Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies' Top 10 Prospects for Week 12
As the Philadelphia Phillies move closer to the non-waiver trade deadline and having to make decisions regarding their major league roster, the team made at least one decision this past week involving their farm system.
Maikel Franco was promoted to Double-A after batting .299 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI in the Florida State League. Franco’s promotion is a positive sign for one of the Phillies' top 10 prospects, but one that could also impact the futures of other top prospects.
Meanwhile, another top prospect, Jonathan Pettibone, could face either a stint on the disabled list or a demotion in favor of Carlos Zambrano this week, as Zambrano’s opt-out date draws nearer.
How did the rest of the Phillies' top 10 prospects fare last week?
Let’s take a look at whose stock is up and whose is down following Week 12.
*All statistics courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted.
10. Carlos Tocci, OF
Stats: 64 games, .236 BA, 12 RBI, 54 H, .300 OBP
Last Week: 2 hits in 9 at-bats, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Carlos Tocci only had four games to improve his stock this past week due to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.
In his limited number of at-bats, Tocci managed to pick up just his second extra-base hit in his last 10 games, but has yet to hit a triple or a home run.
Tocci’s first year in a full-season league has seen him eclipse his totals from last season in a majority of offensive categories, but his batting average continues to remain well below his .278 average from last season.
His .234 average in June is an improvement over his .192 average from April, but not as high as his average from last month. Tocci’s RBI this past week was also his first of the month.
At his age, one sign that an offensive improvement may be coming could be that his plate discipline is improving, as he now has as many walks in June as he did in May despite having less than half as many at-bats this month.
Now that he has half of a season under his belt, it will be interesting to see if Tocci’s second half includes more extra-base hits and a higher batting average.
9. Darin Ruf, OF/1B
Stats: 69 games, .269 BA, 7 HR, 38 RBI, 70 H, .346 OBP
Last Week: 9 hits in 27 at-bats, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Darin Ruf finished the week strong but a high number of strikeouts have kept his average from increasing too much.
Ruf managed to have three multi-hit games this past week, but still finished the week with an equal number of hits and strikeouts, keeping his average below the .270 mark.
For the month of June, Ruf is batting .304 with a .394 OBP, but will need to match, if not exceed, these numbers in the next few weeks in order to have a chance at a major league promotion this season.
Ruf also ranks among the league leaders in strikeouts in the International League, and must continue to improve his average against right-handed pitchers and with runners in scoring position.
If Ruf can bat .300 for another month just as the trade deadline nears and the Phillies wait to see if Delmon Young heats up, he could have his best opportunity for a promotion. In the meantime, fewer strikeouts could help his average increase and catch the Phillies' eye.
8. Maikel Franco, 3B
Stats: 69 games, .310 BA, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 87 H, .358 OBP
Last Week (Double-A): 8 hits in 17 at-bats, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI
After proving that the Florida State League was not much of a challenge anymore, Maikel Franco earned a promotion to Double-A this past week.
So far, his performance at the plate has remained just as good.
Through four games at Double-A, Franco has already hit two home runs and is batting .471.
Although it’s early, Franco is still off to a great start at Double-A, and one that could make things interesting in terms of which player becomes the Phillies' third baseman of the future when Cody Asche is also considered.
While his average will not stay this high as he continues to play at Double-A, if he is able to match his numbers from the Florida State League, the Phillies could soon find that they have two infielders capable of playing in the major leagues within the next one to two seasons.
It will be interesting to see where Franco ranks once prospects are re-ranked in the coming weeks. With his outstanding start, there’s a chance Franco could find himself ranked among the team’s top three prospects.
7. Cody Asche, 3B
Stats: 72 games, .274 BA, 8 HR, 44 RBI, 77 H, .331 OBP
Last Week: 5 hits in 24 at-bats, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Cody Asche’s offense for the week improved late, but a quiet week at the plate for the most part keeps his stock from improving.
Asche’s .286 batting average in June is his highest in any month so far this season, although his average has increased in each month. However, this consistency has involved averages in the .260 to .280 range, rather than the .324 average he had last season
Although Darin Ruf may have begun the season with high expectations, Asche has become one of the Phillies main offensive leaders in Triple-A.
But as a player with a chance at reaching the major leagues and receiving consistent playing time next season, his offense still needs to improve in order to ease any concerns the Phillies may have.
With Maikel Franco now only one level behind him, it will be interesting to see how Asche responds in the second half of the season.
6. Ethan Martin, SP
Stats: 14 GS, 72.2 IP, 44 BB, 65 K, 5.33 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 5 IP, 4 BB, 3 K, 4 ER
Ethan Martin managed to pick up his second consecutive win this past week, but his start was not as strong as his previous outing.
Martin gave up four earned runs while walking more batters than he struck out, which means that he has now walked nearly as many batters as he has struck out in the month of June.
While his command has been a concern throughout his minor league career, Martin is now on pace to walk his highest number of batters in a season.
Martin has also given up at least one home run in his last five starts, and has given up more this season than he did all of last season.
Although his win total ranks second in the International League, Martin’s ERA and walk total also rank among the highest in the league.
If the Phillies decide to promote Carlos Zambrano and Jonathan Pettibone is sent to Triple-A, the Phillies will then have two young pitchers in their Triple-A rotation with major league experience ahead of Martin.
If Martin is to have any chance at a major league promotion later in the second half of this season or next, he has to improve his command now and return to the form that saw him go 5-0 with a 3.18 ERA for the Phillies' Double-A affiliate last season.
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 sidelined with a rotator cuff tear that has kept him out since May 15.
After a promising start to the season, Morgan faltered a bit in his last few starts leading up to his landing on the disabled list.
Although it could be difficult for him to earn even a September call-up later in the season, depending on how his rehab goes and how the Phillies fare in the second half, Morgan could still use a strong finish to compete for a rotation spot next season.
4. Jonathan Pettibone, SP
Stats (MLB): 12 GS, 67.1 IP, 22 BB, 39 K, 4.14 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 ER
Jonathan Pettibone’s stock may be up for the week, but his status with the team will be uncertain until a decision is officially made regarding Carlos Zambrano.
In the meantime, Pettibone had a nice bounce-back outing this past week after giving up 10 earned runs combined in his previous two starts. In six innings, Pettibone gave up just one earned run but took a no-decision after Michael Stutes and Jonathan Papelbon combined to give up four earned runs.
Pettibone also left the start after trying to come back out for the seventh inning but eventually was forced to leave due to a back injury. A DL stint would also take him out of the rotation in favor of Zambrano.
Regardless of his health, after striking out just two batters in his last two starts, Pettibone could be fighting for a rotation spot. In his last outing, Pettibone benefited from 12 ground balls and has now given up 10 more hits than innings pitched.
The low strikeout total could be cause for concern as he continues to miss few bats. But if he is able to increase his strikeout total while giving up fewer hits, Pettibone could still find himself in the Phillies rotation as a No. 5 starter this season and possibly next.
*Pettibone’s major league statistics can be found on ESPN.com.
3. Tommy Joseph, C
Stats: 27 games, .182 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 16 H, .242 OBP
Last Week (Rookie League): 1 hit in 3 at-bats, 2 BB
Tommy Joseph returned to action this past week, albeit briefly, as he rehabs from a concussion he suffered on May 4.
Joseph rehabbed with the Phillies Gulf Coast League rookie affiliate and picked up one hit in three at-bats, as well as two walks. In 21 games at Triple-A this season, Joseph has walked just four times.
After a few games Joseph should be back in Triple-A, where much improved performances on both sides of the ball would help his future with the Phillies, and ease the Phillies' concerns over the future of their catcher position.
2. Roman Quinn, SS
Stats: 66 games, .238 BA, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 62 H, 31 SB, .321 OBP
Last Week: 3 hits in 16 at-bats
Similar to Carlos Tocci, Roman Quinn only appeared in four games this past week due to the South Atlantic League All-Star break.
Quinn started the week off with three hits in his first two games, but finished the week with no hits and three strikeouts in his last two games.
Unless he has a tremendous week, Quinn will finish June with a batting average below .200 after batting .304 in May.
Despite now having played in the same number of games as he did last season, Quinn’s batting average, run and hit totals are much lower, while his number of walks and strikeouts are nearly identical. Quinn has, however, showed more power at the plate this season.
As the Phillies' No. 2-ranked prospect currently, Quinn’s stolen base total puts him among the best in the league, but his other offensive statistics could use some improvement going forward.
Once prospects are re-ranked, it’s difficult to see Quinn maintaining as high of a ranking.
1. Jesse Biddle, SP
Stats: 14 GS, 79.1 IP, 42 BB, 91 K, 3.29 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 6 IP, 6 BB, 5 K, 5 ER
After back-to-back solid starts, Jesse Biddle had his first hiccup in June this past week when he walked more batters than he struck out while taking the loss.
Biddle allowed two home runs while walking six and giving up six hits as his winless streak continued.
Although he still leads the Eastern League in strikeouts, Biddle also now leads the league in walks. He is on pace to soon surpass his walk total from all of last season.
Biddle still has an ERA in June that is lower than his mark from May, but he had a chance to string together a series of solid starts as the first half of the season continues to wind down. All in all, Biddle has still had a terrific season so far, his first in Double-A.
Chances are high Biddle will remain in Double-A for the remainder of the season, but a strong second half could push him to Triple-A next season, which would put him just one step away from the major leagues.