A bit of clarity was added over the weekend with addition of set up man Mike Adams into the mix as the key 8th inning bridge to Papelbon. Beyond Adams and Papelbon, the bullpen is filled with questions marks. It seems the only relievers assured of Phillies roster spots are Papelbon, Adams, and Antonio Bastardo, who was less than solid last year. After that, questions abound.
From the left side, Jeremy Horst is a front runner to land in back of Bastardo. Horst was impressive during his second half call up to the Phils, throwing in 32 games and going 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Horst struck out 40 in 31.1 innings of work.
The health of Mike Stutes is the first question mark from the right side. Recovering from significant surgery, Stutes may need some time in AAA before he reaches the level at which he pitched during the 2011 season for the Phils. The rest of the pack consists of Justin DeFratus, Phillippe Aumont, Michael Schwimer, BJ Rosenberg, Raul Valdes, and Jacob Diekman. Continue reading The Bullpen
Remember in 1994, Upper Deck came up with a “The Future is Now Twenty-X Years Old” collection. It was like Mike Piazza Future is Now 24 Years Old or Ken Griffey Jr. Future is Now 23 Years Old or whatever. And it was just extra filler cards of nice young MLBers that you waded through in the hopes of getting a Michael Jordan? This is kind of like that, except The Future Is Now us talking about stuff we would have talked about anyway and the title of the post is December 17, which is in THE FUTURE!!! And what you’re really hoping for is the BA Org Top Ten on Monday and a reasonable contract for Nick Swisher.
Up the middle talent is always at a premium and center field is no exception. Center field has not been a weakness for the Phillies up until the trade of Shane Victorino in July, this offseason the Phillies traded for a young center fielder in Ben Revere. In the system there are some interesting toolsy players who have questions ranging from their hitting, to fielding, to their injury history. Revere should give time for one of these players to unseat him as the center fielder of the future.
Like shortstop, it is not good enough to average defensively in center field and a player must be either plus defensively or plus at the plate. If a player cannot stick in center field there hope is that they have enough bat that they can stick as a fourth or fifth outfielder that can play occasionally in center.
As always if you have not read gregg’s end of year recaps for would like the refresher here is the upper half and the lower half of all outfielders in the system.
Tyson Gillies (24) – Gillies was acquired in 2009 for Cliff Lee and his career with the Phillies has never really gotten off to a good start, having played only 129 games in those three years. Gillies before the injuries had easy 80 speed and above average raw power, but his injuries have diminished both of those skills. Gillies is still a plus defensive center fielder defensively, and he has a good approach at the plate. Gillies still can drive the ball and has ok power for a center fielder (mostly gap and not home run power). All of the tools add up to a major league regular but the injury history has hindered him from reaching his ceiling. Gillies will likely be the CF in Leigh Valley to start 2013. Continue reading What to Expect in 2013: Center Field
2013’s version of Scott Elarton is….Zach Miner. The Phillies signed Miner today to a minor league contract where he is expected to land in the Lehigh Valley after two likely IronPigs candidates Trevor May and Lisalverto Bonilla were traded away over the last week.
Miner, 30, was originally a 4th round draft pick of the Braves and last pitched in the majors during the 2009 season when he went 7-5 with a 4.29 ERA in 51 games for the Tigers. Miner threw in 23 games for Toledo, the Tigers AAA affiliate last season going 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 36 innings of work.
Miner, a big righty, underwent Tommy John surgery during the 2010 season and has struggled to regain his pre-injury form.
Corner outfield like the infield corners is where teams look to put players with power and limited athleticism. Typically right fielders have to have a strong arm to make the throw to third base to prevent teams from going first to third on every single (and tagging up on fly balls), however having a plus arm in left is still a legitimate asset to a team’s defense. Up until 2010 the corners had not been a major problem for the Phillies but since the departure of Jayson Werth the Phillies have struggled to fill RF, they got a successful half season out of Hunter Pence at a very high price but otherwise the replacements in RF have been disappointments. In LF the Phillies historically have been willing to sacrifice defense in order to get a good bat into the line up.
On a whole the Phillies have drafted and signed toolsy outfielders with limited success to this point, highlighted by Dominic Brown’s current major league struggles. It does however leave the system with a good amount of players who have high upside, both in the corners and center field, that could make the jump to solid prospects.
As always if you have not read gregg’s end of year recaps for would like the refresher here is the upper half and the lower half.
Darin Ruf (26) – Ruf has been the source of much discussion this fall after a torrid end to his AA season. Going into the year he has a very good org first baseman that had some upside as a bench bat. By the end of the season Ruf had put up one of the greatest AA in Phillies history, and had hit 3 HRs in the major leagues. Ruf has been playing mostly in LF since the middle of August, where he has the tools to be average at best with an ok arm and poor speed, there have been positive reports so far from his time in winter ball. In both the majors and winter ball Ruf showed more swing and miss to his game, but he still maintained his ability to hit for power. At best Ruf can be a poor fielding, slugging LF who will provide RF power in a market where it as a premium. Ruf’s best position is first base but that is blocked by Ryan Howard’s contract. There is little to no precedent for a player of Ruf’s profile becoming a major league regular so there are no good comparable players to look at to judge how his future will project. Continue reading What to Expect in 2013: Corner Outfielders
The Phillies have been trying to acquire Young for over a year, and it appears that they have finally completed a deal involving to RH relievers with live arms in Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla.
Michael Young (36) has a long list of past accolades but they mean little now on the field as he is well into his decline phase. At the plate Young will provide a good amount of contact but there is little power or walk ability to supplement. At one point in his career Young was a good baserunner but at this point he is below average and is merely a station to station runner. In the field Young isn’t good let alone average at anywhere other than DH, but he can play third base and that is where the Phillies intend to play him full time. The Rangers are paying $10 million of Young’s $16 million 2013 salary. Continue reading Phillies Trade Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla to the Texas Rangers for Michael Young
The Phillies have found their center fielder and they have paid quite the price to get him.
Ben Revere (24) is a former first round pick, he has had a very good contact rate each stop in the minors and after a down year in his full season major league debut in 2011, he posted a .294 batting average. Overall Revere is a Juan Pierre starter kit with slightly better CF defense. Revere has 20 power and has yet to hit a HR in the major leagues (when he does it will likely be an inside the park HR) and his arm is below average but not a liability in center. Revere has plus speed and knows how to use it and can steal bases at a successful clip. Continue reading Phillies Trade Vance Worley and Trevor May to Twins for CF Ben Revere
On the last day of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 draft. The Rule 5 draft is an exciting time because it is essentially free major league talent. However, since the rules have been changed to add an extra year of protection the talent available has dropped steeply. The Rule 5 draft still offers two main types of players, the first are low upside players who can fill the last spot on a roster for very cheap, the second type are higher upside players who likely have not been above A-ball that will need to be hidden on a roster for at least a year. The Phillies have had mixed success over the year with their most recent selections who have stuck of Shane Victorino, David Herndon, and Michael Martinez.
Phillies Select Ender Inciarte (22) CF from Arizona Diamondbacks:
Inciarte, a 2008 Latin American signee, finished up 2012 on the Diamondbacks Hi-A affiliate. He has shown good plate discipline without high strikeout rates (some can be attributable to repeating a level and then the Cal League). At the plate he has a small bit of power, enough to have it above a 20 tool but not a ton. He is quick on the bases with a good base running instinct. In the field his speed plays up allowing him to be a very good defensive CF. He will be overmatched at the plate so his chance of sticking depends on his ability to be a defensive replacement in all three OF positions. His ceiling is likely as a 4th OF if everything breaks right.
No Phillies were selected in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft
Continue reading Rule 5 Draft – Phillies Select: Ender Inciarte (22) – CF
Here is your weekly general discussion. I think Matt has a Rule 5 preview coming up, also, but here’s a fresh thread for the Winter Meetings conversation and beyond.
Up the middle positions (catcher, short, second, and center field) are some of the hardest positions to fill because the defensive requirements force many players off to the corners. Shortstop and second base have been filled at the major league level for the past decade by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, but they have moved past their prime and the organization needs to look to future at the positions.
Again for those that haven’t read it or would like to refresh themselves on the end of season discussion, here is gregg’s end of season report card
Second base is a tweener position, often second baseman are short stops that don’t have the range or arm or third baseman who have the defense to play second and do not have the offensive profile for third. Teams recently have been moving players in from the outfield to second base early in their careers with some success. Second baseman have to hit, because there are no back up second baseman on the major league level. In order to be a back up a player has to be able to handle short stop to have a utility profile. Continue reading What to Expect in 2013: Middle Infield