Having a great farm system, which the Philadelphia Phillies do have, is all well and good.
As matter of fact, according to Jim Callis of MLBPipeline.com, the Phillies have the 8th best farm system in the entire league. That is a direct reflection of great scouting/drafting and trades (mainly Cole Hamels and Ken Giles deals).
Anyway, that is all well and good but in a town like Philadelphia — a town that wants results immediately — the team has to show some of that star power in the present.
We received a little taste of that last night in their 13-8 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
After jumping out to a 6-0 lead over the Giants — thanks to a three-run home run by emerging star Maikel Franco and a two-run shot by hopeful star Aaron Altherr — they showed back up in the later innings.
If you take a lead against an ace like Madison Bumgarner you absolutely HAVE to capitalize.
Young pitcher Zach Eflin was not able to hold the lead and ultimately lost it courtesy of the long ball and major command issues. “Command issues” is just code for walks.
The Phils were able to regain the lead thanks to four-hit games by Franco and Cesar Hernandez and a five-RBI game by Altherr.
Catcher Cameron Rupp was able to put the icing on the cake with a three-run homer also.
Let’s talk more about those top three hitters though.
Hernandez has been hitting .384 since June 23rd and he showed no signs of slowing down in August. While I’m not completely sold that he is the second baseman of the future, it is obvious that he can do one thing. Hit.
Altherr was able to play his natural position at center field yesterday (with Odubel Herrera getting the day off against the lefty) and he delivered. After recording three hits in his first game last week, he kind of rejuvenated himself last night. Maybe playing his first home game of the season added something to him mentally or something because he was in the midst of a minor 0-9 slump.
If there is one thing that is certain about this franchise it is that Franco is the past, present and the future. He had been slumping lately but he broke out in a huge way last night. He became the first Phillies third baseman to hit 20 home runs in a season since Scott Rolen did it way back in 2001.
His numbers are not quite where they should be this season — his slash line of .258/.313/.463 is down from last season’s .280/.343/.497 — but he will have every opportunity to keep improving.
Franco did start off July with a ten-game hitting streak and maybe last night’s game was an indication that he is planning on starting August with another torrid stretch.
Herrera, who got the day off but still came in late and recorded a hit as a pinch-hitter and ultimately took over center field late in the game was the team’s lone All-Star, and he is also one of those young future stars for the Phils’.
Yes, the team has a ton of work to do offensively but seeing a glimpse of the future and seeing some potential is better than watching a group of cast-offs playing for nothing to play for. It’s better this way.
– Khristian Peel