By: Ryan Welsh
The Phillies rise to becoming a powerhouse was well noted from 2007 until 2011. In 2007, the Phillies overcame a 6 game deficit in less than a month to overtake the Mets for the division, but lost to the Rockies in the first round of the playoffs. In 2008, however, the Phillies went on a magical run which ended in a world series win over the Rays. In 2009, they would make another world series appearance, losing to the Yankees in six games on the back of Hideki Matsui (remember him?). In 2011, the Phillies last legitimate contending team, the team won 102 games and lost to the eventual world series winners in San Francisco. That’s where this story officially begins. We’re here to talk about the Phillies farm system, one which is nationally ranked in the top 5 by most “experts” in baseball.The Phillies minor league system features a ton of young talent. From J.P. Crawford to Nick Williams, the Phillies have top level bats waiting in the wings. The Phillies also have a ton of pitching, too. Jake Thompson, former No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel, and Zach Eflin highlight a young crop of pitching talent in the Phillies system. This system seemingly checks all of the boxes you’d want from a young group of players. In addition to all of the names mentioned above, Jorge Alfaro a power hitting C/1B, Andrew Knapp a smooth swinging 1B/C, and Roman Quinn a speedy CF/2B are all highly touted prospects that are within 2 years of making a splash at the major league level. There are plenty of young guys in the system that have high grades, but are still a few years away, too. Carlos Tocci, Cornelius Randolph, Franklyn kilome and Adonis Medina highlight a crop of top tier talent that fit that bill of being few years away from making their presence felt at the big league level.
One future Phillie I’ve decided to leave off this list is a man who is on the cusp of making his major league debut for the Phillies very soon. He could be the missing piece to the puzzle of the Phillies future, but is very much a wild card. Tommy Joseph was acquired by the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade a few years ago. At the time, Joseph was widely regarded as a top catching prospect with a great bat on the fast track to a bright major league career. Some health issues including a couple concussions has stunted his growth at the minor league level very much, and have led to a position change as well. Joseph now plays first base for the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs and is making his presence felt in a big way. Through 26 minor league games Joseph is hitting a blistering .352 with 6 homeruns and 17 RBI’s. Over his last 10 games Joseph is hitting .297 with 2 HR and 7 RBI’s. Joseph is 24 years old, and can help solve one half of the Phillies platoon issue at 1B this season between Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf, who have combined for a .175 batting average with 8 HR and 19 RBI. So, as you can see, the Phillies haven’t gotten much production from the 1B position thus far, and Joseph has gotten it done while hitting in a limited role at AAA.
The Phillies rise to becoming a powerhouse only lasted for a short five years from 2007-2011. However, the Phillies have set themselves up very nicely for a much longer run with all of the above mentioned prospects expected to be in the majors within just a couple of years. Already established young stars in Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, Mikel Franco and Odubel Herrera are sure to be excited to get some of these future Phillies in camp very soon. With 8 total prospects ranked within the top 100 in all of baseball, the Phillies future is shining bright.
Update: Tommy Joseph was called up by the Phillies on Friday, making his major league debut against the Cincinnati Reds. Joseph went 0-2 with a walk, a run scored and two strikeouts. Darin Ruf was sent down to make room for Joseph on the 25 man roster.