Phillies prospect watch: Rhys Hoskins keeps hitting bombs, J.P. Crawford in deep slump
Is it finally time for the Phillies and their fans to start worrying about their oft-struggling top prospect J.P. Crawford?
For whatever reason, the Phillies seem to be content in letting their current crop of veteran ballplayers vie to keep the team in contention, somewhat, in the early part of the season. That is good news for future pieces like Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco, as well as for surprise contributors like Aaron Altherr.
But a few talented prospects are being blocked at positions like catcher, starting pitcher and first base as the struggles of Cameron Rupp, Jerad Eickhoff and Tommy Joseph continue.
Eventually, the top prospects on the list below will get their MLB opportunity. Until then, here's how they're doing in the minors:
Jorge Alfaro, C, Lehigh Valley
The 23-year-old catching prospect has cooled down, slightly, from a red-hot start hitting .288 over his last 10 games but still boasts an impressive .326 batting average over 24 games. He'll likely remain in Triple-A a little longer as the Phils are happy with their MLB catching so far.
Tom Eshelman, SP, Reading
Fresh off eight shutout innings tossed in a Monday night win, the 22-year-old pitching prospect is 4-0 with an impressive 2.43 ERA on the year.
Mickey Moniak, OF, Lakewood
Last year's first overall pick isn't far from home, playing for the Blue Claws in Ocean County, New Jersey. And just ahead of his 19th birthday, the teenage phenom continues to hit well as a professional. He's compiled a base hit in seven of his last 10 games and is hitting .282 on the year.
Scott Kingery, 2B, Reading
Kingery won an award in April as the Phillies' best minor-league fielder, sporting an error-free month at second base. He is also hitting .287 and flexing some power with seven home runs through 26 games.
Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Lehigh Valley
Hoskins was the organization's top hitter for April and is still scorching hot in Triple-A, with eight homers and a .343 batting average through 30 games. Will he leap to the big leagues soon?
"Look, this is Rhys' first taste of Triple-A," Phillies GM Klentak told the media last week. "He's off to an incredible start, though I'll add not necessarily all that more incredible than what he did at Lakewood, where he was awesome, what he did at Clearwater and what he did at Reading, where he was also awesome. He's just a really good offensive player."
Nick Williams, OF, Lehigh Valley
Williams was touted as a future power-hitting outfielder but he still hasn't found his power stroke. He makes out hot list because of his current stretch of hitting, lifting his average from .237 three weeks ago to .278 as of Tuesday.
Roman Quinn, OF, Lehigh Valley
Like Williams, another Iron Pigs outfielder has hit his way out of a slump in the speedy Quinn, who was hitting .227 through 11 games in Triple-A but is now up 30 points after hitting .303 over his last 10 games.
Dylan Cozens, OF, Lehigh Valley
Five home runs over a month of games isn't bad — but his batting average of .175 certainly is. Can he return to the form that won him the home run and RBI crowns in the Eastern League last season?
J.P. Crawford, SS, Lehigh Valley
The former first round pick just can't seem to get it together and get on base consistently. Phils fans may start worrying soon, as the farm system's top prospect is hitting .153 through 28 games.
Mark Appel, SP, Lehigh Valley
Another former first round pick is struggling, with the 25-year-old Appel still clinging to a big-league dream in Triple-A. He has a 5.93 ERA through six starts, but he is on the upswing after 5.2 scoreless inning in his last start steadied him.