeting for the draft,” and that opinion means a lot to Matt Klentak and Andy MacPhail. Last year that opinion led to the Phils drafting Adam Haseley, who may rise quickly up the system this year. There was a discrepancy with his ranking – I had him at 7 because, hell, the Phils pick third in this year’s draft, while site founder Brian Michael put him way down at 49. It’s true we may not be paying attention to the draft as a fanbase this June, but the Phils have an interesting one coming up: third overall, then no second rounder and no third rounder. They need to hit on this third overall pick.
28. NED RICE / assistant general manager
Like Proefrock, it’s hard to say how much power Rice wields. But as I said before, it seems Rice is the closest to a right-hand man that Klentak has in the front office (though we really don’t know). So our rankings of Rice were a bit more divisive, with the high being 15 and the low being out of the rankings entirely. He settled in at a comfortable 28.
27. ROMAN QUINN / outfielder / Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs
We ranked Quinn between 23 and 47, which isn’t too far a spread. We seem to know what the score is here: Quinn has to prove himself worthy of the majors this season. That’s that. He could still be a viable starter, because his speed, defense and contact tools are good, and if he adds versatility with some infield play, he’ll really cement his case.
26. MAIKEL FRANCO / third baseman / Philadelphia Phillies
How the mighty have fallen. Franco ranked in the top 10 the last two years, but now is way down at 26 as some of us just didn’t find him important whatsoever. It’s literally do or die time for Franco: hit well and he’s possibly a part of the future; flounder once again, and he’s gone before the season dries.
25. JOE JORDAN / director of player development
This was a surprising spread. I ranked Jordan at 6 overall because there’s a ton of talent on the farm, and boy do we want to see Sixto Sanchez and others succeed. But Matt Kaplan kept him out of the rankings entirely; maybe there are other actors more important in player development … like, maybe, the players? Anyway, we weren’t sure where to land on Jordan, so he ended up square in the middle of these rankings, which actually feels about right. Yes we’re transitioning from caring about the farm to caring about the big league product, but Jordan remains crucial as the Phils can’t let the pipeline dry. Otherwise we’re in the same situation we were in 10 years ago.
24. MICKEY MONIAK / outfielder / Lakewood Blue Claws
This is why I said the players may be the most important actors in their development – Kaplan ranked Mickey Moniak 9th overall, higher than anyone else had him. It will be up to Moniak, ultimately, to meet others’ expectations of him and become a quality major leaguer. But he’s just 19 with plenty of time and room to grow. He could start in Clearwater, but he may get a few more weeks in Lakewood. Either way, we don’t have to be worried about him yet. But his status as a No. 1 overall pick means there are certainly more eyes on him.
23. PAT NESHEK / pitcher / Philadelphia Phillies
I was the only person to rank Neshek pretty low (44th) because how important is a reliever anyway? Really good relievers may be worth 3 WAR over a season (Neshek was worth 2.1 with the Phils), which is what we expect from someone like, say, Odubel Herrera. But it’s true that Neshek is valuable because, if anything, he’s showed it before. He’s a good reliever who can bring a steady hand to a bullpen expected to do good things in 2018. I get it.
22. NICK PIVETTA / pitcher / Philadelphia Phillies
Few players had a smaller spread in the rankings than Pivetta, with the highest being 19th and the lowest being 32nd. We’re all in agreement that Pivetta is important: There’s so much potential here, and if it’s realized, we have ourselves a mid-rotation stalwart. This is the year some believe Pivetta will break out. We’re not sure, but we do know if he succeeds, this team is in good shape on the pitching front.
21. HECTOR NERIS / pitcher / Philadelphia Phillies
How important is a closer? So important that he’s ranked 4th overall (which one of our rankers had him)? Or is he just another cog in the wheel, worth of the No. 39 ranking that another person gave him? The spread on Neris was amazing, and it just goes to show that it’s hard to pinpoint what Neris is, even though we’ve been watching him for a few years now. I remember bemoaning him as the guy who gave up a bunch of home runs, and now he’s locking down ninth innings with his fantastic splitter. Look, if he’s on this year, that means the bullpen is doing its thing and the Phils are winning games. That’s important. But if he fails, he could be forgotten just like, say, Jeanmar Gomez. It doesn’t take long for a closer to be lost to the dustbin of history.