Thursday, May 19, 2016

A discussion we didn't expect to have

"If we make any additions, that will help," Pete Mackanin, May 18, 2016.

This wasn't supposed to happen. Everyone knew the Phillies would be terrible. They'd get beaten back like Picket at Gettysburg. Vegas had them winning eight games. All year. OK, it wasn't that bad. had them with 68 wins. No one thought this team would play anywhere near .500.

And here we are, 41 games into the season, and the Phillies are 24-17. Seven games above .500. Guaranteed a winning record after 48 games. This team didn't win 24 games until June 21.

After the Summer of Trump and the Winter of Sanders, it's the Spring of Phillies. Why not, right?

Oh, sure, some of the predictions were right. Ryan Howard has continued to regress. The outfield is dreadful. There are reasons for hope. Tyler Goeddel is looking like another Rule 5 find, hitting .363 in his last nine games.

But it's been consistently woeful, having scored four or fewer runs in 20 of the Phils last 22 straight games.

So Mackanin's comment during today's postgame press conference really stood out to me.

Has Mack reached the point where he fully believes this team can keep up its winning ways? If so, what help is he pining for? From the minors. From outside the organization.

While the rotation, defense and bullpen have been brilliant, you have to wonder what this team would look like with just one more consistent bat.
Just one.

If you trotted out the best possible lineup, it would look something like this:

CF Odubel Herrera, L, .333/.443/.458, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs, 6 SB, 3 CS
2B Cesar Hernandez, S, .263/.318/.321, 4/2/0, 2/5
3B Maikel Franco, R, .243/.285/.428, 7/0/7, 0/0
1B Tommy Joseph, R, .400/.455/.700, 0/0/1, 0/0
SS Freddy Galvis, S, .238/.265/.374, 6/1/4, 2/1
C Cameron Rupp, R, .241/.267/.268, 8/0/1, 1/0
LF Tyler Goeddel, R, .262/.284/.369, 2/1/1, 1/0
RF Peter Bourjos, R, .204/.239/.296, 8/1/0, 2/2

That is five regulars with on-base percentages below .286 when Ryan Howard isn't starting. When he does, it's a .286 mark added to the lineup. That's five regulars with slugging marks below .375.

A decent middle infielder or a solid corner outfield bat would make this team a lot better, obviously. But it would have a ripple effect. Freddy Galvis shouldn't be your fifth best bat. Plus you would make the bench better.

Sure, the Phillies have two highly regarded prospects at those positions. I'm not sure Mackanin is asking for their promotions. But it sounds like he wants some help.

Maybe there's a bat out there to be had.

Either way, the fact that we're even talking about this on May 19 means this season is a lot more fun than anyone expected.


Bob D said...

Neris, Gomez, and Hernandez need some help from Bailey, Hinjosa, Murray, and Araujo with the workload. Those 4 have walked too many, but Bailey has shown some good ability.

Also it should be mentioned that Ruiz has created a good tandem for catching with Rupp. And Blanco may just be better than Galvis or Hernandez at least offensively.

GM-Carson said...

For the record, I was predicting a near .500 record, but mine reason was because of improved offense (which hasn't happened) and improved rotation (which has happened). I still feel this team will return to earth eventually, but there is plenty of reason for optimism, as Nick Williams might not be too far off (upgrade in OF), Asche is on the mend (better bat than Bourjos), and Mark Appel/Jake Thompson/Alec Asher are pitching well and could take over for Adam Morgan if he doesn't get his shit together.

GM-Carson said...

Oh, can't forget Zack Eflin either, he's been good too.

Anonymous said...

Did you read this?
I thought it was really fascinating.

jhilton32 said...

Mark Appel is not pitching well.

GM-Carson said...

7 starts, 3.58 ERA is alright. His WHIP of 1.43 is concerning, but he's showing growth and will hopefully continue to progress.

jhilton32 said...

Yeah the ERA looks okay, but I told pat three starts ago that he was due to get battered around. 14 runs in 15.2 innings in three starts since. He really hasn't been good. He takes 95 pitches to get thru 5 innings. I am positive he will end up in the pen at some pt.

jhilton32 said...

I really think he could be Brett Myers, although Brett was a legit mlb starter. Appel might throw 99 as a reliever.

GM-Carson said...

I'm cool with Appel being a shutdown late inning reliever. Velasquez alone is making the Giles trade look fair, so the rest are icing on the cake.

GM-Carson said...

I love that I actually get excited for each new series to start. I missed that feeling the past few seasons. Of course, I still hate it when they play the Cardinals...they ruin everything.

Bob D said...

Next month expect a lot of promotions and movement thru the whole organization, Williamsport also starts its season and the draft will happen. On the pitching side there is arguably 2 or 3 pitchers deserving promotions at each level.

If I am not mistaken Appel has not pitched into the 6th inning yet this year. I believe the phils will likely move him to the pen if no improvement there.

Morgan if he improves may be able to hold his spot but it will be hard. Buchanan 2-2 3.92 has pitched well. Thompson 2-4 3.42 has been good so far and deserves consideration of a promotion. Asher 3-0 1.53 has been dominate and deserves a promotion. Eflin 5-0 2.36 has been the best and deserves a promotion. And thats with a bullpen that has not been really good. Impressive!

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