Future Phillies Report: Jake Thompson Proves Himself MLB Ready, Aaron Altherr Eases Through Rehab Assignments

It’s been another stellar week down on the Phillies’ farm. Not just for the organization’s top prospects, teams at every level are working up the standings. The Phillies’ minor league teams collectively have a .619 win percentage — the highest of any organization in baseball.

All rankings below are according to MLB Pipeline. Let’s get right into it.

RHP Jake Thompson (AAA) – No. 2 prospect
Thompson’s name may not be on this list for much longer. With rumors swirling around Jeremy Hellickson, Thompson appears to be the guy most likely to get the call up if Hellickson is moved at next week’s deadline (see story).

And deservedly so. Thompson is 9-5 with a 2.29 ERA with 82 strikeouts to 36 walks in 117.2 innings. He’s also given up just nine home runs on the year.

Thompson continued to cruise this week, picking up two wins along the way and lowering his ERA from 2.58 to 2.29. The righty tossed seven shutout innings vs. Dom Brown and the Buffalo Bisons. He followed that up with a taxing six innings vs. Indianapolis, walking four batters, but still working his way out of jams over six scoreless innings. With another great week, what more is there to prove for Thompson at Triple A? Not much.

OF Aaron Altherr (A)
He’s not really a prospect, but Altherr is making his rounds through the minor leagues while rehabbing from wrist surgery. Altherr tore his way through six games in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .375 with a 1.190 OPS, hitting a home run, with three RBIs, while working six walks.

Altherr grew closer to a return with two stellar games in Single A Clearwater this week, hitting .375. The 25-year-old hasn’t flashed his gap power that garnered him praise with the big-league club last year, but he’s only played in eight games after missing almost a year of regular action. The power will return.

A decision must be reached soon on the outfielder. His rehab assignment ends on July 27, when he must be activated and join the Phillies, or be optioned to Triple A if he needs more at-bats. Either way, Altherr will rejoin the Phillies at some point this season and provide the outfield with some desperately needed power.

OF Nick Williams (AAA) – No. 3 prospect
While Altherr has been manning right field during his rehab stint, Williams — who has been moved around the outfield at Triple A — has settled into left field for 12 of the past 17 games. Coincidence? Williams, like Thompson, doesn’t have much left to prove at the minor-league level. He could be an August or September call up, where, with Altherr in right field, left field would remain open for the 22-year old.

Williams leads the IronPigs in just about every offensive category except for batting average, home runs and walks. Unfortunately, that means he also leads the team in strikeouts.

In five games this week, Williams struck out six times, keeping his average around one per game. Williams is an extremely aggressive hitter, but has seen his strikeout rate go down over the past three years in the minors. Even with the strikeouts, Williams has hit for average during his career, consistently hovering around a .300 batting average. And with his power — three of his five hits this week went for extra-bases — the strikeouts can be overlooked.

2B Scott Kingery (A) – No. 11 prospect
All he does is hit.

Kingery, the Phillies’ second-round pick in 2015, had himself another great week, picking up nine hits and five runs in five games for Clearwater.  He doesn’t have much power, but he more than makes up with it with his contact. Kingery has stuck out just 51 times in 91 games. And when he gets on base, the 22-year-old is always a threat to steal (25 stolen bases). Kingery looks to have the makings of a true top of the order guy. A lineup with Kingery and J.P. Crawford manning the middle infield down the road is an exciting possibility.

1B Rhys Hoskins, OF Dylan Cozens (AA) – No. 19 and No. 22 prospects, respectively
How about a little history for the bash brothers this week? With Cozens’ 25th home run of the season at New Hampshire on Monday, the duo became the first pair of teammates in Reading’s 50-year history to both hit 25 home runs in the same season, according to CSNPhilly.com’s Corey Seidman. 

Other than that, it was a relatively quiet week for the duo. Cozens continued to chug along, while Hoskins has hit a bit of a slump, hitting just .229 over the past 10 games.

SS J.P. Crawford (AAA) - No. 1 prospect
A bit of a down week for Crawford, who hit .181 in six games. It wasn't likely he (or anyone) could have kept up his astronomical numbers (see last week's Future Phillies Report), though a down week is nothing to worry about. The 21-year-old struck out just twice though, so his signature contact is still there. Though the hits weren't falling, Crawford was still able to make an impact, scoring four runs during the week

OF Cornelius Randolph (A) – No. 5 prospect
Randolph continues to hum along at Lakewood after returning from a back/shoulder injury last week. The 19-year-old has hit .308 over the 10 games, raising his average to .261. The Phillies’ selected him 10th overall out of high school in 2015 because of his bat, but his defense has also been steady so far. A converted shortstop now playing left field, Randolph has just two errors in 28 games between Lakewood and the Gulf Coast League.

OF Jhailyn Ortiz (Low A) – No. 25 prospect
Ortiz, a 17-year-old slugger from the Dominican Republic, is fitting in nicely with the Gulf Coast Phillies. Ortiz has hit .297 in 19 games since signing with the Phillies, and had himself quite the game on Monday. Ortiz went 3 for 4 with three runs scored, a home run and three RBIs and a walk. He’s only 17, but with his raw power — 10 extra-base hits in 22 at-bats — it’s easy to see why the Phillies are high on him.

Mickey Moniak (Low A)
Not to be outdone by Ortiz, this year’s No. 1 overall pick is off to a torrid start in his professional career. After a modest first few games, Moniak is hitting .341 over his last 10 games to raise his season average to .317. He’s providing the GCL Phillies with clutch at-bats, too. In 16 games, Moniak already has 15 RBIs, including three in Wednesday’s win over the GCL Pirates. So far, so good for Moniak.

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