I like to follow Phillies prospects. Never had much time for old-timers games. To understand what will happen in the future, we must understand what is going in the farm system.
This is why I like to watch minor league player development baseball. It helps to predict what likely will happen to a major league team in the future. A team can not win just by throwing big money contracts at free agents from other organizations or making trades alone, though it helps. Teams must be strong in drafting North American high school and college players in addition to signing international free agents. Then, the team needs solid player development.
Looking into the future here’s how Baseball America projected the Phillies 2023 lineup back in November of 2019, with 2023 ages in parentheses. Read HERE
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto (32)
First Base: Rhys Hoskins (30)
Second Base: Jean Segura (33)
Third Base: Alec Bohm (26)
Shortstop: Bryson Stott (25)
Left Field: Adam Haseley (27)
Center Field: Scott Kingery (29)
Right Field: Bryce Harper (30)
No. 1 Starter: Aaron Nola (30)
No. 2 Starter: Spencer Howard (26)
No. 3 Starter: Zack Wheeler (33)
No. 4 Starter: Vince Velasquez (31)
No. 5 Starter: Zach Eflin (29)
Closer: Francisco Morales (23)
Each year we watch many Phillies minor league games either in person or on MiLB-TV and the Phillies on MLB-TV from our catbird seat in the Tampa Bay area.
Here is our 2023 projected Phillies lineup with 2023 baseball ages:
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto (32). J.T. has only one year left of team control. He is the best catcher in baseball. If the Phillies can’t sign him for 2021, they have two good young catchers in Rodolfo Duran and Logan O’Hoppe waiting in the wings who would be ready to take over at some point.
First Base: Rhys Hoskins (30). Hoskins was a major disappointment in 2019. He hit well under .200 in the last two months. Alec Bohm could be the first baseman sooner than later if Hoskins continues to struggle in 2020.
Second Base: Kendall Simmons (23). Simmons impressed at Williamsport in the half season New York-Penn League for Williamsport. A big right-handed power bat, he hit 12 homers in only 151 at bats. Who knows what he could have done in a full season league.
Williamsport’s All Stars- Corbin Williams, Bryson Stott, Logan O’Hoppe and Kendall Simmons (Photo courtesy of MiLB.com)
Shortstop: Luis Garcia (22). The switch-hitting Garcia struggled at Lakewood hitting under .200 and the manager was fired at the end of the season. Garcia should have played at Williamsport with Stott and Simmons in the infield last season.
Third Base: Bryson Stott (24). A left-handed power bat, Stott hit five homers in 157 at bats with Williamsport after the Phillies made him their No. 1 draft pick last season.
Left Field: Scott Kingery (29). Scotty can play just about anywhere. We will put him in left field but Adam Haseley can always be moved over there too.
Center Field: Simon Muzziotti (24). We are big Muzzy fans. He showed us all the tools last season in Clearwater while we watched including home runs at Jack Russell Stadium and Spectrum Field in Clearwater. He will only get better.
Right Field: Bryce Harper (30). Bryce and Stott will supply power from the left side for the next decade.
No. 1 Starter: Zack Wheeler (33). The Phillies have bet a lot of money on Wheeler. He needs to be the ace with the stuff he has.
No. 2 Starter: Spencer Howard (26). Howard has No. 1 stuff similar to Wheeler’s stuff. These two are the keys to winning the big games in the best of seven post season series.
Spencer Howard hits 99
No. 3 Starter: Aaron Nola (30). The Phillies need a third starter to win a World Series. Nola should be the No. 3 but the Phillies went winless in his last seven starts in 2019 when it really mattered to get into the playoffs. He came up small. He needs to turn it around!
No. 4 Starter: Zach Eflin (29). We like Eflin. The Phillies pitching coach did him no favors last season and was fired. We predict Eflin will have a big year under new pitching coach Bryan Price who knows what he is doing!
Phillies lefty starter of the future Ethan Lindow starting for the Threshers last season
No. 5 Starter: Ethan Lindow (24). By 2023, Lindow will be one of the top young left-handed starters in the National League. As we posted in a recent blog the Phillies are strong in lefty starters at the minor league levels. The Phillies have a number of lefty starting prospects in the minors. They fired its senior minor league pitching coach at Lehigh Valley after Damon Jones struggled there after dominating in Clearwater and Reading last season.
Connor Brogdon could he be the Phillies closer of the future?
Closer: Connor Brogdon (28) Brogdon has closer stuff. He showed it at AAA last season allowing only four hits and one earned run in his last ten relief appearances striking out 15 for Lehigh Valley. He won two and saved another two of those games. For some reason, the Phillies Front Office refused to give him a September call-up.
Phillies minor league spring training should be interesting this season. We will be watching in particular for the Phillies infield of the future in Stott, Garcia and Simmons. Watching Spencer Howard trying to break into the Phillies starting rotation. Also, watching all the minor league left handed starting pitching prospects seeking to position themselves to become the next Cole Hamels and finally getting one of them in a postion to break into the Phillies starting rotation.