Howard to Platoon, Phillies Top 10 Prospects
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin indicated that Ryan Howard could be platooned against left-handed pitching in 2016 with Howard facing righties and Darin Ruf starting against lefties.
"I’m going to make that decision in the spring," said Mackanin. "But at this point, I’m going to have a discussion with Ryan and tell him, ‘If you want to face lefties, you have to hit them better. If you don’t hit them better, I’m going to platoon.’ That’s basically what we’re looking at. It’s gotten to that point."
Howard, 36, is in the final year of his five-year, $125 million deal, hit just .130 vs. left-handers last season and 229 with 23 homers and 77 RBI in 129 games. He is a lifetime .219 hitter against left-handed pitching in 12 years of MLB service.
Meanwhile Darin Ruf, a right-handed hitter, excelled against left-handed pitching, a career .300 hitter including .371 in 2015 - making the two platoon candidates at first base.
Pitchers and catchers report to the Phillies' spring training facility in Clearwater, FL., on February 18.
New Top 10 List
Baseball Prospectus has come out with its list of top 10 Phillies prospects, and as one would expect it is dominated by players acquired in trades, three of which came over in the Cole Hamels deal.
The list is as follows:
The Top Ten
- SS J.P. Crawford
- OF Nick Williams
- RHP Jake Thompson
- RHP Franklyn Kilome
- OF Roman Quinn
- OF Cornelius Randolph
- RHP Mark Appel
- C Jorge Alfaro
- C Andrew Knapp
- RHP Ben Lively
Crawford is No. 1 coming off a year where in 102 games, he's posted a solid .295 average with 12 steals and 67 runs scored. While he left the Arizona Fall League in October with a slight tear in his thumb ligament, Crawford has only just turned 21, should be 100 percent for the start of spring training.
Righthander Jake Thompson, outfielder Nick Williams and catcher Jorge Alfaro were all acquired in the Cole Hamels deal in 2015. Pitcher Mark Appel was brought over in the Ken Giles deal and could be a factor sometime late in 2016.