I am no scout, and by far a minor league baseball regular. Despite my low attendance at R-Phils (they will forever be the R-Phils to me) or Iron Pig games I thoroughly enjoy seeing phuture Phils in action. You can't beat the price of admission, cheap food, and in-game entertainment like Disco Dan. In 2012, myself and the other half of BLN (Bruds) made the trek to Baseball Town to see our favorite R-Phils in action. My quick observations from one game in Baseball Town were as follows: Trevor May got shellacked, Darin Ruf can hit the ball a ton, and I wasn't overly impressed with Cody Asche.
Cody "Smasche" Asche was drafted into the Phillies system 151st overall in the 2011 draft with very little fan fair. After a brief stint at second base with the Williamsport Crosscutters, Asche moved back to third base and High A, in Clearwater, where the move paid quick dividends. He was promoted to the R-Phils in 2012 and the Pigs in 2013 where he became an All-Star. The Utley-esque third baseman has quickly ascended the baseball ranks. Asche sits poised to start his first opening day in a major-league uniform this spring. At only 23 Cody Asche is on the cusp of becoming an everyday big leaguer.
Amidst a forgettable season for the Phillies in 2013 the potential to add young talent to the roster gave a glimmer of hope for the future. The call-up of Asche on July 30th marked a new beginning for the Phillies at third base and the end for veteran Michael Young. He was traded to the Dodgers a month later, ending his short stint in Philly.
Asche didn't quite set the league ablaze during his first couple weeks in Philly. Heading into his 10th big league game Asche had 3 hits with 2 walks, 1 RBI, and 0 HRs. On August 8, his 10th big league game, Smasche arrived! Asche went 3 for 5 with a double, a HR, and 2 RBIs. Including a two-run HR to right field in the 4th inning as the Phils put a beating on the hapless Cubbies. It was Asche's first HR of his big league career. Asche continued to have a solid August finishing with a .272 AVG, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HRs and 14 RBIs. His offensive numbers dipped across the board in the last month of the season but there still remains plenty of promise and improvement for Asche heading into camp.
Asche improved defensively throughout the end of the 2013 season. With already a strong, accurate arm Asche improved his quickness, footwork, his read on balls and his glove work. He made his share of top ten plays, including a ridiculous bare handed grab and throw out of Denard Span in DC on September 15. Asche is an exceptional athlete and is developing into a defensive stud. WWith more AB's his offensive game and power numbers will improve. In 2013 37% of his hits went for extra bases.
Asche, an eager pupil, has a plethora of teachers at his disposal. Skipper Ryne Sandberg was a Hall of Fame 2nd baseman with a freakish work ethic, Larry Bowa a Gold Glove shortstop played alongside the greatest third baseman in Phillies history, Michael Jack. Not to mention Asche's locker coincidentally sits next to Chase Utley where the student was nothing but a sponge in 2013, learning as much as he could from Utley. The environment he is coming up in can only breed success for the 23-year old. While RAJ stated early this year that Phillies stud prospect Maikel Franco is primarily a third basemen, the fact that they will experiment with him at first shows their confidence in Asche as the third basemen of the future.
The comparisons of Cody Asche to Chase Utley may seem premature but the promise is there. Asche not only looks like Chase Utley at the plate but he plays like Utley. He has the presence and demeanor of a young Chase who shows up at the ballpark, works hard, leads, plays solid defense and gets on base. If the torch is to be passed to any current young Phillie, Asche seems to be the guy to run with it. Every team needs a Chase Utley and Asche is next in line.