General Discussion – Week of October 22

Here is your weekly discussion thread.  Fall league has begun in Arizona, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and in Mexico.  Rumors for the offseason have begun as well and talk about who is protected from the Rule 5 draft has begun.

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

243 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of October 22

  1. There should be some adjustments made in the rule5 for guys who miss whole seasons like Colby Shreve. Is he going to be protected ????

    1. Wheels…why adjustment? Rule 5 is for the benefit of the player, not the proprietory team. Players should have some flexibility in opportunity. It is nice as a fan if we could keep a player for an extra year or two to see if he develops, but its their life-dream to reach the majors. Why take that avenue from him.

      1. It would be nice if they had a say in it. At least in the amateur draft you have the option of telling certain teams you won’t sign with them in the hopes they won’t try to pick you (and then you can follow through and hope you get drafted by a more desirable team in 3 years, if you want).

          1. Which is different than the Rule 5. Free agency is truly about the player pursuing what he wants. The Rule 5 seems more about the team, in my opinion.

            1. I may be wrong, but if player is left unprotected and off the ’40’ and he qualifies for Rule 5, BUT is not selected by any team in the Rule 5 draft—at any level of the minor league drafting— he still cannot pursue signing with any team. He still is property of the owning team, e.g.Jiwan James last year. At some point, maybe after his second Rule 5 IMO, I think the player should have the right to pursue who he wants to go with.

    2. It was only a few years ago that the period of team control prior to the Rule 5 requirement to protect a prospect on the 40-man roster was increased by a year. Since then, the Rule 5 pickings have been kind of slim. Has Shreve really done anything that would inspire another team to draft him this winter and keep him in the bigs all season?

    3. I doubt that Shreve gets that close to the Phils’ limit and assume the Phils have created 3 places with thoughts to fill them through free agency. Names that I have above him and yet not assured either way (on the cusp) are J.C. Ramirez, Zach Collier, Julio Rodriguez, Michael Martinez, Harold Garcia, Jiwan James, Joe Savery and Justin Friend. Maybe 2 off that grouping make it on the 40 man.

  2. Mike Pelfrey to be non-tendered. He might be a good low risk, medium reward guy to pick up as a #5 starter option as next season progresses.

    1. I’d sign him to a minor league contract, but I’d be skeptical of giving him a one year deal. Never liked him as a pitcher, so probably just my bias talking.

      1. If we pursue a commodity via a trade that would involve a Starting Pitcher, Pelfrey would probably go on RAJ’s radar, only as a nri

    2. I don’t think there’s a lot of Mike Pelfrey fans in the clubhouse. Cole Hamels and Chase Utley in particular.

    3. Why do we need a #5? We have 5 starters right now with Cloyd and Pettibine at Lehigh.

      I’m not the biggest fan of Pelfrey. His stuff is not great and he has a tendency to melt down on the mound.

  3. Pelfrey is a loser. No thanks. Why don’t we dig up Oliver Perez while we are at it. I heard Aaron Heiliman and Scott Schoenwies got cut from their fall ball teams, maybe give them a look.

    1. You do realize that Oliver Perez was a pretty effective left handed relief pitcher for the Seattle Mariners this year?

  4. Anyone have a suggestion for a good site to follow the Venezuelan leagues? Currently, I link through the mlb website but I would like more than box scores inning-by-inning play-by-play. Is anyone blogging with news, injury reports, recaps, commentary or analysis? Thanks …

  5. No man sorry I don’t know anyone with the play by play or analysis…. But anyways how do you guys rank our best position player prospects? Top 5? Quinn? Dugan maybe in there? Cozens? Greene? Asche?

      1. I have Quinn, Joseph, Asche, Franco, Ruf, Cesar, Valle, Greene, Gillies, Dugan as my top 10 position players. I change it frequently though…

    1. In no particular order (I am starting work on a Top 30 and really haven’t made up my mind): Quinn, Franco, Joseph, Asche, Tocci (Greene is right there too)

  6. Please feel free to ridicule this as you please – 2013 Offseason

    Put Ruf in LF and Brown in RF. Trade Valle/Nix/+ to TEX for Craig Gentry, our new CF.
    Sign Pierre or Ichiro to help out in LF while retaining Mayberry to backup all OF positions and perhaps platoon with Brown. If/When Tyson Gillies is ready, replace Pierre/Ichiro with Gillies who could start/platoon in CF with Gentry and backup all positions.
    Sign Madson or another top setup man.- but ideally Madson.
    Trade higher-level prospects to SD for Headley. Something like Worley/C. Hernandez/Asche/A. Wright/and one of Pettibone/May.
    Sign a FA SP to a short contract to replace Worley – ideally someone with a track record coming off a bad year, like Dan Haren/Ervin Santana.

    1. Not sure Madson will come back here. Is Boras still his agent? And Gentry is nice with a career year this year, but still rather get a little more younger and faster Peter Bourjos to man CF.

      1. Even Gentry the .280 hitter is very similar to Bourn, at nowhere near the cost. Injury issues hold him back, though. I agree that Bourjos is a better option, but then I also feel Gentry would be cheaper to acquire and would leave us the resources to potentially make a play for Headley – though i agree that that may well be a pipe dream.

      2. Regarding Madson – true, he may not come back. However, I have read that that broken bridge had been mended and he must still be very close to many of his former teammates. Perhaps the security of a two year deal would allay his issues vis-a-vis Amaro. It certainly fits Amaro’s history of tacking on an extra year to aging injury-prone pitchers – though I think Madson is more of less of a known quality round these parts and TJ ain’t what it used to be.

      1. I totally agree, it’s a very suspect OF. I just don’t like the other options like Bourn, Upton, etc. And yes, getting Headley would indeed be challenging, and that’s even assuming that they’re looking to trade him. That we haven’t yet acquired him is also discouraging. But then he fits Amaro’s MO in terms of setting his sights on the highest target – like with Halladay – balked at the price inseason – then found away to acquire him in the offseason.

    2. Not bad at least you’re thinking. I’d only say Gentry is a bit obscure to bring in as an everyday CF. So before I go after a trade for another teams back up to be our CF I’ll solve that issue or gamble if you will on my own prospect in house already.

      I’d actually keep Nix as my LH bat off the bench. Me personally I’ve cooled on Headley unless the price comes way down. If I were to make a big trade for a CF it might be Leonys Martin but I have to think the Rangers believe he is their replacement for Hamilton.

      1. Gentry would serve as a hedge to the bet that is Gillies. It’s risky as they’re both injury-prone. But it’s a cheap way to add outstanding defense, toughness, and energy to a lineup that could use it. Compare Gentry with Bourn and you’ll see many similarities. Plus he’s not a guy that would make a fuss if he wasn’t starting every day.

        Regarding Nix, I just believe that he’s too injury-prone and unproductive in a part-time role. I also figured that TEX would be looking for a power-hitting C prospect to replace Napoli (not for this year obviously, but rather, down the line) and perhaps a player of similar profile to Hamilton, who they are likely to lose – though by no means am I in any way inferring that they are of similar ability, just that Nix provides some of the same skills.

        1. I don’t know. Gentry has hit .261/.318/.320 away from Texas. Of course, he is awesome defensively. It’s an interesting name.

          1. Gentry would not be a be all, end all solution. More like a stopgap/eventual platoon partner for Gillies and an insurance policy against his injury history. With Gentry/Gillies/Mayberry complementing Ruf/Brown, we’d have a good LH/RH balance and could field an excellent defensive outfield late in games. Regarding the away splits, I’d caution sample size and the general proclivity of hitters to perform better at home. CBP is surely as much a hitter’s haven as Arlington, no? Gentry is excellent at stealing bases as well. Again, this is all based on the presumption that Gillies is the CF of the future and that he could perhaps hit the majors sometime in the summer, assuming he produces and stays healthy. This is why I’ve suggested retaining Pierre or signing a player like Ichiro to insure against the production of Ruf. Admittedly, there’s a ton of risk in relying on one of Brown/Ruf to be productive outfielders (let alone both!), but said risk is much mitigated were we to acquire a 3B of Headley’s caliber. That would move the LF/RF positions to 6th/7th/8th in the order, with Rollins at 6th or 7th, were we to lead off with Gillies/Gentry.

            1. My ideal lineup would then look something like this:
              CF- Gentry/Gillies
              2B- Utley
              3B – Headley
              1B – Howard
              C- Ruiz
              SS – Rollins
              LF – Ruf
              RF – Brown

              with Kratz, Galvis, Fransden, Mayberry, and Pierre/Ichiro (to be replaced by Gillies when he’s ready) as the bench.

    3. Ben I like your idea here. Ruf/Brown with Mayberry as a back up is a good start for an OF. I would like to see a slick fielding CF (not Bourne – too expensive) added and add 1 bat that has ‘pop’ somewhere to lineup. Melky Cabrera could come cheap for one year. The lineup is missing a 300 hitter who can get 25+Hrs a year. Nelson Cruz is a trade canidate for Texas too – would be a nice fit, and they need a C. The Phils have depth at C

      Not sure on Headley – I think the cost is too much. I’d rather have a mix of Frandsen, Galvis, and player X hold down the fort this year (if a big bat aquired) for Asche to prove himself at AAA or not and go after a 3B next year.

      1. As much as I prefer the in-house OF options, I think we need to mitigate the risk with the addition of a good-hitting 3B. I have no idea what SD would look for, but a combo of Worley and one of May/Pettibone, plus Wright or Morgan and too young IF’s in Asche and Hernandez might be a start. What worries me is that they’re greatest need is SS and it would seem that they might insist on acquiring Galvis, who I really think has a lot of value to this aging core of infielders. Hopefully Cesar Hernandez could appeal to them Galvis’s stead. If they won’t trade Headley, perhaps we could look into Gyrko. I’d also try and kick the tires on Olt again – though not at the price of Lee – who is waaaaaay more valuable, even with his contract. We can’t trade Lee with Halladay’s unknown status lingering. Lee is our ace now.

        1. The package for Headley would have to start with Biddle or Quinn, then either May or Martin, then a catcher Rupp/Valle/Joseph, and then someone of the Dugan/Altherr/Collier toolsy OF. It would severely deplete the farm system, if they insisted on a Galvis that would likely eliminate the catcher element. The package starts with your best prospect (unless it is one of the Top 20 or so in baseball) and then goes from there. They don’t have to move him and can wait to see if someone like the Yankees makes a panic offer.

          1. With Grandal, Hundley, and Hedges coming up through the system – I doubt SD seeks a Catcher. Outside of Quinn/Galvis, that really doesn’t seem so steep. I really like Biddle and I’d do what I could to hold onto him above the others, but I think I’d pull the trigger on a deal including Biddle if it lessened the rest of the package. I’d much prefer to include Worley so that we could avoid giving up Quinn/Biddle, though.

          2. Ouch. I’d love to have Headley, but no way can Phils glove up all that after what they gave up for Pence. There’s something to be said about using your minor league options and see how they fair first. I’m sticking with Frandsen as long as the OF obtains some RH Power and a good defender high OBP type.

        2. The players we need to avoid trading are the emerging core in the low minors like Quinn, Franco, Walding, Greene, Cozens, Tocci, Pullin, Joseph, etc. We have a group of higher-level RH starters like May, Martin, Pettibone, Worley and a couple lefties in Biddle/Martin/Wright that is deep enough that we can trade from it without killing our future. With Hamels and Lee locked up and even a diminished Halladay a solid part of the staff going forward for the next few years, we don’t need so many near-ready starters and some of their respective values will never be higher. If a few of them can help us land the premiere player at our greatest position of need, I’m all for it. We are already growing their replacements anyway, and this has been the one area where our farm system has consistently excelled. We’ve used our SP prospects to acquire tremendous players and very few have come back to haunt us. The off-the-radar starters that we’ve promoted have also generally far-exceeded previous expectations. In this regard, I’d trust Amaro and the braintrust to move/keep the right pitchers. It’s the one thing they’ve been quite good at.

    1. Valle 2012 AA/AAA: 253. BA 17HR 114K 13BB 388 AB
      Joseph 2012 AA: 257. BA 11HR 96K 34BB 404 AB
      these two prospects arent that far off, valle has crazy power

        1. Which can be corrected, and you know everyone in the world is helping him with that, Valle is known for being a hardworker he will be going at it.

          1. Not usually. A few players are able to do that but most stay relatively steady. Until he picks up the BB % he projects as a back-up catcher, at best. And, I like a lot about Valle, but I’m pessimistic that he can move that BB rate into the acceptable zone at any time in the reasonably foreseeable future. But, sure, I’d love to see him do that.

          2. I agree with catch the plate discipline is the hardest thing to correct for a hitter. Valle’s walk rate is below Anthony Hewitt who we tear apart for his lack of plate discipline. It isn’t about hard work either by all accounts Hewitt is a smart, motivated, hard working guy and he has only made minor improvements along the way.

            1. I’d push back slightly, only slightly, in that I think plate discipline is a little more correctable than you state, certainly when compared with, for example, contact rate. That said, it is not easily correctable, and the trend line on Valle’s plate discipline is not promising at all.

        2. Not to mention Joseph is a year younger. To me, that might be the biggest thing that sets them apart as prospects. I don’t think it’s all that close.

          1. Wow being 1 year younger sets them apart as prospect to you? lol 1 year is not that big of a deal. Valle is a better fielder, hits for more power, and is close in AVG. Tommy Joseph might have a high contact rate and such but he’s not even an average guy!

            1. 1 year is actually quite a bit on the minor league level when it is the difference between 21 and 22, at the major league level the difference between 33 and 34 isn’t much but on the development level it is a full year of developmental work. If you have questions on this read this Primer written by James (who is much smarter than me when it comes to prospects)
              I realize you are new to the world of prospects, so I suggest that you take some time and read all that you can on Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus on prospects and their development (I would suggest Keith Law’s stuff on ESPN but it is all behind the pay wall). You have a lot to learn about the developmental process and the experts on those sites will be able to provide a lot more context than I can.

            2. I am actually not knew to the development my man, I just don’t think that one year should set them apart as prospects. It could give him an edge yes but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

            3. I had a friend in college – he said there is a difference between 10 years of experience, and one year repeated 10 times.

              There are plenty of fans who have been fans for years, follow minor league baseball avidly, and spend hundreds of hours on such pass time, but fail to educate themselves about certain basic points.

            4. LOL I know what you’re saying Larry and i know what the scouts say about Joseph, but you have to understand that most of Joseph’s praise is based off 1 year in A ball.

            5. Except that .. it’s NOT. It’s based upon scouts watching him at various times, leagues and locations and making judgments based upon his baseball skills which don’t always show up in the numbers. It drives me crazy that the people around her MOST respectful of the value of scouting are the advanced stat guys. The stereotype is the opposite, but around here (and I think this tends to be true among fans more generally) the people dismissive of the scouting perspective tend to be the traditional stat guys.

              Valle apparently has some real problems with his swing. I’m not an expert on that, so I don’t put much weight on it, instead looking at his lack of plate discipline and contact skills (of course likely related to the problems with his swing). Joseph, OTH, from all reports has much better swing mechanics. He also has a body type/swing which SHOULD generate more power as he matures.

            6. First of all, yes, one year is very much a big deal. Even setting that aside:

              (1) Joseph has a big edge on plate discipline and a small edge on contact rate.
              (2) As far as power, Valle has a little more demonstrated power, not a lot. OTOH, scouting reports suggest more power potential for Joseph.
              (3) The supposed defensive advantage for Valle is questionable and small if it exists.

              This is not a close call. Joesph is the better prospect. There’s room, I guess, to argue that Joesph is only a little better prospect than Valle, but the universally recognized opinion among scouts and other experts that Joseph is the better prospect is obviously correct.

              Probably the most likely role for both players is major league back up. Joseph has a MUCH better chance of being a major league regular. Valle’s upside is Miguel Olivo; Joseph’s upside is Miguel Montero.

              I challenge you to find one, even one scout or scouting expert who places Valle over Joseph.

            7. If you were grading prospects, Valle would be around a C+ (with maybe a B upside) whereas Joseph would be a B or a B+ (with a straight A upside if everything breaks right). Agreed, they are not close at all.

  7. I am a big Valle fan/supporter. When I talk about Valle I talk about his intangibles. The kids make-up is off the charts and while the BB rate is glaring its also tired. Don’t you think his coaches are on top of that. It’s clear the kid has a decent enough hit tool. As for crazy power that is a bit of an exageration.

    In my opinion he projects as a .260 avg 700+OPS guy but that’s not where his value is. He is a fiery kid with a lot of swagger who brings a ton of energy to a club house. Yeah he has work ahead of him to make it to the big leagues but man this game is not played on paper gents.

    1. The Phillies have been on his plate discipline for 6 years now and it has been getting worse not better as he faces better pitching. Here are his walk totals (with number of PA’s, league, and age).
      214 PA – 29 BB – DSL – 16
      185 PA – 12 BB – GCL – 17
      385 PA – 26 BB – WPT/LKW – 18
      485 PA – 27 BB – LKW – 19
      365 PA – 13 BB – CLW – 20
      411 PA – 13 BB – REA/LHV – 21

      He isn’t getting better, he is getting exposed.

      1. Hitters make adjustments we will see how he comes out next spring and see how his summer goes. For starters, if he continues to hit for power like he is K’s are not that big of a deal. I personally, don’t think that prospect should be projected as a better prospect because of his K/BB. I know that is not the only reason but that certainly is a big one in this Valle Joseph debate. Valle has been the youngest on every level he has been at and has excelled 2012 will be a big year for both of them, but i just hope Joseph isn’t over hyped. When you look at his stats he has only actually had 1 good power year and that was A ball. Valle is a better fielder to which is plus, until TJ makes me think otherwise imm “team valle”

    2. EXACTLY! people in these threads sometimes go WAY to far into irrelevant stats to project a player. Like when i think Matt pulled out a clutch stat? then said it didn’t exist. There is a thing called the “it” factor you either have it or don’t no stat for that

      1. The thing with clutch is that you can count “clutch moments” and give it as a statistic. Saying that “clutch” exists is to say it is predictive, which I and almost all people who look at baseball statistically say it is not predictive, that is not to say you cannot measure what a player did in “clutch” moments in a small sample size (BTW the stat ranks players almost the same as any other advanced metric which just tells you that good players are good all the time)

          1. No, he’s not. And DEMONSTRABLY NOT. We have statistics available for this, you know. No matter how you define “clutch” situations, we have breakdowns. Go to and look at the data. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Jeter is … well, astonishingly consistent, I’ll give him that: on virtually every break down, he hits just about exactly as well as you would expect him to hit, given his overall performance. If he really was a “clutch” hitter, it would show up in the break downs. It doesn’t.

            Now, I tend to be less dogmatic that Matt on the larger question of whether clutch ability exists, partly because the evidence is harder to evaluate at a glance. But when talking about particular players, WE HAVE THE DATA. And, almost without exception, the data does not support people’s perceptions about which players are “clutch.”

            1. Did you even look at the data? Tell, me, how do you define a clutch situation, and what type of clutch situations do you think Jeter does well in.

            2. Well that’s pretty narrow, but fair enough. But we DO have statistical breakdowns for late in the game & close score – a bit broader definition, arguably, except that, aside from late season with first place clinched, every game “means something.” In that situation – actually, some irony here – Jeter has actually been anti-clutch in terms of performance (not that I put any weight or meaning on that): .291/.382/.411, lower across the board than his career numbers.

              What’s YOUR evidence that he performs particularly well in those situations? “Personal observation” doesn’t cut it. Even assuming for the sake of argument that you’ve watched a ton of Yankee games, it’s pretty demonstrably true that people’s subjective impressions regarding clutch performance have little relation to the actual numbers when they are available.

          2. No and I will go through it by standard and advanced metrics for both regular and postseason (Jeter has enough a postseason sample size to make it somewhat work), NOTE – these are all career stats and I am sticking to ratios since the sample sizes are varying, all stats from of FanGraphs
            Traditional Stats:
            Regular Season – .318/.382/.448, 8.7% BB%, 14.7% K%
            Postseason – .308/.374/.465, 9% BB%, 18.4% K%
            “Clutch Metrics”: (WPA – Win Probability added collects how each situation either added or subtracted from their teams chance to win 2012 leader Mike Trout at +5.32, Clutch compares a player against their normal statistics when it is a late and close situation 2012 Leader Jimmy Rollins at +2.35)
            Regular Season – WPA 32.54, Clutch 1.16 (about a years deviation)
            Postseason – WPA -1.12, Clutch -1.45

            If anything Jeter is not clutch by the statistics themselves, it is all narrative. You see the hit in the situation and forget all the outs.

            1. OK…let me try this from another angle. If he can just flip a switch and perform better in the “clutch” then why doesn’t he do it all of the time? Are you implying he is lazy during “non-clutch” situations?

            2. And your eyes get better, your reflexes faster, the pitcher throws slower and over the plate, you swing harder, the ball avoids fielders, and the ball flies out of the park…
              If anything the adrenaline keeps you focused where you hit at the best of your abilities, or your normal level. Baseball players don’t get better in the clutch it just makes us feel better to think about it.

            3. Why can’t it? That makes no sense. It’s like you’re saying we can’t measure height, we can only look at height subjectively. WE CAN MEASURE THIS. OF COURSE. OBVIOUSLY. There’s stuff we can’t measure, sure. But this isn’t one of them.

              So hard to be polite sometimes. How can I put it kindly? Let’s see .. Olympic weight lifting. The goal is to lift the most weight. Lifter A lifts 800 pounds. Lifter B lifts 795 pounds. Lifter A wins the medal. But then you come in and say … “NO! Lifter B is really better, because of his clutchness.” I say … “wait, no, this was the final lift for the gold, player A did better – clutch or not, lifter A lifted more.” You say, “nonsense, you can’t measure clutch, I’m giving the medal to lifter B because of his obvious, but not measurable, clutchness.”

              THAT’S the argument you are making, reduced to its essentials.

          3. Ummm…no. As Matt says, good players will have good stats in clutch situations and non-clutch situations. For instance, since you brought up Jeter, look at his statistics in low and high leverage situations in 2012.

            Low: .325/.365/.451 OPS .816
            High: ..327/.414/.396 OPS .810

            So…what does this stat tell us? Pretty much that over a large enough sample size, players will perform the same in the “clutch” as they will any other time. The simple truth is that professional athletes are not the same as you and me. They don’t feel any more pressure in a certain situation (say bases loaded, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth) than any other situation. If they did, they wouldn’t be professional athletes, or at least not professional athletes at the highest level.

            1. I will add and acknowledge that I have stolen this from Keith Law. Baseball by its very nature and the long developmental process (both the minor leagues and before that) weeds out players who cannot handle pressure from a mental stand point. If you can’t hit with men on base at the end of a game and just become a shell of yourself, you don’t make it past A ball.

            2. What’s really remarkable about Jeter is that he is almost a poster child against the clutch argument. Most players with a clutch reputation, you can find some “clutch” split to hang your hat on. Not so much for Jeter. (Of course that’s largely because the data evens out over 12,000 PA (regular season), but … that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?)

            3. So you’re saying … let me see if I get this right .. that Jeter has some mysterious “clutch” ability that only shows up in his defensive play, but not in his hitting performance. Sorry, not buying it.

            4. No, mr. smarter than everyone else, just asking a question because I have seen Jeter make tremendously clutch plays in the highest of pressure situations and wanted to know if that pertains to this discussion.

            5. Then it sounds like you ARE saying that – unless you think that somehow the hitting stats aren’t capturing that elusive quality of clutch.

              This is an area where, when we CAN check subjective observations against concrete statistical evidence (which is most of the time), subjective observations don’t hold up very well. Why should I put any weight, at all, on subjective observations in this area when the track record is so poor?

            6. I’d guess that you could measure “clutch” from any standpoint you want. The point is that, given a large enough sample size, the numbers for offense, defense, baserunning, pitching, etc. will be virtually the same during “clutch” and “non-clutch” situations. There have been numerous studies to this affect. Not one of them has shown anything resembling “clutch” for players. Statistically, it doesn’t exist. Just because you want something to be, doesn’t make it so.

            7. I see those stats as being clutch…. the hitters that fail in these high pressure situations have their stats wayyyy away from their career numbers. Being clutch i feel like, is fighting through your nerves so that it doesn’t affect you so your essentially your stats will look like your career numbers as you see with Jeter

            8. I will give you ten names, five are from the Top 20 most clutch (career) and five from the bottom, you tell me who goes where: Barry Bonds, Tony Gwynn, Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Alex Rodriguez, Mike Piazza, Omar Vizquel, Juan Pierre, Bobby Abreu, Jim Thome
              BTW by your definition all but a select few outliers are clutch, if you create a curve everyone is clustered around 0 clutch or they perform the same.

            9. If that’s your definition of clutch, then basically every player who actually makes the majors is clutch. The few apparent exceptions are a product of sample size.The players who can’t perform in those situations, as Matt pointed out, don’t get past A ball.

            10. im still not going to agree with that if you played/play the game, which i think/hope you did, you would understand that being clutch can’t be caught in one of the advanced stats lol

            11. Yes, I played the game No, I won’t agree with your illogical, meaningless and demnonstrably wrong stringing together of words. I won’t agree that (in esence – same thing exactly) that there is no way to measure height or weight. You’re entitled to your opinion, but if you don’t have either (a) the intelligence, or (b) the interest (I have no idea which it is in your case) to actually address my arguments, I see no point in having a conversation with you.

            12. He was responding to me saying that there is no such thing as clutch, which there isn’t. The idea, I believe, is that certain pitchers can’t close because they can’t handle the mental aspect of it. I say certain pitchers can’t close because…well, because they aren’t good. History is littered with pitchers who were great/good for one year in the closers role and were never good again in any role. Relief pitchers are notoriously inconsistent from year to year. Ryan Madsen was once thought to not be able to close mentally…until he was. It’s a nonsense argument that has no proof.

  8. 4 0 0 0 8 4 3 12 2 0 0 2 .271 .300 .313
    1969 25 Pirates 129 459 62 139 21 6 5 0 57 12 4 48 5 2 3 13 .303 .324 .407
    1970 26 Pirates 128 486 63 158 19 9 7 0 61 17 9 45 1 6 0 15 .325 .344 .444
    1971 27 Pirates 138 533 60 170 26 5 7 0 81 19 13 32 1 1 3 21 .319 .345 .426
    1972 28 Pirates 136 520 55 155 18 8 7 1 71 21 11 38 0 6 0 10 .298 .322 .404
    1973 29 Pirates 149 589 64 166 26 7 12 0 65 17 8 29 2 8 3 17 .282 .301 .411
    1974 30 Pirates 151 596 77 171 21 4 7 0 68 21 9 27 3 7 5 18 .287 .313 .371
    1975 31 Pirates 133 481 60 158 24 4 9 0 58 48 15 31 2 3 3 12 .328 .391 .451
    1976 32 Pirates 114 389 52 113 16 6 2 0 36 28 14 18 3 4 2 14 .290 .338 .378
    1977 33 Athletics 152 571 42 157 17 5 6 0 58 22 4 35 2 4 2 13 .275 .302 .354
    1978 34 Pirates 85 220 15 58 5 1 3 0 16 9 2 10 2 2 2 5 .264 .296 .336
    1979 35 Pirates 56 74 8 17 5 2 0 0 4 2 2 5 3 1 0 3 .230 .247 .351
    1980 36 Pirates 47 48 2 12 3 0 0 0 2 3 2 1 2 0 0 1 .250 .294 .313
    Career G AB R H 2B 3B HR GRSL

  9. sorry just wanted to post to you manny sanguillen, a guy who didnt walk much, was a catcher and was a allstar catcher, but sorry the way it posted hard to read. 1976 for example he had 571 pa, with 28 walks but had 338 obp and hit 290,and there are other examples, guys dont have to walk a lot to be good major league player, yes you like to see the walks, but some times guys are just free swingers and it works for them.

    1. The problem is not just the walks it is the contact rate as a whole (not to mention it is a slightly different time). If you look at those numbers to strikeout rate is also really down. Obviously Manny was making consistent good contact with everything. Valle has a K rate of 25% in AA and of 38% in AAA. If you aren’t going to take walks you can’t strikeout that much.

    2. Where is LarryM when I need him.

      Fortunately for us, Larry has done a very good job explaining why a low BB rate is usually the death knell for a potential major league hitter. Citations to outlier players such as Sanguillen don’t help for many reasons, not the least of which is that it does not make it any more likely that Valle will be successful. Also, Sanguillen had exceptional contact skills that Valle does not have – at least not yet. Sanguillen was the rare bad ball hitter who always made contact, drove the ball and yet rarely struck out. I know from the statistics but also from having watched him growing up (crap, I’m getting too old!!!). It is also noteworthy that, defensively, Sanguillen was probably the best catcher in baseball. Valle does not appear to have Sanguillen’s crazy good contact skills so if his BB % remains low, it will be extremely difficult for him to be a major league regular. Sorry, you didn’t convince me, but good try.

    3. LOL, I was planning to respond. Sanguillen first: lifetime K rate of 6.2%. Why does that make a difference? Two reasons: higher BA based on lower K rate makes up (to some extent) for the lack of BB. But the more important reason is this: when a player has poor plate discipline, pitchers start throwing them nothing but out of the strike zone slop. A good contact hitter can compensate to some extent, because they can make contact even on out of the strike zone slop. A player with poor to mediocre contact skills (Valle’s lifetime K% over 20%) can’t do that.

      But more generally: if we look at EVERY player in major league baseball to have a significant career, and exclude pitchers, the population of players with Valle’s combination of very poor plate discipline and poor contact skills is essentially zero.

      Let’s look at the last 23 years (1990 till now) to find the players who are closest to being exceptions. There are exactly 17 non-pitchers in that time period with significant careers and BB% under 4.0%. Let’s look at those players:

      9 of them (including Dunston, Duncan, Bettancourt) were poor hitting shortstops with decent to great contact skills. Duncan had the worst contact numbers, and actually calling him a decent contact hitter is a bit of a stretch. Two points about him: (1) My study caught only the downside of his career; when he broke in he had a BB% over 6.0%. (2) Why Duncan was given almost 5000 major league PA is an enduring mystery. And the other 8 were all significantly better contact hitters.

      5 of them (including our old friend Ricky Jordan) were poor hitting players at other positions with good contact skills.

      That leaves three exceptions, two of them interesting. We can dismiss DeWayne Wise, an outfielder who has managed to scrape up just over 1000 PA over the past decade as a bench player because he combines decent fielding and base running skills. The interesting players, both catchers:

      Humberto Quintero – 1281 PA as a career back up because of superb defensive skills.

      Miguel Olivo – the one guy – ONE GUY – you can point to as a semi valid comp. He’s the guy that Valle could develop into IF he improves his plate discipline a little (Olivo’s lifetime BB rate is 3.9%). He’s Valle’s upside. And he is a legitimate regular … but not really one who should be a regular on a contending team. Not to mention that his minor league BB% was a decent 8%. Other than the superior plate discipline (bet no one has said THAT about Olivo before, but true in comparision to Valle) they are good comps. Olivo has the mid range power that Valle projects to have, and is a decent but not outstanding defensive catcher.

      NONE of these guys were really any good. Olivo had the best career per Fangraphs WAR, with 10. That seems about right to me.

      1. I would add that Valle is much more likely to develop a little plate discipline than to develop good contact skills. Olivo he could become, with an outside chance for a little more (more power, I guess). Sangullien he will never be.

        1. Valle has an unusual load process with his hands and body that makes him very susceptible to off speed pitches. He generates lots of power from doing it but he’ll never hit higher than 260, if that, with the motion and I’m concerned that if he changes the motion, he’ll lose much of his power.

  10. Don’t want Headley for the price as he doesn’t fit my sense of how the Phils should plan their way out of their current situation. Leaving the outfield aside for a second since there is some interchangeability there that you don’t necessarily get with infielders, I think the Phils should look at their current positional needs in light of what talent they have in development. If the Phils think they have Asche/Franco in play to start in 2015, then best look for help that you can sign on a 2 year contract such as a Keppinger or Youkilis. If the Phils think there is a chance, even a small chance, that Utley will not be re-signed pat 2013, then get some possible help this off season unless there is a sure fire replacement in development. I think this also argues for signing someone like Jeff Keppinger for a two year deal.

    Turning to the outfield, the Phils have 3 names that come up most frequently as offering help for the future– Ruf, Brown and Gillies. If none of these becomes or brings back in a trade a quality outfielder, then the Phils are in trouble.because there isn’t much help on the horizon behind them in the near term. Predicting success at the big league level for all 3 seems incautious. Gillies isn’t a serious candidate to help the Phils before 2014. So if you have Ruf and Brown as notional starters for 2013, you have to add 2 additional starter quality outfielders through trade or free agency, one a center fielder. I’d like the Phils to have an ‘anchor’ in the outfield, an All Star quality outfielder signed long term. That’s why I like Josh Hamilton signed to a 4-yera deal with team opt outs after the 2d and 3d years. The other value is in a right handed or switch hitting player to play center field on a short term contract that would allow for replacement by Gillies if he continues to develop. That’s why I like Melky Cabrera who is likely in line for a one year deal due to his special circumstance.

    I wouldn’t want any infielder added on a long term deal and only one outfielder signed for long term.

    1. People keep talking about Keppinger, but I’m wary of him. Yes, it’s possible that he’s turned his career around and will keep performing well, but I’m wary of a 32 year old player, coming off a career year where, prior to that year, he had a lifetime negative WAR – that’s right, negative – he was essentially a AAAA player.

      Youkilis at least is good at working a pitcher, his defense is surprisingly adequate (he’s no whiz, but he’s also not Ty Wigginton) and may have a come back year or two in him with the bat. If you could get Youkilis to sign a two-year deal for around $16-18 million, it would probably be worth the expense and it could take a lot of pressure off the rest of the offense. It would also allow the team to work in his replacement (Asche and/or Franco) in a more relaxed manner. Having Youkilis also provides some insurance with Howard, whether Howard is injured or is traded after this year. The move makes sense from many angles – I would have to think that the Phillies see this as well.

      1. Are you nut’s I would much rather have a younger and hungrier player I’m tiered of these old players that can’t even run, wake up.I can tell you never played any sports.

        1. I love, just love, the “I can tell you never played any sports” comment. What a ridiculous non sequiter.

          I’m not super sold on Youk myself, but who is this “younger and hungrier” player ready to step in? Oh, yeah, Cody Asche I suppose. But some of us just don’t think He is ready, and throwing him into the majors now (which, in terms of his minor league experience would be virtually unprecedented, aside from rare players like Pujols) would be a mistake threatening his long term development. We may be wrong about that (I don’t think so), but if we’re wrong it’s not because we prefer “an old player who can’t run” to a “young hungry player.”

          Of course, IF Galvis can make the transition to third, maybe – maybe – he is a “young hungry” player preferable to Youk, Maybe, though even with Galvis’ fine play this fall, Youk is still probably a better hitter, and Galvis still profiles as worse as a third baseman than as a middle infielder.. But you know what none of us know – none of us – regardless of how much we played the game – is whether Galvis can make the transition to third base.

      2. I’m wary of Keppinger too but there just aren’t many options out there that are more attractive. I think they should look at bringing in Eric Chavez in a platoon situation with Frandsen as well. No matter which guy it is, every FA 3B will come into next season with questions. Youkilis on a 2-year deal is probably the best option but he might not even leave Chicago.

      1. Also about statistics and discussing prospects as well as ranking them, keeping track with the minors as well. I don’t really enjoy talking about trade theories unless it has been discussed as a possibility or something you know what I mean?

    1. RA’s next move is always a bit of a surprise. Those who predict it generally don’t know what they’re talking about and are just making an educated guess, whether that person is one of us, a national correspondent, or a member of the local media. Even official pronouncements by RA himself have proven to be poor indicators of what he actually ends up doing.

  11. If I’m RAJ, I have to find out if Arizona is serious about possibly moving Justin Upton. If he’s in play, the Phils have to try and get him. It would cost two top prospects like Biddle and May, plus a Galvis to help them at SS, but the Phils would have to be interested in J Upton. Headley coming off a career year and blocking Asche doesn’t excite me nearly as much as Upton. Upton in RF would allow the Phils to sign a lesser grade CF, maybe even bring Victorino back, although I’d still chase BJ if a pick is not involved. Until Arizona trades one more outfielder, other deals will be on hold. They may trade Parra or Kubel instead but Upton would give them the much larger bounty of prospects.

    1. I would be very interested in Upton. Given their depth of high upside arms I would see if they would be interest in Joseph, Galvis, Asche, and a bullpen guy for Upton. Maybe you put a Martin, May, or Pettibone instead of a guy in there. I think Upton (if they aren’t asking for the world) is a guy you can target. If another team thinks Asche is a high upside option at third base I would sell high on him if it brought back an impact major league bat.

  12. Does anyone know who Sean O’Brien is other than he writes for Yahoo Sports (which I suppose says something – though I doubt it says anything good). He has been putting out a stream of pro Darin Ruf articles (I count about 10 since August). I generally don’t care for the tone or content of his articles.

  13. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens on this forum next year regarding Ruf, depending upon what he does. Obviously if he gets a shot at a regular job, whatever he ends up doing will leave some people feeling vindicated and some with egg on their faces. If he doesn’t get a shot (and I don’t think he will get a shot at a job as a regular), I can imagine the uproar from his fans.

    1. Assuming that Ruf is on the 25-man roster come April, what do you think of giving Ruf say 15 to 20 starts at 1B against LHP and when not at 1B, platooning him with Brown in LF. In this way, you don’t put two defensive liabilities in the outfield at the same time and you still give Brown some exposure against LHP.

      1. If that is the expectation going into the season I don’t mind it at all. You can space out his days in the field to give Howard and Brown normal off days. I think this is a great approach to the problem that Charlie will completely ignore. I think Brown will be fine against lefties long term but if you sit him occasionally might as well do it against touch lefties.

    2. Agreed Larry, this is going to get very interesting with Ruf, and the NY media is not helping by suggesting that a Ruf for Granderson would be a good deal for the Yankees. I view Ruf as a plan C for the organization in LF. I think Ruben is going to get a high priced CF, pick one they all have their pluses and minuses. And this is where i think RAJ has the Ruf chip in Play. If they are unable to get the 2nd OF option via trade or FA, Ruf will have the opportunity to win the Job from Nixberry. And don’t be fooled he will have to win it as both of those guys will get the benefit of the doubt. Ultimately, the point is that he is not stopping them from trying to acquire OF talent because it may block him, but if they can not get anything done will any of us be complaining about getting to see Ruf possibly get his chance.

  14. First of all, never did i Mention he was as good as manny. but to say he will never be as good , is imo a dumb statement. did anyone think chooch would ever be this good.? my point was that a guy can be a good major league hitter without walking a lot. there are many more example. i dont know if valle will ever play one day in the majors.But to say based on his walks he isnt a starting major league catcher is my point its silly.

    1. You don’t really have an argument. Valle strikes out almost 4 times as often as did Sanguillen. Players with Valle’s contact skills, combined with his plate discipline, essentially never make it. Did you read my post above? You can find a few – not many – players who succeed despite low BB rates, but, pretty much without exception (we discussed a few border cases), they are all players with good to great contact rates, i.e., low K rates. And significantly improving his contact rate is less likely than improving his BB rate. (Note that even the vast majority of the few high contact/low BB players were not “good” hitters by any stretch of the imagination.)

      I only went back 23 years, maybe I missed someone. But the closest to an example supporting your position that I could find was Miguel Olivo. Can you find a better meaningful comp? Let’s say K rate over 20%, BB rate under 3.8%. Is there even one, excepting pitchers and a couple of career back ups? Going back 40 years – I expanded my study – the answer is zero. None. Closest call: Todd Cruz. And he was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a “good” hitter. (Nor, of course, is Olivo.)

      Same 40 year study, the only “good” hitter (defined as better than the major league average) with a BB rate under 4.0% was Brian Harper. With a K% of 5.6, and 3.9 BB%.

      I’d add that even Sanguillen had a career BB% of 4.0, better in the majors than Valle is managing in the minors.

      Going back another 10 years – we’re talking the past 50 years now – the list of low BB players (and it’s still not a long list, at least under 4.0 BB%) is still mainly layers who (a) had good contact skills, and (b) weren’t really “good” hitters, with a couple of exceptions. “Good” hitters, even contact hitters, almost universally have BB% over 5.0%. Once you get over 4.0% you have a few exceptions (as well as a ton of mediocre to poor hitters.) Probably the best hitter over the past 50 years with a BB% under 5.0% was Don Demeter. And his K rates and BB rates were both far better than Valles.

  15. but to say based on his walks he isnt a starting major league catcher is imo silly, sorry for the last line

    1. I agree, i wasn’t on this website nor do i know if it wasn’t even up then, but I bet all of the same guys ridiculing Valle thought that chooch would have no chance. That again is why the game is played on the field not on paper

      1. That doesn’t make any sense.

        First, Larry’s point is that catchers (really, players of any type) with Valle’s extremely low walk rates have almost a zero statistical chance of success. That’s an historical fact and our love for Valle won’t change that fact. If Valle does not walk more he won’t be very good. It’s not silly, it’s a virtual guarantee.

        Second, I suppose you could argue that Valle’s plate judgment will improve. That’s really his only to ticket to being more than a back-up. The problem is that, historically, players are not generally able to improve their walk rates significantly. Perhaps Valle will be that rare exception but I’m skeptical to say the least. Hey, I hope I’m wrong.

        As for Chooch, first, nobody ever thought he would be this good. He is having almost a unique major league career. The fact that Chooch did it, however, does not make it more likely that Valle will break the odds. The odds for Valle remain the same (they are low). Also, Choochie had a far better minor league career as a hitter although, admittedly, the difference in his age and Valle’s age make them difficult to compare. That being said, early in his career, Chooch was actually a bit of a disappointment as a major league hitter. He was practically an automatic “out”the year they won the WS – his defense and the overwhelming offense of the rest of the players allowed him to keep a job.

    2. This is what cracks me up, an argument that, given the vast sweep of baseball history, not only isn’t “silly,” but is demonstrably, indisputably true, can be characterized as “silly” by people who don’t even bother to look at the evidence.

      Now, is it possible that Valle increases his BB rate to the point that he succeeds as a major league regular? Yes. Not likely IMO but possible, and I’d assign a higher probability than would Matt. But his chance of having a meaningful major league career if he can’t increase his BB rate is zero. Possibly a career as a back up but nothing more.

    1. Good luck to him, with the other young guys in the bullpen and the players needing 40 man spots, it doesn’t seem that much of a problem to let him go. As a Rule 5 pick he was a good value if overused slightly.

  16. We’re obviously freeing up roster spots for other guys prior to the Rule 5 so who are we creating the spots for? Who has to be put on our 40 this season because we don’t wanna lose them?

    & How many open spots are we at now?

    1. Without removing anyone other than those with expiring contracts there are 34 spots taken on the roster (this includes Savery, MiniMart, JC Ramirez). Some notable guys needing protecting are May, Martin, Collier, JRod, Castro, Pettibone

      1. Interesting. May, Martin, and Pettibone are no brainers as, I believe, Collier is. As counterintuitive as it seems, out of the rest of them, I probably protect JC Ramirez over JRod and Castro because I don’t see JRod becoming anything special and Castro seems like nothing more than AAAA filler. Ramirez has a ton of downside but he has a big arm and could become interesting if he masters a decent breaking pitch. Savery and Mini Mart? I could hardly care less about them as players.

  17. Here’s my trade suggestion:
    Phillies to Twins
    Mayberry, Kendrick, Cloyd for Plouffe and Revere
    Phillies get a low B.A. 3B with power who can become a super utility man if Asch becomes a good player and Revere is a Micheal Bourne clone for about 12,000,000 less.
    Twins get 2 starters that are better then what they have and a very good 4th outfielder.

    1. Now there’s an idea. I’ve actually been thinking about both Plouffe and Revere – I’d like to have both of these guys. But it’s going to cost more than Mayberry, Kendrick and Cloyd – three players with limited upside and tons of downside. You would probably have to add one of the lesser young stud pitchers in the mix and, perhaps also Gillies. But this is precisely the type of direction in which they will have to head in order to be creative and bridge some gaps.

    2. I like it, but not sure if the twins would be in any hurry to make this deal. They have Sano and Hicks, but would probably be only willing to deal if they are both ready this year. I think it’d be less of a concern with Revere than Plouffe. An Revere strikes out much less than Bourn. I think 54 K’s to 40 BB. not a bad ratio

      1. Sano is eons away and Hicks at least another half year. That being said I don’t think that is relevant to the discussion. I just don’t think that package gets it done unless the Twins are delusional about their chances in 2013, they need talent not just stop gaps.

  18. Back to Prospects with BP Chat and a Trevor May Question:
    Trevor (PA): Trevor May, 22yrs old and just finished first AA level with unimpressive stats. I mean, 9.1 K/9 is fine but the mechanical inconsistency (per Bradley Ankrom)is worrisome. No.2 ceiling, yay or nay?

    Jason Parks: Young pitchers have mechanical inconsistencies. That’s not a deal breaker. They are often working on things that the average eye can’t determine, and that can lead to setbacks and uneven performances. I’m not that high on May, meaning I don’t quite buy the #2 ceiling. I think he can develop into a major league starter, and has the profile to log innings. It’s not a special arm, but that’s a big value player if he can become an innings chewer.

  19. i KNOW larry is never wrong and very arrogant, starlin castro walks less than 40 times a year, in almost 650 abats yets has close to 300 average and over three hundred obp, and there are more, so you like stats, look at his stats l pagan , montero, but larry is never wrong, not walking isnt the desideing factor in not makeing the majors.larry did you ever play the sport?? i really wonder. and to catch the point is its not impossible to be a good hitter,yes walks help, but some guys are just free swingers, i dont know if valle will make it, but damm, you cant say because he doesnt walk,he wont be a major league player,and to speak of odds, no one is guarantee to make it no matter how good there minor league stats are, this is a crazy game and y never know.all larry is doing is playing percentage, but you cant play percentage on players, sure you can say see that guy didnt make it and say, i told you he didnt walk or walk too many batters. some times i just cant believe all your guys do is throw stats up and condem a player. ruf is too old, guys have made a impact at older age it happens.if i told you right now may wont make it brown will fail, quinn wont make it greene is a flop, bet you i would be right a lot more than wrong.

    1. Dude, starlin Castro also got to the majors by the age of 20, and has superior, superior contact skills. Bad Bad comp

    2. You’re missing the point. He’s not just looking at walks, he’s looking at K% as well, which makes a huge difference

    1. I love Quinn, I like Greene. But honestly, advanced stats has little to do with that. At that level, you really have to rely heavily on the scouting reports. From a statistical perspective, Quinn’s very good statistical perofrmance at a young age is a very good sign; what I like about Greene (again from a statistical perspective) is the plate discipline. But you don’t need advanced stats to come to those conclusions.

    2. At the Short Season level stat wise you are looking at things like K%, BB%. line drive rate, and things like that. But for the most part it is all scouting reports at raw tools (as Larry said). At the lower levels there are too many other things going on developmentally to rely on stats, for example Franco came out at mid season and said that he had been spending a lot of ABs working on driving balls the other way which he was only doing with mixed success. After he took that into the second half of the season to have a more complete game he took off statistically but you can argue he grew more as a prospect while he struggled in the first half.

      I know this for Larry, but Quinn is really good, the question with him is, how much power is there when he is not playing in Williamsport (which is a huge park), and can he stick at shortstop (the difference between All-Star ceiling and just really good center fielder). Greene has a good approach and he will need to work on his swing some to unlock the power it and still allow him to make contact. If he starts making good contact he is a player that could take off even if it is ultimately at first base.

      1. Im skeptical on Greene.. Don’t like drafting a man 5’11/6’0 235 as our 1st round “power hitter”. Williamsport is big yes but i would liked to have seen more than 2 HR. Plate discipline has been great, but i just don’t know about that pick. Tons of raw talent/power though

  20. Michael Martinez was outrighted (DFA’d and unclaimed) off the Phillies roster and assigned to AAA. Another 40 man spot open and no more guaranteed spot for MiniMart

  21. The blue jays claimed david herndon off of waivers looks like the two rule 5 draft picks impressed the phillies to much over the past 3 years.

    1. Slight bummer as I think Herndon could become a solid reliever but at least we’ve got good depth there.

  22. This just made my week, scouting reports from FIL on Jose Pujols, Dylan Cozens, and Elniery Garcia by Mark Anderson at Baseball Prospectus, I have parsed down the scouting reports here.

    Jose Pujols – OF – One of the Phillies two huge Latin American Signings ($540,000 bonus)
    Pujols is incredibly raw and just a huge kid. In the field it is a classic RF profile, he flashes a 60 arm and he is smooth out there but there is some work to be done. At the plate he shows two different sides. A mechanical deliberate swing in batting practice that has good plane and good power that had some contact issues. During games he shows a more uppercut swing that generated huge power including a giant home run. The end result is a play who is far away but has huge tools, especially power, to dream on going forward.

    Dylan Cozens – OF – 2nd round pick
    At first sight Cozen’s is impressive as a chiseled 6’6″ and looks like a physical beast. There is at least 70 raw power in his bat. However, Cozen’s swing can get long and stiff, which has caused him to struggle in adjusting to off speed pitches. He is raw in the outfield as well with the continued concern that if he gets bigger he could have to move to first base. Cozens is a huge risk but if it works out he could be really good.

    Elniery Garcia – LHP – signed out of Dominican in 2011 for minimal money
    Garcia pitched the year in the DSL and made his stateside debut in instructional leagues. At 17 years old his fastball sits 86-88, touching 90, though he has the frame to be able to sit 89-91 or a little higher. His curveball is a work in progress, but is change up is very advanced for his age. Garcia shows a good feel on the mound for pitching and his command and control are decent but held back by an inconsistent delivery. Garcia’s feel could get him a more advanced assignment in 2013 than his peers.

    1. Thanks. It made my morning … with Pujols a little Mike Stanton dreaming going on..
      I had an Upton question I was mulling;
      a) Would you rather sign BJ for however much it cost knowing that we’ll keep our prospects but likely lose our #1(they’ve got to tender hime at 13.3 for a year) or
      b) Trade for Justin accepting a significant prospect loss and take on a salary that isn’t insignificant. (Although the prospects may not be what they would’ve been 2 years ago, it woud still heart).

      Personally, I think BJs ability to play center may put him ahead of Justin’s ridiculous potential when you way the costs. Any thoughts?

      1. Trade for Justin and save the first pick at 16. He is younger and we have a plethora of SPs and relievers in the system, maybe D-Backs will take a combination of them PLUS Dom Brown for J.Upton.

        1. Arizona Diamondbacks biggest need is starting pitching. Phillies to get Justin Upton would also need to part with someone like Worley/Kendrick, the pitching prospects, and also Dom Brown.

          1. I would disagree with that, they have Hudson who will return from injury and then Bauer and Skaggs right there. That is added to Miley, Kennedy, and Cahill. They could use a catcher, a shortstop, and a corner outfielder. Other than that it is making their next wave of prospects.

            1. Shipping away Chris Young in a three-team trade allowed the Arizona Diamondbacks to bolster their bullpen and middle infield. However, there’s still a need for veteran starting pitching in the desert. Daniel Hudson will be lost for much of the 2013 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Promising talents Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs didn’t have the sort of immediate success that the D-Backs envisioned they would.

            2. Immediate success or not, Bauer and Skaggs are elite prospects. Those guys are close. DBacks don’t want to block those guys.

            3. But they are youngsters…you need a veteran presence in August/Sept stretch drive. Kennedy may be going also according to Sun rumors..

            4. Young or not they are both ultra talented and there is no way they would block either of them. The Phillies don’t have that #3 pitcher that you could entice them with. You have very good pitchers at the top and back end of the rotation guys (Kendrick and Worley are #4 starters), there isn’t anyone that the Diamondbacks would want who would provide your “veteran presence”.

            5. Talented and young equals inconsistencies, unless they are in the Lincecum/Cain mold of three years ago.

            6. You are comparing Skaggs and Bauer to Lincecum and Cain….oh please..better check out AZ Sun reports on the kids and what the team expected from them. Skaggs did not quite lite up the stage on his brief SSS indoctrination to the majors. I guess you think they are now D-Backs top-end rotation guys now?

          2. Both Uptons scare the heck out of me. I could be wrong but they strike me as those kids that always had unbelievable talent, everything came so natural to them that they didn’t have to work as hard as the next guy, constantly told how great they were, coddled blah blah.

            My point is I don’t trust their make-up or their ability to be consistent. Justin maybe BJ absolutely not. I think you need to part with a lot more than Worley or Kendrick or Brown.

            1. BJ Upton is a good player. I don’t give a f*** about his makeup. He’s a 4 WAR a year guy. That’s a good player, and someone who could add real value to this team. Especially since he just entered his prime years (age 28). He might have a lot of untapped “potential”, which will undoubtedly ruffle some of the fanbase’s feathers, but he’s still a good player and someone I could absolutely see the Phillies going after.

        2. Here we go again, playing fantasy baseball and trying to fleece the other guy. Upton is the DBacks best position player, playing a premium position. If I was the DBacks GM, I would ask for Biddle, Trevor May, Roman Quinn, and Dom Brown.

    2. Jon Mayo, on Pujols 3/4 months ago:
      Jose Pujols International Rank:16 –Height: 6’3″, Weight: 175 –Position: OF — DOB: 09/29/1995 –Bats: R, Throws: R…..Athletic, with a strong arm that might eventually land him in right field, the teenage outfielder has also displayed raw power at the plate. However, he remains an enigma because of an inconsistent approach and the fact that he sometimes seems lost when in the batter’s box, even during batting practice.
      Some think Pujols’ biggest issue is his belief that he has to hit every ball out of the park and the mixed results that come with the all-or-nothing approach. At times, he shows plus-plus power along with natural throwing and running abilities that would make him among the top prospects on the international market, but there is a concern that he might not make enough contact to stay in a lineup on a regular basis. Pujols’ natural abilities make him attractive to scouts, and he could pay dividends once he receives regular instruction in a Major League farm system. Strong performances in Florida and Arizona for the Dominican Prospect League All-Star travel squad during Spring Training have some scouts believing that Pujols is starting to put his game together

  23. I will catch hell for this but the only way to get a superior player/prospect for 3rd, CF or both is to trade Ruiz. Kratz for a year or trade for a lesser light. Sorry to upset everyone but who else is so trade about and like it or not the end of the tunnel is in sight as a catcher.

    1. Chooch will be 34, was injured for almost 2 months, and only under contract for 1 more year. Nobody is going to give anything significant (let alone a prospect at 3B) for that. And I’m saying that as a Chooch fan.

      1. This. If we could indeed fill one of those two holes by trading Ruiz, of course I’d do it in a heartbeat, despite also being a big Ruiz fan.

    2. Name names Wheels. There aren’t many impact 3B’s in the league. The ones that come to mind: Lawrie, Cabrera, Beltre, Longoria, Freese, the Panda who am I missing. None of them are available for Ruiz.

      I floated the idea a while back on checking in with the Rockies on Tulo’s availability as I think with his groin injury he is primed for a move to 3B or Bautista is a solid 3B and OF.

        1. What? I’d take Tulo off Colorado’s hands in a minute. While he Is a little fragile, he is a bona fide slugger who plays a plus 2 DEFENSIVE WAR at shortstop. He has two more seasons left in his twenties and his contract, while long, ends when he is only 35 (and at a reduced rate that year) and it is incredibly market competitive. He is one of the most valuable assets in baseball and there is zero chance you could get an equivalent replacement on the free agent market for that cost.

          1. Tulo has 8 years, $144M left. He’s more than a little fragile. If he’s getting hurt now at age 27, it’ll only get worse as he ages. You don’t get less injury prone as you age. If he’s healthy, he can seriously rake. I just don’t think he’ll be able to live up to his contract because of his injuries.

      1. Sorry I have a life but I do know the Rangers are looking for a catcher and Chooch now hits well enough to DH on his noncatching days. The fact that the crop is thin only makes this trade or acceptable. I have to take a nap now. seriously I do. Getting old is getting old.

    3. What team Wheels would want and need Chooch at his current status of age and contract? Has to be a team that is close, and why trade him in the NL to come back and bite us!. Then it comes to the AL. Maybe the Rangers?

    4. Ruiz is someone who as more value to the Phillies than anyone else. While he is a good hitter and great defensive player, the reason he has stuck on the roster so long (before his hitting carried him) was that the pitchers like throwing to him and feel comfortable about throwing the ball anywhere and he will block it. This is less about Ruiz and more about keeping the rotation that you are paying $60mil+ to happy and good.

    5. Texas wants a Catcher in the event Napoli cannot be held onto.

      Olt + for Ruiz would be a done deal for me. Love Chooch but his value’s never going to be higher and he’s not in the long term plans (hopefully… committing long term to a 35 year old catcher is a bad move).

        1. I can see that.

          My thinking was positional scarcity at catcher (there’s not a lot of guys who’re readily available that can hit like Carlos did last year AND put up great defensive numbers. At $5 million, he’d be a bargain over what they’d pay Napoli and would allow them the flexibility to sign an impact starting pitcher such as Zack Greinke.

          I could definitely see there being Ruiz + for Olt, although I don’t see Ruben balking as Carlos is too valuable for the 2013 Phillies to give up him AND prospects.

      1. Daniels would NEVER trade Olt straight up for Ruiz, let alone Olt +. He’s going to trade an impact prospect at a premium position for a 34 year old catcher who was hurt for significant time and in the last year of his contract, and who’s never played in the AL? I can see why that works for you. Now, if you want to talk Sebastian Valle (+, maybe) for Leonys Martin for our centerfield hole, that might make some sense. Especially since Valle is Mexican and that might be attractive to Texas. They could start the year with Soto while Valle seasons at AAA.

  24. I noticed Pagan was first out of the dugout after Panda’s first. I want him batting 3rd, 5th or so and Brown leading off.

    1. It looks like Ichiro wants to go back to the Yanks for 5-8mil. If he does it might make Brett Gardner expendable and he would make for a good center field option that might not cost that much.

      1. For a team that needs to get younger and more athletic, keeping Ichiro at the expense of Gardner doesn’t make much sense.

  25. It looks like Tori Hunter will be available for a two year deal for not that much money. He’s 37, his power numbers are down, and he just had a year with an unusually high babip but he’s still a good player who knows how to play, he has good at bats, and he’s still an above average outfielder. The 2nd year would trouble me but I’d take him on a 1 year deal for sure. However, it will require 2 years for whoever gets him. Any bidders?

    1. I’m with you. Hunter is probably worth a shot on a 1-year, but a 2-year deal gets risky.

      If a 2-year deal is required, it all depends on the dollars.

      1. I’d be fine with a two year deal in all honesty. He’s still good defensively and it’s easy to find a left handed bat to platoon with him if he starts to break down in year two. (Domonic Brown, for instance, could be that guy).

    2. Not the Phillies, hopefully. I’m sick of giving that extra year to guys (Ibanez, Polanco). It’s money badly spent. And no more 37 year old guys whose numbers are already in decline and could fall off a cliff any year. Is that what this line-up really needs? I’d rather take my chances with Ruf and Mayberry backing him up. Gillies could also come fast if he can stay on the field (granted, a big if). Plus, we still need a center fielder.

      1. A couple points here:

        (1) I don’t know that, in retrospect, either of those deals worked out that badly for the Phillies. Polanco had injury issues, and Ibabez’ last season was pretty bad, but the thing is, given the team’s payroll, neither contract really caused serious problems, and in both cases the options (internally and externally) were bleak. All things being equal, I think Amaro does tend to tack on that extra year, which is annoying. But I’m not sure 2 years for Hunter is at all out of line. 3 years would be.

        (2) It all comes down to the alternatives, doesn’t it? Some of us just aren’t comfortable with Ruf as a regular outfielder. We may be wrong about that, but the issue is our opinion about Ruf, not our opinion about Hunter. As for Mayberry, he is great as a back up or platoon regular. As a full time regular, he is not a serious option for a contending team.

        Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean I am a huge fan of a Hunter sign. This off season more than most, I think the moves the Phillies need to make are unclear. A center fielder? Sure. Depending on the markets (FA and trade). I don’t want to pay Hamilton 5/125. And we also don’t know if the team is willing/able to go past the luxury tax threshold this year.

        The positive case for Hunter, i guess, is this: on the one hand, if the team doesn’t make any other move, they have the spare cash for Hunter, and, if he plugs a gap on an interim basis, why not? If you’re worried about year 2 of the contract, its notable that they have only 97 million committed to 2014 (granted with a lot of hoels to fill.)

        OTOH, if they DO make a splashy move for a good CF, Hunter may be the added piece that the team needs to move back to contention. The only circumstances where a Hunter sign wouldn’t make sense would be (a) if it prevented signing or trading for a good center fielder, or (b) if it blocked a young guy. I know some of you don’t liek the move because it would block Ruf, but you know what I think about Ruf as an outfielder.

        1. Polanco in particular I would say, considering his 3 years as a whole, was a relative bargain. All the usual caveats regarding WAR, especially for a guy like Polanco whose value is mostly defense (but then the subjective take on him is also that he is a fine defender), but per fangraphs he generated 7.5 WAR in three seasons. 18 million is a bargain for that kind of production. Sure, he wasn’t so hot in year three, but maybe he doesn’t sign at all without that third year.

        2. I think we have to assume that there will be a move for a CF throughtrade or FA. I’m taking that as a given and looking at a guy like Hunter as insurance against Ruf or Brown not making it. I’m hoping that a one year deal with a player option for a 2nd year based on at bats in year one gets something done. Btw, recognize that if the Angels don’t keep Hunter, Borjos probably won’t be traded. I can’t see the Angels losing both of them.

          1. I agree with that whole statement (I think the 1+ year contract is perfect whether it is a vesting option or a mutual option), I don’t even think it is Brown/Ruf insurance you just banish them to LF as your platoon of sorts there (someone brought up how to use Ruf as a partial platoon at 1B and LF to spot Howard and Brown). You don’t put a ton of resources into someone like Hunter but it gets you a small increase, and frankly RF is open (Brown is a much better in LF) and putting a guy there doesn’t block anyone (if you go big in a corner it needs to be a guy for long term like an Upton or Gordon).

        3. I think Hunter is a greater risk than Ruf/Mayberry and if he is acquired, Cholly will stick with him through months of awful play, just as he did with Ibanez. I think you are just taking comfort in a name. Yes, his past is good, but his future is iffy.

          1. Defensively, you’re just wrong. Hunter is going to be better than that platoon, much better than Ruf. That alone makes the Ibanez comparison speciaous.

            On offense, I wouldn’t necessarily characterize it as a “risk” issue, but certainly there is a chance – likihood, really – that Hunter will exhibit age related decline. That’s from a fairly high starting point, and there is obviously uncertainty with Ruf/Mayberry as well. But if you want to look at it from a purely “risk” lens, I think the beta on Ruf is obviously much greater than the beta on Hunter. Of course. He could be a well above average hitter, or he could be the kind of player who bashes minor younger minor league pitching but can’t hit major league breaking balls and can’t adjust when that becomes almost all he sees. I’m optimistic enough to be hopeful of the former, but the latter is certainly possible and the people who simply reject the possibility out of hand are blind.

            It really comes down to what I implied earlier – the people who are against signing him are the Ruf fanboys. This isn’t about Hunter, it’s about Ruf. Obviously if you like the Mayberry/Ruf option, you’ll be against signing Hunter. For those of us sceptical of that option, he’s a reasonable option.

            1. But he won’t be an option. He’ll be the alternate choice. If Hunter is signed, then we simply won’t see Ruf and Mayberry given a chance. That could be a significant opportunity lost.

            2. Why do they need to be given a chance. Neither Ruf or Mayberry is a can’t miss prospect that needs developing. If Hunter is a better option it will because he is better than Mayberry and Ruf can be, and to this point when you factor in both hitting and defense he has proven he can be much better than both.

            3. No, if he is signed Hunter will be the starting LF for at least several months, because he is the vet. That’s how Cholly operates. I realize, some find rookies risky. Others of us find 38-year olds in the post-steroid era to be very risky.

            4. First, Hunter would be in RF where Ruf can’t play. Second, Hunter had a WAR of 5.5 this year, even if he drops off some he will be valuable, and he hasn’t been under 2.0 since 2001. A one year deal is not a huge risk especially when the floor is the ceiling of the player they are blocking.

            5. Hunter is def. 10 x better in the field than ruf and Mayberry, I would go with the platoon when it’ comes power, which we need in LF.

            6. I still think we aren’t communicating. The issue isn’t primarily risk, and isn’t really about Hunter. Many of us just don’t see Ruf as an adequate regular as a left fielder for a team that has pretensions of competing. Hunter is just better.

              You should take a risk with high upside rookies. Ruf is not that. His upside – that is, if his hitting is “for real” (and no, that doesn’t mean duplication of his AA numbers, which is not a realistic possibility, but something like a .250 BA with 30 HR), his defense will still make him a below average left fielder over all. Hunter has been better than that every year of his career, usually much better.

              I would prefer a Mayberry/Nix platoon if someone like Hunter isn’t signed. I LIKE Ruf, in the sense that I think he is likely better than the scouting consensus, could play a role as a bench guy with occassional starts in LF and 1B, and could even be a fill in at first base, his REAL position, if Howard is injured. But as part of a platoon in left, there are no circumstances where I would favor that. He isn’t really a left fielder, he is a first baseman, and learning a new position at 26, when he doesn’t even start with the physical gifts usually required for the position, is a mistake. Except in the limited sense that maybe he can play there on occassion as a bench guy.

              You have to realize how large the gap is between how Ruf is viewed by the scouting community and how he is viewed on this site. The socuting community, apart from one anonmous outlier, uniformly views him as an interesting story, but no different than the many, many players who came out of nowhere in their mid to late 20s to bash AA pitching and were never heard from again. I’m more optimistic, but his fans still don’t really comprehend how long the odds are against him making it.

  26. Glad to see Tyson Gillies is back playing these last two games. Hoping he stays healthy for the remainder of winter ball.

  27. Here’s a closers take on “closer mentality,” FWIW, from Fangraphs:

    “DL: Is there such a thing as closer-mentality?

    CJ: I think that anybody can close. That said, guys who put more weight on the inning than they otherwise do may struggle a little bit more. I definitely believe that the eighth inning can be more difficult than the ninth. Sometimes the seventh inning is more difficult than the ninth. If you can pitch, and put up a zero in one of those innings, you can put up a zero in the ninth as well. Obviously, one factor is that managers typically don’t… it’s your inning. They’re not giving you any help down there. It’s yours until you either win it or lose it.”

    More supportive of the anti-clutch position on the issue, as I read it. From a guy whose bias, you would think, would go the other way.

    1. Makes a good point how the earlier innings could be the real save situations. If a guy comes in with no outs and a one run lead, men on second or third, and gets out of it without giving up the tying run it is much more impressive than a 1-2-3 ninth with a three run lead.

  28. New Baseball America article on Ethan Martin –
    It sounds like Joe Jordan and the rest of the organization loves him. He will show a real power fastball and curveball, the change up isn’t great but it is there. After the trade his walk rate dropped to the lowest of his career (would have been much lower if not for one disastrous outing). Martin acknowledged that he was rawer coming into pro-ball than he expected and it took him a couple of years to really learn how to pitch, additionally he feels very welcomed by the Phillies (read the Phillies are high on him and see him as a starter long term). He could still take a bit longer but if he builds on a solid 2012 he could be a really good pitcher for the Phillies going forward.

    1. It was the diabetes, the reports coming out of instructional league was that he was the most impressive arm there and that there is no long term effects from the diabetes or lack of innings

    1. At this point I’m sadly but honestly thinking Gillies is a wimp. I’m sorry I is close to impossible for a guy to get so often in baseball. Maybe he’s not but he is just so fragile I can’t take it anymore!

      1. When it comes to soft tissue injuries like his hamstring it is hard to ever be the same. It might be in his best interest to just shut it down and see if the rest well help it recover. Sadly I think it will ultimately derail his career from being anywhere close to what it could have been.

      2. I just really don’t get why fans seem to need to do this … it bugs me to no end. I can even sort of understand it in some circumstances – the clutch argument, for example, given the lack of truly conclusive (as opposed to highly sugegstive) evidence, even the riseable attacks on Rollins, where there is a “real” (if minimally signficant) observable event, i.e., the occassional lack of running out ground balls at full speed.

        But here … you have a real injury that it is foolish – well, really, borderline impossible – to play through. Calling someone a “wimp” for failing to play through that injury, or because the injury keeps recurring, is mind boggling in its absurdity. I guees Theisman was a wimp for not playing through his compound fracture in 1985.

        No, the “maybe he’s not” does not redeem a foolish comment.

      1. It’d be interesting to see these games. I’m wondering if he’s seeing better off-speed stuff then he’s seen before, or if some of the umps there have a bigger strikezone?

  29. I Would bet on it being a lot of junk ball pitching. and the quality of the umpires isnt most likely major league, so it could explain the misses, cause the little sample of his at bats, that I saw indicates he has short compact swing. and a good eye. But still doesnt make him a major league hitter. he has to prove this season wasnt a fluke.

  30. I DONT want to be mean. but what are you smoking torch, imo. I have never seen a worst right fielder than pence.the guy misses fly balls

    1. I’m going to make a limited … well defense is not quite the word, push back, I guess, regarding Pence’s defense.

      First of all, even focusing soley on the past 2 seasons, there are plenty of worse right fielders. He’s a little below average. Heck, I like Brown a lot, and still have hopes for him, but he’s one right fielder who was worse just on the Phillies. I could name a half dozen others who were worse just in 2012.

      Secondly, before the past 2 years, he was actually a decent fielder. Average or even a little better. That’s the consensus of both subjective expert opinion and fielding metrics. Granted, he always looked awkward in the field, but he was correctly regarded as effective despite that.

      Finally, I just don’t get the “he missed fly balls” comment, which I’ve seen before. Yeah, errors are the most visible aspect of fielding to the casual fan, but his error rates weren’t even that bad this year or last year or, well, ever. In terms of fielding metrics, his problem is decreased range, and an arm that was an asset but is now just average.

  31. Seems Melky’s name is coming up with a few team and the Philllies pursuing the free agent, according to Joel Sherman from NY Post and

  32. On the whole “go with the kids argument, it’s been done to death to some extent, but here goes an attempt to clarify a point which seems to elude some people:

    It’s not enough to talk generically about the value of going with younger players, or the dangers of older players. To make a convincing point, you’re going to need to be specific: obviously a lousy rookie is going to be worse than a solid veteran.

    Now, I know people do that also. But they do not, i think, adequattely grasp the relative weakness of the system at the top. The system has been rated pretty universally in the bottom third in the past year, AND the consensus seems to be that the system’s strength is in the lower minors. It seems unlikely on its face that a system like that has 3 minor league players ready for roles as position regulars in the majors for a contending team.

      1. It’s the English laguage, nowheels, learning it might help you navigate the complexities of modern life in the United States.

    1. I would disagree with anyone who says the strength of the Phillies’ system is in the lower minors, unless by that they mean the most high upside players are in short season leagues. If that’s the case, it’s probably true with almost every organization.

      Also I’m looking at it from a 2012 point of view, not really 2013. Clearwater was pretty weak this year, and I’m thinking of Hi-A as the low minors still. But Reading was probably the strongest team prospect-wise when you weigh in proximity. Still, I agree that there probably aren’t that many position players ready for the majors. Ruf is probably as ready as he’ll ever be, but Asche still only has one full season of experience and Gillies can’t possibly be counted on in any capacity because of his injury problems.

  33. I pointed out at the time that Pence can here after a month long slump. Here or there he would of come out of it but he looked better than he was. And as streaky as he is on offense he is equally streaky on defense.

  34. October 26, 2012….Tim Kennelly, fresh off his stint in the Florida Instructional League, earned a win for Team Australia pitching a scoreless ninth inning by striking out all three batters he faced in an exhibition series down under. He appears to be the closer for Team Australia in the upcoming World Baseball Classic in March. Baseball is just starting up in Australia as opening day approaches next weekend in the Australia Baseball League.

  35. Two Angels I would look into…Bourjos, CF, as we commented on last week, and one Luis Jimenez for 3rd base. He has a bat with some pop but plate discipline could be better, is blocked more or less and maybe both Bourjos and jimenez can be claimed for the right price.

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