PBI Top 80 Prospects: 71-75

Philly Baseball Insider has increased our list of the top Phillies prospects from the usual 50 prospects that we’ve ranked in previous seasons to 80 players coming into the 2018 season.

Our list is compiled by comparing notes with scouts, coaches, broadcasters, reporters and other analysts both throughout the season and following the season.

To be eligible for the list, a player must have his MLB rookie status intact coming into the 2018 season, meaning that they do not have more than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the majors during a previous season or seasons. They also may not have accumulated more than 45 days on a major league roster during the 25-player limit period (April through August), excluding time on the DL.

The plan is to unveil five players per day through mid-January with short scouting reports on each player. We will also be starting to assemble a list of player pages that will include stats and information on players throughout the Phillies organization.

Our list of the Top 80 Phillies Prospects begins with players ranked 71 through 75.

71. Aaron Brown, LHP, 25

What do you do with a light-hitting outfielder who has a strong left arm? You convert him into a pitcher. Actually, Brown had pitched at Pepperdine, but the Phillies initially thought he would be more valuable as an outfielder, so they had him playing the outfield where he had also played at Pepperdine.

Brown put up decent numbers at the plate early in his professional career, but as he climbed the ladder, it wasn’t looking like he was going to be strong enough at the plate to reach the majors. The Phillies took the time to work with him and recondition him to pitching and he made 14 relief appearances last season – four in the GCL and 10 with Clearwater – and went 0-1 with a 4.74 ERA. In 19 innings he struck out 20 batters. Problem is that he walked 19. He has a long way to go, but the basics are there and left-handed relievers can scratch out a career with less than admirable numbers, so we’ll see what happens.

72. Jonathan Guzman, SS, 18

Guzman signed with the Phillies on his 16th birthday, August 17, 2015 and played in the Dominican Summer League the following season. Guzman showed the ability to make contact and hit .300 with a .370 OBP before heading to the states last season where he played with the GCL Phillies, Williamsport and put in one game with Clearwater. He hit .246/.305/.326 in 45 games between the three stops.

Guzman doesn’t have much size (6′ 0″, 156 pounds) and isn’t seen as a guy who is going to develop any power. What he can do is field his position well, hit for a decent average and run. It’s going to take a little time to see just how much Guzman will fill out and whether or not he’ll be able to maintain his offense as he adjusts and moves up the ladder through the Phillies organization. There’s a lot to like about him, but there’s also a lot for him to learn and put to use.

 

73. Grenny Cumana, 2B/SS, 22

Cumana comes in a small package at just 5′ 5″ tall and that build doesn’t generate any power. What he can do is play above average defense and run. Basically, Cumana just looks to put the bat on the ball and run. It’s a simple offensive approach, but it has worked okay for the 22-year old out of Venezuela.

In 2016, Cumana seemed to find his way around the batter’s box and hit a career-high .291 in his first full year in a full-season league with Lakewood where he had played 58 games the year before. The Phillies hoped that it was the start of more offense from Cumana, who had hit just .221 since arriving in the states after a season in the VSL. Unfortunately, he slid back down – but not all the way down – last season and hit .243 with Clearwater. He continues to make contact and has some speed, but will need at least a little more offense to fully take advantage of the speed.

74. Josh Stephen, OF, 20

The Phillies drafted Stephen out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California in the 11th round of the 2016 Draft. He hasn’t been spectacular in his first two professional seasons, but he’s held his own by hitting a combined 4-54-.249/.306/.367 in 108 games split between the GCL and Williamsport. The big question is whether the Phillies will challenge him with a promotion to Lakewood this season or leave him behind in extended camp and then send him to Williamsport when their season begins in June.

Stephen likely could benefit from a little more instruction in extended camp, but if all goes well and if there’s a need at Lakewood, he could be there before the New York-Penn League season begins for Williamsport.

75. Austin Bossart, C, 24

One scout who saw Bossart at the University of Pennsylvania in his senior season remembers thinking that he was better than what he had heard. He thought Bossart showed enough defensive ability and offensive pop to take him somewhere just out of the top five rounds, but Bossart lasted until the 14th round when the Phillies grabbed him. That same scout has seen him since and believes he’s still a decent prospect, especially when you factor in his defense.

Bossart’s calling card is a strong arm and quick release to back it up. In the past two seasons, he’s thrown out 46-percent of runners attempting to steal against him. He does well at blocking pitches in the dirt and plays the position well. Offensively, Bossart has put up good numbers as well, but tailed off last season hitting .244 at Clearwater. If he stays at that level of offense, he’s going to really have to hope his defensive skills pull him through, because he doesn’t have any power to go with the lower average.

In case you missed our previous rankings, you can find them here: Prospects 76-80

You can also use our Prospect Rankings menu at the top of this page to see the full rankings for 2018 and previous years.
 

Chuck Hixson

Chuck has a wide and varied background in covering sports both locally and nationally. Living in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Chuck has the distinction of being the only person to have covered both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in every season of their existence. Chuck began covering sports in 1998 when he was the first program director and morning host at WTKZ-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania when the station switched to an all sports format. Chuck produced the stations coverage of the Allentown Ambassadors baseball team, which played in the independent Northeast League. From there, Chuck was the editor and writer of Pinstripes magazine, covering Phillies baseball. That led to Chuck founding Philly Baseball Insider in 2003. Chuck has done freelance work for national entities such as USA TODAY, CBS, FOX Sports, Washington Times and others.

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