Every year after the draft, MLB Pipeline releases an updated Top-100 prospects list. This year, four Phillies players have made the updated list: Alec Bohm, Spencer Howard, Bryson Stott, and 2020 first rounder Mick Abel. The Phillies have done a good job of building depth in their drafts since 2017, contrary to popular belief, and this list shows as much.
Let’s take a closer look at each player.
32 – Alec Bohm 3B/1B
After his pro-debut was cut short by injury, Bohm hit his way through three levels of Pro Ball last season. While there are questions surrounding where he will play defensively, there is no doubt about his bat. The kid flat out rakes, but doesn’t rely on a certain side of the field to do it. He is a line driven hitter who knows what he is doing at the plate and uses the entire field. For a player with a 6-foot-5 and 220 pound frame, Bohm doesn’t have the typical approach seen in players of similar statures. While he will consistently hit 25-30 HRs in the big leagues, Bohm’s calling card is his approach.
In 2019, Bohm showed incredible plate discipline and awareness, with a K/BB ratio of 73/57. Striking out 15.3% of the time while walking 12% is an impressive feat for anyone in this age of baseball, let alone for a guy who is a middle-of-the-order power bat. While defensively he will probably end up at first at some point, Bohm has a tireless work ethic and made some huge strides over at the hot corner last year. It is very hard to play a good third base at his size, but he improved his footwork and positioning tremendously last year. Wherever he ends up, the bat will play.
Expect to see Bohm getting some DH looks this season, while still staying sharp in the field.
37 – Spencer Howard RHP
When I first looked at the updated list, I thought Howard was too low. I think Howard is at least a top-25 guy, definitely worth of falling between 15-25. The one knock on Howard is the amount of innings pitched, as he has only thrown 211.1 innings since 2017. A lot of the usage rate was due to the Phillies wanting to limit his workload, but until he pitches more innings, that will always be used against him. Don’t let the innings fool you. Howard is absolutely filthy on the rubber.
Armed with a plus-plus fastball that ranges from 94-97 mph and can touch triple digits, Howard attacks hitters from the first pitch. Like more and more of the Phillies pitchers, Howard uses his fastball at the top of the zone and makes the hitters try to get on top of it.
Howard pairs his heater with three other potentially plus pitches, led by his devastating changeup. In my opinion, the changeup is the most important pitch for a starter to have in his arsenal. Having the same arm action as his fastball, Howard is able to make hitters look silly with it, as historically, his changeup is around 80-84 mph. It has really nice fade and sink on it, and with the 10-15 mph difference from his fastball, it makes the at-bat that much harder.
He also throws a curveball and a slider, which he can use to get hitters out as well. His slider is probably better than his curve at the moment, but both are still going to be at least plus pitches in the future. Look for him to get an opportunity to start this season (We need a starter for Sunday *wink*), with a chance to become a top of the rotation horse for many years to come.
98 – Bryson Stott SS
Coming into the draft last year, Stott was one of my favorite players in the entire draft. I didn’t think there was any shot of getting him, and was shocked that he fell all the way to us. I think the best way to describe Stott is a baseball player. During his time at UNLV, Stott did nothing but hit in his three years as the starting shortstop. While there is not one tool that stands out above the rest, Stott does everything well on the baseball diamond.
Stott’s best tool is probably his hitting. With the chance to be plus down the line, Stott makes a ton of contact and uses the entire field. He has gap to gap line drive power and does a really good job of just hitting the pitches where they are thrown. While he won’t ever be a true power hitter, he was able to find his power stroke early on during his pro debut in Williamsport. I don’t think it is out of the question for him to hit 15-20 HRs a year.
He has above-average speed, making him a threat on the base paths. Defensively, he has really good instincts, so it is possible for him to stay at short long-term. However, like Bohm, he will need to work on perfecting his defensive approach if he wants to stay there. When trying to find a comparison for Stott, I immediately gravitate to Brandon Crawford. I think Stott has more potential at the plate and less on the diamond, but like Crawford, he has the ability to be a very good infielder for this Phillies team for a long, long time.
100 – Mick Abel RHP
Closing out the updated list is the Phillies most recent first rounder, Mick Abel. I should tell you now that his name is not Mickey, so please do not judge him based solely on what our 2016 No. 1 overall’s name is. McLean Stine Abel was thought of as the top-rated high school pitcher in this year’s draft. In any other year, Abel probably would have been gone prior to us being on the clock. However, with the pandemic and the cancellation of the high school baseball season this year, many teams shied away from picking high school players due to a lack of exposure. Some believe that 2020 worked to the Phillies’ advantage, as they were able to land a player with Top 10 potential at No. 15.
Abel has already shown flashes of three plus pitches, and it all starts with his fastball. Working in the 93-95 mph range in the summer showcases of 2019, Abel shows advanced command on the pitch in both the upper and lower parts of the zone. His four-seam fastball has a lot of late riding movement to it, making it very hard to hit, especially when he throws it up in the zone. He pairs it with a two-seamer/sinker at the bottom of the zone to consistently change the eye level of the hitters. He throws both a slider and a curve that could potentially both end up being out pitches for him in the future. His changeup is also a future plus pitch, working off the same arm action of both his fastballs. Like I mentioned before, Abel has advanced control and command for a pitcher his age. Pair his strike throwing with a very mentally mature approach to pitching, Abel has the chance to be at least a No. 3 starter. As he physically matures and gets stronger, that ceiling can only go up.
All in all, it was a pretty good showing for the Phillies. There are definitely items I don’t agree with, like the omission of Francisco Morales from the list, but part of the issue with national prospect writers is the shear amount of info needed to make this kind of list. The future looks bright for the Fightin’ Phils and it all comes down to how these above four perform.
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