So this is going to be my last post here. I already said a good bye of sorts a few week ago, so I’ll make this about the team and the GM, and not about me.
As you all likely know, I have been far from an Amaro apologist in the past. The biggest mistake of Amaro’s tenure, and the ultimate downfall of any hope to compete in the 2012-2015 timeframe, has to be the Ryan Howard deal. It was the domino that took down the “whole big thing of dominoes” that was a perennial contender. It seemed at the time like Amaro was hedging against the free agent first base market in the winter of 2011/12, which was set to include Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols. So when Pujols contract runs out in 2035 or whatever, and we compare those players’ hindsightedly questionable deals to Howard’s, Amaro may have gotten off lightly. However, he could have done any number of other things to get the same (read:no) production out of first base, and allowed himself a great deal of flexibility (Cody Overbeck at first and Jayson Werth in right, anyone?). Of course, the what ifs and the maybe woulddas are nice now. Who knows what wild deals Amaro would have turned to try to fill the perceived gap Howard left in the middle of the lineup. Continue reading
Last week of the year. Three at Miami to close out a ten game road trip and three at home with the Braves over the weekend. Last place in the division looks like a near certainty at this point. A protected pick is all but guaranteed as well, as the Phils sit four games “behind” San Diego for 19th in baseball, (oops, I meant 20th, the first unprotected pick) with just 5 games to play. Still looks like they could luck into as high as 25th place, for the 7th overall pick next year, and they currently sit in 23rd place, in line for the 9th overall pick.
Seven on the west coast this week. Four in San Diego then the weekend in Oakland.
The Phillies sit in 21st place overall in the MLB, which does afford them the last of eleven protected picks (with that Houston 2014 re-pick at #2). The club is even in the loss column and just a game up in the win column on San Diego right now, so honestly, I would be fine with a Padres sweep for the betterment of the club in the long term. Perfectly reasonable that the Phils could finish in the bottom eight, (pick #9), below San Diego and the White Sox, and less reasonable but still plausible that they could finish as low as the bottom five, (pick #6), if the Cubs, Astros, and Red Sox all get a little bit hot and the Phillies do not. Seems to me that Colorado, Texas, Arizona and Minnesota are locked in ahead of the Phils, as they’re currently lined up to fill out the top five picks around Houston at #2.
As for the other direction, if the Phils get a little hot, they could potentially pass any of Cincinnati, the Mets, Marlins and Rays. Passing all four would push them down to the 16th pick, but passing any of those four would put them in a position where a QO free agent signing would lose them that pick. I’ll say that IMO, there’s no reason they ought to be signing any QO free agents this year based on my quick look at free agent power rankings. However, if the right name fell to them at the right price, it would be lousy to have to weigh it against losing a pick that could theoretically help them in the next couple years, assuming they plan to repeat their 2014 draft strategy by picking another advanced college player.
Since I hijacked yesterday’s General Discussion with my departure announcement, here’s a fresh thread for all things Phillies. Something of note – Maikel Franco is batting second tonight with JRoll out of the lineup. He fits the “contact hitter” part of the traditional number two hitter. Not sure he fits any of the other typical traits you’d expect there. Maybe he’ll turn out to be a really awesome bunter and just no one’s ever given him the chance, ya know?
As the title of this post suggests, here’s an announcement – I’m leaving PhuturePhillies.com as of the end of this regular season. I’ll post a couple more weekly discussions and maybe a thought or two about the state of the org before I go, but it’s been a long year after two long ones prior, and it just got to the point where I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore. I’ll still be doing my Crashburn Alley stuff, and I hope that writing for that different, less prospect-intense audience will help bring some challenge and fun back into my writing.
A huge thanks to Gregg for bringing me on board in the first place, back when I was nothing more than a regular commenter with some questionable opinions about certain things, (notably big-bodied catching prospects from Texas). It’s been a great three years, and I’ve enjoyed writing for all of you and interacting with those of you who boldly choose to try out your opinions in the comments. I look forward to seeing what the person who comes after me has to say about the day-to-day goings on of the 2015 Phillies Minor Leagues.
Anyway, as I said, I’ll be around for a couple more weeks. So please – PLEASE – no tears, folks. There’s no use crying over minor league baseball websites. Or is it “there’s no crying in minor league baseball websites”? Perhaps its both. In which case, it’s a double negative, and you all better get the water works…uhh…working…over my departure. Open the spigot of your heart and let the sadness flow out of you like a hot summer rain!
Or talk about Phils/Bucs. Whatever.
Well, that was something. And I’m totally fine that it happened against the Braves. Because they’re bad and I dislike them.
Closing day for Lehigh Valley , Reading, Lakewood and WIlliamsport. Nothing terribly exciting to report in the upper levels. Lakewood got multi-hit games from Canelo, Cozens, Green and Greene. Cozens had two doubles, and Green (6) Greene (2) and Aaron Brown (1) all went deep. Willians Astudillo finished his year by posting an 0-5, finishing second in the league in batting average.
For the year, I would say we saw some pretty good performances compared to expectations, including a fair number of guys who came pretty much out of nowhere. Most pleasant surprise for me? Brian Pointer doing things that he was expected to do when he was drafted. Most disappointing development? Watson and Morgan not pitching all year. Most interesting guy I would have never guessed I would pay any attention to as of April? Ranger Suarez and his video game K:BB rates.
Yeah, sorry, not happening today. I’ll try to make sure to post the final one tomorrow. Here’s the link and an open thread to discuss.
Lots to talk about today – A good start from Brad Lincoln and Ethan Martin struck out five in two innings. Roman Quinn was 2-2 plus two walks, though he was caught stealing. CLR bullpen backed up a good start from Miguel Nunez. Malquin Canelo and Zach Green had two hits a piece, and Andrew Pullin was a triple short of the cycle. He’s got nine homers on the year. Wonder how many he’ll hit in a better hitting environment in Florida next year. Prediction – 14. And for WIL, Cord Sandberg hit his fifth home run and Rhys Hoskins his ninth. Hoskins 2015 HR prediction? 22. The last 8 at Reading. I’m being bold this morning.
Let me say this first about Aaron Nola – he’s a 21 year-old coming to the end of the longest season of his life. He’s managed to get guys out at A+ and AA this year to the tune of a 1.07 WHIP. So that’s all well good and fine. But his K Rate at AA is only 5.63 or a K% of 15.3. His FIP at Reading (in a small sample, like the rest of these stats) is 4.90. Anyone who expects him to walk into the Phils rotation next year without some hiccups is asking to be let down, IMO. Not saying this guy isn’t going to be a mid-rotation guy for the better part of his career, barring injury – scouting eyes that know their stuff think that’s still the case, and I have no reason to doubt their consensus will fall apart. Just saying he’s young and has things to work on just like everyone else.
Couple game notes – Cam Perkins went deep – just his second AAA home run and fifth overall. Roman Quinn hit his seventh homer and stile his 31st base. Brian Pointer was 1-3 plus a walk and two steals. His wRC+ sits at 120 for the year. Nice job by him of overcoming that nightmarish start. In the second half he’s got 27 BB and 27 XBH. He’s not showing a hug platoon split, either – just 60 OPS points. I’ll take it. Jia Tromp hit his 14th home run, breaking a franchise record. Take that, Zach Green! And a nice line from David Whitehead, finishing up a comeback from TJ season. He’ll likely need to strike more guys out, but he does keep the ball on the ground, so that’s useful. We’ll see how he fares in 2015.
And one last note – Yacksel Rios? More like Yucksel Rios, amirite? Not a great closer for the promising righty, is what I’m trying to say.
With that – here are the boxes. Three days left, folks.