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 our list throughout 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 61 through 65.
61. Edgar Cabral, C, 22
The popular thought among scouts is that Cabral may be turning a corner in his career. he hit a robust .281 in the Gulf Coast League in 2015, but sank back to just .203 with Lakewood in 2016, but played just 24 games as the back-up to Deivi Grullon and also missed three weeks with a right ankle sprain. This past season though, things picked up considerably with Cabral playing 67 games with Lakewood and then getting 24 more with Clearwater later in the season. He was especially impressive with Clearwater where he hit .310/.379/.440 and was able to hit a combined .260/.332/.357 between the two stops.
Cabral played in the Arizona Fall League in 2017 and hit .298/.353/.340 in 14 games with Glendale, leaving a good impression on the scouts who saw him playing in the desert.
62. Ismael Cabrera, RHP, 23
The Phillies decided pretty early on in Cabrera’s development that he was better suited to work as a reliever than as a starter. He made eight starts in the DSL in 2014 and two more the following season in the GCL, but he’s been strictly a reliever at all of his other stops. The move has slowly helped to increase Cabrera’s velocity, partly because he’s not looking to pitch deep into games, and partly because he’s simply getting much better mechanically.
His fastball sits in the mid-90s and he can sometimes get even a little more out of the pitch when he needs to and uses that ability as a weapon. One of the things that has helped Cabrera is that he’s been able to throw his change-up in the low-to-mid-90s giving him good separation between the two pitches.
In 2016, Cabrera seemed somewhat lost pitching at Lakewood and wound up with a 4.09 ERA in 15 relief appearances. He rebounded last season and lowered the ERA to 3.63 with the ‘Claws. The big test comes in 2018 when he likely pitches at Clearwater and needs a good showing with the Threshers.
63. Henri Lartigue, C, 23
Early in his college career, Lartigue was seen as a guy who could only hit the ball if he pulled it. In his junior season, he finally got to catch every day and worked to develop an approach where he could hit the ball to all fields. The change in approach and mechanics worked well and Lartigue hit .353/.414/.464 and started to grab the attention of the scouts.
The Phillies took Lartigue with the first pick of the seventh round in 2016 and he didn’t really burst on to the scene when he hit 1-15-.212/.265/.291 with Williamsport. The Phillies were impressed with his defensive play and saw enough in him to push him up to Lakewood this past season and he responded well with a much improved 8-44-.248/.292/.410 slash line. He also threw out 34-percent of would-be basestealers while with Lakewood. The Phillies also had him play three games at first base, just in case they decide to look at a position change for him, although his defense doesn’t dictate a move.
64. Cord Sandberg, OF, 23
The Phillies are waiting patiently for Cord Sandberg to truly show up. The biggest concern has been his inability to recognize pitches, which tends to throw his swing completely out of whack as he tries to adjust to what he sees coming to the plate and led to 103 strikeouts in 105 games last season. The offensive flaw has also caused what was seen as above-average power to deteriorate, but last season, he did manage a career-high nine home runs between Lakewood, Clearwater and Reading. He can adequately play all three outfield spots, although his arm likely plays best as a left fielder.
Initially, a lot more was expected out of Sandberg when the Phillies took him in the third round of the 2013 Draft, but he just hasn’t been able to put things together and what scouts saw of him in high school hasn’t translated – yet – to the professional ranks.
65. Shane Watson, RHP, 24
Watson has had a long road back after two shoulder surgeries cost him the last half of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season. A suspension for performance-enhancing substances cost him another 50 games at the start of the 2015 season. Earlier in his career, Watson was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes, which caused him to lose a lot of weight causing concern around the Phillies organization.
After keeping him in the starting rotation since the Phillies drafted him with the 40th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, the organization came to the conclusion last season that he was better suited to work out of the bullpen. The biggest issue for Watson as a starter was that he found himself unable to pitch deep into games. Last season, he managed just over four innings per start at Reading which was the straw that broke the camel’s back and sent him to a relief role.
You can also use our Prospect Rankings menu at the top of this page to see the full rankings for 2018 and previous years.