The SportsTalk Shop: Eagles & Phillies Prospects

This past week “SportsTalk” got to chat with some of the up-and-coming stars in both the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies organizations.

First, the Eagles and a preliminary look at some of our interviews:


You can see more interviews on the next live edition of “RCN SportsTalk presented by The Morning Call.”

The thing that was so impressive to me about the Eagles rookies we spoke with was their focus.  We interviewed them on a day in which nearly all the Philadelphia fans’ focus was on the issue of Fletcher Cox attending “voluntary” practices—which he did on this day (there was a incredible crowd of reporters/videographers around Cox in the locker room after practice).

The players we spoke with were very determined to acclimate themselves with the speed of the NFL game and learn from the veterans about all the nuances that come with playing on the pro level.  There were no big egos…only a quiet passion to try to improve their game and their skill-set and a desire to contribute in any way they can.

Derek Barnett, Rasul Douglas, Mack Hollins and Donnel Pumphrey all will have opportunities to contribute for the Birds this season…and all seem like they have the mental drive to be standout players for the Eagles for the foreseeable future.
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Fans of the Phillies are a little less optimistic right now based on the team’s win/loss record. However, there are still lots of reasons for hope down on their farm—especially within its current core of young outfield prospects.

(More Phillies prospects interviews available through RCN On-Demand and here on the RCN-TV website).

All three Triple-A starting outfielders—Dylan Cozens, Nick Williams and Roman Quinn—have some outstanding talent.  Cozens has bashed tremendously long home runs over the last few weeks (and was last week’s International League Player of the Week) but still strikes out quite a bit.

Williams, who had issues last season with intensity and not running hard on the bases, now hustles every time I see him.  He’s still not taking many pitches and hasn’t been as hot as some of this teammates, but he is also primarily hitting sixth in Lehigh Valley’s lineup and has not had the benefit of any consistent hitter behind him.

Quinn is such an exciting player and I think might be the first of the three outfield prospects to get a call up to the Big Leagues.  His issue in the past was staying injury-free—something he has been able to do so far in 2017.  But I don’t believe he’s been able to drive the ball with authority on a consistent basis and that might hurt him in the Majors.   Still, he’s been working on bunting and finding ways to get on base—something that would be most welcome with a Phillies lineup that has struggled overall this year.

I don’t think either the Eagles or the Phillies will be bringing home a championship banner in the next year or two.  But with exciting young players in both franchises a year or two away from potentially blossoming into superstars, it is worth fans pushing their patience level a little further in the realistic/slightly optimistic chance that much better days are almost within sight.

The SportsTalk Shop: Phillies Prospects Update

Today here at “The Shop,” we bring you comments from the Phillies minor league prospects followed by some insights on their “ceilings” and potential arrival times in the Big Leagues.

Starting right-handed pitcher Jake Thompson and left-handed hitting outfielder Nick Williams, seems to be the odds-on favorites among the top blue-chip prospects to get the call to the major leagues.

Williams could be helped by the fact that Cody Asche won’t start the season on the Phillies roster and Aaron Altherr won’t be ready until late in the summer.  Both Asche and Altherr were penciled in as starters for the parent club before spring training began.  Because of the ‘numbers’ issue in the outfield—or, more appropriately, LACK of numbers, Williams could be one player that gets bumped up a little earlier than expected.

Plus, Williams had a torrid September last year, during the Reading Fightin’ Phillies playoff run, which the organization’s top brass saw first-hand.  A quick start by Williams might give Phillies fans what they’ve already started clamoring for—and that’s a fast promotion to the Big Leagues for some of these high-profile prospects the team received in trades over the last year.  However, it has usually been the Phillies objective to get young players as much minor-league seasoning as possible before reaching the major leagues.  Given the team is not ready to contend and there’s really no reason to start these players “free agency clocks” (the time teams have players under contract), you probably won’t see many of these players before Memorial Day.

A quick example that supports this theory if Maikel Franco, who got hot in Triple-A to start last season and was promoted while he was swinging the bat well.  Dominic Brown is probably a good example of the ill-effects of rushing a young prospect through a system too quickly.

If a team’s success starts with pitching, Philadelphia should be in good shape when you look at their Triple-A starting rotation.  Joining Thompson are Mark Appel (a former top draft pick), Zach Eflin, David Buchanan and Adam Morgan (the latter pitched well enough to make the Phillies out of spring training but was demoted in favor of power-armed Vincent Velasquez).    The Phillies have so much depth in fact, that two pitchers (Alec Asher and Severino Gonzales) who pitched for the Phils last year will start this season down in Double-A.  While not all of these hurlers may be impact players at the major league level, the team has much needed depth and find themselves in the fortunate situation in which not all of these young arms HAVE TO mature into top-level pitchers in order for the franchise to have continued success.

If a couple of these guys can contribute consistently for the Phillies, they will have a nice pitching staff for years to come.  This is a sharp contract when the team looked at having just a couple blue-chip prospects in the farm system and, when most of these guys fizzled out, the team struggled with very few reliable reinforcements available to help out.

For more insights on the Phillies top minor league prospects, check out our most recent “SportsTalk” podcast, here .

Don’t forget to share your baseball opinions by emailing us (rcnsportstalk@rcn.net) and tune in to hear us read and respond to your opinions on our Thursday “RCN SportsTalk” show live at 7pm and on our weekly podcasts.