Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Phillies' Top 10 Prospects for Week 17
With the MLB non-waiver trade deadline looming on July 31, the focus around baseball tends to be on what major league teams will be doing to bolster their rosters. Whether it's by means of acquiring talent for the home stretch or for the future, many names will switch places over the next few days, if they haven't already.
In the case of the Philadelphia Phillies, who reside in last place in the NL East with a 46-59 record, any talent they acquire will be of the minor league and/or prospect variety. They will not be a team trying to trade prospects away because they aren't in any sort of playoff race and the farm system is too depleted to be able to sacrifice the little depth it has. Consequently, the Phillies prospects will continue to develop along their current tracks within the Phillies organization.
Without further ado, here's the Week 17 edition of Stock Up, Stock Down for the Phillies' top prospects.
10. RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
Season Stats: 0-4, 4.08 ERA, 33 K, 16 BB, .268 BAA (18 G, 28.2 IP)
Last Week's Stats: 0-1, 8.71 ERA, 5 K, 2 BB (2 G, 3.1 IP)
After a promising run of appearances, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was knocked around this past week. He's now allowed at least an earned run in each of his last three outings, with two earned runs charged to him in 1.1 innings of work in his most recent game.
Gonzalez has some work to do if he wants to make the majors in 2014. Of course, the priority is for the Phillies to get as much bang for their buck out of Gonzalez, especially when he's already been demoted to relief duties for at least the rest of the season.
9. C Deivi Grullon
Season Stats: .246 AVG, .286 OBP, .323 SLG, 1 HR, 20 RBI, 3 SB (56 G)
Last Week's Stats: 4-for-19, .211 AVG, 1 RBI, 1 2B (5 G)
Like Gonzalez before him, young catcher Deivi Grullon has encountered some struggles within the last week. After batting .357 in Week 16, Grullon's average slipped to .211 for the following week. Perhaps more alarming is that since the last edition of this piece, Grullon's OBP has dipped from an already poor .299 to an even more subpar .286.
The good news is that the 18-year-old Grullon is in no rush to make the majors anytime soon, so he'll be given all the time in the world to develop. Nevertheless, it doesn't excuse the mediocre performance he has had in recent games.
8. RHP Severino Gonzalez
Season Stats: 6-11, 5.09 ERA, 89 K, 25 BB, .282 BAA (21 GS, 123.2 IP)
Last Week's Stats: 0-1, 13.50 ERA, 1 K, 2 BB, 6 ER (1 GS, 4.0 IP)
As if Severino Gonzalez's 2014 season couldn't get any worse, he was lit up in his most recent start on July 23. In only four innings of work, Gonzalez allowed six earned runs on 13 hits and walked more batters than he struck out. Granted, two walks isn't terrible, but it looks even worse when Gonzalez could only rack up one strikeout on the day.
Gonzalez's progression has slowed due to his decline this season, but it's worth wondering just how soon he'll be ready for the majors. Safe to say, Gonzalez will be in the minors for this year and at least a good portion of 2015.
7. OF Cameron Perkins
Season Stats: .279 AVG, .338 OBP, .404 SLG, 3 HR, 41 RBI, 5 SB (94 G)
Last Week's Stats: 1-for-17, .059 AVG, 1 RBI, 1 2B (5 G)
Unfortunately, the Phillies prospects' downward trend continues with outfielder Cameron Perkins, who has really struggled since his promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Now batting just .191 in 42 games with the IronPigs, Perkins exacerbated his numbers by notching just one hit in the last week.
Perkins has been another player who could have garnered consideration for a September call-up under the right circumstances. His troubles at Triple-A have been disconcerting, though, so it wouldn't be a huge surprise if Perkins doesn't make his Phillies debut until 2015.
6. OF Carlos Tocci
Season Stats: .255 AVG, .304 OBP, .343 SLG, 1 HR, 27 RBI (98 G)
Last Week's Stats: 7-for-21, .333 AVG, 2 RBI, 2 3B, 1 CS (6 G)
Venezuelan outfielder Carlos Tocci has continued to raise his prospect stock. Continuing on Week 16 when he slugged his first home run of the 2014 season, Tocci has batted .333 in the last week while managing to bring his season OBP over .300. He also hit two triples, which is rather noteworthy.
Tocci's ceiling is still uncertain, as he's slighter in build and is still growing into himself. However, the Phillies should be pleased with the progress Tocci continues to make.
5. OF Roman Quinn
Season Stats: .234 AVG, .322 OBP, .326 SLG, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 17 SB (55 G)
Last Week's Stats: 5-for-24, .208 AVG, 3 RBI, 1 2B, 6 SB (7 G)
While a .208 batting average over the last week isn't something to write home about, it holds meaning for outfield prospect Roman Quinn. After starting the season out with a ruptured Achilles tendon, Quinn has gradually made strides to get back to his old self.
Quinn's average dipped three points, but his six steals in the last seven games—one in each of his last six games, in fact—would suggest that the worst of the Achilles woes is behind him. That alone is cause for celebration, as it means that Quinn's development as a center fielder shouldn't have too many hitches going forward.
4. LHP Jesse Biddle
Season Stats: 3-9, 5.02 ERA, 79 K, 41 BB, .245 BAA (16 GS, 80.2 IP)
Last Week's Stats: 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 ER (1 GS, 2.0 IP)
Although Jesse Biddle's season has been a disaster filled with lackluster performance and a hiatus from baseball altogether, he finally returned to the mound on July 26. In one start for the Gulf Coast League Phillies, Biddle pitched two innings while allowing just one hit, albeit a home run.
That Biddle has come back after not pitching since June 23 is encouraging enough to boost his stock for the week. It could be a slow "recovery" for Biddle to return to his former level, but the most important thing to preach with the hometown lefty is patience. That's exactly what he'll have until further notice, even if it means a 2014 MLB debut is now out of the question.
3. RHP Aaron Nola
Season Stats: 1-3, 3.42 ERA, 22 K, 4 BB, .229 BAA (6 G, 5 GS, 26.1 IP)
Last Week's Stats: 0-0, 1.80 ERA, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 ER (1 GS, 5.0 IP)
2014 first-round pick Aaron Nola has steadily improved as he's further seasoned himself as a professional. After a bumpy start to his career, Nola has settled in nicely, allowing three earned runs or less in each of his last four starts while pitching five innings in all of them as well.
Nola's control has been especially impressive, as evidenced by his 22/4 K/BB ratio. He's also allowed just three earned runs over his last 10 innings, which is no small feat. At his current rate, Nola should be major league ready by early 2015 at the latest.
2. 3B Maikel Franco
Season Stats: .233 AVG, .283 OBP, .368 SLG, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 1 SB (99 G)
Last Week's Stats: 4-for-21, .190 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI (6 G)
Maikel Franco has slowly inched himself closer to his breakout 2013 season, but he's still a far cry off from his 31-home run, 103-RBI campaign last year. His batting average and OPS have climbed ever so slightly, while he also slugged a home run recently to bring his total up to seven on the season.
However, Franco's batting average is still far below where it should be. He's likely looking at a September promotion at best, barring any unforeseen trade deadline moves the Phillies make in the coming days. Franco should be the Phillies' biggest power threat when he arrives, even if that isn't apparent by his numbers in 2014.
1. SS J.P. Crawford
Season Stats: .292 AVG, .386 OBP, .402 SLG, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 16 SB (93 G)
Last Week's Stats: 8-for-24, .333 AVG, 2 RBI, 1 2B, 2 SB (7 G)
J.P. Crawford continues to find ways to get the job done. After a week in which he batted .385, Crawford followed it up this week by adding some steals and a double. While Crawford's 10 failed stolen base attempts are a bit of a concern, he's made up for it with his 16 swiped bags on the season.
Crawford's batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage have all increased in the last seven days, too. He's obviously a ways away from the majors, but Crawford is still looking like a superstar in the making down on the farm.
All prospects on this list have yet to make their MLB debuts. All prospect commentary courtesy of the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook and/or MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. All statistics courtesy of MiLB.com.