Report Card, Middle Infield–Lehigh Valley, Reading and Clearwater

The report card for middle infielders at the upper reaches of the organization. Next up: Starting Pitching

Lehigh Valley

Reid Brignac, 28, Signed as a free agent in 2014; .279/.357/.471 for Lehigh Valley in 128 AB’s; 5HR 21RBI; 3SB; 11%bb/22%k rates; .211 vs. LHP; .289 vs. RHP. 16 games at 2B without an error (1.000); 8 games at SS without an error; 10 games at 3B with 3 errors (.870); 1 game at 1B with 1 error.  Brignac was up and down between Lehigh Valley and Philly, with the DL in between this year. In fairly limited action with the ‘Pigs he did a good job with both the bat and glove.  Grade: B; 2015: Elsewhere; Brignac will go where there is the best opportunity for major league time.  Looking at the Phils situation, the likelihood is that his major league chances are limited.

Cesar Hernandez, 24, Signed as a free agent in 2007; .290/.358/.394 in 259 AB’s between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 3HR 24RBI; 8/15SB; 10%bb/16%k rates; .250 over last month; 24 games at SS with 4 errors (.952); 21 games at 3B with 10 errors (.831); 23 games at 2B with 2 errors (.981); Hernandez bounced all around in 2014, between the minors and majors; between Reading and Lehigh Valley. They experimented with him at 3B which did not go well.  His stats at the plate were solid as they usually have been in the minors.  Bottom Line: Hernandez can be a  backup middle infielder that is far more solid at 2B. Grade: C; 2015: The Phils are in a dilemma as Hernandez will be out of options after this year, so he must make the major league roster in the Spring or all major league teams will have a shot at him.  At just 24, he is a likely candidate to be picked up if the Phils choose to outright him. 

Freddy Galvis, 24, Signed as a free agent in 2007; .267/.322/.452 in 135 AB’s for Lehigh Valley; 3HR 15RBI; 1SB; 8%bb/17%k rates; 6 games at 2B with 2 errors (.938); 3 games at 3B without an error; 34 games at SS with 1 error (.992); Galvis started the year with the Phils, played poorly, got hurt and was out an extended period of time, and then played fairly well for Lehigh Valley before being called back up to Philly in September.  Like Hernandez, he is out of options and the Phils will be faced with a difficult decision regarding Galvis’s future. Grade: C; 2015: I expected Galvis to step up far more than he did this year for the Phils.  That said, if the Phils need to make a choice, I think the Phils will lean towards keeping Galvis simply because of his advanced defense and the marginal difference between Galvis and Hernandez offensively. 

Nate Spears, 29, Signed as a free agent in 2014; .299/.352/.431 in 144 AB’s; 2HR 15RBI; 4/6SB; 2%bb/29%k rates; .138 vs. LHP; .339 vs. RHP; .250 over last month; 29 games at 2B without an error (1.000); 9 games at 3B without an error (1.000); 8 games at SS with 1 error (.957); Spears was brought in mid season from the Independent League for middle infield depth and ended up getting some playing time and playing very well.  COuldnt ask for much more out of him.  Grade: A-; 2015: I doubt Spears will be back as a 30 year old, that lacks major league talent.

Reading

Albert Cartwright, 26, Acquired from Houston in 2010; .243/.295/.315 in 445 AB’s; 3HR 23RBI; 28/37SB; 6%bb/23%k rates; .253 vs. LHP; .237 vs. RHP; .202 over last month; .233 with RISP; 82 games at 2B with 9 errors (.977); 33 games in the OF with 2 errors; 1 OF assist.  Cartwright now has well over 900 AB’s at the AA level and he is a .248 hitter with little to no power and doesnt walk enough to make up for the low average.  He does have very good speed, steals bases and plays solid defense but AA ball is probably his ceiling.  Grade: C; 2015: Possibly Lehigh Valley, but more likely another organization

Edgar Duran, 23, Signed as a free agent in 2008; .218/.275/.290 in 376 AB’s between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 4HR 27RBI; 6/13SB; 6%bb/17%k rates; .252 vs. LHP; .208 vs. RHP; .175 over last month; 89 games at SS with 16 errors (.962); 10 games at 3B without an error; 5 games at 2B with 1 error; Another whose season was mired in mediocrity.  Didnt do much at the plate and has little potential to improve on that.  Grade: D+; 2015: All depends on who the Phils decide to offer minor league free agent contracts to. 

KC Serna, 24, Signed as a free agent in 2014; .276/.304/.380 in 463 AB’s between Reading and Clearwater; 5HR 40RBI; 10/17SB; 3%bb/13%k rates. FOr Reading: .273/.290/.364 in 165 AB’s; 51 games at SS with 8 errors (.967); 30 games at 3B with 5 errors (.938); 33 games at 2B with 4 errors (.978).  Serna was extremely solid all year long after spending 2013 in the Independent League.  The Phils would be wise to bring him back as he can hit and is a versatile middle infielder that can play at the upper levels of the minors.  Grade: B+; 2015: Reading as a super utility player

Clearwater

Angelo Mora, 21, Signed as a free agent in 2010; .227/.284/.310 in 353 AB’s; 3HR 27RBI; 3/11SB; 7%bb/21%k rates; .190 vs. LHP; .241 vs. RHP; .177 over last month; 68 games at 2B with 9 errors (.971); 27 games at SS with 4 errors (.967); 11 games in the OF with 1 error and 1 assist. Grade: C-; 2015: Very dependant upon where Pullin and Valentin land.  Mora was “fine” in ’14.  He provided minimal offense, decent defense and versatility up the middle.  He likely will land where there is a need for a 3rd or 4th middle infielder.

Jesmuel Valentin, 20, Acquired from Dodgers in 2014; .205/.255/.250 in 44 AB’s with CLearwater; 0HR 0RBI; Hit .280/.349/.430 in 407 AB’s with Great Lakes(A) in the Dodgers organization; 7HR 47RBI; 24SB; 117 games at 2B with 14 errors (.975).  Grade: Inc. 2015: Clearwater.  Only a couple of weeks in the Phils organization so very difficult to review his year beyond the numbers.  The numbers were very positive for Great Lakes and the Phils will have a dilemma as to how to get both Valentin and Pullin AB’s at Clearwater, which is the level both belong.

JP Crawford, 19, Phils 1st round pick in 2013; .285/.375/.406 in 463 AB’s between Lakewood and CLearwater; 11HR 48RBI; 24/38SB; 12%bb/14%k rates; .267 over last month; For Clearwater: .275/.352/.407 in 236 AB’s; 8HR 29RBI; .279 vs. LHP; .274 vs. RHP; 121 games at SS with 29 errors (.951). Grade: A-; 2015: Reading.  Simply outstanding for Crawford this year.  Excellent production for anyone, let alone a 19 year old.  Only blip is too many errors this year.

44 thoughts on “Report Card, Middle Infield–Lehigh Valley, Reading and Clearwater

  1. Only an A- for Crawford? There is no grade inflation crisis at PhuturePhillies University.

    1. Depends what your expectations for him were this year. I’m not too surprised that he ended the year in Clearwater, although he hit better there than I probably would have expected. An A- is fair, imo. I might have gone with a B+.

      1. I think A- or B+ are both acceptable for sure. Crawford did a lot more than was expected of him. I did not anticipate his offensive numbers to be quite this good, especially his power and plate discipline. Regardless of what grade we want to give him, he has been great for us and should see a good amount of time at Reading next year. Who knows maybe he will even get some action for the iron pigs as well. I think there are going to be a lot of teams that will regret not taking this kid in the draft. Teams must have just not projected his bat to be good enough and thus he hung around long enough for us to get him 16th overall.

        1. If Crawford isn’t deserving of an A for his performance this year, errors and all, I don’t know what your standards of excellence are. He’s quite simply had one of the most encouraging seasons of any Phillies prospect in the history of this site. Maybe the only comparable one I can think of is Franco last year, but even then, his performance was accompanied by some cautionary notes from various writers/scouts who saw him in person. Crawford, by contrast, seems to be drawing nothing but raves, including raves about his defense. And on that, let’s not forget that errors are a pretty crude and sometimes misleading way to judge a prospect.

          I realize it’s kind of nitpicky to question the difference between an A- or a B+ and an A, but I think this bespeaks a bigger evaluation issue we have on this site. Crawford is the best thing to come through this system in a long time, by a large margin.

          1. Not saying his performance wasn’t excellent, but giving a guy an A or A+ here says that he far exceeded expectations. I think we knew that Crawford was a great prospect coming into this year. He’s raised his stock, but I’m not stunned by what he did.

        2. I forgot to mention that according to mlb prospect watch, only four players drafted in 2013 are ranked higher in the top 100 than Crawford. 2013 draft had Bryant (2), Jon Gray (3 ), Kohl Stewart (4), and Hunter Harvey at (22).

          2014 prospect list has
          -Bryant at 3
          -Jon Gray at 13
          -Kohl Stewart at 23
          -Hunter Harvey at 33
          -JP Crawford at 34

          Nice to see we really made a good choice with Crawford. A good number of guys selected in front of him are now ranked behind him in the top 100. Here’s the link.

          http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2014/ipad/#list=prospects

      2. I disagree. Crawford struggled in his first taste of Lakewood last year. He may have crushed rookie ball, but we’re talking about jumping up two levels to full-season ball.

        I think plenty of people expected him to struggle in Lakewood and spend the whole year there, or at best to get a taste of Clearwater towards the end of the year. Instead he lit up Lakewood and forced his way to Clearwater mid-year, and THEN he adjusted to Clearwater in a hurry.

        Basically he’s heading into next year a level ahead of expectations. I think that’s a clear A+. (Also, I haven’t heard anything bad about his defense, and errors are almost meaningless).

        1. We could debate what the majority opinion was, I guess, but I wasn’t fazed by his trouble in Lakewood last year. For one thing, it was a SSS of 60 PAs. Plus, in that sample size his peripherals were still pretty good with a solid K%, high BB% and a line drive % that hasn’t really changed this year. But last year in Lakewood he had a .256 BABIP and this year it was .337.

          Furthermore, I wouldn’t say he lit up Lakewood or Clearwater this year, Impressive, sure, but a sub .800 OPS at both levels doesn’t make me drop my jaw. For me, a guy like Crawford would need to put up Mookie Betts numbers to get an A+.

          1. 132 wRC+ in Lakewood and 119 wRC+ in Clearwater as a 19-year old glove-first shortstop in his first full year as a pro.

            The highest wRC+ in MLB from a qualified shortstop this year is 128 (Hanley).

  2. I agree that 1 of Hernandez and Galvis will make the big league roster. The other will go to another organization (probably). I also think Galvis would be the better choice but the way the Phils luck is going whoever leaves will become a superstar (just kidding but really not). Crawford is at the top of his game right now. I’m not worried about the errors. We can all cite example after example of major leaguer stars and superstars who had a bunch of errors in various levels of the minor leagues. I just don’t know about Valentin, which is what I would say about any prospect who is new to me. Would the Dodgers give him up, if they thought he was going to be something special? If we were talking about the Phillies organization, I would say yes to that question. Maybe the Dodgers needed Hernandez that much that they would part with him. Right now, I think Valentin is a super-sub type but not a regular. I hope to hell I’m wrong.

    1. Can’t we keep both Hernandez and Galvis next year? I would just have the bench be those two, RUf (if they insist on playing Howard), backup catcher, and a fifth OF. I’d rather give Hernandez a roster spot than a retread 30 Y/O middle infielder.

      1. Well, at some point there will also be the Asche/Franco question to address. They’ll also need someone who can backup Revere in CF. But as you can see below, I think the answer may come by subtracting Howard from the equation.

        1. If the Phillies are looking like they have a playoff shot come June, when Franco should be ready to come up, Utley or ROllins may well be traded. It really would be the logical thing to do.

      2. Not sure why we’d want to keep Hernandez to be honest. The bench needs an upgrade and a guy that really only plays an effective 2B with a decent bat doesn’t do it. I’d prefer an upgrade there.

        Galvis in the other hand can at least give you plus defense at 3 positions. Only way I see Hernandez making the team is if Rollins leaves and a Galvis is the starting SS

      3. I agree with trying to hang on to both Freddy and Cesar…both switch-hitters and we all know Freddy’s versatility in the field,
        Cesar , in a dire pinch can probably play a little LF and CF, besides 2nd base. Plus they have one more year under their MLB belt so to speak, which can be helpful.

    2. I don’t see any reason why they won’t be able to hold onto both Galvis and Hernandez next year, at least to start. Also, there’s at least a decent chance that they will trade or release Howard in the offseason, which as many have noted would allow Utley to move over to first at least some games, which would make it more possible to carry a backup 2B. I see little chance that Galvis isn’t on the team next year. He can play most every position defensively and Sandberg seems to love him.

  3. Freddy and Cesar can both stay. Remember, this is a team that carried Michael Martinez for 3 years, Ben Francisco for 2, and john Mayberry jr., for 4.

    Howard needs to be gone.

    I have no problem having ruf at first, Cody at third and utley and Rollins up the middle. With Cesar and Freddy, both chase and jimmy should get scheduled time off.

    See where you’re at by the allstar break. But come July 1st, maikel needs to be up. Nothing wrong with slowing down his arb clock in our crappy years. First half of next year is a sink or sink or swim year for ruf and dom brown.

    One thing Phil’s have right now is time.

    1. Aside from the unfair references to Francisco and Mayberry, I agree.

      One kind of side issue: what happens if they sign Tomas? I would say they should probably trade Byrd – even though the return likely will be low. But trading Brown is an option, although the return might be even lower. I get the counter argument – Byrd will absolutely not be part of the next contending Phillies team, whereas Brown still could turn things around and be part of the next contending team. But I feel like the chance of that is low. With both his hitting AND fielding problematic, it’s hard to see even a best case that’s much better than an average regular.

      1. If they sign Tomas they should trade Byrd and give Brown one last year but I think the plan is to trade Brown and see if they can sign Sizemore as insurance on a one year deal.

        In other words, the logical option is not in play here.

        1. I agree, but I just don’t really see it as being that big of a deal. I think the chance that Brown becomes even an average regular is well under 20%, and the chances he is much more than that almost nil.

      2. Brown has to go. If they sign Tomas, Asche and Brown need to be on the same program. They both play everyday until July when Franco’s arb clock delays and Tomas has gotten his legs back under him. Hopefully they can both play well enough to drum up some decent trade value. If they could get a couple of controllable starting pitchers for Asche and/or Brown, that’s more value than they’ll get out of them in the field. I don’t care if they trade Byrd or not. One of the combination of Quinn/Dugan/Cozens will be in the outfield for the next contender with Revere and Tomas, it won’t be Brown or Byrd.

    2. Lineup vs LHP
      1 Revere CF
      2 Rollins SS
      3 Utley 2B
      4 Byrd RF
      5 Ruf 1B
      6 Franco 3B
      7 Asche LF
      8 Ruiz C

      Lineup vs RHP
      1 Revere CF
      2 Rollins SS
      3 Utley 1B
      4 Byrd RF
      5 Franco 3B
      6 Asche LF
      7 Ruiz C
      8 Galvis 2B

  4. Thank you for finally realizing that JPC is a defensive liability. I don’t care how old he is. A ground ball is still a ground ball at any age. He also has limited range in the 5 hole and is weak on slowly hiy balls at him. Maybe poor reactions.

    1. This literally flies in the face of every professional opinion of his defense I have ever read. Things I’ve read from people paid for a living to evaluate minor league talent:
      “Natural shortstop”
      “Above average”
      “Smooth actions”
      “…smooth…”
      “…mature…”

      You know. Highly positive things. I don’t think I’ve ever read from any non-anonymous source that he is a “Defensive liability”.

  5. I wouldn’t call JPC a defensive liability. I would say that JPC is very young and needs to significantly improve his defense and become much more consistent. If you have seen him play, you’d know he is VERY smooth. He is just a young guy that needs to get more consistent on the routine plays. He’ll start in Reading next year and then we’ll see how he does. The handling of Valentin and Pullin next year will certainly be interesting. They both need to play every day and I don’t think either is worthy of AA so it might mean that Pullin starts back at LWood, which would suck for him. He obviously wants to go up to CWater, with most of his LWood teammates. Green and Walding will already be sharing 3B (unless Green stays at 1B) so there’s no time there either.
    Serna was a very intriguing find. On paper he did a very nice job and I think has a chance to be the LHV starting SS next year. By the way, I think they like Cartright for his speed and versatility and will keep him. I expect Cesar to go unclaimed and end up as the starting 2B at LHV. He doesn’t play SS well enough to be a major league utility guy and I don’t think he’s good enough to be a starting 2B either. He has to hope the Phillies only carry a 7 man bullpen to carry an extra bench guy because he’s not going to earn a spot on a 4 man bench (C, IF, bat, CF/OF). Galvis on the other hand will make the team with Ruf and a catcher and they’ll look for someone who plays CF who hits more than Gwynn, Jr.

      1. That’s certainly not what the metrics say – not by a long shot.* Granted, the SS on Hernandez is low. But IMO the question isn’t “who’s better,” it’s “just how much better is Utley.”

        *On a 162 game basis, UZR shows Utley as 34.5 runs better. Which is almost certainly too high. But I’d be surprised if the “real” gap is any smaller than 10 runs.

        1. Perhaps the metrics today show Utley as better.
          But when going forward it is hard to say that Chase Utley will maintain that consistency vs Hernandez trending downward defensively.

          1. Well at SOME point Hernandez will pass him. Though it may not be until Utley is 40.

            On the one hand, Utley has remained a plus defender. Given that his defense has always depended more on positioning/smarts/sure-handedness than speed, I don’t see him a likely candidate for severe regression.

            On the other hand, I have never seen any convincing evidence to support the belief among some fans that Hernandez is a plus defender.

            1. The only past evidence I can recall was back.2011 or 2012, Hernandez was ranked by BP or BA as 5th best 2nd basemen in the minor leagues.
              I would hope his defense has improved since then.

          2. I had this argument before with fielding metrics, they aren’t really accurate, but that being said, Hernandez being better than chase is hard to believe, chase just on his experience and knowing the hitters has the edge, and we haven’t seen enough of herdanez at second to really judge. its a mute argument right now. imo

    1. Except that that’s not how they have structured the bench in the past.

      First of all, they have almost always gone with a 5 men bench and almost certainly will next season.

      If they don’t – again, likely a moot point – ANY configuration is problematic. But having both Hernandez and Galvis both would IMO be less problematic than some other alternatives. Basically the “bat” has to be capable of playing corner OF. That’s Ruf for next year. That leaves the “CF/OF” guy. But a “CF/2B/3B/probably corner OF, SS in a pinch” guy – Hernandez – gives you much more positional flexibility with not much loss of hitting (since virtually any bench player who can play an acceptable CF will be limited offensively).

    1. Doesn’t he have legal immigration documentation that still need to be completed and accomplished? I heard somewhere, it could be December time-frame.

    2. Not to rain on everyone’s parade, but if past performance is the best indicator of future performance, the Phillies will not sign Tomas. Unless they take an unprecedented step forward in franchise history, they will be one of the early bidders but will drop out long before the bidding ends. The Phillies have never paid top dollar or anything close to that for an unproven foreign player. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it. Prove me wrong Phillies, I dare you.

      1. I’m not entirely sold on Tomas . There is a lot of swing and miss in his game and he hasn’t done well against top competition.

        1. I would tend to lean that way….but how many positional Cubans have failed in the last three years or so since they have hit the market?.
          I would take the risk and sign him big….he is 23/24-years old and does have the power tool, and can play a corner OF, probably better then anyone on the team other then anyone named Marlon Byrd.

  6. All you statisticians out there how is Galvis rated for speed and quickness. Maybe it is an illusion, but sometimes he seems incredibly slow to me. Also, do you think Utley feels old tonight?

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