A look at 6 Phillies prospects

Posted: April 01, 2014

HERE IS a look at a six-pack of top prospects in the Phillies' farm system:

MAIKEL FRANCO

Age: 21

Position: Third base

Scouting report: The Phillies' top prospect and Baseball America's No. 17 prospect overall stormed onto the scene last year with 31 combined home runs in the minors and a .320 batting average. In Franco's first two seasons in the Phillies' farm system, he hit .222 and .247. But in the last two seasons, he hit .280 and .320. Speed is not one of Franco's best attributes, but the third baseman relies on soft hands and fairly good actions at the hot corner. In addition, Franco was rated the best infield arm in the organization after the 2012 season. Although Cody Asche won the starting third base job in the majors, Franco should make his way up to see what he can do against big-league pitching at some point in 2014.

Estimated time of arrival: Late 2014

JESSE BIDDLE

Age: 22

Position: Pitcher

Scouting report: The Phillies used their 2010 first-round pick to select a homegrown starting pitcher. Biddle, who starred at Germantown Friends, began his first season in the Gulf Coast League and while he has earned respectable numbers in his first few seasons, the lefthander needs

polishing before arriving in Philadelphia, where scouts project his upside as a No. 2 starter. In 2013, Biddle's fastball sat between 91-93 mph but hit 94 occasionally. With a changeup that still needs work and a newly introduced slider in 2012, Biddle's go-to pitch always has been his curveball, which has been compared to the 12-6 curveball of Barry Zito. Once Biddle develops his secondary pitches and establishes more consistency, he should arrive in Philadelphia.

Estimated time of arrival: 2015

J.P. CRAWFORD

Age: 19

Position: Shortstop

Scouting report: The cousin of Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford, J.P. has a high ceiling and a 6-2, 180-pound frame at shortstop. That rare combination led the Phillies to select the Southern California (Lakewood High) product 16th overall in the 2013 draft. As the heir apparent to Jimmy Rollins, Crawford must first work on his swing, which can get long at times, according to scouts. In addition to average power, he has shown athleticism in the field with above-average range and a very strong arm. With his great speed, Crawford is currently ranked by Baseball America as the No. 78 prospect in baseball and has drawn comparisons to Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro.

Estimated time of arrival: 2017

TOMMY JOSEPH

Age: 22

Position: Catcher

Scouting report: As the only player remaining in the Phillies organization from the trade that sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco, Joseph is still Philadelphia's top catching prospect and possible replacement for Carlos Ruiz. After the 2011 season, Joseph was ranked as the Giants' No. 2 prospect and was the Phillies' No. 3 prospect at the end of the 2012 season. Joseph possesses raw power, excellent leadership and a very strong throwing arm, but has struggled to hit for average since coming to the Phillies organization. In addition, Joseph suffered a concussion in 2013. Joseph was sent to the minors after posting a .167 batting average this spring.

Estimated time of arrival: 2014

ROMAN QUINN

Age: 20

Position: Shortstop

Scouting report: Coming off Achilles' surgery in 2013, Quinn remains a questionable prospect. Like Crawford, the young shortstop is a possibility to take over for Jimmy Rollins at some point, but does not have a timetable to return to the field after his Achilles' ruptured while he was doing offseason sprints last November. What could hurt Quinn is that he was known for his great speed and overall athleticism as a switch-hitter. In 133 games in the Phillies' organization, Quinn has stolen 62 bases but finished 2013 with a .238 batting average and 64 strikeouts in 67 games. With game-changing speed compared to Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton, Quinn could eventually get to the majors, depending on his recovery.

Estimated time of arrival: 2017

KENNY GILES

Age: 23

Position: Relief pitcher

Scouting report: When it comes to big-league fastballs, Giles already has one of the best. His elite fastball will sit around 97-99 mph but has topped out at 101 out of the bullpen. But he must establish a secondary pitch that will allow him to dominate hitters. Giles has struggled with control in the minors, posting a line of 5.88 BB/9 in 67 1/3 innings with Lakewood in 2012. At the end of the 2012 season, he was able to lower his walk rate to 3.68 BB/9 in addition to a 15.34 K/9 rate in 14 2/3 innings in Clearwater. But last season at Clearater, his walk rate was up to 6.7/9. The righthander has been called a sleeper by many scouts if he is able to gain control of his fastball and establish a true secondary pitch.

Estimated time of arrival: 2014

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