As Ruben Amaro Jr.’s reign as general manger of the Phillies came to an end, he was scrutinized for his unwillingness to trade veteran players. However, the young players Amaro Jr. acquired during his tenure will serve as the foundation for Philadelphia’s future as soon as 2016. Here is a look at the best, and worst-case scenarios for the Phillies’ young position players:
1. Maikel Franco
Best case: Franco builds on a good 2015, when he hit .280 with 14 homeruns in 80 games, makes the All-Star team in 2016, and follows in the footsteps of prolific offensive third basemen such as Adrian Beltre.
Worst case: Franco’s long swing and mediocre approach resurface as serious issues. Or worse, his poor defense, which appeared in the form of 10 errors in 2015, makes him a defensive liability.
2. J.P Crawford
Best case: Crawford continues to excel with an excellent approach at the plate, and develops more power as he grows into his body. As a byproduct, the 21-year-old gets called up in 2016 when the rosters expand, pairs his refined offensive game with an established glove, and lives up to his billing.
Worst case: Crawford fails to reach his ceiling offensively and does not become a perennial All-Star. However, his smart approach at the plate, and top-flight defense allow him to succeed as a productive shortstop, and leadoff hitter.
3. Nick Williams
Best case: Williams, a piece of the Cole Hamels trade, improves defensively in 2016, allowing him to stay in center and make the roster in 2017. In addition, he builds on an impressive offensive 2015, when he posted a .303 batting average, as well as 17 homeruns.
Worst case: While his bat continues to keep him in the lineup, Williams never truly sheds the label of being an athlete, rather than a baseball player, and has to move to a corner outfield spot in order to hide his poor routes, and weak arm.
4. Roman Quinn
Best case: Drafted in 2011, Quinn continues to show the improvement that allowed him to go from unranked, to the fifth best prospect in the Phillies’ system, according to Baseball Prospectus. The switch-hitter uses his elite speed to develop into an established table-setter.
Worst case: Injuries, such as the tear in his hip flexor that robbed him of most of the 2015 season, continue to plague Quinn, pushing his development back another year, and keep him in the minors until 2018.
5. Jorge Alfaro
Best case: Alfaro harnesses his impressive raw power, and pairs that with his elite arm behind the plate. As a result, the young catcher develops into a player that supplies offense that is rare at the position, serves as an anchor defensively, and makes the 2016 Opening Day roster.
Worst case: Alfaro never progresses past a point on offense where he provides anything but occasional power, and his occasionally questionable mechanics behind the plate diminish the value of his throwing strength.