Spring Training is here and Baseball is back Phillies Phans! In the last decade, the Philadelphia Phillies have notoriously been inefficient in cultivating Major League-ready prospects outside a select few players, such as Aaron Nola and hopefully Alec Bohm. However, the Phillies have three interesting prospects who could crack the Major League roster in 2021. So, here are three prospects who could make an impact on the major league level.
Rafael Marchan, C
Rafael Marchan is going to be the future catcher for the Phillies. He is one of the best pitch framers and defenders in the minor leagues and made his Major League debut last September. The Venezuelan-born catcher also sports a .285 batting average in the minors in addition to his great defensive ability. This makes for an exciting combination for the Phillies future post-Realmuto. He made limited appearances but made an impression despite the small sample size (went four Hits/eight ABs with one Homerun and three RBI’s).
J.T. Realmuto injuring his thumb on the first day of Spring Training (possibly being out for a month), Marchan has a great chance to crack the Major League line-up. He could win a spot on the Opening Day roster over Andrew Knapp, who is the incumbent back-up, on the other hand, the Phillies signed Jeff Mathis to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training which means experience could beat youth in this case. The Phillies could utilize a younger and more adept catcher to learn under the BCIB which would be a smart growth technique.
In a few years’ time, Realmuto could end up shifting to first base and Marchan can take over at the backstop position. This will depend on the free-agent market for first-baseman, the budget, and Rhys Hoskin’s performance over the next few years. Overall, Marchan has room to grow but could crack the roster depending on injury and performance. His ceiling is higher than most and it will be interesting to see this backstop in the coming seasons.
Adonis Medina, RHP
Adonis Medina is an unproven Phillies prospect. These words are all too familiar to Phillies fans, but he has the chance to prove that he is more than his one start. Medina took a loss allowing two runs, three hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over four innings. Adapting to the majors is difficult for any player. If given the chance to pitch this season, he could gain some confidence and experience that will set him up in future seasons.
He has a great fastball that reaches 96 mph with movement and honing his pitch repertoire is going to be key if he starts the season in the majors. Obviously, one game is not the end-all, be-all of his potential, but he could definitely sneak in as a long reliever or starter by mid-season if injuries occur or lack of performance by Vince Velasquez, Chase Anderson, or even Spencer Howard do not pan out.
Medina is one of the Phillies’ best pitching prospects that is ready for MLB action and he could make a splash this year. In his last two minor league seasons, he had a low WHIP (Avg. WHIP 1.30) and racked up a decent amount of strikeout numbers (total over two seasons: 205 SOs). This is one pitching prospect outside of Spencer Howard that could make an impact this season or the next.
Mickey Moniak, OF
Mickey Moniak was the first overall pick in the 2016 MLB Player Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies right out of high school. The California native had not played above Double-A until he made his debut in September 2020. Moniak went 3 hits/14 ABs in eight games with the Phillies. This limited appearance was similar to any September call-up during a regular season, but Moniak has the potential to snag an outfield platoon spot this year over the competitors Roman Quinn, Scott Kingery, or even Odubel Herrera.
Moniak does have a .857 fielding percentage over his minor league career but his work in the player pool last year and the fact that he did not make an error in the few opportunities he had in the field can be encouraging for his future. His minor league career (BA over four seasons .260) does not reflect the performance of the overall first pick, but given the opportunity to play a full season of platoon work and coming off the bench could significantly raise his ceiling to the heights that Phillies brass had seen in him in 2016. Moniak is by no means a bust quite yet and if given a shot as a bench player for a season or two. The former first pick could blossom into a trusted bat and glove for The Fightin’ Phils going forward.
Hopefully, these three prospects will make a bigger impact than their September 2020 call-up. The Phillies are good, but they need to perform, but if their free-agent signings do not pan out they will need their farm system to be strong enough to propel them toward October baseball for the first time in a decade.
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