Scranton Times-Tribune beat writer Chad Jennings has the early returns on some players making headlines in Triple-A.
Carlos Ruiz, C (.407 BA, 5 HR, 1.209 OPS): A possible big league job for Ruiz is easy to spot. I absolutely think he could play on a semi-regular basis for the Phillies, and if put in that position, he could win a starting job.
The guy can flat out hit. He can also run a little bit and can throw. I've also never heard a pitcher complain about his ability to call a game. On Friday night, Ruiz was the guy behind the plate when closer Yoel Hernandez got out of a next to impossible two-on, no-out situation in the ninth with the Red Barons ahead by just a run.
Not only do I think Ruiz can play in the big leagues, I will be shocked if he doesn't at least get up there in September. The big thing with him, as always, is staying healthy.
If the concern is strictly about a back-up catcher, don't forget that Chris Coste is an awfully good catcher and could be the guy the Phillies pick to sit on the big league bench while Ruiz continues to play every day in Scranton.
Bobby Scales, INF (.435 BA, 3 HR, 1.283 OPS): As for Scales, he's flat out smoking the ball and is a nice player. He can play second, third and the outfield corners and right now he's locked in at the plate.
I suppose he could be a utility candidate for the Phillies, but Danny Sandoval and Joe Thurston also fit that bill and each have big league time, which Scales doesn't have. That's not to say Scales can't play in the big leagues; from what I've seen he could be a solid big league reserve, I'm just saying that the Red Barons have several of those utility type players. Even guys like Coste and Shawn Garrett play multiple positions and have a history of hitting for average with occasional power.
I doubt any of the Red Barons becomes a regular in Philadelphia's lineup this year, but I think there are several guys like Scales who would be successful role players if called upon.
Yoel Hernandez, RP (9 IP, 1.00 ERA, 6 SV): Then there's Hernandez, who has been flat out terrific as the Red Barons’ closer. I mentioned the two-on, no-out situation from Friday and it's a perfect example. Ahead by one, the lead-off batter reached on an error then the next guy doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. I was sure Hernandez had a blown save, but he struck out Danny Garcia (who has big league time with the Mets) and Mitch Jones (who is a great hitter and should have made the Yankees bench) before getting a ground out to end it.
If the Phillies need bullpen help -- and I think they eventually will -- Hernandez is certainly worth a look.
Other candidates: Relief pitcher Brian Sanches has been solid, and so has Clay Condrey, who has been very, very good since switching out of the rotation. Keep an eye on each of those guys.
Beyond Ruiz, Scales and Hernandez, I've got to give at least honorable mention credit to pitcher Matt White and outfielder Chris Roberson.
White is left-handed, he's been the team's best starter and he started a game for the Nationals last year. Don't forget about him on the possible bus to Philadelphia.
As for Roberson, he's starting to come around after a fairly slow start. He made a tremendous running catch in center field the other day and has really shown good things on the bases. I don't know that he'll go up anytime soon, and I think he's still a few notches below Shane Victorino, but there's a reason he stayed in big league camp until the very end.
Chad Jennings covers the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons for the Scranton Times-Tribune. He welcomes e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.