Open Discussion: Week of September 21st

Here’s an open discussion thread so the minor league posts don’t get cluttered with Phillies’ talk and other topics.

  • Adam Morgan, Jerad Eickhoff, and Aaron Nola all pitched well against the Atlanta Braves this weekend.  Things are looking good for the pitching staff in 2016.
  • The Phillies pulled off a major coup with a three-game, reverse-sweep in Atlanta this weekend.  In spite of the great pitching from their young starters, they managed to lose 2-1, 2-1, and 2-1.  Plus, Eickhoff and Nola managed to avoid taking losses.
  • The three-game sweep and their current six-game losing streak have put the Phillies back in the driver’s seat in their drive for the number one pick.  They now have a four game lead, plus tie-breaker, over the Braves with 12 games remaining in the season.
  • With 94 losses, it’s a cinch that the Phillies reach 100 losses just four seasons after posting a 102-win season.
  • The Phillies have shutdown Adam Morgan for the remainder of the season.  Aaron Nola may remain in the rotation for the rest of the season.
  • One GM candidate is off the market as the Brewers are expected to announce that they will hire Astros 30-year old, Assistant GM, David Stearns, as their GM.
  • I’ll post the Weekly Prospects Discussion tomorrow.

159 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of September 21st

  1. I wish the Phillies could figure out a way to trade for one of those competitive balance picks. Having the large signing pool that goes along with the 1st round pick allows you to go way over-slot on your next pick, but having to wait until the 40th pick, there may not be anybody worth the over-slot.

    1. VOR…what do you think it would take, who and how many players to acquire one of those picks? Or, as some have mentioned, would it be a combination of a young player and taking on a salary, like they did with Harrison?

      1. I’d say the Phillies don’t have the talent currency to make a deal, so they would have to accept a bad salary to get a pick. If you just looked at pieces that may be able to grab someone’s attention in a trade, but could be expendable. I’d say Jorge Alfaro or Roman Quinn are the only semi-expendable pieces that could possibly fetch a comp-pick.

        1. The Reds have some concerns with their catching if Devin M. does not come back fully healthy from his surgery, not sure they are sold yet on Barnhart or Cabrera…though Skipworth may be their future.
          Maybe Alfaro, as highly-rated catching insurance, could be dangled for their selection, which is the first comp. bal. pick in round A.

          1. I definitely would not trade one of our prospects (who’s a top 100 guy) for a competitive balance pick. This is not basketball or football. I would rather take on somebody’s bad salary (but not Choo’s contract, that’s insane) for the pick.

          2. Why would you trade a Top 50 prospect for a comp pick? Or for that matter Roman Quinn. Every year 10-15 of the past year’s draft make the Top 100 prospects. You are talking about the 30th something pick in the draft, that is not a premium or safe piece in the slightest

            1. Easy….though not Quinn, but Alfaro.
              Do the metrics on him and projection…..does not pan out as a top-rate catcher.
              PAs-1800…..25%K ….5%BB…delta 20…screams red-flag
              BA.261 OBP.326….delta not bad, but guy supposedly with power has an OPS <.800…His hit tool grades 50 or less, power is plus, but Krate is too high/
              Steamer projection ISO.132, ZIPs, 146
              Defensively….poor….arm is only asset but still cannot throw out runners, lead most leagues in pass balls….. but will give him the benefit of the doubt…pitchers were not able to hold runners and were also wild.
              He may need another 2/3 years in the minors to get his catching abilities up to par.

            2. Further when you reference ratings….why is the number one catcher rated, so low in total prospects?
              MLB, though graded different then BA, but number one catcher, but number 62 in top 100.

            3. Romus, for all of your comments against Alfaro, he’s still a top 100 prospect. The 33rd pick is no lock to even be better than Alfaro. Again, this is baseball drafting. It’s hard to draft players that make it into the top 100. Just look back at 2012, Shane Watson and Zach Elfin were supplemental picks. In fact, go through the last 5 years of supplemental picks. It’s ugly.

            4. Guru..hope you are right about Alfaro…..he projects to me to be a BA240/250….OBP325 hitter….but if he pops 20/25HR I guess that is fine for a catcher.

            5. Romus, all prospects have risk, but taking unnecessary risk is not a recipe for success.

              Supplemental picks have a 16% chance to play 3 years in MLB http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/one-in-six-draft-picks-will-click/

              Between 2000 and 2010, there were 4 players who were drafted between the 30th pick and 50th pick that became AllStars at the major league level. Only 4! That means a 4 in 220 chance or 1.8% chance. https://www.bsports.com/iotd/mlb-draft-day-the-success-of-first-round-picks#.VgFTnSBViko

              Alfaro is no guarantee to be an MLB regular or an AllStar, but given his tools and age, he has a greater than 16% chance to be a regular and I would guess greater than 2% chance of being an All Star.

              A catcher with an elite arm and elite power who is 22 and already had 300 ABs in AA is extremely rare. Zero chance of that happening with the 35th – 40th pick. Alfaro is such a good prospect that he was the key prospect in a trade for an Ace mlb pitcher.

              Trading that type of prospect for a pick in the 30s makes no sense.

            6. v1…..hope you are right…he would be an ideal power hitting catcher.
              But as LarryM has often stated in the past….and incidentally is a marker for a good prediction….ball players , for the most part, rarely outperform their minor league metrics and when they do….it usually is the below-the-age-zone players who have done that…..ie Punch Rodriguez who at 17-19age seasons (MLB at age 19), had metrics just a little better then Jorge Alfaro’s….but Alfaro was years older. And then there is his defensive, which needs refinement….and the worrisome weight gain that the Rangers had concerns with……from 2013- 185lbs to 2015- 225lbs. Not sure that added weight benefits his ankle long-term
              If the Phillies have patience and he isn’t rushed …he could be anideal back-stop after 2 or 3 more seasons in AA/AAA.

            7. v1……on the table of success……I am no math major…..but lets say going thru the first ten rounds …every pick AFTER the 1st supplemental of 15.8%, would come up to a 48.6% probability of a three-year MLB time, since a team has a chance of selecting anyone after the 33rd pick.
              So why isn’t it a 48.6% chance at that point.
              I would need a math major to explain that to me.

            8. 1. On your math question, there is a 41% chance that one of the 5 picks selected from the supplemental round through the 5th round will play 3 years in the majors. But your point was that we should trade Alfaro for only 1 supplemental pick. So the probability that that player selected plays 3 years in the majors is only 16%.

              2. I would love to see the stats that suggest that major league players do not out perform minor league numbers. I don’t think that is true at all.
              – For example, it is well known that power develops later.
              – There are also a ton of examples of players developing better plate discipline as they get older.
              – Catchers, in particular, typically get better as they get older.
              – You can make the case that players get slower as they get older, but speed was never a major tool for Alfaro.

              That quote (which you attribute to Larry) is completely false. I don’t recall him making that statement, but it is wrong.

            9. One other thing…the offensive bar is so low for Catchers. So a catcher with a 50 hit tool and 70 power, to go with a 70 arm, that’s the profile of an All Star.

            10. v1……you are correct, players do get better….but when it comes to comparing their minor league metrics, the ones that have ‘below-the-zone age level’ advancement, it happens more so then the ones who are older for their age level……for example Darin Ruf comes to mind…..he can eventually have that eruption at what he had at his AA level, but doubt it is sustained.
              I see the same for Aaron Altherr and Darnell Sweeney, come next June, when they could be hovering in the BA240-OBP300 range. All had been relatively advanced age at AA/AAA.
              And yes….LarryM has posted that on more then one occasion.

            11. well, you weren’t discussing performance of an older player. you were discussing the performance of a 22 year old catcher who had 300 ABs at AA already (1/3rd of which came when he was 21).

            12. V1 — I think your general point is correct, but asking guys drafted in 2009 or 2010 to be All Stars, especially the H.S. draftees is asking a lot. I agree that Alfaro has a lot more ability than I guy we can pick at #33 — he also is a lot closer to the major leagues, which is important, also. A lot of the scouting summaries give Alfaro elite tools in arm and raw power and average hit tool. He has been very young for his age at just about every level. He needs to sit at the AA level until he blossoms (or not, which certainly is a possibility). My major concern is the ankle injury. I think Alfaro is easily our highest ceiling catcher. Knapp has a VERY short history of success with the bat and his D is also still a work in progress. Just last season Rupp struggled to bat .200. Not every ‘top 100 in baseball’ prospect is going to make it, but there is a reason they are ranked where they are. Admittedly, a lot of that ranking is tools, but Alfaro’s offensive performance has been very good for a catcher; age adjust and that performance is excellent.

              If I were trading for a comp pick, I’d certainly take on a bad contract. I’d consider trading a guy like Asche.

            13. I’m not sure I’ve seen a worse idea on here than trading a Top-50 prospect for the 33rd pick in the draft. That’s not taking a step backwards, that’s shooting yourself in the face while trying to look smart. No thanks.

              Like Matt said, it doesn’t make sense trading Quinn for that slot, let alone Alfaro. No thanks.

          3. IMO there’s no right or wrong answer in trading alfaro for a comp risk – not unless someone is certain what alfaro can be. but the issue i can see in this thought is we don’t know who will be there in the comp pick – maybe another LGJ or Watson or Gueller or can be anybody – so trading a top 100 prospect for an uncertain ‘to be named during the draft” can be a lot of risk considering phils is already risk losing a potential power bat at a premium position —- this for me is way too much risk to take unless you don’t personally like alfaro. i rather have the phils take on a touki toussant way — getting talent for $$. the advantage of MLB draft is there power in numbers – 40 picks. good scouting reduces risks (and costs of overpaying) and the phils would rather spend their $$ for scouts who can hit on players. likewise, there are still gems falling in the later rounds because of signability issues and if the phillies can be creative enough to use the assigned bonus slots to sign them.

          4. another way i want the phils to consider is utilize the strength of their farm which is — depth. the phils can consider trading some of their “excess assets” (i.e y rios, JDT, nunez, murray, mora even lively, joely etc.) for bonus slots, lottery tickets like players in low minors and consolidate these “excess assets” for a better prospects. thre are probably at least 5 teams with weak farm which the phils can talk to. not sure if this is possible but just a thought.

            1. Phillies do not have excess assets, also Amaro before he left said they had erred when they made the Lee trade, because the players they got, were too far away from the Bigs. You will find, that they, value current minor leaguers whom they have worked with, know and have developed, far greater, than draft picks they are much less familiar with.

            2. These “excess assets” that the Phillies have, most teams have. You’re talking about relievers, B type prospects, future bench players, quad A players. Sure, you might be able to swing a trade for some of them, but I don’t think you’ll get anything substantial in return, and certainly not a comp pick.

            3. Marlins for one have a very weak farm now…..and someone like a Ben Lively arm could fetch some additional international allocation money at some point down the road. Phillies could get up to 50% of what their allocation will be for 2016’s July 2nd start date.

            4. @ romus – yup, MIA together with DET, LAA, SD, BAL and even SEA can be potential targets for low end prospects for either $$ (like the Knigge trade), bonus slots or low minor players who are under the radar or under developed. we have a lot of 23 to 26 yo minor league players that are “decent”. flip them before the phils lose them in rule V or FA. low risk, low maintenance but can yield possible gems and open slots for younger players. this is NOT a high priority but just an option the FO can explore.

          5. @guru – yes, i’m referring to B or mid-level prospects especially the ones which are closer to majors (born in 1990 to 1992 minors). i didn’t say get a substantial return or comp pick, but bonus slots and players from lower minors that are under the radar. and i also mentioned that teams with weak farm (about 5 of them) should be the target trade partner, not the whole MLB like what you’re saying.

            1. You guys make it sound so easy to do. And if there’s only 5 teams with a weak farm system, then that means that there’s 25 teams (Phillies included) with the depth to trade. So tell me again why the Phillies B prospects are better than other teams’ B prospects?

            2. IMO, I think the return may not be I’m the form of prospects but money for LA signings. But then again, the teams that will trade, like the D-Backs when the Phillies acquired Jhailyn Ortiz, will be teams that are under the penalty phase…..so they may not after all be weak farm systems…..just restricted in the LA market, with excess money to ‘sell’.

            3. Every team in the majors has a farm system loaded with Rios, Joely and Mora types. The Phillies couldn’t get a 2nd round comp pick, for all three of them combined. The Phillies don’t have excess in their system, just pretty good depth at catcher.

      1. Perhaps we could list the reasons to give him 2 starts in the bigs.

        Adam amorgan just went to instructional.

        It would introduce him to the stadium and ‘the show’.

        It would be a no pressure exposure.

        It would allow him to test his stuff against seasoned ‘primed’ ML hitters rather than those coming out of mothballs next spring.

        2 starts of 5 or 6 innings each shouldn’t put any more of a strain on his arm than his several 7-8 inning recent starts did.

        It would introduce him to the ML managerial staff before next spring.

        1. I don’t disagree with any of this. But the Phillies have 1 more year of control of Jake Thompson before the Phillies HAVE to add him to the 40 man roster. That fact trumps all that you mentioned.

  2. For Thompson–next year. Either from ST on or–if he continues to do well–during the ’16 season from LV.. Soon enough. But I AM disappointed that Nola is continuing to pitch…which seems for no reason at all. His innings pitched in the minors & majors are too many and may overtax his arm giving him a problem in ’16. Hope not. But for what “good” reason are they continuing to pitch him?

        1. Why push the envelope for Nola…what is the sense.
          He is in unchartered IPed waters now
          Twelve games to go…ride it out.
          And what fannies have been in the seats up till now!
          Lowest attendance in CBP history.

  3. I am never going to see a superbowl winning team I know that. but now we have a chance to set history. The Phillies. sixers and eagles could all pick first in draft. I don’t think its ever been done before.

    1. cowboys vs eagles made the braves vs phils look like athletic excellence in comparison; by the way, since August 9th, the Braves are 5-1 against the Phils, 4-29 against everyone else.

      but the sixers never made it to the #1 pick and won’t, and of course the eagles will win a couple games and reel everyone back in so they can crush everyone again.

    2. rocco…another bit of history….perhaps a total of 200 losses in one season in one city for professional sports teams…….sans New York.with 7/8 sport teams.

  4. Last week I was listening to Larry Anderson on the broadcast just vent on Freddie Galvis playing too much in the hole. LA said (after prodding by Scott F) he was sick of seeing balls hit up the middle for singles all year. My question/compliant is where are the bench coaches? Don’t they have scouting reports and advance scouts (of course they do)? So is it Freddie or the coaches(Bowa in particular)?

    1. IMO, it was Freddie….too many went just under his glove.
      Did he ever do one JRoll slide, spin and throw play one time this past season?
      Nevertheless, Freddie’s days are limited at shortstop….going up the middle for him soon, will require a good back-hand stab.

      1. Freddie had sort of an strange year.He didn’t hit like .220 that a lot of people expected,but he was a disappointment in a lot of other ways.
        He made the spectacular plays sometimes,but made a lot of stupid errors.
        Even though I thought it was a stupid decision to try it ,he couldn’t get a bunt down the other night and that may have cost the game.Freddie was incapable of getting a simple bunt down whether I agreed with the decision or not.
        When,or if,the Phillies become a decent team again there should be no place for Freddie to play other than infield utility man.He’s quite valuable at that role and wouldn’t the average fan,if he could,be happy to play that role.

        1. Agree….Freddie will be 26-years old next season…..it maybe 2/3 years before the Phillies are legit contenders….though the Mets did it with some pitching and Cespedes/Conforto emergence…though some could be considered luck.
          But Freddie could be a valued utility guy….perhaps they ought to have him put on some catching gear overthe winter and try it there also, in an emergency pinch.

    2. LA usually has something or someone to harp on negatively. Usually its umpires or pitchers.

      Its sometimes refreshing to listen in on other teams broadcasts just to hear good old fashion play by play.

      Example; “time is called and Hamel (cubs pitcher) walks behind the mound, digs a lil dirt from the cleats, picks up the rosin bag and gets back on the mound. Looks like he’s ready now as he paws the dirt. Gets the sign and comes set…. about 30 sec of dialogue that LA and his partner would’ve used to discuss their favorit restaurants in Chicago.

  5. Perfect outcome this weekend, some well pitched games, including Eickhoff and Nola pitching very well, and 3 losses to Atlanta. Team isn’t tanking, just bad hitting, and I want the #1 pick. Doobie benched for throwing bat, Mac wants him to always act like a professional. That ball Galvis missed should have been an error, and Nola should have zero earned runs against him yesterday.

  6. If Atlanta goes 0-12 the rest of the season, sounds crazy but not out of the realm of possibilities, the Phils would still need to win 5 games to pass them. I just can’t see them scratching out 5 more wins. Oakland, Mil, Cincinnati, Colorado, and Miami are all comfortably ahead now.

  7. I get it, we all want the #1 pick, but I think that is secure. Would still like to see the team pick it up and at least get some wins at the end to go into the offseason with.

    Article on Phils sight is headlined “Mac doing what he can to get wins”.

    So your in the 8th you have Gomez as you best reliever (Giles for the 9th) and you put in Mr. Consistency himself Jerome Williams???? If that is not tanking I don’t know what is?

    I mean ok, maybe Gomez is hurt, but after Williams goes walk hit, walk hit, two runs scored (game lost) you then bring in Gomez to shut them down.

    Ya, Eichoff did not get the loss but after pitching a great game he had do being going…..Jerome Williams????, and pounding his head against the wall. I know I was.

    1. I never want to see Jerome Williams in a Phillies uniform again after this season. The man has failed as a starter and reliever most of the time.

  8. I’m all for resting Nola, thought it was smart to shut down Morgan. With Harang, Buchanan, Asher, Eickoff, who would get Nola’s starts though?

    With half of the remaining 12 games vs the marlins, still worried about getting the 1st overall pick but with Harang, Buchanan and Asher against the marlins we could have the 1st overall pick locked out by the end of the series.

    Adding someone like Puk sounds great to go with Nola, Thompson, Kilome. I know a lot can change in 10 months but it just seems like he would be a great fit, getting a big lefty starter that hopefully can be a true ace. We so badly need a pitcher with #1 upside, so while it stinks to lose so much I didn’t want the braves to steal away the 1st overall pick/bonus pool money after suffering through the worst season I can recall (been watching/going to Phillies games since early ’80’s)

    1. Jerome Williams could always go back into the rotation. And it wouldn’t be that hard to have a bullpen game with the extra bullpen guys.

  9. I wonder why Galvis played 2b the last two days. Did anyone say? I know JP is coming at some point but we’ve seen Galvis play 2B before and know he can do it. Is it an audition for Blanco at SS to see if he’s better there than Galvis?

    When do the Instructs get interesting? This week?

    1. The joke was….Larry Bowa wanted to see him play second since he was not here in 2012 when Chase was out for 40/50 games. I think they said that in jest.
      Pete Mack. wanted to change things up he said.

  10. Wow, with the state of the Phils big club, Eagles, Flyers, Sixers……its like the off seasons and preseason games are they only time to hope. After that eagles game I’m ready for another minor league baseball season where I can watch some winning teams.

    Wake me up when it is Feb 2016

  11. This is so bad. I have a tough time watching any sports. Kelly fails it will be another 4 yr or better rebuild. sixers at least will not improve until next year, when they will spend and hopefully have embed back and another top pick. I still think the Phillies are far away. don’t see that much talent. coming up.

  12. rocco……’Phillies are far away. don’t see that much talent. coming up.’…WHAT!
    JPC will be driving the bus in two years, with Franco in the front seat…..and look at the pitchers in Nola, Thompson, Eflin and 2016’s pick…..then there are the other position layers who have potential.
    Do not see your reasoning.

    1. Romus don’t see a ace in those three. see two nice postion players in Crawford and franco. There is a lot of talk, but lets see them do it at triple a. I know a lot of us thought altheer was ready. He is not the answer.. .

      1. Even though I was one of the few that thought replacing Herrera with Altherr was crazy talk, it’s still too early to give up on Altherr. He has nothing to prove in the minors, so worst case, he’s a 4th OF. He’ll get another chance to showcase himself during spring training.

      2. The so-called ‘ace’ may come via the Rule 4 in June.
        And just maybe Nola and Thompson are not the typical ‘ace’ everyone seems to like to envision, however, in my book they could be valued ‘king face-cards’ in the rotation.

        1. That hurt romus. especially from you m8. Pete coming back just means. the new gm is a puppet. who hires a manager withput gm approval. I am hoping middleton had nothing to do with this. Because this is a Montgomery, giles type move.

          1. That’s what I was thinking too you get rid of the GM , President but you keep the interm Manger who has as bad as record as Sandberg. Maybe there trying for back to back 100 game losing season do a ASTRO ‘ s thing. I like to get Ray Burris for the pitching coach.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with Pete. And the Phillies have one of the largest numbers of latin players on the active roster, and it will likely to continue. You need a manager who can speak multiple languages.

  13. I am not sure how I feel. I wanted some new blood in here, a fresh set of eyes, and thought there would be input from the new GM. OTOH, the team will not be good, and he communicates well with younger players, and probably deserves a shot. I think the new GM will be simply an assistant to MacPhail, and he will act as the de facto GM.

  14. Really though Pete signed to lose for another yr . Macphail said he’s a good manager with the guys. When the are really to win there bring a guy that has been to the WC. He’s 30 and 46 his yr so he’s a org man. I wonder if they will change the hitting or Pitching coach or will some coaches just move on. I don’t really think much of the pitching or hitting .

  15. I just read the comments on Pete all pitchers plus Francoeur and Rupp. Funny no LA guys no Galvis or Herrera, Blanco.

  16. There’s Cody Asche with two dingers. We have patiently waited for this late bloomer to blossom, but it’s too little, too late. In the remotest chance he ever lives up to his full potential, it will be with another team. I still hate to give up on him though.

    1. No worries. He has no real trade value and they are still auditioning players. He will probably get another chance, but unless he really starts to produce, he’s going to be sharing time with some other players. Look, I understand how bad his numbers have been, but he’s still young and there are certain things he does as a hitter that suggest that the upside is real. But he’s got to take a large step forward at some point, which has not happened yet.

      1. Good assessment. It will be status quo until he’s in someone’s way (that’s what took him away from 3B) like Williams, Quinn or Cozens, or somehow an upside is attained.

      2. Asche could have value to one of the MLB small market teams picking in the CompBal phase of the Rule 4.. Round A teams (31st thru 36th picks) or B teams (67th thru 72nd picks). But doubt the Phillies want to give him up for risky selection!

        1. Asche has hit better the last couple months, with OPS well north of .700 over that period. For the year as a whole, he may even reach .700, which would be a personal best. He’ll cross the 1000 AB threshold this season, which I guess means he’s already pretty much what he’s going to be. A .700 OPS is acceptable if his 3B defense was acceptable, which it isn’t. As a LF — meh.

    2. Asche hit another 1 tonight that gives him 12 with a 398 slug 687 ops. He’s never been over 400 a bat before either has Ruff. Altherr hit 2 diggers 1 a slam.

  17. Last night was a reminder of why you don’t want to hang on to your core players too long. Carlos Ruiz had a brutal night in batting and fielding which is sad to see a player slip too much. I would hope Ruiz would be moved to another team and let Eric Kratz be the backup to Rupp or whoever.

  18. I agree with you. There is no reason to keep Chooch around. I appreciate what he has done, but it is time for him to move on. Unless a veteran provides good defense or base running, say goodbye. If the team will be bad again, and it will, I, at least, want them to start playing better fundamentally. Good Defense, good base running, good hitting the other way and moving runners along. None of which they do well. That is why I have seen enough of Ryan and Chooch.

    1. At this point, Chooch is just a backup. Ryan will likely be part of a platoon. Both Ryan and Ruiz are not blocking anybody. I fully expect both of them to be at spring training.

    2. At this point, same problem with both Ryan and Chooch — they aren’t playing well enough for any team to really want them.

    1. V1, that is the best outcome they could have this season. Lets see how well Andy McPhail and his staff use the large domestic and international bonus monies.

    1. yes we absolutely need to pick up 1 or 2 rule V players. No cheaper way to improve team and should be easy to accommodate someone on 25 man roster. Also count me In camp of those who want one of the stud pitchers at #1. Too much risk in position HS unless we are convinced he is second coming of Harper/Trout.

  19. Hope I am wrong….but would not surprise me, if the Phillies after further medical evaluation, decide to have Franco have wrist surgery to correct the issues at hand.
    Now that will really be a depressing situation for the beginning of next season.

  20. Phils hold nice 5 game lead for 1.1. Magic number is 4, and it would be nice to wrap it up this weekend. I had asked previously if anyone thought the Phils might go into the FA market to get some offense this off season. I think the extension to Pete suggests that they do not feel next year will be much better, record wise than this year, so that would rule out spending year. I think they bought themselves a year to let the new GM concentrate on other things, and the manager decision will come next year. Then they will start with any big FA moves.

      1. Active doesn’t mean spending big or even signing anybody. The Phillies will sniff around here and there, do their due diligence on certain players. But ultimately, once the contract numbers gets swapped, I expect the Phillies to back off the high priced FAs.

      2. I saw that Romus, and it confused me because active can mean a lot of things. If he is waiting to see what ‘percolates” then that may dissuade them from a Cespedes or Heyward. He wants to avoid big $, long term deals that they are still trying to get out of. They both will get exactly that kind of contract. So, after them, what is there? Active in the dented can aisle is a lot different. And Mac talks a lot about being realistic about where they are. So, everything points to “active” being an Harang type signing. See what Williams does this year, can Asche get better, what does Altherr really have? And, then hit FA the following year.

        1. Agree, they may have a Harang-type signing or two….if that is the case, I would take a chance on Fister for a year, and maybe Jeff Smard. on a two-year deal, with the hope they stay healthy and productive, perhaps flip them in July for prospects.
          That also means Fister (estimate $12/13M) and Smard ($11/12M) could each command top dollar 2016 contracts, for subpar 2015 production.

    1. If I may add, I think the Phillies will hang back a little, if a FA with some value, misjudges the market is available later in the winter I could see them move on that. What hurt in the past was Amaro, being aggressive and over paying and signing players early in the offseason. But they will not get any of the very best FAs because they would have to over pay to get a Player who has choices (that player will not sign with a 100 loss team)

  21. Not sure why everyone assumes they won’t go after big FA’s simply because they don’t expect to compete in 2016. The Nationals followed a similar pattern when they signed Jason Werth as a big $$ FA a couple of years before their young players were ready.

    The Phillies can easily sign a younger player like Jason Heyward with that being the start of a rebuild targeting 2017/2018.

    Money for contracts will not be a issue after this season and especially after the 2016 season when almost all of their existing money is off of the books (Howard, Lee, Ruiz). They can start taking on money now without it impacting them long-term.

  22. You may be exactly correct, 3up, and they do that. I just get the sense that they will take a breather from big FAs, let the new GM be around for a year, watch for growth from what they have, including Nick Williams, and then do something. It is the same feeling that I have that tells me Mackanin will be only a short time Manager. But, if they go hard after a Heyward or Cespedes, I would not be shocked.

    1. I wonder how McPhail’s slower approach will work with Middleton(who is more aggressive)? Also, does John Middleton look like Aaron Eckhart from the Dark Knight movie?

  23. From BA’s Mike Lananna chat this afternoon:
    Ryan (Philly): Glad to see Kilome rank high, but how about Mitch Gueller? Did he warrant any glowing reviews?
    Michael Lananna: No, I didn’t hear much love for Gueller. Said one scout: “I’ve seen this guy two years in a row, which is not good at Williamsport. Not good.”

    1. No surprise really. All the reports have been that his fastball is hi-80s at best and it’s his third year in W-port. I feel like the only thing that’s holding him back from being an OF at this point is that we have are too many other OFs who deserve the playing time.

  24. I’d been planning this comment for a while, but after tonight it’s gone from mildly counter intuitive to “well yeah.” Altherr, even before tonight, was having quite a nice little debut. Tonight brings him from under the radar to … well, on the radar, at least.

    Now, SSS applies. I’m not going to predict greatness, or even that he’ll be a solid regular. But, even before tonight he was playing at a near star level. Despite an anemic (before tonight) BA:

    (1) His hitting was above average (decent BB rate and good power).
    (2) Positive base running.
    (3) Very good defense.

    It’s the third point that I want to comment on. Defensive metrics are of course imprecise, and particularly subject to SS issues. But:

    (1) Those metrics are, so far, VERY good. GG level good.
    (2) His defensive rep was good to start with – I always view minor league defensive accolades with at least some skepticism, but they may well be warranted in his case.

    If – a huge if – Altherr can be anything close to what he’s been so far (the power almost has to regress some – after tonight his ISO would be 4th in the major leagues if he had enough PA to qualify) – he’s going to be darn good.

    1. Hope you are right.
      Though SSS like you say……he still can be a better version of JMJr. His defense, speed and arm are plus IMO, based on minor league metrics, and superior to JMJr.
      If he can continue his power surge and keep his ISO at this level……which is really considered unsustainable by metrics standards……then I will be proved wrong on my assessment….and I hope I am proved wrong.

    2. He still needs to work on cutting down his K-rate. unfortinately his K-rates not out of step with his minor league numbers. However, it was his ability to get his K-rate below 20% that was the leap forward this year. l would project him at .250/.330/.430 right now. If he can get his K-rate below 20% | could see .270/.350/.450. However, if pitchers really start to exploit his K-rate I could see his line drop to .230/.290/.380.

      1. He could eventually fall into the typical late-bloomer two/three-year wonder 3WAR per year types, ie Brandon Moss, Jason Grilli, then drift downward. Next season he will need to make an adjustment as they will with him.
        But your assessment of his slash, especially if his Krate is not improved, probably is correct.

        1. Again I’m not projecting him – for perspective, purely numerical projection systems have project his slash at a fairly putrid .233/.285/.381 – but what the Moss comp misses (aside from a big age advantage to Altherr – not nearly as “late” a bloomer) – is defense. Moss is below average, Altherr above (the question being just how far above). There are questions galore about Altherr, and honestly the most likely outcome is a couple years as an okay regular followed by a 4th outfielder role – but I’d say his ceiling (mainly because of the defense) is quite a bit higher than Moss..

          1. Yes…not projecting him as a specific Moss comp…..just his projectory may be in that realm of a player.
            I can see next season being rather pedestrian for him, but adjusting and trending upward.
            But his defense will constantly remain his calling card….could be one of the best in the majors and if he stays in LF will probably be the best LFer in baseball, since most teams tend to put their good offensive/poor defensive OFers in LF.
            Have to assume RF will be where the Phillies will eventually place him, with Nick Williams being projected for LF.

      2. His K rate is currently his Achilles heal for sure.

        I am not making predictions. But:

        (1) If your median hitting projection is correct – plausible (that would make him about 10% better than an average major league hitter);
        (2) If he is a little above average as a base runner (likely); and
        (3) His defense is for real (possible),

        That’s a WELL above average corner outfielder – a borderline star even – especially if he can handle right field. A 4 to 5 WAR player (depending upon just how good the defense is). (To put this in further perspective, his current SSS performance actually projects to 6.5 WAR over a full year – not that I think he’ll do that. His power especially WILL regress some.)

        1. I’ll add this, at the risk of getting TOO excited over a SSS …

          As I said, the power WILL regress some. But it’s plausible that he’s finally tapping into the power that scouts felt was always potentially there. A .280 ISO is not happening. But could he end up with an ISO around .200? Possibly.

  25. I have seen him play some . My biggest concern is he is inconsistent with his hitting stance. I listen to mike Schmidt and ben davis talk. about his not getting his foot down to catch up with fastballs. I have seen him in minors and majors. some times he has a pure major league fluid swing that says, he is going to be really good. Other times he is late. kind of what is saw in others, like dom. If this kids gets it down, he has a chance to be a really good player. especially that he is a good outfielder. so we will see.

    1. rocco…heard the same thing..the left foot has to be coordinated and timed correctly with the pitched ball. That is an adjustment he will need to make as he gets more experienced. But his defense is superior with plus speed.

  26. Just in comparison to JMJr, who was touted as a good back up CF, but was poor whenever playing there. Altherr is a much better defensive CF than Mayberry. Also, another reason that I think the Phils don’t go the Cespedes/Heyward route. I think that the OF goes Asche and maybe a platoon partner, Doobie and Altherr, while watching for a big AA/AAA season from Nick Williams.

    1. matt13…..of course having a youngish Heyward in RF and Altherr in LF, with Hererra and maybe eventually Quinn sandwiched between…..that is a darn good defensive OF, second to only the Pirates.

  27. One thing to consider about Altherr is that he has yet to finish developing as a baseball player. Still, his breakout this season in terms of plate discipline is nearly unheard of for a 6-yr pro, his 27.6 K rate at the MLB level notwithstanding. With his hitting profile and his added value on the base paths and in the field, it’s easy to see Altherr as a regular on a division leading team. Squint a bit and you can see a player who perhaps makes an all-star game or two.

    Jury is still out but Altherr’s season is exactly what a rebuild hopes for. A few surprises

  28. Both of you are exactly right. Romus, Heyward may be a terrific addition, if they go that route, just not sure they do. And Steve, this is definitely what a rebuild hopes for. Altherr has earned a shot to play every day, Doobie has been a great Rule V addition, and Eickhoff has looked very good. It would be interesting to hear everyone’s take on the potential of the young pitchers. I think Nola, Thompson, Eflin, Eickhoff, Morgan, Lively, Ascher would be my order.

    1. I confess that I have not seen Eflin pitch… I only depend on those who have for informing me. But I like very much what I have seen of Eickhoff. I always respect matt13’s opinion, so the fact that he ranks Eflin higher pleases me.

    2. I’m by no means a scout, just watched these kids on Milb.tv. After Nola, Thompson was the most impressive in the games I saw, followed by Eickhoff who really looked good at LV. In fact I couldn’t believe that he wasn’t ranked higher by the rangers (then again I don’t follow other teams farm systems).

      Eflin I didn’t see in the playoffs but I had a hard time getting a read on him as he had some really good games and some not so good games. Morgan I was a big fan of before the injury, I’m interested to see what he can do after the off-season now that he’s had the experience of playing in the majors and knows he has a great opportunity in front of him. Lively wasn’t that impressive from what I saw and Asher even less (though I missed his good start as the hockey season has started so I watch a ton of non NHL hockey)

      Guys like Pinto, Kilome, Medina, etc.. that I haven’t seen yet on Milb.tv I’m really looking forward to seeing them next year. It was a lot of fun following Reading, and it sounds like it’s going to be the same again next year but LV should also be a much better team to follow as earlier on in the season it was terrible. They rarely show Lakewood and Crosscutters games but at least I got to see a few.

      One guy I saw at Williamsport that looked good was Tyler Gilbert, interested to see what he does next year.

    3. There’s a lot to like about Nola obviously. He’s only 22, he has good command, he has a really good curveball as his strikeout pitch. Hopefully as he ages, he’ll fill out a bit more and add 1-2 MPH on his fastball. He’ll also need to improve his changeup. His status as a #2-3 starter is intact.

      Eickhoff has been a complete surprise. His secondary pitches have been good enough to get strikeouts and keep hitters off his fastball. He’s already 25 and pretty big, so I don’t think there’s too much more physical projection there. But he’s pitching closer to a #3 and a #4, and I don’t think anybody saw that coming. A great early return on the Hamels trade.

      Morgan, 25, has pitched to expectations. Hopefully as he gets further away from his surgery, his fastball will pick up. He’s pitched as a #5 with his 88MPH fastball, he has decent secondary pitches. Since he’s been shutdown, we’ll know more once spring training arrives. But one thing is for sure, for him to be more than a Jason Vargas type pitcher, he’ll need a better fastball.

      Asher, soon to be 24, probably has the best fastball of the bunch. But his secondary pitches are way less refined as the other 3. He’ll need to work on that to be more than a AAAA player at this point.

      I haven’t seen the other 3 pitchers so I can’t give any analysis. I’ve been hearing a lot about Thompson’s slider being a true wipeout pitch. If that’s the case, I’ll put Thompson close to the top.

      1. I still wonder if Eickhoff has a little more to put on his fastball. He’s been clocked up to 96 or 97 before; I’m not sure if he’s lost it or if that was just him airing it out. I wasn’t expecting consistent 95-97’s from him but I thought we’d see more touching 93-94. It’s worth noting that, while he’s not way past what he’s used to, he is in uncharted territory for IP in a season- about 25 IP more than his career high from last season.

        What surprised me about Morgan is that his fastball ticked up during his stint in the majors. Or maybe another way to look at it is that his velo dipped for 5-6 starts. But an average velocity of 88.9 mph is more than I thought he had. If he starts next season normally (still a test, I think) it’ll be interesting to see if he finds another mph, or a little more sharpness to the slider.

        1. Morgan has some deception in his delivery and 88 is more than enough for a LH pitcher to hang around a MLB roster. If Morgan can get back to a 91-92 MPH fastball, it would do wonders for him. It would make it harder for hitters to adjust to his breaking pitches.

      2. Good stuff Guru, I was definitely surprised with Eickhoff. I didn’t know his breaking stuff was this good. Fastball plays up because of his solid off speed offerings. Developing his change up could help solidify him as a #3. Between Eickhoff, Nola, Eflin, and Thompson we have 4 really good young arms to build around that are either in the bigs already or upper levels.

        1. An Eickhoff scouting report as a Ranger from LoneStar Ball :

          “Eickhoff profiles as a potential workhorse starter, with his big build and durability. He throws in the low-90s, although McDaniel says his fastball has touched 97, and has a curveball that he’s had success with as his second pitch. As with many AA starters, his changeup is still a work in progress, and he needs to improve his command and third pitch to be a starting pitcher long-term, but the potential is there for Eickhoff to be a #3/#4 starter. He could also provide value as a reliever if he doesn’t pan out as a starter, particularly if he adds a few mph to his fastball when he’s working in short stints.”

          http://www.lonestarball.com/2015/3/2/8131025/jerad-eickhoff-scouting-report

  29. I’m really glad that Hamels is pitching well for Texas, but this trade could be a steal for us. Thompson and Eickhoff appear to be good big league arms. Williams has put up good numbers and could spend some time in Philly during the second half next year. Alfaro has a lot of potential and can hit for power. Asher is a #5/depth arm, but still provides some value. Even Harrison could back bounce from injury and eat some innings for us.

    Ruben and the rest of the FO had to get creative and eat some money to get a deal done, but the return is looking very promising.

    1. If Thompson is the real deal and Eickhoff continues progressing, that’s already a steal. Anything else from Williams of Alfaro would be a bonus.

  30. A report on Hoskins from SB’s John Calvagno from primarily his Sally days before the CLW promo:
    “In part one of the 1st basemen list I’ll be discussing Rhys Hoskins (Lakewood, Phillies), Ryan O’Hearn (Lexington, Royals), and KJ Woods (Greensboro, Marlins).
    Part 2 of this list will be up soon and that will include Roberto Ramos (Asheville, Rockies), Nick Longhi (Greenville, Red Sox), and Ronald Guzman (Hickory, Rangers).
    Whenever I do a prospect list it’s for dynasty fantasy baseball purposes so I’m really ranking the bats………….Rhys Hoskins- (22) One of the best hitters I’ve seen all season. Hoskins stands 6’4″ and weighs 225 lbs. Bats and throws right. He’s got a long swing with above average bat speed and the ball really jumps when he connects. Rhys makes good contact for a big man (17% K rate). He utilizes all fields but all of his 16 home runs have been to his pull side or to center. Hoskins has a .202 ISO in 2015. He’s got some lift in his swing and he’s sporting a 41% fly ball rate, which is really good. For reference, Jim Thome, Ryan Howard and Manny Ramirez all (with the exception of an outlier or two) stayed in that 36-45% range. Obviously the more balls in the air the better for a big man. …..I watched him hit batting practice here in Asheville and he’s got monster raw power, with nearly all of the shots going to center and left center where he consistently cleared the 370′ foot wall. Often by a wide margin”.

  31. Hopefully, we get lucky with him or Kyle Martin. I think the upcoming Prospect rankings and the breakout player rankings are going to generate a lot of interest. I am looking forward to that. Back on Eickhoff, those were some pretty effective curveballs he threw last night. He has impressed and would seem to have a spot locked up in the Rotation for next year. Someone mentioned Harrison. Could he be healthy enough to eat some innings? I am not up on the status of his recovery.

    1. From what I’ve read online, Harrison had be making rehab starts prior to being traded. He was placed on the DL with lower back inflammation shortly after being traded. I was under the impression that he could possibly pitch next season. Even if he never pitches for us absorbing his contract helped net us better prospects. Apparently we also inherited the insurance policy attached to his deal.

      Here’s the source of a lot of the information as well as additional info.on Harrison and his health.

      http://www.rotoworld.com/recent/mlb/4595/matt-harrison

    2. Matt Harrison had underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk….spinal fusion on the L-5 and S-1 disk …and then underwent a second procedure to further stabilize the back shortly thereafter. After more than a year of rehab time, he returned to the mound in April, but lasted only four starts before spondylolisthesis occurred.
      To tell you the truth……with his age as a ball player…..do not think he will be able to comeback long term….maybe a start again in 2016, but he could have the tingling and numbness again.

      1. Shortly after the trade he was also diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. So he’s hoping that treating it will help solve the other issues he’s been having.

        1. I have experience with thyroid issues, it’s a tricky thing. Finding the correct dosage to regulate the condition can be difficult because it takes time. And if it’s not regulated properly, you feel out of sorts, especially if it starts affecting your sleep.

          1. keep an eye out for a product called Anatabloc, it’s no longer being sold as the company that owns it is changing it from a over the counter supplement to an FDA approved anti-inflammatory. I’ve taken it for other things and it works great, might be a couple years though before it’s back on the market as the FDA is brutally slow.

  32. Thank you guys, so I won’t expect to see much of him. I really like the Doug Fister idea. I think he can be someone who is a good July trade candidate, and he also won’t command a long term deal. Samardzija may still get a 3-4 year contract from somebody despite his rough year.

    1. Ty Roccom I want to go but it was so crazy . My buddy took his boat. I watched on TV pope Francis is bringing alot of people back to the Church Funny I go every Sunday but today cause I was watching the Pope.

  33. I think the Nationals would be crazy not to eat Papelbon’s last year of his contract and cut him. He has been a crazy cancer for them. I don’t think I have ever seen a player do this much internal damage to a team in such a short period of time.

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