Cesar Hernandez is one of a few Phillies prospects who could see time in the bigs this season.
The lackluster Philadelphia Phillies are old, to put it bluntly. The addition of Ben Revere was a nice shot of youth to the aging lineup, but he caught the oh-so-familiar injury bug. While the playoffs are a long shot for the Phillies this year, there are a few young talents in the farm system that should see some time in the bigs as soon as roster spots open up.
Hernandez, a natural second baseman, is currently undergoing a significant transformation. Due to Philadelphia's sudden hole in center, management has accelerated the Venezuela native's transition to the outfield.
Stephen Planovich of MLB.com writes that while Hernandez is quick and athletic, errors have plagued him thus far in the outfield experiment. That being said, Hernandez finds himself needing to undergo an entire mindset shift, so naturally there will be a learning curve.
According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phillies were initially trying the 22-year-old in center in preparation for 2014, seeing as he'll be put on waivers if he doesn't make the team next year.
Between Lehigh Valley and Reading this year, the switch-hitting Hernandez has posted an impressive .316/.379/.414 line and is cranking up the power numbers lately with Reading. He's also earned some accolades:
While Hernandez is only ranked No. 18 by MLB.com in Philadelphia's minor league system, he's shown that he can hold his own in the majors, as he batted .250 in nine games for the Phillies back in June. Once he irons out the kinks in the outfield, expect to see Hernandez on the big league roster.
While the 22-year-old Asche got off to a fairly slow start, Hernandez's fellow International League All-Star has been mashing it in lately for the Iron Pigs:
CODY ASCHE CRUSHES HOMER NUMBER TWO TONIGHT! International League All-Star Cody makes the lead 8-1 for the #RoadPigs in the 9th— PorkCenter (@PorkCenter) July 24, 2013
The third baseman—ranked No. 9 in Philadelphia's system by MLB.com—is currently posting a .292/.350/.463 line with an .813 OPS, but in his last 10 games he's batting a scorching .357 and slugging .643 with a 1.029 OPS.
Not only does he have power (12 bombs so far), he's got speed to boot (11 steals). Since Philadelphia's 13-run eruption against the Mets on July 19th, its offense has been anemic and needs a spark. Asche could be that spark.
In an interview with Michael Lore of lehighvalleylive.com, director of player development Joe Jordan said that Asche has "gotten better and honestly, I would feel confident with him going to the major leagues as a third baseman and as a hitter. I think he’s proven we have something pretty good.”
Seeing as the Phils could move Michael Young in the near future—and Kevin Frandsen is likely not a long-term solution—Asche may not have to wait long to see time in the bigs.
Ranked No.2 in the Phillies' minor league system, Martin is an interesting case. While Reading's Jesse Biddle may be the better natural talent, Martin is more experienced and is playing at a higher level.
For the year, the 23-year-old righty has gone 11-5 with a 4.35 ERA, .229 batting average against and 99 strikeouts in 20 games (109.2 innings pitched).
While his fastball in the upper 90s is plus, Martin's control is suspect—his strikeout-to-walk ratio is an unfortunate 1.55:1.
Like Asche, however, Martin has improved as the season's gone on:
In his last 10 games, Martin has pitched to the tune of a 3.45 ERA with a .210 batting average against. His walks have still been cause for concern and the Phillies need anything but another guy who can't find the strike zone, but the potential is there.