ESPN Top Prospect List Shows Lack Of Depth In Philadelphia Phillies' System

By JR Cummings
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Keith Law revealed his top 100 major league prospects. The Philadelphia Phillies, who have had one of the consensus worst farm systems in the majors after years of mismanagement by GM Ruben Amaro Jr., have worked their way up into middle of the pack.

The Phillies had three players on the list, right in the range with half the league. However, the Phillies were one of the last teams to have a player show up on the list, illustrating the lack of depth and the dearth of elite prospects in the system.  Contrary to most publications’ top 10 Phillies prospect list, which have Maikel Franco as their top prospect, ESPN lists J.P. Crawford as the no. 46 prospect in all of baseball.

Crawford, the 16th overall pick in the 2013 Draft, is 19-years old and is one of the more raw prospects in baseball. However, his upside is considered so high that he could soon be one of the top 10 prospects in the game, something the Phillies need desperately. He was aggressively promoted to low-A towards the end of last year and held his own. He has assumed Roman Quinn‘s (out for 2014) position as the shortstop of the future. Also of note is Crawford’s bloodline – he is the cousin of Carl Crawford.

Not to be overlooked, Franco and top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle also made the list. For perspective’s sake, the rest of the NL East was rather middling as well. The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves each had only three prospects, whereas the Miami Marlins clocked in with four and the New York Mets had five.

The Phillies should be happy that they have three strong prospects considered among baseball’s top 100. Are they surefire future All-Stars? Certainly not, so fans should do their best to temper expectations. In Franco’s case, he is currently blocked by Cody Asche at third base and Ryan Howard at first, so his future of the team is not secure whatsoever.

However, after years of seeing their top 10 prospects pillaged for the likes of Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence, it appears as though their top prospects may actually be the future of the team.

JR Cummings is a Phillies Writer for Follow him on Twitter @JRCummings2 or add him to your circle on Google+.

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