The Farm System
In recent years, the Philadelphia Phillies have struggled with drafting and developing major league caliber talent. With decision makers bringing in a new look by adding Sam Fuld as the General Manager, the Philadelphia Phillies hope to dramatically increase their success rate with prospects. The more important hire for the Phillies was former first round pick Preston Mattingly as director of player development. Mattingly comes from the esteemed San Diego Padres organization. The Padres have had quite a bit of success developing prospects in recent years. The ability to bring some of their systems and process to the Phillies organization will prove fruitful for Mattingly and the player development department.
Baseball America recently ranked the Phillies minor league system as the 23rd best in Major League Baseball. Despite that low ranking, the Phillies still have a bit of potential throughout the farm system. With that, here are three prospects to keep an eye on throughout the 2022 season.
Bryson Stott / SS / ETA: 2022
The 14th overall pick in the 2019 draft has been consistent at the plate in two professional seasons. His first full season, in 2019, resulted in a .295/.391/.494 slash line with nine doubles, three triples and six homeruns. between the two levels of Rookie Ball and Short Season. The following season resulted in Bryson Stott sitting out due to the COVID pandemic. However, last year, Stott impressed the organization enough for them to decide on an aggressive path to the major leagues for the 6’3” 200 pound shortstop.
Stott only played in 22 games at the Hi-A level. Stott slashed .288/.453/.548 with five homeruns and four doubles showing gap to gap power. The majority of Stott’s season was played at Double-A Reading where he continued his success at the plate. Although his slugging and on-base percentage struggled during the promotion to AA, it is an expected result. It is widely thought that the hardest move in the minor leagues is from Single-A to Double-A. Despite that, Stott was successful enough at the plate that Phillies brass decided to give him a taste of Triple-A. Again, Stott did not disappoint and hit .303/.439/.394 in limited action (33 at-bats).
Stott was drafted with an advanced plate approach and a keen ability to recognize and hit off-speed pitches. These two traits have contributed to the aggressive route for Stott heading to the majors. Expect to see Bryson Stott at Citizens Bank Park at some point during the 2022 season.
Hans Crouse / RHP / ETA: 2022
This 6’4” starting pitcher saw a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2021. Making the jump from Single-A baseball to major league baseball with a year off in between generally doesn’t lend itself to success. Most teams, when pushing a player that far up the ladder, are more interested in the experience for the player and don’t worry as much about the on-field success. In two starts, Hans Crouse pitched a total of seven innings giving up four hits. Crouse’s control became a cause for concern by tallying up eight walks and only two strikeouts despite a respectable .167 opponents batting average.
Crouse is a former 2017 second round pick of the Texas Rangers. After spending 2017 in Rookie Ball, Crouse started 2018 with the Rangers’ short season affiliate followed by five games with Hickory in Single-A. 2019 saw Crouse start the season at Hickory again. In 2020, with the COVID pandemic raging, Crouse decided to take the year off for personal reasons. He finally made his way to the Phillies in the trade deadline deal that also brought Kyle Gibson to Philadelphia.
Crouse features two above average pitches and a changeup that needs additional work. His fastball sits in the low to mid 90’s with his slider sitting between 81-84 miles per hour. Again, Crouse needs to work on his command and control which has been an issue throughout his entire career. Crouse expects to be a spot starter or a long-reliever but will not make the Phillies out of spring training.
Andrew Painter / RHP / ETA: 2025
Andrew Painter was the Phillies 2021 first round pick and impressed in a very short exposure to professional baseball. Painter is a towering figure on the mound, coming in at 6’7”, 215 pounds with room to fill out even more. The 18 year old already features four solid pitches. Painter features a mid 90’s fastball with ability to move it around the zone. Painter’s changeup shows up in the mid-80’s with multiple scouting reports showing same arm speed and slot as his fastball making his changeup a possible out-pitch. Painter also throws a curveball and slider with both being average to above-average pitches for him. Painter has a ton of expectations on his young shoulders. He is the prototypical, work horse starting pitcher that teams dream of. In six innings of rookie ball, Painter held opponents to four hits and struck out 12 batters while not allowing any walks.
If Mick Abel’s projections come to fruiting, we may see a new one-two punch by 2024 or 2025 at Citizens Bank Park.
This year is extremely important for Painter’s career. There is a question where the Phillies will start him; Lo-A or Hi-A. However, the more important question is where does Andrew Painter end up by the end of 2022? No doubt the Phillies will keep an eye on his innings pitched and be extremely careful with such a young, projectable arm.