HomeSportsMLB 26-and-under power rankings: No. 21 Philadelphia Phillies

MLB 26-and-under power rankings: No. 21 Philadelphia Phillies

FOX Sports’ 26-and-under power rankings are a new spin on the classic prospect rankings. Yes, prospects are important, but with all the game-changing young talent already in the bigs, farm systems alone can’t tell the whole story. So we’re diving deep into every single MLB club, ranking them all by the players in an organization entering their age-26 season or younger — from the bigs to the farm. Each weekday through March 24, we’ll count down from last to first. 

No. 21 Philadelphia Phillies
26-and-under total score: 14 (out of 30) 

When the Phillies’ long-awaited rebuild didn’t arrive on schedule, stymied by the organization’s inability to develop an impact hitter, the team leadership pivoted and popped open the checkbook instead. The result? A 2022 NL championship and an in-its-prime roster intent on competing for the next half-decade.

This is not the Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, J.P. Crawford and Maikel Franco-led youth movement that was supposed to eventually rise from the ashes of 2008. All those players ended up underperforming or in other organizations or both. And even after owner John Middleton & Co. splurged for Bryce Harper ahead of 2019, things looked bleak at The Bank heading into last season; an expensive team mired in mediocrity, with a laundry list of underachieving young hitters.

And then, 2022 happened. Now, with the fan base reignited, superstar shortstop Trea Turner added into the fold and a slew of talented arms in the minors, this team’s future, for the first time in a long time, looks legitimately bright.

But if the Phillies want to make Red October an annual tradition, they’ll need to (1) foster continued growth from their promising trio of young position players and (2) supplement their imposing but shallow big-league rotation with that group of exhilarating young arms they have matriculating up from the farm.

Big-league position players: 6 (out of 10)  

For years, this organization’s bugaboo was a failure to develop anything resembling a homegrown impact hitter. They whiffed on a number of early-round draft picks, including 2016 No. 1 overall selection Mickey Moniak, and didn’t uncover much on the international side either.

But in 2022, the trio of Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott and Brandon Marsh bucked that trend. Bohm and Stott were both former first-round draft picks by the Phillies who settled in as reliable everyday infielders. Marsh was acquired from the Angels at the deadline for catching prospect Logan O’Hoppe, a hidden gem the Phils snagged in the 23rd round back in 2018. 

Those three players combined to produce three bWAR for the Phillies in 2022, not an eye-popping total, but still a solid and meaningful contribution. What’s more, all three players have the opportunity to make a leap in production. If Bohm can elevate the ball more and make better swing decisions, he has the natural hitting ability to become a real offensive force. Stott, who will shift to second with Turner taking over at short, had really impressive plate discipline numbers for a rookie and should hit for a higher average in his sophomore season. And if Marsh, who is already one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, can improve his strikeout rate from bottom three in MLB to just regular levels of bad, he’d become an above-average starter.

These are three really solid big-league players who offer Philly valuable dependability, with the potential for a lot more. Not many World Series teams can boast a third of their lineup being 26 and under. So even if Bohm, Stott and Marsh never become All-Stars, this trio is still instrumental to the Phillies in 2023 and beyond.

Big-league pitchers: 2 (out of 10)

There is only one “young” pitcher on Philly’s projected Opening Day roster. His name is Bailey Falter and you might think he sucks. That’s because Falter’s 2022 finale was an unmitigated disaster, a family heirloom hurled off a cliff.

In Game 4 of the NLCS against San Diego, Falter’s mission was to roll through the Padres order a single time. Nothing sexy, he just needed to keep his club in the game while sponging up as many outs as possible. Instead, the Pads mortar and pestle’d him into dust, knocking the lanky lefty out in the first inning. Falter’s final line? Two outs recorded, three hits, one walk, four runs, one bomb and one early trip to the showers.

But you know what they always say … don’t judge a book by its final page? Falter was actually pretty solid as a spot starter for the Phils a year ago, tossing 84 innings with a 3.86 ERA. That October implosion aside, he should feature prominently in Philly. For a big-league roster currently devoid of young pitching, Falter is an unremarkable yet important type of arm.

Prospect pitchers: 5 (out of 5)  

There is no more volatile, less dependable type of player than a high-school, right-handed pitching prospect. Keep that perspective in mind when I tell you that the Phillies have the consensus best pitching prospect in the world.

Andrew Painter, a 6-foot-7 righty from Florida whom Philly took 13th overall in 2021, set the minor leagues on fire last year with a school-bully, high-90s heater, a lockjaw slider and a promising changeup. Right now, scouts say the command is more good than great, which matters less when you have lights-out stuff like Painter. To put it simply: He is as good as a 19-year-old pitching prospect can possibly be. He’s already wowed observers at big-league camp and has a legitimate shot to make the team.

Just keep in mind that prospect prognosticators and hardball analyzers like me said all the same things about Shane Baz a year ago, MacKenzie Gore two years ago, Forrest Whitley three years ago, etc, etc. The road between draft day and MLB success is littered with landmines, road bumps and a mountain of potential injuries, for even the most talented arms. 

But this system is more than just Painter and nobodies. Mick Abel and Griff McGarry, both right-handers, project as future MLB contributors on the mound. Abel, the team’s first-rounder in 2020 doesn’t have Painter’s electric arsenal but sits in the mid-90s with two notable offspeed pitches and looks like a future mid-rotation piece. 

McGarry, on the other hand, a fifth-round pick out of Virginia in 2021, might rival Painter in terms of raw stuff. The 23-year-old has a jump-on-you heater in the mid-to-high-90s with outstanding secondary characteristics and a sweepy slider that both look like plus pitches. What he lacks, however, is the consistency, command and refinement typical of an MLB starter (not to mention a reliable third pitch). The best version of McGarry is a difference-maker, an inefficient No. 2 or 3 starter who can dominate for stretches. The lesser version of McGarry is still valuable, but in short spurts out of the bullpen in high-leverage situations.

Either way, he’s a guy to know.

Then there’s Noah Song, the wildest of wild cards. A first-round-caliber talent, Song was drafted by the Red Sox out of the Naval Academy in 2019, but pitched in only a handful of games before joining the armed forces for his mandatory military service. The Phillies selected Song in this winter’s Rule 5 draft hoping that he might be discharged from active duty at some point in the next few years. Luckily for them, Song was given the green light to return to professional baseball earlier this week and reported to Phillies camp in Clearwater, Florida on Thursday. He hasn’t pitched in a professional game in over three years, but at his peak Song was a dominant force. He could struggle in spring and be returned to Boston as a Rule 5, or he could stick and help the Phillies in the big leagues this year.

Prospect position players: 1 (out of 5)  

Philly’s top three hitting prospects, Hao Yu Lee, Justin Crawford and Johan Rojas, all feature immense potential, but all three have enormous question marks that limit their short-term big-league impact.

Lee is a feel-to-hit infielder that Philly signed out of a Taiwanese high-school in 2021. He put up nice numbers as a 19-year-old this past year, in his first taste of full-season ball, but scouts question whether he’ll develop meaningful power. Crawford, the son of longtime big leaguer Carl Crawford, is the starter-kit version of his All-Star father: blazing, top-of-the charts speed, gap-to-gap pop and superb outfield defense. But as a 2022 draftee, Crawford has a great deal to prove before he’s galloping across the outfield grass at Citizens Bank. And while Rojas, whom Philly added to its 40-man roster this winter, is a good deal closer to contributing in the bigs than his farm-mates, he underwhelmed offensively in 2022. He could feature as a bench option as soon as 2024, but unless the contact ability takes a step forward, Rojas won’t be too much more than that.  


A big bag of Middleton’s cash ripped open Philly’s window of contention in 2022. And now, that window should remain agape for the next half-decade thanks to a roster of established stars in and around their age-30 seasons. Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola aren’t exactly young anymore, but they aren’t old yet, either.

The trio of young bats set to be in the starting lineup — Bohm, Stott and Marsh — offer a dependable floor with the promise for much, much more. Even if none of them become 4-WAR All-Star types, the Phillies will still compete for playoff spots over the next five years. And if one or more of those guys take a step forward, the Mets and Braves should watch out. Speaking of watching out, general manager Dave Dombrowski isn’t one to slow-play prospects. Should Painter look ready for action this autumn, don’t be surprised if the hot-shot hurler finds himself on the big-league roster for an October run. 

People around the industry emphasized that the Phillies are very much a “Dombrowski-led team,” meaning they’re willing to exchange young depth for potential impact players, as evidenced by the recent Gregory Soto trade. However, that the trigger-happy Dombrowski has held onto Painter, Abel and McGarry is, at least to some extent, indicative of how highly the organization views those three arms.

Jake Mintz, the louder half of @CespedesBBQ is a baseball writer for FOX Sports. He’s an Orioles fan living in New York City, and thus, he leads a lonely existence most Octobers. If he’s not watching baseball, he’s almost certainly riding his bike. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Mintz.

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