With the end of the season coming to a close, now is a good time to begin evaluating the Phillies’ September call-ups. The club promoted two highly touted prospects Roman Quinn (a second round draft pick of the Phils in 2011) and Jorge Alfaro (acquired in the Cole Hamels trade in July of 2015) while others such as Dylan Cozens, Rhys Hoskins, and Ben Lively stayed put and got a head start to their offseason. Position players Cody Asche, Darin Ruf, and Emmanuel Burris were also recalled. A slew of pitchers were brought up as well: Alec Asher, Severino Gonzalez, Phil Klein, Frank Herrmann, Joely Rodriguez, Colton Murray, and Patrick Schuster. Below we grade the four call-ups that are most likely to have an impact on the Phillies future.
Roman Quinn: A
To this point, Roman Quinn deserves an A. What’s not to like? I can repeat a lot of the information regarding Quinn’s tools from a recent piece I wrote assessing the options for the Phillies outfield in 2017. So far in 13 games, Quinn has posted a .231 average, six RBIs, .355 OBP, and three doubles. The .231 average is nothing to worry about, especially considering he made the jump straight from Double-A. Quinn’s OBP is impressive, as he has drawn eight walks in the 13 games. He has also swiped four bags out of five attempts.
Quinn’s arrival has also impacted the team in other ways. There seems to be an extra “pep-in-the-step” of All Star Odubel Herrera. From July 6th to the day before Quinn’s cal up (September 10th), Herrera was hitting an underwhelming .234. Since’s Quinn’s call-up, Herrera has posted an impressive .455 average, with two home runs and six RBIs in twelve games. Coincidence? I think not. Perhaps Quinn lit a fire under Herrera – scrambling to raise his game with Quinn appearing as a threat. Even so, if this is what it takes to motivate Herrera, that’s not a good endorsement of Herrera’s professionalism. The lone Phillies All Star and best player on the team, appeared to be bored after the break.
Quinn’s “A” is for his impactful play on the field as well as waking up a teammate.
Jorge Alfaro: I
Jorge Alfaro gets an incomplete so far as a September call-up. We haven’t seen enough of him as Pete Mackanin is juggling the playing time of two other catchers: Cameron Rupp, who has earned substantial playing time, and veteran A.J. Ellis. Alfaro has only started three games and pinch hit in two others. He collected his first major league hit in his first at-bat on a swinging bunt up the third base line and since has taken the 0-for-13 collar. Alfaro is talented both offensively and defensively (with a cannon for an arm), there is no question about that. Yet, it is too hard to give him a grade based on the lack of playing time. The Phils will have a decision to make for next season as they will have three capable catchers to choose from: Rupp, Alfaro, and Andrew Knapp.
Alec Asher: A-
Alec Asher, so far, has deserved an “A-“, especially after last season’s horrific start to his MLB career. Asher, another piece in the Cole Hamels trade, struggled as a September call-up last year, compiling an ERA of 9.31 in seven starts. This time up, he has enjoyed some success. He was dropped right into the fire on September 8th, after serving an 80 game suspension for PED use, and shutout the Washington Nationals in six innings of work. In Asher’s four starts this September, two of them have been recorded as quality outings while posting a 1.66 ERA. It will be interesting to see how and where Asher fits in next year; whether he makes the roster or not. Because of the turnaround from his last experience, Asher gets an A-.
Joely Rodriguez: B+
Before yesterday Joely Rodriguez had an ERA of 0.00 through seven appearances and would have earned himself an “A.” After Rodriguez was touched-up last night for two earned runs in an inning of work, I downgraded him to a “B+.” Rodriguez, who has mostly flown under the radar, is a left-handed reliever acquired for Antonio Bastardo in December of 2014. The 24-year old, made it through seven appearances this season without allowing a run. He can be a specialist, as he has pitched a third of an inning twice. He can also have an inning to himself. Rodriguez has pitched an inning or more in his last five appearances. The Dominican Republic native throws a fastball in the mid-90s and has a solid complementary slider. He can be a key piece in the bullpen for next season. Rodriguez has earned an “B+.”
The rest of the call-ups do not warrant a grade. Guys like Darin Ruf and Cody Asche: we know what they are. Both players show flashes as to what they can be, especially in this past series in New York, but can never seem to put it all together for a sustained period of time. For the pitchers not receiving a grade: we either know what they are as well, or they are not figured to be in the future plans of the team.