It didn’t take too long for the Philadelphia Phillies to call up a top prospect.
Despite two less than ideal starts, the first of the Phillies' top prospects to reach the major league level this season appears to be Jonathan Pettibone, according to Paul Hagen on the Phillies’ website.
Pettibone has only made two starts at Triple-A, and hasn’t had the same type of results that he had in 2012 following a midseason call-up from Double-A. He still is, however, a pitcher who can now begin making his case for a permanent rotation spot this season or next.
Besides Pettibone, the rest of the Phillies' top prospects continued their minor league seasons with some improving while others still looking for early season success.
The following list features the Phillies' top 10 prospects, according to Baseball America. Since Pettibone’s last start came at Triple-A, he remains on the list for this week. However, with John Lannan now on the disabled list, a strong start from Pettibone could keep him in the rotation for several more starts.
Let’s take a look at which players’ stocks are up and which are down following week three.
*All statistics courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted.
Stats: 17 games, .197 BA, 4 RBI, 12 H, .246 OBP
Carlos Tocci collected five hits last week in Low-A ball, with two of those hits coming in Sunday's game. The game also featured Tocci’s second double of the season as well as two more RBI.
Tocci raised his batting average just slightly this past week, while his OPS dipped to .476. In 61 at-bats, Tocci has drawn just three walks, leading to his .246 OBP.
At 18, it can be argued that 12 hits in 17 games is a solid start to the season, considering that Tocci played just 38 games last season.
If he can reach base more often and increase his numbers toward the .278 batting average and .330 OBP he had last season, the Phillies should have plenty of optimism toward Tocci as he continues his progression.
Stats: 15 games, .250 BA, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 14 H, .295 OBP
Darin Ruf’s stock is slightly down after he finished the week with six strikeouts combined in three of the week’s final four games.
Ruf’s average also is down from the .281 mark it stood at last week. He did, however, hit his first home run of the season.
Multi-hit games have not been too common as of late. The last time Ruf had more than one hit in a game was April 8.
He also managed to draw three walks last week after beginning the stretch with just one on the season.
There still is plenty of time for Ruf to get going offensively, but it is interesting to note Freddy Galvis’ recent performances in left field.
If Galvis can play an adequate left field and Delmon Young’s rehab assignment, which began Sunday, according to Paul Hagen on the Phillies’ website, goes well, the Phillies could be more inclined to keep Ruf in Triple-A unless his performance picks up and an injury occurs.
Stats: 17 games, .310 BA, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 22 H, .372 OBP
Maikel Franco continues to heat up in High-A ball, as he had a four-hit game in a 15-6 win early in the week.
Franco’s average has now gone from .143 to .286 to .310 heading into week four. His .310 average includes a .323 mark against right-handed pitchers.
After going hitless in back-to-back games following his four-hit performance, Franco picked up five hits and two RBI combined in his next three games.
He still is on pace to have a double-digit home run total, but his .372 OBP is higher than the .336 OBP he had last season, which was the best of his career for a full season.
Franco is still young, but he also is in his fourth minor league season, so it will be interesting to see whether the Phillies consider promoting him later in the season if he continues with these numbers.
Either way, 22 hits in 71 at-bats is an outstanding start.
Stats: 15 games, .263 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 15 H, .344 OBP
Cody Asche shook off his slow start with a big week at Triple-A.
In seven games, Asche had 10 hits to raise his batting average from .167 to .263. Asche is still struggling a bit with runners in scoring position, as he is batting just .182 with nine strikeouts in 22 at-bats.
However, his improved overall batting average is a more positive sign. Asche has just four extra-base hits, but now has 15 hits in 57 at-bats, doubling his hit total from where it stood a week ago.
Asche now has at least one hit in each of his last five games and will look to continue this streak and raise his average closer to his .324 mark from 2012.
Stats: 3 GS, 13.1 IP, 10 BB, 15 K, 8.10 ERA
After turning in an outstanding second start of the season, Ethan Martin struggled in his third outing when he allowed seven earned runs.
Martin lasted just four innings, and he walked four for the second time in three starts.
Six of his 10 walks have been issued to right-handed batters.
If Martin’s early starts had been more consistent, he might have had a chance to receive a call-up for Lannan. Going forward, he must beat out Pettibone, Adam Morgan and Tyler Cloyd the next time a call-up is needed.
Meanwhile, Martin will have more chances to get on track consistently as he looks for a promotion.
Stats: 3 GS, 19 IP, 5 BB, 13 K, 1.42 ERA
If not for him pitching on April 18, Adam Morgan might have been called up to start for Lannan in the major league rotation.
Morgan was not quite as dominant in his third start last week, but he allowed only one earned run.
In his previous start, Morgan allowed no earned runs in eight innings. Through his first two starts, he had nine strikeouts with just one walk in each outing.
Morgan walked three batters last week but yielded just two hits. It’s early, but among International League pitchers who have made at least three starts, Morgan has the fourth-lowest ERA.
Pettibone might have been called up to make Lannan’s next scheduled start, but depending on how he fares, Morgan could eventually fill the rotation spot.
Stats: 2 GS, 9.1 IP, 5 BB, 8 K, 9.64 ERA
It’s hard to put Jonathan Pettibone’s stock as anything other than up considering that he has been promoted to the majors.
However, the Phillies will look for a slightly improved performance from his first two starts at Triple-A when he takes the mound.
Last week, Pettibone gave up four earned runs with three strikeouts and two walks. After his last start was shortened due to weather, Pettibone went 11 days between full games.
Pettibone has been hit at Triple-A this season, but went 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA in seven starts at the level last season.
Pettibone’s call-up might have more to do with the amount of rest he’ll be pitching on rather than early season success. However, as a top prospect, this also is his chance to win a rotation spot this season or next.
Stats: 11 games, .175 BA, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 7 H, .233 OBP
Tommy Joseph only played in four games last week and had one hit to three strikeouts.
Joseph did manage to hit his second home run and drive in four runs, but he also has drawn just three walks in 40 at-bats.
With Carlos Ruiz nearing free agency, Joseph can use a solid season to earn a look at the major league level next season.
However, he must start showing signs of improvement offensively.
As a group, the Phillies' minor league catchers have gotten off to slow starts offensively, with Sebastian Valle and Cameron Rupp batting .150 and .200, respectively, at Double-A.
Stats: 17 games, .246 BA, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 9 SB, 17 H, .297 OBP
Roman Quinn saw his strikeout total double in week three while managing less than half as many hits.
Quinn struck out 11 times while collecting just five hits and drawing only two walks. His average was .293 at the start of the week.
Quinn’s strikeout pace could see him double his total of 61 strikeouts in 66 games from last season.
As a player who will be just 20 by the end of the season, Quinn still has plenty of time to improve and get his average back into the .290 range.
However, with nine stolen bases, Quinn also has the potential to be a leadoff hitter at the major league level.
First, he’ll need to improve on his 22 strikeouts to four walks, and .297 OBP.
Stats: 3 GS, 18 IP, 7 BB, 14 K, 3.00 ERA
Jesse Biddle got back on track last week, striking out eight in six innings and allowing just one earned run.
According to Bob Brookover on Philly.com, Biddle struggled a bit in the seventh inning before receiving a no-decision.
It was his first start at home and his first since allowing four earned runs without striking out a batter in his second start of the season.
With the talent at Triple-A, the Phillies should be in no rush to hurry Biddle’s progression.
But just as Pettibone made a mid-season jump from Double-A to Triple-A last season and now finds himself in the major leagues, Biddle could give himself a similar opportunity.