Prospects provide clutch power for Phillies
MIAMI -- Phillies rookies Darnell Sweeney and Aaron Altherr aren't established home run hitters by any means, but the clutch power display by the youngsters in Saturday's 4-2 comeback win at Marlins Park was certainly an encouraging sign for Philadelphia's future.
Trailing 2-0 in the eighth, the recently acquired Sweeney -- who's ranked 11th on the Phillies' top prospect list, according to MLBPipeline.com -- pinch-hit and launched his first career homer -- which also marked his first Major League hit. Meanwhile, the left fielder Altherr, Philadelphia's No. 24 prospect who was just recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, launched the go-ahead homer in the ninth for the second long ball of his career.
"We just needed a couple hits in a row and get some runs scored," Altherr, 24, said. "I'm just glad I was able to be a part of that."
Said the 24-year-old Sweeney: "I was just trying to be a little sparkplug in the lineup, and that's what they wanted me to do. I'm glad we got the win after it. It makes me feel better."
Sweeney's solo shot -- which was a blast that landed a projected 445 feet from home plate, according to Statcast™ -- came off Marlins lefty Justin Nicolino, who hadn't allowed a run for 7 2/3 innings. It was only the third big league at-bat for the switch-hitting Florida native, who was just acquired from the Dodgers on Wednesday in the Chase Utley trade.
"That was a nice thing to see," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He crushed that ball, which is a good sign. ... From both sides, we like his swing. That's one of the reasons we got him in the trade."
Mackanin also raved about Altherr's swing, which he said is much improved since Spring Training.
Altherr -- who is 4-for-13 with two homers since being recalled -- tagged Marlins closer A.J. Ramos to break a 2-2 tie. Darin Ruf then followed with a solo homer, as the duo recorded the first back-to-back homers for the Phillies this season.
"His swing path is different -- he's more compact and he's got more bat speed than I thought he had based on what I saw in the spring," Mackanin said. "He looks like he's gonna be a pretty good hitter, and we know he's a good defensive player, so nice-looking young guy."
Mackanin added after the game that Sweeney earned himself his first career start in Sunday's series finale, while Altherr has started four of the past five games.
"Just better pitch selection than years before," Altherr said. "I'm waiting for my pitch and not trying to swing at everything -- just being selective and it's paying off. Hopefully I can continue to keep that going."