General Discussion – Week of 9-8-14 – Announcement Edition

As the title of this post suggests, here’s an announcement – I’m leaving 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.


Report Card–Catchers

A look at catching throughout the organization.  Problems up top and some excitement down below. 

Lehigh Valley

Koyie Hill, 35, Signed as a free agent in 2014; .227/.333/.352 in 176 AB’s; 3HR 17RBI; 14%bb/22%k rates; .125 vs. LHP; .266 vs. RHP; .231 last month; .275 with RISP; 46 games at C with 2 errors (.993); 3 passed balls; 38%CS rate; (13/34). Grade: C+; 2015: Most likely another organization or retired; Hill gave the ‘Pigs exactly what was anticipated with a bit of offense through an excellent walk rate, very solid defense and organizational depth at catcher which was needed in the bigs for an extended period with Ruiz and Nieves both out.

Cameron Rupp, Soon to be 26, Phils 3rd round pick in 2010; .165/.256/.299 in 194 AB’s with Lehigh Valley; 6HR 19RBI; 10%bb/36%k rate; .218 vs. LHP; .144 vs. RHP; .160 with RISP; .194 over last month; 56 games caught with 3 errors (.992); 4passed balls; 29%CS rate (14/48); Grade: D-; 2015: Lehigh Valley.  Rupp has just an awful year with the bat, during a season in which I expected him to step up and find himself knocking on the door for the backup catcher position in 2015.  AFter an early season trip to the DL, Rupp was never the same, albeit still doing a decent job defensively. With one option remaining, next years production will make the difference between whether Rupp is the 2016 Phils backup or likely in another organization by them. Continue reading

Report Card, Outfield, Lakewood, Williamsport and GCL

A look at outfielders at the lower levels of the organization.  A reminder that grades are expectations coming into 2014 vs. themselves not against others. A= Far exceeded expectations; B= Exceeded expectations; C= At expectation; D= Below Expectations; F= Horrible.


Aaron Brown, 22, Phils 3rd round pick in 2014; .268/.310/.383 in 235 AB’s between Williamsport and Lakewood; 4HR 21RBI; 8/13 SB; 3%bb/25%k rates; For Lakewood: .309/.339/.373 in 55AB’s; 1HR 5RBI; .309 over last month; Brown was a very exciting player at times and has shown alot of promise.  Plate discipline will be a key.  Grade: B-; 2015: Clearwater

Dylan Cozens, 20, Phils 2nd round pick in 2012; .248/.303/.415 in 509 AB’s; 16HR 62RBI; 23/30 SB; 7%BB/27%K rates; .204 with RISP; .255 vs. LHP; .245 vs. RHP; .213 over last 30 days; 123 games in the OF with 9 errors (.962); 8 OF assists;  A very exciting year for Cozens who showed speed, power, and run production.  If he can lower the “K” rate by a few percentage points, Cozens future looks extremely promising.  Grade: B; 2015: Clearwater

Larry Greene, Jr. 21, Phils 1st round pick in 2011; .183/.265/.279 in 197 AB’s; 2HR 18RBI; 4/6SB; 10%bb/27%k rates; .132 vs. LHP; .201 vs. RHP; .167 over last month; .164 with RISP; 50 games in the OF with 4 errors (.959); 3 OF assists; Simply an unmitigated disaster.  .132 against lefties…really?  Grade: F; 2015: Lakewood although he may go the way of Anthony Hewitt very quickly if he doesn’t produce. Continue reading

Two Prospect Lists to Mull Over

About a week ago, Mike Drago, of the Reading Eagle, posted a prospect list that he compiled from the input of media members who cover the Phillies and their minor league affiliates.  I was honored to be included in Mike’s request of about 2 dozen writers.  We were asked to -

  • Rank the top players in the Phillies organization from No. 1 to No. 20, based on their present value to the organization and their major league ceiling/potential.
  • Consider the player’s age and performance relative to each level he has played.
  • Not include players who are no longer with the organization, nor players who appear to be in the majors for the long haul or have had significant big league time (example: Ken Giles, Mario Hollands, David Buchanan, Darin Ruf, Freddy Galvis or Cesar Hernandez).
  • Consider players who appear to be up for a brief time and/or who are likely to begin next season in the minor leagues (Cameon Rupp, Ethan Martin.).

The following is the 2014 Phillies prospect list as published in the Reading Eagle.  Players are listed with their position and current club. Continue reading

Report Card, Outfield, Lehigh Valley, Reading and Clearwater

A look at outfielders at the upper portion of the organization, with Lakewood, Williamsport and GCL up next.  A reminder that grading is based on what expectations I had for each player entering the season and they are not graded against each other.  Conceptually, an “A” far exceeds expectations, “B” exceeds expectations, “C” meets expectations, “D” is below expectations and “F” just sucks.

Lehigh Valley

Leandro Castro, 25, Signed as a free agent in 2007; .259/.307/.367 in 425AB’s; 6HR 48RBI; 7/14SB; 6%bb/15%k rates; .209 vs. LHP; .280 vs. RHP; .146 over last month; 109 games in the OF with 6 errors (.978); 10 OF assists; Grade: C; 2015: Another organization; Castro was re-signed by the Phils as a 7th year minor league free agent this year and was “decent” but far from consistently good (Note, avg last 30 days). He has improved his plate discipline through the years, but if the Phils didn’t call him up this year, he is best to sign on as a free agent with another organization.  Most of his numbers went down (although marginally) from 2013 to 2014.

Tony Gwynn Jr., 31, Signed as a free agent in 2014; .290/.383/.362 in 69 AB’s for Lehigh Valley; 1HR 7RBI; 2/6 SB; 14%bb/15%k rates.  Grade: C; 2015: Could be back in a similar role to 2014 floating between Philly and LV, but I suspect he will be elsewhere.  Gwynn was awful with the stick for the Phillies but produced well in limited AB’s with the ‘Pigs.  Whether he will be back or not is dependant on where Gwynn believes he can accrue the most ML time next year.

Cameron Perkins, Soon to be 24, Phils 6th round pick in 2013; .271/.326/.384 in 451 AB’s between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 5HR 51RBI; 8/14 SB; 7%bb/16%k rates; For Lehigh Valley: .216/.259/.298; 2HR 17RBI; 5%bb/18%k rates; .174 vs. LHP; .231 vs. RHP; .221 over last month; 115 games in the OF without an error (10 OF assists); Grade: C+; 2015: Lehigh Valley.  I struggled with Perkins grade. He was far better than I expected him to be for Reading and far worse in Lehigh Valley, so overall things evened out.  I think his hitting for average will come around but without much power, there is a likelihood that we may have another Steve Susdorf on our hands.  Susdorf, (who by the way is a great guy), just didnt have the one additional tool to take the next step. I hope Perkins proves me wrong.


Aaron Altherr, 23, Phils 9th round pick in 2009; .237/.292/.400 in 477 AB’s; 14HR 59RBI; 13/19 SB; 6%BB/23%K rates; .247 vs. LHP; .231 vs. RHP; .216 over last month; .211 with RISP; 126 games in the OF with 7 errors (.978); 13 OF assists; Grade: C; 2105: Lehigh Valley; When you watch Altherr play, he looks like a ball player but it doesn’t always translate.  His 2014 was ok, hit for some power, showed some speed but went through periods with very little production.  With 2 options left, having already played in the Fall League and 450+ AA plate appearances, I would challenge him in Allentown next year.

Zach Collier, 24, Phils 1st round pick in 2008; .240/.318/.408 in 267 AB’s; 9HR 29RBI; 5/12 SB; 8%bb/28%k rates; .192 vs. LHP; .259 vs. RHP; .260 over last 30 days; .186 with RISP; 82 games in the OF with 2 errors (.994); 1 OF assist; Grade: C-; 2015: Elsewhere; Collier was removed from the 40 man roster and designated for assignment mid-season after an awful first half, and after he was not picked up by any other team re-assigned back to Reading where he was more productive in the second half.  So, with that said, Collier now has close to 800 AA AB’s and an average sitting at .229, doesn’t hit consistently for power and was thrown out more times than he successfully stole bases this year.  Time to move on.

Kelly Dugan, Soon to be 24, Phils 2nd round pick in 2009; .296/.383/.435 in 253 AB’s; 5HR 34RBI’s; 10%bb/20%k rates; .281 vs. LHP; .306 vs. RHP; .338 over last month; .313 with RISP; 64 games in the OF with 3 errors (.976); Grade: B-; 2015: Lehigh Valley; Dugan’s biggest issue has been simply staying on the field.  If you extrapolate his year over a full season, the grade goes up drastically, but missing 200+ AB’s makes passing judgment more difficult.  He is ready for AAA pitching, has two options left, and if he stays on track is likely on the 2016 Phils roster.

Peter Lavin, 26, Phils 20th round pick in 2011; .287/.332/.441 in 460 AB’s between Clearwater and Reading; 6%BB/14% k rates; .227 vs. LHP; .307 vs. RHP; .325 over last month; 11HR 49RBI; 11/18SB; .283/.322/.434 in 251 AB’s with Reading; 110 games in the OF with 5 errors (.982); 21 OF assists; Grade: A-; 2015: Lehigh Valley; After an awful 2013, during which he hit .224 in 200+ AB’s in CLearwater and missed significant time with an injury, Lavin came back very strong this year, earning a quick promotion out of CLearwater and performing in consistent solid fashion in Reading.  His 21 OF assists led the organization by a wide margin.  Already at 26, Lavin’s age is working against him.


Brian Pointer, 22, Phils 28th round pick in 2010; .246/.336/.419 in 415 AB’s; 15HR 53RBI; 16/24 SB; 11%BB/28%k rates; .283 vs. LHP; .231 vs. RHP; .264 over last month; .284 with RISP; 115 games in the OF with 2 errors (.992); 13 OF assists; Grade: B-; 2015: Reading; After a first half of the season during which he hit .214, Pointer came on to hit .272 during the second half, with power, run producing ability and speed, while playing a solid OF.  About to fall off my personal prospect chart after a sub par 2013 and a poor first half, Pointer has re-established himself as someone to watch closely.

Roman Quinn, 21, Phils 2nd round pick in 2011; .257/.343/.370 in 327 AB’s; 7HR 36RBI; 32/44SB; 10%bb/22%k rates; .327 vs. LHP; .227 vs. RHP; .260 over last month; .317 with RISP; 69 games in the OF with 6 errors (.967); 3 OF assists; 17 games at SS with 3 errors (.954); Grade: B+; 2015: Reading; Quinn came back earlier and stronger than I expected and had a very good year.  He made it clear through his 32 SB’s that he was fully healed and became significantly more comfortable at the plate when moving back to his natural position in the OF.  Of note as well is the impressive walk rate.

Herlis Rodriguez, 20, SIgned as a free agent in 2011; .260/.305/.338 in 77 AB’s between Williamsport, Lakewood and Clearwater. 0HR 5RBI; 1SB; 6%bb/16%k rates; Grade: C+; 2015: Lakewood; Rodriguez was placed in Clearwater for the last several weeks of the season simply because they needed to fill a OF roster spot, but he impressed with multi hit games in 5 of the last 6 games for the Threshers.  Until that time, Rodriguez had played sparingly, wherever he has.  At just 20, he may have earned himself some regular AB’s in Lakewood next year.

Brandon Short, 26, Signed as a free agent in 2014; .215/.270/.347 in 251 AB’s; 4HR 32RBI; 4/8SB; 7%bb/20%k rates; .243 vs. LHP; .203 vs. RHP; .237 over last month; .277 with RISP; 51 games in the OF with 4 errors(.952); 1 OF assist; Grade: D; 2015: Out of Phils organization.  Short was a combination of poor and injured fro all of 2014.


Report Card, Corner Infielders

With the Post Season Report Card, we will grade the performance of each and every player that ended 2014 on a Phillies affiliate minor league roster.  When grading, the grades given should be considered what was expected “against themselves” for 2014, not a reflection on their performance vs. others.  For example, far more was expected from Maikel Franco coming into 2014, then was expected of  Art Charles.  Additionally, with the grade will come a projection on where the player fits in (or not) for 2015.  Enjoy and discuss.

Lehigh Valley

Jim Murphy, soon to be 29, Phils 17th round pick in 2008; .240/.330/.391 in 396AB’s; 11HR 47RBI; 11%bb/24%k rates; .242 vs. LHP; .239 vs. RHP; .269 over last 30 days; .243 with RISP; Grade: C-; 2015: Out of the organization; Murphy’s days with the organization have simply run their course.  He has done a good job historically but he isn’t a major league player and there are plenty of players that can fill the void that Murphy will leave.

Russ Canzler, 28, Acquired as a free agent in 2014: .286/.360/.545 in 213 AB’s with Lehigh Valley; 11HR 34RBI; 2SB; 11%bb/22% k rates; .320 vs. LHP; .256 vs. RHP;  .298 over last month; Grade: B+; 2015: Its a crapshoot.  Canzler will be a minor league free agent and go where it makes the most sense for him personally, but the Phils should make an offer.  Canzler is a local kid, who put up good numbers and is a good guy to have in the clubhouse and quite versatile. Continue reading


Box Score Recap – 9/1/2014

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. 

Continue reading