2015 Best/Worst Case: Cody Asche


With the season fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of team the Phillies may have in 2015. This look at Cody Asche is the fifth in the series of articles speculating on a best and worst case scenario for each player that is likely to be on the 2015 Philadelphia Phillies squad.

Today’s Player: 3B #25 Cody Asche

Cody Asche played his first full season in 2014, starting 105 games at third. He was one of the worst defensive third basemen in the National League that year, committing 16 errors, second most in the league. At the plate, Asche was an average batter, hitting .252 with 10 home runs and 46 runs batted in.

He was your run of the mill major league average third baseman. His .6 wins above replacement from 2014 reflects just how average Asche really was.

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Every sign points to Asche keeping the third base role in 2015. However, there were reports last week of Asche getting reps in the outfield, which will really come into play if Ryan Howard is no longer with the team in 2015. Darin Ruf could theoretically move to first, and Asche could compete for the leftfield spot against Grady Sizemore.

Who would that leave at third? Well it’s pretty clear the Phillies are preparing for life with top prospect Maikel Franco. Franco could potentially be promoted to the majors, moving Asche to the outfield.

Phew. So much speculation. Well, let’s get on with the best and worst cases.

Best Case Scenario: .270/ 17 homers/ 65 RBIs and every day starter

Asche is a young and inexperienced major league ball player, and he has yet to establish much of a reputation. So far he has been very average at third, and it’s difficult to see trends based on his past experience in the majors. A lifetime .247 average and .2 wins above replacement doesn’t tell me much about how he is going to perform this year.

Asche definitely has the skills to succeed. In his time with Lehigh Valley, Asche hit .302 with 16 homers and 72 RBIs. An .861 OPS added to that stat line shows Asche’s potential. The problem is, Asche’s skills haven’t translated to the majors. He has shown flashes of talent, especially with his power against right handers. If Asche can put together a consistent season, I can see him hitting between 15 and 20 home runs and batting for a decent average. That would require what amounts to a career year.

The real best case for Cody “Smasche” is if he can keep his starting job all year. Franco is breathing down his neck, and Asche is going to have to perform. Assuming, and it is not an easy assumption, that Asche is at third when the season begins, he will have to perform to keep his role. These numbers display a possibility that Asche does perform well enough to keep his job this year.

Worst Case Scenario: .220/ 3 homers/ 26 RBIs and ending up a utility player

Bottom line: Asche has a bad spring, and the Phillies are trigger happy…Franco comes up right away. Asche has an early injury…Franco comes up right away. Asche moves to the outfield…Franco comes up right away.

Catch my drift? Asche could end up very easily riding the pine if he slips up. These numbers represent the scenario where Asche starts off cold. A bad April will lead to questions about Asche’s role with the team. Asche has, as TBOH writer Ethan Witte put it, caused the entire Phillies’ fan base to yawn in his time with the team so far. The reason: he simply doesn’t have truly explosive talent.

No explosiveness could leave Asche on the bench. If Asche can find the power stroke that he had in the minors, and also a bit more consistency, then he should be a lock for 3rd base. That would at least be until the MB All-Star break, when I would expect the Phillies to be re-evaluating things, i.e. moving Asche to the outfield.