Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2016 Player Review: Alec Asher

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Charlie Morton was the last player profiled. 

I've never known what to think of Alec Ascher.
When he came over in the Cole Hamels deal, I assumed he was organizational depth the Phillies were willing to take a flyer on. While he doesn't walk many batters and has decent strikeout numbers, he gave up his fair share of homers in the low minors. 
Then he showed up at Lehigh Valley and pitched to a 2.08 ERA in four starts and the Phillies promoted him.
And he got rocked. 
In his first four Big League starts, he got kncocked around to the tune of a 9.78 ERA, allowing six home runs and 30 hits in 19.3 frames.
That's some rough stuff. 
Then he took the hill against the Marlins on Sept. 24 and threw seven innings of three-hit ball.
He finished the season getting rocked again and walking away with a 9.31 ERA.
It seemed safe to assume we would rather have David Buchanan eat some innings than Alec Asher.
Then, at the middle of the year, he got hit with an 80 game suspension for baseball's drug policy while pitching in the minors.
For all intents and purposes, I was done with him.
But the 25 year old did pitch this year, so let's look at what he did.
By the time he finally got the call, with fans having been concentrating on Vincent Velasquez, Aaron Nola, Ben Lively, Jake Thompson and Zach Eflin, we were all like, "Ascher? Ascher? Oh, Ascher!"


--- On Sept. 8, he tossed six innings of shutout ball, scattering a hit and a walk while not tallying a strikeout against a good Nationals team. The lineup included Trea Turner, Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Dany Espinosa.
This wasn't something to sniff at.
--- On Sept. 13, he allowed 2 runs on four hits and three walks in six-plus innings.
--- On Sept. 18, he allowed 2 runs in a shortened start of just 4.1 innings. It's worth noting that at that point he had given up a 2.16 ERA, and had two Ks for every walk.
--- On Sept. 24, he collected his second career win, giving up four unearned runs while walking none and striking out 1.
--- On Sept. 30, he pitched six innings, allowing three runs on five hits, no walks and four strikeouts. He gave up his only home run on the year.

All in all, that's a pretty impressive five start run, particularly by someone who would be a fifth starter. He made it into the sixth in three of his five starts. He allowed just one home run. He didn't walk a batter in his final 15.1 innings.

But that's a very small sample size of a rested pitcher whom few teams had a book on.

I'm still not sure Ascher is a big part of this organization's future. But, one excellent month means he'll certainly get another shot.

Season Grade: C+
Will we see him back in 2017: So long as he doesn't get nabbed for drugs, or require a second Tommy John surgery, he should make more than a few appearances in Philadelphia.


GM-Carson said...

Ascher might turn out to be a decent 5th starter or someone more along the lines of Adam Morgan (just depth at this point). I really liked what he did with the Phillies at the end of the season and believe he deserves consideration for the rotation.

Bob D said...

I'm bullish on Asher (Ascher if you want to mix in Asche's name in to his) I think he is a good pitcher with decent upside. He may end up as a bullpen arm as I see a numbers crunch for starting pitchers between Phillies and Iron Pigs

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