Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies' Top 10 Prospects for Week 19
The Philadelphia Phillies made another move this past week to give their minor league talent more opportunities to earn a spot on the 2014 Opening Day roster.
By designating outfielder Delmon Young for assignment, the Phillies opened a spot for Darin Ruf to see regular playing time and try to make a case for the 2014 roster.
With Young gone and Michael Young at first base, the Phillies can play Cody Asche and Ruf regularly as they formulate their offseason plan.
Players such as Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin have also been given opportunities to audition for spots for next season while Cesar Hernandez could become a September call-up and audition for a bench role.
The Phillies also made an international signing this past week by signing 16-year-old third baseman Luis Encarnacion to a deal worth $1 million, according to Tom Schad of the team’s website.
While Encarnacion gets set to begin his minor league progression, how did the Phillies’ top 10 prospects (according to mlb.com’s 2013 Prospect Watch) fare this past week?
Let’s take a look at whose stock is up and whose is down following Week 19.
* Tommy Joseph (No. 5) is out for the remainder of the season due to injuries, via Matt Gelb of Philly.com. Larry Greene, who is ranked No. 11 according to mlb.com’s 2013 Prospect Watch, will be included in these rankings.
**All statistics courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted.
11. Larry Greene, OF
Stats: 95 games, .210 BA, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 73 H, .302 OBP
Last Week: 3 hits in 26 at-bats, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Larry Greene makes his debut in the rankings since injured Tommy Joseph is out for the remainder of the season.
Green originally began the season ranked as one of the Phillies’ top 10 prospects, according to mlb.com’s 2013 Prospect Watch.
Greene was the Phillies’ first pick in the 2011 draft. Although he is projected to have above-average power, he has just four home runs this season in his first full-season pro league.
Greene is batting .158 in August and has struck out 19 times while walking twice. Greene does, however, have a higher batting average following the South Atlantic League All-Star break.
A power surge over the final weeks of the season would be a great sign from the left-handed batter. Fewer multi-strikeout games would also help him raise his average and allow him to finish the season on a strong note.
10. Ethan Martin, SP
Stats (MLB): 2 GS, 9.1 IP, 6 BB, 10 K, 6.75 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 ER
Ethan Martin earned his first major league victory this past week, as the Phillies had an offensive outburst and scored 12 runs in the rookie pitcher's outing.
The right-hander walked another three batters and struck out two fewer than in his previous start, but got the win against Jeff Samardzija, who ranks among the NL leaders in strikeouts.
Martin’s start lasted five innings, as opposed to the 4.1 innings he lasted in his first start, but he actually faced one less batter than in his previous start.
It’s unclear how long Martin will remain in the major leagues this season with Jonathan Pettibone on the disabled list and Roy Halladay working his way back.
After giving up six earned runs in his first start, Martin bounced back to give up just one run this past week. Although he is struggling against left-handed batters, he has held right-handers to a .190 average in a limited sample size.
With his velocity, Martin could still end up in the bullpen at some point, but he can continue using his starts this season to prove he should remain a starter and possibly be in the Phillies’ rotation next season.
*Martin’s major league statistics can be found on ESPN.com.
9. Shane Watson, SP
Stats: 16 GS, 72 IP, 28 BB, 53 K, 4.75 ERA
Last Week: Did not play, injured
Shane Watson remains on the minor league disabled list after making his last start more than a month ago.
Watson has a chance to make a few more starts this season if he can return quickly. Watson’s four starts prior to landing on the DL were some of his stronger outings, as he allowed no earned runs in three of those outings.
If he cannot return, the Phillies will have to decide whether to promote him to the Florida State League next season or keep him in the South Atlantic League to start 2014.
8. Mitch Gueller, SP
Stats: 10 GS, 42 IP, 19 BB, 31 K, 4.93 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 5 IP, 4 BB, 6 K, 0 ER
Mitch Gueller had a solid bounce-back outing this past week, as he gave up two hits in five innings while taking a no-decision.
After giving up 16 earned runs in 16 innings in July, Gueller has gotten off to a better start in August.
This past week, Gueller did not allow an earned run in five innings and is now holding opponents to a .211 batting average for August.
Gueller has allowed more earned runs and walked more batters in the New York-Penn League than he did in his time in the Gulf Coast League last season, but he also has a lower ERA than a year ago.
Gueller has a chance to post an ERA lower than 3.00 for August, which would help put his high ERA from July behind him.
Opponents are still batting over .300 against him on the season, but a finish that features more starts like his previous one could vault Gueller into the South Atlantic League on a strong note for next season.
7. Cody Asche, 3B
Stats (MLB): 12 games, .194 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 7 H, .237 OBP
Last Week: 6 hits in 19 at-bats, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Cody Asche shook off a 1-for-17 slump to begin his major league career this past week with a pair of multi-hit games for the Phillies.
In his first multi-hit game, he picked up his first extra-base hit and in his second multi-hit game, he hit his first major league home run.
Asche has only struck out six times in 36 at-bats, but is also seeing just 3.14 pitches per plate appearance so far.
With Michael Young seeing more time at first base, Asche should be the primary starting third baseman for the rest of the season, meaning that he should have plenty of time to raise his batting average.
*Asche’s major league statistics can be found on ESPN.com.
6. Adam Morgan, SP
Stats: 14 GS, 65.1 IP, 18 BB, 50 K, 3.72 ERA
Last Week: 2 GS, 8.2 IP, 3 BB, 5 K, 2 ER
Adam Morgan made two starts this week with mixed results.
In his first start, Morgan struck out five batters and walked none while earning his first Triple-A win in more than three months. He also gave up seven hits in the start, but did not give up an earned run.
In his second start, Morgan pitched 3.2 innings, did not strike out a batter and walked three.
Morgan’s first start of the week was more in line with the types of performances he had been turning in earlier this season prior to his rotator cuff injury.
The right-hander still has a solid ERA for the month, but International League hitters have gotten to him a bit as of late.
He is on pace to give up his highest number of hits in a month for this season, although he did miss significant time earlier due to injury.
With Ethan Martin in the major leagues and Roy Halladay working his way back, there is a strong chance that Morgan will finish the season in Triple-A.
However, strong performances could help him get another long look in spring training and find himself in a situation similar to the one Jonathan Pettibone and Morgan were also in this season.
4. J.P. Crawford, SS
Stats: 33 games, .377 BA, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 46 H, 10 SB, .469 OBP
Last Week: 10 hits in 24 at-bats, 1 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI
J.P. Crawford, who is batting .429 in August, struck out just two times this past week.
The Phillies' first-round selection from the June draft had three multi-hit games for the week, including a game in which he had three hits and drove in four runs.
Crawford, a left-handed batter, is batting .418 against right-handers to go with a .505 OBP.
He currently leads the Gulf Coast League in batting average and OBP and has drawn the third-highest number of walks in the league.
There is a chance Crawford will start next season in the South Atlantic League as a 19-year-old if he can keep it up.
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
Injured Roman Quinn remains out of action after having last played on June 24.
If he is able to return this season, Quinn could use a strong finish to help keep his progression on track, although it could be difficult for him to begin next season in the Florida State League after having only batted .188 in June.
However, a strong finish and fast start next season could help him advance to High-A ball.
Quinn could eventually be asked to change positions if J.P. Crawford shows that he has a strong grasp on the team’s future shortstop position.
2. Maikel Franco, 3B
Stats: 111 games, .317 BA, 25 HR, 86 RBI, 143 H, .357 OBP
Last Week: 8 hits in 25 at-bats, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Maikel Franco only had two multi-hit games this past week, which was a low total for him in his outstanding season.
After getting off to a slow start this past week, Franco finished with five hits in two games.
Franco is still batting .335 in Double-A, where he has set a career high for hits and RBI in a season. He is also on track for posting his highest single-season OBP of his career.
The right-handed batter is still not walking at a high rate, but if he can finish the season without his batting average differing too much from where it is now, he could factor into the Phillies’ offseason plans.
With Chase Utley signed for at least two more years, there is a strong chance that Franco, Cody Asche and Utley could all be in the lineup at the same time.
If that is what the Phillies have in mind, one player will have to change positions, which could impact long-term free agent contracts that the team offers.
If that happens, Franco will have gone from the Florida State League to impacting the Phillies' plans for as early as 2014.
1. Jesse Biddle, SP
Stats: 23 GS, 117.1 IP, 69 BB, 128 K, 3.76 ERA
Last Week: 1 GS, 6 IP, 7 BB, 5 K, 0 ER
Jesse Biddle had an interesting start this past week.
In six innings of work, Biddle did not give up an earned run and only allowed three hits. However, he also walked seven batters.
The start was the first time in more than a month that Biddle did not give up an earned run, but he also set a career high for walks in a game.
Biddle has already exceeded his walks total from last season despite making three fewer starts this season. He leads the Eastern League in both strikeouts and walks.
Although he is on pace to walk more batters in August than he did in July, Biddle has a 2.45 ERA and is holding opponents to a .211 batting average this month.
The left-hander has thrown nearly 400 innings over the last three seasons, but has maintained his high strikeout totals. After an offseason of giving his arm a rest, Biddle has a chance to begin next season in the International League.