Hello. I am back with another edition of Sunday notes. Today I want to talk about Aaron Nola and the draft. And maybe something else if I can remember what it was. My plan is to continue to write at least once per week during the season, likely on Sundays, but it will depend on my work travel schedule. I may also pop up with a mid-week entry or something else, but for now, Sundays will work best for me. Thanks as always for reading.
The Phils made several moves that were announced this morning, leaving them with 36 players in major league camp as we approach opening day. P Paul Clemens, C Koyie Hill and INF Chris Nelson and Chris McGuiness were all re-assigned to minor league camp. P Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and P Hector Neris were optioned to minor league camp. No real surprises here. Gonzalez and his $4M a year salary will notably begin his second season in the minor leagues.
With less than two weeks to go before the long awaited start to the baseball season, it is as good a time as any to take a look at how the lineup will play out for both the Phils and AAA Lehigh Valley with my best educated (?) guess coming below. So, with that here it goes.
At catcher, expect to see Carlos Ruiz and Cameron Rupp. While there is an outside chance of a late pick up from another organization, Rupp has had a strong Spring after a lackluster, injury marred 2014.
In the infield, going around the horn: Howard, Utley, Galvis and Asche with Cesar Hernandez and Darin Ruf extra pieces. With Hernandez being out of options, I see him winning the roster battle with Cord Phelps who has been having a good Spring for the Phils
The outfield will likely consist of Ben Revere, Odubel Herrera and Grady Sizemore to start the year. The Phils will clearly be struggling for runs. Expect Domonic Brown to start the year on the DL with Brian Bogusevic and Jeff Francoeur filling in the final two outfield spots. Jordan Danks is making a late run for a roster spot and could easily replace either Francoeur or Bogusevic.
With Cliff Lee and Chad Billingsley on the DL to start the year, the Phils rotation looks like Hamels, Harang, Buchanan and Jerome WIlliams as “definites” with either Kevin Slowey or Miguel ALfredo Gonzalez likely to take the fifth spot for the seasons first month. Gonzalez has been awful this Spring, giving the edge to SLowey.
In the bullpen, Papelbon will close with Giles and Diekman seeing the bulk of the set up work. Both Justin DeFratus and Luis Garcia seem to have cemented their roles in the bullpen, leaving two spots up for grabs. The first is likely to go to Rule 5 pick Andy Oliver who has thrown well this Spring (and is a lefty). The final bullpen spot comes down to free agent pick up Jeanmar Gomez, Phillippe Aumont, Cesar Jiminez or Hector Neris. God willing, the Phils will end the Aumont nightmare and give Gomez a shot, leaving Jiminez and Neris as the odd men out.
Moving along to Lehigh Valley, I expect to see Tommy Joseph and Koyie Hill behind the plate.
Around the horn, my thought is Russ Canzler at first, Cord Phelps at 2B, ANdres Blanco at SS and Maikel Franco at 3B. Expect to see Chris McGuiness and Cord Phelps rostered and seeing plenty of playing time.
In the outfield for the ‘Pigs I am expecting Jordan Danks, Kelly Dugan, and Aaron Altherr as the starters with Darin Mastroianni and Chase D’Arnaud filling out the final two spots. Notably, D’Arnaud can play 3B as well.
The ‘Pigs rotation should be interesting to watch. I think it is likely Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and his $4M salary starts the year in Allentown. Joely Rodriguez (acquired for Antonio Bastardo) and Severino Gonzalez look to have spots solidified. Rounding out the rotation, I expect to see Adam Morgan and Jesse Biddle with Sean’OSullivan likely to see plenty of starts when the roster juggling begins.
Projecting the bullpen becomes difficult with all the potential variables, but a best guess is: Jiminez, Neris, Paul Clemens, Seth Rosin, Ethan Martin, Elvis Arajuo, and Tyler Knigge. I would expect to see Colton Murray in Allentown before long, replacing the inevitable unfortunate soul who falters early on.
Have fun and discuss.
The Phillies acquired 25 year old SS Devin Lohman from the Reds today to add some depth to their minor league middle infield corps. Lohman was the Reds third round pick in the 2010 draft and spent much of the last two seasons at AA Pensacola in the Reds organization.
The Cal State Long Beach product hit .245/.310/.352 in 375 plate appearances last year in AA, with 5HR 29RBI and 8SB. Most of Lohman’s time was spent at SS, where he committed 22 errors in 82 games. Lohman will also occasionally fill in at 2B. Expect to see Lohman in Reading opening day.
And so it begins…Multiple media outlets are reporting an left oblique strain for Phillies top prospect JP Crawford that will keep him out 4-6 weeks. As obliques are delicate injuries, I would expect the Phils to be extra cautious. Crawford, was likely to start the season as Reading’s starting SS.
Hello, its me. Now that we have spring training games happening, there are more things to talk about. The college baseball season is under way, there will be draft things to discuss, and so I hope to begin writing this notes column on a weekly basis, and then I might also throw in a few other random writings depending on my free time available. I’ll share some thoughts on our prospects and the draft, and some other random stuff. So, lets get started.
So, as Spring Training approaches, I am getting the itch to write a bit, so I am going to do just that as time permits. With the Phillies roster in transitional flux, Lehigh Valley looks to have an interesting mixture of youthful pitching combined with some AAAA talented hitting. Lets take a look at the roster possibilities and probabilities.
Catcher: With Cameron Rupp likely to back up Chooch in Philly, The IronPigs should roster two of the Tommy Joseph, Koyie Hill, Rene Garcia and John Hester quartet. Joseph remains on the 40 man roster but has yet to prove his long term health. My thought is Hill and Hester end up on the Lehigh Valley opening day roster.
Infield: I think it is unlikely Maikel Franco makes the Phils out of Spring Training for a variety of reasons, with service time implications at the top of the list. He will be manning the hot corner out of the gate for the ‘Pigs. At 1B will likely be Russ Canzler, a local product and AAA veteran who did a nice job for Lehigh Valley after being picked up in June last year. Likely veterans up the middle as well, with Andres Blanco back in the fold at SS to go along with Chase D’Arnaud who was picked up as a free agent out of the Pirates system in the off-season. Look for Chris Nelson, a high 1st round pick in 2004 to see time all around the infield as a utility player.
Outfield: Look for Aaron Altherr to man one of the OF spots for the ‘Pigs as the 24 year old is on the 40 man roster and spent all of last season in Reading. The Phillies claimed Jordan Danks off of waivers in the off season from the WHite Sox and the likelihood is that he ends up in Lehigh Valley because of the necessity of keeping promising Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera on the major league roster all season. Danks has an option left and look for the Phils to use it. Oft injured Kelly Dugan is likely to see substantial time in the Lehigh Valley outfield this season. As a member of the 40 man roster and a fairly consistent hitter in the minors, Dugan could play himself into a 4th outfielder contender for the Phillies come 2016. Look for the other two outfield roster openings to be filled by 2 of the following: Cameron Perkins, Jeff Francoeur, Brian Bogusevic, Darin Mastroianni and Xavier Paul.
Starting Pitching: This is an area that looks to be very interesting with significant talent coming into the organization through trades and additional talent coming back from injury. Sean O’Sullivan and Kevin Slowey look to be the veteran presence on the mound for Lehigh Valley, Both have major league experience and have experienced success at AAA. Look for both to eat significant innings for the ‘Pigs. Both Adam Morgan and Jonathan Pettibone return from significant injuries and will be watched closely in the Spring with the hope that they rejoin the Lehigh Valley rotation in the short term. My expectation is that Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will be in the Lehigh Valley rotation at the beginning of the year. The Phils have hoped to move him back into the rotation and assuming he has command, he is at the AAA level. Look for Joely Rodriguez, acquired in the Antonio Bastardo deal from the Pirates to open the season in the Lehigh Valley rotation as well.
Bullpen: Cesar Jiminez is back with the organization and all but guaranteed a bullpen spot after a successful 2014 with both Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia. Ethan Martin is likely to be in the IronPig ‘pen after a disappointing 201 during which he was often injured and pitched poorly. Hector Neris is a dark horse for the Phillies bullpen but more likely ends up in Lehigh Valley. The Phils brass have been extremely impressed with Neris during winter ball and at the end of 2014. The other four spots are likely to be filled by some combination of Elvis Arajuo, Nefi Ogando, Tyler Knigge, Jeanmar Gomez, Ryan O’Sullivan and Colton Murray.
Since the Reader Top 30 is now wrapping up, I figured I should start to write a bit more. As I mentioned when announcing I was coming back, one thing I’d like to do is write a weekly post, maybe on a Sunday, with various thoughts and notes. This week’s piece will cover Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada, initial comments on the draft, and thoughts on Keith Law’s prospect list.
This has been sitting in my out box for a week or so. Now that the Hall of Fame vote is in our rear view mirror, let me just offer this overview of the Hall and my “over-the-top” solution to the process. I apologize in advance for continuing the discussion on HOF voting, a topic that I tire of each year by mid-December.
A couple weeks ago, 4 players were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Craig Biggio. During the weeks leading up to and the days after the announcement, baseball writers and reporters from all media outlets voiced their opinions about this year’s vote, the voting procedures, and the voting electorate. All that has calmed down, so that now we’re back to just Bill Kenny occasionally offering his opinion on the HOF worthiness of players based on analytics. Continue reading The BBWAA and the Hall of Fame
Disclaimer: I wrote about 3,000 words, hit the wrong key stroke, and apparently autosave didn’t work, so it was all erased. I am going to try and type it again, but I can promise you it won’t be as detailed as what I’d written before.
Okay, so Jim Salisbury identified 4 teams that were in the running for Cole Hamels: The Padres, Red Sox, Rangers and Cardinals. I wanted to take a look at each of the 4 to see what the Phillies could expect to receive in return. I also wanted to make a few comments on the actual concept of trading Cole Hamels. I’ll do all of that below the fold.