Around the System–Corner Infielders

The first of the “Around the System” reports for the 2012 season.  I am looking to make this a regular feature once again but it may be a bit slower than in years past because of time constraints.  Look for a report on Middle Infielders sometime next weekend, if not earlier.

Lehigh Valley

Cody Overbeck, 25, 9th round pick in 2008, .282/.324/.408 in 103 AB’s; 2HR 15 RBI; 6%bb/16%K rate; .355 vs. LH, .250 vs. RH, .292 with RISP. 28 games at 1B without an  error. Overbeck  has deservedly started receiving some attention as the most consistent hitter in the Lehigh Valley lineup and a guy that has been a regular run producer throughout his minor league career. Another month or two of this type of production should lead to promotion to Philly talk.

Hector Luna, 32, Acquired as a free agent in 2012; .280/.324/.398 in 93 AB’s; 1 HR and 11 RBI; 6%bb/17% k rates; .261 vs. LHP, .286 vs. RHP; .240 with RISP; .303 over the last 10 games.  21 games at 3B with 5 errors (.909). Luna started slow but has picked it up lately and gives the organization some depth if/when Polanco goes down. Has unexpectedly struggled defensively at times.

Reading

Darin Ruf, 25, Phils 20th round pick in 2009; .368/.417/.509 in 106 AB’s; 3HR and 15 RBI; 9%bb/16%k rates; .436 vs. LHP; .328 vs. RHP; .313 with RISP; 27 games with 2 errors at 1B (.990);  Ruf had hit consistently throughout the minors and has added power to his arsenal last year and continued this year.  He has been dominating AA pitching through his first 100 plus AB’s and while advanced in age, is certainly worthy of attention because of his consistency.

Tim Kennelly, 25, Signed as a free agent in 2003; .246/.254/.323 in 65 AB’s; 1HR 12RBI; 3%bb/18% k rates; .148 vs. LHP; .318 vs. RHP; .238 with RISP. 17 games at 3B with 3 errors (.930); Has also played 1 game at 1B and 2 games at 2B.  Nothing spectacular for Kennelly but better than the .215 he hit last year for the RPhils.

Tug Hulett, 29, Signed as a free agent in 2012. .225/.091/.225 in 33 AB’s; 0HR 4RBI.  10 games at 3B with 2 errors (.923); Started the year in an awful slump and has just started to come out of it with a hit or two.

Clearwater

Jim Murphy, 26, Phils 17th round pick in 2006; .255/.357/.457 in 94 AB’s; 4HR 25 RBI; 13%bb/19% k rates; .267 vs. LHP; .245 vs. RHP; .304 with RISP.  The Phils minor league leader in RBI’s; 21 games at 1B with 2 errors (.989); Murphy continues hitting for power but does not project as anything more than an organizational player, albeit a player that has been the catalyst for many Lakewood and Clearwater wins.

Cody Asche, 21, Phils 4th round pick in 2011; .344/.379/.427 in 96 AB’s; 0HR 6 RBI; 6%bbrate/15% k rate; .351 vs. LHP; .339 vs. RHP; .273 with RISP; 23 games at 3B with 2 errors (.957); After struggling in his rookie season at Williamsport, Asche has been flat out hitting in the first month plus of 2012.  Don’t want to be too picky with the improvement he has shown (with a double jump) but a corner infielder is going to have to produce runs at a higher rate then Asche has.

Chris Duffy, 24, Phils 26th round pick in 2010; .315/.431/.500 in 54 AB’s between Lakewood and Clearwater; 2HR 12 RBI; 13%bb rate; 32% k rate.  Has seen most of his time at the DH spot and has hit nicely although with a very high K rate.

Jeremy Barnes, 25, Phils 11th round pick in 2009; .140/.240/.263 in 43 AB’s; 0HR and 5 RBI; Has been on the DL for the last 2 weeks and wasn’t playing well during the prior two weeks.

Lakewood

Maikel Franco, 19, Signed as a free agent in 2010; .221/.302/.375 in 104 AB’s; 3HR 10 RBI; 9%bb/17% k rates; .261 vs. LHP, .210 vs. RHP; .286 with RISP. 24 games at 3B without an error. the young talented 3B started quick but has slowed considerably.  Has already equaled his HR total from 2011.

Harold Martinez, 22, Phils 2nd round pick in 2011; .255/.295/.340 in 54 AB’s; 0HR and 2 RBI; 6%bb 14%k rates.  8 games at 1B with 4 errors (.941) and 2 games at 3B without an error. Called up from extended spring two weeks into the season, Martinez has had a few games worth talking about early on. Perhaps most interesting is that the bulk of his playing time is coming at 1B.

Kelly Dugan, 21, Phils 2nd round pick in 2009. .245/.344/.396 in 53 AB’s; 2 HR and 9 RBI; 11%bb/25% k rates; 14 games at 1B with 2 errors (.983).  A mediocre start before going on the DL again.

55 thoughts on “Around the System–Corner Infielders

  1. Glad to see this series back. It always produces fun discussion. Things that caught my eye:

    I must be missing something on Overbeck. A 26-year old corner infielder OPSing .732 with 2 home runs in AAA is the answer to the Phillies’ offensive woes? He sounds like a great kid, and best of luck to him, but he’s not a future big leaguer.

    On Asche; it’s hard to “produce runs” when the offense around you stinks. He’s become the first name in the CLW box scores for me, which I never would have expected going into the season.

    1. Rich, can Overbeck play LF? If so, when will the Mayberry experiment end as he looks horrible at the plate all season.

      1. No clue, but I think there’s another Iron Pigs outfielder who might be a better bet to produce long-term at the big league level . . .

  2. I don’t get the comments on Overbeck and Asche. Overbeck is playing 1B, not as well as Asche is playing 3B, Asche has the better OPS, Asche a little younger for his league. Yet comment on Overbeck is positive and on Asche negative. I’d reverse them.

    1. I think gregg was just saying he would like to see more home runs and rbis from Asche. We all agree he is doing a great job hitting with a .344 average. Overbeck, playing one of the typical power positions, has 48 homeruns and 154 rbis the last two years.

    2. People sometimes do not consider the difficulty of a double jump. Asche has impressed me this year. Not sure he is much better than a Greg Dobbs type, but that is not bad. It would be nice if Asche develops into a good defensive 3B. I think 2B was more to get him at bats last year, but if he is credible there it gives him a better shot at a major league job.

    3. It’s because Gregg watches Lehigh Valley exclusively and falls in love with the players there even though 99% are not legitimate prospects. Example: scott Mathieson, Matt Rizzotti, rich Thompson

      1. Rizzotti barely played in Lehigh Valley. Thompson is a player who I’d never deem a prospect, but watching him it’s obvious he is an extremely productive player. But he doesn’t have the power to succeed in the bigs.

            1. Do you like rich Thompson? Did you like scott Mathieson? You conveniently left them out of your response.

              Don’t let facts get in the way of a good rant right? I can play that game too

            2. Can you please find the comment where Gregg made an unreasonable assessment of Thompson? I ran a google search and found nothing.

              As far as Mathieson, he was a ranked prospect for many years. Just because he didn’t make it doesn’t mean he did not have potential. No one is 100% right on every player.

              And lastly. It’s not whether you’re right or wrong. You can do so without being a complete jackass about it.

            3. He wasn’t wrong on Mathieson. An injury happened. Actually, multiple injuries. This has nothing to do with how talented Mathieson was or whether or not a healthy Mathieson would have been a successful major leaguer. Even the best pitching prospects have been totally derailed by injury. Hard to see how Gregg is supposed to know if a guy will get injured or not.

  3. Ruf might just be a serious prospect. Obviously age is a huge limiting factor but he’s been money for well over a season now.

    1. The only way Ruf becomes a serious prospect is if he gets a promotion to AAA relatively soon and tears AAA up. He’s too old in Double-A to be considered a serious prospect.

  4. Anybody think Dugan would have a chance to move back to LF at some point? His line would look better as an OFer than a 1B.

    1. I think Dugan can play the OF in his sleep but he has to be able to stay on the field… somewhere. Injuries are limiting him. He’s playing 1B because there are a bunch of toolshed OF’ers @ Lakewood and they want them to play. Also they want to see Dugan’s bat more than his fielding.

  5. Aside from always looking for good pitching from our system what has been upsetting is the system’s lack of promising position players…until now.

    “It’s hard to believe, Harry,” but Hewitt has 6-7 hits in his last two games. He had once been favored for the 3rd base position until playing there he came up short. Thereafter he’s played in RF mostly. He DOES have a strong arm, and speed there but his position play has been positive. As we know, the problem has been his ability to make consistently good contact at the plate resulting in horrendously low BAs even though his power showed up from time to time.

    And so I and many here have written him off as a wasted 1st round draft choice. If like a phoenix rising from the ashes he could NOW begin a rise to fulfilling the draft promises, that would be “astounding.” And great!

    Who knows. Perhaps his past record brings a hopeful fan to find SOMETHING good about his possibilities. But should his past two games brings the imagination to consider: a RFer (or LFer) with speed and an arm AND power to hit 25-30 out plus maybe a .275 BA and an OBA of .350.

    Why not dream some.

    Aside from Pence, the near future outfield is likely to have Gillies in CF, with Cesar H. at 2nd base, Rollins/Galvis at SS, and Asche at 3rd whose power shall increase along with his likely good BA and OBA. Perhaps Hewitt in RF…still dreaming. Valle to be behind Ruiz whose contract must be extended for two years,.

    Perhaps Quinn, L. Greene, Walding, and T Greene are too far away to think anything about them other than to see how they perform at the entre/ near-entre to Pro Ball. Yet there are good reports on all of them out of the draft predictions. This season–to include some pitchers/catchers, etc.–in the draft might elevate the team’s prospects standing.

    Yes–it is only May but I sure like what we’re getting in the minors!

    1. Hewitt has 5 errors already. Any reports on his defense and why so many so early on? Never thought of his defense being an issue.

      1. I think the word on his defense is that he is fast and has a strong arm but does not always take good routes to the ball. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    2. I’m glad that we’re finally able to talk about Hewitt, but I think Minnesota has a better chance of winning the World Series this year than Hewitt does of ever putting up a .350 OBA in the big leagues.

      I think if he ever did make it, it’d be a 225/290/375 type line and he’d play excellent RF defense and provide 20-25 HR power

      1. You are correct. Hewitt almost never walks, so unless he drastically changes his approach, his OBA is going to be not much higher than his BA. As he’s been going, a .275 major league batting average, which seems a stretch, is going to give an OBA not much above .300. I’m not all that excited yet. Hewitt has a good week with the bat every year and then goes back to his old ways. I’m taking the wait and see approach and want to see a couple of good months, rather than a couple of good days.

    3. It feels like every year, sometimes a couple times a year, Hewitt strings together a couple good games and we start wishing on him again. When Hewitt hitting well still has him with a .303 OBP, I just don’t see it. And even the optimistic scouting reports at his signing saw him as a .250-.260 hitter.

  6. If Hmart can hit a lot right now, could he get a quick promo to A to play 3b and Asche to AA to do the same? Obv. he won’t get much time at 3b with Franco there in Lakewood.

    1. Should H-mart get it going with more and better contact at the plate, he still (IMO) should stay at 3rd base. He has yet to put together some consistency at bat though his 3rd basing is supposedly very good.

      With 3 yrs of college ball before he was drafted, I think he needs to show more than he has so far. But he’s just been drafted and so he should have some time to get that mojo.

      He can always play 1st base IF he gets his early college power back. Definitely a work in progress. Right now he has Asche ahead of him at 3rd base…and Franco, a righty hitter like hilself, is also reaching for fulfillment of expectations for the same position.

      With that competition he might thrive…or not.

      ??

  7. Where does Hewitt go from here ? VERY INTERESTING Most of us hope this is a true “light bulb”
    event.
    Cisco another strong outing and I don’t get it .
    Hanzawa hanging in there longer than expected. Is he a late bloomer?

    1. Hewitt’s done this to us before. He started last year pretty hot and then tailed off. Pitchers soon realize that they can’t sneak a fastball by him but he can’t hit anything else.

      Hanzawa has been pretty steady over his career. He’s a big time fielder but tends to have a very small bat though he has a knack for driving in runs. Last year, I think he was 3rd on the team in RBIs. He sits at the bottom of the lineup and cleans up the leftovers. I think pitchers sometimes forget that the #8 & #9 hitters still have that piece of wood on their shoulders. Some of them, like Hanzawa, excel when they have runners in scoring position.

      1. If Galvis gets his bat straighten out.but has to fill in short for a while . I could see a chance they Troy MIGHT see some time as a late inning sub for Utley.
        And while I am on the subject Is Cholly going to do the right thing and take Utley out when they have a lead.

        1. Hanzawa is 26, Altuve turned 22 yesterday. Perhaps Hanzawa is the next Irving Falu!

  8. Hudson has moved back to leadoff. It sounds insane that a kid who can’t hit his weight would be leading off but it’s “show me” time. He has 14 SBs but only 15 hits. Here’s a guy who would be an all-star if the game allowed him to steal 1st base.

    1. Oops, posted this in the wrong discussion. Sorry about that Gregg. I didn’t mean to alter the discussion from your series.

  9. A Triple A First baseman with a .732 OPS, should inspire talk that he should be promoted to Philadelphia, if he continues hitting at his current rate? Interesting.
    Considering Ty Wiggington has a .768 Major League hitter and Laynce Nix is hitting .958 this year, I can’t see the outcry for Overbeck.

  10. Interesting talk about overbeck. remember if i am not wrong. there have been some guys who have come up at older ages,and had good careers, Listening to amaro they dont seem to have a solid position for him.

    1. So … how many guys have (1) come up at the same or older ages than Overbeck, (b) had comparable minor league performance metrics, and (c) been so positionally limited.

      The list is short or non existent. He isn’t a prospect.

      1. LaHair from the Cubs off the top of my head. Many players can be converted to 1B as they age.

        1. Lahair is still an unproven guy at the ML level, I think he’s got under 300 plate appearances. But even if he has a good career, he spent parts of 6 seasons in AAA, most of them as a better hitter than Overbeck. Last year he totally raked. Even though it’s the PCL I’m pretty sure an OPS over 1.000 is very good. Overbeck hasn’t hit like that to this point.

          1. I wasn’t stating that I thought that Overbeck was a good prospect. It was sort of a tongue in cheek comment, but he has surprised me, and I like the way he looks at the plate. I wish we had him instead of Overbeck.

  11. I can’t understand some of the comments. a player who hits but doesnt show power, is limited to certain positon? silly.pete rose wasn’t a big power hitter, but he played first. second, third and sometimes left. and i am sure there are others .if you can hit and play good defense they should have a place for you. polanco isnt a big homerun hitter and plays third? or am I wrong?

    1. Heh. Sure. In 1962, Pete Rose hit 330/431/500 in the Sally League with 31 doubles, 17 (!) triples, and 9 home runs. Wake me up when Overbeck is OPSing 931 and we’ll talk.

      1. Well to be fair I think (hope) he isn’t talking about Overbeck here, probably referring to some of the comments regarding Asche’s lack of power. And he has a point, though some of the correctives to this go much too far in the other direction.

    2. While the comparison to Rose may not be apt, the one to Polanco should resonate. I would love a kid who can hit above .300 instead of Polanco right now. Despite “no power.” (Of course Asche is 2-3 years away.)

  12. I don’t see Overbeck as any kind of prospect. Guys hit 100-200 points higher in OPS and never get a shot. Overbeck isn’t good defensively, and his batting average has never been great. Big League pitching would eat him up.

  13. The reality is that there’s not a lot to love at 1B/3B in our system. Overbeck appears to be the clasic 4a guy although Ruf is trying to be more. Ruf has the look of a trade throw in but we’ll see. At his age, I’d like to get him to AAA to see what he can do there. I like what Asche has done in terms of average but I’m sure hoping it picks up the power stroke a bit more as the year goes on. Also, we all like Franco as a prospect but he really needs to pick it up and show us more.
    Unfortunately, as a system, we don’t have too many position players that profile as possible major leaguers based on their stats so far this year. How many 300 hitters do we have? Ruf, Cesar, Hanzawa, Asche, Lavin and Altherr? Gillies looks like he’s getting there but that’s a short list, again. Let’s hope Quinn, Walding, and Greene Jr. show something later this summer.

    1. Seattle has a log jam at 3B (Seager, Liddi, Martinez, Catricala,etc) so maybe we could get one fairly cheap

      1. Not a one is in the MLB.Com Jon Mayo’s Top Ten 3rd base prospects…Arenado, Sano, Rendon, Olt, Castellanos, Middlebrooks, Gyorko, Dominguez, Flores, Cox.

        1. Olt would be the guy to target of that group. He’s not going to play in Texas and is pretty good with the glove.

        2. Liddi and Seager are in the majors. The other 2 are in rising in the minors. Note that I referred to a “cheap” transaction.

      1. I’m not entirely sure we know that yet. Ruf has better contact skills and probably has better plate discipline. We don’t know yet whether Ruf will hit for power as he continues to advance. He had 17 homers in Clearwater last year which is not that bad in the FSL. I like Overbeck a bit, but both he and Ruf are on the prospect fringe.

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