In Need of a Challenge

Today Ben Badler of Baseball America posted a list of 10 players that could be in need of a quick promotion. There were 3 Phillies on the list, which got me thinking about other players I thought could use a challenge. The Phillies then immediately promoted one of those players in RHP Miguel Nunez. There are still plenty of players to talk about for this exercise, and I should preface that I don’t know what the Phillies may be working on developmentally with these players. Additionally, there is no one in the system wallowing somewhere who needs to move now, these are more players who could move in the next month or so if they continue their pace.

J.P. Crawford/Thomas Eshelman/Josh Tobias (Ben’s List)

Crawford did well in Reading last year and is off to a solid start there this year as well. A lot of what Crawford has to do is be consistent and grow into his body. He can do that in AA, but AAA could be a better challenge and prepare him a little bit better for the majors. I don’t think they will rush Crawford’s promotion, but within the next month should be reasonable. Eshelman was one of the most advanced pitchers in the 2015 draft, but a lack of professional innings plus a new org made a start in AA very aggressive. He has been very good for 3 starts in Clearwater (start #4 is tonight), and with the return of John Richy from injury and ideally a promotion from Reading to Lehigh Valley to fill Adam Morgan’s spot there should be a spot in Reading without leaving Clearwater open. Josh Tobias should be in Clearwater, Scott Kingery is in Clearwater, Scott Kingery is better than Josh Tobias, and Scott Kingery is not ready for AA. Tobias needs the reps at second base because that is really the only place he profiles. If Kingery continues his good start he could see Reading at some point soon and open up the Clearwater spot for Tobias.

Ben Lively/Alec Asher (One Get’s the Bump)

Both players got stuck in AA because the AAA rotation is stacked (and still has David Buchanan for some reason). Ben Lively has gotten off to a dominant start which means he is more likely to get the call. Lively hasn’t really seen his stuff improve, but his command has taken a large jump forward which puts him back on track to be a back end starter. Asher is adding a sinker and is not missing bats, but he is looking better and ended the year in the majors. He does not need the immediate boost, but if he gets promoted to Lehigh Valley it would not be unwarranted.

Miguel Nunez (Already Promoted)

A brief word on Nunez who got promoted to Reading today. Nunez missed two years before reappearing as a starter in Lakewood in 2013, he then struggled as a starter for a year and a half in Clearwater before moving to the bullpen. He has seen his career take off in the bullpen, and this year his velocity ticked up to 95-96 and he has seen his control go another step forward as he has walked 0 in 8.1 innings this year while striking out 13. His secondary pitches are not the point where he looks like a future closer, but he has enough to be a solid reliever. He is only 23 and will be a minor league free agent after the year so time is a little bit of the essence now.

Edubray Ramos (Potential 2016 reinforcements)

Control was the big problem for Ramos the last time he was in Reading, but he has only walked 1 in his 11 innings so far. He has given up a three run home run, but otherwise has been very good. He is on the 40 man roster and could provide long term help to the bullpen. There is no reason to rush, but another 2-3 weeks like this and he should be in line to see some AAA time and maybe Philly in the back half of the season.

Victor Arano/Alexis Rivero/Jesen Therrien (Clearwater wave 2)

I wrote about the Threshers’ pitching recently for The Good Phight and the team as a whole has been nothing short of fantastic. Tyler Viza, Elniery Garcia, and Ranfi Casimiro have matched Eshelman’s results so far this season but all three are three starts in after time in Lakewood so another few months of domination are needed before pushing them. The bullpen on the other hand has some repeat customers. Miguel Nunez got the call this week, but Victor Arano, Alexis Rivero, and Jesen Therrien are not far behind. The trio has combined for 29.1 IP 18 H 4 ER 6 BB 40 K. Arano as a reliever is sitting 93-95, Rivero is similar, and Therrien is a tick behind them. They are all young and don’t have the ticking clock of Nunez so there is no need to rush them, but if they continue to put up numbers like this the Phillies will need to move them along to keep up the challenge.

Shane Watson (Not yet, but I feel bad for Lakewood)

Watson has had one bad start and two good starts this year, and most importantly he is healthy. Watson was 91-93 in front of some of BP’s prospect guys in his second start and he has some sort of breaking ball, it used to be a curve but it is apparently more of a slurve these days. I don’t think Watson needs to go anywhere, but if the Phillies want to bump a Lakewood starter to Clearwater at any point, Watson is certainly the early favorite. The real goal for him is to stay healthy and develop some command and then work from there.


Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.