2013′s version of Scott Elarton is….Zach Miner. The Phillies signed Miner today to a minor league contract where he is expected to land in the Lehigh Valley after two likely IronPigs candidates Trevor May and Lisalverto Bonilla were traded away over the last week.
Miner, 30, was originally a 4th round draft pick of the Braves and last pitched in the majors during the 2009 season when he went 7-5 with a 4.29 ERA in 51 games for the Tigers. Miner threw in 23 games for Toledo, the Tigers AAA affiliate last season going 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 36 innings of work.
Miner, a big righty, underwent Tommy John surgery during the 2010 season and has struggled to regain his pre-injury form.
Corner outfield like the infield corners is where teams look to put players with power and limited athleticism. Typically right fielders have to have a strong arm to make the throw to third base to prevent teams from going first to third on every single (and tagging up on fly balls), however having a plus arm in left is still a legitimate asset to a team’s defense. Up until 2010 the corners had not been a major problem for the Phillies but since the departure of Jayson Werth the Phillies have struggled to fill RF, they got a successful half season out of Hunter Pence at a very high price but otherwise the replacements in RF have been disappointments. In LF the Phillies historically have been willing to sacrifice defense in order to get a good bat into the line up.
On a whole the Phillies have drafted and signed toolsy outfielders with limited success to this point, highlighted by Dominic Brown’s current major league struggles. It does however leave the system with a good amount of players who have high upside, both in the corners and center field, that could make the jump to solid prospects.
As always if you have not read gregg’s end of year recaps for would like the refresher here is the upper half and the lower half.
Darin Ruf (26) – Ruf has been the source of much discussion this fall after a torrid end to his AA season. Going into the year he has a very good org first baseman that had some upside as a bench bat. By the end of the season Ruf had put up one of the greatest AA in Phillies history, and had hit 3 HRs in the major leagues. Ruf has been playing mostly in LF since the middle of August, where he has the tools to be average at best with an ok arm and poor speed, there have been positive reports so far from his time in winter ball. In both the majors and winter ball Ruf showed more swing and miss to his game, but he still maintained his ability to hit for power. At best Ruf can be a poor fielding, slugging LF who will provide RF power in a market where it as a premium. Ruf’s best position is first base but that is blocked by Ryan Howard’s contract. There is little to no precedent for a player of Ruf’s profile becoming a major league regular so there are no good comparable players to look at to judge how his future will project. Continue reading