Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Season Recap: Nick Pivetta's potential

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.

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.