Spring Training is coming to a close, and Opening Day is right around the corner. The Phillies’ young core has shown signs of improvement from last season, and the team may have even stumbled across a couple hidden gems. Here are the stock up and stock down for Phillies players with a week left of Spring Training remaining:
Stock Up: OF Aaron Altherr
Altherr had a rough going last season. Injuries limited him to only 57 games, and seemed to affect his production at the plate. He batted a woeful .197 and lacked his usual explosiveness. After a full offseason of rest, Altherr seems to be ready to produce. The young German is batting .292 as of this writing and has been spraying the ball all over the field. He is tied for the team lead in triples (1) and tied for second in doubles (3). He also has three home runs under his belt, bringing solid pop to the plate. The front office was robbed of seeing what they had in the young outfielder last season, and have to be excited about what he’s done so far this spring. Hopefully he can keep it going through the season.
Stock Down: C Cameron Rupp
Rupp was one of the team’s most consistent players last season and the Phils were hoping to rely on him this season before handing the reigns to Jorge Alfaro. Unfortunately, Rupp has stumbled out the gates. He has only collected five hits in 28 at-bats (.179 BA) and has been in a slump all spring. I’m confident that Rupp will still be a solid contributor during the regular season, but his spring struggles definitely raise some eyebrows.
Stock Up: SP Vince Velasquez
The hard-throwing righty continues to dominate batters with his overpowering velocity. Velasquez sports a 3.07 ERA and 18 strikeouts in just 14 ⅔ innings. This is pretty much the norm for the California native, but what is most impressive is how he is completely silencing opposing offenses. Velasquez has only allowed seven hits out of the 44 batters he’s faced– good for a .140 average. Those are some silly numbers and Philly fans should be elated as he continues to improve. Velasquez has ace potential and seems to be scratching the surface this spring.
Stock Up: RP Colton Murray
Former 11th round draft pick has been a pleasant surprise for the Phils this spring. Murray has appeared in six games (7 ⅓ innings total) and has yet to allow a single run. In fact, he has recorded more strikeouts (4) than he has allowed hits (2). Hitters are currently batting .083 versus the 6-footer, and just can’t seem to figure him out at the plate. Murray got rocked last season at the major league level, so it’s encouraging to see him making strides this spring.
Stock Down: SP Jeremy Hellickson
The Phillies announced that Jeremy Hellickson would be the team’s Opening Day starter. This honor generally goes to the ace of the staff, but Hellickson has been anything but an ace this spring. The right-hander has allowed 26 hits and 15 earned runs in just 18 innings. He has really struggled to put batters away so far, and his astronomical 7.50 ERA reflects that. Hellickson has been pretty inconsistent throughout his career, so his struggles are a bit more concerning to me than others whose stocks are down.
Stock Up: CF Odubel Herrera
The Phillies’ sole 2016 all-star continues to be a force at the plate. Herrera is batting a sizzling .364, and his .591 slugging percentage leads the team. The Venezuela native believes that he can win a batting crown this season and is definitely trending in the right direction.
Stock Up: 1B Brock Stassi
Stassi has been a man on a mission this spring. He has collected 15 hits in 19 games, and has displayed impressive power. Stassi has crushed a team-leading five home runs and also leads the team in RBIs (15). These numbers, partnered with his .326 batting average, prove that he has been the Phillies’ most productive player to this point. The Sacramento native has solidified his spot on the big league roster, and may have even earned a starting role over fellow slugger Tommy Joseph.
The regular season is almost upon us so be sure to stay tuned right here at Philly Sports Network as we recap every Phillies game this season!
Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports