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Maikel Franco selected to highlight flurry of roster moves for Phillies


The Philadelphia Phillies today announced they would be recalling infielder Cesar Hernandez, catcher Cameron Rupp, pitchers Luis Garcia and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, as well as selecting the contracts of Maikel Franco and Tony Gwynn Jr. Mike Adams will also be activated from the DL to join up with the team following the official MLB roster extension.

Cesar Hernandez is back on the Phillies active roster having played 52 games this year with 111 plate appearances. Limited to mostly pinch-hitting, Hernandez had a .225 average and a .282 OBP through that period, but has hit well at AA and AAA, going a combined .285 average and .352 OBP over 65 games and 256 at-bats, earning 27 walks and 27 RBIs.

Catcher Cameron Rupp is another player recalled having had brief action in the Majors this year. Through 17 games and 58 at-bats, Rupp hit just .190 with 4 doubles in his stint earlier this season, and has struggled even more at Lehigh Valley, going just .162/.255/.293 in 58 games and 191 at-bats.

Luis Garcia will join up with the Phillies, having pitched in 3 games in the MLB this season out of the bullpen. The three outings proved to be disastrous, as he gave up 10 runs (8 earned) over 5.2 innings pitched, resulting in a 12.71 ERA. However, he has been stellar for Lehigh Valley this year, with a 0.96 ERA in 46.2 innings out of the ‘pen, including 52 strikeouts and a 1.053 WHIP.

Another righty pitcher joining the Phils is Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who has pitched 2.2 innings for the Phillies so far this year, and has a 16.87 ERA after giving up 5 runs in that stint. Having pitched 16.2 innings at Lehigh, 14.1 at Reading and 15.1 at Clearwater, Gonzalez has an overall season ERA of 3.11 despite a 0-4 record out of the bullpen. He has been impressive at AAA, with just a 1.62 ERA and a .172 opponent average.

The recently released and even-more-recently re-signed Tony Gwynn Jr. will also be back with the Major League setup, having hit .290 with a .383 OBP at Lehigh Valley so far this season over 20 games. He has of course played in 67 games for the Phillies, hitting just .163 but having a .281 OBP over 98 at-bats, with just three extra-base hits.

Mike Adams will be activated from the disabled list, the experienced pitcher with 17 innings under his belt this year before being sidelined. His 2.12 ERA in 2014 is below that of his career 2.37 mark, but there are some concerns over his fitness and suitability that this final month should answer.

Of course the major part of the roster moves is the call-up of Maikel Franco, the Phillies third base prospect that is rated very highly. I discussed whether or not he should be promoted in my article earlier in the week, but this particular move has certainly caused lots of excitement already. Having lost out to Cody Asche in the spring training competition for the 3B job, Franco has responded after a cold start at Lehigh to boast a .257/.298/.427 line, which for a 21 year old (5.9 years below average age at AAA) is very impressive indeed.

The vast majority expect Franco to be the starting third basemen for the Phillies next year, and this month can certainly go some way to deciding that.

The same goes for all the roster moves, and the expansion always provides an opportunity for management to have a look at those prospects who may be knocking on the door, or the veterans for whom it may be their last chance.

Lots of interesting developments are sure to happen in September, and this is just the beginning. Eyes will be glued to Maikel Franco, but everyone should take note of Hernandez, Rupp and the pitchers in an ever-unfolding scenario.