The Philadelphia Phillies thought enough of young third baseman Cody Asche to cut insurance policy Kevin Fransden late in the spring.
Asche was seen as no worse than bridging the gap between last year’s failed experiment, the well-traveled Michael Young, and the anointed third baseman of the future, power hitting Maikel Franco. The Phillies expected Asche would give them much of what he gave them in a September audition: Five home runs and 22 RBIs in 50 games. Extrapolate that over 150, and that’s a nice 15 homers and 68 RBIs.
What Asche has given them this year is far less than that. In tonight’s game against the Colorado Rockies, Asche is batting in the No. 8 hole and no self-respecting MLB team wants to have their third baseman hitting No. 8. Still, the lack of confidence in Asche is understandable because he currently is hitting .184 with a homer and three RBIs in 14 games this season.
Asche has been compared to a poor man’s Chase Utley, but those are traits that describe his competitiveness and hustle more than his ability to hit a baseball. In reality, Asche is more like a homeless man’s Utley because of that .184 average. If Asche can be a 15-homer, 70-RBI guy, he deserves a long look this season. If not, the Phillies are going to have to rush Franco up from Triple-A and they don’t want to do that right now. That leaves no spot but Triple-A for Asche.
That’s why Asche is going to have to hit a lot more than his weight which, at 200 pounds, is about 16 digits short of where he’s at now.