The great Yankee teams of the last 20 years had the Core Four of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. All four of them were drafted or signed by the Yankees in the early 1990’s. They are all retired now and the current Yankee team is but a shell of it past teams.
The great Phillies teams of the last ten years had a similar core and still have four of them on the roster but three of them are no longer in their prime years. Let’s call them the Phillies Senational Six-Pack which included Pat Burrell, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Cole Hamels They too were all first signed or drafted by the Phillies.
Yes, the Phillies are at .500 after the first six games with them but an overwhelming consensus has emerged that a new six pack must be developed by the minor league system.
Who will they be? After the first series of the minor league season five players have emerged on my list and a sixth remains on the disabled list but tells Baseball Betsy he is soon ready to get back into action:
Andrew Knapp: The 23 year-old switch-hitting catcher has gotten out of the chute the quickest. The 2015 Phillies minor league spring training player of the year went 7 for 17 (.412 BA) with two doubles and threw out two of four baserunners attempting to steal with the Clearwater Threshers. See Knapp’s double against Blue Jays yesterday.
Dylan Cozens: The big, 20 year-old, 6’6″, left-handed hitting, corner outfielder was kept busy flipping back and forth between right and left fields for the Threshers to start the season. He started slowly but has gone four for six with two doubles in his last six at bats. Just as importantly he has struck out only once in his 18 plate appearances to start the season. See Cozens rbi single against Blue Jays yesterday.
Roman Quinn: The speedy center fielder had a strong start in the Reading’s abbreviated three games opening series in Portland Maine. He will turn 22 years old in a month. He went 4 for 13 with a long home run and a stolen base. His best play though was his bunt single in the second game of the opening day doubleheader on a play I never saw before.
With runners on first and second and none out Quinn squared to bunt on the first three pitches which he all took for balls. Then on the 3-0 count he squared again and laid down a perfect bunt which he beat out for a base hit. Just too much speed and bunting skill for those great Red Sox farmhands to handle.
Maikel Franco: He played all four games so far at third base for Lehigh Valley. He went 5 for 19 with four doubles, three RBIs and four walks in the opening series of the season.
Jesse Biddle: The 23 year-old left-hander pitched five shutout innings giving up only two hits. He used 83 pitches, 53 for strikes, to pick up a win in Reading’s second game of the opening day doubleheader.
J.P. Crawford: The 20 year-old shortstop told Baseball Betsy at Saturday night’s game he is just about ready to resume action after suffering an oblique strain early in spring training. When he gets back in action the Clearwater Threshers will have three of the top six prospects in our projection.
All these prospects are 20-23 years old and were first signed and drafted by the Phillies. After the first week of the minor league season they have emerged as the new Phillies Sensational Six-Pack who will form the winning core for the future just like Burrell, Rollins, Utley, Howard, Hamels and Ruiz did for them in the past.