Apparently the Philadelphia Phillies have a better minor league system that people realized, as six minor league players from the Double-A Reading Phillies were named to the All-Star Game.
The players were catcher Sebastian Valle, first baseman Darin Ruf, second baseman Cesar Hernandez, shortstop Troy Hanzawa, starting pitcher Julio Rodriguez, and relief pitcher Justin Friend.
Valle is hitting .249 with eight home runs and he plays good enough defense that there have been suggestions that he may be the heir apparent to Carlos Ruiz one day. Ruf is quietly having a terrific year, as he’s hitting .318/.413/.534 with 13 home runs, a season after performing very well in high-A Clearwater. Hernandez is hitting .310 with a team-high 93 hits and 14 stolen bases.
Hanzawa is hitting .279 with 12 doubles and five triples. Rodriguez will probably be a starter one day for the major league Phillies, and he is 5-1 with a 3.23 ERA plus 85 strikeouts in 83.2 innings pitched. He was one of the original Baby Aces last year and he has been on track to get a call-up likely at the end of 2013.
Friend is having the best season of the group, as he is dominating as a shutdown closer. Friend has allowed just one earned run in 27 innings pitched, giving him a ridiculous 0.33 ERA. He has struck out 24 hitters and he hasn’t given up a home run yet. Friend also has 14 saves and could one day be an effective major league closer.