Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Face of the Franchise: The 2017 Player Preview of Odubel Herrera

At one point this offseason it looked like Odubel Herrera was trade bait. Instead, the Phillies signed him to a new 5-year contract, thereby making him the face of the franchise.

This is the first in a series previewing the 2017 Phillies. We start with Odubel Herrera because, as we said, he's the face of the franchise. He's an All-Star and has an 8 WAR since being plucked from the Rangers in the 2015 Rule 5 draft. Let's look at our expectations for 2017.

Herrera is quickly becoming one of the best Rule 5 picks in history.

Monday, February 06, 2017

2016 player review: Jeremy Hellickson

Editor's Note: This is the 27th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Elvis Aurajo was the last player profiled.

Let's be honest, Jeremy Hellickson was fantastic in 2016. The Phillies gave up a rookie league pitcher for Hellickson in a low-risk move. At worst, the former rookie of the year would eat some innings. Maybe they'd spin him off in a trade to a team that needed a fifth starter.

Who expected Hellickson to...

Pitch 189 innings of a 3.98 FIP, 1.153 WHIP and a 3.0 WAR?
Finish with per nine averages of 8.2 hits, 1.1 home runs, 2.1 walks and 7.3 strikeouts?

Yeah, it would have been nice if the Phillies traded him for a prospect at the deadline, but assuming he'd walk as a free agent after getting a qualifying offer was the right decision. He was going to be, at worst, the third best starter on a weak free agent market.

Well, we all know he accepted the qualifying offer, so the Phillies have him back in 2017.

2016 grade: B+
Will we see him again in 2017: yes

2016 Player review: Elvis Araujo

This is the 26th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. David Lough was the last player profiled.

I was sure Elvis Araujo would be a huge part of the bullpen and the Phillies future. He looked so good in 2015, pitching to a 3.38 ERA in 40 games as a 23-year-old.
To be clear, Elvis gave up too many walks - 4.9 per 9 innings - he allowed just one home run in 34 and 2/3 innings and struck out 8.8 per nine.
This year, the walks and strikeouts increased. He also gave up more home runs - four in 27 and 1/3 innings - and hits.
On Nov. 18, the Phillies lost him to the Marlins in a waiver claim. He was granted free agency on Jan. 5.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

2017 Free Agent Squard

Spring Training is about 2 weeks away, yet many seemingly useful veterans remain in the limbo of free agency. Keeping with my annual tradition, I've constructed a team consisting solely of free agents. The rotation is a bit thin, overall defense would be sub-par, and there's not much speed, but I think collectively they'd still have a chance to outplay a handful of teams out there (I'm looking at you Padres, Reds, Twins, A's, Brewers, and even our beloved Phillies).
Matt Wieters - .243/.711, 48 R, 17 DBL, 17 HR, 66 RBI, 1.7 WAR
Dioneer Navarro - .207/.587, 26 R, 13 DBL, 6 HR, 35 RBI, -0.8 WAR

First Base:
Mike Napoli - .239/.800, 92 R, 22 DBL, 34 HR, 101 RBI, 5 SB, 1.0 WAR

Second Base:
Chase Utley - .252/.716, 79 R, 26 DBL, 14 HR, 52 RBI, 2.0 WAR

Daniel Descalso - .264/.773, 38 R, 12 DBL, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 0.6 WAR

Third Base:
Aaron Hill - .262/.714, 48 R, 14 DBL, 10 HR, 38 RBI, 1.2 WAR

Angel Pagan/LF - .277/.750, 71 R, 24 DBL, 5 TRPL, 12 HR, 55 RBI, 15 SB, 1.0 WAR
Michael Bourn/CF - .264/.684, 48 R, 13 DBL, 6 TRPL, 5 HR, 38 RBI, 15 SB, 0.3 WAR
Franklin Gutierrez/RF - .246/.780, 33 R, 9 DBL, 14 HR, 39 RBI, 0.3 WAR

Pedro Alvarez/1B/3B - .249/.826, 43 R, 20 DBL, 22 HR, 49 RBI, 0.7 WAR
Chris Carter/1B/OF - .222/.821, 84 R, 27 DBL, 41 HR, 94 RBI, 0.9 WAR
Erick Aybar/UTL - .243/.623, 34 R, 19 DBL, 34 RBI, -0.2 WAR
Kelly Johnson/UTL - .247/.698, 25 R, 14 DBL, 10 HR, 34 RBI, 0.5 WAR

1. Michael Bourn/CF
2. Angel Pagan/LF
3. Mike Napoli/1B
4. Chris Carter/DH
5. Matt Wieters/C
6. Daniel Descalso/SS
7. Franklin Gutierrez/RF
8. Chase Utley/2B
9. Aaron Hill/3B

Jason Hammel - 30 GS, 15-10, 166.2 IP, 144 K, 3.83/1.21, 1.1 WAR
Doug Fister - 32 GS, 12-13, 180.1 IP, 115 K, 4.64/1.43, 0.0 WAR
Colby Lewis - 19 GS, 6-5, 116.1 IP, 73 K, 3.71/1.13, 2.4 WAR
Jered Weaver - 31 GS, 12-12, 178 IP, 103 K, 5.06/1.46, -0.7 WAR
Jorge De La Rosa - 27 G, 24 GS, 8-9, 134 IP, 108 K, 5.51/1.64, 0.0 WAR

Travis Wood - 77 G, 4-0, 61 IP, 47 K, 2.95/1.13, 0.5 WAR
Joe Blanton - 75 G, 7-2, 80 IP, 80 K, 2.48/1.01, 1.7 WAR
Luke Hochevar - 40 G, 2-3, 37.1 IP, 40 K, 3.86/1.07, 0.3 WAR
David Hernandez - 70 G, 3-4, 72.2 IP, 80 K, 3.84/1.50, 0.9 WAR
Peter Moylan - 50 G, 2-0, 44.2 IP, 34 K, 3.43/1.30, 0.6 WAR
Javier Lopez - 68 G, 1-3, 26.2 IP, 15 K, 4.05/1.46, 0.2 WAR
Tommy Hunter - 33 G, 2-2, 34 IP, 23 K, 3.18/1.27, 0.6 WAR

Jake Peavy/SP, Mat Latos/SP, Jon Niese/SP, Edwin Jackson/SP, Nolan Reimold/OF, Coco Crisp/OF, Adam Lind/1B, Seth Maness/RP, Yusmeiro Petit/RP, Chien-Ming Wang/RP, Gordon Beckham/UTL, Billy Butler/1B, Jeff Francoeur/OF, Cole Gillespie/OF, Chris Johnson/UTL, Ryan Howard/1B, Drew Stubbs/OF, David Lough/OF, Alexei Ramirez/SS.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

2016 Player Review: David Lough

Editor's Note: This is the 25th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Severino Gonzalez was the last player profiled.

David Lough has some interesting tools. He plays great defense. He doesn't strike out much. He can run a bit, too.
He's not a bad fifth outfielder to have around. In just 96 games during the 2013 season, he pulled off a 2.7 WAR. That season, he had a .286/.311/.413 slash line, stole five bases, hit five home runs and slashed 17 doubles. He put up similar numbers in 2014, his first year with the Orioles.
Since then, however, he's had trouble converting his contact to hits.
Early on, it seemed as if Lough had figured things out. He hit .311/.364/.379.
Afterward, however, he hit .184/.326/.263.
The Phillies released Lough in August.

2016 grade: C-
Will we see him again in 2017: Not likely.

2016 Player Review: Severino Gonzalez

Editor's Note: This is the 24th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Brett Oberholtzer was the last player profiled.

Severino Gonzalez has bounced back and forth between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley for the last two years. In the minors, Gonzalez has put up solid numbers, limiting walks (1.5 per nine) and home runs (.7 per nine). He's also compiled some decent strikeout numbers (7.3 strikeouts per nine).
During his time in red pinstripes, however, he's been very ineffective, giving up a 6.68 ERA, a 1.484 WHIP and giving up nine home runs and 84 hits in 66 innings.

Despite his youth and decent stuff, the Phillies shipped him to the Marlins for a player to be named later.

2016 grade: F
Will we see him again in 2017: If he makes the Marlins roster, he'll pitch against the Phillies.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2016 Review: Brett Oberholtzer

Editor's Note: This is the 23rd in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Michael Mariot was the last player profiled.

The narrative was there. Brett Oberholtzer, a kid from Delaware, would come home and pitch well as part of a haul that would reinvigorate the franchise.

The left-hander acquired in the Cole Hamels Ken Giles trade had promise, arriving with a career 1.332 WHIP and a 3.72 FIP. He had solid control (2.1 walks per 9) and didn't allow home runs in Houston's bandbox.

Hitters rocked him for an 8+ ERA by the end of April. Despite a promising June, posting a 3.31 ERA that month, it wasn't enough as he was placed on waivers in August.

2016 grade: D
Will we see him again in 2017: Only if he pitches against the Phillies.

Monday, January 23, 2017

2016 Player Review: Michael Mariot

Editor's Note: This is the 22nd in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Vincent Velasquez was the last player profiled.

This might sound nuts, but if you asked me how many games Michael Mariot pitched for the Phillies, I'd have guessed 40 to 50.
Mariot only pitched in 25 games and that shocked me.
It's probably because he gave up so many home runs - 5 - in such a short amount of time that it couldn't be possible he only pitched 21.2 innings.
Mariot is an interesting guy to look at. There's some promise there. He pitched to a 2.23 ERA in Lehigh Valley. He struck out 9.6 batters per 9 innings in Philly. He also gave up just 7.5 hits per nine in the Big Leagues.
But the control killed him. He gave up 5.8 walks per nine and 2.1 home runs. Those last two numbers will derail the good from the previous numbers.

That's why the Phillies designated the 28-year-old for assignment. But the Phillies know he's still worth a shot, so they invited him to Spring Training.

2016 grade: D
Will we see him in 2017: Probably

2016 Player Review: Vincent Velasquez

Editor's Note: This is the 21st in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Colton Murray was the last player profiled.

The early returns on the Ken Giles trade have been mostly fantastic. Giles, who was fantastic in Philadelphia, struggled a bit in Houston. He posted a  2-5 record with a 4.11 ERA and just 15 saves in 65 innings. That said, his peripherals looked good. He posted 14 Ks per nine. His FIP was 2.86. He'll be fine. Houston will enjoy having him.

On the Phillies' side, Brett Oberholtzer pitched his way off the team. I was somewhat surprised by that. While I didn't expect him to be an All-Star, I expected more than a 4.83 ERA. Harold Arauz looked good for Lakewood. The 21-year-old appeared in 19 starts, pitching to a 3.55 ERA, 1.040 WHIP and allowing just four home runs and 24 walks in 99 innings. Thomas Eshelman got hit hard in Reading after some success at Clearwater. He is still just 22. Mark Appel suffered an injury in Triple-A. Appel (10) and  Eshelman (18) enter the season ranked among the Phillies' top prospects, according to

But the guy who shined the most was Vincent Velasquez. The 24-year-old tossed 131 often electric frames, pitching to a 4.12 ERA, a 3.81 FIP, a 1.328 WHIP. He allowed 21 home runs and 45 walks, but he struck out 152 batters. 

Velasquez exploded on the scene with a 16-K, three-hitter against the San Diego Padres. Though he had to spend some time on the disabled list in June, he looked grat through July 19, holding down a 3.19 ERA and an 8-2 mark. At that point, he had pitched 85 innings. The wall was coming. In 2015, he had pitched 88 innings. In 2014, he had pitched even fewer frames than that.

From July 19 on, Velasquez had a 5.96 ERA, giving up 11 homers and 30 walks in 45.1 innings.

Velasquez was the subject of trade speculation at the deadline and this offseason, but it's hard to imagine the team trading a guy with his capabilities when they won 71 games last year and added some intriguing pieces this offseason.

2016 grade: B+
Will we see him in 2017: Barring anything catastrophic, he'll be in the rotation.

Friday, January 20, 2017

2016 Player Review: Colton Murray

Editor's Note: This is the 20th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Adam Morgan was the last player profiled.

The Phillies drafted Colton Murray in the 13th round of the 2011 Amatuer Player Draft. He is the fifth player from that class to make it to the Major Leagues.
Considering that the class was so recent, that's not a bad haul so far. The other players were Ken Giles in the seventh round (Big win there), Cody Asche in the fourth round, Adam Morgan in the third round and Roman Quinn (Possibly a win there) in the second round.
Of course, the first rounder, Larry Greene Jr., bottomed out fairly quickly. 
Mitch Walding and  Harold Martinez remain in the system. Austin Wright was used in the Jeremy Hellickson trade.

Murray hasn't pitched particularly well in his appearances with the Phils over the past two years. He has a 6.18 ERA and a 5.05 FIP. He doesn't have terrible control, and he misses bats, so he's not a lost cause as a Major Leaguer. He's been invited to spring training. 

2016 grade: D
Will we see him again in 2017: Probably at some point