Wednesday, March 22, 2017

R.I.P. Dallas Green

The man at the helm of the Philadelphia Phillies first World Series Championship in 1980 has passed away. Rest In Peace Dallas Green.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Focal Point: The 2017 Player Preview of Cesar Hernandez

Cesar Hernandez can impress and confound you in a manner of minutes.
The 28-year-old can put a brutal 0-2 pitch in play, race up the first base line and earn an infield hit. Then, on the first pitch to the next batter, he'll get picked off first base.
Heading into his age 27 season, with nearly 400 games under his belt, one would think Hernandez would have a better grasp of the game. But the kid who led the league in triples last year, got nabbed on the basepaths 13 times against 17 stolen bases.
This is the ninth in a series of posts previewing the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at Tommy Joseph. This one looks at Cesar Hernadez and wonders how good he could be if he could maintain his focus.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Zen Master and the Hunter Pence Trades: The 2017 Player Preview for Tommy Joseph

Let's talk about the Hunter Pence trades. A little more than two years ago, Phillies fans continued to lament the move that brought Pence to the Phillies. They saw burgeoning stars in Houston, where Jon Singleton had already signed a $10-million deal, Jarred Cosart was in the process of winning 13 games, Domingo Santana was tearing up the minors and Josh Zeid was pitching in the big leagues.

It was one of the big knocks on Ruben Amaro's win-now managerial style. He'd given up the farm for a guy who, after a season and a half, was already out of town and winning a handful of rings in San Francisco. He seemed to have been shipped off for parts. Tommy Joseph looked like he'd never reach the Big Leagues. Nate Schierholtz had been cut loose only to have a good season in Chicago. Seth Rosin pitched himself out of Philly.

Fans were probably right to be concerned that the deal would be monumental flops At this point, let's remember Gust Avrakatos' favorite story in "Charlie Wilson's War."
This is the eighth in a series of previews for the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies. Our most recent one took a look at Cameron Rupp. This post takes a Zen Master approach to Tommy Joseph.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Stopgap: 2017 Player Preview for Cameron Rupp

Cameron Rupp is who we think he is. And that's OK. In fact, that's something we can be thankful about.
Rupp is a burly catcher with slightly above average defensive metrics and power and slightly below average on-base capabilities. He's got flaws. He's got plusses. He's a perfect stopgap for one of the Phillies young catching studs.

This is the seventh in a series of posts previewing the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies. Most recently, we chronicled the Question Mark that is Aaron Nola. This post looks at Cameron Rupp and what he means to the organization.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The question mark: 2017 Player Preview for Aaron Nola


via GIPHY
Aaron Nola could be a future ace. Through his first 25 starts, he looked the part. The young right-hander had tossed 155 frames of 3.12 ERA, with 153 strikeouts against 18 home runs and 34 walks.
Then he turned into a 6-foot-2, 195 pound batting tee. From June 11 to July 28, he gave up 54 hits and 14 walks in 33 innings. What was strange was that he only gave up three home runs and struck out 36 batters.
This is the sixth in a series previewing the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post looked at Vincent Velasquez. This post looks at the impact of Aaron Nola's health.
Nola's health is likely the key to where the Phillies finish in the standings.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Live Arm: 2017 Player Preview for Vincent Velasquez


If Vincent Velasquez ever puts it together, he's going to be a force in the National League East.
The young gun showed a ton of promise early in 2016, rolling out to an 8-2 mark and a 3.15 ERA by the end of his 16th start with 98 strikeouts in 85 2/3 innings pitched. If he ever puts those numbers up over a full season, the Phillies will be exceptionally lucky.
The problem is that Velasquez put up a 0-4 record with a 5.96 ERA over his final seven starts and had to justifiably be shut down because of an innings limit.
This is the fifth in a series to preview the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post in the series covered Jerad Eickhoff. This post looks at what to expect from the live arm of Vincent Velasquez.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Young Reliable: 2017 Player Preview for Jerad Eickhoff

Jerad Eickhoff doesn't have an arm you dream on. He has an arm you rely on.
A former 15th round draft pick who was acquired in the Cole Hamels trade, Eickhoff wasn't expected to be the ace of the staff. He didn't have a live arm. He didn't have a dazzling repertoire of pitches. He didn't have an insane frame. His minor league stats were far from dominating. At best, people saw him as a fifth starter.
Meanwhile, Eickhoff is the only pitcher in camp other than Jeremy Hellickson with a chance to start on Opening Day. This is the fourth in a series of posts previewing the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies. The previous post profiled Maikel Franco. While we won't dream of Eickhoff taking the hill on Opening Day, we can expect him to take his spot in the rotation every day thereafter.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The Big Bat: 2017 Player Preview for Maikel Franco

Maikel Franco is still every young. It doesn't seem like it because his whip-quick bat has been around for parts of three seasons.
But, remember this: He is younger than Mark Appel, Andrew Knapp and Ben Lively.
He's younger than Tommy Joseph, Vincent Velasquez, Jerad Eickhoff.
He's younger than Joc Pederson and Oscar Tavares.
So the fact he didn't break out in 2016 isn't something people should be worked up about.

This is the third in a series of previews on the 2017 season. Most recently, we looked at expected Opening Day starter Jeremy Hellickson.


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Opening Day Starter: 2017 Player Preview for Jeremy Hellickson


via GIPHY
Barring an injury, Jeremy Hellickson will start his start on Opening Day for the second time on April 7. This is the complete list of pitchers who will have done that more times than Hellickson:

  1. Hall of Famer Kid Gleason (three times)
  2. Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander (five times)
  3. Jimmy Ring (three times)
  4. Hall of Famer Robin Roberts (12 times)
  5. Chris Short (six times)
  6. Hall of Famer Steve Carlton (14 times)
  7. Terry Mulholland (three times)
  8. Curt Schilling (three times)
  9. Brett Myers (three times)
  10. Roy Halladay (three times).
None of us are arguing Hellickson, who earned a Rookie of the Year award six seasons ago and owns a career 61-58 record, will ever visit Cooperstown without a ticket. But Hellickson will definitely leave Philadelphia having made a mark.

This is the second in a series of posts previewing the 2017 Phillies. Our first post looked at Odubel Herrera.