With about 60 games left in the 2013 minor league season, the challenge for all the minor league guys will be to “finish strong”. The future of most of them will be determined by how they do over the final two months of the minor league season. Making the 40 man roster, assignments to the Arizona Fall League, the Fall Instructional League and Winter Leagues, invites to the coveted major league spring training camp or outright releases will be determined for most of these guys in large part by how they finish up the next two months.
For two players on rehab assignments, the rest of the season has extra special significance. Clearwater Threshers outfielder Cameron Perkins was and still is leading the Florida State League in hitting after he was hit by a pitch and fractured his wrist back on May 31st. Highly rated Lehigh Valley catcher Tommy Joseph suffered a concussion on a foul tip off his mask back on May 4th.
Yesterday in a GCL game against the Braves on Carlton Field, Cameron Perkins picked up right where he left off as he came off the DL for his first game. In his first at bat he squared up a ball and hit it down the third base line for for a double. The next time up he just missed on one as he lined a shot caught at the base of the right center field fence. Then he leveled off on a pitch in his third time up and hit a frozen rope for a homers over the left field wall. In his final time up he worked a walk. It looked like he had not missed a beat.
On the other hand it has been a struggle for Tommy Joseph at the bat. Last night he went 0 for 6 with four strike outs in an extra inning game at Brighthouse Field for the Threshers. Tommy seems to want to make up for lost time every time up. He seems to be trying too hard. The good news is that Tommy caught all 12 innings in the Threshers 4-3 win so it is only a matter of time before he starts timing up the ball at the plate.
In the Threshers 4-3 win last night, right fielder Kelly Dugan was the star. He hit a two run homer off of Dunedin’s rehabbing and former Phillies farmhand Kyle Drabek to tie up the game in the 6th inning. Then in the bottom of the 12th inning he singled, stole second for his first steal steal of the season and scored the winning run on a Jonathan Roof walk off single.
What does this all mean? With the Phillies organization it is hard to tell but we can always speculate. In yesterday’s and this morning’s GCL games Perkins has been playing in right field. This adds to speculation that the current Thresher’s right fielder Kelly Dugan may soon be moved to a higher level. He is hitting .322 and was leading the FSL in hitting up and until a recent batting slump.
Interestingly, the guy who overtook him in the batting race while on the DL was Cameron Perkins who still qualifies and was hitting .337 when he was injured. Even more of an oddity, it was Perkins who was moved from right to left field when Dugan came off the disbled list to take over in right for the Threshers after a back injury sidelined him to start the season back in April.
In any event the Phillies have an excess of riches in the outfield and catching at the high A level. The next several days should shake things down and answer our questions as to where Cameron Perkins, Kelly Dugan and Tommy Joseph will play out the final and most important two months of the minor league season.