With the Phillies playing better (fresh off a six-game win streak that ended Tuesday night) there is a clear pivot to the future visibleon the diamond for the guys in red pinstripes.
Though contributions from veterans Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are clearly important as the team attempts to climb out of the NL East’s gutter, it is the young guns who are having all the fun.
MaikelFranco looks like he not only in the Big League’s to stay, but also in the middle of the Phillies lineup. Freddy Galvis is in the top five in hitting in the NL while OdubelHerrera is climbing out of a slump to be a big piece again.
Some of the future is on the field right now, but what about the other half?
Here’s a brieflook at the best the farm has to offer, and hopefully at some ofthe guys who will play on the next Phillies contender:
Aaron Nola, SP, Reading
It’s only a matter of time before Nola ascends to the Phillies roster. Wednesday morning last year’s first round pick tossed seven scoreless innings to lower his season ERA with the Double-A Fightin’s to 1.54.
It’s almost as if he hasn’t missed a beat after playing at LSU last year. His numbers as a pro, combined, are pretty impressive. In 13 starts with Reading he has a8-2 record with a 1.85 ERA.
“I feel like certain pitches have gotten better, certain parts of my game have gotten better,” Nola told reporters after his most recent outing.”It’s a different kind of game than college. College is a lot faster. You’ve still got to execute your pitches, set up hitters the same.”
With Chad Billingsley and David Buchanan sidelined now, it could be sooner rather than later that he makes his MLB debut.
J.P Crawford, SS, Clearwater
The Phillies’ No. 1 prospect is tearing things up in Florida, batting .367 with a .475 on base percentage in 13 games since returningfrom injury. The 20-year-old former first-round pick has some work to do before he makes the big league, but expect him to finish the year in Double-A, with a target to reach the Phillies by 2016.
Roman Quinn, CF, Reading
Quinn may be blocked, for the time being, by all the outfield depth the Phillies boast currently but he is certainly making a case that he is due for a promotion in Double-A. The speedster, just 22-years-old, has 19 stolen bases and is batting .333, best on the team.
Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, SP, Reading
The two Phillies pitching prospects that came to the team this offseason via trade appear to be doing pretty well in Double-A as well.
Lively, who came from the Reds in the Marlon Byrd deal, has gone 3-1 in seven starts with a 3.50 ERA.Eflin, whose 3-3 record in the same number of starts is less impressive, has a 2.74 ERA, though he is not as big a strikeout hurler as Lively. Eflin has just 18 punchouts to Lively’s 33. Eflin, of course, came to the Phillies by way of the Dodgers in the Jimmy Rollins trade.