Saturday, October 29, 2016

Predicting the Phillies Offseason

While the Philadelphia Phillies only managed to win 71 games during the 2016 season, fans have to be encouraged by the team's performance. The team maintained a .500 winning percentage for most of the season before a poor second half derailed their season. This decline can be attributed to injuries and young players getting tired after a long season. The Phillies still have to be happy with the way most of their young players progressed during the 2016 season. Since the team is filled with so many youngsters, it is pretty easy to breakdown what to expect from the team during free agency this offseason.

The biggest name on the team that has the potential to be a free-agent this offseason is first baseman Ryan Howard. While the Phillies have the option to resign Howard for one more season, they have already expressed their desires to cut ties with him. Howard was one of the hitters in baseball when he signed a five-year contract worth $125 million in 2012.Howard's performance immediately started to decline as soon as he signed that big contract. While he has hit at least 23 home runs the last three seasons, Howard does not make enough contact to get consistent playing time with the Phillies.

The most productive Phillies player hitting the free agent market this off-season is starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. The Phillies will provide a qualifying offer worth $17.2 million to Hellickson, but he will be looking for a long-term contract after his impressive 2016 season. The Phillies most likely will not be willing to provide big money to him for more than one year because of the young pitching depth in the organization. If Hellickson signs with another team, the Phillies will be awarded a first-round pick in the 2017 draft.

Backup catcher A.J Ellis is also likely to leave the team this offseason. While Ellis would be a great fit for the team, he seems to be only interested in playing for the Dodgers next year. If Ellis does not get to return as Clayton Kershaw's personal catcher in Los Angeles, then he will likely retire.

The free agent that appears most likely to resign with the Phillies is Andres Blanco. The utility infielder has been a solid performer during his three years with the team. Since he is unlikely to get much interest from other teams, the Phillies should be able to get Blanco fairly cheap. The veteran infielder will continue to serve as a mentor to the young stars of the Phillies as his career comes to end in a few years.

Outfielder Peter Bourjos and reliever David Hernandez are the final two Phillies entering free agency this offseason. Philadelphia will likely show moderate interest in both players. The team will seek to upgrade each position, but will have no problem bringing back either player if their other options do not pan out. Since he will get less interest from other teams, Bourjos seems more likely to return than David Hernandez.

*Guest Post by Will Kay

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Howard - Final 2016 Standings

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.

Congratulations to Kyle Seager of the Seattle Mariners. His team might have the longest playoff drought in MLB, but they can claim this prestigious honor at the very least.

The Howard - Final 2016 Standings
K. Seager/SEA- 5
A. Duvall/CIN- 4
D. Espinosa/WSH- 4
A. Rosales/SDP- 4
M. Sano/MIN- 4
C. Davis/BAL- 3
N. Hundley/COL- 3
B. Lawrie/CHW- 3
R. Odor/TEX- 3
J. Baez/CHC- 2
B. Belt/SFG- 2
A. Bregman/HOU- 2
C. Carter/MIL- 2
Y. Escobar/LAA- 2
T. Flowers/ATL- 2
T. Frazier/CHW- 2
F. Galvis/PHI- 2
A. Garcia/ATL- 2
D. Gregorius/NYY- 2
J. Lamb/ARI- 2
A. Russell/CHC- 2
E. Suarez/CIN- 2
Y. Tomas/ARI- 2
N. Walker/NYM- 2
T. White/HOU- 2
M. Wieters/BAL- 2
M. Williamson/SFG- 2
C. Adames/COL- 1
M. Adams/STL- 1
Y. Alonso/OAK- 1
T. Anderson/CHW- 1
E. Andrus/TEX- 1
O. Arcia/MIN- 1
J. Arrieta/CHC- 1
A. Beltre/TEX- 1
X. Bogaerts/BOS- 1
J. Bradley/BOS- 1
J. Bruce/CIN- 1
B. Buxton/MIN- 1
K. Calhoun/LAA- 1
W. Castillo/ARI- 1
S. Castro/NYY- 1
C. Colon/KCR- 1
M. Conforto/NYM- 1
W. Contreras/CHC- 1
Z. Cozart/CIN- 1
C. Crisp/OAK- 1
K. Davis/OAK- 1
D. DeShields/TEX- 1
A. Diaz/STL- 1
A. Dickerson/SDP- 1
S. Drew/WSH- 1
L. Forsythe/TBR- 1
M. Franco/PHI- 1
J. Gallo/TEX- 1
S. Gennett/MIL- 1
P. Goldschmidt/ARI- 1
Y. Grandal/LAD-
C. Headley/NYY- 1
J. Heyward/CHC- 1
A. Judge/NYY- 1
H. Kendrick/LAD- 1
I. Kinsler/DET- 1
P. Kivlehan/SDP- 1
E. Longoria/TBR- 1
M. Machado/BAL- 1
K. Maeda/LAD- 1
M. Maldonado/MIL- 1
J. Marte/LAA- 1
J. Martinez/DET- 1
J. Mathis/MIA- 1
N. Mazara/TEX- 1
B. McCann/NYY- 1
J. Mercer/PIT- 1
M. Montero/CHC- 1
M. Moreland/TEX- 1
W. Myers/SDP- 1
M. Napoli/CLE- 1
D. Navarro/CHW- 1
H. Perez/MIL- 1
T. Plouffe/MIN- 1
G. Polanco/PIT- 1
H. Ramirez/BOS- 1
J. Ramirez/CLE- 1
J. Realmuto/MIA- 1
H. Renfroe/SDP- 1
J. Reyes/NYM- 1
M. Reynolds/COL- 1
R. Rua/TEX- 1
J. Salty/DET- 1
D. Santana/MIL- 1
R. Schimpf/SDP- 1
J. Schoop/BAL- 1
J. Segura/ARI- 1
T. Shaw/BOS- 1
J. Smoak/TOR- 1
M. Smith/ATL- 1
Y. Solarte/SDP- 1
S. Souza/TBR- 1
T. Story/COL- 1
A. Susac/MIL- 1
N. Syndergaard/NYM- 1
M. Teixeira/NYY- 1
M. Trumbo/BAL- 1
J. Upton/DET- 1
P. Valaika/COL- 1
B. Wallace/SDP- 1
B. Wilson/TBR- 1
C. Yelich/MIA- 1

Inside the Numbers:
*151 Howards were committed in 2016, which ranks at the top of the pack since the stat's creation prior to the 2009 season. It's no surprise either, considering more homeruns were in this year than any other year in the history of baseball, except for 2000. Year - # of Howards: 2009- 111, 2010- 112, 2011- 107, 2012- 129, 2013- 92, 2014- 118, 2015- 116, 2016- 151.

*The 2015 Howards standings will be archived on the right sidebar of the blog.

Monday, October 03, 2016

2016 Player Review: Cedric Hunter

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies

Cedric Hunter was easy to pull for.
A former top prospect - a third rounder who reached No. 97 on Baseball Prospectus' top 100 list - he arrived in Spring Training and tore the cover off the ball. I remember seeing him jerk balls into the seats at Bright House Field and thinking, "Maybe he's the next Greg Dobbs."
He made the team out of Spring Training and got his first taste of the Big Leagues in five years. This was going to be a beautiful narrative.
Then the season started and he looked, well, lost.

The numbers are brutal.
He went 3-for-34 with one solo homer.
He left 2016 with a .088/.139/.176 slash line.
If you add those numbers, you get .403.
That's not even a great slugging percentage.
Of course, the baseball gods being the evil monsters that they are, he went back down to Triple-A and hit .294/.324/.433 with 10 homers.
Let's talk about the baseball gods.
They really and truly are malicious beings.
Poor Cedric. Since 2014, he's basically hit .290/.333/.438 in the minors. The guy is so close to being a Big League player. But he's probably never going to be. Can you imagine what that must be like?
Growing up, I remember going to Red Barons games and watching Jon Zuber play.
You probably don't remember him.
Zuber arrived in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre two years after I became a baseball fan and quickly became one of my favorite players. He was a left-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder.
His first year, he hit .287/.360/.378 in 470 plate appearances. His second year, he hit .311/.394/.417. His problem was that he had no power or speed.
But the guy could hit. And he could get on base.
There's a part of me that always wondered if he'd played for Oakland, would he have ended up in the Big Leagues.
He got a brief appearance in 1996, hitting .253/.296./330 in 30 games for the 96 Phils.
In 1997, Zuber tore the International League to shreds. He hit .315/.421/.451 with 37 doubles and six homers. In 126 games, he scored 85 runs.
Here's the reason I think Zuber and Hunter are different.
Both played for franchises with bad teams. But Hunter was clearly outplayed by the likes of Peter Borjous (Yeah, that's how bad the outfield was this year) and Tyler Goeddel.
Meanwhile, the 1997 Phillies saw Greg Jefferies play 130 games, Midre Cummings play 63 games and Darren Daulton play 84 games.
Ruben Amaro was actually second in games played in the outfield, playing in 117, despite getting just 175 at-bats.
Zuber probably would have provided better value in the outfield than some of the guys who took up at-bats in 1997.
He returned to the Red Barons in 1998 and looked good again, hitting .325/.414/.479.
He got a call up that season and hit .244/.346/.489.
The point in looking at these two guys is that they were clearly extremely good baseball players. But they never stuck in the big leagues for one reason or another.

Season Grade
Will we see him back in 2017?

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Yet Another Loss

Screw this offense.
Screw this bullpen.
Screw the manager.
Please upgrade for 2017.