Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies' Top 10 Prospects for Week 8
The Philadelphia Phillies turned to their Triple-A affiliate four times this past week for major league replacements. However, none of the players selected are currently ranked as top 10 prospects.
Was this because the current top prospects are progressing nicely but just need more seasoning, or because a lack of early season success is causing them to fall short of expectations?
A player such as Darin Ruf could have earned a promotion once Chase Utley was placed on the disabled list, especially with a DH needed for the next two games. Instead, a slump led to the Phillies eventually promoting Michael Martinez.
Additionally, when Roy Halladay’s spot in the rotation came up, it was Tyler Cloyd who was promoted again rather than Adam Morgan or Ethan Martin.
All of these players have plenty of time to continue improving and reach the major leagues, possibly at some point this season. But they have also seen at least one, if not two or three, opportunities come and go for a major league call-up.
Meanwhile, how did the rest of the Phillies top 10 prospects, according to Baseball America, fare this past week?
Let’s take a look at whose stock is up and whose is down following Week 8.
*All statistics courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted.
The following players are not currently considered top 10 prospects for the Phillies, but had notable performances this past week nonetheless:
Triple-A (Lehigh Valley): Josh Fields 3B
Josh Fields, 30, has played 217 career major league games, but is currently playing for the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate. This past week, Fields had 11 hits in 24 at-bats, including four straight games in which he had at least two hits. Although his home run and RBI totals are low, Fields is batting .310 on the season, including a .306 average in May.
Double-A (Reading): Cameron Rupp C
Cameron Rupp had seven hits in 19 at-bats this past week, two of which were home runs. The catcher also drove in five runs, helping him to nearly double his RBI total from April this month. Rupp is still struggling in a limited number of at-bats against left-handed pitchers, but has gotten his batting average up to .240 in 34 games, after hitting .207 in April.
High-A (Clearwater): Cameron Perkins OF
Maikel Franco may be the Phillies High-A ball player who is currently ranked as a top 10 prospect, but Cameron Perkins is also having a tremendous season so far. In 28 at-bats this past week, Perkins had nine hits, giving him a .353 average on the season. Through 47 games, Perkins has the highest batting average in the Florida State League.
Low-A (Lakewood): Yoel Mecias, LHP
Yoel Mecias, 19, struck out seven while walking just one in his start this past week, in which he took a no-decision despite giving up just one earned run. Mecias now has 43 strikeouts to 18 walks on the season, as well as a 3.99 ERA. In six of his nine starts, Mecias has allowed one earned run or less, and his strikeout total ranks just outside the top 10 in the South Atlantic League.
10. Carlos Tocci, Outfielder
Stats: 44 games, .218 BA, 9 RBI, 36 H, .267 OBP
Carlos Tocci’s stock dips a bit after a quiet week in the South Atlantic League.
The outfielder strung together five hits in his last four games of the week, but none went for extra-bases, and his overall batting average actually decreased. He also did not drive in any runs.
Tocci’s May batting average fell to .241 following his recent performances, but he also set a career high in terms of games played in a season.
The 18-year-old’s stock dips a bit this week, but he enters Week 9 with a hit streak intact and time to get his average closer to the .278 mark he set last year.
9. Darin Ruf, 1B/Outfielder
Stats: 43 games, .262 BA, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 43 H, .339 OBP
Darin Ruf only appeared in three games this past week while battling a slump and hand injury.
In those three games, Ruf managed three hits, including a double, and drove in a run.
However, Ruf now has just three hits in his last 29 at-bats, and saw his average further decline both from where it stood at .267 to start the week, and the .294 average he had two weeks ago.
After getting off to a great start in May, Ruf’s .256 batting average for the month is actually lower than his .267 average in April.
Ruf wasn’t chosen for a promotion after Chase Utley went on the disabled list, and it appears, as of now, that Ryan Howard will avoid a similar trip to the DL.
If that’s the case, Ruf will have to continue to wait for a promotion from Triple-A while he gets healthy and tries to break out of his slump.
8. Maikel Franco, 3B
Stats: 47 games, .292 BA, 10 HR, 36 RBI, 57 H, .340 OBP
Maikel Franco’s average is exactly where it stood a week ago, but that’s not a bad thing for one of the Phillies' top performing prospects this season.
The third baseman had seven hits in 24 at-bats, two of which went for home runs. Franco is now tied for second in the Florida State League with 10 home runs total.
He also still ranks fourth in the league in total hits.
Franco had just two multi-hit games, but also only struck out twice during the week. However, his lack of walks lowered his OBP from the .346 mark it stood at to start the week.
In 150 at-bats, Franco is now batting an even .300 against right-handed pitchers, and currently has a higher overall batting average than he’s had in a full minor league season in his career.
While most eyes may be on which players will earn a promotion to the major leagues this season, Franco is a prospect who should be looked at for a promotion within the minor league system.
7. Cody Asche, 3B
Stats: 46 games, .270 BA, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 48 H, .323 OBP
A trio of multi-strikeout games keeps Cody Asche’s stock from improving, while his average sees little fluctuation for another week.
Asche had at least one hit in all but one game this past week, while picking up six total hits in 23 at-bats. In that span, he also had eight strikeouts.
The third baseman managed to hit his fifth home run of the season, and had a four-RBI game to start the week. However, he still has some work to do offensively.
He is currently batting .190 against left-handed pitchers, and .294 against right-handers.
Asche’s numbers would make for a solid start to a major league season but, at Triple-A, some slight offensive improvements wouldn’t hurt.
6. Ethan Martin, SP
Stats: 9 GS, 47.1 IP, 27 BB, 44 K, 4.94 ERA
Ethan Martin continues to improve at Triple-A, and has now won four consecutive starts.
After struggling with his command earlier in the season, Martin has bounced back to put himself on pace for a final walk total similar to the one he had last season.
This total would still be one of the higher totals in the International League, but it should also be lower than the total he would’ve had if he kept up his pace from April.
In 22.1 innings in April, Martin walked 20 batters, including 14 towards the end of the month. In 25 innings in May, he has walked just seven.
His start this past week saw him strike out four batters in six innings while walking two and allowing two earned runs.
With Adam Morgan struggling and battling soreness, Martin could now be the front-runner for a promotion the next time a replacement is needed in the major league rotation, as Bob Brookover wrote on Philly.com.
A few weeks ago it seemed as if Martin may be overmatched at Triple-A. Now, he may be proving that he is ready for one more promotion.
5. Adam Morgan, SP
Stats: 8 GS, 41.2 IP, 12 BB, 29 K, 4.97 ERA
Adam Morgan did not pitch this past week due to soreness in his shoulder.
The left-hander has struggled in recent starts, giving up a total of 20 earned runs since April 24.
He has not pitched past the fourth inning in three straight starts, and may be passed by Ethan Martin and Carlos Zambrano should another call-up be needed.
However, if healthy and pitching like he did to start the season, Morgan can quickly regain his status as a favorite for the next major league promotion.
4. Jonathan Pettibone, SP
Stats (MLB): 7 GS, 42 IP, 12 BB, 27 K, 3.21 ERA
Jonathan Pettibone may soon lose his prospect status, as he’s pitched nearly 50 innings in the major leagues.
This past week, Pettibone set a career high for strikeouts with six while taking a no-decision in an eventual Phillies win.
While Pettibone is 3-0 on the season the Phillies have won six of his seven starts.
John Lannan may be returning from the disabled list in the next month, but with Roy Halladay out until at least August, a spot in the rotation should remain for Pettibone as long as he can hold onto it.
It’s debatable whether luck or pure pitching talent has gotten him out of certain jams this season but, regardless, so far so good.
*Pettibone’s major league statistics can be found on ESPN.com.
3. Tommy Joseph, C
Stats: 21 games, .209 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI, .264 OBP
Tommy Joseph continues to miss time while on the disabled list. He has not played since May 4 at Triple-A.
Due to his early play, Joseph was not in line for a call-up when Carlos Ruiz was placed on the disabled list, but if Joseph continues to struggle once he is healthy, the Phillies will have a difficult decision to make this offseason.
It’s also worth mentioning that, although there has been no indication that Joseph’s spot as catcher of the future is in jeopardy, Cameron Rupp is now batting .270 at Double-A this month, and has hit seven home runs on the season.
2. Roman Quinn, SS
Stats: 44 G, .257 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 45 H, 24 SB, .343 OBP
Roman Quinn had a tremendous week in the South Atlantic League, and is now batting .314 in May.
The shortstop had 10 hits in 27 at-bats, and began the week with his fourth home run. Quinn also had five stolen bases and drew six walks to bring his OBP to .343 on the season, and .438 in his last 10 games.
Quinn is one of just five players with more than 20 stolen bases in the South Atlantic League this season.
A higher batting average is still preferred, but seeing just eight strikeouts in his last 40 at-bats, and a .314 average in May after batting .202 in April, should make for great sights for the Phillies as they evaluate Quinn.
1. Jesse Biddle, SP
Stats: 10 GS, 54.1 IP, 27 BB, 66 K, 3.15 ERA
Jesse Biddle’s two starts this past week essentially cancelled each other out, keeping his stock the same for another week.
In his first start, Biddle struck out nine in a season-high 7.2 innings, while walking four but not allowing an earned run in a win.
His next start, however, saw him give up five earned runs in four innings while striking out six and walking three.
Biddle’s 66 strikeouts put him among the best in the Eastern League, although his walk total is also a bit high.
However, for a pitcher who has now made 10 starts at Double-A, Biddle has already demonstrated why he is considered the Phillies' top prospect.