Now almost seven weeks into the 2017 regular season, the Philadelphia Phillies are once again near the bottom of the NL East Division standings.
As the club looks to improve upon their position, there are varying opinions as to the readiness of the top minor league prospects.
I believe that two prospects now helping the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs succeed can help the big league Phillies improve right now.
Outfielder Roman Quinn just turned 24 years of age this past weekend. He was the Phillies second round selection in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft out of Port St. Joe High School in Florida.
Quinn is a speed demon who projects as a prototypical leadoff man of the dynamic variety. Now in his sixth minor league season, Quinn has stolen 167 bases and scored 267 runs over 390 games played.
No one, and that includes both Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera, the current Phillies top two baserunning threats, has the kind of game-changing speed that Quinn would bring to the lineup.
PITCHER JUST KEEPS ON WINNING
On the mound, Ben Lively never pops up on the Phillies Top 10 Prospects rankings – except on mine. Lively never seems to excite prospect evaluators. But he does do two things extremely well that I find vitally important – pitch innings, and win.
Lively turned 25 years old near the start of spring training. The right-hander was the fourth round choice of the Cincinnati Reds in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Central Florida.
Following the 2014 season, Lively won the Chief Bender Award as the Reds minor league player of the year. He was traded to the Phillies on New Years Eve of 2015 for veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd.
When last season ended, Lively was named the winner of the Paul Owens Award as the Phillies organization’s top minor league pitcher.
Lively is now 43-24 over parts of five minor league seasons, with a 3.28 ERA and 1.115 WHIP mark. He has allowed 448 hits in 542.2 innings, with a 501/157 K:BB ratio.
This is a guy who has done everything asked of him developmentally. And still he waits for his first real chance in the big leagues as other pitchers continue to struggle in Philadelphia.
HELP IS AVAILABLE UP THE TURNPIKE
I saw it written today that there isn’t anyone coming who could help improve the current state of the Philadelphia Phillies. I vehemently disagree. These two players could step right into the lineup and rotation today and incrementally improve the ball club.
In the coming months, I anticipate that more changes will be coming. More of the prospects will emerge, more of the current big leaguers will reveal themselves as suspect. The winds of change will blow talent from the Lehigh Valley down to the Delaware Valley.
But for now, promote Quinn and Lively and keep them up. Give them the shots that lesser players have been given. The chance to battle through the ups and downs that come with the big league learning curve. It’s better than some of what is here now, that’s for sure.