The Phillies will send seven minor-league players to the Arizona Fall League, led by centerfielder Roman Quinn.
Quinn, 21, was the Phillies' second-round draft pick in 2011. The speedy switch-hitter began his pro career as a shortstop, but was converted to center field in mid-June.
Quinn has played 64 games at the position for Single A Clearwater and farm director Joe Jordan gives him high marks.
“He’s a centerfielder,” Jordan said matter-of-factly. “He looks better and better there every day.”
Quinn played some outfield in high school so moving him was always a consideration. It became a reality once shortstop J.P. Crawford, the Phils' top pick in the 2013 draft, got a year of (impressive) pro ball under his belt.
The Phillies are thin in outfield prospects so Quinn’s taking to the position is a boost to an area that needs one. Jordan sees huge potential for Quinn, who projects as a top-of-the-order hitter.
“For me, he’s going to be an impact player,” Jordan said.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Quinn ruptured his Achilles tendon running sprints in an offseason workout last fall. He has come back to steal 30 bases for Clearwater.
“He didn’t lose anything speed-wise,” Jordan said.
Entering Tuesday, Quinn had played a total of 83 games for Clearwater. He was hitting .252 with six homers, 34 RBIs and a .330 on-base percentage.
Quinn is a “priority” player, meaning he will see significant time for the Scottsdale club in the AFL.
Joining Quinn in the AFL will be pitchers Colton Murray, Ryan O’Sullivan, Ethan Stewart, Nefi Ogando and catcher Logan Moore. The Phillies have not yet determined who will fill their seventh spot in the league.
Quinn was the 66th overall pick in the 2011 draft. Outfielder Larry Greene was the Phillies' first pick in that draft, going 39th overall. (The Phillies also got Cody Asche in the fourth round and Ken Giles in the seventh round of that draft.)
The Phillies drafted Greene because of his huge power potential, but he has just seven home runs in 847 pro at-bats. Greene, 21, spent his second straight season in the South Atlantic League this summer. He missed time with a wrist injury, but is healthy now and hitting just .177 with one homer in 57 games.
“Well, it’s been a bad year,” Jordan said of Greene’s season. “That’s one of the situations in the system for me that I’m disappointed we haven’t been able to get turned around. Not that I don’t think there’s been the effort there needs to be, we just haven’t been able to get him going. Don’t really know what else to say other than that.
“Sure, it’s been a disappointment. Larry looks great. He looks as great physically as he’s looked since I’ve been here. He’s not making contact enough. That’s a fair assessment.”
Plans for Biddle, Nola
Pitcher Aaron Nola will make one more start for Double A Reading (Friday night at Trenton) before he reaches his season innings limit. He will work on holding runners, etc., in the Florida Instructional League, but will not pitch.
Nola was the Phils’ first-round draft pick in June.
Pitcher Jesse Biddle, the team’s first-rounder in 2010, is nursing a quad injury. He will also participate in the FIL, but it’s not known if he will pitch, Jordan said.
Biddle required what GM Ruben Amaro Jr. called a “mental break” at mid-season after struggling at Double A.
“It’s definitely been a downer,” Jordan said of Biddle’s season. “It’s disappointing for him, for us, for all of us. The good news is he doesn’t have anything wrong with his arm. He doesn’t have anything wrong with his shoulder.”
On a tear
Top hitting prospect Maikel Franco struggled at Triple A for the first half of the season, but entered Tuesday hitting .328 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs in 48 games at Lehigh Valley since the start of July. He stayed hot, belting a grand slam on Tuesday night.
“The biggest adjustment he’s made the last six to eight weeks is he’s made them throw the ball over the plate,” Jordan said. “He’s waited for a good pitch to hit rather than getting up there and hacking.”
The Phillies are contemplating whether to bring Franco up in September (see story).
Franco will play winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
Outfielder Kelly Dugan has a fractured bone in his foot, the result of a foul ball. He should be healed in time to play winter ball.
Adam Morgan, the 24-year-old lefty who began the 2013 season as the Phillies’ most advanced pitching prospect, missed the entire season recovering from shoulder surgery. He is throwing bullpen sessions and could see some work in the FIL. Jordan said Morgan should be ready to compete in spring training.
The news is not as promising on right-hander Shane Watson, who had shoulder surgery last winter and is not throwing.
“He’s been rehabbing all year,” Jordan said. “I think he's still in that phase of his rehab that we don't exactly know how he's going to come out the other end of it. We believe the guy is going to pitch again. We just haven't got to the point where we have the conviction level of knowing this guy is going to come back close to what he was, or this guy is going to come back 80-90 percent of what he was. I just don't think we know that yet."
Watson, 21, was the Phils’ first pick (40th overall) in the 2012 draft.