Philadelphia Phillies‘ Cody Asche has yet to be regarded as an offensive threat and will likely never be a top half of the lineup player. The Phillies are not looking for him to be a a silver slugger but utilize him as a reliable defensive player who will pitch in offensively. Asche has proved himself to be solid in the field, but he needs to be more productive at the plate.
Last night Asche went 4-for-4, including a game-tying grand slam home run in the sixth inning and was a triple shy of the cycle. This was just his third multi-hit game of the season but his second in four games (the other came on opening day when he went 3-for-4).
Asche had a terrible opening month of the season, batting .161 in the month of April. However, he may be turning the corner. He has at least one hit eight in his last 13 games and has recorded 12 hits over that span. In fact, over his last 13 games, Asche is hitting .333 (12-for-36). He has also added two home runs in his last three games, his first since opening day.
Last season when Asche broke into the league, he got off to a very slow start. Through his first 18 games, he was batting a lowly .185 but went on a nine-game hit streak and a few games later peaked at .287. While the Phillies would love to have him hit .287, that is an unrealistic expectation for the young defensive third baseman at this point in his career.
After Asche reached .287 in early September, he stumbled down the stretch and finished the season at .235. With last night’s four-hit effort he is now up to .257 on the season, and the Phillies would love to see him around .260-.270 batting average for the entire season.
As long as the rest of the lineup can stay healthy, it’s realistic for Asche to reach for higher offensive numbers. He should continue to see fastballs in his bottom of the order slot and should be able to continue putting the ball in play. Over the last 13 games, Asche has struck out just eight times (I say just because he struck out 13 times in his first 14 games).
Although Asche will never be a big-time offensive option for the Phillies, he could be a key role player who gives them stability at the bottom of the order and solid defensive contributions.