Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies' Top 10 Prospects for Week 5
It’s a good thing that some of the Philadelphia Phillies minor league pitching prospects have had success this season, because it appears another call-up will soon be needed.
John Finger of CSNPhilly.com reported that Roy Halladay admitted to having a sore throwing shoulder. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the pitcher will likely go on the disabled list.
If Halladay ends up on the disabled list, a starter will be needed May 10 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Which pitcher will potentially join Jonathan Pettibone and become the second minor league call-up this season?
In terms of who will be pitching on regular rest, Adam Morgan made his start Sunday at Triple-A, setting up May 10 as a possibility for his major league debut. However, he has seen his ERA increase in recent weeks.
Although he is not currently ranked as a top 10 prospect, Tyler Cloyd recently struck out 10 batters in an eight-inning victory at Triple-A.
Which other top 10 prospects, according to Baseball America, are setting themselves up for a potential major league call-up?
Let’s take a look at which players’ stocks are up and which are down following Week 5.
*All statistics courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted.
Stats: 27 games, .222 BA, 7 RBI, 22 H, .260 OBP
Carlos Tocci has started May off on a great foot offensively, picking up seven hits—eight total the past week.
Tocci’s batting average is up considerably from his .194 average at the end of last week, and he nearly matched his RBI total on the season this past week alone.
At 18 years old, Tocci’s 22 hits in 27 games is a solid mark, but walks are still a rarity. Tocci did manage to draw his first walk since April 9 this past week.
Three multihit games also helped improve his OBP, although he also struck out seven times in seven games.
Tocci’s progress is still just getting started, and he will soon have played in the highest number of games in a season in his professional career. A .222 average can still be improved, but is not a bad start.
Stats: 27 games, .250 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 26 H .307 OBP
Darin Ruf’s stock remains even for the week, but the consistency could be reason for optimism.
Ruf’s home run and RBI totals increased thanks to a strong performance on April 30, in which he hit a solo home run and later singled in two more runs.
Although his average was at .281 just a few weeks ago, Ruf was able to take advantage of Louisville Slugger Field and pick up three of his four home runs on the season during a recent road trip. The last of these home runs was hit in the past week.
Ruf is still striking out nearly one time, at least, per game. Meanwhile, his eight walks put him slightly behind pace to match the 65 he drew last season, which was a career high.
Ruf still has plenty to work on, including his .129 average with runners in scoring position, and must continue to improve with Delmon Young now off the disabled list and a list of major league outfielders ahead of him.
Stats: 29 games, .309 BA, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 38 H, .361 OBP
Maikel Franco’s stock has continued to go up in recent weeks, and Week 5 was no different.
Franco picked up at least one hit in every game this past week, and currently has a seven-game hit streak.
In 29 games, Franco now has 38 hits and 27 RBI, which rank fourth and second in the Florida State League, respectively.
His six home runs also tie him for second in the league.
Franco is still behind Cody Asche in terms of progression, but early on it’s looking as if the Phillies have two minor league third basemen that are on their way toward major league careers.
Stats: 26 games, .250 BA, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 24 H, .318 OBP
Cody Asche saw only limited action this past week, but managed just three hits in 17 at-bats.
Asche’s batting average is down from the .266 mark it stood at near the beginning of the week, and he finished with no hits in his last eight at-bats.
He did manage to drive in two runs this past week, but also had more strikeouts than hits.
Asche still has time to cement his place as the Phillies' third baseman of the future, but some stronger offensive performances would certainly help.
In 14 at-bats against left-handed pitching, Asche has just one hit, leading to a .071 average.
Stats: 5 GS, 22.1 IP, 20 BB, 23 K, 7.66 ERA
Ethan Martin took a no-decision in his only start this past week, and did just enough to keep his stock from sliding.
However, he didn’t do enough to improve it.
Martin struck out four and walked four in five innings, while giving up three earned runs.
The right-hander gave up only three hits after giving up 11 in his previous two starts combined.
Martin’s walk total, however, is still very high. His 20 walks in 22.1 innings is the second highest total in the Independent League.
Martin likely began the season with a chance at earning an early call-up if a replacement was needed in the rotation. With another starter now dealing with an injury, there’s a chance that Martin could be passed again, by possibly Adam Morgan or Tyler Cloyd.
If he remains at Triple-A, Martin must cut down on his number of walks and turn in more performances similar to his second start, where he struck out eight, walked two and earned his first win of the year.
Stats: 6 GS, 34.2 IP, 11 BB, 26 K, 3.89 ERA
Adam Morgan saw Jonathan Pettibone earn a call-up when John Lannan was placed on the disabled list. He just might have another chance at earning his own call-up if Roy Halladay is placed on the DL this week.
However, Morgan’s last three starts have not been as strong as his first two. This past week, Morgan’s first start saw him strike out four and walk one while giving up four earned runs. His second start of the week saw him strike out six and walk two, while again allowing four earned runs.
This was the third straight start in which he allowed four earned runs.
Morgan’s 10 strikeouts and three walks this past week are a solid mark, but he is still behind pace to reach his strikeout total from last season.
Morgan pitched Sunday, the same day as Halladay, meaning that the schedule lines up for him to potentially slide into the major league rotation.
However, besides his recent ERA increase, the other knock against Morgan is that the Phillies would then have three left-handers in the rotation.
Stats: (MLB) 3 GS, 16.2 IP, 2 BB, 13 K, 3.24 ERA
Jonathan Pettibone continues to work out of jams and has stuck in the major league rotation after being called up to replace the injured John Lannan.
In his third major league start this past week, Pettibone struck out three and walked none while earning his second win of the season.
Pettibone now has 13 strikeouts and two walks in 16.2 innings. In 9.1 minor league innings, Pettibone struck out eight while walking five.
Opponents are batting .286 against him, which includes a .314 average against right-handers. However, Pettibone now has the same number of wins as Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
If he continues to pitch well, Pettibone should remain in the rotation at least until Lannan returns, if not longer.
Stats: 21 games, .209 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 14 H, .264 OBP
Tommy Joseph continues to struggle offensively, as he picked up just three hits in 13 at-bats this past week.
Joseph’s average has remained near the .200 mark in recent weeks, and he has just two RBI in his last 10 games.
Despite his lack of hits, especially for extra bases, Joseph has not struck out too often in recent games. This past week, he had just two total. However, he’s also drawn just one walk in his last 10 games.
Joseph’s defense is what is most important, but to have a chance to succeed Carlos Ruiz, he will need much stronger offensive performances in May.
Stats: 27 games, .204 BA, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 22 H, 14 SB, .271 OBP
Roman Quinn’s average is down slightly from last week, as it continues to decrease after a strong first couple of weeks.
Quinn managed to improve his OBP this past week as he picked up five hits, but none came for extra bases. He also drove in just one run.
Quinn’s stolen base total ranks as the fourth highest in the South Atlantic League, but he has not been excelling in other offensive categories since batting as high as .293 just a few weeks ago.
At his age and in Low-A ball, Quinn has plenty of time to get back on track. However, his recent offensive struggles have certainly lessened the optimism he created during a strong start.
It will be interesting to see how quickly Quinn can improve his offense and remain as one of the Phillies' most highly ranked prospects.
Stats: 6 GS, 31.2 IP, 16 BB, 40 K, 2.56 ERA
Jesse Biddle was named the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Month, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reported. But his start this past week was not like his two outings from the previous week.
Biddle lasted just two-thirds of an inning while walking four, striking out none and allowing three earned runs.
Compared to his previous two starts, one bad outing isn’t a cause for concern. However, he did tie his mark for most walks issued in a game this season, with all four coming in less than one full inning.
Biddle likely wasn’t in line for a call-up regardless of how well he pitched, so his rough outing shouldn’t hurt too much.
But, just in case, let’s hope his next start is much, much better.