Something to Dream On: The 2017 Phillies

Last week I started exploring the future of the Phillies with a luck at what could be in 2016.  The series continues with 2017 as some more money comes off the books and a couple more guys arrive in the majors. Just as before here are the starting assumptions.

  • The Phillies are not trading away any players
  • Minor Leaguers will progress as “normal” and will not have any career ending injuries.
  • The Phillies will be rational about resigning players
  • I am not accounting for FA acquisitions and Draft Picks, however I will have a salary total that can be used to dream on FA acquisitions that could fill in the holes
  • Arbitration figures for salaries are taken from similar players

Catcher: Tommy Joseph and Andrew Knapp

This isn’t going to be a great defensive pair but it should provide plenty of offense.  In this scenario Knapp is likely in a back-up position given his inexperience, but he could overtake Joseph depending on how his hitting progresses.  More than anything else this pair should be really cheap. Salary: $1 million

First Base: Maikel Franco

With Howard off the roster there is a gaping hole at first base and help possibly a while away.  To compensate the 2017 Phillies slide Franco across the diamond and reinstall Cody Asche at third.  While this may not be ideal to have Franco at first base he should be a good hitter with plenty of power. Franco should be well established at this point in his 4th year.  Salary: $14 million ($10 million Howard buyout)

Second Base: Roman Quinn

With nowhere to put Quinn and a projected retirement by Chase Utley second base becomes an intriguing option.  Quinn’s biggest problem at shortstop has been his footwork and transfers.  At second base he could play a bit slower and be able to be adequate defensively.  On offense Quinn has surprising pop and his speed is a real weapon.  Quinn’s arrival to the majors is pushed back by his 2013 offseason injury, and there is a chance that even second base won’t work out and he is destined for centerfield. Salary: $500,000

Shortstop: J.P. Crawford and Freddy Galvis

In 2017 Crawford is entering his second year in the majors.  The bat might not be there is 2016, but with a year under his belt I would expect improvements across the board.  Crawford is likely to never be a middle of the order hitter but his bat should provide value and his defense can carry him.  Freddy Galvis reprises his role as Utility Infielder #1.  Salary: $3 million

Third Base: Cody Asche

Asche is a borderline average regular at third base, and while adequate is not ideal in this scenario.  If for some reason the Phillies don’t add anyone at an infield corner before 2017 there will be a lot of hope levied on Zach Green and any of the first base options to upgrade the position.  That said Asche should be a fine placeholder here.  Salary: $1.5 million

Outfield: Domonic BrownBen RevereAaron AltherrKelly DuganCameron Perkins

The 2016 crew return for another round in the outfield.  A Dugan/Perkins platoon is far from ideal but a settled in Altherr and 6th year Domonic Brown should provide offense in the other two positions.  The salary has gone up here as Brown enters his last year of Arb. Salary $19.5 million

Starting Pitching: Cole Hamels, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Jesse Biddle, Shane Watson, Yoel Mecias

Losing Cliff Lee hurts a lot right here and you really need someone to step up or a big time pitcher drafted.  The two newcomers are a pair of high upside arms.  Watson profiles more as a mid-rotation starter if he bounces back from his 2013 should injuries.  Mecias will miss significant time in 2014 to Tommy John recovery, but it is an arm with a great changeup and a good amount of projection.  There is also Adam Morgan, Jonathan Pettibone, and Andrew Anderson around the AAA area in this scenario.  Salary: $32 million

Relief Pitchers: Ethan Martin, Ken Giles, Jake Diekman, Justin De Fratus, Dan Child, Hoby Milner, Miguel Nunez

A lot of cheap names from the 2016 bullpen.  Adding to the group is Hoby Milner as a long reliever, solid to better changeup, decent fastball and a frame that won’t hold up to a starter’s workload and Miguel Nunez a hard throwing RHP with a big fastball and feel for a breaking ball.  The goal here is to young and cheap.  This bullpen is a bit more expensive then the 2016 version due to arbitration raises, but still much cheap than the 2013 version. Salary: $7 million

Summary:  Again this team is not looking like a title contender, but what it does have is a payroll  under $80 million.  That leaves nearly 100 million to upgrade across the board.  Theoretically this team has a star starter, two stud young infielders (Franco and Crawford), and a All-Star outfielder (Brown).  Filling in around that is cheap talent, is a much better situation to be in than the current 2014 outlook because you have that money to make direct upgrades on near free talent.  If 2017 is the year to compete there will also be plenty of good talent in AA to use as trade pieces.

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

36 thoughts on “Something to Dream On: The 2017 Phillies

      1. Obviously, I think the Angels will lock him up after next year.
        The scary thing is there will be very few young, impact free agents to buy even if the Phillies have 120 million to spend. Everyone is locking them up younger and younger.

        1. maybe he doesnt want to stay in all of that sun and beautiful weather and be famous and hook up with hollywoods wild women , yeah maybe he doesnt like the west coast laid back style and want to move back into a hectic overbearing media and pissy smelling old city or maybe he really want to move back to millville , vineland area , yeah you are right Angels are gonna lock him up

        2. Its very possible he will want to test free agency. He will be 26 and probably sign the first 300 million dollar contract. Maybe higher.

      2. Should not be any reason for sarcasm. The Phillies are THE favorite team of the Trout family, nothing better than playing at home where they all have season tickets. The Angels will want to move him a year early rather than settle for only a draft pick or two: the wealthy Phillies can afford him, and other teams will be frightened off by the fact they could lose him after a year.

        Also need to assume that the college outfielder taken next June with the 7th pick in the draft (maybe Zimmer?) will be a fixture in RF by 2017.

        And the Phillies spend very big in 2016 for a free agent 2B to succeed Utley. And, incidentally, this projection seriously underestimates Cody Asche’s development by 2017.

        The Phillies only have about a year to move Ryan Howard, making way for Franco as the 1B & cleanup hitter.

        By 2017 the Phillies will also have reached four or five year agreements with two high quality starting pitchers (maybe only one if either of the Gonzalex righthanders proves to be solid major leaguer), One of the them, a #3 or #4 starter, will get a contract in the next two months. And not entirely out of the question that Cliff Lee will still be winning until he is 40, like other lefties with superb control & command. Biddle is in the rotation along with Hamels, and Martin & Giles are the bigger parts of a very good bullpen (money will do that, and the Phillies for the next four years are going to have as much of the green stuff as the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, Tigers, Giants.& eventually Mets,,,maybe Cubs in time, Nationals once Selig is gone and Baltimore is no longer allowed to strangle their local TV possibilities.

        1. Yeah and Utley grew up a Dodgers fan…it means nothing. I’d be the Trout family likes the Angels now a bit more than the Phillies.

          The Angels will almost certainly hand him a blank check and let him fill it out.

          1. I don’t think Utley ever said it would be “pretty cool” to play for the Dodgers while property of the Phillies as Trout has said about playing for the Phils. I am holding out hope and put it at a 55% probability.

            1. Lets not forget the difference in their ages when they both exploded on the MLB scene. Trout was 19/20 and Chase was 24/25. So there was a maturity level there that goes with the age correlation.

            2. At most. He has a chance to be “Mr. Angel” – literally the face of the franchise, in Los Angeles no less – and they will pay him top dollar for the opportunity to do that. Why would he walk away from that? It’s just not realistic to expect him to land in Philly.

    1. Where Trout ends up may be more a function of where his girlfriend/wife is from or lives and whether or not he prefers Southern California to South Jersey rather than which team he rooted for as a kid.

      Of course, the Angels control Trout for a few more years, a big advantage over the Phils and others.

        1. This is of course all speculation, but most women, when they start having kids like to be around their family and friends, even if they’re rich enough to fly them around.

  1. I am guessing that the first assumption is that RAJ is no longer the GM. If he is, there probably won’t be any starter under 40.

  2. Is 2017 to early to dream Cozens makes 1B and Franco stays at 3B? Would Cozens be more realistic as a 2018 dream?

    1. If we’re putting Crawford in Philly at this point, you have to allow for the possibility of Cozens being there as well, given that they both start Lakewood next year. It would be nice for him to put it all together this season and follow the Franco model to a September 2016 call up.

    2. He is more 2018, I think his major league ETA (if everything goes right) is some point during the 2017 season. Though if he had been in the majors in this scenario I likely would have started him in RF

  3. I get the placement for the point of this exercise, but has Quinn ever been suggested as a 2B candidate by scouts or the org? My impression has always been that he’d go directly to CF if (when) the SS experiment ends.

    1. I don’t recall seeing it mentioned by anyone inside the org, but I believe a couple of scout/writer types have mentioned it as a possibility. If he can hit for some decent power, 2B might not be a bad option to get him and Tocci in the same lineup. Again, I assume we’re dreaming in the comments as well, since that’s a long way off.

      1. I think the Phillies wanted to keep Quinn’s infield transition as simple as possible this year and 2B would have introduced another position. I do think they will consider 2B in the future though, especially if Quinn’s injury allows Crawford to catch up a level. If that happens I think Quinn needs to move to get both bats in the lineup as opposed to keeping one of them down at Lakewood for unnecessary seasoning.

        1. I think it is a transition that is a year or more off if it occurs. The thought being that if the problem is the footwork and transitions, moving him to 2B gives him an extra second or so to slow his motions down and clean them up. I also think it depends on how Crawford does and then how the CF prospects do (Tocci and Altherr being the two big ones).

          In reality I put him at 2B because there was no one else.

  4. Cody Asche – the Nick Foles of the Phillies. He’s going to surprise you folks, just wait and see. It may not happen overnight, but he’s going to be a good one. Think Mike Lowell or Scott Brosius at their peak – 3-5 WAR value when he hits his peak, which won’t take as long as you think. To me, the real threat to him staying there long term is perhaps not Maikel Franco as much as it is Zach Green. Green is the one of the guys in the system who I could see developing into a big time star – infield power and atheleticism like that is not easy to find. Gotta hope that hit tool develops because it looks like everything else is there.

    1. I agree with the Nick Foles Comparison.
      He has adjusted quickly at each level.
      Has fielded well at each level at 3B.

      Other than a rough time at 2b in his professional start, he has done well.
      I suspect by the end of this year, there will be quite a few more Asche founds around.

  5. If we’re smart and we’re able to grab Tyler Beede in June, where do you think he’d slot into in the rotation?

    1. Realistically, this is his probability coming out of the draft:
      #1 – 5%
      #2 – 10%
      #3 to #5 – 20%
      Reliever – 15%
      Flameout due to lack of skill or injury – 50%

      Yes I totally pulled those numbers out of my ass, but the bottom line is, it’s really tough to project a non-professional pitcher. Even one drafted as high as Beede.

      1. The injury risk is very high, especially since college pitchers are often abused, including post-draft day. Beyond that, I don’t think it is as difficult as you suggest to project a college pitcher. You said non-professional pitcher, and that includes a lot of HS kids and very young Latin American kids, both of whom have a lot of growth and secondary pitch development ahead of them. With a very successful major college pitcher, you are looking at a guy who has been well coached, has developed his pitches to a large extent — that is why he has risen above the other college pitchers, and has pretty much reached his finished size. The scout has seen him pitch multiple starts. It’s not that difficult to see that he has the stamina to start and won’t need to be shifted to relief. Most of the Phillies flops among primo pick college pitchers have been injury related, often an injury they brought with them from college. Yes, Savery became a reliever, but his problem was injury not that scouts couldn’t adequately evaluate his stuff when he was healthy. I think it rare for a primo college pick to totally flame out and not make the bigs in any capacity due strictly to lack of stuff. Injury is quite another issue and may push your 50%.

        1. I’ll say that the harder college pitchers to project are the non-primo round guys. The guys with an obvious flaw in their game or guys who seem to be performing less well than they ought to. Here it is much more of a guessing game whether the player/development staff can correctly diagnose and consistently fix the problem. Guys with stuff they can’t control, or guys with bad mechanics which subtract velocity or pitch movement being prime examples. I guess the ‘pitchability’ control guys who do well in college with pedestrian stuff are also hard to project. They also tend to be late rounders.

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