The most interesting name in the Phillies' farm system that bears watching as the front office makes those decisions? Double A Reading slugger Darin Ruf.
Ruf has been on such a power binge at Reading that some teammates have begun to call him "Babe Ruf."
Ruf homered on Tuesday night, giving him nine home runs in his last 11 games. Entering Wednesday, he had homered 12 times in 17 games and 14 times in 19 games.
Overall, Ruf, a 26-year-old first baseman, is hitting .310 with a .999 OPS, 32 home runs and 88 RBI in 127 games.
"I was there for three games last week and he hit four home runs," Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper said via telephone Wednesday. "I don't recall anyone on any team I've been with on a roll like this with the power numbers he's shown."
So does it warrant a reward to the big leagues?
"We've started those discussions and have discussed a lot of different players," Looper said, continuing the Phils' policy of not commenting on the chances of specific players this time of year. "We have to look at our ball club and see how much playing time they might have. There have been a lot of players we've talked about."
One possible stumbling block for Ruf is there is no obvious place for him to play.
The 6-3, 220-pound Ruf, a right-handed hitter, is a first baseman by trade. The Phillies, of course, have Ryan Howard there and the $125 million man will most certainly keep getting regular at-bats since he missed the season's first 3 months while rehabbing from left Achilles' surgery.
Ruf has played 18 games in leftfield, and has seen more work there recently, but remains a work in progress in the outfield.
"Where he can play is limited," Looper admitted. "He's going to go to winter ball to play leftfield."
As a manager who is big on the long ball, and as one who has started the likes of Ty Wigginton and Hector Luna in leftfield, Charlie Manuel probably wouldn't mind seeing what Ruf could do at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
"When I look around our ballpark, I wish I was 40 [years old] again," Manuel joked. "I'd like to play here."
As for Ruf?
"I've heard some of the reports on him and I've heard he's a pretty good hitter," Manuel said. "He's very interesting. He might be a guy we would consider."
Although Ruf has never played at Triple A, that doesn't necessarily mean he can't leapfrog from Reading to Philadelphia for a September call up.
"That doesn't matter," Manuel said of Ruf never playing above Double A. "There have been guys that have jumped from Double A to the big leagues before."
Domonic Brown played in less than 30 games at Triple A before making his big-league debut in July 2010. Freddy Galvis played in 33 career games at Triple A Lehigh Valley before debuting as the Phillies' starting second baseman this April. Kyle Kendrick made the jump from Double A straight to Philadelphia in 2007.
Even if he isn't a guy that will be penciled into the lineup regularly in September, Ruf could at the very least be an intriguing bat Manuel could use off his bench. Whether Ruf gets the call remains to be seen.
"I think as a player keeps putting up good numbers," Looper said, "you can't ignore it."
As Looper pointed out, Ruf, a 20th-round pick in the 2009 draft out of Creighton University, first jumped onto the radar last year when he hit .308 with 17 home runs in 133 games at Class A Clearwater.
Kevin Frandsen made the defensive play of the year and had three hits on Tuesday night. He has hit safely in 17 of his 21 starts this season.
But Frandsen was not in the starting lineup Wednesday, when Manuel penciled Placido Polanco's name at third base for the second time in three games since the veteran returned from the disabled list.
"He has been playing really good," Manuel said of Frandsen. "It's hard not to write his name in there. But at the same time, I also feel like we've got to get Polanco some at-bats right now to get him going. Frandsen, I don't have to tell you how good he's been. He's been super."
Ruiz takes BP
Carlos Ruiz took batting practice on Wednesday for the first time since landing on the disabled list with a left foot injury on Aug. 4. Ruiz is expected to add running to his rehab early next week.
"I expect when he comes back and he runs, I don't want him to have a relapse. Because what he's got, that can be very possible," Manuel said. "He's got to be totally healed, as well."
Contact Ryan Lawrence at email@example.com.