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.