For an established (sounds better than "old and expensive") team like the Philadelphia Phillies, there is no time to think about tomorrow.
Actually, the only way most of the Phillies' youngest prospects will find their way to Philadelphia in 2013 would be if the Phillies are once again out of playoff contention in June.
Because at that point, the Phillies will start selling off veterans like Roy Halladay and Chase Utley for whatever they can get in return via trade, and someone will have to finish the season out.
Still, the Phillies do have some young players who can seize the opportunity that spring training presents to cement themselves as key players on the Phillies' 2013 major league squad.
For many reasons, the analysis begins with Darin Ruf.
The Phillies have a desperate need for a right-handed, power-hitting left fielder. Ruf, the reigning Eastern League (AA) Most Valuable Player, is no one's idea of a polished defensive outfielder.
But the Phillies will live with substandard defense from Ruf if he can hit. In spring training, Ruf figures to see much the same caliber of pitching he saw at AA in 2012 and during his September call-up—fringe major leaguers and middle relievers.
Ruf should be able to drive some mistakes against that level of pitching and solidify his spot on the 25-man roster.
Domonic Brown has been wearing the "prospect" tag for what seems like half a decade. He is 25 years old now, and this spring training is shaping up to be his last real chance to show that he is more than the .236 career hitter he has been at the major league level.
Brown will get plenty of spring at-bats as Delmon Young continues to rehabilitate from ankle surgery, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. Plainly, with Young not projected to be ready anytime soon, the starting right-field job is Brown's to lose.
Brown's mammoth game-tying home run against the Detroit Tigers Sunday is certainly not going to hurt his cause.
Then, there is the bizarre case of Freddy Galvis, who unexpectedly served as the starting second baseman for an injured Utley only to sustain a brutal injury of his own.
So how do you classify Galvis? But for Utley's injury, Galvis would probably never have seen any major-league time in 2012. He hit .226 in the 58 games he played. Is he still a "prospect?"
Did he do enough to deserve a look in 2013, or is he better served finding a competent offensive game at AAA Lehigh Valley?
Working in Galvis' favor will be the time Jimmy Rollins will spend away from Phillies' camp at the World Baseball Classic. Galvis should get valuable spring training playing time in Rollins' absence, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Again, prospects are not the focus of the 2013 Phillies. If Halladay, Utley, Ryan Howard and the other big-money veterans play poorly, the team is going nowhere.
But the action at Clearwater is still worth a watch where Ruf, Brown and Galvis are concerned.
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