After an abomination of a 2013 spring and summer, the Philadelphia Phillies head into the fall portion of the season with a new manager, new issues and most of all, new players.
Due to the injuries to the likes of Ryan Howard, Ben Revere and previously Dominic Brown, the Philadelphia Phillies have called upon their youngsters to see how they will fair in the world of Major League Baseball. So far, they look quite promising.
Darin Ruf was entered into the Phillies lineup last year and in his first action hit .333. After vying and ultimately failing to secure a spot for the Phillies roster this spring, injuries have sprung Ruf into the starting lineup on nearly a nightly basis. Through 155 plate appearances as of Aug. 23, Ruf is hitting .269, with nine home runs and 15 RBIs. He also accumulated 16 walks and an on base percentage of nearly .400.
Those numbers aren’t too shabby, considering he hasn’t had much time spent in the major leagues, and he has been thrust into various spots in the lineup and has had to learn the first base position, and has been playing there every day. Ruf has shown the ability to hit with power and better yet, hit with patience. Unlike his superior, Howard, Ruf has good discipline at the plate, and doesn’t swing at every breaking ball, and even lets two-strike pitches sail out of the strike zone. Once Ruf gets some more playing time under his belt, I see this mid-20-year-old kid to star in the Phillies lineup and be a strong member of this terrible lineup.
Following in Ruf’s footsteps, Cody Asche has entered the bigs and made it known he has come to play. Through 21 games and 72 plate appearances, Asche is batting .203 with two home runs, 10 RBIs, eight runs and a stolen base. Now, those numbers may not pop out to the human eye, but you must consider the circumstances Asche has put up with since entering the majors.
Among being young and seeing just his very first big league action, he has stepped into the box against such pitchers as Dan Haren, Steven Strasburg, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Jorge De La Rose and a plethora of solid closers and middle relievers. All in all, the sky should be the limit considering the up hill battle he has already had to face. There is going to be an obvious learning curve and there is no better way to learn the nuances of the game other than playing against the best.
Adding them into a lineup with the youthful Brown and Revere, the Phillies should have a live lineup in the upcoming seasons. Hopefully, players such as Chase Utley and Howard can stay healthy, and teams leaders such as Jimmy Rollins return to form with the youth(ish) movement the Phillies are trying to conduct.
Can these two future starters bring the Phils back to prominence? That remains to be seen. Until then, however, I am excited to see these guys in the lineup night after night.