Up the North East Extension of the PA Turnpike, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are getting ready to conclude their regular season schedule. The Pigs, managed by first-year skipper Anthony Contreras have had a very successful season, playing above .500 ball. The team has continued to play well despite many of their regulars getting the call to help support the big league club. For instance, Dalton Guthrie, Nick Maton, and Bryson Stott have all logged ABs in Allentown, and are now making contributions in Philadelphia.
This poses an interesting question: With the Phitins in sole possession of the 2nd NL Wild Card spot, and with just 18 regular season games remaining, who else may get the call from AAA? Furthermore, what names should the Phillies consider with time ticking on a potential postseason birth? A RED OCTOBER is upon us, and some names in Lehigh Valley can help us get there. Without further ado, let’s dive in…
Hans Crouse (RHP) – Acquired by the Phillies from the Rangers in the Kyle Gibson trade, Hans Crouse has spent the majority of his 2022 campaign on the Injured List. The 6’4” right-hander is a young live arm with plus stuff on the bump and could pitch in a variety of roles if called upon. When healthy, he could very well have a positive impact on the rest of the pitching staff. I would not rush Crouse back, especially if it meant putting his health in jeopardy… long-term > short-term benefits. With that being said, if he is ready to go, I feel his presence on the mound would be beneficial to the ball club.
Chris Devenski (RHP) – Devenski, a World Series winner with the Astros in 2017, is a veteran with a proven track record of pitching late in ballgames. Many believe his best days may be behind him, but I would never bet against him. A 25th-round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2011, Devenski debuted with Houston in 2016 and pitched in the big leagues this season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. His experience would most definitely come in handy should another injury arise in the bullpen. If the 31-year-old were to get the call, Devenski could give Phillies manager Rob Thomson another arm to deploy in the backend of the bullpen.
Francisco Morales (RHP) – The 2022 season has turned out to be quite eventful for the Venezuelan-born right-hander. Thus far during this calendar year, Morales has made his MLB debut, logged his first MLB strikeout, and recorded his first big league save. Once considered one of the top prospect arms in the Phillies organization, the 22-year-old has a bright future ahead of him. Regardless of whether Morales finds his way back to the City of Brotherly Love in 2022, I expect him to have a place on this team moving forward.
Johan Camargo (INF) – A native of Panama City, Panama, Camargo won a World Series as a member of the Braves organization last year in 2021. The Phillies are hoping he can get another ring in 2022. The switch-hitter has not exactly set the world on fire since his demotion to the minors, batting under the Mendoza-Line in AAA, however, he is a versatile defender with experience fielding all four infield positions. With injuries to both Rhys Hoskins and Edmundo Sosa, Camargo could find his way back to the big league club. Camargo is still a member of the 40-man roster.
Darick Hall (1B) – Before being sent back to Lehigh Valley to receive more ABs, “Long Ball Hall” played a big role on the 2022 Phillies. A 14th-round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft, Hall has continued to swing a hot bat in AAA, and his power surge has continued at the dish. Hopefully, Rhys Hoskins will not be on the shelf for long, but regardless of how much time “Rhys Lightning” may miss, Hall should be a candidate to get a call back to the big leagues. We could use his power from the left-hand side during the stretch run either in the starting lineup or off the bench.
Rafael Marchan (C) – Marchan, still just 23 years of age, made headlines during the pandemic-shortened season when he slugged his first professional home run at Citizens Bank Park in September of 2020. The past few seasons, the switch-hitter has spent the majority of his time in the minor leagues finetuning his game, working on his swing, and building a rapport with our young arms down on the farm. It may be unlikely the Phillies add a fourth catcher behind Realmuto, Stubbs, and Sands for the stretch run. However, if they did for whatever reason – being extra depth, injury, etc.- Marchan would be the clear front runner.