It was showcased this year in spectacular fashion: farm systems can be made or broken by the Major League trade deadline.
The San Diego Padres shipped off the majority of their top talent, albeit for the greatest hitter of this generation, and are now left with a shell of a system which likely ranks as the worst consensus in the majors. The Cincinnati Reds on the other hand catapulted up system ranking lists, thanks to the haul they received in return for right-handed ace Luis Castillo.
The Philadelphia Phillies were able to upgrade significantly this season, but did so while hanging onto the majority of their top prospects, retaining both quality and quantity throughout their system. Believe it or not, the latter is rather important for a top-heavy system like Philadelphia’s.
Outside of the obvious in Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, and Griff McGarry, there were a few players that the Phillies seemed intent on keeping around, and they’ll be glad they did.
Every single year without fail, it seems as if something gets in the way of Símon Muzziotti’s ability to play a full, healthy year of professional baseball.
Obviously, with no minor league baseball in the year 2020, Muzziotti was left to his own devices, as was every other minor league that season. Last year, visa issues stripped valuable playing and development time from the young center fielder, allowing him a minuscule 20 games across five levels. This year, injuries have come and gone, as have infrequent cups of coffee with the big league roster. But now, Muzziotti is finally seeing regular playing time with Double-A Reading – and he is thriving.
The 23 year old has taken huge strides, both in power and in plate discipline. In his last four games alone, Muzziotti has recorded ten hits, five of which have gone for extra bases. His five home runs this season have already surpassed his previous minor league totals combined. Indeed, he’s hit more home runs in 39 games with Reading in 2022 than he has in his entire minor league career.
Muzzy already flashed his plus glove and speed at the major league level earlier this year, and he has a decent arm too, but the offensive tools could be really enticing should this increase in pop prove sustainable. He’s already working with an above-average hit tool, and exceptional bat-to-ball skills.
The Phillies just traded for their “center fielder of the future” in Brandon Marsh, but Muzziotti shouldn’t be ruled out as a future option. As if his three major league ready tools weren’t enticing enough, it seems as though he’s found a power stroke, which gives him a chance at developing into a major league regular.
Rafael Marchan was a player that appeared quite likely to be dealt leading up to the deadline. Like Logan O’Hoppe who was himself traded just hours before the deadline, Marchan is blocked at the major league level, and has already reached Triple-A at the age of 23. Adding fuel to the fire, the Phillies have an unnecessary number ( 4) of catchers on their 40-man roster, so it appeared as if one of Marchan or his IronPigs counterpart, Donny Sands, would be sure to move in some trade prior to the deadline bell.
Scroll to Continue
That turned out not to be the case. Thus, Marchan stayed, and for that the Phillies should be thrilled.
The young catcher has proven he can hang on at the major league level, particularly defensively, and was once a consensus top five prospect in the Phillies’ system. After all, defensively sound, switch hitting catchers are hard to come by, especially when their hit-tool is as highly rated as Marchan’s.
The resemblance between he and the aforementioned O’Hoppe is fascinating. Marchan boasts a better hit tool overall, but lacks in the power department, a trait in which O’Hoppe excels. They are both relatively well disciplined at the plate, though Marchan takes less walks, but also strikes out less. Additionally, both are strong receivers and are adept at catching runners on the base paths. Perhaps the similarities between the two players are what made O’Hoppe that much more expendable in the end.
Some bouncing between levels and intermittent injuries have likely skewed his value to other clubs, but for the Phillies, Marchan should be a perfectly good stash option. After all, by the time JT Realmuto’s current contract expires, Marchan will have just turned 26 years old.
Nick Maton was another player on the 40-man roster whose name circulated the rumor drain. He’s had an inspiring year at Triple-A, and flashed the kind of potential he could live up to at the MLB level when he hit a home run, a triple, and made a couple of stellar defensive plays in two games with the big club , before injuring his shoulder.
The 25-year-old infielder has begun to hit the ball in the air more which, when paired with his already keen ability to find the gaps, has turned him into an interesting case. He’s posted 27 extra-base hits in 60 games with Lehigh Valley this year, including 21 doubles, and boasts a very good glove at multiple infield positions. He has versatility on his side.
With the recent news of Didi Gregorius’ release, the Phillies will now look to Maton as a utility-man: someone to cover shortstop, second base, and third base. He’s an ideal candidate for a bench spot next season, joining Edmundo Sosa, Matt Vierling, and Garrett Stubbs.
Maton’s most interesting characteristic going forward is not his bat, nor his glove: it’s his sparkplug personality. He is well liked in the clubhouse, especially among the players he came up with, and seems to bring an air of excitement with him each time he rejoins the big club.
Perhaps he’ll be somewhat underutilized in a bench-only capacity, but one would be hard pressed to find a better player or person than Nick Maton on the reserve infielder market.
More From SI’s Inside The Phillies:
- How Mike Trout Will Join the Phillies
- Have the Philadelphia Phillies Found Their Centerfielders of the Future?
- Andrew Painter is Off to a Historic Start
- Could The Phillies Soon Be Playing at Wawa Park?
- 18-Year-Old Phillies Prospect is Making History
- How did Philadelphia end up with Citizens Bank Park?
- How the Phillie Phanatic Came to be America’s Favorite Sports Mascot
- This Unlikely Draft Pick Could be the Final Piece in the Phillies Next Blockbuster Trade
- Picking the Phillies’ all-time single-season lineup
- Drawing Comparisons to Harper, Phillies Prospect Wilson is Heating Up
Make sure to follow Inside the Phillies on substack other Twitter!