Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies' Top 10 Prospects for Week 11
The Philadelphia Phillies will see two more of their minor league teams begin play this week when both Williamsport (Low-A ball) and the Gulf Coast League Phillies (rookie ball) open their seasons.
Although these teams will not feature any of the Phillies' current top-10 prospects, both squads should feature prospects chosen in the two most-recent drafts. Once prospects are re-ranked, a couple of the Phillies' most recent draft picks may be playing in a short-season league and ranked as among the 10 best in the system.
In the meantime, those players currently ranked as top-10 prospects are continuing to work their way towards the major leagues. As the major league trade deadline approaches, the Phillies will not just look at ways for improving this season, but also into the future.
At that point, a number of these prospects, especially those already in Triple-A, could factor into upcoming decisions.
Just how well did those prospects ranked among the franchise's top-10—according to Baseball America—fare this past week?
Let’s take a look at whose stock is up and whose is down following Week 11.
*All statistics courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted.
10. Carlos Tocci, OF
Stats: 60 games, .236 BA, 11 RBI, 52 H, .296 OBP
Last Week: 6 hits, 18 at-bats, 1 2B
Carlos Tocci got off to a slow start in June, but closed out this past week with a three-hit performance.
As one of the youngest prospects in the Phillies’ system who is already playing in a full-season league, Tocci has played solidly leading up to the All-Star break. However, his batting average is still a ways off from the .278 average he had in the Gulf Coast League last season.
Tocci picked up six hits this past week, although three of them came in a June 16 game in the South Atlantic League, helping to improve his average and stock for the week.
However, he did not drive in any runs and only had one extra-base hit.
Tocci’s OBP of .341 in June is his highest for any month this season, and he has a three-hit game to build off of as he continues to improve.
If his last performance was the start of an offensive breakout, the Phillies could find that one of their youngest and most promising prospects is not playing in a short-season league, but instead is already in Low-A ball.
9. Darin Ruf, OF/1B
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Stats: 62 games, .262 BA, 6 HR, 33 RBI, 61 H, .343 OBP
Last Week: 6 hits,18 at-bats, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Darin Ruf used a strong start to the week to increase his batting average slightly, batting .288 in June.
While his home run drought ended on June 13, Ruf also started a new streak by striking out at least once in each of his last six games. In addition, Ruf drew five walks, helping to improve his OBP on the season and has a .406 OBP for June.
Ruf did manage to drive in five runs this past week, but his season total ranks third on the Lehigh Valley team and outside the top-25 in the International League. Meanwhile, his 66 strikeouts rank in the top-10.
A season anywhere close to his 2012 performances, when he batted .317 from the right side of the plate, would earn him a major league promotion. However, a much lower batting average and much higher strikeout total as he approaches 27 years old have added to his remaining in Triple-A thus far.
If Ruf’s June batting average is the start of a strong finish to the first half and start to the second half of the season, he could still wind up in Philadelphia this season.
If not, the Phillies may have to look elsewhere for an offensive boost to their lineup.
8. Maikel Franco, 3B
Stats: 63 games, .296 BA, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 76 H, .344 OBP
Last Week: 7 hits, 18 at-bats, 4 HR, 7 RBI
Maikel Franco’s stock may be at its highest point to date following an outstanding week—albeit shortened due to the Florida State League All-Star break—in which he had multiple hits in three of his four games.
Franco is batting .333 in June with five home runs and has already matched his RBI total from May.
This past week, Franco had three multi-hit games, including one on June 12 in which he hit two home runs and drove in four runs. He hit another home run on June 13, giving him three home runs in two games.
As the Florida State League enters its second half, Franco could be a prime candidate for a minor league promotion to Double-A, as Bob Brookover wrote on Philly.com. Brookover notes that Franco is also considered outstanding on defense.
At his age and already in High-A ball, the Phillies don’t have to promote him, but finding out that Franco can handle Double-A pitching before the age of 21 could be a major reason for optimism for the Phillies.
7. Cody Asche, 3B
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Stats: 66 games, .280 BA, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 72 H, .337 OBP
Last Week: 7 hits, 21 at-bats, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Although he only raised his batting average slightly, Cody Asche still had a strong week among the Phillies' top-10 prospects.
Despite a decrease in his OBP, Asche's seven hits, including his seventh and eighth home runs, pushed his average into the .280 range. For the month of June, Asche is batting .328.
Asche’s home run, RBI and hit totals currently rank in the top-10 in the International League, while his RBI and hit totals are the most on the Lehigh Valley roster.
While a handful of players for the who were in line for a promotion either this season or next have struggled at times this season, Asche appears to still be in contention for taking over at third base next season. However, he must continue to improve his batting average while cutting down on his number of strikeouts.
Asche is batting .303 against right-handed pitchers, but must still improve his average with runners in scoring position. Asche also could benefit from a few more walks, as his OBP actually decreased this past week despite his batting average slightly increasing.
After back-to-back months with an average in the .260 range, a batting average in June of .300 or higher would help keep Asche in the Phillies' short-term and long-term plans.
6. Ethan Martin, SP
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Stats: 13 GS, 67.2 IP, 40 BB, 62 K, 5.19 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 BB, 6 K, 1.29 ERA
Ethan Martin had a solid bounce-back outing this past week after giving up four earned runs last week.
In seven innings, Martin stuck out six while allowing just one earned run to pick up his first win of the month. Martin is tied for seventh in strikeouts in the International League and ranks fourth in victories.
Martin has walked more batters in June than he did in all of May, but could also soon eclipse his strikeout total from last month.
With the Phillies sending Tyler Cloyd back to Triple-A and possibly doing the same with Jonathan Pettibone, depending on his next start and that of Carlos Zambrano, Martin’s chances for a promotion this season remain unclear.
If he continues to lower his ERA and keep his walk total in check, he should have plenty of chances to improve his status for a promotion either later this season or next, especially if he can outperform Cloyd and/or Pettibone while the three are in the same Triple-A rotation.
5. Adam Morgan, SP
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Stats: 8 GS, 41.2 IP, 12 BB, 29 K, 4.97 ERA
Last Week: Did not play, injured
Adam Morgan continues to nurse a tear in his rotator cuff, as he has been out of action since May 15.
The former International League Pitcher of the Week had gotten off to an outstanding start in April before faltering somewhat in his last few starts prior to landing on the disabled list.
Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan was quoted as saying by Michael LoRoe of lehighvalleylive.com that Morgan could possibly be back between the second half of July and August.
Morgan is still one of the Phillies' top pitching prospects and may have been in contention for a promotion this season prior to his injury. It will be interesting to see where he is listed once prospects are re-ranked, considering his quick progression but his missed time this season.
4. Jonathan Pettibone, SP
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Stats (MLB): 11 GS, 61.1 IP, 21 BB, 38 K, 4.40 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 3 IP, 1 BB, 1 K, 6 ER
We’ll continue to list Jonathan Pettibone as a prospect until the MiLB prospect lists are updated, even though he has thrown more than 60 innings in the major leagues.
Pettibone’s first trip to Coors Field was not a kind one, as the rookie lasted just three innings while giving up three hits and seven runs, six of which were earned.
After beginning his career 3-0 and seeing the Phillies win in six of his first seven starts, Pettibone has not been as solid as of late.
He has continued to give up a high number of hits each start, leading to the question of whether his low ERA and early success were actually a result of his ability on the mound or whether some luck had gone his way. In three of his last four starts, Pettibone hasn’t pitched like the same pitcher who had a 3.00 ERA less than a month ago.
This past week marked Pettibone’s shortest start and the most hits he had given up since his promotion. His last three decisions have all been losses.
However, despite Carlos Zambrano potentially nearing a promotion, Jim Salisbury on CSNPhilly.com reported that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. recently gave Pettibone a vote of confidence for at least his next start.
With John Lannan returning from the disabled list, Pettibone’s continued presence on the major league roster is a result of how well he pitched early on following his promotion. However, as the season continues and other options emerge, he must improve to remain there.
* Pettibone’s major league statistics can be found on ESPN.com.
3. Tommy Joseph, C
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Stats: 26 games, .176 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 15 H, .222 OBP
Last Week: 1 hit, 9 at-bats
Tommy Joseph may have returned a bit too quickly.
After appearing in just two games this past week, Joseph returned to the minor league disabled list. Joseph had only recently come off the DL after suffering a concussion more than a month ago.
During his brief return, Joseph managed just one hit while striking out six times.
Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan said that Joseph has recovered from the concussion, but needs time to be physically ready to begin catching again, according to Michael LoRoe of lehighvalleylive.com.
The longer that it takes Joseph to resume playing and improve on both sides of the ball, the more difficult of a decision the Phillies will have to make at the trade deadline and during the offseason in regards to their catcher position.
2. Roman Quinn, SS
Stats: 62 games, .242 BA, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 59 H, 30 SB .324 OBP
Last Week: 4 hits, 28 at-bats, 1 2B, 3 RBI
Roman Quinn’s batting average in June took a major hit this past week as he had more strikeouts than hits.
Quinn started the week off strong with four hits in his first four games, but finished the week hitless in his last three games while not scoring any runs and driving in just one run.
After batting .304 in May, Quinn is batting .188 in June with an OBP that is just slightly higher than the .253 mark he had in April.
Quinn will soon set a new career high for games played in a season after spending last year in a short-season league, but his average is far lower than his .281 batting average from a season ago.
Although he is still tied for fourth in the South Atlantic League in stolen bases, Quinn’s OBP is the lowest of any player with 30 or more stolen bases. That could be partially due to Quinn’s strikeout total, which is also the highest of any player with at least 30 stolen bases.
It’s still early in his progression, but Quinn must begin improving on offense as more prospects begin playing in short-season leagues and the season continues.
1. Jesse Biddle, SP
Stats: 13 GS, 73.1 IP, 36 BB, 86 K, 2.95 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 BB, 7 K, 1.80 ERA
Jesse Biddle went without a win again in his start this past week, but again struck out seven batters while allowing just one earned run.
In five innings, Biddle allowed four hits, but kept his June ERA below 2.00. In two starts, Biddle’s ERA for the month is 1.50 and he continues to lead the Eastern League in strikeouts.
Biddle must continue to work on his command, but is on pace to well eclipse his strikeout total from last season while his ERA is still lower than his final mark in 2012.
With multiple pitchers in Triple-A that already have major league experience or may soon be promoted, it’s unlikely Biddle would receive a promotion until later in the season, if at all this year.
However, as he continues to progress each season, Biddle has met, if not exceeded, expectation so far in Double-A.