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Keith Law ranks Phillies farm system as worst in the National League


Last week, Baseball America released the publication’s annual organizational farm system rankings with the Phillies at No. 23 among all 30 MLB clubs. The Athletic’s Keith Law published his on Monday and according to the veteran prospect writer, the Phillies have the worst farm system in the National League.

Mick Abel was the Phillies’ first-round selection in 2020. (Taylor Balkom/TheOregonian/OregonLive)

They ranked 28th out of 30, with the Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox rounding out the rankings at 29th and 30th respectively. The Miami Marlins (14th), Atlanta Braves (17th), New York Mets (21st) and Washington Nationals (27th) all ranked higher.

The Los Angeles Dodgers had the league’s best farm system, according to Law.

In his blurb on the Phillies farm system, Law wrote: “It’s a combination of bad picks and failed development, including players changed for the worse after getting into the system. They spent their last two first-round picks on high school pitchers, both of whom offer high upsides, but as I’ve written many times, it’s the highest-risk category without the reward to justify it over the long haul.”

It’s hard to argue against the idea that the Phillies have done a poor job at developing talent in recent years. Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, Ranger Suárez and Zach Eflin are among the developmental success stories from the recent rebuild, but the Phillies have struggled to cultivate depth around both their impact homegrown talent and free agent expenditures. As a result, the Phillies have had a top-heavy roster that has struggled to finish at .500 since 2018.

Law is not the biggest fan of drafting high school pitchers in the first round in back-to-back years, which is why the Phillies are probably a bottom three farm system in Law’s rankings as opposed to a bottom ten in Baseball America’s rankings. Most publications rank 2020 first-round pick Mick Abel as the team’s top prospect, but Law, who thinks Abel has top-of-the-rotation upside, has him at No. 91 in his top 100 rankings.

2019 first-round pick and soon-to-be big league contributor Bryson Stott is ranked higher than Abel on Law’s list, finishing 66th in the top 100. Law wrote, “[Stott] looks like he might be more of a .280-290, 15+ homer, strong OBP guy, and that at shortstop is a very valuable player.”

After parting ways with former farm director Josh Bonifay in August, the Phillies hired former Padres advanced scouting and game planning coordinator Preston Mattingly to take over. Since then, Mattingly has made numerous hires within player development, including new field coordinator Kevin Bradshaw.

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