Phillies Prospect Roundup: AFL End of Season Edition

Could we be seeing a Rupp/Papelbon connection in 2014? - Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As the AFL season concludes for the Peoria Javelinas, we look to see how the Phillies prospects have fared against some of the other top prospects around the league.

The Phillies sent Kelly Dugan, Cameron Perkins, Aaron Altherr, Cameron Rupp, Ken Giles, Austin Wright, Mike Nesseth and Kyle Simon to the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League to get a better look at these guys after they have had either intriguing, disappointing or lost seasons during the summer.  As some (including myself) were extremely disappointed to learn that Kelly Dugan was unable to participate due to turf toe, but was pleasantly surprised that he was able to be replaced with Perkins.  The Phillies didn't send any starters this year, but instead sent a plethora of bullpen talent to essentially see what could stick.  I have a feeling you could see possibly only 1 or 2 from this pitching group protected on the 40 man roster.  Now, let's get on to the stats.

Cameron Rupp, Catcher (AA, AAA, MLB)
.278 AVG (15 for 54), 7 R, 4 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 19 K, SB, .339 OBP, .444 SLG, .412 BABIP (0 errors)

Rupp had a great regular season and even got a callup (and even played!) for the big club.  The club is obviously high on the kid and should be considered on top of their catching prospect ladder.  That's not to say he has all the tools to be a starting catcher, but he has shown the ability to be slightly above average behind the plate and has been hitting at the higher levels of the minors.  He has solid backup catcher written all over him.  In the AFL he got plenty of at-bats and displayed decent power, though struck out a ton.  I'm actually pulling for the kid to beat out Kratz for the backup position for the Philies this season, I think he has what it takes.

Aaron Altherr, Outfielder (A+)
.200 AVG (9 for 45), 6 R, 2 3B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K, 2 SB, 1 CS, .265 OBP, .267 SLG, .243 BABIP (0 errors)

Altherr had a breakout season for the Clearwater Threshers.  He has shown he can play almost anywhere in the outfield, but I would have to guess he would be most valuable in CF (where he got to play a lot in the AFL).  Altherr had some injury issues (hand), but still got a respectable amount of at bats.  The success clearly didn't transfer over as he struggled to find the gaps and get on base.  I don't know how much this had to do with his hand injury.  He is clearly on the Phillies front office radar and will get a full season in Reading this season.  This will be a true test for Altherr and if he can meet his apparent prospect ceiling.

Cameron Perkins, Outfielder (R, A+)
.216 (11 for 51), 8 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K, SB, 2 CS, .333 OBP, .373 SLG, .250 BABIP (0 errors)

Perkins had the fortunate opportunity to extend his season due to Dugan's injury to begin the AFL.  He was excellent over an injury plagued season (only 105 games).  Perkins has shown a lot of discipline at the plate as he doesn't strike out often, but can also draw a walk.  He was a RF through the regular season, but saw time mostly in LF in the AFL.  I expected a higher average for Perkins, but his peripherals weren't that bad.  Over half his hits were extra base hits.  Perkins is one of those prospects that I hope continues to blossom, but he clearly needs to prove himself over a full season at the higher levels.  He should be patrolling the outfield in Reading with Altherr this upcoming season.

Mike Nesseth, RP (A+, AA, AAA)
14.2 IP, 9 games, 0 W, 2 L, 21 H, 16 R, 15 ER, HR, 8 BB, 9 K, 9.20 ERA, 2.042 WHIP

I don't think much of Mike Nesseth as he is a 17th round draft pick from 2010.  He doesn't strike guys out and allows a ton of hits.  This has pretty much been through his minor league career so far.  Nesseth gave up earned runs in 7 of his 9 outings of which included his last 4 appearances.  I don't see him as being a guy worth protecting in the Rule 5 draft.

Ken Giles, RP (A+)
10.1 IP, 10 games, 0 W, 0 L, 3 saves, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 8 BB, 16 K, 5.23 ERA, 1.584 WHIP

Now Ken Giles is a serious prospect and it's actually okay to be a little bit excited about him.  He was clocked in at 101 MPH on his fastball his final appearance (which had gone 1 IP, 1 H, 3 K).  Like most flamethrowers, his control can be an issue. He was injured shortly after the start of the regular season in April and didn't wind up coming back until July.  He didn't have an impressive regular season, but he is highly thought of within the organization.  His only earned runs in the AFL came in 1 game (recording no outs).  Meaning he threw 10.1 innings of shutout ball.  Once he harnesses his control, he could ascend quickly to the majors.

Austin Wright, RP (AA)
10.2 IP, 10 games, 0 W, 0 L, 16 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 3 HR, 6 BB, 11 K, 5.91 ERA, 2.157 WHIP

Austin Wright is a guy who I, and most other prospect followers, aren't really high on.  He has clear talent, but hasn't been able to put it together.  He was a starter all through the regular season, but was demolished so badly he was sent to the bullpen (where his troubles surely didn't end).  One of his clear problems is he puts too many men on base.  He has swing and miss stuff, but when he misses a spot it typically winds up in the outfield.  He is still fairly young and perhaps he can find a place in the bullpen, but I would not like to see him starting a game again.

Kyle Simon, RP (AA)
14.1 IP, 9 G, 0 W, 0 L, 1 save, 12 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 6 BB, 11 K, 3.14 ERA, 1.277 WHIP

Simon was acquired from the Orioles in the Thome trade.  Who would have thought we would have received any real value in return (we also received catcher Gabriel Lino).  Simon had an impressive 2012 with the Phillies, but struggled in large parts in 2013.  He is another guy that puts a significant number of runners on base and doesn't strike out enough.  He will probably have another go around in either AA or AAA if he remains in the organization.  It will be a telling season if Simon can put it all together.

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