Four Phillies made Baseball Prospectus' midseason Top 50 and two of them are new to the list.
Right-handed pitcher Sixto Sanchez and second baseman Scott Kingery join prospect-list staples J.P. Crawford (No. 20) and Jorge Alfaro (No. 34).
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RHP Sixto Sanchez (ranked 18th)
Nationally, baseball people have taken notice of Sanchez, an 18-year-old flamethrower at Class A Lakewood. Sanchez, who turns 19 on July 29, has a 3.04 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 10 starts this season. He's struck out 50 and walked five in 50⅓ innings.
What makes Sanchez unique is the command he exhibits for a hard-throwing pitcher his age. It's rare you see a teenager have as much figured out on the mound as Sanchez does. He's a quick worker with a high-90s fastball, a curveball and changeup.
In 130 pro innings, Sanchez has allowed just one home run. He's the Phillies' highest-upside pitching prospect and perhaps their highest-upside prospect overall.
But don't expect the organization to get ahead of itself - 2017 is about getting Sanchez through a full-ish season, not necessarily moving him from level to level. It's tough to project when he'll make his major-league debut, but 2020 seems like a realistic year.
SS J.P. Crawford (ranked 20th)
Crawford has been picking it up lately, hitting .292/.387/.569 with 10 extra-base hits in his last 17 games. He's up to .214 on the year with a .329 OBP.
This is a lower ranking than we've seen with Crawford from prospect outlets in recent years. He was Baseball Prospectus' No. 4 prospect entering 2016 and again entering 2017. The drop reflects the disappointing season Crawford has had so far, but also shows that many are still high on his being a productive major-leaguer someday soon.
Crawford turns 23 on Jan. 11. We might see the Phillies start him at Triple A again next season, though, to see if he can get off to a hotter start at that level than he did the previous two years.
The decision on whether Freddy Galvis or Crawford has the opening-day gig next season might come down to defense. Galvis, a Gold Glove finalist last season and potentially a Gold Glove winner this season, has committed just 14 errors in 240 games since 2016. Crawford has committed 32 in 195 games.
C Jorge Alfaro (ranked 34th)
Alfaro will not be on these lists next year because he'll be in the majors. This year is his final option year because the Rangers added him to their 40-man roster back in November 2014.
What this means is that next season, the Phillies will not be able to send Alfaro back to the minors unless they first place him on waivers. That will not happen because a young player with this much upside would be immediately snatched away.
Thus, Alfaro could be the Phillies' starting catcher in 2017. He has more power than Andrew Knapp, a bit less swing-and-miss in his game than Cameron Rupp, and though there are some defensive concerns with Alfaro, he may be able to control the running game better than either one.
Alfaro has hit a disappointing .256/.310/.382 this season with 11 doubles, two triples, six homers and 38 RBIs in 68 games.
However, it seems like he's finally gotten the message that his best path to a promotion will involve improved plate selection. Alfaro has walked 11 times in his last 17 games after walking just four times in his first 50 games. Nick Williams' recent call-up occurred only when he began exhibiting more selectivity at the plate and that was no coincidence.
2B Scott Kingery (No. 50)
Baseball Prospectus is protecting itself with this ranking. Kingery gets the last spot on the list, so if he ends up panning out quickly this season or next, he won't have been an omission. But he's 50th, which protects B-Pro in case Kingery's power doesn't translate to the majors.
The thing is, even if Kingery's power doesn't translate, his other skills should. He plays extremely hard, runs fast, and is a very good defensive second baseman. At the very least, Kingery should be able to be a Cesar Hernandez-like player with better defense and baserunning. At the most, he could turn into Dustin Pedroia.
Kingery has hit .325 with a 1.001 OPS, two doubles, four homers, eight RBIs and nine runs in 10 games with Triple A Lehigh Valley. Overall this season, he's hit .314/.373/.616 22 homers, 20 doubles and 21 steals. He entered Thursday night with exactly 100 hits and 47 were extra-base hits.
If the Phillies find a trade partner for Hernandez this summer or winter - keep an eye on the Angels, Rays and White Sox - Kingery could quickly become the Phillies' everyday second baseman and leadoff hitter.
First baseman Rhys Hoskins, despite handling pitching and improving at every level, is not in B-Pro's midseason Top 50. Burly first basemen are usually unheralded prospects because they're not viewed as "great athletes."
But Hoskins can hit, and nobody in the Phillies' organization is going to care much that he didn't make this list. Entering Thursday's game, Hoskins was hitting .292/.386/.584 with 20 homers and 66 RBIs, but what sticks out most is that he has 45 walks and 53 strikeouts. He's a power hitter who controls at-bats and has a solid plan at the plate.
He's not far away. We might see Hoskins playing every day at first base in South Philadelphia by August, with Tommy Joseph spending a few weeks on the bench. The Phils pretty much know what they have in Joseph but will want to get a good big-league look at Hoskins.