5.) Andrew Knapp, C
Date of Birth- November 9, 1991
Height/Weight- 6’1″/190 lbs
Acquired- Drafted by Phillies in 2013 MLB Draft
Yet another homegrown prospect hits this list, and he’s the first one to make the top-5 countdown. Andrew Knapp looks to have a pretty clear path to the Majors, especially with Carlos Ruiz likely finishing out his tenure with the team this season. Between Single-A and Double-A last season, the switch-hitting catcher hit .308/.385/.491 with 13 home runs and 84 runs driven in. He’s put up decent numbers in all minor-league levels, but just destroyed Double-A pitching to the tune of .360/.419/.631, with 11 home runs and 56 RBIs. While his defense won’t compare with guys like Ivan Rodriguez, Knapp does provide solid defense with room for growth. His most attractive feature though, remains the pop in has bat. The earliest that Knapp could see time with the Phillies is as a September call-up, although a 2017 ETA is more realistic.
4.) Cornelius Randolph, OF
Date of Birth- June 2, 1997
Height/Weight- 5’11″/205 lbs
Acquired- Drafted 10th Overall in 2015 MLB Draft
Finally, we have a lefty on the list! It only took us 17 prospects to reach this point, but we got here. Randolph was snagged with the tenth overall pick, and immediately converted from a high-school shortstop to a professional outfielder. In rookie ball last season, Randolph hit .302/.425/.442. He lacked in power, only smacking one round-tripper, although that’s to be expected from such young prospects. His high-potential bat is easily his best feature, while the lingering questions surround his ability to hit for power. Nonetheless, Randolph gives you reason to be excited for his future.
3.) Jake Thompson, RHP
Date of Birth- January 31, 1994
Height/Weight- 6’4″/235 lbs
Acquired- Traded to Phillies in July 2015
Thompson was one of the three-centerpieces in the Cole Hamels deal. Originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers, the right-hander was sent to Texas back in 2014, as apart of a deal for reliever Joakim Soria. In four seasons on the Minor-League scene, Thompson has gone 25-17 with a 3.25 ERA. Most notably, Thompson really caught eyes last season after being traded to the Phillies, going 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 45 innings of work for Double-A Reading. He possesses good control, with a sinker in the low-90s. Thompson is projected to develop into a workhorse type of pitcher, although slow development in his changeup and a step back in his slider could delay, and possibly even derail, his future projection. Thompson will likely serve as the ace of the Lehigh Valley staff this season.
2.) Nick Williams, OF
Date of Birth- September 8, 1993
Height/Weight- 6’3″/195 lbs
Acquired- Traded to Phillies in July 2015
Williams was the final piece in the Hamels deal. In 2015, Williams hit .303/.354/.491 with 17 home runs, 55 RBIs, and he swiped 13 bags at the Double-A level. The 22-year-old has always had extraordinary tools, but he really took his game to the next level in 2015. His overall improvement at the plate and in the field helped him lock down a top-25 ranking in Baseball Prospectus’ top 101 prospects of 2016. He has all the makings of an impact player in the future. Williams will spend 2016 in Triple A-Lehigh Valley with the potential for a September call-up.
1.) J.P. Crawford, SS
Date of Birth- January 11, 1995
Height/Weight- 6’2″/180 lbs
Acquired- Drafted 16th Overall in 2013 MLB Draft
We have reached the “crown jewel” of the Philadelphia prospect pipeline, and his name is J.P. Crawford. The 21-year-old shortstop has baseball roots running through his family, as his cousin is Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford. Getting back on track here, there were expectations for Crawford, just as there are for all first-round picks. We won’t know for a while if he’ll meet those expectations, but he seems to be well on his way. Highly regarded for his defensive skills, Crawford is already drawing numerous comparisons to former Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, the most notable comparison came from bench coach Larry Bowa. Crawford has been producing great numbers at all minor league levels, hitting .290/.382/.408 with 18 homers, 111 RBIs, and 50 stolen bags in three Minor-League seasons. Crawford played in 86 games with Double-A Reading last year, and while it’s possible that he makes the Phillies roster out of Spring Training, it’s more likely that he splits 2016 between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.