This year it was showcased in an amazing way: Farm systems can be made or broken by the major league trade deadline.
The San Diego Padres have shipped the majority of their top talent, albeit to the greatest hitters of this generation, and are now left with a structure from the system that probably ranks as the worst consensus in the majors. The Cincinnati Reds, on the other hand, made the system standings, thanks to the amount they got against right-hander Luis Castillo.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been able to upgrade in a big way this season, but they did so while holding onto most of them, retaining quality and quantity throughout their system. Believe it or not, the latter is rather important for a heavy regime like Philadelphia.
Outside of the obvious in Andrew Painter, Mick Abel and Griff McGarry, there were a few players the Phillies seemed intent on keeping, and they would be happy to do.
Every year without fail, something seems to be holding back Símon Muzziotti’s ability to play a full, healthy year of professional baseball.
Obviously, with no major league baseball in 2020, Muzziotti was left to his own devices, as was every other player that season. Last year, visa issues stripped the young midfielder’s valuable playing time and development, allowing him to have 20 mini-games across five levels. This year, injuries have come and gone, as have a few coffee cups with the league’s big roster. But now Muzziotti is finally seeing regular time to play Double-A Reading – and he’s thriving.
The 23-year-old has made great strides, both in the salad and in the plate system. In his last four matches alone, Moziotti has scored ten hits, five of which went for extra bases. His five home runs this season have already surpassed his previous aggregate in the minor leagues combined. In fact, he made more home kicks in 39 games for Reading in 2022 than he did in the entirety of his minor league career.
Muzzy already flaunted his gauntlet and pace at the Major League level earlier this year, and he has a decent arm as well, but the offensive gear could be really attractive if this pop increase proves sustainable. He really does have an above average hitting tool, and exceptional batting skills.
Al Phyllis has just been replaced by Brandon Marsh’s ‘future quarterback’, but Moziotti shouldn’t be ruled out as a future option. As if his three major league-ready kits weren’t attractive enough, it looks as if he’s found a major hit, giving him a chance to evolve into a regular big league.
Rafael Marchand was a player that seemed very likely to be tackled until the deadline. Like Logan O’Hoppe who traded himself just hours before the deadline, Marchan has been banned at the major league level and has already reached Triple-A at age 23. Adding fuel to the fire, Phillies has an unnecessary number (4) of hunters On their 40-man roster, so it looked as though one of Marchand’s or his IronPigs counterpart, Donnie Sands, would be sure to move in on some trade before the deadline bell.
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It turns out that this is not the case. Thus, Marchand remained, and for this the Velez must feel excited.
The young catcher has proven to be resilient at a major league level, particularly in defensive terms, and was once one of the top five potential players in the Phillies system. After all, vocal and defensive switch hitters are hard to come by, especially when their hitter is as highly rated as the marshan.
The similarity between him and the aforementioned O’Hoppe is astounding. The Marchand boasts a better tool overall, but it lacks the power department, a trait in which the O’Hoppe excels. Both are disciplined relatively well in the board, though Marchand takes less walking, but hits less as well. Additionally, they are both strong receivers and skilled at catching runners on the base tracks. Perhaps it was the similarities between the two players that made O’Hoppe more consumable in the end.
It’s possible that some rebounding between levels and intermittent injuries has skewed his value to other clubs, but for Velez, Marchand should be a perfectly good option. After all, by the time JT Realmuto’s current contract expires, Marchand will have turned 26 years old.
Another player on the 40-man roster was Nick Matton, whose name circulated to drain rumours. It’s been an inspiring year in Triple-A, showing the kind of potential that can live up to MLB level when he scored at home, tripled and made excellent defensive tackles in two games with the big club before he injured his shoulder.
The 25-year-old started hitting the ball more in the air which, when combined with his already fierce ability to find gaps, made him an intriguing case. He posted 27 additional base strokes in 60 games with Lehigh Valley this year, including 21 doubles, and boasts a very good glove in multiple locations. He has a knack on his part.
With the recent news of Didi Gregorius’ firing, the Phillies will now view Maton as a utility man: someone to cover Shortstop, second base, and third base. He is a perfect candidate for a seat on the bench next season, joining Edmundo Sosa, Matt Ferling and Garrett Stubbs.
Mattoon’s most intriguing characteristic of the future is not his racket, nor his glove: it’s his spark figure. He’s well liked at the club, especially among the players he’s reached, and seems to bring with him an air of excitement every time he joins the big club.
Perhaps he will be somewhat untapped in only the bench capacity, but one will be hard pressed to find a player or someone better than Nick Mattoon in the reserve market.
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