2015 Phillies Report Card: Cody Asche

Cody Asche wasn’t all bad for the Phillies in 2015. He held the fort at third base until Maikel Franco was called up to take over the position in mid-May, then transitioned to left field in order to make himself more useful to the team. That, irrespective of how he hit or fielded, was valuable. However, that’s where his value started and ended.

Asche declined from last year’s numbers, hitting slightly fewer singles and drawing a handful fewer walks, though he made up for it a bit by a teeny increase in power. Adjusting for league and park effects, Baseball Reference credited him with an 87 adjusted OPS, seven points down from his 2014 output. FanGraphs had him dropping from a 94 wRC+ to 86. With both stats, 100 is average.

Defensively, Asche further hurt his cause. With the usual caveat about one-year defensive statistics, both B-R and FanGraphs pegged him as awful with the glove — among the worst in the league, in fact. Asche was one of only 33 defenders at any position to rack up -10 fielding runs or worse. At FanGraphs, Asche was put at -12.1 runs, the 11th-worst mark in the game. It’s a counting stat, and Asche played over 200 fewer innings than the defender who played the second-fewest innings within the top-15. Had he been afforded more playing time, he might have finished as the least valuable defender in baseball.

Needless to say, Asche wasn’t adding any value on the bases, either. Add that all up, and you have -1.1 Wins Above Replacement (according to both B-R and FG). He was one of 22 position players in baseball with -1 WAR or worse per B-R. He was the seventh-least valuable player in the game, using FanGraphs WAR.

I wrote recently that the Phillies should explore trading Asche. He is not a good fit on the Phillies team as presently constructed. Maikel Franco has ownership at third base, the corner outfield spots will be spoken for by players with more potential (e.g. Aaron Altherr, Nick Williams), and he doesn’t have the glove to move elsewhere in the infield like second base. Even his at-bats from the bench would be better spent going to a younger player like Darnell Sweeney. Hopefully, when spring training rolls around, Asche will be wearing a new uniform.

Grade: F

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19 comments

  1. Romus

    October 10, 2015 07:32 AM

    Two teams that I heard, rumor wise, that could have some interest in Asche are the Brewers and the Indians. Not sure what return he would bring, I suspect a bullpen player or a prospect.from their 10-15 range.

  2. Scott B

    October 10, 2015 11:25 AM

    Just a thought but if Howard ends up elsewhere what about have Asche play a little 1B too? Could have some value as a corner infielder who can play some LF with some pop off the bench. Having a homegrown Greg Dobbs type wouldn’t hurt.

    • Ryan

      October 10, 2015 12:39 PM

      If his bat doesn’t play at 3b or outfield, how is it going to play at first???

  3. BobSmith

    October 10, 2015 06:49 PM

    The only reason he might stick with the organization is that he isn’t arbitration eligible until ’17 so he’ll be really cheap ($550-$600k) for another year.

  4. Mr.Kotter

    October 10, 2015 07:05 PM

    An F???? Wow, harsh. He’s only as God made him. Maybe a C- for effort, not getting injured and showing up for work each day; attendance is half the battle.

    • Steve (Tampa)

      October 10, 2015 07:59 PM

      LOL Mr. Kotter. Yeah, F is a bit harsh. C – ? D? Certainly. It is in the Phillies best interest to give Asche the better part of April and May to prove that he deserves regular ABs. He can improve to the point of being completely adequate which offers little in terms of ceiling. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him OPS’ing .720-.740 next season. No joke

    • Bob

      October 10, 2015 10:01 PM

      He has been a poor hitter, fielder and baserunner for two years now. In that time, he’s been given almost 800 PAs. Asche has had every chance to make improvements and stick. He’s not a major league player. He’s not even a major league bench player. If Asche doesn’t deserve an F, I don’t know of any position player that would ever deserve an F. He doesn’t contribute positively at anything on the field.

      • Steve

        October 11, 2015 12:00 AM

        Dom brown

      • Bob

        October 11, 2015 12:29 AM

        Dom Brown deserves an F too. He’s in the same boat as Asche. Ryan Howard as well. When you’re a negative value in hitting, fielding, and baserunning, you’re an F.

      • Steve (Tampa)

        October 11, 2015 09:29 AM

        I guess it depends on your grading system. If going by expectations alone, I would stand behind anyone who grades Asche as a C- or D. Expectations were relatively low to begin with and he failed to meet even those admittedly suppressed expectations. If your grading based on contribution, even in terms of WAR he’s hardly an F. I don’t think any serious Phillies fan sees future HOF’er in Asche, but he hasn’t proven that he can’t play at the major league level. He doesn’t turn 25 until the 2016 ASB. And consider, Asche is only 6 months older than Altherr. He’s also pre-arb

      • Steve (Tampa)

        October 11, 2015 09:35 AM

        doesn’t turn ’26’ that is

      • Bob

        October 11, 2015 10:15 AM

        Asche has had two years. A lot of players don’t get the opportunities he’s had. I’d rather give Altherr a chance.

      • Steve

        October 11, 2015 04:22 PM

        Altherr and Asche will have two totally different roles in 16 if they are both on the roster. Altherr will be playing nearly every day trying to prove his bat is good enough to earn a starting spot in the future OF. Asche will be a bench bat and perhaps a utility guy if someone needs a day off.

    • Eddie

      October 11, 2015 06:41 PM

      I think Cody Asche would be the first person to say that professional athletes don’t get paid six figure salaries to try hard or do their best. It’s a results business. He doesn’t deserve to be mocked or vilified for being limited in ability, but he does deserve to have his results honestly graded.

  5. Andrew

    October 12, 2015 12:43 AM

    Bill I can’t seem to comprehend your absolute disgust with Cody Asche. No one is saying he is an All Star or even a first division regular, but he can be a serviceable player on the team IF he can become a fringe to below average defender in left field. Unless a miracle happens we wont be competing for anything other than improving upon this year and he wont be blocking playing time from anyone. I for one will take a year of a left fielder on a rebuilding team hitting .250/.320/.410 with 12-15 HR and 40-60 RBI, all of which he can do if afforded regular playing time.

    • Steve

      October 12, 2015 06:50 AM

      He should not be afforded regular playing. Altherr and Herrera should have starting spots until they play their way out of the lineup. Once williams is called up, he will need regular playing time as well. In the mean time id rather see what Sweeney can do significant AB’s than Asche.

  6. 100Bucks

    October 12, 2015 05:10 PM

    Cody Asche is blessed to have had over a thousand major league plate appearances. He has enjoyed the thrill of the game winning hit, home runs, and big plays. Shed no tears for Cody; he has lived the dream. But, after 3 years, there is no sign that he will ever be a plus WAR player.

    • Gary Forman

      October 15, 2015 09:49 AM

      I think Cody is a player of enormous potential. His hitting mechanics are excellent; short level powerful swing. His 12 homers including a walk- off and a two homer game were decent but he hit many balls off the wall and that total could easily have been increased. Left field was a new position for him but he improved as the season went on, and made a few good catches. He is only 25 and is known as hard working and very coachable. It is far, far, too early to give up on a talent like Cody’s.

      • TheMick

        October 15, 2015 12:47 PM

        Gary, I must say I don’t have near as high an opinion of Asche as you do, but I do think he can be service-able in the right setting. That setting, imo, is Asche playing 3B for a small market team that doesn’t have playoff aspirations for 2016. It’s where Asche will get the most playing time. With the emergence of Franco he has no real role in the Phils future infield. When Franco needs a blow the Phils will probably go to Blanco or another UTI IF.

        As an OF Asche doesn’t have the requisite tools to be anything better than below average. Not only doesn’t he have the raw power most GM’s want in a corner OF, but he’s also lacking in foot speed – in both the OF and on the base paths. He doesn’t hit for average or draw a lot of walks. Though OF won’t be a position of strength in 2016 there’s a couple of keepers at the major league level and a few more on the way from the minors in 2017 & beyond.

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