The Philadelphia Phillies record going into their game Sunday stands at 33-36 and 7 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves who are leading the NL East. With this being said, where do the Phillies go from here? Do they continue to play sub .500 baseball, do they make some big time trades by trading the likes of a Cliff Lee, Chase Utley, or Jimmy Rollins, or do they start playing their future stars more this season?
To answer the question, the Philadelphia Phillies should start playing their future stars more often because it can’t hurt and we are already seeing the impact of the younger players this season. For example, Domonic Brown, who I wrote about this past week about being an all-star, is already making impact in this lineup. Let’s face it, without Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz, Domonic Brown is the most feared hitter in the Phillies lineup. His numbers speak for themselves.
Brown is batting .276 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI and even though he is slowing down a bit, he can still hit a long ball to change a game in an instant. While staying in the outfield there is another future Phillie that should be up with the big league club as soon as possible and his name is Darin Ruf. Ruf made his big splash in the minors last season with Double-A Reading as he had an outstanding 38 home runs with 104 RBI and a batting average of .317. With those kind of numbers, Phillies fans wanted to see Ruf in the majors as soon as possible and they got their wish.
Ruf was called up in September as the Phillies were out of the playoffs and they got to see what Ruf is about. In 12 games, Ruf batted .333 with three home runs and 10 RBI but had 12 strikeouts. But those numbers can be better with some more playing time. Currently, Ruf is playing in Triple-A Lehigh Valley with the IronPigs and is doing alright as their left fielder. So far this season, he is batting .265 with six home runs and 31 RBI. If Ruf was called up I would like to see him in RF because Delmon Young has just been a horrible free agent acquisition. I’d also be OK with Ruf backing up Ryan Howard at first.
As much as the Phillies have nice hitting prospects, they have some great pitching prospects and a couple of them have already started more than a few games in the starting rotation. One of those pitchers is Jonathan Pettibone. Pettibone, who only had one start in the minors this season was called up and has done admirable job in 11 starts. In those 11 starts, he is 3-3 with a 4.40 ERA.
However his latest start was the worst of his young career in the majors to date. Against the Colorado Rockies, Pettibone would get rocked for 10 hits and six runs over three innings. But this is expected for the young pitcher; he will get better over time.
Lastly, there are two pitchers that you probably do know about in the Phillies farm system and they are the baby aces. They are Jesse Biddle and Adam Morgan. These two pitchers have amazing stuff to one day be number one and two pitchers in the Philadelphia Phillies starting rotation. First let’s take a look at Jesse Biddle, who is right now pitching in Double-A Reading. Biddle is 3-6 with a 2.95 ERA so far this season and has been consistent. His best two starts happened on April 22nd and April 28th.
On April 22nd, Biddle threw seven shutout innings, giving up one hit, and striking out 13 as he was on the way to a no hitter that night. Then on April 28th, he would try to top that performance by throwing six shutout innings, giving up one hit again and striking out 10. Who knows, by the middle of the summer, Biddle might get promoted to Double-A but if he doesn’t and keeps on throwing well in Reading, he just might be a September call up.
Finally, Adam Morgan has flown through the Phillies minor league system since being drafted in 2011. Morgan could be in the Phillies’ starting rotation right now, but he isn’t quite ready yet and you do not want to rush a pitcher through the minors. Morgan is on the seven day disabled list with an injury, but was pitching alright for the IronPigs this season. He has a 1-4 record with a 4.97 ERA but this guy has great stuff and that is the reason why he has been flying through the Phillies system so quickly.
It is great to see that the Philadelphia Phillies farm system is finally start to produce talent but there is so much to be discovered in Clearwater, Lakewood, Williamsport, Reading, and Lehigh Valley. Only time will if the future is bright for the young and upcoming Philadelphia Phillies.