By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the biggest questions facing the Phillies is who will play 3rd base in 2013 and beyond. The position has been a weakness all season long. But down at AA Reading, Cody Asche is making a strong case for that position to one day belong to him.
The 22-year-old Asche (pronounced Ash-ee) was a 4th round pick of the Phillies in the 2011 draft out of the University of Nebraska. He started the season at high A Clearwater and hit. And hit. And hit. .349 in 62 games before getting promoted to the R-Phils where he is currently batting .260. His power has started to come around in AA as well. He has with six home runs in 47 games with Reading after going deep just twice in his time with the Threshers.
All this success comes after he hit just .192 in his first pro season in the organization, last year with short-season A Williamsport.
Asche says there are a lot of reasons for the big step forward.
“Some mechanical tweaks,” Asche recently told KYW Newsradio. “Couple mental tweaks, but I think overall just more comfort, more experience, more knowledge and you know we have great coaches with the Phillies organization – they help out a lot. Credit to them, they trusted me, they gave me a good position to be in starting this year and that’s really helped me out a lot, too.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Cody Asche:
Asche has obviously taken advantage of his opportunities here in 2012 and happy that the Phillies saw fit to move him up mid-season.
“I was pleasantly surprised. You play to get promoted, you work hard to do that. I would say I was surprised, but I was very happy, too.”
When he first arrived at Reading, Asche struggled at the plate, but as he has settled in his numbers have once again started to trend upwards and that makes Reading manager Dusty Wathan a happy man.
“He had to make some adjustments with the bat when he first got here,” Wathan says. “I think he was a little bit aggressive, maybe trying to show too much that he really belonged here. But after a couple of weeks he got himself under control and he is looking for his pitch to hit now and he’s driving balls and it is nice to see. I think he’s got a good future here.”
During that first pro season with Williamsport, Asche played some second base and he also says he has worked a bit at first in instructional league action, but Wathan believes the hot corner is the right spot for him in the big picture.
“I think he’s got plenty of arm, he’s got some power in his bat. I think down the road third base be a good spot for him. I think he’s comfortable there, he played it some in college. I think last year it was just a matter of trying to get him some at bats, so I think they moved him over to second base. But now he’s settled in as a third baseman and he’ll stay there for the future I think.”
While it is hard not to think about what it will be like when that call to the big leagues comes, Asche says for now he is having a blast with the R-Phils.
“It’s pretty cool playing in ‘Baseballtown’ (Reading). That’s a fun place to play, especially when you walk through that Hall of Fame there and see all the great players that have come through Reading. It’s a special place to play baseball and I love playing there.”
Video of Cody Asche at-bat:
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