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 MLB.com.

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016 Player Review: Adam Morgan

Editor's Note: This is the 19th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Aaron Nola was the last player profiled.

I have a soft spot for Adam Morgan. I like left-handed pitchers. I like players who work back from injuries. I like pitchers who don't walk anyone.

So I hoped Morgan would have a strong season in Philly. Instead, he got shipped out of town at the expense of Brett Applesauce Oberholzer. I didn't get that move when it happened.
Morgan eventually got called back to the big leagues for an April 29 start.
Morgan never got into a groove, ending up 2-11 with a repugnant 6.04 ERA and allowing 23 home runs in 113 innings.
He did, however, remain stingy with walks (2.3 per 9) and improved his strikeout numbers (7.5).
His velocity increased and it almost seemed like the 26-year-old couldn't harness it.
I don't think he's a bad pitcher. But I think he could be slightly better than his career has shown. It wouldn't shock me if, at some point, he put together a 12-10 season with a 4.20 ERA and a 3.76 FIP thanks to his low walks and about 7 strikeouts per 9.
Morgan is probably a little bit more than organizational filler at this point - because he has experience - but I don't see him fitting in with the team's long-term plans.

2016 grade: D
Will we see him again in 2017: Possibly.

Monday, January 16, 2017

2016 Player Review: Aaron Nola

Editor's Note: This is the 18th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Taylor Featherston was the last player profiled.

Aaron Nola is supposed to be a linchpin in the Phillies' future success. The former 7th overall pick had a strong rookie campaign, logging a 6-2 mark with a 3.59 ERA, a 4.04 FIP, a stingy 2.2 walks per nine innings and a respectable 7.9 strikeouts per nine. He was just 23 when the season began.

And he looked like a cornerstone.

Through 12 starts, Nola had a 5-4 mark and a 2.65 ERA. He'd tossed at least 100 pitches in five starts. He'd struck out seven or more batters in seven starts. He'd walked two or fewer batters in all but one start. He'd given up five home runs in 84 frames. His fastball darted. His curveball bit. 

A possible ace was in the making.


At that point in the season, the Phillies were a surprising 28-29.

After that point, the Phillies would go 43-62 and Nola would get roughed up, to the tune of a 9.82 ERA and opponents hitting .367 with a .531 slugging mark. 

It would turn out the right-hander was pitching through some elbow issues and Nola would go on the disabled list on July 28 and not pitch again. He had a low-grade sprain of his UCL and a low-grade strain of his flexor pronator tendon.

His future is in doubt. 

Now, I'm not as concerned as most. I don't think this definitely means Tommy John surgery is in his future. Then again, I'm no doctor. I understand the surgery is more likely than with someone who hasn't strained those tendons.

One good note is the Phillies haven't shied away from promoting Nola in the lead up to the 2017 season. He's attending an autograph signing with Tommy Joseph on Wednesday at Citizens' Bank Park and will be at a couple of banquets in Reading and Allentown.

2016 grade: C
Will we see him in 2017: If all goes well, he'll make 28 or more starts.



2016 Player Review: Taylor Featherston

Editor's Note: This is the 17th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Luis Garcia was the last player profiled.

Taylor Featherston has the look of a big league ballplayer. In 503 minor league games, he's hit .270/.337/.448 with 56 home runs and 55 stolen bases. He plays good defense at multiple positions.

But in two years at the Major League level, he hasn't hit like a big leaguer, posting a .156/.206/.233 line with nine walks against 57 strikeouts.

Last season was particularly rough, with him hitting .115/.129/.154 in 27 plate appearances. He looked overmatched.

Is Featherston a AAAA player? Someone who stands out at Triple-A -- how many middle-infielders at that level hit 13 homers, four triples and 23 doubles in 99 games -- and can't hack it in the big leagues.

Maybe.
 
Featherston will be 27 in 2017 and has been invited to big league camp.

2016 grade: D
Will he be back in 2017: If there are any injuries to the middle-infield, he's a lock to return.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

2016 Player Review: Luis Garcia

Editor's Note: This is the 16th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Roman Quinn was the last player profiled.

Luis Garcia had a solid season in 2015. It looked like he could be a stalwart in 2016. It never came to fruition.
Garcia pitched in just 17 games, 55 fewer than the previous season. He tossed just 15.1 innings, giving up 21 hits and eight walks. 
The right-hander did look good at Lehigh Valley, pitching to a 2.14 ERA in 48 games and 54 innings pitched. 
With their young arms and offseason moves, it's hard to imagine the Phillies went into the offseason with high hopes for Garcia, who will be 30 in 2017, next season.

Season grade: F
Will we see him again in 2017: Probably. He has enough skill that he'll show u at some point, just don't expect him to be an important cog in a bullpen that already has Joaquin Benoit, Jeanmar Gomez, Hector Neris and Pat Neshak.


Friday, January 13, 2017

2016 Player Review: Roman Quinn

Editor's Note: This is the 15th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Frank Herrmann was the last player profiled. 

I have dreams built on Roman Quinn.
I know I shouldn't, but I love guys like Juan Pierre, Michael Bourn, Kenny Lofton. Sure, they break down quicker than most power guys. Sure, they're not as effective if they don't get on base.
But speedy, defense guys can be so exciting.
The thing I like about Quinn is that the secondary tools are just as impressive.
He's stolen 159 minor league bases and been caught just 46 times. He's got a .353 minor league on-base percentage, and it's trending up.
He's got warts, though.
First, he's got a dreadful history with injuries. It really makes you wonder how durable he'll be. And if a player is not on the field, he's not helping you at all.
Second, he strikes out an awful lot. Quinn whiffed 19 times in 69 plate appearances.
All in all, he has to get a good grade on the year. He made it to the Major Leagues. He played effectively in the Major Leagues. But he's not going to get an A because he dealt with more injuries.

2016 grade: B-
Will he be back in 2017: If he stays healthy, there is no doubt Quinn will get playing time in Philadelphia.


2016 Player Review: Frank Herrmann

Editor's Note: This is the 14th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Joely Rodriguez was the last player profiled. 

Frank Herrmann pitched for the Phillies?
Frank Herrmann has two R's in his last name?
Frank Herrmann pitched 14 games for the Phillies?
Frank Herrmann hadn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2012?
Frank Herrmann is 32 years old?

Frank Herrmann won a game?
Frank Herrmann has a 5-3 record in the Big Leagues with a 4.72 ERA during his career?
Frank Herrmann gave up seven home runs in 15 innings pitched?
That's a lot of home runs!


Thursday, January 05, 2017

Phillies Player Movement Update

New Additions:
1. Clay Buchholz/SP via trade with Red Sox. Buchholz is sometimes awesome, sometimes mediocre, and sometimes f'n awful. The 32 year old right-hander has had a roller coaster career, coming off a blah season with the BoSox (4.78 ERA/1.33 WHIP in 139.1 IP). I'm not a big fan of the deal, because it will block one of Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, Alec Asher, or Ben Lively from taking the bump every 5th day with the Phillies. However, Buchholz could easily bounce back and become prime trade bait come July. For his 10 year career, he owns a 81-61 record with a 3.96 ERA/1.30 WHIP over 1167.2 IP.
2. Bryan Holaday/C via minor league contract. He'll challenge Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp for backup duties to incumbent starter behind the dish - Cameron Rupp.  Over his 5 MLB seasons, Holaday has played in 152 G and hit .245/.628, so he's nothing to get excited about.
3. Cesar Ramos/LHP via minor league contract. Another veteran lefty reliever added to the competition this spring, along with Sean Burnett and Joely Rodriguez. Ramos was a disaster last season with the Rangers (6.04 ERA/1.68 WHIP), but has done reasonably well over his 8 years MLB (4.02 ERA/1.40 WHIP in 267 G and 346.2 IP).

Barely Knew Ye:
1. Richie Shaffer was claimed off waivers by the Phillies then waived by the Phillies to be picked up by Reds.
2. David Rollins suffered the same fate at Shaffer, coming and going quickly, being swiped up by the Rangers.