While the Phillies continue to perish, dropping to a season-worst 16 games under .500, the minor league season is winding down. Most teams end around labor day weekend, before rosters are expanded in the majors. Thought the Phils farm teams records aren't good, what is more important is the development of players. Let's check-in with the Phillies top prospects over the past week...
#5 - Roman Quinn (CLR) - Originally an infield prospect, Quinn was shifted to the outfield due to the emergence of JP Crawford, who we will talk about later. The 21-year old switch-hitter may just have a .244 average on the season, but he does bat .299 against left-handed pitchers. Over his last ten games, Quinn is hitting just .175, but has knotched a hit in each of his last five games. This past weekend against Lakeland, Quinn went 3-for-12 at the plate with a run scored, four strikeouts and an RBI.
#4 - Jesse Biddle (REA) - Pitching in his first start in Reading since taking a mental break from the game, Biddle showed signs of dominance but also signs of his old self. Unfortunately, Biddle had to leave his latest start on Saturday night against Binghampton due to what seemed to be a quad injury. In what has been a roller coaster of a season for the Phillies former first round pick out of Germantown Friends, he faces another test here. In his 3.2 innings worked on Saturday, Biddle gave up two runs on four hits while striking out and walking four. (via CSNPhilly.com)
“It didn’t feel good,” Biddle said. “I had a similar injury at Lakewood at the end of the season. I haven’t really felt it much in the past year, but it’s kind of weird that it appeared out of nowhere like this. It made it very difficult to pitch. I tried to battle through it, but it got to the point where it was tough.”
#3 - Maikel Franco (LHV) - After slashing .343/.371/.596 with four homers and 23 RBI's in July, Maikel Franco has somewhat come back to earth in August. Over his last ten games, Franco is hitting just .167 (7-for-42) but he had a very big hit last night, clubbing a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to send the Ironpigs to a 3-2 win. Franco's average sits at .241 on the year and he seems to get hot every other month. In April, he hit .172. May, Franco hit .282 then just .162 in June. His best month was July with .343 and now he is at .234 thus far in August. If that tells us anything, we may be in for a treat if he gets some playing time in Philadelphia when rosters are expanded in September. Franco's homer was his only hit in 12 at-bats this weekend during Lehigh Valley's series at home against Buffalo. Coca-Cola Park hasn't been too friendly to Franco, who is hitting just .209 at home. On the road, Franco's average is 50 points higher.
#2 - Aaron Nola (REA) - This year's Phillies top pick impressed in Clearwater, posting a 3.16 ERA over seven games, six starts. In Nola's first outing with Double-A Reading, he tossed five innings of one-run ball against the Harrisburg Senators, picking up the win in his first start. In his most recent start on Wednesday against those same Senators, Nola seemed to struggle a bit, surrendering three solo home runs over four innings of work. He struck out two and walked one. Nola gave up one solo homer in the first and two in the second before settling into a groove. The Phillies are limiting Nola's inning count, which is why he only threw four in his last start. Nola threw 78 pitches, 51 for strikes. Nola's next start will be on Tuesday night against the Bowie Baysox, Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
#1 - JP Crawford (CLR) - At just 19-years old, JP Crawford is sure making a lot of noise in the Phillies organization. After hitting just .244 in his first month with Clearwater in June, Crawford's bat has come alive. Currently hitting .287 with six homers, 22 RBI's and seven stolen bases, the Phillies top prospect has continued to show improvement at the plate. Over his last ten games, Crawford is hitting .343 (12-for-35) with two homers and seven RBI's. Crawford missed four games last week due to a sprained ankle but Ruben Amaro was not concerned about the injury, stating it was not serious. Crawford went 5-for-9 with two runs scored and four RBI's in two games this weekend against Lakeland. Crawford is hitting .348 this month and has a .346 average at home compared to .214 on the road. Though he bats lefty, Crawford has shown plenty of ability to hit southpaws, posting a .279 average against them.
We all know the current state of the Phillies and how their farm system isn't deep with prospects. That being said, they have some guys with great potential that we could see in the fold full-time as early as next year.
Brandon Apter, Publishing Editor for Philliedelphia.com