Monday, November 20, 2017

Season Recap: Jorge Alfaro

Jorge Alfaro's 11-1 strikeout-to-walk rate terrifies the beJesus out of me. There's no doubt the kid has the tools to be a star. But can he capitalize on that talent?

In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at reliever Aaron Nola. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

After the briefest cup of coffee in 2016, Alfaro had a nice 29-game showing in 2017. He hit .313/.360/.514 with five home runs and six doubles in 114 plate appearances. He's still very raw behind the plate, too. The Phillies could use a veteran to tutor Alfaro and Andrew Knapp in 2018. I'm just not sure Cameron Rupp is the guy to do it.

It's tempting to hope Alfaro is a .280/.330/.550 who hits 25 doubles and 25 homers in a few season. But he has to establish better command of the strike zone. The 24-year-old had a paltry 2.6 percent walk rate and likely boosted his stats with a .420 batting average on balls in play. He made contact on just 62 percent of his swings, compared to 76 percent for the league. Part of the problem was that he swung at, according to fan graphs, 46.2 percent of the pitches he saw that were outside the strike zone. Compare that to Daniel Nava, Andrew Knapp, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins. Each of those position players swung at less than 25 percent of the pitches they saw that were outside the strike zone.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Player recap: Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola was the team's biggest question mark heading into 2017. Could he rebound from his injury plagued 2016 campaign? Was he the pitcher we saw in his first dozen starts that year or was he the guy who got knocked around? 

Nola answered those questions with authority. Simply put, he was the best player to don a red hat with a white "P" on it.

In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at reliever Mark Leiter Jr. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Let's look at his hard numbers.
Standard Pitching
Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W Awards
201724PHINL1211.5223.5427270000168.01546766184921842016931193.271.2088.31.02.69.93.76
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/16/2017.

Those are impressive enough. What he did from May 21 through Aug. 12 is what makes us excited for the right-hander who will be entering his age 25 season. In 103 frames, he had a 2.79 ERA, giving up just 82 hits and 10 home runs while walking 29 and striking out 110.

We constantly read about Nola being a great No. 2 or No. 3. But he's got ace stuff. He was fifth in FIP. He was seventh in the NL among WAR for pitchers and strikeouts per nine innings pitched. He was eighth in strikeouts per walks. He was ninth in WHIP and home runs per nine. Here is the list of the other pitchers who made the top ten on each of those lists: Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

The Phillies can expect more out of Nola in 2018. They should hope for 200 innings. They should hope for a sub 1.200 WHIP and 3.50 ERA. If he does that and keeps his other numbers steady, the Phillies will have an ace on their hands.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Season recap: Mark Leiter Jr.

Welcome to the Big Leagues, Mark Lieter. I think you'll be here for awhile. The 26-year-old made his Major League debut this year, pitching in 27 games, 11 of them starts. Aside from a penchant for giving up the long ball, he didn't do bad for a 22-rounder.

In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at reliever Joely Rodriguez. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Let's breakdown Leiter's 11 starts.
He made his first start on June 23 against the postseason-bound Arizona Diamondbacks. He pitched 6 scoreless innings, scattering three hits and striking out five. He threw 81 pitches. We'll give him an A for that.
Five days later, he gave up four earned runs on nine hits in five innings against Seattle. That's a D.
On the fourth of July, he pitched just 5.1 innings, but he gave up only two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five. We'll give him a B-.
His next start didn't come until Aug. 16. He got rocked. Eight runs, four earned, on seven hits and two walks in five innings. We'll give him a bit of credit since four runs were unearned and he went five frames. D-
The next game, he sparkled, going 7 innings of one hit ball. A.
He followed that up by scattering nine hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Braves. He struck out six while giving up three runs. B.
The Mets knocked his doors off the next start. He left the game in the fourth, having given up nine runs. F
He bounced back a bit the next game, giving up four runs in six innings isn't good, but he only gave up six hits and a walk while striking out eight against the playoff-bound Nationals. C.
He did basically the same thing his next start, against the Athletics. C.
Against the playoff-bound Dodgers, he gave up just one earned run in 6 innings on five hits. B+In his final start of the year, he gave up five runs while getting knocked out in the fifth. C-

If you gave his starts a GPA, he'd have a 2.21, which is between a C and a C+.

I can certainly live with Leiter being a swing man for the Phillies next season.

Season Recap: Joely Rodriguez

After a brief cameo in 2016, Joely Rodriguez seemed like he could be a guy the Phillies could count on in 2017. Let's treat those feelings like we do the time we walked in on our parents. Push them way down into the pit of our deepest despairs. Joely Rodriguez was awful.

In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at reliever Ricardo Pinto. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Batters lit up Rodriguez like a Christmas tree. In 27 innings, he gave up four home runs and 15 walks while striking out 18. His batting average on balls in play was infinity, if you rounded down.

In three years, he'll be a fond memory of the dark days.



Monday, November 13, 2017

Season Recap: Ricardo Pinto

I'm probably wrong about Ricardo Pinto. Every time I see him, he looks good. I'm higher on him than most of the other people who watch the organization. His arrival in Philadelphia wasn't that impressive, I'll admit.

In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at starter Jerad Eickhoff. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Pinto has a nice arm. He's also, during his minor league career, demonstrated nice control (2.7 walks per nine innings) and home runs allowed (.8 per nine). In fact, in 156 innings in the launching pad at Reading, he gave up just 20 home runs.

Pinto had been a starter for much of his career, but saw some bullpen action in 2017. Maybe this isn't the mistake I think it is. Maybe the Phillies can get good use out of him in the back of the rotation. But I think the 23-year-old could develop into a middle of the rotation starter.



Season Recap: Jerad Eickhoff


Jerad Eickhoff looked like a reliable starter after his first season and a half in Philadelphia. Then the wheels fell off in 2016.

In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at shortstop J.P Crawford. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Let's look at how some of the right-hander's stats compared in his first three years.


His first full season numbers were never going to be as good as his brief 2015 cameo. But they weren't far off. Notice that his strikeout and home run numbers actually improved from 2016 to 2017. But his walks went in a terrible direction, almost doubling. A look at is ratios really puts in stark contrast how most of his numbers were very similar, other than walks, but one other area will also shine through. We'll look at that in a moment.


Now for that other area. GO back to that batting average on balls in play. That .331 mark is way above his previous numbers. It stands to reason those numbers could come down. I'm still a fan of Eickhoff. The Phillies are looking to make a jump in the standings next year. If Eickhoff can return to form with his walks allowed and the batting average on balls in play, the Phillies would gladly welcome the results.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I'm not dead yet. I promise.

Sorry. So very sorry. It's been awhile since I worked on my Player Reviews. I'm going back to school and got caught up in three projects for class.
I also got caught up in a project for my other blog that you might be interested in. I listed the 100 greatest Major League Baseball Players.
Anyway, I'll get back on my horse with the Player Reviews on Monday.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Season Recap: J.P. Crawford

J.P. Crawford
What a bizarre season it was for J.P. Crawford! Coming into the year, he was one of the most heralded prospects in the game. Then he had two horrid months at Triple-A. The naysayers came out of the woodwork. "He's regressed defensively." "He doesn't impact the ball." Then he found his stroke and knocked the hell out of the ball for two months. Finally, he got the call and played his first big league game on Sept. 5, against the New York Mets.

In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at reliever Jeremy Hellickson. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Playing in just 23 games, he was able to put up a .9 WAR, thanks in large part to a nifty .356 on-base percentage, sparkling defense, and plus base-running.

Interestingly, the Phillies went 13-10 in games he played in. 

But he wasn't without faults. In his short stint, he hit just five extra-base hits. He also struck out 22 times. 

Overall, much of the Phillies' future success is pinned to Crawford's development. He gave the Phillies a lot to hope for in his brief debut.

Season recap: Jeremy Hellickson

Jeremy Hellickson truly had a bizarre career in Philadelphia. Heading into last year's trade season, it looked like the Phillies were going to trade him for a decent prospect. Then it appeared Matt Klentak overplayed his hand. Hellickson stuck around after the July and August trade deadlines. Then, after the Phillies offered him arbitration, hoping they would get a nice draft pick for him when he signed elsewhere, he returned.

In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at reliever Jeanmar Gomez.. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

The club had to be hoping he would continue to pitch well in 2017 and get them a nice trade package. Instead, he had an ERA near 5.00. Klentak shipped him off to Baltimore for Garrett Clevenger and Hyun Soo Kim.

Clevenger had an ERA north of 5 with the Reading Phillies, but he struck out 10 batters per inning. Kim somehow got into 40 games with the Phillies, producing a -.9 WAR.

Hellickson's Phillies career is a strange one. While he was a two-time Opening Day starter and accumulated 4.0 WAR, he could have brought more to the franchise if he'd been traded at the right time.

Season Recap: Jeanmar Gomez

Jeanmar Gomez was named the closer in Spring Training. He didn't have the job before the calendar turned to May. He didn't pitch in the major leagues after the All Star break.

In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at starter Vincent Velasquez. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Jeanmar Gomez was awful. There's just no two ways about it. Only one time this year was he able to go back-to-back games without giving up a run. In only 2 of his 18 appearances did he not allow a baserunner.

Season Recap: Vince Velasquez

Vincent Velasquez made 16 starts for the Phillies this year. He was very inconsistent.
In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at infielder Pedro Florimon. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.
Let's break down Vincent Velasquez career in Philadelphia by how his starts worked out.

Excellent starts (At least seven innings and 2 or fewer earned runs)
10 percent of his starts

April 14, 2016: 9 innings, no earned runs
July 19, 2016: 7 innings, one earned run
Sept. 3, 2016: 7 innings, 2 earned runs
July 30, 2017: 7 innings, no earned runs

Quality starts (At least six innings and 3 or fewer earned runs)
23 percent of his starts

April 9, 2016: 6 innings, no earned runs
April 26, 2016: 6 innings, 3 earned runs
May 1, 2016: 6 innings, 0 earned runs
July 3, 2016: 6 innings, 2 earned runs
July 8, 2016: 6 innings, 2 earned runs
July 29, 2016: 6 innings, 2 earned runs
April 19, 2017: 6 innings, 3 earned runs
April 26, 2017: 6 1/3 innings, 3 earned runs
July 18, 2017: 6 1/3 innings, 1 earned run

Short strong starts (5 innings pitched, 2 or fewer runs)
18 percent of his starts

May 17, 2016: 5 innings, 0 earned runs
June 27, 2016: 5 innings, no earned runs
Aug 4, 2016: 5 innings, 2 earned runs
Aug 28, 2016: 5 innings, 1 earned run
May 1, 2016: 5 innings, 1 earned run
May 14, 2017: 5 innings, 2 earned runs
May 25, 2017: 5 innings, 1 earned run
Aug. 4, 2017: 5 innings, 2 earned runs

Mediocre starts (At least five innings and 4 or fewer earned runs)
8 percent of starts

May 6, 2016: 6 innings, 4 earned runs
May 12, 2016: 6 innings, 4 earned runs
July 24, 2016: 6 innings, 4 earned runs

Bad starts (5 innings or fewer and 4 or more earned runs)
13 percent of starts

April 19, 2016: 4 1/3 innings, 5 earned runs
May 23, 2016: 4 innings, 3 earned runs
April 7, 2017: 4 innings, 4 runs
July 24, 2017: 3 innings, 4 runs
10 percent of his starts

Awful starts (5 or more earned runs)
18 percent of his starts

May 29, 2016: 4 1/3 innings, 7earned runs
Aug. 9, 2016: 4 2/3 innings, 9 earned runs
Aug. 16, 2016: 5 2/3 innings, 5 earned runs
Aug. 24, 2016: 6 innings, 5 earned runs
April 12, 2017: 5 innings, 5 earned runs
May 6, 2017: 7 innings, 6 earned runs
May 20, 2017: 5 2/3 innings, 5 earned runs

Miscellaneous starts
10 percent of starts

June 3, 2016: 4 2/3 innings, 2 earned runs
June 8, 2016: 1/3 innings, no earned runs
May 30, 2017: 1 1/3 innings, 1 earned run
Aug. 10, 2017: 1 inning, 3 earned runs

The one question I have about current Phillies going into next year is what they can expect from Velasquez after two years.
We have yet to see him pitch a full healthy year. But if you consider the top three categories the outcomes you want, he reached them in 51 percent of his starts. That's not quite good enough. You want that to be above 55 percent. In fact, a big issue is that 31 percent of his starts were bad or terrible.

I'm not sold Velasquez is a Major League starter. In many ways, he reminds me of Joe Kelly, who has electric stuff, but just doesn't translate that into getting guys out.

However, the kid seems like an A-plus guy and it's hard not to root for him.
If he ends up starting for the Phillies next year, they can't rely on him to make more than 25 starts and they can't rely on him to regularly pitch past the sixth inning.

Season Recap: Pedro Florimon

No one had a worse 2017 Phillies season than Pedro Florimon. And it's not because he played poorly. In fact, he played very well.
In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at starting pitcher Ben Lively. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.
The Phillies signed Florimon, who had played more than 200 Major League games, to a minor league deal heading into the season. All he did was play exceptionally well at Triple-A and earn a promotion to the big leagues.
Then, in 15 games, Florimon hit a robust .348/.388/.478. The problem was the last of those games. Florimon gruesomely broke his ankle and ended his season midway through September.
Florimon might not repeat what he did in 2017, but the Phillies would likely be wise to stock him in Triple-A this year if he's willing to return.

Season Recap: Ben Lively

Ben Lively arrived in Philadelphia on New Year's Eve when the Phillies traded Marlon Byrd. It looks like the move is working out quite well.
In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at starting pitcher Jesen Therrien. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.
Lively arrived in the big leagues on June 3 and pitched mostly effective baseball the rest of the season. He ended the season with a 1.2 Pitcher WAR, according to baseball-reference. He also launched two home runs.
Lively isn't like most of today's pitchers in that he doesn't miss many bats. His 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings is taboo to many. He also gives up a fair share of home runs, 13 in 88 innings.
One of his big issues was opponents hitting .364 on the first pitch and .409 on 0-1 counts.  The first batter in an inning had a .400 on-base percentage. If he can trim those numbers a bit, he'll be in great shape in 2018.
It's not hard imagining him turning into a Randy Wolf-like pitcher.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Season Recap: Jesen Therrien

Jesen Therrien has pitched well out of the bullpen for three straight seasons. It's a span of 176 innings, so that's no small sample size.
In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at starting pitcher Yacksel Rios. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.
In those minor league games over the past three years, Therrien has a pristine 1.79 ERA. Interestingly, he's given up just .46 home runs per nine innings. That's ridiculously impressive. He's also struck out a hair under 10 batters per nine innings. And he's allowed just 2.4 walks per nine.
So I'll live with the way he was beaten around this year. In his 15 major league games, he had an 8.35 ERA.
The Phillies would be wise to keep the kid around next year.