Friday night, I traveled to Trenton to see the Reading Phillies and Trenton Thunder play game 3 of their playoff series. Over recent years, the Phillies have been given the label of a “win now” team, and their farm system has been rated as average at best. This year, that notion has somewhat changed. The Phillies may not have a Jurickson Profar or Mike Trout in their system, but they have a lot of future big league players. The combination of a good development program and stockpiling talent in recent trades has given the Phillies a lot to look forward to in the future.
Here are 5 guys from last night to get excited about if you are a Phillies fan.
OF Darin Ruf
Though Ruf didn’t do anything of substance last night, I was extremely impressed with his approach at the plate. One thing is for sure, he can straight demolish fastballs. If Ruf can continue to improve his pitch recognition, he could not only be an effective MLB hitter, but a guy who could hit 20 to 30 home runs at the next level. For a big guy he is athletic at first base, but if he is in the Phillies plans next year and beyond, time will only tell if he is athletic enough for the outfield. With his bat though, he will find a way to make an impact. In my opinion, this is not a one year wonder kind of player, or kind of swing. He will hit on any level he plays at.
P Ethan Martin
Acquired in the Shane Victorino trade, Martin had 11 strikeouts in a dominant performance last night. NO ONE was touching his fastball, and he was throwing gas past hitters all night. When he did get hit a few times, it was on location which is normal for a Double A pitcher. Overall though, this acquisition from the Dodgers could be a steal. He definitely has the talent to be a number 3 starter in the big leagues within a few years. The Phillies may have robbed the Dodgers with this one, as long as he can continue to improve his location and secondary stuff.
3B Cody Asche
Asche had three hits, two of them doubles and looked like a guy with plus power to the gaps. His defense is a bit shaky, but Asche looks like he could be a good Major League player from the offensive side. Most power guys at that stage look to pull everything, where Asche seems to have a really good idea of using the field to display his power. Overall, he could be an interesting option at 3rd Base in a few years, but his defense does need to improve.
C Tommy Joseph
Joseph, acquired in the Hunter Pence trade from SF looks, like the heir apparent to Carlos Ruiz behind the plate. Joseph doesn’t have one tool that sticks out, but he just looks like a seasoned veteran out there. He has great at bats, already a better approach than a lot of Major League hitters, along with a potential to hit for power. Behind the plate, he calls a really good game. Really good rhythm and seems to have the rare gift of putting down a sign the pitcher always is going to trust. His instincts stand out, and comparably to other players at that level he is superior.
OF Tyson Gillies
Yes, since his arrival in the Cliff Lee trade his injuries and incidents have outweighed his performance, but I was extremely impressed with what I saw from him. He has a solid bat, but what really stands out is his exceptional speed on the bases and in the outfield. Also, put on display a couple of times his gun of an arm which is way above average. If he can stay healthy, continue to mature and stay out of trouble, Gillies will be a Shane Victorino-type of player for the Phillies in the future.
Sure, it’s a good possibility not all of these guys will pan out, but the future is bright for the Phillies and their farm system. After watching last night, I felt at ease about the future of the Phillies, confident in the direction the organization is heading in. Good things are coming to Philadelphia soon.