See where top prospects Spencer Howard, Mick Abel and Bryson Stott are starting the 2021 season.
I’m sure all Phillies prospect-heads were getting antsy last week as some teams began announcing their MiLB rosters. Finally this morning to our joy, the Phillies affiliates tweeted out their preliminary roster assignments. Lets get right into it:
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA)
Breakdown: This is where Spencer Howard will get his time to stretch back out into a starter (Phillies, stop jerking him around). If i had to guess the rest of the rotation will be rounded out by at least Bailey Falter, Ranger Suarez, Adonis Medina and Cristopher Sanchez (h/t to MattWinks for the assist)
The offense should be formidable. Rafael Marchan is the Phillies top catching prospect. Darick Hall and Austin Listi will likely split duties between 1B/DH. Mickey Moniak will get some consistent at-bats and will hopefully supplant the atrocity that is the current Phillies centerfield situation. Former first round pick Cornelius Randolph is still around. Josh Stephen initially felt like a fairly aggressive placement, but then I remembered he is already 23 and was successful in Reading back in 2019.
Reading Fightin’ Phils (AA)
PITCHERS: Francisco Morales (RHP), Ethan Lindow (LHP), James McArthur (RHP), Mark Appel (RHP), RHP Tyler Carr, RHP Colton Eastman, RHP Julian Garcia, LHP Jonathan Hennigan, LHP Jakob Hernandez, LHP Ethan Evanko, LHP Taylor Lehman, LHP Zach Warren, RHP Andrew Brown, RHP Joel Cesar, RHP Kyle Glogoski, RHP Austin Ross.
CATCHERS: Rodolfo Durán, Colby Fitch, Nick Matera
INFIELDERS: Matt Kroon, Luke Miller, Madison Stokes, McCarthy Tatum, Arquímedes Gamboa, Dalton Guthrie, Sal Gozzo, Daniel Brito
OUTFIELDERS: Matt Vierling
Breakdown: My initial guess at the starting rotation would be Francisco Morales, Ethan Lindow, Colton Eastman, Kyle Glogoski and Julian Garcia. However, a number of players have starting experience such as Lehman, McArthur, Evanko and Brown. Your guess is as good as mine. Morales is obviously the big highlight and the best pitching prospect outside of Spencer Howard and Mick Abel. You might notice Mark Appel’s name on this list which is not a typo, he is out of “retirement” and attempting a comeback. Rooting for the guy.
The offense looks a little unbalanced! I’m guessing we still see some maneuvering to incorporate some more outfielders unless we see guys like Stokes move to the outfield. Overall, I’m seeing a lot of low scoring games for the Fightin’s this season.
Jersey Shore BlueClaws (High-A)
Breakdown: If you are confused why there is a team called Jersey Shore and why they are designated High-A is because Lakewood changed their name and through the MiLB restructuring the South Atlantic League is now High-A and the Florida State League is now Low-A. Highlights in the pitching are definitely Ben Brown (coming back from Tommy John Surgery back in 2019), former second rounder Kevin Gowdy and Dominic Pipkin. The offense seems a little light, but has some big name hitters such as top prospect Bryson Stott, Logan O’Hoppe and Jhailyn Ortiz. Hey, maybe this is finally the year that Jonathan Guzman proves he can hit the ball.
Clearwater Threshers (Low-A)
Breakdown: Mick Abel! The Phillies 2019 first round pick FINALLY gets to make his org debut. He’ll be joined by other top prospects Starlyn Castillo, Jordi Martinez and Eduar Segovia. Abrahan Gutierrez is an interesting catching prospect to keep your eye on. The big names in the lineup are obviously Casey Martin, Luis Garcia and Johan Rojas. This squad, at least initially, will be the most interesting team to follow this minor league season.
Thoughts? Wondering where some players are? (me too). Discuss below! And yes, Minor League Roundups will be back after taking 2020 off. Get excited!