What do we know? We know the Phillies need a third baseman. They need a fourth outfielder who can play defense. Yes, they need a center fielder too. Don’t forget about a power arm out of the pen. A team never has enough of them. So lets look at four Phillies prospects who have never played in the major leagues but who could get a shot on the 25 man major league roster sometime in 2013.
Cody Asche is completing only his second season in professional ball after playing third for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. He was drafted by the Phillies as their fourth round pick in 2012 and had a break out season this year. He hit .349 the first half of the season with the Clearwater Threshers; then .300 with the Reading Phillies in the second half and .429 in the Eastern League playoffs. So far after two weeks in the Arizona Fall League he is hitting .313 with four doubles and a home run for the Peoria Javelins. Most importantly he has made no errors at third.
Why not Asche at third to open the season in Philadelphia. He has pop. His home run this week in Arizona was his 13th of the season. He swings from the left side but hits both righties and lefties. I guess his only draw back is he is only 22 years old. Well, the Orioles, Rangers and now the Tigers all started younger players than Cody this season in the post season and the Tigers are in the World Series. Let’s see if Asche gets a shot at third in spring training.
With Victorino gone and Mayberry less than impressive in his debut in center field in the final months of the season, the center field position has to be open for a young prospect if not a free agent. Tyson Gillies should get a shot but he has trouble staying on the the field. Personal and physical problems have plagued his Phillies career. Even now in the Venezuelan Winter League he was pinch run for in game a week ago and has not played since. If Gillies could ever pus it all together he would be the Phillies answer in center field.
Good news that just came across the transom or I mean the internet. Guess I am giving my age away again. Derrick Mitchell has re-signed with the Phillies for a ninth season in the organization. If you have followed this blog you know that D-Mitch ranks high on my list of over looked major league prospects who all they need is a chance to show what they can do at the final level. When I go to a game offensively I like the long ball. I have seen Derrick hit some long tape measure shots over the last two years with Reading and on Milb-TV with Lehigh Valley this season. But it is his defensive play in the outfield is what always impressed me the most. Back at the end of the 2010 Clearwater Thresher season Baseball Betsy and I watched Derrick bring back a sure home run by running a great route from center field when he, in stride, caught the ball reaching over the left center field wall in front of the visitors bullpen at BrightHouse. He looked like a basketball player taking a lead pass and slam dunking the ball in one motion. This season watching on Milb-TV he made the same type of catch at Coca-Cola park in Allentown. A good arm, can steal a base and plays all out field positions, Derrick Mitchell is ready to show what we already know: he is a major league ready outfielder.
If the Phillies are serious about giving Darin Ruf a shot as the every day left fielder next year, Mitchell would be a perfect late inning defensive replacement for him. In 2011 in Reading Derrick was ticketed to start in right field but Gillies broke down early that season and he played the rest of the season in center. The best play I saw him make in Reading was a catch he made on the run facing the center field wall when he snatched the ball out of the air coming down over his head just before he ran out of room in dead center field. He takes much better routes to balls than did Mayberry and Victorino sometimes did last season. So far this season Darin Ruf has hit 45 home runs between, Reading, the Eastern league playoffs, the Phillies and the Venezuelan Winter League. Someone with that kind of power has to have a position to play with the Phillies even if he is just learning left field after spending his entire career at first base . Derrick Mitchell would make a top of the line late inning defensive replacement when needed for Ruf in 2013.
The only minor league Phillies player who has been in the organization longer than Derrick Mitchell is Tim Kennelly. TK was signed as a 16 year old international free agent from Australia by the Phillies in 2003. As we have blogged in previous posts Kennelly impressed us in the recently concluded Florida Instructional League as a power relief pitcher. He has played every position in the Phillies system except shortstop but now as a pitcher out of the pen who can throw in the mid to high 90’s and gaining control and command, don’t rule Kennelly out as a member of the Phillies pen sometime during the 2013 season.
Cody Asche, Tyson Gillies, Derrick Mitchell and Tim Kennelly are four players to watch who just might be making their major league debuts in 2013 and making a difference for the Phillies.