Weekly Minors Roundup: Hernandez, Franco, Altherr, Cozens Heat Up – Phillies Nation

Weekly Minors Roundup: Hernandez, Franco, Altherr, Cozens Heat Up

Here’s another weekly rundown of the Phillies’ minor leagues with details on some recent noteworthy performers…

Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs…

In eight games since returning to the IronPigs’ lineup, following a wrist injury, second baseman/center fielder Cesar Hernandez has gone 11-for-26 (.423 avg) with a double, a triple, two RBI and two steals.  The 23-year-old batted .250 in nine games with the big league Phillies earlier this season.

Third baseman Tyler Henson is batting .375 with seven doubles, four home runs and 17 walks in 22 games since joining the ‘Pigs.  The 25-year-old was signed as a minor league free agent last off-season.

Double-A Reading Fightins…


Maikel Franco, Image- Jay Floyd

In his last six games, Maikel Franco, who turns 21-years-old today, is 8-for-22 (.367 avg) with a double, three home runs and seven RBI.  The Dominican native began playing first base for the Fightins over the weekend after being strictly a third baseman in his pro career till then.  Overall in 126 games combined with Reading and Clearwater, Franco is batting .314 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI this year.

Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers…

Outfielder Aaron Altherr is 15-for-37 (.405 avg) with three doubles, two homers and seven RBI in his last nine games.  The 22-year-old righty hitter is sporting a .276 average with 12 home runs, 68 RBI and 21 steals in 116 games this season.  Altherr was the Phillies’ 9th round draft choice in 2009.

Cameron Perkins, another Threshers outfielder, had a hot stretch ended with an 0-for-5 effort on Sunday.  The Phils’ 6th round pick from 2012 was 11-for-25 (.440 avg) in his previous eight games prior to Sunday’s contest.  Overall this season, the 22-year-old Purdue product is batting .300 with seven homers and 53 RBI in 99 games.

Lefty starting pitcher Hoby Milner has a 3-1 record and a 1.33 ERA in four outings this month.  The 22-year-old was selected in the 7th round of last year’s draft out of the University of Texas.  This season, Milner has a 12-6 record with a 3.77 ERA and a 6.70 K/9 mark in 25 games.

Class A Lakewood BlueClaws…

This year’s 1st round draft pick J.P. Crawford is batting .321 with a double, two RBI and two steals in eight games since joining the ‘Claws.  The 18-year-old shortstop joined Lakewood after sporting a .345/.443/.465 line in 39 games with the GCL Phillies.


Carlos Tocci, Image- Jay Floyd

Outfielder Carlos Tocci is batting .183 in 54 games since the South Atlantic League All-Star game after tallying a .236 average in 60 games prior to the break.  Tocci, who turned 18 this past week, was signed by the Phillies on his 16th birthday two years ago.

Short-season A level Williamsport Crosscutters…

Second baseman Andrew Pullin has gone 12-for-30 (.400 avg) with four doubles, a home run and six RBI in his last seven games.  This season, in 48 games, the 19-year-old is batting .270 with three homers and 21 RBI.  Pullin was the Phillies’ 5th round pick in last year’s draft.

Over an eight-game hit streak that concluded over the weekend, outfielder Dylan Cozens went 10-for-28 (.357 avg) with a double, a triple, a home run and five RBI.  In 58 games this year, the 19-year-old is batting .261 with seven homers, 29 RBI and 10 steals.  The lefty batting Cozens was drafted in the 2nd round last year.

Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies…

Since making the move from the bullpen to the starting rotation, 18-year-old right-hander Tyler Viza has a 1-0 record with a 1.29 ERA in five outings.  Viza was drafted in the 32nd round this year.  Overall in 11 games, the youngster has a 1.55 ERA.



  1. Joe a

    August 26, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Can anyone explain why the Phils have Franco playing 1b?

    • Hogey's Role

      August 26, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Wondering that exact same thing myself…

      The first base hole is plugged for years to come, wouldn’t it be wiser to try Franco in left or right field?

      Just my opinion, but maybe something is going on that we don’t know about yet

    • Jay Floyd

      August 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      I’d say this was done because the transition from corner infield to corner infield is viewed as easier for an in-season move.

      I fully expected Franco to me manning SS and/or OF in the DR winter league, prior to this move. He’s up for any challenge in the field. Definitely a team player, with his mind focused on reaching the big leagues.

      Although, wouldn’t it be interesting if the Phils found a way to ditch Howard and use Franco and/or Ruf in his place?

      • schmenkman

        August 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm

        Jay, I was under the impression Franco wasn’t athletic enough to play SS. Is that not necessarily correct?

      • Hogey's Role

        August 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm

        So is it more likely Franco will swap positions over asche??

    • Alex M.

      August 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      The key with Franco is that his bat is his best asset and his defense and running are average at best. His defense at third would have passed at the major league level, but with Asche showcasing potential gold glove talent at the hot corner it would make sense to see if they can fit Franco elsewhere. I cant see him at SS or the OF because he is just not athletic enough. OF would be the most likely option, but Ruf and Brown have been playing well so it is tough to see a spot for him there next season. But there are question marks about 1st base. With Howard struggling to stay healthy and hit, what kind of future does he have in this league? I know his contract is atrocious and would be difficult to move, it would not surprise me to see him retire early. Or I could see an American league team willing on taking him on as a DH if the Phillies ate a chunk of his salary and asked for nothing in return. As crazy as it sounds there is a real possibility that Franco is starting at 1st next season. Ruben wants the Phils to contend next season, if that means benching Howard to play Franco he is going to do it because his job is on the line.

      • Hogey's Role

        August 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm

        interesting Alex but I doubt anything will happen on the Howard front, though I’m not opposed to what you suggested… no way Howard retires early and leaves that guaranteed money on the table…

        I would love to see Franco in the major leagues next year,I love home grown talent

      • Hogey's Role

        August 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm

        Also from some stats that I’ve seen Franco and asche fielding percentage and range factor actually are about even, I’ve never heard anything about Franco’s defense being about less average than asche

  2. Hogey's Role

    August 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Also I’m curious why we don’t bring up Cesar Hernandez to play center?? Is he not ready defensively yet?

  3. Jay Floyd

    August 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    As for Franco’s athleticism and defense…I’ve seen him perform just as well as Asche at the hot corner and, personally, I feel Franco appears more comfortable at the position. He played SS before turning pro, so he moved the 3B at the direction of the Phillies.

    I think, yes, it is more likely to see Franco change positions. He’s younger and the Phils would have more time to groom him someplace else. I presume Asche COULD head to the VZ or DR winter league to work somewhere else, like Ruf did last year, but the need at 3B is virtually immediate, so one of the two will have to stay there, so maybe that’s not required of a guy that played in the Arizona Fall Lg last yr and who was in spring training early with the big league camp this yr.

    As for Hernandez in CF…nope, he’s not ready for that. Roger Bernadina is a fine option out there, as he’s proven the past couple of days, plus Revere seems to be the player they thought they were getting for the long haul in CF.

    @hogey’s role @schmenkman

    • Hogey's Role

      August 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      thanks Jay that’s what I was thinking on Franco’s defense…

      I understand revere is the guy, and I like him,I was just curious what the plan with Hernandez was I knew they were moving him around so I wasn’t sure if we’d see him soon or not… is the plan to use him as trade bait eventually now??

      • Jay Floyd

        August 26, 2013 at 4:39 pm

        I really hope not. Cesar H would be a great guy to have for depth when the inevitable Utley ailments of the future pop up. He is a singles hitter with very nice speed. If he can learn a serviceable CF, he’d be a solid option that could PH and fill in at multiple spots.

        Defensively, Galvis is all that you’d hope for in those regards, but his bat isn’t and won’t ever be close to that of Hernandez.

      • Hogey's Role

        August 26, 2013 at 4:49 pm

        I like Hernandez too, I’m just beginning to think holes are being filled up and he looks ready for the majors but Idk where they’d put him….

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