The Philadelphia Phillies are all but eliminated from the playoff hunt which means players that get called up when the rosters expand to 40 players get to do so without the pressure of playing in a pennant race.
Tyler Cloyd would have been number one on the list of players that should see action come September but he already made his big league debut last night. The Phillies don’t have a particularly deep minor league system but they have some key players that could make an impact for the team starting next year, and what better time to find out what they can do than this September?
If you’ve ever read my articles, you know I’m a huge fan of Darin Ruf. It’s tough not to be a fan of his, as he’s been dominating the Reading Phillies all season.
Ruf just hit his franchise record 38th home run at the Double-A level earlier tonight, which puts him ahead of Ryan Howard’s 37 in 2004 for the most ever. Ruf is also hitting .320 with a ridiculous 1.041 OPS, and he’s 26 years old so there’s really no reason not to call him up at the end of the year.
Cesar Hernandez has quietly moved up the ranks of the Phillies’ minor league system, and he could replace Chase Utley as the starting second baseman in 2014 if all goes according to plan.
Hernandez batted .304 with 16 stolen bases for the Reading Phillies earlier this season, and he’s been playing in Triple-A for the past 26 games. Hernandez is hitting just .245 with a .566 OPS but it might be worth a shot to call him up if for no other reason than for him to see a little big league pitching.
Sebastian Valle has been seen by many as the catcher of the future and the heir apparent to Carlos Ruiz one day. He is seen as one of the top prospects of the Phillies’ system and he’s deserving of some time in the big leagues this season.
Valle is hitting just .227 in Triple-A but he does have good power (four home runs in 70 plate appearances), and I would like to see him get some at-bats in September.
Out of the Phillies’ Baby Aces from the 2011 Clearwater team, Jonathan Pettibone has quietly emerged as maybe the best of the group. He’s 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in six starts in 2012, and he hasn’t given up a home run yet in 148 batters faced.
Pettibone probably won’t get called up unless there is another injury but if one of the other starting pitchers does go down, give Pettibone the ball.
Justin De Fratus:
The Phillies actually gave Justin De Fratus a brief chance at the major leagues last year, and he fared well in four big league innings, posting a 2.25 ERA.
De Fratus has missed most of the 2012 season with an injury but he’s posted a 2.75 ERA and phenomenal 6.67 strikeout to walk ratio in the 19 innings in which he has pitched.