Cody Asche was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 amateur draft by the Philadelphia Phillies and is currently playing in Double-A. Does this 22-year-old have the potential to become the team's third base answer as soon as next season?
Amaro to bridge the gap?
Because Asche went to the University of Nebraska and then was drafted, he's playing at a higher level than other two-year professionals would be at this point.
This prospect didn't fair well last season at Williamsport in the New York-Penn League. He hit 12 points above his weight (.192 batting average), posted a thin .537 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage), and also made 15 errors in 64 games.
Asche hit .349 and had an .825 OPS at Clearwater in the Florida State League earlier this season. While there, he made seven errors in 61 games.
Since being promoted to Double-A Reading, he's played in 47 games, has a .260 batting average, a .756 OPS mark and has made 10 errors. Asche has been hitting second in the Reading Phillies' lineup.
There's no need to reference the minor league statistics of any major league player for comparison's sake. Hardcore fans also know that numbers aren't exact measurements of a young players' potential. Asche's rise through the system indicates that he might possess the intangibles that are needed to develop into a major leaguer.
Fluid baseball plans
If general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. isn't able to acquire a full-time third base solution in the offseason, it's possible that this prospect might be given a look next spring. What's more likely is that he spends another season in the minors and then potentially makes his mark in 2014.
If the organization believes that Asche could eventually wear their third baseman's glove, it will plug this hole with a one-year option.
Players like Kevin Frandsen, Freddy Galvis, and maybe even Carlos Ruiz could all combine to handle Mike Schmidt's and Scott Rolen's old spot next year. Amaro could also obtain a veteran to handle a majority of the work at that position, or consider Placido Polanco's $5.5 million mutual 2013 option. However, Polly's $1 million buyout looms as a more financially appealing and common sense alternative.
Every baseball fan who I've ever known understands why speculation is a fun part of the game. With whatever anyone thinks about this topic today, the Phillies' future at third base will remain undecided for awhile.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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