Ten Phillies prospects ready to move up

Most players will tell you that they don't think about when they'll be moved to the next level. that may be true, but you have to figure that at least some of them are wondering when they'll be the next one to move up a level. We've identified ten of those players who are justified in waiting for that news to come.

Finally, Tyler Knigge (4-1-9, 0.60) received his promotion from Clearwater to Reading. No other player in the Phillies organization has been more deserving of a promotion than Knigge, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other players who are well deserving. The list also shows that the Phillies organization isn't as bare as many people believe that it is. The biggest problem with the system is that there are gaping holes in some spots, with one of them being power hitters.

Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Tyler Cloyd (8-1, 2.01) doesn't have a full season at Triple-A under his belt, but the way he's pitching, he should at least be getting a look at the major league level come September. It's also a fairly easy argument to say that Cloyd would have been a better fit in the rotation than was Kyle Kendrick. With Roy Halladay nearing a return to the Phillies rotation, that point is moot. With Halladay healthy, there really isn't a spot in the rotation for Cloyd unless you consider removing Joe Blanton. Potential trades involving Blanton and/or Cole Hamels could open a spot for the 25-year old right-hander.

Kevin Frandsen (.293/.333/.379) isn't exactly a prospect at 30-years old, but there is no doubt that Frandsen could help a team at the major league level. There isn't a lot of room for him with the Phillies, unless Mike Fontenot was optioned back to Lehigh Valley, but he's proven himself a useable part of the Phillies bench. If you're one of the teams talking with the Phillies about a deal, asking to have Frandsen thrown into the deal wouldn't be a bad idea. Frandsen has 28 multi-hit games this season and has played well defensively.

Reading Phillies

Leandro Castro (6-44-.313/.340/.469) has played just 82 games at Reading, but he's putting up nice numbers and appears ready for a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The IronPigs outfield is a little crowded with Domonic Brown, Kyle Hudson, Michael Spidale and Steve Susdorf, but not all of those players are legitimate prospects and Castro could get the nod over one of them. Of course, there's always the chance that Brown will be in the majors either in Philadelphia or elsewhere before too long depending on what happens at the trade deadline.

Cesar Hernandez (.309/.349/.442) has shown a lot of consistency this season, which is rare for a 22-year old. Like Castro, he's in his first season at the Double-A level, but a promotion isn't out of the question, at least for the last few weeks of the season. The IronPigs would have to find somewhere else for Kevin Frandsen to play, but again, that situation could work itself out by the trade deadline. Plus, Frandsen can play a number of positions, so there wouldn't be much of a problem to make room for Hernandez.

Darin Ruf (15-55-.315/.412/.540) has been the fodder of a number of people who have even wanted him to be in the majors filling in for Ryan Howard. You have to remember something though; Double-A isn't the majors. Having said that, there is no denying that Ruf is having a very good season for Reading, but if you go back just a couple of seasons, you'll find the same scenario with a power-hitting first baseman who everybody thought was going to be the next big thing. Matt Rizzotti was pounding the ball and when he arrived at Lehigh Valley, the holes in his swing were exposed. The same is likely with Ruf, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't deserve a shot at proving people wrong, so moving to Lehigh Valley wouldn't be a bad thing. The problem is that 26-year old Cody Overbeck anchors first base for the Pigs and while he's not a huge prospect, the Phillies like Overbeck and won't be quick to replace him. If Ruf were really a huge prospect, they would move Overbeck aside, but for now, that's not likely to happen.

Lisalverto Bonilla (2-1, 1.64) would have likely been in line for a promotion with Knigge being added to the R-Phils bullpen. However, the 22-year old right-hander hurt his pitching hand horsing around with friends in a hotel the night before the Futures Game in Kansas City. X-rays didn't reveal any broken bones, but Bonilla's thumb is badly swollen and there's no word on when he will be back on the mound.

Jonathan Pettibone (7-6, 3.65) and Julio Rodriguez (5-2, 3.76) are both potential additions to the IronPigs rotation. You have to figure that at least one of them will be in Lehigh Valley before the end of the season. With veteran Scott Elarton struggling and Pat Misch has been inconsistent, meaning that there's room for additions to the IronPigs rotation. Both pitchers are in their first season at Reading, but both are also pitching well enough to warrant consideration for a jump to Lehigh Valley.

Clearwater Threshers

There are some tempting players at Clearwater who would be near deserving promotions to Double-A Reading, but they're borderline. Considering that the move from High-A to Double-A is considered the toughest in baseball to make, it's likely that players like Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan and Brody Colvin would benefit more from staying at Clearwater for the rest of the season rather than moving along to Reading.

Lakewood BlueClaws

Chris Duffy (.364/.456/.536) has been at Clearwater this season and hit just .205 before coming back to Lakewood. He's been pounding the ball and has his average with the BlueClaws up to .364 and appears ready to rejoin the Clearwater Threshers. One theory is that it might be better for Duffy to just stick with the 'Claws for the rest of the season rather than risking him struggling at the High-A level as he did earlier in the season.

Luis Paulino (4-1, 2.72) has numbers that would make you think he's ready for Clearwater, but when you consider that this is Paulino's first full season as a pitcher - he was converted from being an infielder - it might not be a bad idea to just let him put up big numbers at Lakewood and then start him off at Clearwater next season.

Williamsport Crosscutters

Chris Serritella (4-18, .330/.408/.593) is making quick believers out of people who have been following the CrossCutters. The 22-year old first baseman was the Phillies fourth round pick in last month's draft and has scored 17 runs in 23 games. Keep in mind that all of Serritella's stats have come in just 23 games in the short-season New York - Penn League.



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