Five position players who opened eyes in 2012

Five position players who opened eyes in 2012

For a lot of minor league players, there's one season that really puts them squarely on the chart as an official prospect. Philly Baseball Insider has identified five position players who had that type of season in 2012.

Every organization has them; players who open eyes with a big minor league season. The Phillies are no different and they had a number of players who opened some eyes in 2012. We're not saying these players are the top five position players in the organization, but they are five players who have placed themselves firmly on the radar map in the Phillies organization.

Darin Ruf - The conversation has to begin here. Coming into 2012, Ruf was a nice prospect. He showed some power - 17 home runs at Clearwater in 2011 - and was well respected, but not quite there as far as a true prospect. That all changed when he hit 38 regular season home runs at Double-A Reading and added another in the post-season. Then, after the R-Phils are eliminated in the Eastern League playoffs, he comes to Philadelphia, bides his time and hits three more, with one final game to play.

What people tend to overlook is that Ruf drove in 104 runs at Reading and hit .317 this season. And, he's hitting for average at the major league level, as well. There are no guarantees that he's fully ready for the majors, but he's certainly very close and is going to give the Phillies some things to think about during the winter.

Cody Asche - The Phillies need a third baseman for 2013, but it's not going to be Asche. As good as he showed himself to be in 2012, the 22-year old needs more time in the minors. He does give the Phillies a definite third base prospect, which is something that they desperately need, especially at the upper levels of the minors.

Asche split his time - almost right down the middle - with Clearwater and Reading in 2012. Combined, he hit .324 with 12 home runs on the season. While his average may have fallen from .349 at Clearwater to .300 at Reading, he showed a lot more power at the Double-A level, hitting ten of his home runs with Reading. In other words, it's okay that he "only" hit .300 at Reading.

Asche isn't a great defensive third baseman, which is his only real drawback. The field at Reading is one of the best in the minors, so you can't use playing on a bad field as a reason. The good news is that Asche is working on his defense and will hopefully show improvement next season at Lehigh Valley, where he is likely to start the year.

Christopher Duffy - As a 26th round pick in 2010, the Phillies didn't expect to see too much out of Duffy in 2012. He's a kid with some talent, but he was entering his first full-season league for the Phillies at Lakewood and they just figured he would be there all season long and they'd see what they have. Well, after sixty games and a line of 11-56-.384/.466/.620, the Phillies couldn't resist the temptation to move him along to Clearwater. There were some growing pains with the Threshers and he hit just .236 over 44 games, but he wasn't supposed to be at that level yet, anyway.

Duffy's defense at first base is already good and getting better. He needs to gain more plate discipline (104 strikeouts in 104 games), but he has the ability to make the corrections that he needs to make. His 13 home runs were a solid number and some scouts believe he'll develop even more power as he continues to develop.

Tommy Joseph - The Phillies knew that Joseph was good, but he showed just how good after they acquired him from Baltimore in the Jim Thome deal. You can never have enough good catching prospects and the Phillies thought that with Sebastian Valle moving up through the system, they were in decent shape for the post-Ruiz years. Joseph came in and simply showed that he's a better catcher than Valle and he'll likely be the number one catcher at Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2013.

Joseph combined to hit 11-48-.257/.317/.399 with Richmond and Reading. Scouts believe his offensive numbers will improve, but those who compare him to Buster Posey are probably stretching a bit. What will likely happen is that he'll be a solid offensive catcher, who will make up for any lack of offense with is abilities behind the plate. Joseph has a registered uzi for an arm, throwing out 40% of potential base-stealers this season, including 48% of the would-be thieves while with Reading. The difference was a change in Joseph's mechanics that resulted in him being able to gain a quicker release and throw with more accuracy.

And talk about good timing; Ruiz' has an option for 2013, which the Phillies will pick up, and then, his deal with the Phillies is over. Joseph could be in good shape to take over behind the plate in 2014.

Roman Quinn - The Phillies selected Quinn in the second round of the 2011 Draft, but he didn't play until this past summer. The Phillies drafted him out of Port St. Joe High School in Florida and entering the season, he was just 18-years old. There wouldn't have been anything wrong with putting Quinn in the Gulf Coast League, but instead, he was on the opening day roster with the Williamsport Crosscutters, a step up from the GCL.

Quinn played well enough that he established himself as one of the best prospects in the league, hitting .281/.370/.408 and swiping 30 bases in 36 attempts. Keep in mind that the Phillies are experimenting with having Quinn switch-hit; he tried it in high school, but then decided to stick with batting right-handed when he was struggling. He was able to hit .256 against right-handers this season, but 48 of his 61 strikeouts were while batting left-handed.

The downside was his defense, commiting 27 errors in 66 games at short. Unlike Asche, Quinn was playing on less manicured fields and that contributed to the high number of errors, but wasn't the main factor. He simply needs more work at short, but he does have a strong arm. One possibility is to move him to center field, where his speed would be a plus. It would make sense, since a lot of scouts compare him to Michael Bourn when he was a young minor league player.

It's going to be interesting to see if the Phillies back off on having Quinn switch-hit and if they decide to move him to center field.


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