It seems as if the Phillies’ woes weren’t limited to May. After this weekend’s sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks, the Phils are holding on tight to the worst record in baseball at 22-46.
The Phillies are (gratefully) off today before the St. Louis Cardinals come into town so we’re going to take a look at the farm system to hopefully boost our spirits. Unlike their major league counterpart, the IronPigs have the best record in the International League with 46 wins and 24 losses.
There are more than a handful of players in Lehigh Valley that are knocking at General Manager Matt Klentak’s door. The one that probably had the biggest chance to get the call mid-season was outfielder Roman Quinn, that is until he hurt his elbow sliding into third base on May 28.
Will we see Quinn at Citizens Bank Park this season? While there are certainly no set guidelines, we’ll use this format to gauge the possibility:
Stats: Their current stats.
Service time: How much time they’ve spent in the majors, which, like it or not, influences the decision on when a player should be brought up. And before you complain about how this makes a franchise look cheap, remember, a team holds a player’s contractual rights for a finite amount of time. After that time, a player can go anywhere. The player may love, love, love his team, but may have a wife that wants to move back home to Chicago. Or the need to be close to one of the best children’s hospitals in the country – a reason the Phillies got Cliff Lee back. The longer the player stays in the minors, the longer the team controls that player’s future, period.
Are they ready?: More than just stats, are they doing the things the franchise has asked from them to do?
Major league hole: Is there a spot to bring them up to without disrupting their development with limited at-bats or a position change?
Stats: .274/.344/.389, .732 OPS, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 10 SB in 45 games. He got off to a slow start but was beginning to rebound, hitting .313 in the 20 games before getting hurt.
Service time: Quinn was one of the Phils’ September callups last season. In 15 games, he hit .263/.373/.333 with a .706 OPS and 5 SBs. This is his second option year of three.
Are they ready? The short answer is yes. He’s already had some major league experience and in 401 minor league games, he’s hit .276/.352/.400 with 25 homers, 133 RBIs, and 158 walks. His energy and speed would inject some much-needed life into the Phils’ lineup.
The reality, however, is much more complicated. Quinn’s biggest gripe is his inability to stay healthy. His current stint on the disabled list means he’s missed at least one month because of injuries in each of the last five seasons. Whether it’s just bad luck or a result of his hard style of play, his track record is worrisome.
Major league hole: Before his elbow injury, a call up for Quinn seemed to be right around the corner. Unlike Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery, who have young, everyday players blocking them at first and second base, Quinn’s path to the outfield is much more open.
Veterans Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders were brought in on one-year contracts (at minimum) and both their seasons haven’t been going according to plan, albeit for different reasons. When on the field, Kendrick has been a workhorse, hitting .324/.380/.459, but he did miss 37 games with an oblique strain in April and May. Saunders’ season, however, has been downright dismal. He’s 3-for-31 in June and is hitting just .206/.258/.362.
With Kendrick now filling in for Cesar Hernandez at second, there’s almost no doubt Quinn would have been getting some playing time in the outfield. Quinn’s future role is a little murkier. With every passing day, Nick Williams and Dylan Cozens are getting closer to the majors. Quinn needs to get healthy for a chance to show he deserves a spot in what will soon be a crowded outfield.
Prediction: All hope is not lost for Quinn, however. The chances of Saunders being released or benched are high if he continues to suffer. Also, Kendrick could be traded at the deadline to a team needing a veteran utility player. If Quinn can string a couple of good weeks in Lehigh Valley upon returning in late July, he’ll get some playing time in Philly to prove he belongs.
Quick updates on Rhys Hoskins, Jorge Alfaro, and JP Crawford
Despite his recent struggles (12-for-60 in June … though he just hit two home runs tonight), Hoskins is still having a monster season in Lehigh Valley. He’s hitting .292/.385/.600 and leads the International League in homers and RBI with 17 and 54, respectively. Even so, he likely won’t be promoted until later this season barring injury to Tommy Joseph, who currently is on a 14-game hitting streak.
Alfaro has done a complete 180 after an incredible April where he hit .333/.368/.528. Since then, his line has dipped to .259/.297/.389 and he has struck out 68 times in 216 at bats. Combine his free swinging with his inconsistency behind the plate, and Alfaro can benefit from more seasoning in triple-A.
This season hasn’t been kind to Phillies’ top prospect Crawford. The shortstop is hitting just .194/.313/.252 with two home runs and 42 strikeouts in 56 games. On top of the disappointing start, Crawford has been sidelined since June 11 with a tweaked groin. Hopefully, he can use this break to clear his mind and hit the reset button. At this rate, he’ll be lucky to get a September call-up.