Soon Playing in Peoria: Seven Phils Prospects to AFL

Is next year's emergency call-up for a pitcher beset with diarrhea among the Phillies' 2012 Arizona Fall League contingent? Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Freed from the annoying distraction of the major league playoffs, Phillies minor league mavens will have plenty to focus on this fall, as a number of the organization's top prospects will suit up for the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League. The team announced Wednesday that catcher Tommy Joseph, third baseman Cody Asche, outfielder Zach Collier, and pitchers Tyler Knigge, Kyle Simon, Colby Shreve and Jay Johnson will continue their 2012 season in the southwest desert. Reading Phils manager Dusty Wathan will manage the club.

If last year is any indication, tomorrow's Javelinas, figuratively speaking, could be next week's Phillies. The 2011 AFL cohort included pitchers Tyler Cloyd, B.J. Rosenberg and Jake Diekman, all of whom have appeared on the big club this season, as well as first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf and outfielder Tyson Gillies, both of whom could show up in September. Asche, enjoying a monster season at Reading, is likely to get a spring training invite, and Joseph--the key piece in last month's Hunter Pence trade with the Giants--and Simon, acquired in the Jim Thome deal earlier this season, could show up in the 2013 mix as well.

Collier, the one-time top draft pick from 2008 whose travails have included missing the 2010 season with a wrist injury and a 50-game suspension for amphetamine use served earlier this season, might be playing for his future with the organization, as he must be added to the 40-man roster after the season or face the Rule 5 draft, where a team might take a chance on the talented 22 year old. Collier's enjoying his best pro season for Clearwater in 2012, batting .268/.334/.402 with six homers going into Wednesday's games.

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