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Phillies Nation Top 20 Phillies Prospects: September 2021

Hans Crouse, Bryson Stott and Mickey Moniak are among the Phillies top 20 prospects. (Graphic by Scott Krava of DRMN BG; images from Cheryl Pursell and Steven Kiebach)

With both the Major League Baseball and minor-league seasons beginning to wind down, Phillies Nation has assembled its most recent rankings of the 20 best prospects in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. The current list was compiled by Phillies Nation‘s Tim Kelly, Destiny Lugardo and myself, Ty Daubert.

As stated in previous versions of this prospect list, assessments of these prospects are based on the play the Phillies Nation staff has seen covering these players in-person, analysis of film, conversations with scouts, coaches and other player development personnel and information from outlets such as Baseball AmericaFanGraphsProspects Live and MLB Pipeline.

After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled last minor-league season, 2021 has provided an opportunity to see these players in action in a competitive setting once again. With that comes certain prospects increasing their standing in the Phillies system, while others have had more disappointing performances.

The Phillies farm system is not an especially strong one; MLB Pipeline pegged it as the No. 27 system in Major League Baseball last week. Nonetheless, there are a number of prospects within the organization with the chance to make a legitimate big-league impact in the future.

1. Mick Abel: RHP

The choice for the top Phillies prospect is a no-brainer this time around. Abel, the team’s first-round selection, made his professional debut this season, pitching for Low-A Clearwater. It hasn’t been smooth sailing all the time for the young starter, but the right-hander certainly has shown many flashes of what made him the first high school arm taken in his draft class.

The 20-year-old throws a power fastball, averaging around 95 mph and touching around 99 mph, and has an advanced feel for his slider and changeup to rack up strikeouts. He’s been on the injured list since Aug. 3, which could be a mild concern, but Abel’s potential as a future top-of-the-rotation starter sure is promising.

2. Andrew Painter: RHP

Another starting pitcher selected out of high school, Painter was not quite as polished entering the draft as Abel when he was picked in the first round by the Phillies this year. However, Painter still has a lot of upside on the mound with a solid arsenal for his age. The 18-year-old throws a four-seamer that touches around 95 mph, a two-seamer, a curveball, a slider and mixes in a changeup. The 6-foot-6 righty made his professional debut in the Florida Complex League, kicking off what should be a minor-league career to watch.

3. Bryson Stott: SS

A 2019 first rounder, Stott has put together a tremendous performance in his first full season of minor-league ball. Defensively, the 23-year-old can handle shortstop, and has looked solid at both third base and second base if the Phillies decide a position change could be necessary in the future. On offense, Stott has an all-fields approach that allows him to take advantage of his gap power. He played well for High-A Jersey Shore to start the season, and has been on fire for Double-A Reading as of late. Perhaps a push to Triple-A could be coming soon.

4. Johan Rojas: OF

The results haven’t always been there this season in Clearwater for the 21-year-old Rojas, but he still shows the tools that make him such an intriguing player. Because of that, the Phillies promoted him to Jersey Shore on Thursday despite only hitting .240 in Low-A. Rojas is a center fielder with excellent speed in the field and on the bases. He also hits the ball extremely hard, while chasing too many pitches outside the hitting zone. If he can become more selective at the plate, Rojas is capable of doing serious damage.

5. Hans Crouse: RHP

Acquired along with Ian Kennedy and Kyle Gibson from the Texas Rangers at the deadline, Crouse helps fill a hole left in the organizational pitching depth chart by the departure of Spencer Howard — and might just fit it better. The right-hander is flashy — dyed hair, tattoos, competitive and always fired up on the mound. As his pitching coach at Double-A Reading, Brad Bergesen put it: “He’s got a lot of old-school baseball in him.”

Crouse, 22, has matured as a pitcher over the past couple years. Instead of just firing the fastball and slider, he’s learned to locate the changeup and mix in cutters and two-seamers. That development should allow Crouse to stick as a starter.

6. Francisco Morales: RHP

The 21-year-old Morales has put together a few stretches of dominance in his first season in Double-A, but it has largely been a struggle at the new level. Much of that has to do with control issues. Morales has the power fastball and slider combination, but hasn’t been able to control it well enough to find success. A move to the bullpen could help ease some of that problem, as well as get him to the big leagues on a faster track.

7. Ethan Wilson: OF

A second-round pick in the 2021 draft, the 21-year-old outfielder has already made his pro debut for Clearwater. The left-hander is a plus all-around hitter with power to go along with it. He’s probably stuck in left field full-time, but the advanced bat should allow Wilson to climb his way through the organization.

8. Logan O’Hoppe: C

The past two seasons have been a huge jump for O’Hoppe. In 2020 as a 20-year-old who never played above short-season ball, the catcher joined the major leaguers in summer camp ahead of the truncated season and spent the rest of the year at the alternate site that essentially served as a Triple-A equivalent. This season, O’Hoppe was assigned to Jersey Shore and excelled, earning a promotion to Reading in August. His power at the plate has come along in 2021, and he’s a good defender for his age. That sounds like the makings of a future starter behind the dish.

9. Yhoswar Garcia: OF

After signing with the Phillies as an international free agent last year, the 19-year-old Garcia finally got the chance to play for Clearwater in June. His speed is especially notable, allowing him to defend well in center field and create problems on the bases. Garcia stole 11 bases in 18 games — including four in his debut — while getting caught only twice before being placed on the injured list on July 9. He’s a solid hitter with power that should improve some with age, and he’ll likely get more of a chance to show it over a full season in 2022.

10. Erik Miller: LHP

Miller, a 23-year-old left-hander drafted in the fourth round in 2019, has the makings of a future major-league pitcher. He has the plus fastball and slider to go along with the 6-foot-5 build. But recently, staying on the field has been the main issue. After beginning the year on the injured list, Miller made appearances in the FCL, Clearwater and Jersey Shore, but was placed on the injured list again on Aug. 12. He was effective in his limited time — he had a 1.42 ERA in 12 2/3 innings over five starts — but it remains to be seen what he can do over a full season.

Mickey Moniak has bounced between Triple-A and the major league level in 2021. (Cheryl Pursell)

11. Mickey Moniak: OF

At this point, it’s safe to say Moniak will not live up to the expectations of being the first pick in the 2016 draft. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a nice player to have in the majors at some point. He’s been up with the Phillies for short stretches, and hasn’t really gotten much of a chance to play. Yet in Lehigh Valley, he’s put together a quality season after a very slow start. Moniak still doesn’t get on base at a high clip, but he makes a lot of contact and has tapped into his power. He has the speed and route running to play a solid center field, the 23-year-old embraces the challenge of the position. It may not be what the Phillies had hoped in 2016, but Moniak can still be a contributor as a platoon-level outfielder.

12. Jhailyn Ortiz: OF

When Ortiz signed with the Phillies as an international free agent in 2015, it was thought he could become one of the better prospects in the sport. The timeline didn’t really turn out that way, but the 22-year-old has turned a corner this season after a few years of struggling. Starting 2021 in Jersey Shore and later earning a promotion to Reading, Ortiz had begun to translate his elite raw power into some power in real competition before being placed on the injured list on Aug. 25. He still has some of the swings-and-misses that have hurt him in the past, but he’s done more damage while drawing walks. Defensively, Ortiz has played a lot of center field. He’s not exactly a fit at the position, but he has shown some tools that should keep him in the outfield instead of first base down the road.

13. Casey Martin: SS

Martin’s first professional season has largely been a disappointment for the 2020 third-round pick. The 22-year-old Martin opened up the season in Clearwater and was promoted to Jersey Shore, but he was ultimately sent back down as he was overmatched in High-A. His high number of strikeouts is the biggest concern in Martin’s game. He still has outstanding speed and a good bit of pop, which still give him upside if he can make more contact. But he will only be capable of reaching his ceiling if he can put the ball in play more.

14. Símon Muzziotti: OF

This season has mostly been another lost one for Muzziotti as he couldn’t get into the country due to visa issues. He was finally able to travel into the United States and join the FCL Phillies on Tuesday. He was then promoted to Clearwater on Thursday. Muzziotti is a speedy center fielder with an ability to make a lot of contact. At 22 years old, he likely would have been at Triple-A this season if he had been playing in the minors from the start. He should be there next season and pushing for a chance at the majors if the team needs depth in 2022.

15. Luis García: SS

García burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old in rookie ball in 2018, then hit rock bottom as an 18-year-old in Low-A the next season. Now in 2021, the 20-year-old switch hitter has performed somewhere in the middle. While not hitting for much average, he’s been walking a lot this season and hitting for more power than he ever has before. He earned the promotion to Jersey Shore from Clearwater on Wednesday along with Rojas, and he goes there with still more room to grow.

16. Dominic Pipkin: RHP

The 21-year-old Pipkin has been hit around in his first season at High-A, but there is still reason to see potential in the young right-hander. Pipkin is 6-foot-4 with an athletic build, which he uses to crank his fastball to velocities touching 99 mph and sitting around 93-97 mph. He complements it with a changeup and hard slider, while mixing in a few curveballs. Control problems could force him to the bullpen in the long run, but Pipkin has serious upside if he can clean that up as a starter.

17. Matt Vierling: OF

Vierling started the season as the lone listed outfielder in Reading, and the 2018 fifth rounder has worked his way onto the Phillies roster in September in the midst of a pennant race. The 24-year-old is a useful player in many ways. He’s a right-handed batter who makes a lot of solid contact, which is a great asset for a team off the bench or in the lineup against lefties. In the field, he can legitimately handle all three outfield spots, while putting in work to play third base and first base to increase his versatility.

18. Jordan Viars: OF

Viars, drafted in the third round this season, has some of the most raw power in the Phillies system. And having just turned 18 in July, he has plenty of time to continue developing it in a competitive environment. A 6-foot-4 lefty, he should be able to become more of an all-around hitter in the future. Since joining the FCL Phillies, Viars has split time between left field and first base on defense.

19. Micah Ottenbreit: RHP

Ottenbreit was selected by the Phillies in the fourth round of this year’s draft, coming into the organization as an 18-year-old. He’s a 6-foot-4 starter with a fastball that reaches 94 mph and a lot of room to keep growing. Ottenbreit joined the FCL Phillies on Tuesday to begin his professional career.

20. Rickardo Perez: C

The Phillies added to a system that already had an above-average catching core in February when they signed Perez as an international free agent. The 17-year-old has great mechanics behind the plate for his age, and he’s a line-drive hitter from the left side of the plate. Perez has shown a solid on-base abilities in his time in the Dominican Summer League as well.


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