Friday, December 15, 2017

May the Force be with Matt Klentak

It's Star Wars weekend and the Phillies traded Freddy Galvis for a low-minors pitcher. J.P. Crawford is the everyday shortstop, baby.

The rebuild is on the fast track.


via GIPHY

That's not all, though.

They also just signed former Cleveland Indians slugger Carlos Santana for $60 million over three years. WHAT?

via GIPHY

To play first base. You know who plays first base? Rhys Hoskins. And Santana has never slugged .500 in his career. He's hit 30 homers once. He turns 32 in April.

via GIPHY

But he's a switch hitter, a solid defender, walks about 100 times a season and he has seen more pitches than any other batter since 2011.

via GIPHY

Now the Phillies could package Cesar Hernandez, a prospect and an outfielder for a starting pitcher.

via GIPHY

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Season recap: Hyun Soo Kim

In three years, you're going to look back at the 2017 Phillies and say, who the hell was Hyun Soo Kim.

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 starter Howie Kendrick. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

For the record Kim was part of the package for Jeremy Hellickson. He was in his second season in Baltimore, having played well in his first and putridly in his second.

He continued to play poorly in Philly. Let the forgetting commence.

Season Recap: Howie Kendrick

Let's talk about assets. When morning broke on Nov. 11, 2016, the Phillies had Darnell Sweeney and Darin Ruf. The former is a young, toolsy outfielder. The latter is a power hitter who never developed fully in Philly. They weren't that valuable as assets.

General manager Matt Klentak shipped those two players off to Los Angeles for former All Star Howie Kendrick, a professional hitter. He could stabilize the lineup. In other words, he was a valuable asset.

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 starter Nick Pivetta. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Kendrick spent half a season in Philadelphia. Much of that time was spent on the disabled list. However, Kendrick was a marvel when he played, mashing .340/.397/.454 in 156 plate appearances. Kendrick wasn't as valuable thanks to his injuries, but he was more valuable than Ruf and Sweeney. The former is now in Japan, having not spent a day in the Major Leagues in 2017. The latter spent the season in Triple-A and was traded to Cincinnati.

Klentak shipped Kendrick to the Nationals for McKenzie Mills. The left-hander is now the Phillies 21st ranked prospect. Mills is a 22-year-old left-hander who went 12-3 with a 3.22 ERA in A-ball last season.

That's a decent asset. When you figure the Phillies got 146 at-bats from Kendrick and a prospect for Ruf and Sweeney, that's a pretty good swap of assets.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Season Recap: Nick Pivetta

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.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Season Recap: J.P. Crawford

J.P. Crawford
What a bizarre season it was for J.P. Crawford! Coming into the year, he was one of the most heralded prospects in the game. Then he had two horrid months at Triple-A. The naysayers came out of the woodwork. "He's regressed defensively." "He doesn't impact the ball." Then he found his stroke and knocked the hell out of the ball for two months. Finally, he got the call and played his first big league game on Sept. 5, against the New York Mets.

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 Jeremy Hellickson. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Playing in just 23 games, he was able to put up a .9 WAR, thanks in large part to a nifty .356 on-base percentage, sparkling defense, and plus base-running.

Interestingly, the Phillies went 13-10 in games he played in. 

But he wasn't without faults. In his short stint, he hit just five extra-base hits. He also struck out 22 times. 

Overall, much of the Phillies' future success is pinned to Crawford's development. He gave the Phillies a lot to hope for in his brief debut.

Season recap: Jeremy Hellickson

Jeremy Hellickson truly had a bizarre career in Philadelphia. Heading into last year's trade season, it looked like the Phillies were going to trade him for a decent prospect. Then it appeared Matt Klentak overplayed his hand. Hellickson stuck around after the July and August trade deadlines. Then, after the Phillies offered him arbitration, hoping they would get a nice draft pick for him when he signed elsewhere, he returned.

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 Jeanmar Gomez.. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

The club had to be hoping he would continue to pitch well in 2017 and get them a nice trade package. Instead, he had an ERA near 5.00. Klentak shipped him off to Baltimore for Garrett Clevenger and Hyun Soo Kim.

Clevenger had an ERA north of 5 with the Reading Phillies, but he struck out 10 batters per inning. Kim somehow got into 40 games with the Phillies, producing a -.9 WAR.

Hellickson's Phillies career is a strange one. While he was a two-time Opening Day starter and accumulated 4.0 WAR, he could have brought more to the franchise if he'd been traded at the right time.

Season Recap: Jeanmar Gomez

Jeanmar Gomez was named the closer in Spring Training. He didn't have the job before the calendar turned to May. He didn't pitch in the major leagues after the All Star break.

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 Vincent Velasquez. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Jeanmar Gomez was awful. There's just no two ways about it. Only one time this year was he able to go back-to-back games without giving up a run. In only 2 of his 18 appearances did he not allow a baserunner.

Season Recap: Vince Velasquez

Vincent Velasquez made 16 starts for the Phillies this year. He was very inconsistent.
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 infielder Pedro Florimon. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.
Let's break down Vincent Velasquez career in Philadelphia by how his starts worked out.

Excellent starts (At least seven innings and 2 or fewer earned runs)
10 percent of his starts

April 14, 2016: 9 innings, no earned runs
July 19, 2016: 7 innings, one earned run
Sept. 3, 2016: 7 innings, 2 earned runs
July 30, 2017: 7 innings, no earned runs

Quality starts (At least six innings and 3 or fewer earned runs)
23 percent of his starts

April 9, 2016: 6 innings, no earned runs
April 26, 2016: 6 innings, 3 earned runs
May 1, 2016: 6 innings, 0 earned runs
July 3, 2016: 6 innings, 2 earned runs
July 8, 2016: 6 innings, 2 earned runs
July 29, 2016: 6 innings, 2 earned runs
April 19, 2017: 6 innings, 3 earned runs
April 26, 2017: 6 1/3 innings, 3 earned runs
July 18, 2017: 6 1/3 innings, 1 earned run

Short strong starts (5 innings pitched, 2 or fewer runs)
18 percent of his starts

May 17, 2016: 5 innings, 0 earned runs
June 27, 2016: 5 innings, no earned runs
Aug 4, 2016: 5 innings, 2 earned runs
Aug 28, 2016: 5 innings, 1 earned run
May 1, 2016: 5 innings, 1 earned run
May 14, 2017: 5 innings, 2 earned runs
May 25, 2017: 5 innings, 1 earned run
Aug. 4, 2017: 5 innings, 2 earned runs

Mediocre starts (At least five innings and 4 or fewer earned runs)
8 percent of starts

May 6, 2016: 6 innings, 4 earned runs
May 12, 2016: 6 innings, 4 earned runs
July 24, 2016: 6 innings, 4 earned runs

Bad starts (5 innings or fewer and 4 or more earned runs)
13 percent of starts

April 19, 2016: 4 1/3 innings, 5 earned runs
May 23, 2016: 4 innings, 3 earned runs
April 7, 2017: 4 innings, 4 runs
July 24, 2017: 3 innings, 4 runs
10 percent of his starts

Awful starts (5 or more earned runs)
18 percent of his starts

May 29, 2016: 4 1/3 innings, 7earned runs
Aug. 9, 2016: 4 2/3 innings, 9 earned runs
Aug. 16, 2016: 5 2/3 innings, 5 earned runs
Aug. 24, 2016: 6 innings, 5 earned runs
April 12, 2017: 5 innings, 5 earned runs
May 6, 2017: 7 innings, 6 earned runs
May 20, 2017: 5 2/3 innings, 5 earned runs

Miscellaneous starts
10 percent of starts

June 3, 2016: 4 2/3 innings, 2 earned runs
June 8, 2016: 1/3 innings, no earned runs
May 30, 2017: 1 1/3 innings, 1 earned run
Aug. 10, 2017: 1 inning, 3 earned runs

The one question I have about current Phillies going into next year is what they can expect from Velasquez after two years.
We have yet to see him pitch a full healthy year. But if you consider the top three categories the outcomes you want, he reached them in 51 percent of his starts. That's not quite good enough. You want that to be above 55 percent. In fact, a big issue is that 31 percent of his starts were bad or terrible.

I'm not sold Velasquez is a Major League starter. In many ways, he reminds me of Joe Kelly, who has electric stuff, but just doesn't translate that into getting guys out.

However, the kid seems like an A-plus guy and it's hard not to root for him.
If he ends up starting for the Phillies next year, they can't rely on him to make more than 25 starts and they can't rely on him to regularly pitch past the sixth inning.

Season Recap: Pedro Florimon

No one had a worse 2017 Phillies season than Pedro Florimon. And it's not because he played poorly. In fact, he played very well.
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 starting pitcher Ben Lively. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.
The Phillies signed Florimon, who had played more than 200 Major League games, to a minor league deal heading into the season. All he did was play exceptionally well at Triple-A and earn a promotion to the big leagues.
Then, in 15 games, Florimon hit a robust .348/.388/.478. The problem was the last of those games. Florimon gruesomely broke his ankle and ended his season midway through September.
Florimon might not repeat what he did in 2017, but the Phillies would likely be wise to stock him in Triple-A this year if he's willing to return.

Season Recap: Ben Lively

Ben Lively arrived in Philadelphia on New Year's Eve when the Phillies traded Marlon Byrd. It looks like the move is working out quite well.
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 starting pitcher Jesen Therrien. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.
Lively arrived in the big leagues on June 3 and pitched mostly effective baseball the rest of the season. He ended the season with a 1.2 Pitcher WAR, according to baseball-reference. He also launched two home runs.
Lively isn't like most of today's pitchers in that he doesn't miss many bats. His 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings is taboo to many. He also gives up a fair share of home runs, 13 in 88 innings.
One of his big issues was opponents hitting .364 on the first pitch and .409 on 0-1 counts.  The first batter in an inning had a .400 on-base percentage. If he can trim those numbers a bit, he'll be in great shape in 2018.
It's not hard imagining him turning into a Randy Wolf-like pitcher.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Season Recap: Jesen Therrien

Jesen Therrien has pitched well out of the bullpen for three straight seasons. It's a span of 176 innings, so that's no small sample size.
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 starting pitcher Yacksel Rios. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.
In those minor league games over the past three years, Therrien has a pristine 1.79 ERA. Interestingly, he's given up just .46 home runs per nine innings. That's ridiculously impressive. He's also struck out a hair under 10 batters per nine innings. And he's allowed just 2.4 walks per nine.
So I'll live with the way he was beaten around this year. In his 15 major league games, he had an 8.35 ERA.
The Phillies would be wise to keep the kid around next year.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Season Recap: Yacksel Rios

Yacksel Rios pitched in 13 games for the Phillies, 11 of them effectively.

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 starting pitcher Zach Eflin. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

In 10 years, some kid is going to be looking at a scribble on his baseball and wonder who the heck that signature belongs to.
 Rios, 24, might not stick in the big leagues. He wasn't high on anyone's prospect list. But he seems to limit walks and home runs, so maybe he'll get another shot. 

Season Recap: Zach Eflin

Can Zach Eflin be the next Aaron Altherr?

Remember, Altherr dazzled in 2015, was injured for much of 2016 and basically written off at the beginning of 2017. Now he's considered a bright spot in the organization's future. Eflin dazzled at points in 2016 and was battered and injured in 2017. He's not getting that much hype for 2018.

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 Victor Arano. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Eflin will enter next season with a 5.85 career ERA in 22 starts. That's rough. But the former first rounder is stingy with the walks (2.0 per nine in his major league career) and home runs allowed in the minors (.6 per nine in the minors but 2.0 per nine in the majors). 

In his 22 starts, five have been marvelous. 

On June 24, 2016, he held the Giants to 1 unearned run in six innings, scattering five hits and no walks.
On July 5, 2016, he gave up a solo home run in a complete game in which he scattered six hits and struck out six against the Braves.
On July 22, 2016, he pitched a complete game shutout against the Pirates.
On April 23, 2017, he gave up just three hits and no walks in seven innings of 1-run ball against the Braves.
On April 29, 2017, he gave up just four hits, two of which were solo home runs, in seven innings of 2-run ball against the Dodgers.

Eflin's numbers are done in by seven starts in which he gave up 8, 7, 6, 7, 8, 7, and 8 runs. The problem is that's almost a third of his starts. If he returns in 2018 and limits the games he gets knocked around in to 20 percent of his starts, the Phillies will have a nice fourth or fifth starter.

Season Recap: Victor Arano

You know who was an exciting surprise in 2017? Well, other than Rhys Hoskins. Let's talk about Victor Arano.

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 Kevin Siegrist. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Arano was lights out in his ten September appearances. Kid put up a 1.69 ERA. And if you think that was just based on some luck, he had a 1.85 FIP and a .938 WHIP. He struck out 11 and walked 3.4 per nine. He didn't give up a home run in his 10.2 innings.
The 22-year-old wasn't unheralded. John Sickles had him as a C+ prospect, the Phils 21st overall before the season started. Arano was the player to be named later in the Roberto Hernandez trade Ruben Amaro made in 2014. Kid hits in the mid-90s with his fastball and seems to have decent control.

Look at his walks per nine in the minor leagues the past four years.
2014 - 2.09
2015 - 1.89
2016 - 2.15
2017 - 2.56

Look at his strikeout rates over the same span.
2014 - 22.9
2015 - 13.4
2016 - 29.7
2017 - 23.0

The kid has some ability to miss bats and not miss the zone. 
That could look really good for the Phillies in 2018.

Season Recap: Kevin Siegrist

Kevin Siegrist led the league in games pitched. In 81 appearances, he tossed 74 innings of 2.17 ERA just three years ago. Two years ago, he had a 2.77 ERA in 64 games. He hasn't been that good since.

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 Casey Fien. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

He did pitch in seven games for the Phillies this year. He didn't pitch too poorly either, tossing five innings of 3.60 ERA ball. He allowed one home run, two walks and four hits against seven strikeouts. I thought there was a chance the left-hander would stick with the Phils.
He didn't. They cut him loose today.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Season Recap: Casey Fien

Casey Fien was purchased from the Seattle Mariners on May 9. He'd spent parts of eight years in the big leagues. He had a good four-year run in Minnesota. That was a long time ago.

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 Henderson Alvarez. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Fien pitched four games between June 9 and 20 for the Phillies. They released him on Sept. 1.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Season Recap: Henderson Alvarez

Henderson Alvarez is the first really intriguing player on our list. If you remember the Phillies of the late 1990s, the Phillies routinely picked up veteran pitchers off the scrap heap. Several of them - Sid Fernandez, in particular - pitched very well. The Phillies have a chance to repeat that success with Alvarez.

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 Zac Curtis. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

From 2014-2015, Alvarez was a very good pitcher for the Florida Marlins. Over 289 frames, he pitched to a 2.98 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 1.201 WHIP, struck out 2.8 batters per walk and allowed just 15 homers. He was an All Star in 2015. It looked like he had a bright future.
Then he got hurt. 
He didn't pitch for almost two years. 
The Phillies picked him up and he had three September starts.

Start 1: Five innings pitched, 4 earned runs, four strikeouts, two walks, two home runs. Not great.
Start 2: Five innings pitched, no earned runs, two strikeouts, three walks, no home runs. Not bad.
Start 3: Four and two thirds innings, three earned runs, no home runs, no strikeouts and six walks. Oof.

If you were to tell me Alverez would compete with Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta and Jake Thompson for the final spot in the rotation next year, I'd be fine with that. 

It's doubtful the Phils would use a 40-man spot on him all winter. That said, the team could offer him a contract that would make him interested in sticking around if another team comes calling.
With his track record, it's hard to think Alvarez has pitched his last effective innings in the Major Leagues.

Season Recap: Zac Curtis

Zac Curtis? Who the hell is Zac Curtis? That was my initial reaction. Maybe it's having three kids. Maybe it's not having 6 hours of sleep last night. Either way, it took quite a memory jog to recall Zac Curtis.

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 Drew Anderson. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

The Phillies plucked Curtis off the waiver wire from the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 11. They got three decent innings from him as the month came to a close. The 24-year-old left-hander could stick with the organization over the winter. Or he could be a roster casualty around the Rule 5 draft.
The Phillies could do - and have done - a lot worse by sticking him in AAA next year.

Season Recap: Drew Anderson

Drew Anderson has a 23.14 career Major League ERA. That's OK. Anderson is 24 and a fringy prospect, but he's got some skills.

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 Clay Buchholz. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

The right-hander saw action in two blowout losses. He was hit hard, but that's an incredibly small sample size for a guy who has pitched well in the minor leagues. Might the Phillies lose him as they work on their 40-man roster? Sure. But I doubt it. I imagine we'll see him around again next year. 

Monday, October 02, 2017

Season Recap: Clay Buchholz



Remember Clay Buchholz, whose name is impossible to spell?
Remember Clay Buchholz, who was the highest paid player on the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies?
Remember Clay Buchholz, who twice was an All Star in Boston?
Remember Clay Buchholz, who pitched all of 4.2 innings in two starts during his Phillies career?

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 Juan Nicasio. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.


You remember him, right? Of course you do. Did you remember him enough to know that the picture on the right there isn't him. It's BJ Rosenberg!

Season Recap: Juan Nicasio

When Phillies general manager Matt Klentak selected Juan Nicasio off waivers from the Pittsburgh, Pirates, I figured the Phillies would try to keep him around for next year. After all, he was a stable arm. After all, he was on his third solid season in a row. Instead, the Phillies shipped him off to St. Louis just a few days later.

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 Pedro Beato. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Nicasio did look good for the Phillies, tossing 1.1 shutout innings. The Phillies turned him into Eliezer Alvarez, a 22-year-old middle infielder from the Cardinals. In six minor league seasons, he's hit .285/.360/.431. 

It will be interesting to see what the Phillies do with Alvarez, who has never played above AA. Will he be part of the 40-man roster or will he be someone they let dangle in the Rule 5 draft?

In essence, the Phillies got a lottery ticket prospect and 1.1 innings of relief for nothing, so you can't complain about the moves. 

Season recap: Pedro Beato

No player's year is a better analogy for 2017 Philadelphia Phillies season than Pedro Beato. It included patience, an eye-opening performance, injury and despair.

In the coming days, we're going to recap every player who spent a part of  2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies. We're starting with relief pitcher Pedro Beato. We even have a landing post with a link to each player's season.

Pedro Beato was on the rise. The Baltimore Orioles selected Beato with the 32nd pick in the 2006 draft. He was sandwiched between Preston Mattingly and Phillies Legend Emmanuel Burris. The New York Mets picked him in the 2010 Rule 5 draft and he spent the next four years bouncing between the Mets and their farm system and the Red Sox and their farm system. Then he spent the next three years toiling in minor league towns.

The Phillies signed him in December and he pitched strongly for Lehigh Valley before getting the call to the big leagues. 

Beato took the hill on July 29 against the Atlanta Braves. He threw ten effective pitches, getting two outs, including a strikeout of Sean Rodriguez. Then an injury hit and you end up on the disabled list with a bad hamstring.



We're going to recap each player's 2017 season in Philadelphia.

In 2017, 51 players suited up in Phillies pinstripes. One, Freddy Galvis, saw action in every game. Another played in just one. Each of the 51 players has their own unique story.
In the coming days, we'll look at each player. This page will be a handy link salad to each of those stories. Enjoy reading.

1. The sad case of Pedro Beato
2. Juan Nicasio's short stay
3. Remembering Clay Buchholz
4. Drew Anderson's two no good, very bad days
5. The mysterious case of Zac Curtis
6. Henderson Alvarez International Man of Intrigue
7. Casey Fien was far from fine
8. Kevin Siegrist didn't stick
9. Let's drool over Victor Arano
10. Zach Eflin could be the next Aaron Altherr
11. Yacksel Rios pitched in 13 games
12. Jesen Therrien has had quite a minor league run
13. Ben Lively was a solid return for Marlon Byrd
14. Pedro Florimon had a horrible break
15. Vincent Velasquez remains a mystery
16. Jeanmar Gomez' dumpster fire of a season
17. Jeremy Hellickson's strange Phillies career
18. The J.P. Crawford Era arrives
19. Can Jerad Eickhoff put the wheels back on?
20. What does the future hold for Ricardo Pinto?
21. Let's forget Joely Rodriguez
22. Let's look at Mark Leiter's GPA
23. Aaron Nola answered some big questions
24. Jorge Alfaro is full of talent
25. No one is laughing at Hoby Milner now
26. Adam Morgan's reinvention
27. Nick Pivetta has intriguing potential
28. Howie Kendrick was an asset
29. Hyun Soo Kim can be forgotten
30. Cam Perkins' cup of coffee
31. Pat Neshak was special

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Phillies have been really bad in one-run games

Are you ready for a bonkers bit of history?

The Philadelphia Phillies have played 55 one-run games. If they don't play any more, that means more than 33 percent of their games have been of the one run variety. Overall, the team has a .390 winning percentage, but a .364 mark in one-run games. Compare this with the last season and back.

Year    One-run games  Record in one-run games
2016                53                     .549
2015                43                     .372
2014                55                     .509
2013                56                     .500
2012                52                     .481
2011                47                     .596
2010                46                     .630
2009                45                     .533
2008                50                     .540
2007                37                     .378
2006                45                     .489
2005                44                     .477
2004                43                     .535
2003                38                     .526
2002                46                     .478
2001               49                      .551
2000               60                      .417
1999               44                      .468
1998               57                      .509
1997              43                       .535
1996              47                       .532
1995              43                       .465
1994              38                       .316
1993              43                       .535
1992              52                       .404
1991             63                        .571
1990             54                        .519
1989              43                       .465
1988              46                       .435
1987              48                       .563
1986              59                       .576
1985             58                        .397
1984             54                        .463
1983             46                        .500
1982             51                        .588
1981             33                        .455
1980              60                       .533
1979              52                       .596
1978              47                       .532
1977              45                       .489
1976             50                        .520

So, in the Phillies championship era, the 42 years that have seen all of the franchise's World Series and five of its seven pennants, the Phillies have rarely been this bad at one-run games.
Just once, the strike season of 1994, did the Phillies play with a worse record, .316, in their one-run games.

They've also rarely played more one-run games. Only in 1991 (63), 1980 and 2000 (60), 1986 (59) 1985 (58) and 2013 (56), did they play in more.

On a side note, if you're like me and remember how bad the 1996-1998 Phillies were, it's shocking to see that they played over .500 in 143 combined one-run games.

The Rhys Hoskins Post

I've watched baseball my entire life (soon to be 38 years). This is the most amazing thing I've ever witnessed. What Rhys Hoskins has done to begin his career is literally history in the making. This is an open blog post to drop adoration for "Rhys Lightning" in the comments sections. Have at it WSBGMs readers...

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Happy J.P. Crawford Day


via GIPHY
Look, J.P. Crawford had some early season struggles. There's no doubt about it. But even with those struggles, he has a .351 on-base percentage and .405 slugging mark. He still hit 15 home runs, 20 doubles and six triples.

Crawford might not light the world on fire like Rhys Hoskins has during his September call-up. But he's going to make the offense better. He's going to force the opposition to throw pitches, something the lineup has lacked for quite a long time.

Crawford won't push the Phillies toward 70 wins. But he could be the difference between 100 losses and 97 losses, either of which probably get you the top 1 or 2 spots in next years draft.


via GIPHY


Thursday, August 31, 2017

September Call Ups

The Phillies will announce their September call-ups momentarily. This is what I would do if I were in General Manager Matt Klentak's situation.

The locks

J.P. Crawford: If I'm Klentak, I call up Crawford and tell Pete he plays at short every day.
For some reason, Phillies fans and some of the local media have fallen in love with Freddy Galvis. Look, he's having the best year of his career and he's still not very valuable. Defensively, he makes highlight reel plays, but i'ts not enough to make up for the bad offense. He's dropped off from last year, when he was plus-5 in defensive runs saved and had a UZR of 15.1. This year, he's at -4 runs save and a 3.9 UZR, which isn't terrible at all. It's basically top 5 in the league.
Fangraphs gives him a 1.4 WAR; Baseball-Reference has him with 1.0 WAR.

It wouldn't shock me if Crawford topped those WAR numbers in a month.

Drew Anderson: The 23-year-old is already on the 40-man roster and has pitched well in Double-A. The Phillies think they have a nice piece in him. He can provide some depth for the staff during the final month of the season.

The possible

Carlos Tocci: The Phillies will need to add him to the 40-man roster this offseason, so they might as well do it now. Let him get a couple of starts in center field to see how he handles it. The 21-year-old has hit .298/.349/.387 and is still filling out. The only thing that would keep him down for me is that it might be wasting an option.

Alberto Tirado: The kid was once a top 100 prospect. He's got quite an arm. He didn't particularly pitch that well this year, but the team is going to want to see what it has as it tries to figure out the 40-man roster this season. Seeing him work against big league batters a few times could be valuable for the franchise as it weighs his value against some other minor leaguers.

Out of luck

Scott Kingery: I cannot tell you how much I want to see Kingery in the Big Leagues. Scotty Jetpacks is going to be a force. But like Crawford, he's not on the 40-man roster. The Phillies well need to conserve some spots this winter as they work their way through the Rule 5 Draft. They're going to have to protect a fair amount of talent. So we'll see him in 2018. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hoskins with the Howard

Rhys Hoskins is the fastest player to hit 11 homeruns to begin his career. Blah, blah, blah.

Rhys Hoskins has 24 RBI in his first 18 games. Yada, yada, yada.

Rhys Hoskins started a triple play today. So fricken what?!

Rhys Hoskins committed the first Howard in the embryonic stage of his MLB life cycle. Now that's something to beat on your chest King Kong style about.
In case you haven't been following this historic statistic since it's inception prior to the 2009 season, The Howard is anytime a player hits a homerun, commits and error, and strikes out in the same ball game.

Congrats kid, you deserve all the recognition and praise being heaped upon you.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Ain't No Sugarcoating This Turd

The Philadelphia Phillies are terrible. That's fact, not up for debate. The 2017 season was supposed to be one of growth, yet clearly hasn't been the case.
All the ballyhooed pitching prospects have been duds thus far, for the most part.

Jake Thompson...turd.

Nick Pivetta...turd.

Zach Eflin...turd.

Vince Velasquez...turd.

Edubray Ramos...turd.

Ricardo Pinto...turd.

Mark Appel...turd.

Oh, lest not forget Jerad Eickhoff, who has taken a big step backwards. Oh, and Hector Neris' woes late in games. Oh, and the shit-show Joely Rodriguez displayed before his exodus. Jessen Therrien isn't making a good impression either.

Now onto the offense.

Maikel Franco...ginormous turd.

Tommy Joseph...turd.

Cam Perkins and Brock Stassi haven't done anything to help their stock either.

I'm disgusted.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How are the Phillies position players doing?

Let's take a look in on the Phillies positional players ranks among their MLB counterparts.

*Minimum plate appearance - 250

Cameron Rupp/Catcher - .730 OPS (17th/26) & 1.2 WAR (17th/26)

Tommy Joseph/First Base - .726 OPS (29th/31) & -0.7 WAR (30th/31)

Cesar Hernandez/Second Base - .792 (12th/34) & 2.5 WAR (7th/34)

Freddy Galvis/Shortstop - .717 OPS (18th/30) & 1.5 WAR (15th/30)

Maikel Franco/Third Base - .668 OPS (28th/29) & -1.0 WAR (29th/29)

Odubel Herrera/Center Field - .799 OPS (12th/35) & 2.6 WAR (7th/35)

Aaron Altherr/Right Field - .894 OPS (5th/31) & 1.7 WAR (15th/31)

First and third base are positions that a team should expect big OPS from, not the piddling numbers the Phillies have received. Franco and Joseph are poor in every facet of the game - defense, offense, and running. However, both are still young and were once highly touted prospects. What to do? I am in favor to moving Freddy Galvis to 3rd base and letting JP Crawford get his feet wet. Maybe Franco losing his starting gig will force him to do something about it. I'm also in favor of trading Joseph this offseaon and giving Rhys Hoskins the first base job. Both Scott Kingery (second base) and Crawford (shortstop) seem ready for promotion. Perhaps Hernandez could handle 3rd next season and Galvis could rotate around the diamond like a supersub. We already know he can handle the infield and the outfield shouldn't be a stretch for him given his athleticism. Just trade Franco for something...relief help?
Imagine this in 2018:
1. Cesar Hernandez/3B
2. Odubel Herrera/CF
3. Aaron Altherr/RF
4. Nick Williams/LF
5. Rhys Hoskins/1B
6. Scott Kingery/2B
7. JP Crawford/SS
8. Rupp/Knapp/Alfaro/C

Then Galvis gets a start a week at 2nd, SS, 3rd, LF, and RF. That's a team with better defense, offense, and speed, not to mention more rested regulars due to Galvis' versatility. Cam Perkins could serve as outfield reserve and Brock Stassi bench bat. Honestly think that could be a team to get excited about.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

The Disappointment Known As Maikel Franco & Other Stuff

Maikel Franco is by far the worst everyday 3rd baseman in baseball and his WAR (-0.7) ranks 157 out 164 qualified batters in MLB. His hips fly open when he swings, leading his upper body to open up and pull everything, so much so, that it knocks the damn helmet off his head. He disgusts me. Over-hyped bust. Although still a mere 24 years old, I'd be ready to wash my hands of him, if only the Phillies had someone capable of playing third base ready in the minors. Of course, they could call-up JP Crawford and let Freddy Galvis play 3rd. Or perhaps Cesar Hernandez or Scott Kingery have the arm to handle the hot corner. All I know is that I hate watching Franco bat and the results justify my revulsion.

Austin Listi, drafted in the 17th round this June, has moved up to Single-A Lakewood already. In 24 games he's batting .310/.938 with 19 R, 6 DBL, 5 HR, 19 RBI, and 3 SB. He's manned 1st base and both left and right field thus far.

Aaron Nola looks like the ace we'd all hope he'd become when he was drafted in the 1st round back in 2014. Watching his fastball dart all over the strikezone with its late life is a thing of beauty. One of the few bright spots this season for the Phillies.

Jhailyn Ortiz, he of the tender age of 18, is mashing the ball in Williamsport. He did alright as a 17 year old outfielder in the Gulf Coast League last summer, but he's made significant strides to improve himself this season, and he's now batting .306/1.026 in 32 games with 22 R, 9 DBL, 7 HR, 25 RBI, and 3 SB.

The Phillies signed a lefty out of Russia that goes by the name of Anton Kuznetsov (extremely Russian) and he's killing it in his debut in the USA. Over 8 appearances for the Gulf Coast League Phillies, he's pitched 14.1 innings, striking out 16, allowed only 6 base runners and nary a run. Mother Russia!

Quincy Nieporte, a 26th round pick this June, is impressing in the Gulf Coast as well. The first baseman has hit .343/1.092 with 14 R, 9 DBL, 4 HR, and 14 RBI over 18 games. He also likes to celebrate by shotgunning a beer after hits.



He could also challenge Odubel Herrera in a bat flipping contest.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Here's a shocking number about the Phillies, they're playing .500 baseball since June 22

On June 22, the Phillies fell to 22-48. It seemed like the Phillies were on track for a monumentally bad season. They were amid a stretch of brutal baseball that culminated in an 11-37 mark. The fact they'd started the season 11-11 was a distant memory.

It was the game Tommy Pham homered off Hector Neris in the ninth inning, then Edubray Ramos botched a pick-off throw that led a run to score.
It seemed to be the most 2017 Phillies game of 2017. The absolute Nadir.





Yeah, it was an ugly night.

I don't know if something happened after that 7-6 loss in extra innings. I don't know if something need to happen for what happened next, but what happened next is absolutely absurd. It's so bonkers to the wall nuts that no one has seemed to notice.


The Howard, Trades & Stuff

Hey, it's been awhile. Sorry to our hordes of readers desperately checking daily for WSBGMs updates. Have no fear, I am here. Special shout out to Robert in NEPA. You know why.

First up...The Howard. Ryan Howard might be out of baseball, but his namesake stat goes on. Francisco Lindor of the Indians just collected his 3rd Howard of the season to sit upon the throne. Refresher course, a Howard is anytime a players hits a homerun, strikes out, and commits an error all within the same ball game. The leader board for the 2017 season is located on the blog's right sidebar. Unlike blog posts, I do update that daily. You're welcome.
Next on the docket, the trades. All three trades were good trades. Why? None of those players have a future in Philly in 2018. Neshek got us 3 decent Single-A prospects. Kendrick and Hellickson were taking needed developmental time away from younger players, so getting anything for them was a bonus. The lefty in the Kendrick trade might end up being worthwhile, but the Helly deal was just bleh. Klentak was able to get some international spending money in the deals too, so that helps moving forward.  Hyun Soo Kim was included in the O's package to help balance Helly's contract. He'll essentially pinch hit for the Phils, if not get cut altogether.

Now onto what remains on the Phillies roster. I would welcome a Joaquin Benoit trade, but he's disappointed this season, so it's doubtful any contender would even want him. Danial Nava would have been a nice addition for a playoff hopeful team, but he's on the DL. Hopefully he'll get healthy and an August deal can be worked out. As much as I love Andres Blanco. He needs to go. I know he's technically the Phillies utility infielder, but he's been all kinds of terrible this year with the bat. Maybe it's time to give JP Crawford that much anticipated MLB debut and move Freddy Galvis to a super utility role. Other players on the team that don't make much sense to me - Ty Kelly and Adam Morgan. Morgan was marginally okay his rookie seasons, but has posted an ERA/WHIP of 6.00+/1.50+ the past two years. Time to audition a new arm.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

About to Have a Good Problem

Aaron Nola is starting to look like the Aaron Nola we all anticipated when he was drafted a few years back. Nick Pivetta is doing alright. Mark Leiter Jr. has surprised me so far. Ben Lively isn't striking anybody out, but he's still doing his job. Jerad Eickhoff is on the mend, as are Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez.

That's 7 starting pitchers. A rotation only holds 5 and the Phillies' current one still has veteran Jeremy Hellickson in it for the time being.
One easy fix - deal Hellickson for whatever. Honestly, he should have been dealt last season.

My rotation after Hellickson is traded would be - 1) Nola, 2) Eickhoff, 3) Pivetta, 4) Lively, and 5) Eflin. Move Leiter back to the bullpen and let Velasquez get some innings there as well.

Oh, the Phils have some guys in the minors seemingly ready too. Tom Eshelman, a forgotten man in the Giles trade, has bee excellent through 11 Triple-A starts (1.96 ERA/0.94 WHIP) and Brandon Leibrandt is making a good impression as well (7-2 with a 3.23 ERA/1.35 WHIP combined between Reading and Lehigh Valley). Of course, Jake Thompson is still around, but he's been terrible this year (5.97 ERA/1.67 WHIP) and Mark Appel continues to toil (4.87 ERA/1.67 WHIP).

It's Klentak's job to figure out what he's got moving into 2018. Personally, I think they're mostly backend starters with the exception of Nola and Eickhoff.