Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies Top 10 Prospects for Week 10
The Philadelphia Phillies represent a franchise at the crossroads of contention, impending rebuilding and attempting to pry the window for postseason baseball open for one more run this summer.
At 27-30, with a run differential of -49, it's not looking good for the team that came into the 2012 season with a run of five consecutive National League East crowns.
That's why their farm system, specifically the crown jewels of their minor league affiliates, must be looked at critically over the next few months.
While Ruben Amaro and the Phils' brass must decide if the 2013 team can compete for a postseason berth, assessing the roles of the young players in the system for the 2014 and 2015 teams may be even more vital.
Of course, this list could be amended at any time, assuming Philadelphia uses their trade commodities to add talent into the system.
For now, we dive into a stock watch for the Top 10 prospects in the system.
All stats courtesy MiLB.com and valid through the end of play on June 2.
Jesse Biddle, LHP, Reading
2013 Stats: 11 GS, 61.1 IP, 38 H, 72 K, 30 BB, 3.23 ERA
For as dominant as Biddle was in April (1.74 ERA), he struggled in May to the tune of a 4.75 ERA while dropping four out of five decisions.
At this point, Biddle's main problem seems to be pitching with men on base and limiting damage when the bases are crowded.
With the bases empty, opposing batters are only hitting .135 against him, but that number jumps to .280 with runners in scoring position.
If Biddle can do a better job of buckling down when runners are on, he'll be knocking on the door in Philadelphia very soon.
Ethan Martin, RHP, Lehigh Valley
2013 Stats: 11 GS, 54.2 IP, 53 H, 50 K, 32 BB, 5.60 ERA
If you watched Martin pitch in April, calling him a "top" prospect would have been a reach. After getting rocked for six home runs and 19 earned runs in only 22.1 innings, Martin exited April with an unsightly ERA of 7.66.
Since that moment, he's been on fire, reclaiming his status as a promising young arm in the Phillies' system.
His 22-9 strikeout-to-walk ration in May was much more in line with the type of stuff that Martin possess.
Tommy Joseph, C, Lehigh Valley
2013 Stats: .209/.264/.358, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 6 R
Although Joseph, 21, is advanced for his age at Triple-A, his start to the 2013 should be discouraging for Philadelphia's brass.
With injuries and suspension time for Carlos Ruiz, Joseph could have forced his way into the major league catching mix early this season by raking in Lehigh Valley.
A .264 on-base percentage isn't exactly going to put him on the radar, even if the major league team has allowed the Erik Kratz-Humberto Quintero combo to rack up 161 plate appearances.
Joseph may be the catcher of the future, but he's disappointing by not putting him into the conversation for catcher of the present.
Roman Quinn, SS, Lakewood
2013 Stats: .258/.347/.389, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 29 R, 25 SB
Although Jimmy Rollins can still scoop it with the best shortstops in baseball, his offense and total game are declining by the year, necessitating a shortstop of the future discussion in Philadelphia.
While Quinn is only a 20-year-old, his skill set and play have put him in that conversation.
Thus far, he has not disappointed at Single-A Lakewood after a level jump from last summer's New York Penn League.
If Quinn can bring his defense, speed and on-base ability with him as he matures, Rollins' replacement may already be in the organization.
Adam Morgan, LHP, Lehigh Valley
2013 Stats: 8 GS, 41.2 IP, 47 H, 29 K, 12 BB, 4.97 ERA
According to a recent report by Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, an MRI on Morgan's left shoulder revealed a small tear in his rotator cuff.
While surgery isn't prescribed at this time, it remains to be seen whether injections and rest will fix the 23-year-old.
If healthy, Morgan would have been a definite consideration for the rotation at some point in 2013, along with having his name penciled into the mix for 2014 and beyond.
The strike-throwing left-hander will now have to get healthy, avoid surgery and pitch his way back into the franchise's long-term plans.
Darrin Ruf, OF, Lehigh Valley
2013 Stats: .259/.332/.418, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 25 R
As the media critiques the daily lineup decisions by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, the bigger question remains: Why isn't Darrin Ruf in the big leagues to spell Ryan Howard at first against lefties, play once or twice a week in left field and pinch hit as a right-handed power hitter off the bench?
While his season numbers in Lehigh haven't been tremendous, the Phillies are allowing Delmon Young to stumble around the outfield and look inept at the plate while a player like Ruf rides the bus in Triple-A.
Since the start of the 2012 season, Ruf, splitting time between Double-A, Triple-A and in Philadelphia, has smashed 46 home runs.
Sooner or later, the team has to allow him the chance to sink or swim at the big league level.
Sebastian Valle, C, Reading
2013 Stats: .198/.238/.353, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 11 R
When Valle was selected to the 2011 Futures Game as a 20-year-old catcher, eyebrows were raised around the sport.
The Phillies looked to have a future, two-way star at the catching position.
After hitting .280 in Reading last summer, Philadelphia promoted him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in order to see him just one step from the majors.
His failure there (.629 OPS) wasn't a shocker, but his .198 average back in Double-A this season is very, very disappointing.
Cody Asche, 3B, Lehigh Valley
2013 Stats: .272/.330/.442, 6 HR, 37 RBI, 27 R
Asche, 23, hasn't been great for Lehigh Valley this season, but he's doing enough to continue hearing his name in conversations about the future of third base in Philadelphia.
On the other hand, much like with Tommy Joseph, he hasn't done enough to warrant consideration for a call-up in the event that Michael Young is injured or turns back into the 2012 out maker that he was in Texas.
Expect to see Asche in the big leagues by September. If he gets hot in Lehigh this summer, that time line could be expedited.
Austin Wright, LHP, Reading
2013 Stats: 5 GS, 17 IP, 21 H, 11 K, 20 BB, 11.65 ERA
If there's a bad statistic to evaluate a pitcher, Austin Wright probably owns it after his first five starts in 2013.
Clearly, a larger sample size is needed to evaluate his future standing in the organization, but the early returns are not good in Reading.
In fact, they are literally not good in the city of Reading. At home, Wright is sporting a 24.30 ERA.
He may not be deserving of a call-up to Lehigh, but it couldn't hurt his cause right now.
Maikel Franco, 3B, Clearwater
2013 Stats: .287/.336/.546, 11 HR, 40 RBI, 31 R
Franco may be less advanced than most names on this list, but don't let his level fool you when discerning his future potential.
On that note, his stay in the Florida State League may not be long considering his near .900 OPS and knack for cranking extra-base hits.
Most impressively, he's only striking out in 14.7 percent of his at-bats. For a young, power-hitter at the lower levels of the minors, that's a very, very impressive feat.
If he can improve that mark even further as he matures, Philadelphia will have a third baseman with power and the ability to hit for contact.