Following the trade deadline, Phillies fans should be well aware of the current mission that the Phillies organization has embarked on. Operation Rebuild.
The once-solid base of the 2008 Phillies World Series team ceases to exist, and the team currently sits on the equivalent of a melting iceberg which can only hope to grow larger, stronger, and more stable in the years to come. The only way that we can optimistically look forward is to rely on a young group of ballplayers already in Philadelphia, and even younger players in our minor league system.
While youngsters like Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, and Aaron Nola continue to shine in Philadelphia which leads us to a promising glimpse of the future, there is very little limelight shone on the players in the Phillies’ minor league system who will be just as important, if not even more important than the youth already sitting in Philadelphia.
So, without further ado, here are how a few important prospects in the Phillies’ organization are handling the future of Phillies’ baseball in Lehigh and Reading.
Andrew Knapp (Catcher)
Arguably one of the more important positions that the Phillies will have to fill after esteemed veteran Carlos Ruiz stands up from behind the plate, Andrew Knapp has been giving the Phillies hope for a catcher position which for quite some time seemed irreplaceable. Knapp, listed as the Phillies’ 17th best prospect has been tearing it up recently in Reading. 23-year old Andrew Knapp was called up to Reading about a month and a half ago and has so far played in 40 games. Over the span of his first 40 games played in Reading he has hit for an average of .406, has racked up 18 doubles, has hit 7 homeruns, has drove in 42 runs, and to boot has hit in 15 consecutive games.
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Nick Williams (OF)
As one of the key pieces in the Cole Hamels deal, outfielder Nick Williams will always be looked at with a very sharp, keen, and skeptic eye. So far though, Williams has been showcasing his talents which the Phillies sought. In his 13 games in a Reading Fightin’ Phils uniform and at the top of the lineup, Williams has been hitting.345, has hit 3 doubles and 2 triples, has launched 3 longballs, and he has driven in nine runs. As a future spark plug in the outfield in Philadelphia, Nick Williams is the Phillies’ fourth best prospect.
Jake Thompson (SP)
Another key piece in the Cole Hamels Deal, like Nick Williams, Jake Thompson will be expected to make a huge impact on the future of the Phillies – maybe even more expectation sits on the shoulders of Thompson with the inevitable attention he will get as “Cole Hamel’s replacement” as a starting pitcher. Again like Williams, Thompson has shown nothing but promise so far in Philadelphia. He has already started three games as a Reading Phillie, and he has had three shut down starts in all three appearances. Over the span of three games, Thompson has already has three wins while only allowing four runs on eleven hits in 20 innings pitched. Thompson as the Phillies’ third best prospect currently boasts a 1.80 ERA.
Aaron Altherr (OF)
An often overlooked talent in the Phillies’ organization, Aaron Altherr is a 24 year old outfielder who was just recently recalled by the Phillies. Altherr made a few appearances at the end of the 2014 regular season in Philadelphia, but was eventually sent back down to the Iron Pigs. But, let’s not forget, the same thing happened to Maikel Franco last year, and look at him now. This year, Altherr showed his full potential in AAA. Batting .293 in 433 at bats, Altherr had one of the best bats and the best speed in the Ironpig’s lineup with 32 doubles, 5 triples, and 14 homeruns. On top of that, Altherr also had driven in 67 runs, had scored 65 runs, and had stolen 16 bases. Get ready for Aaron Altherr to begin to make an impact in Philadelphia.