After having 4 picks in the first 2 rounds of the draft (from not signing draft picks last season) and becoming a bit of a seller this season, the Phantoms minor leagues have been completely revamped in a rather short time period. And although OSA only deigns to give us the #20 spot in their top systems rankings, I whole heartedly disagree and am excited about the pool we have. It might be because I'm habitually a buyer or because our drafts have been so much better of late, but I can honestly say that I can't remember ever having so much in a prospect system to be legitimately enticed about watching grow as I currently do now. Anyway, without further ado, let's get on with the ranks (with one note, I am purposefully leaving Reyes off this list despite still technically being considered a prospect by OSA)...
21) RP Rodriguez - If you had told me before the season that my 21st best prospect at this point of time would be a Southpaw reliever with 10/7/7 projected splits vs. LHBs I would've been floored. To be fair, Rodriguez probably deserves to be higher on this list based on talent alone; however, his major issue in his young career thus far is that he can't stay on the field. Injuries of 6-7 months in '34, 13-14 months in '35 and now 7-8 months in '37. Only 40 total IP the last 3 seasons combined. And it has eaten away at his potential, too, seeing him drop from 12/7/7 before the first injury to 9/6/6 today. Still, if he can ever figure out the health thing, he looks like a dynamic LOOGY that might even be able to hold his own in a traditional bullpen role as well (9/6/6 vs. RHB isn't brutal). Luckily, with only 1 point of POT to go (in STU), it looks like injuries can't steal much more from him other than time.
22) RP Serrano - Speaking of LOOGYs, here's one I'm really excited about. 7/9/7 against LHBs - tell me that isn't a Phantom rating line if you've ever seen one. And his vs. RHB will still be 6/7/6 so not completely useless. He's real well developed for an 18 year old as well.
23) SP Salduar - In the 11-20 rankings, I likened a prospect to a rich man's Ludwig Charles. Now, with Salduar, I will liken him to a poor man's Charles (same vs. LHB split, -1 CON vs. RHB). Either way, being associated with Charles is a very big compliment for a 2 star POT prospect in my book.
24) CF Gasco - Once upon a time, Gasco was hands down my future CF. Elite POW from a LHB, elite range (and arm) for a CF and elite speed. Sure, his AVG and OBP won't be great, but 40 SB, 20 HRs and +5 ZR in CF would keep him employed anywhere. Now, he's been leapfrogged in the depth charts so many times that, sadly, we aren't really sure what to do with him. That doesn't mean he isn't going to be good, though... it just means we might need to look into swapping him for an area of more need.
25) C Gomez - He isn't a 'wow' prospect, but as a LHB with decent batting ratings at a hard to fill position, he could very easily have a future as a starter as-is. At a minimum, he looks like a great backup or platoon option behind the dish. If he can turn his current -split vs. LHP into a +split vs. RHP (where he is currently even) he could look even better than that.
26) CF James - Elite speed, elite OF range, solid LH'd bat and fully developed at age 20 with a history of bumping (+1 CON and EYE since 1/1/2036). James is one to watch in the years to come for sure.
27) SS Valdez - In a prospect pool that has been very, very OF heavy in recent years, Valdez was one of the first middle infielders worth watching that we injected into the system earlier in the year (before injecting a few more - that ended up ranking above him in this list - via other trades and the draft). He's got a great glove, good speed and a LHB that looks alright if you squint. His future is probably as a utility man as-is, but you never know.
28) SP Villa - For the third time in this list I'm going to invoke Ludwig Charles' name. If you weren't sure if I had a 'type' before, you can be certain now. The difference with Villa and the other two before him; however, is that he has low stamina and a bad injury history holding him back.
29) RP Vega - We aren't positive what to make of Vega. We're not particularly high on 'ROOGYs'; however, with a projected 9/8/5 vs. RHBs split it's tough to ignore him. His 8/7/5 vs. LHBs isn't glaringly awful, either - though certainly not desirable. He still has 3 options left so he might languish in AAA for awhile, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him in our 'pen next year either.
30) CF Anastcia - With a small history of bumping (+1 POW) and being fully developed at age 22, there is hope that Anastcia can be more than what he is today, but we aren't overly hopeful. Still, if you asked me to build a 4th OFer, I'd build him. Great defense, elite speed, a LHB with +split vs. RHP. He looks like he'll fit in very nicely in Huntsville - perhaps sooner rather than later.
GM: Kyle Stever