Ken Rosenthal: Phillies discussing Asche move

In his column today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Phillies are having internal discussions about moving Cody Asche to the outfield next season in deference to Maikel Franco who has made his adjustments and begun to hit at Triple-A. Who could have predicted that?

Asche’s defense at third base has been poor. Here were my thoughts on his glove when I published my full report on him in 2012 when I had plenty of looks at him in Reading:

Asche’s defense at third base was the main hang up for me whilst watching him this season. He looked so terrible at times that I thought working him in both outfield corners and at first base for the next two years was the best course of action, hoping he could become a useful, four corners bench bat.

Asche was sent to the 2012 Arizona Fall League where he showed some defensive improvement under new, heavy instruction and that, combined with his reputable work ethic, caused me to bump his peak future defensive grade up from below average (40) to fringe-average (45). It clearly hasn’t played that way so far.


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  1. nik

    May 20, 2014 10:28 AM

    My hope is that he can turn into a Martin Prado clone. A slightly weak bat for OF Corner and sloppy defense at 3rd, but yet a decent enough major leaguer. I think the bat has more chance to improve than the glove personally, he just lacks consistency over there at third. For every great play he makes 2 poor ones.

  2. nik

    May 20, 2014 10:29 AM

    Is Franco currently a better defensive third baseman than Asche? Seems like they have the same range, but Franco’s arm is way better, correct?

    • Eric Longenhagen

      May 20, 2014 11:32 AM

      Franco has less range, better hands, much better arm (Asche’s arm might be fringe-average, Franco’s i near plus-plus), both struggle with arm accuracy issues at times. I like Franco more over there.

      • Chris S.

        May 20, 2014 11:42 AM

        Which corner OF spot would Asche move too? I would assume LF and move Dom Brown to RF? Would Byrd become trade bait if this comes to fruition?

      • Andrew Cleveland Alexander

        May 20, 2014 11:57 AM

        To the question of where this leaves the outfield: I think it could be an indication that they are going to move Domonic Brown, if not at the trade deadline then during the offseason. Byrd is under contract for 2015, but more importantly, he is right-handed. Brown is only going to hit arbitration for the first time in 2015, but his agent is Scott Boras, which means there’s no chance of locking him into a long-term deal as is the fashion these days. Of course, Brown is playing pretty pathetically right now, so I don’t see them selling low on him. But by all accounts they were willing to listen on him during this offseason. I could see them using him as the centerpiece of a deal that gets them a decent young mid-rotation starter, like a Tony Cingrani type, or a credible right or switch-hitting centerfielder.

        That said, Asche is going to have to significantly overachieve with the bat in order to play left field every day. And if his arm is fringe at third, how does it play in the outfield?

  3. BPS

    May 20, 2014 12:32 PM

    How would Asche profile at 2B? Seems like his bat would profile as a better back-up plan to Utley than any of the team’s other options (Galvis, Hernandez).

    • Ryan

      May 20, 2014 01:10 PM

      So he doesn’t have enough range for 3rd, so let’s move him to 2nd?

      • Andrew Cleveland Alexander

        May 20, 2014 01:15 PM

        They tried him at second at Williamsport, and the results were by all accounts abysmal. I think Asche is a classic tweener whose bat isn’t quite good enough for 1B or the outfield and whose glove isn’t quite good enough for the infield. Your best hope for him is that he hits well enough this year that someone decides to trade for him, but even then, I’m not sure any team thinks as highly of him as the Phillies do.

    • Eric Longenhagen

      May 20, 2014 01:43 PM

      I know scouts have seen him and always wished he could play 2B, where the bat obviously profiles a little better. They’ve tried him at 2B before, as ACA noted, and if they thought there was a glimmer of hope there I’m sure they would’ve tried it again by now or left him there.

      • Andrew Cleveland Alexander

        May 20, 2014 02:40 PM

        I like the idea of seeing if he can play passably in the outfield, though. That gives you a guy who can fill in at 3B or give Franco a day off while he’s adjusting to the majors, can maybe play a platoon role in left (assuming Brown is moved to right or moved out) and give you a good left handed bat off the bench. In terms of his role, maybe he’s a better version of peak Greg Dobbs. That’s a very useful player.

      • Eric Longenhagen

        May 20, 2014 04:48 PM

        The Dobbs comp is one that crossed my mind while watching the Nats game last night. And yes, nothing wrong with having that guy on the cheap for a half decade.

  4. Bob

    May 20, 2014 12:56 PM

    Eric, what is wrong with Dom Brown? How is he so bad this year?

    What about keeping Asche at 3B and having Franco play 1B? Asche has recently been raking? Is his production sustainable?

    • Eric Longenhagen

      May 20, 2014 01:44 PM

      Swing is very long, hand are extending too early. He was much shorter to the ball last year.

      • Brian

        May 20, 2014 01:50 PM

        > Swing is very long, hand are extending too early

        Is there a reason why this happens? Something mental? Practicing bad motor patterns?

      • Eric Longenhagen

        May 20, 2014 01:55 PM

        It’s something inherent in players as tall and long-limbed as Brown is. Long levers means a long swing unless you’re truly exceptional and really work at it. It hasn’t helped Dom that he’s had no answer for the adjustments pitchers have made to him. He is, as I said before, too enigmatic for me to try to project anymore. His career needs to be detailed in a prospect-centric book one day.

  5. tim

    May 20, 2014 01:28 PM

    If you read this article backwards it makes more sense. And if you don’t have any pants on.

  6. James N Carr

    May 21, 2014 11:47 AM

    Ascke is not unlike other promising rookies. He will mature this year and become a stable 3rd baseman in 2015. Don’t be too hasty to pass judgment. remember the Redbirds 1956-57 rookie at 3rd.

    • Andrew Cleveland Alexander

      May 21, 2014 12:22 PM

      Ok, I admit it: I had to look it up. Ken Boyer was righthanded, won several Gold Gloves and a MVP, averaged around 25 HRs a season during his first decade in the majors. He was a perennial All Star and got some votes for the Hall of Fame. Not even Cody Asche’s own mother thinks he will develop into that kind of player. Best case scenario for Asche, which we should be ecstatic about, is that he turns into a solid everyday player. He is not Ken Boyer. He is not Chase Utley. He is, maybe a player on a par with someone like Dave Hollins, whose name we only remember because he had a very nice season for the 1993 team. Asche is a very good player who has made the most of limited physical gifts and he should have an extended major league career, which is certainly good enough.

  7. Adam

    May 21, 2014 12:50 PM

    I think moving asche to the outfield will be a good move. I think we have spent enough time on Brown. Saw glimpses of stardom last season, but he has been awful all year. His swing is so long. The longer the swing, the longer one slumps. Asche to left, revere in center and Byrd in right.

  8. Ralph

    May 21, 2014 01:31 PM

    Maybe Schmidtty, Bowa or Ryno need to work with him. I saw Asche cut some balls off in the infield ala MJS. If Dom Brown doesn’t warm up soon we may see Asche or Ruf in LF before long.

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