Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies' Top 10 Prospects Entering Week 4

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterApril 21, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies' Top 10 Prospects Entering Week 4

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    Top prospect Maikel Franco is off to a slow start at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
    Top prospect Maikel Franco is off to a slow start at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.USA TODAY Sports

    It was a tough week for the Philadelphia Phillies, as they went 2-4 in six games and fell to last place in the National League East.

    Thankfully, things weren’t quite as bleak down on the farm; many of the team’s top offensive prospects came out of their respective shells last week and put up impressive numbers, especially those players at Low-A Lakewood in the South Atlantic League.

    The following is a look at the early-season performances of the Phillies’ current top-10 prospects, as ranked by Prospect Pipeline headed into 2014. This series is updated weekly, a with a stock “up,” “even” or “down” indication given to each prospect based upon what direction his performance is trending.

10. Zach Green, 3B

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    2014 Stats

    Low-A Lakewood (15 games): .186/.273/.220, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 3 SB, 7 BB, 12 K

     

    Overview

    A third-round draft pick in 2012 out of a California high school, Zach Green is making his full-season debut after posting an .822 OPS with 20 doubles, 13 home runs and a 91-31 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 311 plate appearances last season at Short-Season Williamsport.

    The 6’3”, 210-pound third baseman has average power and good bat speed from the right side of the plate, but the amount of swing-and-miss to his game is already a concern and raises questions about his hit-tool potential.

    After a slow start to the season, Green’s bat finally came alive last week. He enters Monday riding a four-game hitting streak during which he’s batting .400 with three runs and four walks.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    7-for-19, 3 RBI, SB, 5 BB, 4 K (5 games)

     

    Stock

    Even

9. Ken Giles, RHP

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    Double-A Reading (6 games): 5 SV, 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 BB, 16 K

     

    Overview

    Ken Giles has huge late-inning upside; the 23-year-old right-hander boasts a legit triple-digit fastball and entered the season with a 12.2 strikeout rate in 112.1 career minor league innings. Unfortunately, Giles also owns a 5.8 walk rate during that span, which helps to explain why this season marks his first at the Double-A level.

    However, after a strong showing in last year’s Arizona Fall League followed by an equally impressive performance in spring training, Giles has quickly emerged as one of the more dominant relievers in the minor leagues. Through his first seven innings this season, the right-hander has five saves and is yet to allow an earned run while also posting a stellar (and obviously vastly improved) 16-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

    At this rate, it shouldn’t be long until he joins the Phillies bullpen.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    1 SV, 2 IP, 0 ER, BB, 5 K (2 games)

     

    Stock

    Up

8. Dylan Cozens, OF

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    2014 Stats

    Low-A Lakewood (15 games): .258/.279/.348, 3 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 3 SB, 2 BB, 19 K

     

    Overview

    Dylan Cozens, the Phillies’ second-round draft pick in 2012, is coming off a promising 2013 campaign in which he batted .265/.343/.469 with a 64-28 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 277 plate appearances for Short-Season Williamsport. Like many of his teammates, the 19-year-old is making his full-season debut this year at Low-A Lakewood.

    Cozens got off to a painfully slow start this season—as did many young players making their full-season debuts in cold-weather leagues—but started to put things together last week. He enters Monday riding a five-game hitting streak during which he’s batting .318 (7-for-22) with two extra-base hits and three RBI. However, it’s also worth noting Cozens has posted an 8-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that span.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    7-for-22, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 7 K (5 games)

     

    Stock

    Even

7. Andrew Knapp, C/OF

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    2014 Stats

    N/A

     

    Overview

    Selected in the second round of the 2013 draft out of the University of California, Andrew Knapp, a 22-year-old switch-hitting catcher, spent his professional debut last summer playing for Short-Season Williamsport, batting .253/.340/.401 with 20 doubles, four home runs and a 57-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 247 plate appearances.

    Unfortunately, Knapp underwent Tommy John surgery in early October and isn’t expected to return this season until June, at the earliest. It’ll be interesting to follow whether the injury affects his development behind the plate moving forward.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    N/A

     

    Stock

    Even

6. Carlos Tocci, OF

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    2014 Stats

    Low-A Lakewood (14 games): .258/.281/.290, 2 2B, 5 RBI, BB, 15 K

     

    Overview

    Carlos Tocci spent 2013 as a 17-year-old at Low-A Lakewood, so don’t read too far into his .209/.261/.249 batting line with 17 doubles and a 77-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 459 plate appearances. The right-handed-hitting outfielder is already enjoying more success this year back at the level and, like many of his teammates on this list, caught fire last week with a .500 batting average and five runs scored in five games.

    That being said, don’t expect Tocci to receive a promotion—if he receives a promotion, that is—until late in the summer.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    11-for-22, 5 R, 4 RBI, BB, 3 K (5 games)

     

    Stock

    Up

5. Aaron Altherr, OF

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    High-A Clearwater (7 games): .250/.364/.429, 2B, 2 3B, 5 BB, 8 K

     

    Overview

    Aaron Altherr, 23, has spent parts of the last four seasons between the Phillies’ Class-A affiliates but turned in a breakout performance last year at High-A Clearwater, batting .275/.337/.455 with 54 extra-base hits (12 home runs) and 23 stolen bases. However, the toolsy, 6’5”, 220-pound outfielder also struck out a career-high 140 times against 45 walks in 527 plate appearances.

    Back at Clearwater this season, Altherr made his season debut last week and has since hit safely in five of seven games.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    7-for-25, 2B, 2 3B, 4 BB, 7 K (6 games)

     

    Stock

    Even

4. Ethan Martin, RHP

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats: N/A

     

    Overview

    After coming over from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, Ethan Martin, 24, spent last season between Triple-A and the major leagues but struggled to find success at both levels. With the Phillies, Martin served as mostly an innings-eater late in the year, as he posted a 6.08 ERA and 47-26 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40 innings (15 games, eight starts).

    Martin is expected to work primarily out of the bullpen moving forward, but he opened the season on the disabled list after being diagnosed with a strained right shoulder capsule during spring training. The right-hander was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on April 11; however, there hasn’t been any update on his status.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    N/A

     

    Stock

    Even

3. Jesse Biddle, LHP

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    Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    Double-A Reading (4 games started): 21.1 IP, 3.80 ERA, 6 BB, 28 K

     

    Overview

    Jesse Biddle was widely considered the Phillies’ top prospect headed into 2013, but his control regressed against advanced hitters in Double-A and blemished the left-hander’s otherwise solid campaign. Making 27 starts for Double-A Reading, Biddle, 22, posted a 3.64 ERA and 154-82 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 138.1 innings.

    Assigned back to the level this year, Biddle struggled in his first two starts, allowing a combined eight earned runs on 15 hits (two home runs) in 10.1 innings. Since then, though, he’s allowed just one earned run on six hits in 11 frames.

    Biddle’s outing last week was easily his best of the 2014 season, as the left-hander allowed one earned run on two hits and a walk with 11 strikeouts in seven innings.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    7 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), BB, 11 K (1 game started)

     

    Stock

    Up

2. J.P. Crawford, SS

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    2014 Stats

    Low-A Lakewood (13 games): .286/.355/.375, 9 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 SB, 5 BB, 9 K

     

    Overview

    Selected with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 draft, J.P. Crawford was viewed as the best pure shortstop prospect in last year’s class and then played like one during the summer in his professional debut. After batting .345/.443/.465 with 12 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases in 39 Gulf Coast League games, Crawford finished his inaugural campaign with 14 games at Low-A Lakewood.

    After a slow start this year back at Lakewood, Crawford, 19, has begun to heat up at the dish, hitting safely in four of six games last week and amassing seven total knocks.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    7-for-21, 5 R, 2 SB, 3 BB, 4 K (5 games)

     

    Stock

    Up

1. Maikel Franco, 3B/1B

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A Lehigh Valley (16 games): .153/.231/.186, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 15 K

     

    Overview

    Maikel Franco emerged as one of the sport’s top offensive prospects last season, as the then-20-year-old batted .320/.356/.569 with 36 doubles, 31 home runs and 103 RBI in 134 games between High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. The right-handed hitter’s eye-opening campaign earned him an extended look this year during spring training; however, Franco failed to capitalize on the opportunity and batted just .184 in 16 games.

    Well, Franco’s struggles carried over into the regular season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 21-year-old was batting just .186 before a breakout performance on Sunday, when he was 3-for-5 with a double, two runs and two RBI.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    5-for-18, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 5 K (5 games)

     

    Stock

    Down