So it sounds like J.P. Crawford might not get called up in September.
I have no problem with that.
It's a numbers game. The Phillies have several prospects who need to end up on the 40-man roster so they are protected when the Rule 5 draft comes around. Crawford hasn't been around as long and doesn't need protection. I'm sure the franchise isn't considering holding off starting his arbitration clock until May, right?
This year is about finding what you have and this team is finding out it has some interesting offensive pieces. Not bringing up Crawford might mean finding out more about some other guys.
Here's what we know about guys already in the big leagues.
A. Maikel Franco is developing into a legitimate power threat. The 23-year-old has 22 homers this year. It's not hard to imagine him ending up with 25 homers and 25 doubles on the season.
I'm not sure you can rely on a guy with a sub-7 walk rate to be a 3 or 4 hitter, especially if he's got a sub .300 batting average on balls in play, but Franco could be a fantastic 5-hole hitter in the coming years.
B. Odubel Herrera has shown us two different players. In the first half he was a patient hitter who got all-star-level results. In the second half, he's been overly aggressive and seen his production plummet. He's also not a fantastic center fielder, but he's got speed to burn. He's also got more home run pop than the Phillies seemed to expect. In a lot of ways, he's a poor man's Jimmy Rollins. If he can stay focused for an entire season, he will be an MVP candidate.
C. Cameron Rupp is a solid backstop with a lot of pop. No one should be uncomfortable with him holding down the position for another year or more as the younger catchers make their way onto the roster.
D. Tommy Joseph is a professional hitter who belongs in the Major Leagues. Maybe he's not the long-term answer at first base, but he's not bad to have around. He's got the power to hit 20-25 homers in a 500 at-bat season.
E. Cesar Hernandez has a lot of flaws, but he provides some value.
F. Aaron Altherr has some Jayson Werth potential. If he can stay healthy, he can be an impact bat. I'm not sold that's what he'll be, but he should be good.
This isn't a bad foundation to build on offensively. I'm not saying all of these guys are starters on a contending team, but I think they can be pieces on one, or be traded to get you pieces.
The Phillies have two outfielders they're likely to call up soon in Nick Williams and Roman Quinn.
Williams is in a bit of a slump and is hitting .268/.335/.478 in Triple-A. Quinn is hitting .271/.362/.402 with 27 stolen bases for Reading. But he's missed a ton of time again. He's never played in 90 games in a minor league season, so the Phillies don't really know what to expect. Both of these guys will likely need some September at-bats in a very crowded outfield.
The Phillies will also, according to most reports, call up Jorge Alfaro. He's a catcher who will get some games in and give Rupp and Carlos Ruiz a rest.
If the Phillies can end September by solidifying their opinions on the guys listed above and getting a solid look at the young kids, that's a good cap to the season.
Sure, we all want to see Crawford, but he doesn't need to be called up and take space on the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 draft this winter.
Before all that unfolds, the Phillies have to face the Cardinals this weekend. Let's take a look at what to expect.
Friday, Aug. 19: 7:05
Saturday, Aug. 20: 7:05
Sunday, Aug. 21: 1:35
Adam Wainright (9-7, 4.72) vs Adam Morgan (1-7, 6.62)
Luke Weaver (0-0, 4.50) vs Jeremy Hellickson (9-7, 3.65)
Mike Leake (8-9, 4.78) vs Vincent Velasquez (8-5, 4.14)
What we know about the Cardinals
The Cardinals will make their annual trek into October baseball. If anyone is going to beat the Cubs and Giants it will be the Cards. Why? Because God hates us. OK, God doesn't hate us. But the Cardinals are the personification of the moment when your parents won't let you get more ice cream at the Chinese buffet and you know they're right, but you just don't want to admit it because the ice cream might not be high quality, but is free and sugary.
Matchup we're looking forward to
Every Jeremy Hellickson start is must watch at this point. If he can keep pitching well, he's going to say no to the Phillies' qualifying offer and they're going to get a very nice draft pick.
What we're looking for
Just seeing more at-bats from Altherr and Joseph.
That's what the next two months are about.