Thank goodness the Philadelphia Phillies finally had the guts to make a deal at this year’s Trade Deadline. By surrendering longtime ace Cole Hamels, bullpen lefty Jake Diekman, closer Jonathan Papelbon, and outfielder Ben Revere, the Phillies were able to bring in nine prospects, and big leaguer Matt Harrison.
Overall, Ruben Amaro and company brought in a decent haul of prospects over the course of the week. The standouts include Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, and Jorge Alfaro, all of whom were ranked in the Texas Rangers top five prospects before coming over in the Cole Hamels deal.
Thompson is a 21-year-old righty who is developing a solid pitching arsenal. He is six-foot-four second round draft pick that is best known for his slider. He is also working on his already decent changeup and has a fastball that sits in the low-90s. In Double-A this season, he has a 4.72 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 87 2/3 innings of work. Over the next couple of years, Phillies fans could potentially see Thompson as a mid-rotation starter, a position where the Phils could stand to see some improvement.
Nick Williams, another Double-A player, also fills a position that the Phillies desperately need – outfield. Currently 21, Williams has a slash line of .299/.357/.479 this season. As you could probably guess, Williams hits for average and can steal a bag or two. Scouts say that he is incredibly athletic, and has a strong arm. Hopefully, that strong arm finds itself replacing the idle Dom Brown in the outfield sooner rather than later. More than likely, if his arm is as strong as the scouts say, he will develop into a corner outfielder over the next few seasons.
Of all the prospects Philadelphia gained from the Hamels trade, I would say that Ruben Amaro is most excited about Jorge Alfaro. The Phillies’ farm system is deprived of catchers, and going into this season, Alfaro was ranked as the second best catching prospect in the game. The problem, is that he just underwent ankle surgery after only playing in 49 games this season in Double-A. For a catcher, he is considered to have some “pop” in his bat, and if all works out, Alfaro could become the next Carlos Ruiz. After all, he has no choice. There is basically no one else.
The other two prospects from the Hamels deal were Triple-A right-handers, Jered Eickhoff and Alec Asher. Both prospects have some upside, but not nearly as much as Thompson, Williams, and Alfaro. Eickhoff has the makings of a decent bullpen guy. In two Triple-A starts this season, he has a 2.70 ERA. Asher also has some decent numbers. He currently has a 4.73 ERA in twelve games so far at the Triple-A level.
From yesterday’s Ben Revere trade, the Phillies received two more right-handers from the Toronto Blue Jays. The 23-year-old Jimmy Cordero could be another strong bullpen arm in the future. His main attraction is his 100 mph fastball. He is working a 2.92 ERA in seventeen games at Double-A this season. Alberto Tirado, on the other hand, is best known as a strikeout pitcher. He is currently in High-A and owns a 3.23 ERA in thirty-one games. Scouts predict that both guys will end up debuting in the majors in 2017 or later.
The final prospect received was Nick Pivetta, who is, unsurprisingly, another righty. Pivetta was recently promoted to Double-A Harrisburg before being traded to the Phillies, and was having a rough couple of games. But in High-A, he had a commanding 2.29 ERA. At best, many believe that Pivetta will be a back-end starter.
Where does this leave the Phillies and their rebuilding process? Well, the farm system has significantly improved. Amaro said his goal was to add more upper level pitching talent, but admits he wants to improve things from the offensive side. Alfaro and Williams will join Double-A shortstop J.P. Crawford, a.k.a the heir to Jimmy Rollins, as key prospects in the rebuilding process. None of them are expected to reach the Majors until at least 2016. As far as the haul of right-handers go, Thompson and Pivetta are expected to become starters, while Asher, Eickhoff, Cordero, and Tirado are expected to become members of the bullpen.
In the near future, the only two guys on the Phillies current 40-man roster I expect to see on a winning team are Mikael Franco and Aaron Nola. Over the offseason, the Phillies will look to add some more outfield and corner infield talent. In 2017, if all goes well, the makings of a winning team will come together, and this horrendous season will be nothing but a memory.