The first month has been rocky.
The ‘Pigs are 10-13, and four of the more well-known players have struggled in April.
Tyler Cloyd, who went 15-1 with a 2.26 ERA last season at Double A and Triple A, is 0-3 with a 6.67 ERA in five starts. He had pinpoint command last season and needs it – whether he’s at Lehigh Valley or Citizens Bank Park -- to compete with a mid-80s fastball. This year he’s walked 4.0 batters per nine.
Darin Ruf, who hit .317 with a 1.028 OPS, 38 homers, 32 doubles and 104 RBIs, is at .244, and that’s after an enormous offensive night. He set an Iron Pigs record on Sunday with 12 total bases in one game. Ruf was 4 for 5 with two homers and two doubles. Hopefully that was a clear sign of Ruf busting out of a slump. He didn't actually heat up last season until the summer months arrived.
Tommy Joseph, acquired from the Giants for Hunter Pence and viewed as the catcher of the future, is hitting .204 with a .259 OBP and eight passed balls in 17 games.
Ethan Martin, the former first-round righty the Phils obtained from the Dodgers for Shane Victorino at last year’s deadline, has struggled more than ever to throw strikes. He has 16 walks and an 8.31 ERA in 17 1/3 innings.
Obviously, it’s only a month into the season and at the minor-league level numbers aren’t as important as the positive signs players display. But there’s no getting past eight passed balls or inconsistency to throw strikes. Joseph and Martin certainly have enough time to right the ship. They both have the raw tools and pedigree. It’s just a matter of putting it together.
Ideally, two of these players are ready to contribute at the major-league level in the next two seasons.