Minor League Hot List: Franco, Leiter, Joseph & More – Phillies Nation

Minor League Hot List: Franco, Leiter, Joseph & More

It’s another edition of our weekly minor league round up, where we take a look at the hottest players in the Phillies system.  Read ahead for all the notes on your standout prospects and a shining pro vet.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs-

Maikel Franco, Image- Jay Floyd

Third baseman Maikel Franco is 9-for-31 (.290 avg) with three doubles, a homer and five RBI in his last seven games.  The 21-year-old Domincan was batting .111 on the season prior to that stretch of games.

Righty hurler Greg Smith has been on fire in his past three starts, posting a 2-0 record with a 0.90 ERA while striking out 15 and walking one in 20 innings during that stretch.  Smith tallied a 3.31 ERA in 23 games with the IronPigs last season.  The 30-year-old has pitched in the big leagues with Oakland and Colorado.

Double-A Reading Fightins-

Outfielder Cam Perkins has maintained his strong output since the start of the season and, after notching his 12th multi-hit game of the year on Monday, is batting .375 through 21 games.  The Purdue product was a 6th round draft choice in 2012.  Perkins, 23, sports a 1.013 OPS, which is 4th best in the Eastern League.

Prior to landing on the disabled list with concussion complications last weekend, catcher Tommy Joseph was heating up considerably.  The 22-year-old had gone 12-for-33 (.367 avg) with two doubles, three homers and 13 RBI in the eight games prior to his latest injury.  Don’t be surprised if the backstop changes positions, as the wear and tear behind the dish won’t help him stay healthy.

Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers- 

Righty reliever Colton Murray has looked strong overall this year.  In eight appearances, the 24-year-old has a 2-1 record along with a 1.93 ERA while striking out 16 and walking six in 14 innings of work.  Murray was a 13th round pick out of the University of Kansas in 2011.

Class A Lakewood BlueClaws-

Starting pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. has been the most consistent performer throughout the Phils minor league ranks thus far in 2014.  The 23-year-old has tallied a 3-1 record along with a 1.97 ERA while striking out 27 and walking six in 32 innings over five starts.  Most recently, last year’s 22nd round draft choice tossed eight shut out innings against the Mets affiliate Savannah on Saturday.  To check out my recent feature, with quotes from Leiter, click here.

First baseman/catcher/DH Willians Astudillo continues to perform very well, as the 22-year-old Venezuelan is batting .400 with a homer and 10 RBI through 16 games.  Astudillo saw a 12-game hitting streak come to an end on Saturday.



  1. Hogey's Role

    April 29, 2014 at 11:11 am

    We’ll I hope that tommy Joseph is going to switch positions… I kept saying to do that last year, the only problem will be where he switches to, left field, first, third??? Where to?

    • schmenkman

      April 29, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      The way I’ve heard it, at catcher he’s a viable prospect. Anywhere else, he has a much lower chance of ever making it to the majors.

      If he were to move, 1B is most likely, but then he would have to hit a whole lot more than he has so far to be a legitimate prospect. A corner outfield spot requires somewhat less hitting, but it’s unclear if he can handle that any better than say Ruf. I don’t think I’ve ever seen discussion about him and third base.

      • Hogey's Role

        April 29, 2014 at 2:15 pm

        I was just throwing some positions out there, we’re really not sure how well he can even hit over a full season because he’s only really been healthy for like two and that was a couple seasons ago… Maybe he’ll have to be traded to the a.l. to dh, I’m not sure

      • schmenkman

        April 29, 2014 at 3:36 pm

        Again, for something like DH, he would have to hit way more than he’s shown so far. Rizzottis, Overbecks, Murphys, Rufs, etc. who can hit well but can only play 1B or DH are way too numerous for someone who hits like Joseph (to date) to have a shot.

  2. Jaron B

    April 29, 2014 at 11:23 am

    For Joseph, I think 1B or OF… is he capable of being in the OF? How’re Biddle & Giles doing at Reading?

  3. pigsflynj

    April 29, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Watching Franco since the beginning of the season, he needs a lot of seasoning. Still doesn’t look comfortable.
    The player I am hoping will catch the big clubs eyes is Tyler Henson. Hitting just under .300 this player has turned into a great player. He has played 3rd, 2nd, LF and RF. Last year he it .316 with many clutch doubles. Last year he replaced Cody Ashe at 3rd and the Pigs didn’t miss a beat. The best part is he bats tight.
    Please check out Tyler…

    • Lefty

      April 29, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      I was told he didn’t care for all that much seasoning, but that if he did, Old Bay was his favorite.

      • Lefty

        April 29, 2014 at 3:52 pm

        Bat-tum tuss!

  4. bacardipr

    April 30, 2014 at 4:33 am

    Eye is been kept on Tyler. He appears to K a ton, and doesnt hit for enough power to overlook that aspect. Appears to be a Jayson Nix clone with less power. Caesar is getting reps at 3B down in AA, I would call him up first. Especially with Galvis struggling so much lately. Of course we will need to keep Nix on the roster for time been if Galvis is sent down since he plays SS. This doesnt mean that Tyler cant be used at some point. Cody will likely allowed to keep playing and hopefully put it together. At least for the time been.

  5. wbramh

    April 30, 2014 at 11:43 am

    While Roman Quinn went backwards before injuring his Achilles, J.P. Crawford appears to be headed in a positive direction down in Lakewood. He’s probably already a better bet than Nix at SS but that’s not going to happen this year. Maybe if he spelled his name “Romayn” he’d get as much love from the Phillies’ front office as they give to Laynce and Jayson.

    • wbramh

      April 30, 2014 at 11:46 am

      “Romayn” and “J.Py,” that is.

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