The Phillies’ farm system offers slim pickings
The other day, I read Keith Law’s midseason update on baseball’s top 50 prospects.
I almost didn’t look at it because, as a Phils fan, I knew it wouldn’t contain good news.
As expected, no Phillies farmhands made the list. But a bunch of guys from other teams in the NL East did:
- No. 8, catcher Francisco Alvarez, 19, Mets.
- No. 11, outfielder Cristian Pache, 22, Braves.
- No. 28, pitcher Kumar Rocker, 21, Mets.
- No. 33, shortstop Kahlil Watson, 18, Marlins.
- No. 36, shortstop Ronny Mauricio, 20, Mets.
- No. 37, pitcher Edward Cabrera, 23, Marlins.
- No. 41, pitcher Max Meyer, 22, Marlins.
- No. 43, third baseman Brett Baty, 21, Mets.
So that’s one for Atlanta, three for Florida and four (!) for New York. The Phillies’ poor farm system is a big reason they sign expensive free agents and are close to having to pay the luxury tax. There’s a dearth of major league-caliber, cost-controlled talent in the upper levels of the minor leagues.
This also handicaps Philadelphia’s president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, as he tries to improve the club. A team like the Mets, for example, could dangle Mauricio as trade bait because New York has Francisco Lindor entrenched at shortstop. The Phils have no such luxury.
Dombrowski’s best bet might be taking on players with high salaries from other teams as salary dumps, because those clubs won’t demand much in return. They’re just glad to get rid of the contract.
I’m comforted, at least, that Dombrowski owns a good track record with trade deadline deals when he was with other franchises. He certainly has his work cut out for him.