Quick Summary of Off-season Minor League Acquisitions

I wrote a couple of posts outlining most of our minor league free agent signings and other acquisitions this off-season for another site–I’ll copy them (and extend them a bit) here.  There aren’t a lot of Jason Werth-type players on these lists, but some decent AAA insurance here and there, and a couple of players who might surprise if they get healthy or find their confidence. The post is organized by position players first, then pitchers.

Position Players:

Josh Barfield, 28 yrs; (2B, also 3B and a little OF) 309 MLB games; 837 minor games; OPS: .670 MLB, .760 Minors; Low walk rate, can steal a base. Not a championship caliber reserve, but a decent AAA insurance policy, and should help Lehigh Valley.

Matt Miller, 28 yrs; (LF,RF); 832 minor games; OPS .845; good walk rate, decent power, 4 time Minor League all-star including SALLY League MVP; not fast, hits lots of doubles. Has a chance at the final major-league OF roster spot with his righty bat.

Robb Quinlan, 34 yrs; (LF,RF,3B); 458 MLB games, 640 MinorLB games; OPS: .723 MLB, .850 Minors; Solid offensive stats across the boards, mostly an OBP/AVG guy, however he hasn’t been good since 2006. I think he’s washed up, don’t know what happened to him–at one point he was a plus major leaguer, but it’s been a while. Might get released after ST, but also might be the leading candidate to play 3B at LV if he’s willing to play in the minors.

Jeff Larish, 28 yrs; (1B,DH,3B); 101 MLB games, 547 Minor LB games; OPS .688 MLB, .866 Minors; Decent power, great eye, not a good fielder. Lefty bat probably is AAA insurance. I don’t think he plays 3B well enough to play regularly there for LV.

Brandon Moss, 27 yrs; (LF,RF); 244 MLB games, 819 minor games; OPS .688 MLB, .814 Minors; good eye, no power yet in the big leagues, has to hit for average to be valuable. Seems like he had a confidence problem in the majors the last 2 seasons. Hot prospect in 2004, AAA all-star in 2007. Good risk/reward signing, at least for LV.  Their outfield seems a bit crowded though.

Delwyn Young, 29 yrs; (RF,2B,OF); 344 MLB games, 715 minor games; OPS .709 MLB, .877 minors; decent eye, good power in the minors, once a well regarded prospect–3-time minor league all-star. Pirates gave him a decent shot, but could be better than he’s shown. I think he’s the favorite for the last roster spot myself, ahead of Mayberry and Miller.

Cory Sullivan, 31 yrs, (CF, OF); 476 MLB games, 572 minor games; OPS .709 MLB, .768 minor; a speedy CF type from the Colorado system, played there, in NY, and for Houston. Walks a little less than you’d like, hits a lot of doubles. Struggled last year, was best in ’05/’06. About the 10th OF candidate for LV if I’m counting right. I guess he’s decent insurance for a Vic injury.

Erik Kratz, 31 yrs; (C); 625 minor games, cup of coffee in the bigs; OPS .759 minors; good power for a catcher, decent eye. Career 2nd catcher in the minors. Probably destined for LV or Reading (depending on where Gosewisch lands).

Pete Orr, 32 yrs; (util); 347 MLB games, 843 minor games; OPS .622 MLB, .687 minors; plays pretty much everywhere, even has pitched. Doesn’t play batter very well. Hope he’s gonna be a utility guy at most for LV or be released–in my opinion, this kind of guy should never be on a team’s AAA roster.

Chris Frey, 27 yrs; (CF, OF), 657 minor games; OPS .705; high average minor hitter with an average eye, little power, and plus speed. Don’t know that he’s any better than Rich Thompson–if you can’t break out in Colorado Springs or Denver, I don’t know how you can hit somewhere else.  Good defensively (by reputation).

Albert Cartwright, 23 yrs; (2B), 284 minor games; OPS .773; decent speed, decent average, A-level minor league 2B. Will fight Garcia and Hernandez for playing time.

Carlos Rivero, 23 yrs; (SS), 518 minor games; .676 OPS; no real speed or offensive plus. Bocock is better, but Rivero is younger. Don’t know where his playing time comes from with Bocock and Galvis in AA and AAA.

Michael Martinez, 28 yrs; (2B,SS), 548 minor games; .683 OPS; no discipline, but was OK (better) offensively last two seasons. Probably won’t make the 25-man roster. Could play for LV if we don’t have to return him.  Would be a bad choice for the last roster spot in the big leagues I think, but it sounds like he’s under consideration for it.

Sebastien Boucher, 29 yrs, (CF, OF); 417 minor league games, last two years in the Can/Am indy league.  .735 minor OPS, but raked in the Can/Am last season after struggling there in ’09.  Seattle draftee, used to be fast, now more of a power/patience guy, especially the patience.  Reading CF if Gillies doesn’t get better?

I like the Miller, Young, and Barfield signings and Cartwright can’t hurt at his age. I don’t like no-hit middle infielders who have never shown anything offensively so Martinez, Rivero and Orr are guys I’d rather see in other organizations.  Every organization seems to keep a few of these around, but I though Bocock and Galvis filled our quota nicely.

Pitchers:

Jason Grilli–34 yrs, RHP; started entirely in the minors, 152 games, pitched more than 200 games in relief in the big leagues; former #4 overall pick has bounced around. Career ERAs 4.51 minors, 4.74 majors. About 6.5 Ks/9. Missed last year with a spring training knee injury. Probably a long shot candidate for the 5th starter slot–might be #1 for Lehigh Valley, or a candidate for major league long man.

Brian Bass–29 yrs, RHP; also started 152 minor league games, and relieved in 75 more. Has relieved in almost 100 major league games. ERAs 4.24 minors,5.16 majors. Has had control issues in the majors, walking more than 4/9 IP. Strikes out about 5.5 per 9 IP, so he can’t afford the walks. Journeyman AAAA reliever headed to LV.

Matt Anderson–34 yrs, RHP; former #1 overall pick, used to throw 100 mph, suffered an arm injury (shoulder) a few years after making it to the big leagues the year he was drafted. Also strugled with control. Became a journeyman and left baseball after 2008. Now reportedly throws in the low to mid 90s, and is attempting a comeback after 2 years of inactivity. ERAs 4.90 minors, 5.19 majors, but they may not mean much. Reclamation project.

Juan Perez–32 yrs (according to wikipedia, bbcube has him at 30–might be a birth certificate issue), LHP; minor league 8th inning guy who strikes out and walks a lot of hitters, had a cup of coffee with the Pirates in the mid-00s. ERA 3.59 minors, including a sub-3.00 ERA at Albuquerque (notorious hitters’ park and league) last year. K’d more than 10 batters per 9 IP in his last four full minor league seasons. Might help out in Philly in a pinch, probably starts in LV.

Dan Meyer–29 yrs, LHP; has had one great year in the last decade in Florida in 2009; other ERAs range from pedestrian to disastrous, even sometimes in the minors. Major league reliever, minor league starter. ERAs 5.46 majors, 3.56 minors. Strikes out about 7.5 guys per 9 IP, but has really been wild in the majors. Good season last year in New Orleans.

Eddie Bonine–30 yrs, RHP; minor league mostly a starter, major league reliever. Gives up a LOT of hits, good control. Really struggles to strike anybody out (3 Ks/9 in the majors, about 6 in the minors). ERAs 4.52 minors, 4.72 majors. He’s the kind of guy who throws strikes and gets you beat. If he’s in Philly at all we’re in serious trouble.

Ryan Feierabend–25 yrs, LHP; a former top-level (#5 BBA) prospect of the Mariners, he has pitched well in the minors and gotten seriously torched in the big leagues. He’s started everywhere he’s played, and never missed enough bats. Gives up more than 1 H/IP and only strikes out about 6 K/9 with average control. ERA 3.92 minors, but not as good recently (last year was a Tommy John recovery for him). Headed to LV or Reading to fill out the rotation. Not as good as the recently departed Brian Mazone.

Jusin Freind (rule 5, minor league version)–25 yrs, RHP. Can’t believe Oakland didn’t protect him. He has a career 3.69 minor league ERA through AA and strikes out about 10 guys/9 IP. He’s a reliever, and he has control issues, but this kind of rule 5 selection is a great risk. At 25, he can get better. An 8th inning guy in LV or Reading, we now have full control of him after the minor league rule 5.

Brian Schlitter–25 yrs, RHP; former Phillies draftee now back in the system, has never started a pro game, but pitched very well in relief in the minors (got hammered in a brief call-up to the Cubs last year). Had a 22 save season in AA, and has closed the last three years. Looks like he’ll help fill a deep bullpen in LV. ERA 3.32 minors. K/9 about 8.5. Statistically looks a lot like Scott Mathieson, and Sandberg apparently loves him.

I like Perez, Friend, and Schlitter, and a couple of the other guys are decent gambles if they can improve their control. I have a personal bias against guys who “pitch to contact” so I hate the Feierabend, Bonine, and Meyer signings if they affect the advancement of our own draftees, but, again, every organization has some of these guys around.

55 thoughts on “Quick Summary of Off-season Minor League Acquisitions

  1. Good list, one position player to add is Cory Sullivan (OF) who was recently signed as a minor league FA.

    1. Thanks, fixed.

      OK, guys who could play OF in LV:

      Mayberry
      Brown (outside chance)
      Thompson
      Miller
      Quinlan
      Moss
      Young
      Sullivan
      Frey

      I guess it’s only 9 guys unless you count Barfield or Spidale.

  2. Brandon Moss: your comment says he has no power, that has to be a mistake. The dude is huge and hit 21 dingers at AAA last year.

    1. Last year was Moss’s only season with more than 20 HRs anywhere. IIRC, Indy has a small park. He’s only 6′, 180-190 lbs. I guess no power was overstating it, but his MLB SLG is only .385. Much better in the minors, and last year he really did show more pop. I’ll change the comment a little.

  3. Thanks very much for posting this list and giving a brief caption on each. I certainly could not keep track of all these guys and where they might fit in.
    I was wondering if a future post should discuss minor league roster projections; either by league/team or by position/depth. (Really having trouble guessing the Clearwater rotation and Lakewood OF).

  4. Where to start…

    Pete Orr not belonging on a AAA roster is ridiculous. His AAA totals are .273/.326/.404. The Ironpigs’ roster last year featured several players who flirted with .300 slugging percentages. He can play just about anywhere, can field and can run. That kind of guy is quite valuable in AAA.

    Erik Kratz is absolutely heading to AAA. His ISO is over .200 at that level, and he was one of the best catchers in the International League last season.

    Brandon Moss. Again his AAA ISO is over .200. That is absolutely power.

    How can you write up Eddie Bonine and NOT note that he’s a knuckleballer? He throws it as a changeup, 20% of the time according to fangraphs.

    Feireabend was coming off TJ surgery.

    1. I agree. How could you hate Eddie Bonine and Pete Orr? They both have actually been somewhat successful in the majors. I think that Bonine actually has a shot to pitch for the phillies at some point during the season.

  5. I like Young and Sullivan the best out of position players since both have been effective role players in the majors at some point. Not a fan of any of the OF. I like that they are trying to find a 3B candidate (Young, Quinlan, Larish, Barfield). Kratz was reasonable as a 2nd catcher.

    I dislike Bocock, especially now that he takes a 40-man roster spot and has no options left. Finding middle infielders who can hit and field on the cheap is nearly impossible so I am okay with going for volume. However, the Phillies only need one of Bocock (uncontrolled), Rivero (options left to shuttle him anywhere), Martinez (worth a look I guess if Valdez gets hurt), and Orr (okay for filler since he does not take a roster spot before getting the prior two). Rivero makes the most sense to me due to the control aspect.

  6. On Kratz, he hasn’t been a full time catcher ever in the minors, although he had the most games of any Indy catcher in 2009. Sardinha, Gosewisch, or Kratz is headed for Reading. I’d hate to see Gosewisch stay there, but you might be right.

    Moss’s post says “major league” power. I meant power in the majors, so I’ll change that to be clearer.

    A guy who throws 20% knuckle balls isn’t a knuckleballer. He uses it a change. H still gives up way too many hits, and doesn’t miss bats.

    Pete Orr has a .368 career minor league SLG. He combines that with a lovely .319 OBP. To be fair, he’s been a bit better than that in his last 4 AAA seasons, but his OPS over those four seasons still barely cracks .700. Reminds me of several of those LV players from 2010 you mentioned. I can stand just about anywhere on the diamond, too.

    I’ll add the TJ surgery for Feierabend. Will he miss bats now?

    1. Kratz caught more games than anyone at Indy last year too despite spending some time in the majors. Just pointing it out–I have no vested interest nor any particular concern with where Kratz catches next year.

      1. I’m looking forward to watching Kratz myself, he’s a local product. He actually was a nice story last year, a 30 year old vet who got his first call to the show DURING the AAA All-Star game.

        This year’s Ironpigs are going to be far better than last season’s. It was tremendously frustrating to see Ozzie Chavez/Brian Bocock/Dane Sardinha and their trio of .600 OPS’s at the bottom of the lineup. Barfield is a huge upgrade at 2B, Kratz is a big upgrade behind the plate. Whoever takes 3B is likely to outhit Neil Sellers. It probably doesn’t matter much to the big club, but you want to see good players no matter who you watch play.

        1. Thank you, Alan, I feel the same–I’m a S/T holder as well and am looking forward to perhaps some better AAA talent this year (on our side of the ball). Weakness so far? Looks like it might be starting pitching.

          1. Ever year it seems I think LHV will be better and every year they still seem to be bad. The bullpen will probably be well stocked though.

            1. You and me both PHX. I just wrote the check for my four LHV seats, and I’m convinced that I’m going to get to see winning baseball this year. (not saying which team it’ll be…)

              Hope “springs” eternal. And, hey, I’m a Pirates fan, so a little optimism is all I’ve got sometimes.

  7. I’m a LV season ticket holder myself. Pete Orr reminds me too much of Ozzie, though he’s a bit better (about 25 OPS points based on where he was coming into last year). I agree that Barfield is an upgrade. I hope Kratz is as good as we’re hoping, but Gosewisch has always been a guy I liked (watch him catch, and he’s had streaks of productive hitting) and I’d be sorry to see him return to Reading.

    On Bocock, I’m willing to give him one more look based on 1-scouts have always thought he might learn to hit, 2-he had an OPS over .800 for July and August of last year, which might be genuine improvement, not a small sample fluctuation, and 3-he’s reportedly a great “team” guy, and his glovework is truly special.

    1. To me Bocock is interesting. He has a reputation as being a plus glove, maybe plus/plus. So I ask, is his leather as good as Galvis or just a notch below? What makes that intriguing is that Bo 800 OPS last August has titillated us. He’s a bigger guy than Galvis, so maybe he has more upside as a hitter. Also, he had 26 and 41 SB in two of his past seasons, so maybe a little above avg speed.

      He is most likely a mirage, but I can see why the Phils are holding onto him for a bit, thinking that keeping him and Galvis doubles their chances to get one passable bat out of the pair.

      If he can throw a .750 OPS next year, he continues his baseball life. If he slips back down into the .600s, say goodbye, Brian.

  8. Since Feierabend is a former top prospect and still fairly young, does anybody know what kind of stuff he has or had? What were his failings in the majors? And if he was never able to miss bats, why was he a top prospect in the first place?

    1. At his apex, his best pitch was a change. His fastball was hi-80s/lo-90s. Never really developed a 3rd pitch. He moved fast, got to the majors a few weeks after turning 21, ended up having TJS.

  9. Report says Rivero is a “no hit middle infielder… that has never shown anything offensively”.
    Than is not entirely true. Until last season Riveting was at least average, maybe even above average offensively, for a SS. Last year he was Freddie Galvis, but he was good in A ball and High A. Even in AA, at age 21, he showed patience.
    He was the Indians #16 prospect in 2010. It was worth the chance, the Phillies took on him. BA has him as our top 3B prospect, FWIW.

  10. The Phillies did a better job at acquiring AAA depth this year (even talked about on Phillies site). I would like to see Orr, Barfield, and Moss all stick around and play at Lehigh Valley. I think Rizzoti is obvious at 1b with Orr/Barfield at 2b, Rivero/Bocock at ss, Orr/Barfield/maybe Larish at 3b, lf Mayberry, Thompson or Sullivan (one will get cut) cf, Moss in rf. Tagg Bozied can play multiple spots. Sardinha is one catcher. Battle for 2nd spot with Goosewich/Kratz. SP -Worley, Feirebend, Naylor, Bonine, not sure of 5th starter (is Bump still around?) RP – DeFratus, Schwimer, Schlitter, Stutes, Herndon, Carpenter, Meyer, and Zagurski or Perez

  11. Herndon going to stay a reliever? Developing two more kinds of pitches, in addition to his sinker fb, would make him a possibility as a starter at his age of 25 (?). Guys with a good sinker plus 2 decent other pitches could thrive at CBP.

    Then again, he could return as a middle reliever. Anybody know in which direction he is headed?

      1. Not that many guys (any?) throw that pitch in the Phillies org this decade. Probably why they were so enamored with Herndon.
        Oh to have Warren Brusstar again.

  12. Didn’t see any gems among the free agents working out at the Complex today but it is still early. Tagg Bozied stood out taking a Halladay pitch deep into the left field power alley on Carlton Field in some live BP but for the most part batters just lined up pitches swinging only on the last one or two. Naughton caught Doc and Feierbrand in live BP. Interesting to watch Amaro and his advisors including Pat Gillick closely watching infield drills with Galvis and Hernandez who looked sharp together up the middle in addition to Larish, Barfield, Rizzotti among others over on Ashburn. On Roberts Field Tuffy Gosewisch was catching Lidge and Zagurski in live BP. Stayed for some outfield and base running drills on Ashburn as the morning session ended.

  13. Some questionable calls here. For example, I don’t know how you could put Bocock (with a bat in his hands) above anyone. His ABs with the Phils last summer were
    hilariously pathetic.

    1. Let’s judge the guy on 5 plate appearances. He really didn’t figure out hitting until mid-July in AAA. Might be small sample size, but it might be that he figured something out. And he’s definitely a plus-plus glove. He’s faster and quicker than Galvis, so at least by eyeball, he looks to have better range.

      1. Bocock’s being judged on 98 MLB plate appearances and 1797 minor league plate appearances. Bocock strikes me as what Freddy Galvis’ detractors think Galvis will become.

  14. Another off season signing is LHP Ryan Edell. Picked in the 8th round by Cleveland in 2005 out of College of Charleston, the 27 year old spent last season in AA split between Akron (Cle) and Midland (Oak), going 11-5 with an ERA of 3.73 in 26 games (25 starts) and throwing 147.1 innings.
    Also, C John Suomi was resigned to a minor league deal.

  15. It’s unlikely any will be like Jason Werth, but the Phillies need guys like Dobbs, Coste, Valdez, and Condrey for their major league bench and bullpen. I think Kratz is an upgrade at #3 catcher and agree that Young has a good shot at the 25th roster spot since he plays infield and outfield and has had success as a pinch hitter.

    I also look at a minor league free agent from last year, Tagg Bozied as a candidate for that spot. Bozied may be a long-shot but I’m actually rooting for him after all I’ve read about him on this blog. I’d like to see Brown win Werth’s spot and Bozied win Dobbs’ spot from last year, keeping the number of lefties and righties in Philadelphia the same and keeping Mayberry in Lehigh Valley.

  16. I’m slightly puzzled by the lack of support that Mayberry seems to be getting. I would like to see him finally get a good shot in the Bigs. He can run, throw and play defense quite well. He may never learn how to hit the curve ball from a RHP, but he is a threat–with power–against lefties. I would like to see him make the 25-man
    roster….then go from there. If he fails, he has no one to blame but himself.

    1. I actually like him a great deal against lefties but he has to have his head in the game at all times. He can’t take plays off which he has done at both Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia. The talent is there. He absolutely smoked a line drive homer at the end of last season.

    2. What hurts Mayberry is he doesn’t play the infield…Young and Martinez can play middle infield and the outfield. I like Mayberry. He can crush a fastball. But I’m guessing the Phils are looking for someone to give some infield back-up.

  17. Ugh, I hope D. Young has no more responsibility this year than the 25th man. He has poor plate discipline, misses too many pitches, has no speed, and is not a good fielder, in spite of his versatility. He has some pop in his bat, but the rest of the picture is not pretty. Anyway, 25th man, fine. If the Phils need him to get 350 AB’s this year, not good, though it’s nice to have the pitching to make up for some drags on the offense.

  18. Wow, there’s a new boxscore to look at, the new season has begun, finally! Obviously, Florida State is not a challenge but its baseball….

  19. Loved the quote on Pete Orr “He doesn’t play batter very well” I’m still laughing at that one. Schlitter is interesting still young and he can light up a gun. Have to agree Young may have the inside track on the 4th OF. He killed the big club in the one series with Pirates last season.

    He defintely has big league power when he makes contact.

  20. I really like seeing Stutes, Schwimer, DeFratus and Matheson all coming out throwing well. They might all start in the LHV bullpen to start the year but it will be one heck of a competition to see who gets called up first and they might all see some time in Philly before the season is over. Schlitter is going to have plenty of competition….

  21. Durbin is going to sign with the Indians pending a physical. So the last open bp slot should go to oneof the young guns.

  22. So far these ‘future major league closers’ seem very hitable to the competition. Oh well, minor league camp opens soon.

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