Ever since Scott Rolen complained his way out of Philadelphia in 2002, third base has been a relative sore spot for the Phillies.
Yes, the Phillies won a World Series and a pennant with the great glove/mediocre bat of Pedro Feliz at the hot corner. But the team suffered through a number of years with the oft-injured David Bell (bad back) and Placido Polanco (name a body part).
The Phillies have a one-year stop gap in Michael Young, but it’s been a long time since the team has had a young, solid player to call third home. The 2014 Phillies might have such a commodity in Cody Asche. The 22-year old Missouri native was the Phillies’ most talked about minor-league position player until Darin Ruf turned into Albert Pujols last August.
Asche hit .324 with a .849 OPS while splitting time between Class-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. The former Nebraska Cornhusker visited the Phillies’ clubhouse last Thursday. He was one of seven players asked to take part in its annual Prospect Education Program.
The laid-back, fourth-round pick from the 2011 draft is excited about the organization’s hope that he can man the hot corner on the horizon.
“I thrive from having these great expectations,” Asche said. “When you’re in the offseason and it’s 10 degrees, and you’re in the middle of Missouri, you don’t really want to hit or work out. I think that kind of stuff helps drive you.”
According to Ruf, a former teammate, Asche puts in the time. He credited his minor-league hitting coaches for his development.
“I give credit to all of the coaches,” Asche said. “That’s whether it’s Hendu [Phillies hitting coach Steve Henderson], or John Mizerock or [Chris] Truby.”
Many Phillies fans will check Asche’s progress during the season to see if he could move his start date up. He could be the Phillies’ missing piece — a young, reliable third baseman with pop, someone who can be part of the organization for many years.