The Philadelphia Phillies have invited six more players to Clearwater for Spring Training.
Joe Mather, Cody Asche, Justin Friend, Adam Morgan, Kyle Simon, and Tommy Joseph are all non-roster invitees to camp this spring.
Mather is the only player who has spent time in the major leagues. Throughout his career, Mather has had stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, and the Chicago Cubs. The thirty-year old outfielder is a career .219 hitter with 14 home runs and 49 runs batted in.
Last season, Mather played 103 games for Chicago and hit .209 in 243 plate appearances with five home runs, 19 runs batted in, and an OPS of .581. He will likely not make the Opening Day roster, but adding another player with major-league experience onto the spring roster could be a big influence on the young players at camp as well as give the Phillies a depth outfielder in their minor-league system.
Asche was drafted by the Phillies in the fourth round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. The twenty-two-year old Missouri native will have a chance to prove to MLB scouts that he has a future in the major leagues. According to MLB.com’s Top Prospect list, Asche is currently the 16th best Phillies prospect.
Asche spent time last season between High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. He hit a combined .324 with 12 home runs, 72 runs batted in, and a combined OPS of .849. Asche thrived with Reading, where 33 of the 79 hits that he collected were for extra-bases. Asche may not make the Phillies roster in 2013, but the at-bats he will get against major-league pitching this spring will only help the young prospect develop.
Friend, a right-handed pitcher who has spent six seasons in the minor leagues, was drafted by the Oakland Athletics out of Oklahoma State University. He was acquired by the Phillies during the minor-league portion of the 2010 Rule 5 Draft.
Friend, who is now twenty-six years old, split time between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He finished 2012 with a combined 1.33 ERA. In 50 total appearances, Friend only gave up 10 runs through his 54.0 innings of work. He did not do particularly well with Lehigh Valley as he did with Reading, where he had a 2-0 record and a 0.23 ERA in 38 appearances. Friend pitched 12 games for the Iron Pigs and finished with an ERA 4.40. He will likely start the season in Triple-A.
Morgan is a third round draft pick who played his college ball at the University of Alabama. The left-handed pitcher went 4-10 with a 3.29 ERA in 20 starts with High-A Clearwater, but his results were due to lack of run support. Morgan thrived with Double-A Reading in six starts by going 4-1 with a 3.53 ERA.
Simon was acquired by the Phillies from the Baltimore Orioles in the Jim Thome deal earlier last season. The twenty-two year old right-hander out of the University of Arizona has pitched two seasons in the minor leagues and has spent time in High-A as well as Double-A as a part of the Phillies organization. Giving Simon the experience of pitching this spring could be a big help for his development and progression in the minor leagues.
Joseph is a twenty-one-year old catcher who was the centerpiece in a deal that sent Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants last season. Joseph is a highly regarded prospect. He is ranked seventh among catchers and third among Phillies prospects, according to MLB.com’s Prospect Watch. He was drafted by San Francisco out of high school because of his bat. Joseph’s power numbers are beginning to develop while he continues to move up in the minor leagues.
Last season, Joseph was selected to participate in the the Futures Game, which was held in Kansas City. The right-handed hitting catcher hit a combined .257 with 11 home runs and 48 runs batted in while playing in 108 total games. He has spent games behind the plate as well as at first base with both the Giants and Phillies minor league systems. Though he may not make the roster, the experience that he will gain from getting at bats against major-league pitching could help him develop his game even more.
The Phillies have an interesting group of players that they have invited to Spring Training this off-season. Though many, if not all, will not make the 2013 Opening Day roster, the experience that these players will gain can only help them develop and possibly jump start their future careers in the MLB.