It was a rough year for some prospects in the organization. Nine players in my top 30 list entering the season were affected by injuries, many of them closer to the top of the list. Every organization has to deal with this because player health isn’t a certainty, but it seems like the Phillies were hit especially hard this season. Some of them were pretty minor and not enough to explain away poor seasons, but others weren’t as fortunate.
No big deal
OF Kelly Dugan (oblique): In a vacuum, a minor injury like an oblique strain isn’t a big deal. Dugan deserves consideration in the other categories though because it’s the latest in a laundry list of injuries he’s dealt with throughout his career. His career high in games is 117 (that’s about 83% of the minor league schedule, or 135 games in the major league schedule,) and the Phillies may have to be prepared for an annual stint on the DL if he’s in their future plans.
2B Cesar Hernandez (wrist): Wrist injuries can be very troubling (keep this in mind later,) but even though Hernandez’s didn’t heal as quickly as expected missing a month of the season, he seems to be doing fine. It was reported that it troubled him more batting right-handed, already his weaker side of the plate. He’s been hitting well since his return, and the Phillies will have a decision to make with a player out of options next season.
RHP Ken Giles (oblique): An oblique injury sidelined Giles twice during the season which is why this lands in this section. The Phillies were hoping he would move quickly with his tremendous stuff, but he was limited to just 25.2 innings, some of which he’ll be making up in the Arizona Fall League. I don’t think this is the kind of injury that can be a chronic issue, but the missed time clearly pushes back his ETA in the majors.
RHP Kyle Simon (elbow): Simon missed a couple weeks with elbow soreness, and like I do with Wright momentarily, only put it here since elbow problems are never good for pitchers. What’s troubling is that minor elbow soreness doesn’t really explain why he was so bad this year. His strikeout and walk rates declined to where they were when he was an Orioles starter, not nearly as effective as he was after the trade last year.
LHP Austin Wright (elbow): Wright missed about a month with elbow tendinitis. When he came back, his first four starts were as bad as any four starts could be, getting tuned up for 20 runs in 14.1 innings and a 1.166 OPS against. He got it together to a point after that, but not enough to restore his stock. He was moved to the bullpen at the end of the year and wasn’t able to improve his results. He’s going to the AFL along with Simon, Giles and Dugan, but I wonder if just resting his elbow the whole off-season would be a better course of action.
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (elbow): Obviously a player they Phillies signed three weeks ago wasn’t on my pre-season top 30 list, but he’s now a key figure in the organization. His rumored elbow problems were serious enough for him to lose $32 million and still end up with the Phillies. His injury must be an ongoing issue because it doesn’t make much sense to me for him to not pitch until spring training. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t even thrown 10 competitive innings over the last two calendar years, and I find it hard to believe a player can go that long without real game action and then just turn it on in spring training.
1B Tommy Joseph (concussion): I’m not sure if injuries affected any prospect more than Joseph this season, not just in the organization, but all of baseball. A concussion and the nasty symptoms that can follow are going to force him out from behind the plate. This can affect him the rest of his life, and as for baseball, it significantly affects his value. This season was pretty much lost for him, and he doesn’t have the bat to profile as a first baseman.
LHP Adam Morgan (shoulder): The Phillies have used 10 different starters this season, and if Morgan hadn’t missed so much time, I would imagine he’d be one of the 10. He was limited to 78.1 innings this year because of a partially torn rotator cuff early in the year, and it flared up again in his final start a couple weeks ago. They’re still sticking with the belief that he just needs rest to get back to the level he used to be at, but shoulder injuries lingering for pitchers tends to be bad news.
SS Roman Quinn (wrist): While Hernandez was able to rebound from his wrist soreness, Quinn’s broken wrist suffered halfway through the season could have an impact. He missed the last two months of the season when he was finally starting to heat up, and wrist injuries can be career changers for batters. It could take some extra patience for Quinn as he returns to action in 2014.
RHP Shane Watson (shoulder): Watson’s first full pro season was pretty short due to shoulder inflammation that limited him to 72 innings with Lakewood. He wasn’t very good for most of the year, but he was starting to adjust before going down with the injury. Previous comments from Ruben Amaro would indicate that he’s expecting Watson’s diabetes to complicate injury recovery during his career, but hopefully that’s not the case. It would be big for him to get up to 120-130 innings with Clearwater in 2014.
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