Long before they play at Citizens Bank Park in front of 45,000 screaming phans, they are working their way up the organizational ladder in the minor leagues. Unlike other sports, where players get drafted and immediately play at the highest level. Almost every baseball player spends years in the minors. Most play for the love of the game, but every minor league player dreams of playing in the big leagues one day. Its the combination that drives these players through the long bus rides and minor league struggles.
A great minor league system is a key to any successful Major League Team. Where would the Phillies be without homegrown talent like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels? It may be rare to have 4 players with there talents come through the system around the same time, but it does happen. Despite trading a lot of minor league talent in the last few years to bolster the major league roster, there is still a lot of talent and potential in the system.
Some Phillies prospects were kind enough to answer some questions for us. Thanks to the great reponse by some Phutre Phillies, we decided to split it into 2 blogs. The 2nd part of the series will be posted in the next few days.
Postion: 3rd Base
Birthplace: O'Fallon, Missouri
Height and Weight: 6-1 180
2012 Team: Clearwater (High A) and Reading (AA)
2012 Stats: 130 G, 12HR, 72RBI, .324 AVG, .849 OPS
Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump
Favorite Song: All Rap and Country
First Job: Finish Line shoe seller
Baseball Hero: Ken Griffey Jr.
Super Bowl: Niners
Asche might be the most talked about postion player in the Phillies sytem. He may be looked upon to be the Phillies 1st homegrown 3rd baseman since Scott Rolen. In his first full year of pro ball, he struggled while trying to play 2nd base. But after a swtich to 3rd in 2012, he shot up threw the system last year while crushing the ball at stops at Clearwater (High A) and Reading (AA). With a solid 2013, Asche should have the inside track to replace Michael Young at 3rd in 2014. Asche is currently #16 on the Phillies.com prospect watch and #7 on Baseball America's list. He has been invited to the big league camp as a non-roster invitee. Look for Asche to start the year at Reading and be moved to Lehigh mid-season. A strong year by Asche could earn him a call up to the big leauge's in September.
David "Buch" Buchanan
Position: RH Starting Pitcher
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia
Height and Weight: 6-3 190
2012 Team: Reading (AA)
2012 Stats: 12GS, 3.86ERA, 5.0K/9
Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump or Shawshank Redemption
Favorite Song: "Our God" by Chris Tomlin
First Job: Blockbuster
Baseball Hero: John Smoltz
Super Bowl: Ravens "The 49ers player insulted the dirty bird dance."
Buch was originally selected by the Mets in the 2009 Entry Draft, but he turned the Mets down and returned to Georgia State University (that should make him a phan phavorite already!). The Following year, Buch fell to the 7th round because of an injury and the Phillies snagged the talented Righty. His fastball sits in the low 90's and has touched 96 at times. He also possesses an above average curve and a change up. 2012 was a mixed bag for the young righty. He continued his solid performances with a 3.86 ERA in 12 starts. But his year was shortened due to surgery having to repair a tendon on his middle finger of his pitching hand. A solid spring could earn him a start at AAA Lehigh Valley and a September call-up isn't out of the question.
Birthplace: Plano, Texas
Height and Weight: 6-1 240
2012 Team: Clearwater (High A)
2012 Stats:104G, 10HR, 49RBI, .267BA, .770OPS
Favorite Movie: Bull Durham
Favorite Song: "Texas" by George Strait
First Job: delivering Christmas trees
Baseball Hero: Johnny Bench
Super Bowl: "Niners but pullin for the Ravens"
The Phillies drafted Rupp in the 3rd round of the 2010 entry draft. He is best known for his defense but has steadily improved at the plate in each of his 3 seasons. After struggling at the plate in 2010 at Williamsport, with a batting line of just .210/.378/.697 (BA, Slugging, OPS), he's steadily improved in each of the last 2 seasons ( .272/.373/.720 at Lakewood in 2011 and .267/.424/.770 last year at Clearwater). Rupp also threw out 34% of potential base stealers last season. Despite a strong season, Rupp will likely start the season back at Class A Clearwater as the Phillies have 2 young catchers ahead of him on the organizational depth chart. Rupp is a hardworking kid and should make it tough for the organization to keep him at single A all season.
Thanks again to Phillies Prospects Cody Asche, Daivd Buchanan and Cameron Rupp for answering some questions for us. Don't forget to check back soon for Part 2 with more Phuture Phillies.