Monthly Archives: December 2014

More Ben Lively info

Thanks to Jim for putting up the post when the deal went down. Here is some more analysis and info on Lively. has already moved Lively to the Phillies section of their coverage and ranked him #8 overall. Heres what they have to say on his stuff:

None of Lively’s pitches jump off the page, but he does have four of them that he can throw for strikes. His fastball can touch 93-94 mph, and his slider shows signs of being a potential above-average pitch, as well. Lively mixes in his curve and changeup well to keep hitters guessing. All of his stuff plays up because of his unusual delivery in which his arm stays hidden, making it tough for hitters to pick up the ball.

In their league top 20s this year, Lively was ranked 16th in the Cal League and then 20th in the Southern League. Given that there are 10 teams in the CAL and 10 teams in the SOU, it means it is moderately difficult to make the list, and that he made both is promising. Here are some highlights from those BA writeups

CAL: Lively’s delivery features deception—his arm angle drops slightly and he throws across his body—helping his fastball get inon hitters. He’ll pound all quadrants of the strike zone with command of a 91-92 mph fastball that bumps 94.

SOU: Lively ranges from 88-92 mph and sits at about 90, often working up and over the plate, but batters struggle to square him up because they don’t see the ball until the last instant. He throws what one manager deemed an “invisible” fastball. Lively’s low-80s curveball can be an out pitch for him, for he executed it with more depth in 2014, and his slider and changeup grade as major league average. When scouts factor in plus control, they come away convinced Lively can be at least a durable No. 4 starter.

Here are video clips: one, two, and three.

BP ranked him #7 in the Reds system, giving him a future #3 SP profile. They also had him 88-92, with a plus slider and average change and curve. They note the biggest question mark is about his delivery and mechanics, and whether he will be able to repeat them well enough to be a consistent starting pitcher.

Nevertheless, to receive a potential MLB starter who will be worth a win or two a year at worst, for a guy who was not in the long term plans, its a nice get by the Phillies.

So, which piece is next to go?

Phillies Acquire Reds’ Lively

The long-awaited trade of Marlon Byrd has finally occured.  The Phillies sent Byrd and cash to the Cincinnati Reds for RHP Ben Lively.  The trade caps weeks of anticipation by Phillies’ fans who have been waiting for the team to turn their few marketable assets into young prospects.

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50

Lively was the Reds 4th round pick (#135) in 2013.  He pitched for Pensacola, the Reds AA affiliate in the Southern League.  He was ranked as the Reds #8 prospect by MLB.

Lively began the year as the Reds’ preseason #13 and received the 2014 Minor League Player of the Year Award for the Reds as voted by the Cincinnati chapter of the BBWAA.

Reader Top 30 #7

Position #6 goes to Jesse Biddle.  Once again, the victory is by plurality (44%) not a majority .  Twenty-three players received votes with 7 players other than Biddle (143 votes) receiving double-digit votes.

Willians Astudillo, Manuel Chavez, Rhys Hoskins, Brandon Leibrandt, and Jose Pujols have been added to poll #7.

Continue reading Reader Top 30 #7

Reader Top 30 #5

It’s Roman Quinn by a large margin in what many thought would be a close race. The top 4 prospects as voted by you so far with the # of votes, % of vote, and margin over next prospect –

  1. J.P. Crawford, 318 votes (of 356), 89.3%, by 301 votes over Maikel Franco (17 votes).
  2. Aaron Nola, 203 votes (of 430), 47.21%, by 14 votes over Maikel Franco (189 votes).
  3. Maikel Franco, 349 votes (of 416), 83.89%, by 321 votes over Roman Quinn (28 votes).
  4. Roman Quinn, 241 votes (of 384), 62.76%, by 191 votes over Zach Eflin (50 votes).

Although the top 4 prospects received 1371 of 1586 votes cast (86.44%) and outdistanced other prospects by convincing margins, somehow the remaining votes cast for the top 4 spots were divided among 27 different players.

Up next #5, should start to get interesting now. Continue reading Reader Top 30 #5

Open Discussion: Week of December 29, 2014

So, under the tree we found RHP Stephen Shackleford and 2B Tyler Henson. I guess we’ve been naughty. Very naughty. But a couple days later, a gift from a favorite aunt arrived containing LHP Wandy Rodriguez.  This last present is reported to have signed a minor league contract, has to pass a physical to finalize the deal, and may be invited to spring training.

For those of us who attend games during spring training, we might have the promise of a BIG present. The scoreboard at Bright House Field has been demolished, and a new board is supposed to be installed by the start of spring training. Unfortunately, the garish billboards (for Hooters, Budweiser, Tampa Times, and Lenny’s) that offer such a stark contrast to an automated board are still intact.

Speaking of spring training, I am going to miss Jimmy Rollins in camp this year.  I’ve always felt that Jimmy was the heart and personality of the team. I have often seen him bringing team mates over to sign autographs for fans during the short breaks that occur between drills.

I’m afraid that the only other big move we may see is a deal that moves Marlon Bird. Rumors about Cole Hamels will probably continue, but I hope the asking price remains high.  I don’t want to “settle” just for the sake of making a trade.  If a trade doesn’t materialize, then there is always the trading deadline, or next off season.  And if a trade never happens, then Hamels can anchor the staff until the team competes for a playoff berth in much the same way that Steve Carlton held the staff together after his 1972 season until the rest of that team was strong enough to compete.

The floor is open.  Discuss.

Winter Ball Round Up: Dec. 21 – Dec. 27

The Winter League regular seasons are winding down.

  • DWL – ended on 12/21/2014.
  • Mexican League – ends on 12/29/2014.
  • VWL and Puerto Rican leagues – end on 12/30/2014.
  • The Australian League – ends on 1/25/2015.

And then their respective post seasons will start. Continue reading Winter Ball Round Up: Dec. 21 – Dec. 27

Transactions: Dec. 13-23

We all know that the Phillies traded Jimmy Rollins and cash to the Dodgers for RHP Zach Eflin and LHP Tom Windle.  We ‘ve also read that they have signed minor leaguers RHP Sean O’Sullivan (re-signed), RHP Kevin Slowey and 1B Chris McGuiness.

Baseball America also reported that the Phillies have signed RHP Stephen Shackleford and 2B Tyler Henson (re-signed).  Additionally BA reported that they have released RHP Ricky Bielski, RHP Josh Warner, LHP Angelo Almonte, LHP Rivar Angulo, 1B Chris Serritella, and SS Enmanuel Serra.

Reader Top 30 #4

Maikel Franco is deemed to be the organization’s #3 prospect getting 84% of the vote.

I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas yesterday.  The days leading up were saddened by a family event earlier in the week and doubled with more sad news on Christmas Day.  The daily poll may be sporadic the next week as I attend to other matters.  I plan on posting an Open Discussion for next week, and I hope to post poll #5 Sunday night, as well as a Winter Ball update if enough games were played to make it worthwhile and I can find the time.

Once again, I ask that you consider submitting your personal top 30 to with the Subject line – Poll.  I’m using them to determine who I add to the poll.  I can’t use the write-in votes, some of them are pretty wild – Larry Greene, for instance.  So nine players who showed up on a majority of ballots are being added today – Aaron Brown, Luis Encarnacion, Zach Green, Franklyn Kilome, Yoel Mecias, Nefi Ogando, Ricardo Pinto, Andrew Pullin, Joely Rodriguez.  Suggestions can also be sent to the address above with the Subject line, Add. Continue reading Reader Top 30 #4