In this Pork Barrel Blog, IronPigs media assistant Pat McCarthy takes a quick look at the players named Nos. 19-30 on the Phillies Top-30 prospects list according to MLB Pipeline.
The reason the Phillies have the fifth-ranked farm system in baseball according to MLB Pipeline is not just because they have six players ranked in the Top 100 overall prospects, but because of depth throughout. Today's Hog Blog outlines the prospects ranked 19-30 in the Phillies' organization.
Check out more on the top 6 and Nos. 7-18.
No. 19: Power is not something that can be taught, it's a pure gift. It is why, despite his struggles in 2017, Dylan Cozens is still a top-20 prospect for the Phillies. Coming off a 2016 season where Cousins was a Paul Owens Winner, there was a lot of hope that he would build off that success and make his way to Philadelphia. The 23-year-old struggled in his first season in Triple-A but those power numbers still shined through. Cousins' numbers were expected to dip as he left a hitter-friendly park in Reading, but he still managed 27 home runs and 75 RBIs. Cousins will be back with the Pigs in 2018 and perhaps a second time around in the IL is just the thing the young slugger needs to take that next step.
No. 20: The old saying is you can never have too many middle infielders and the Phillies certainly seem to be practicing that. Jose Gomez was part of the deal that sent Pat Neshek to Colorado and he now sits as the 20th-ranked prospect in the Phillies organization. Gomez split the season between the South Atlantic League and Florida State League during 2017. In 81 games with Ashville, the 20-year-old hit .324 with 20 doubles and 18 stolen bases. After the trade, Gomez made the jump to High-A where he appeared in 22 games and hit .250. Gomez will likely be back with the Threshers to begin the season but could reach Reading by the summer.
No. 21: Kyle Young made his presence known on the mound in 2017 and not just because stands 6-foot-10. The 20-year-old lefty and dominated the NYP League and went 7-2 for Williamsport in his first year out of the GCL. Young made 13 starts and struck out 72 in 65 innings for the Crosscutters. A 22nd-round pick in 2016, Young will likely open the season in Lakewood but will move through the system quickly if he continues on his current pace.
No. 22: The top pitcher coming out of Venezuela in 2016, Francisco Morales made his stateside debut in 2017. At just 17-years-old the Phillies brought Morales to the GCL were he made nine starts and went 3-2. Already approaching triple digits with his fastball, it will be interesting to see if the Phillies elect to keep the now-18-year-old in short season or send him to full season when the clubs comes north.
No. 23: The Phillies focused heavily on college players in the 2017 draft including using their second-round pick on right hander Spencer Howard. A product of Cal Poly, Howard is a projected big league starter despite starting his college career in the pen. Howard made 9 starts in Williamsport striking out 40 in 22 innings and going 1-1.
No. 24: Part of the reason the Phillies brought veterans in prior to the 2017 season was not just to help the team compete but also to deal come July. That plan allowed the Phils to land 22-year-old lefty McKenzie Mills when they dealt Howie Kendrick to Washington. Mills, a former 18th-round pick reached Clearwater in 2017 but spent most of the season in South Atlantic League with Hagerstown. In 21 combined starts with the two organizations, Mills went 12-3 with a 3.22 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 120.1 innings.
No. 25: Drew Anderson was placed on the 40-man roster prior to last season and that moved helped him reach the big leagues in 2017. Anderson spent the season in Double-A Reading but made the jump to the Majors for a pair of appearances including his major league debut where he struck out Mike Trout. Anderson was an Eastern League All-Star in 2017 and racked up 9 wins for the Fightin' Phils. The Phillies optioned Anderson to Triple-A on Tuesday after just one appearance this spring. He'll likely start the season in what looks to be an impressive IronPigs rotation.
No. 26: A fifth round pick out of the University of Oregon in 2016, Cole Irvin finds himself on the Top 30 prospect list for the first time in his pro career. Despite only pitching as high as Double A, the Phillies invited the 24-year-old to Major League Spring Training. Irvin does not have lights out stuff but a low-to-mid 90s fastball is elevated by his pure pitching ability. Irvin compliments his fastball with three solid secondary pitches and quick pace on the mound which allows him to control the tempo of the at-bat. Irvin will likely head back to Reading for the beginning for 2018 but will more than likely be an IronPig soon.
No. 27: The Phillies made a splash in 2017 landing the seventh rated international prospect and giving him $2.5 million dollars to sign. Luis Garcia, a 17-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic, won't turn 18 until next October but already has shown he has a plus arm and great approach at the plate.
No. 28: Victor Arano got off to a late start due to injury in 2017 but finished incredibly strong. The Phillies selected the 23-year-old's contract at the end of the season and threw him into high pressure big league situations despite not previously pitching above Double A. In 10 big league games, Arano had a 1.62 ERA and struck out 13 in 10 innings.
No. 29: Another piece in the Pat Neshek deal, JD Hammer is one of the more intriguing players in the Phillies organization. Hammer is in camp as a non-roster player after he dominated the Arizona Fall League. After the trade, Hammer made 12 appearances for Clearwater striking out 20 in 15.2 innings and posting a sub-one ERA. Hammer will likely open up the season in Reading and if his success continues could be in the Lehigh Valley early. Hammer was optioned to the minor leagues on Tuesday despite not pitching in big league Spring Training.
No. 30: Kevin Gowdy was a potential first round pick out of high school in 2016 but fell to the second round where the Phillies grabbed the UCLA-bound righty for $3.5 million. Gowdy did not break camp with an assignment in 2017 and ultimately received Tommy John surgery in late August. Gowdy will miss the 2018 season to rehab and the Phillies hope the 20-year-old can bounce back healthy in 2019.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.