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Phillies prospect watch: Justin Crawford handles jump to pro ball, Andrew Painter dominates in Double-A


September has arrived and rosters have expanded — not to the 40-players of previous years, but to 28. The Phillies added a journeyman reliever and catcher Donny Sands to help out in San Francisco, allowing some of their prospects to focus on a potential playoff berth in Triple-A.

It is extremely unlikely we’ll see any of the prospects we document below in a game with the Phillies over the last month of the season, but it’s still important to keep an eye on their development, as a spring training invite and big league career could be just around the corner for more than a few of Philly’s top farm hands.

Here’s a look at who has been hot, and who has been, well, not, in the Phillies minor league system (using MLB.com’s latest prospect rankings).

Who’s hot:

No. 1 Andrew Painter, SP

It’s clear the Phillies are not messing around with Painter, the clear top pitching prospect at their disposal. The 19-year-old was called up to Double-A a few weeks ago and in two starts, he’s continued to dominate. Painter combined for 12.1 innings, 14 strikeouts, two earn runs and a single walk in those outings. Painter may not factor into 2022, but you can be sure he’ll be involved somehow in 2023, whether it’s from the start or as a mid-season call up.

No. 3 Justin Crawford, OF

The Phillies first rounder from just a month ago, we’ll give Crawford the honor of being in our “hot” category after he was very impressive through 11 games in Rookie-ball, hitting .297 with eight stolen bases. He’s since struggled a bit, hitting only. 155 in his first four games with the Clearwater Threshers. Still, .255 through 16 games to start a pro career ain’t half bad.

No. 4 Griff McGarry, SP

McGarrys name came up during the trade deadline and the Phillies seemed pretty intent on retaining him in their farm system. At 23, the fifth round pick from a year ago has emerged as a surprise elite hurler in the minors, and has survived the transition to Double-A this season with a 2.35 ERA through seven starts. His command needs to get better, as he’s walked eight in his last two, but he has not allowed more than three runs since June 1.

No. 5 Johan Rojas, OF

In his last five games, Rojas has combined to connect on nine hits, which is more than enough to make you red hot in the minors. Over that short span, the international signee has lifted his batting average 21 points. Overall, the 22-year-old is hitting .267 in Reading.

No. 12 Simon Muzziotti, OF

It’s hard to believe, but Muzziotti has been a pro baseball player since 2015. He is 23 right now, and finally starting to show he might be worthy of (another) big league call up — hitting .313 for a Lehigh Valley team contending in the International League. He is a career .267 hitter who can field decently well. Maybe he’ll fight for a fourth outfield spot in 2023?

Who’s not

No. 2 Mick Abel, SP

Abel, like Painter, was moved to Double-A about two weeks ago but he’s been less impressive in his pair of starts for the Fightin’s. After a six inning quality start that saw him allow two runs while wringing up eight, his second nod didn’t yield the same results. The 20-year-old lasted 2.2 innings, allowed three runs and walked three. He’s due for a bounce back in his next appearance.

No. 6 Hao Yu Lee, 2B

Lee was signed in the international market last July, and made a very solid debut in Rookie, hitting .364 last season with five extra base hits in a brief nine-game stint. This year he hit .283 in Clearwater over 68 games with 50 RBI and 29 extra base knocks. He is just 19 and has an extremely bright future. So why is he on out “not” list? Well, he was promoted recently to A-plus Jersey Shore and his bat hasn’t followed him. He’s hit just .067 to start. 

No. 7 Erik Miller, RP

Miller has struggled the last few times he’s hit the mound in Lehigh Valley, surrendering at least one run in his last five relief appearances. After raking in Double-A with a 2.23 ERA, the lefty has a 14.29 ERA to start his Triple-A career.

No. 8 Ethan Wilson, OF

Last year’s second round pick has played well enough to climb the latter to Double-A, but the left-handed hitter hasn’t seen the ball particularly well since moving there, hitting just .217. Over a career spanning 148 games and three minor league levels, the Phillies’ 8th ranked prospect has only hit .233 combined.

No. 11 Francisco Morales, RP

There’s a reason the Phillies didn’t go in-house to add their final relief pitcher when September began, and it might be because they don’t feel they can trust any of the young relievers in the farm system. Morales has struggled mightily since being moved to Triple-A., with a 5.68 ERA over his last 19 innings there. This on the heals of a 1.48 ERA through 30.1 frames in Reading.


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