Tuesday, June 28, 2016

An Unknown: Adonis Medina

There is a 19 year old slicing through batters like a hot knife in butter in Low-A Williamsport.  Adonis Medina has made 3 starts this season and has surrendered nary a run. 21 innings with a 0.00 ERA and 0.57 WHIP. This success shouldn't be too shocking though, as he's been nothing short of brilliant since his minor league career began.  Since 2014, Adonis has amassed 92.2 innings over 24 appearances, 13 of them starts, and has a sparkling 1.85 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.  He currently ranks 16th in MLB.com's Top 30 prospects for the Phillies. With continued excellence on the mound, he'll climb the charts by season's end.
Medina stands out already for his advanced feel for pitching that belies his age to go along with very encouraging steps forward stuff-wise. His fastball has jumped velocity wise, and he'll now throw it in the 90-95 mph range. He throws it with sink to get groundball outs and it's possible there's more in the tank to come. He spins a good breaking ball already and has feel for a changeup, both of which are inconsistent but have the chance to be at least Major League average. Medina throws strikes, but can refine his overall command to make his stuff play up even more. While the Phillies might be cautious with this teenager for the time being, his ability to execute on the mound could allow him to move a bit more quickly as he matures, with a future as a No. 3 type starter a possibility. ~MLB.com
Other Stuff:
*I've been thinking about what trade chips the Phillies have. Honestly, not much. At least nothing that will bring back a big enough haul to get excited about.  Peter Bourjos is starting to hit and has long been known for his quality defense, so maybe a playoff contender will snatch him up for a middling prospect. Jeremy Hellickson is likely to be dealt as well, but he's nothing more than a back end of the rotation arm, so no minor league studs in return for him. The one player I'd love to see traded is Chooch. He's in the final year of his contract and has plenty of playoff experience, something teams covet when it comes to veterans, especially catchers.  A team like the Astros could certainly benefit from his tutelage.

*Adam Morgan has been moved to the bullpen. I like the move. I'm not ready to give up on him as a MLB pitcher, but he needs to show some improvement, or he'll fall quickly down the depth chart that has plenty of youngsters waiting for the chance to be called up.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Series Preview: Phillies at Diamondbacks

So the system ate my Phillies at Giants preview and I didn't realize it. Well, it was about Nola and his recent struggles. I'll get into it for an upcoming post.
Let's preview this one by doing something you might not expect. There are some good things to talk about.
First off, the Phillies are winners of two of their last four games. After going 8-28, including seven and nine game losing streaks, that's a big improvement.
Second, The Phillies spend ten of their next 13 games playing against teams that are below .500. The team with the winning record has a .342 mark on the road. There's a chance to end the first half on a high note.
Third, the offense has averaged six runs a game over its past six games. Read that sentence again. Recall that it averaged fewer than 3.3 runs per game through it's first 71 games.
Now, if only we could straighten out the pitching. Hey, Vincent Velasquez is back tonight. That's a nice little shot in the arm, isn't it?
Let's look at what this series brings.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Win...

The Phillies won a game. That deserved a half-assed blog post. Yeah!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Series Preview: Phillies at Twins

On May 18, the Phillies were 24-17. They are 6-24 since.
That's horrific.
But let's look at why.
At that point, Pete Mackanin's bunch was 14-3 in one-run games. Since then, they're 1-3 in one run games. It's actually not the record that concerns me. It's that .414 percent of the Phillies games were 1-run games. Since then, only .13 percent of their games have been of that variety.
They've basically been getting smoked.
After a win on May 18, the Phillies had lost eight games by four runs or more. That's 19.5 percent. Since then, it's brutal. Twelve out of 30. In other words, they've been in about the same amount of games in which they lost by a grand slam or more since May 19 as they were in one-run games.
What happened?
Let's look at some numbers. First, we'll tackle the offense.
Times the Phillies were shut out before May 19: 1
Times the Phillies were shut out since May 19: 2
Times the Phillies scored two or fewer runs before May 19: 11
Times the Phillies scored two or fewer runs since May 19: 17, including their last six straight.
Times the Phillies scored four runs or more before May 19:  9
Times the Phillies scored four runs or more since May 19: 9
So, the offense has been far more feast or famine in recent weeks. When it's been there, it's been there. Consider this, it had three games of six runs or more before May 19, but four since.

Pitching has been the huge difference.
Times the Phillies shut out an opponent  before May 19: 6
Times the Phillies shut out an opponent since May 19: 2
Times the Phillies gave up three runs or fewer before May 19: 21
Times the Phillies gave up three runs or fewer since May 19: 9
Times the Phillies gave up 6 runs or more before May 19: 10
Times the Phillies gave up 6 runs or more since May 19: 13

So the pitching has been a big problem.
Let's look at some individuals since May 19.

Jeremy Hellickson: 4.97 ERA, 39 hits and 10 walks in 38 innings pitched, a .291 BAbip
Aaron Nola: 4.55 ERA, 41 hits and 10 walks in 31.67 innings pitched. a .376 BAbip
Jerad Eickhoff: 2.35 ERA, 35 hits and 10 walks in 38 innings pitched, a .291 BAbip
Vincent Velazquez: 8.10 ERA, 22 hits, 7 walks in 13.3 innings pitched, a .425 BAbip
Adam Morgan: 6.55 ERA, 44 hits and 6 walks in 33 innings pitched, a .337 BAbip
Zach Eflin: 10.80 ERA, 13 hits and 4 walks in 8.3 innings pitched, a .393 BAbip
Jeanmar Gomez: 3.86 ERA, 8 hits and 3 walks in 9.3 innings pitched, a .250 BAbip
Hector Neris: 5.84 ERA, 15 hits and 8 walks in 12.3 innings pitched, a .394 BAbip
David Hernandez: 5.11 ERA, 16 hits and 5 walks in 12.3 innings pitched, a .342 BAbip

That's not pretty.
Essentially, Jerad Eickhoff is the only guy pitching well. You could argue Jeremy Hellickson's ERA is a bit of an abberation based on his other numbers and he's not pitching poorly.
But that's it. Those are the main guys who take the ball for you in important situations.

Now, the Phillies are coming off an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
If these numbers keep up, or the woeful offense, changes have to occur. This team isn't talented enough to win a division or finish above .500.
But the play of late has been utterly atrocious.

Monday, June 20, 2016

F'n Terrible

The Phillies have scored a measly 220 runs this season in 70 games. That's an average of 3.14 runs per game and equates to 509 runs scored over a 162 game season. That's f'n terrible. That's not hyperbole. That's not a disgruntled fan exaggerating to make a point. It's fact.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Series preview: Diamondbacks at Phillies

Man, has it been ugly of late.
The Phillies are 8-22 since starting the season 22-15.
So which stretch is the real Phillies? Is it the team that roared out of the gate or the team that has taken it on the chin for a month now?
I think it's somewhere in the middle.
One thing is for certain, the team - and the fans - could use a confidence boost. The Phillies will spend the next six games playing two teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Minnesota Twins, that are a combined 36 games below .500.
They should turn it around. Going 3-3 isn't bad. Going 4-2 would be great. going 5-1 shouldn't be out of the question.

The games
Friday, June 17, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, June 18: 3:05 p.m.
Sunday, June 19: 1:35

The matchups
Robbie Ray (3-5, 4.67) vs Adam Morgan (1-5, 6.33)
Zack Grienke (9-3, 3.75) vs Jerad Eickhoff (4-8, 3.40)
Archie Bradley (2-3, 5.66) vs Zach Eflin (0-1, 27.00)

What we know about the Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks were expected to be a good team this year, instead they're 10 games below .500. Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Grienke are doing their thing. Jake Lamb has 12 bombs and a .350 on-base percentage. Other than that, it's been a strange season. If the pitchers can keep Goldschmidt and Lamb from doing much damage, this is a series to win.

Key matchup
The first game. The Phillies are in dire need of a boost. Starting this series off with a win would be huge. If Adam Morgan can go six innings and keep the Diamondbacks to under 4 runs, there's a shot at a win in this game.

What we can't wait to see
Zach Eflin got rocked in his first start. That's OK. He's a solid prospect. Don't be shocked to see him bounce back on Sunday. If he can, the Phillies have a decent chance to take this series.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Howard Update

The Howard- when a player strikes out, commits an error, and hits a homerun all within the same game.  Lovingly named after the Philadelphia Phillies slugger, Ryan Howard.

Take a moment to the peruse the right sidebar of the blog and you'll see an ever growing list of players to commit The Howard in 2016. In fact, 54 Howards have been committed so far in 2016, which is a record setting pace. The previous high for a season was 129 Howards back in 2012, but this year that total might just be eclipsed. After all, batters are striking out more than ever before and the homerun has seen an uptick over years past.

It's no surprise the Chris Davis leads the pack with 3 Howards. Dude hits colossal homeruns, strikes out like 200 times a season, and naturally commits the occasional error. The big shocker is utility infielder Adam Rosales of the Padres sharing the lead with Davis. Rosales is not known for his power, and that's because he really doesn't have much (31 HR in 9 seasons). In fact, he's only hit 4 homeruns this year. That means 75% of the time he goes deep, he also whiffs and botches a play in the field.