Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Season recap: Pat Neshek

I don't think fans realize how much of a stud Pat Neshek was last season. In 43 games, he had a 2.1 bWAR. Because it's a cumulative stat, it's hard for a relief pitcher - particularly in the modern game - to get that high of a WAR number.
Consider these are the highest career WAR of all time for relief pitchers.

Dennis Eckersley - 63.0
Mariano Rivera - 57.1
Hoyt Wilhelm - 47.3
Rich Gossage - 42.0
Tom Gordon - 35.3

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 outfielder Cam Perkins. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

So, who was the last Phillies relief pitcher to accumulate 2.1 WAR in a season. 
Was it Hector Neris, who pitched in 80 games in 2016?
Was it fireballer Ken Giles in 2015?
No and no. It was Jonathan Papelbon, who had 2.8 WAR in 2014. But he was a closer. What about a non-closing relief pitcher.
Ryan Madsen had to have pulled it off in 2008, right? J.C. Romero? No and no. You have to go all the way back to Geoff Geary's efficient 2007 campaign. Did you forget about that? When he tossed 91 innings, allowing just 6 home runs and 20 walks.

Yeah, Neshek was pretty special.
The good news is he's back. And he wasn't just good last season. In the past six seasons, he has a 2.50 ERA, a 3.23 FIP, a .971 WHIP and a 4.68 strikeout to walk ratio.

Season recap: Cam Perkins

Cam Perkins hit .182/.237/.273/.510 with some moderate success defensively. He will not return.
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 outfielder Hyun Soo Kim. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.
Perkins had been a fringy Phillies Prospect for several seasons. His tools will give him a chance as a fourth outfielder in the big leagues for some time. But don't expect to regret him being let go.

Friday, December 15, 2017

May the Force be with Matt Klentak

It's Star Wars weekend and the Phillies traded Freddy Galvis for a low-minors pitcher. J.P. Crawford is the everyday shortstop, baby.

The rebuild is on the fast track.


via GIPHY

That's not all, though.

They also just signed former Cleveland Indians slugger Carlos Santana for $60 million over three years. WHAT?

via GIPHY

To play first base. You know who plays first base? Rhys Hoskins. And Santana has never slugged .500 in his career. He's hit 30 homers once. He turns 32 in April.

via GIPHY

But he's a switch hitter, a solid defender, walks about 100 times a season and he has seen more pitches than any other batter since 2011.

via GIPHY

Now the Phillies could package Cesar Hernandez, a prospect and an outfielder for a starting pitcher.

via GIPHY

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Season recap: Hyun Soo Kim

In three years, you're going to look back at the 2017 Phillies and say, who the hell was Hyun Soo Kim.

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 relief starter Howie Kendrick. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

For the record Kim was part of the package for Jeremy Hellickson. He was in his second season in Baltimore, having played well in his first and putridly in his second.

He continued to play poorly in Philly. Let the forgetting commence.

Season Recap: Howie Kendrick

Let's talk about assets. When morning broke on Nov. 11, 2016, the Phillies had Darnell Sweeney and Darin Ruf. The former is a young, toolsy outfielder. The latter is a power hitter who never developed fully in Philly. They weren't that valuable as assets.

General manager Matt Klentak shipped those two players off to Los Angeles for former All Star Howie Kendrick, a professional hitter. He could stabilize the lineup. In other words, he was a valuable asset.

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 relief starter Nick Pivetta. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Kendrick spent half a season in Philadelphia. Much of that time was spent on the disabled list. However, Kendrick was a marvel when he played, mashing .340/.397/.454 in 156 plate appearances. Kendrick wasn't as valuable thanks to his injuries, but he was more valuable than Ruf and Sweeney. The former is now in Japan, having not spent a day in the Major Leagues in 2017. The latter spent the season in Triple-A and was traded to Cincinnati.

Klentak shipped Kendrick to the Nationals for McKenzie Mills. The left-hander is now the Phillies 21st ranked prospect. Mills is a 22-year-old left-hander who went 12-3 with a 3.22 ERA in A-ball last season.

That's a decent asset. When you figure the Phillies got 146 at-bats from Kendrick and a prospect for Ruf and Sweeney, that's a pretty good swap of assets.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Season Recap: Nick Pivetta

Nick Pivetta was the most intriguing Phillie in 2017. Not many people expected him to make it to the big leagues, let alone win eight games while pitching to a 6.02 ERA.

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 relief pitcher Adam Morgan. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Pivetta started 26 games. In five of those starts, he went at least six innings while allowing one or no runs. Let that sink in.

If I were to rank the Phillies pitchers under 26 who have started in the past two years on their chances of becoming successful reliable pitchers, it would go like this:

1. Aaron Nola
2. Jerad Eickhoff
3. Zach Eflin
4. Vincent Velasquez
5. Ben Lively
6. Nick Pivetta
7. Jake Thompson

However, if I were to rank the young pitchers based on their chances to become stars - say at least two all star trips and two seasons with a top 10 Cy Young vote, it would go like this:

1. Aaron Nola
2. Nick Pivetta
3. Vincent Velasquez
4. Jerad Eickhoff
5. Zach Eflin
6. Jake Thompson
7. Ben Lively

Pivetta has interesting stuff. If he can develop a third pitch that compliments his curveball and masters his control, he could be a devastating starter.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Season Recap: Adam Morgan

How about Adam Morgan? Kid bounced back in a big way in the second half.

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 relief pitcher Hoby Milner. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

This is one of the best looks at how Adam Morgan developed this season. 

My only critique is that it doesn't put enough into the idea that he's comfortable with his shoulder. Pitching is an incredibly psychological game. It's why so many pitchers are wierdos. This is purely speculation on my part. Morgan might have been pitching physically healthy for about 18 months. But he might not have been comfortable with it. Fear of feeling his body betray him probably had some effect on him for awhile now. 

His performance in the last half of the season should breed tons of confidence. He's never going to be a starter again. While righties have creamed him, I could see that confidence making him even more valuable than just as a LOOGY out of the 'pen.


Season Recap: Hoby Milner

Hoby Milner was easy to scoff at when the Phillies called him up. He was 27. He wasn't on anyone's prospect lists. Never really was. He'd been selected and returned by the Cleveland Indians in the Rule 5 draft. But guess what? Once he got here, he produced.

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 catcher Jorge Alfaro. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Milner had a 2.01 ERA. But some of his peripherals said that was a bit of a fluke. He had a 4.50 FIP and a 1.468 WHIP. But he did prove some important traits. He gave up .6 home runs per nine innings. It's hard to do better than that. But he walked 4.6 per nine. That's rough. But in 500-plus minor league innings, he was a 2.7 walks per nine innings. If he can keep his walks down and his home run numbers steady, he could be a valuable Phillie moving forward.

It's hard to count on that. But it's not an idea we're just going to laugh off.

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 starter 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.