Now that the non-waiver trade deadline has passed, Philadelphia Phillies fans can fully scrutinize GM Ruben Amaro Jr.‘s inaction. With the Phillies’ payroll being third-highest in MLB and the team owning one of the league’s worst records, the Phillies’ plan to win will have to wait a few years.
The Phillies’ farm system has three prospects worthy of being in top-100 lists, two of them drafted since 2013. Their top prospect, shortstop J.P. Crawford, has been consistently improving. His power has been limited in the lower levels of the minors, but his speed and defensive ability are his biggest strengths. I see Crawford being the next Jimmy Rollins, starting for the Phillies for the next decade or so when he is called up.
Aaron Nola, the Phillies’ 2014 first-round pick, started pitching at advanced-A Clearwater and has been effective. With three above-average pitches and incredible command, Nola should move through the minors faster than Crawford. His recent promotion to double-A Reading suggests how impressive his minor league stint has been. With the lack of pitching depth in the Phillies’ farm system, I expect to see him starting for the Phillies no later than in 2016.
Maikel Franco‘s 2013 season put him on the map with his 31 HRs between advanced-A and double-A. Starting the 2014 season in triple-A Lehigh Valley has been an early struggle for him, as he is batting an atrocious .208 through June in just under 80 games played.
Since the beginning of July, he is batting .336 in 30 games. His recent surge in triple-A should earn him a late September call-up, where he will split time at third base with Cody Asche. He should see his first full season in the 2015 MLB season.