The Phillies through CNS beat writer Jim Salisbury are telling us tonight that Cody Asche is beginning his move to left field. Read Here. Oh, General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. still says he is the Phillies starting third baseman. But really! After what Maikel Franco has done down in the Dominican Winter League while playing mostly at third how can he be denied the hot corner sometime in 2015?
Tuesday at high noon, Franco will lead his Dominican Gigantes team into the Caribbean Series against Venezuela and later games against Mexico, Cuba and host Puerto Rico for bragging rights as the best baseball county in Latin America. Maikel dominated the Dominican playoffs and it will be interesting to see if he can continue his hot play in the Series.
In an earlier blog last Fall we projected Asche as the Phillies left fielder of the future. Now the work begins as he prepares to move from the infield to the outfield. The Phillies Front Office has all but said Ryan Howard has no trading partner and looks to be the starting first baseman. That just might leave Franco at third and Asche in left.
I still like a platoon of Howard and Ruf at first but the Phillies still hope, if Howard can hit enough, that he might have some trade value before the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. I doubt it. The Phillies should put out a lineup that gives them the best chance of winning now, not by 2018 the date we are now hearing about from new team President Pat Gillick.
I have never been a fan of Ben Revere. His weak arm, poor routes in center and low on base percent are liabilities in center and leading off. I don’t care what his batting average is!
Clearly, Roman Quinn is the Phillies centerfielder of the future after he wowed the scouts in the Arizona Fall League last October and November. It looks like he might start the season back in Clearwater with the Threshers according to some reports. He belongs in Reading, then Lehigh Vally by mid-season and Philadelphia by September. After playing in the AFL Stars game the year before Cody Asche in 2013 and Ken Giles in 2014 both made their Phillies debut. Quinn can do the same thing in 2015.
Domonic Brown is expected to be moved back to right field this season where he was an All-Star for only a month or so in 2013. The rest of the time since he has been a disappointment. This will be his ninth season in the Phillies organization. If he does not produce again it will be time for him to move on.
The Phillies right fielder of the future is likely not Domonic Brown. That leaves second round pick in 2012 Dylan Cozens as the leading prospect to take over at some point. He will turn only 21 the end of May but be starting his fourth season in the Phillies system. The other option could be Aaron Brown who will turn 23 years old on June 20th. He was the Phillies third round pick last year as another leading candidate for right field at Citizens Bank Park. Both are left handed bats. Cozens will likely start at Clearwater and Brown at Lakewood. But Brown’s age might dictate a quick move up the Phillies system as a corner outfielder.
Cozens showed what he was all about in the Australia Baseball League where he showed five tool ability. He hit 24 homers combined between Lakewood and the ABL. If he can put up strong first half numbers with the Threshers, look for him to move up to Reading by mid-season much like Asche did in 2012 and Franco did in 2013.
With the right handed hitting Franco who has hit 27 homers combined in regular and offseason ball in the 2014-2015 season joining at some point in the Phillies lineup the left handed hitting Cozens hit 24 long balls during the same time, the Phillies will have pop for a long time in the middle of the lineup.
It’s looking more and more like the Phillies outfield of the future is starting to shape up as Asche gets a quick schooling in left field. It will be interesting to see if he passes the test. That would mean he would join Quinn in center and Cozens in right at some point in the future.
It will be interesting to see how much playing time Cody gets in left field during Grapefruit League action in March. That will be very telling!