Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies' Top 10 Prospects for Week 10
In a week in which much of the news surrounding prospects involved those eligible for the 2013 MLB draft, the prospects already in the Philadelphia Phillies minor league system continued to work their way towards a major league promotion.
Although not currently ranked as a top-10 prospect, second baseman Cesar Hernandez remained on the team’s roster as the Phillies instead sent Michael Martinez to Triple-A.
Soon, however, other prospects may not have the same luck. The Phillies will have to make decisions involving pitchers Jonathan Pettibone and Tyler Cloyd in the next few weeks, as John Lannan recovers from injury and Carlos Zambrano’s opt-out date draws nearer.
Eventually, newly drafted prospects such as J.P. Crawford—who may find himself ranked next to Jesse Biddle as one of the team’s top prospects—and even Cord Sandberg may enter this list once prospects are re-ranked. But for now, current top-ranked prospects must hope to follow in the footsteps of Pettibone and earn a promotion this season.
To see how the Phillies' top 10 prospects, according to Baseball America, fared this week, let’s take a look at whose stock is up and whose is down following Week 10.
*All statistics courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted.
10. Carlos Tocci, OF
Stats: 55 games, .228 BA, 11 RBI, 46 H, .286 OBP
Last Week: 2 hits in 13 at-bats, 3 BB
Carlos Tocci has not gotten off to a fast start in June, though he has now well eclipsed his previous high for games played in a season.
The 18-year-old managed just two hits this past week, giving him three total for the month. After batting .269 in May, Tocci is batting just .150 in June with one extra-base hit.
In 148 at-bats against right-handed pitchers, Tocci is batting .208, while his average, albeit in a much smaller number of at-bats, against left-handed pitchers is .278.
Tocci’s walk total is actually higher than his strikeout total in his last 10 games, but his overall OBP is still lower than his mark from 2012.
There’s no need to rush Tocci during his progression, but a batting average in June that is closer to his average in May—and his batting average from last season—rather than his average in April would be a great sign.
9. Darin Ruf, OF/1B
Stats: 56 games, .256 BA, 5 HR, 28 RBI, 55 H, .332 OBP
Last Week: 6 hits in 26 at-bats, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Not much changed for Darin Ruf’s stock after a solid, but not great week at Triple-A.
Ruf’s numbers could be deemed mediocre for a player on a major league roster, but he must continue to improve offensively while at Triple-A in order to convince the Phillies to promote him.
Despite just three strikeouts this past week, Ruf also managed six hits, including two for extra bases, keeping his average below the .260 mark on the season. Ruf must also continue to adjust to Triple-A pitchers since his name is no longer unknown, as Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage spoke on in an article by Marc Narducci on Philly.com.
It’s understandable if Ruf doesn’t exactly match his power numbers from last season, but he is still batting .164 with runners in scoring position, and has hit one home run combined between May and June so far.
An offensive breakout, especially as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches in July, could be all it takes for the Phillies to consider promoting him. In the meantime, an average much closer to his .317 average in Double-A last season would help catch their attention sooner.
8. Maikel Franco, 3B
Stats: 59 games, .289 BA, 11 HR, 42 RBI, 69 H, .338 OBP
Last Week: 6 hits in 20 at-bats, 2 2B, 2 RBI
Maikel Franco started this past week off strong, racking up five hits in eight at-bats between two games on June 4.
After that, however, Franco managed just two more hits for the week, while striking out three times.
Franco currently leads the Florida State League in hits and ranks in the top five in home runs and RBI. With a .296 batting average so far in June, Franco has maintained an average in the high .280’s to high .290’s for a majority of this season.
It’s worth noting that Miguel Sano, a top prospect in the Minnesota Twins' minor league system who has the third-highest average in the Florida State League, was recently promoted to Double-A according to a tweet by Jon Heyman.
Miguel Sano, top slugging prospect, promoted to double-a new britain, (conn.) #twins— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) June 9, 2013
Although Sano’s average was much higher than Franco’s, could the Phillies soon promote their own third baseman?
Regardless of if or when he is promoted, batting at least .280 for a second straight season is a positive sign for Franco as he continues his progression and maintains his high prospect ranking.
7. Cody Asche, 3B
Stats: 60 games, .277 BA, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 65 H .331 OBP
Last Week: 9 hits in 29 at-bats, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Cody Asche has gotten off to a fast start in June, picking up eight hits in nine games, but his stock is just barely up after having three multi-strikeout games this past week, keeping his average in the .270 range.
Although he continues to maintain a solid batting average, an increase closer to the .300 range would help ease any potential concerns the Phillies have regarding their third base position going forward.
Additionally, the bump up to Triple-A has seen Asche strikeout 60 times in 60 games this season, putting him on pace to well exceed his total of 93 strikeouts in 130 minor league games last season.
Asche’s three multi-hit games this past week could be the start of an offensive breakout as he continues to acclimate himself to Triple-A. If so, the Phillies should have plenty of optimism for their third base situation.
6. Ethan Martin, SP
Stats: 12 GS, 60.2 IP, 37 BB, 56 K, 5.64 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 6 IP, 5 BB, 6 K, 4 ER
After improving his command in May, Ethan Martin has gotten off to a rocky start in June.
The right-hander has walked eight batters so far this month, including five this past week, after walking nine total for the month of May.
This past week, Martin took the loss after giving up four earned runs in six innings, as well as six hits. Opponents are batting .300 or higher off him in his last three starts.
Adam Morgan, the Phillies' other top-ranked prospect currently in Triple-A, is sidelined indefinitely with a tear in his rotator cuff, leaving Martin as the Phillies best, healthy starting rotation prospect in Triple-A.
However, with John Lannan nearing a return and a decision having to be made on Carlos Zambrano, Martin’s recent starts could now push him further down the line of potential starting rotation candidates.
Despite the Phillies having four options for two spots in their rotation—including current major league starters Jonathan Pettibone and Tyler Cloyd—Martin can still make a case for a promotion later this season if a situation presents itself, or earn a long look next season.
But first, he must return to the performances that saw him pitch to a 3.62 ERA while going 4-0 in May.
5. Adam Morgan, SP
Stats: 8 GS, 41.2 IP, 12 BB, 29 K, 4.97 ERA
Last Week: Did not play, injured
Adam Morgan remains on the minor league disabled list at Triple-A due to a tear in his rotator cuff.
Morgan has not pitched since May 15, after finishing April with a 3.23 ERA while being passed over twice for major league promotions.
If it turns out that his high ERA and 20 runs allowed in 21.5 innings were a result of the injury, there’s a chance that he can return to the form he displayed in his first three starts of the season.
But first, the Phillies must make sure one of their top pitching prospects, who has thrown a ton of innings in just a few years, is healthy.
4. Jonathan Pettibone, SP
Stats: 10 GS, 58.1 IP, 20 BB, 37 K, 3.70 ERA
Last Week: 2 GS, 11.1 IP, 4 BB, 5 K, 5 ER
Jonathan Pettibone had an up and down week, taking a no-decision in an eventual Phillies win in his first start, and taking the loss in his second start.
With 10 major league starts now under his belt, Pettibone has looked like a solid No. 4 or No. 5 starter for the Phillies, but will still see the team make an interesting decision when John Lannan returns and Carlos Zambrano is deemed major league ready.
In his first start this past week, Pettibone only struck out one batter while walking two, but also gave up just one earned run. In his second start, however, Pettibone was tagged for four runs in the second inning, leading to his second career loss.
Pettibone’s ERA was down to 3.40 prior to his most recent start, and was 3.00 less than a month ago. However, he has also given up a high number of hits in nearly a majority of his starts.
The right-hander has done enough to remain in the rotation, but soon the Phillies may not have an option if both Lannan and Zambrano enter the starting rotation.
Regardless, it seems as if at least one Phillies top prospect has proven that he can stick in the major leagues this season.
*Pettibone’s major league statistics can be found on ESPN.com.
3. Tommy Joseph, C
Stats: 24 games, .184 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 14 H, .264 OBP
Last Week: 0 hits in six at-bats
We’ll keep Tommy Joseph’s stock at even for the week since he made just two appearances in High-A ball, but the results were not great.
After missing nearly a month, it’s understandable that Joseph would have plenty of rust in his first games back. In six at-bats, Joseph struck out four times without picking up a hit.
The biggest news is that he has been cleared to play again after suffering a concussion in Triple-A. But with Carlos Ruiz and Erik Kratz both on the disabled list, it’s also easy to wonder if a healthy and productive Joseph—on both sides of the ball—could have earned his first major league promotion by now.
2. Roman Quinn, SS
Stats: 55 games, .255 BA, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 55 H, 28 SB, .343 OBP
Last Week: 4 hits in 18 at-bats, 3 SB
Roman Quinn’s month of June more closely resembles his month of April than May so far following a week in which he had the same number of strikeouts as hits.
So far in June, Quinn is batting .240 with six total hits, a month after batting .304 with an OBP of .413. One area in which he continues to rank among the best in the league, however, is in the stolen base department.
With 28 stolen bases, Quinn currently ranks fourth in the South Atlantic League, and has just two fewer than he had all last year in the short-season league.
The switch-hitting shortstop is batting .288 against left-handed pitchers, but he could also benefit from cutting down his strikeout numbers.
It will be interesting to see where J.P. Crawford, the Phillies' first-round pick in this year’s draft, ranks once prospects are re-ranked following the draft. With another highly touted shortstop in the system, Quinn may be passed on the list of candidates to one day replace Jimmy Rollins, or could switch positions.
Either way, a batting average closer to the .281 average he had last season would help him maintain his high ranking.
1. Jesse Biddle, SP
Stats: 12 GS, 68.1 IP, 33 BB, 79 K, 3.03 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 BB, 7 K, 1 ER
Jesse Biddle took the loss in his start this past week, but still turned in an improved performance over his previous outing.
In seven innings, Biddle struck out seven batters while giving up just four hits. This outing saw Biddle strike out his highest number of batters while giving up his fewest numbers of hits and earned runs since his start on May 21.
Biddle is currently 3-6 but actually has a lower ERA than he did last year in High-A ball, and currently leads the Eastern League in strikeouts.
While he still has plenty of areas to work on, such as his walk total, Biddle also leads all Phillies minor league pitchers in strikeouts, WHIP and opponents batting average, and is third in ERA. For a pitcher who is considered the team’s No. 1 ranked prospect, the Phillies must be happy with where Biddle currently ranks within the system.
Biddle has a 1.29 ERA after one start in June, and the objective now is to see if he can finish the month without that number increasing too much.