Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies' Top 10 Prospects for Week 17
The Philadelphia Phillies have less than three days until the non-waiver trade deadline and their last opportunity to move players prior to this upcoming offseason—not including any waiver deals in August.
The Phillies made one midseason move last week when, according to Jeff Passan on Yahoo! Sports, the team reached a six-year deal worth nearly $59 million with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
Any additional moves, however, could involve prospects either joining or leaving their minor league system.
A new set of prospect rankings was also released this past week when MLB.com’s 2013 Prospect Watch was updated to include players from the June draft.
These rankings feature just two changes from last week’s rankings, but several players have made either major moves up or down since their preseason rankings.
Which players are new to the top-10? Will any new players be added to this list following the non-waiver trade deadline? How did the current list of top-10 prospects fare this past week?
Let’s take a look at whose stock is up and whose is down following Week 17.
*All statistics courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted.
10. Ethan Martin, SP
Stats: 21 GS, 115.2 IP, 67 BB, 107 K, 4.12 ERA
Last Week: 2 GS, 12 IP, 6 BB, 14 K, 0 ER
Ethan Martin’s ranking takes one of the biggest hits in MLB.com’s updated rankings after beginning the season ranked as the Phillies’ No. 2 prospect.
Martin’s slip is likely due in part to his continued command issues, but the right-hander has still managed to rank among the league leaders in wins this season in the International League.
Despite being on pace to walk more batters than he did last season, Martin also has a chance to pass his strikeout total from last season of 112 at Double-A Chatanooga.
This past week, Martin made two starts, the first of which saw him give up just two hits in six innings while picking up win No. 11. Martin also struck out six and walked three in the game.
In his second start, he struck out eight in six innings while walking three more as Martin took a no-decision after giving up five hits and no earned runs.
July has seen Martin post a 2.79 ERA and walk fewer batters than he did in June. He has already struck out two more batters this month than he did last month while pitching eight fewer innings.
Martin must continue to work on his command in order to receive a look for a Phillies' rotation spot next season, but high strikeout totals could help him earn a bullpen spot in Philadelphia at some point.
9. Shane Watson, SP
Stats: 16 GS, 72 IP, 28 BB, 53 K, 4.75 ERA
Last Week: Did not play, injured
Shane Watson, the Phillies’ first pick in the 2012 draft from the supplemental round, makes his debut in the top-10 during his first year in a full-season league.
Watson is currently on the disabled list due to right shoulder soreness, but Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan said the team is just giving him a breather, as Marc Narducci reported on Philly.com.
After pitching in just five games for the Phillies’ Gulf Coast League affiliate last season, Watson earned a promotion to the South Atlantic League this season, allowing him to pitch in a full-season league at the age of 19.
Watson has lowered his ERA each month this season and has held opponents to a .230 batting average.
Watson showed some of his biggest improvements between May and June. In May, Watson struck out 15 and walked 14 while pitching to a 5.11 ERA. In June, Watson struck out 16, walked six and had a 3.63 ERA.
Prior to landing on the disabled list, Watson had given up just two earned runs in his last 21 innings.
At his age, there is still plenty of time for him to improve and he has posted solid numbers for his first year in a full-season league.
If he can continue to improve, Watson may continue rising up the Phillies’ prospect rankings.
8. Mitch Gueller, SP
Stats: 7 GS, 28.1 IP, 13 BB, 19 K, 5.08 ERA
Last Week: Did not pitch
Mitch Gueller, the Phillies’ second selection in the 2012 draft, also makes his debut as a top-10 prospect.
Similar to Shane Watson, Gueller only saw limited action last season after being drafted. However, the Phillies decided to send Gueller to the New York-Penn League this year rather than bumping him to a full-season league.
Gueller started the year off strong, striking out 12 batters and walking five in his first three starts to finish June with a 2.25 ERA.
July has not been as kind. In four starts, Gueller has an 8.76 ERA with eight walks and seven strikeouts.
Gueller’s last start in particular was a rough outing, as the right-hander gave up five earned runs in less than an inning before exiting.
Despite his recent struggles, the 19-year-old has a chance to reach the major leagues in a few seasons if he can continue to improve his repertoire.
7. Cody Asche, 3B
Stats: 103 games, .293 BA, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 117 H, .351 OBP
Last Week: 12 hits in 28 at-bats, 3 HR, 3 2B, 9 RBI
Cody Asche is heating up at a great time if he is hoping to fill the shoes of Michael Young at third base should Young be traded at the non-waiver deadline.
Asche had an outstanding week at Triple-A, starting with back-to-back three-hit games and finishing with a three-RBI game on July 27.
The second of Asche’s three-hit performances included two home runs, giving him 13 on the season, which ranks among the top 10 in the International League.
Asche is batting .326 in July a month after batting .318 in June.
In 10 games since the Triple-A All-Star Game, Asche is batting .341 with a .372 OBP. His overall batting average includes a .306 average in 284 at-bats against right-handers this season.
What’s also impressive is that Asche has just seven strikeouts in his last 41 at-bats. He could benefit from a few more walks, however.
If the Phillies decide to trade Young, Asche’s name will likely come up as a potential replacement at third base this season in addition to Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis.
Whether it’s this season or next, or as a third baseman or at another position, Asche should be in the major leagues in the near future.
6. Adam Morgan, SP
Stats: 12 GS, 55.2 IP, 17 BB, 42 K, 4.20 ERA
Last Week: 2 GS, 7 IP, 5 BB, 5 K, 1 ER
After making two rehab appearances in the Gulf Coast League, Adam Morgan returned to the International League this past week.
Although he is still working his way back and getting his innings up, Morgan’s return is what is most important, as he will now have more opportunities to receive a look for a stint in the majors as early as next season.
In his first start this past week, Morgan struck out three and walked two in four innings while giving up one earned run.
In his second start, Morgan struck out two and walked three in three innings, but did not give up any earned runs.
If Morgan can finish the season with the types of performances he began the season, the Phillies could find themselves with two future starting-rotation options in Triple-A next season, including Jesse Biddle.
5. Tommy Joseph, C
Stats: 36 games, .179 BA, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 22 H, .229 OBP
Last Week: Did not play, injured
Tommy Joseph remains sidelined with a shin contusion and has been out of action since July 11.
Joseph had been playing in Double-A after suffering a concussion in Triple-A earlier in the season and then rehabbing in both the Gulf Coast League and Florida State League.
The faster Joseph can get back on the field, the faster the Phillies can formulate their plans at catcher for next season.
4. J.P. Crawford, SS
Stats: 20 games, .373 BA, 5 RBI, 28 H, 6 SB, .460 OBP
Last Week: 3 hits in 11 at-bats, 1 3B, 1 RBI
J.P. Crawford only appeared in three games this past week, but finished it with a multi-hit game.
A great sign from Crawford so far is his outstanding OBP, which is the second-best in the Gulf Coast League. So far, Crawford has struck out 14 times while walking 12 times and he has an equal number of walks and strikeouts in July.
Crawford’s batting average dipped this past week, but his average is still among the best in the Gulf Coast League.
There’s no rush to promote Crawford this season, but he could follow in the footsteps of Shane Watson and play in a full-season league at 19 years old next year.
3. Roman Quinn, SS
Stats: 67 games, .238 BA, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 62 H, 32 SB, .323 OBP
Last Week: Did not play, injured
Roman Quinn remains on the disabled list with a wrist injury dating back to June.
The switch-hitter was putting his speed on display in the South Atlantic League prior to his injury, as he ranked among the best in the league in stolen bases.
Once he returns, some offensive improvements to finish the season would be a great sign from Quinn, who remains one of the Phillies' top three prospects.
2. Maikel Franco, 3B
Stats: 98 games, .328 BA, 23 HR, 78 RBI, 131 H, .368 OBP
Last Week: 12 hits in 27 at-bats, 1 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI
Maikel Franco’s outstanding 2013 season continued this past week with the 20-year-old having a two-home run, five-RBI performance and five multi-hit games.
Franco began the week with back-to-back two-hit games, and finished the week with eight hits in three games.
Since being promoted to Double-A, Franco is batting .385 with seven home runs and 26 RBI in 33 games.
In 96 at-bats at Double-A against right-handed pitchers, Franco is batting .417 and has an overall average of .359 with runners in scoring position.
Franco’s two-home run game was part of a three-hit night and helped push his July batting average to .341.
A few weeks ago, it seemed out of the question that Franco would maintain such a high batting average. An average near .310 appeared to be more reasonable. However, more than a month into his promotion, Franco has hardly cooled off.
If he can keep it up, he could be knocking on the door of the majors by next season.
1. Jesse Biddle, SP
Stats: 21 GS, 106.1 IP, 60 BB, 117 K, 3.89 ERA
Last Week: 2 GS, 2 IP, 9 BB, 3 K, 9 ER
Jesse Biddle made two starts this past week and neither will go down as his best outings of this season.
His first start saw him strike out one and walk three while giving up four earned runs in less than an inning.
The start added to the inconsistency that Biddle has seen throughout this season and left him tied with the same total of walks that he had all of last season.
In Biddle’s second start, he walked six while striking out three and gave up five earned runs in 1.1 innings. In two starts this past week, Biddle gave up six hits and nine earned runs.
The left-hander has thrown 381.3 innings over the past three seasons. The high number of innings, combined with his recent back-to-back shaky outings, could cause the Phillies to think about shutting him down for a couple of weeks in order to avoid any injury.
Biddle still leads the Eastern League in strikeouts and has held opponents to a .207 batting average, but another rough outing could be cause for concern this late in the season.