Open Discussion: Week of October 26th

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

  • Well, the waiting is over. Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies are set to introduce their new GM at a press conference Monday morning.  Angels assistant GM, Matt Klentak, was among the early favorites to fill the position and among the three finalists.  He was selected over A’s assistant GM Dan Kantrovitz and Rays VP of baseball operations Chaim Bloom.  Klentak was hired by MacPhail as the Orioles Director of Baseball Operations in 2008.  From there he signed with the Angels on November 23, 2011.  His baseball duties included scouting, player development, and contract negotiations.  It’s unlikely that he was involved much in the December 8, 2011 FA signings of Albert Pujols (10 years/$240M; 2012-21) and C.J. Wilson (5 years/$77.5M; 2012-16). But, he was certainly involved in the FA signing of Josh Hamilton (5 years/$125M; 2013-17), the Mike Trout extension (6 years/$144.5M; 2015-20), and the Hamilton trade to Texas where the Angels are still responsible for all but about $6M of Hamilton’s salary.
  • The Phillies added two new coaches to their staff this week.  Rick Kranitz will be the bullpen coach and John McLaren will be the catching coach.  The Phillies are still waiting for Larry Bowa and Juan Samuel to sort out their options.  And they are expected to add one other coach to complete their staff.
  • The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported that the Red Sox were about to sign Ruben Amaro as their first base coach.  MLB Trade Rumors updated the report that a decision hasn’t been reached and that Amaro is among a few finalists.  The Phillies don’t play the Sox during the 2016 season, so you’ll have to come to Clearwater to see him face the Phillies in a Grapefruit League game if he does sign.
  • The World Series starts Tuesday.  I didn’t see many innings during the playoffs.  I found the relentless droning of the national announcers along with the few MLB TV talking heads they add to the coverage tedious.  I did see the 2-1 strike called on Ben Revere in the ninth inning of game six in KC.  I don’t blame Ben for being mad.
  • CBSSports.com reported that Carlos Tocci broke his left hand when he was struck by a pitched ball.  He was off th a good start hitting .333/.447/.400/.847 in 39 PA.  He had walked 4 times and struck out only 3 times.  He’ll be out about 6 weeks.
  • Tocci is the Phillies top hitter in the VWL.  Cord Sandberg is their top guy in the ABL hitting .444/.545/.556/1.101 and Aaron Brown is their top guy in the AFL hitting .364/.364/.455/.818.  Malquin Canelo’s .250 leads the Phillies’ hitters in the DWL.

168 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of October 26th

  1. Amaro a first base coach? If he wanted that job, he could have done it in addition to his his GM responsibilities and saved a little money or I would have voted for him to be a 1st base coach 4 years ago and not GM. This is not an indictment of Amaro as a GM. I’m simply stating the obvious.

    1. Again he would have been following in big shoes…GM-Gillick….First base-Davey Lopes. Lots of pressure!

        1. Agreed – the first sign that the foundation was cracking. There was no reason to get rid of the best base running coach, perhaps in major league history. A stupid, arrogant pissing match over nothing that hurt the team.

          1. Davey Lopes leaving was due to Charlie Manuel not Ruben as Lopes wanted more responsibility and credit for the Phillies success and the ownership sided with Charlie.

        2. At the time I thought that Lopes was asking for a significant amount of bucks. As usual, I was wrong. I found out that baseball pays coaches varying amounts based on the perceived importance of their positions. Generally, the ranking from highest to lowest is – pitching coach, hitting coach, bench coach, third base coach and then first base coach (Lopes quotes from a 2010 Ryan Lawrence article).

          The following estimates (from Fangraphs in a 2015 article) were probably lower back when Lopes was negotiating his contract – hitting and pitching coaches are paid anywhere from $150,000 to $350,000, with a select few earning far more, bench coaches earn between $150,000-$250,000, third base coaches are around $130,000-$140,000, first base coaches are in the $100,000-$110,000 range, and bullpen coaches bring home roughly $90,000.

          So yeah, for all that Lopes brought to the team in terms of increased bases stolen and a lower caught stealing rate, it’s a shame that his contribution wasn’t valued more highly.

    2. Maybe Ruben feel more comfortable around the field than the Front Office and he could be learning analytical/sabermetics from the field level and from a team that uses it fully.

  2. Like the Klentak hire.
    Though Jerry Dipoto called most of the shots in Anaheim, along with Mike Scioscia, he had to do a lot of the leg work for Dipoto. What a set-up that must have been and Klentak in the middle!.
    It will be a team effort with him and his past boss MacPhail.
    Almost thirty years ago to the day, MacPhail took over his GM job with the Twins and two years later they won a WS.
    Hoping for a repeat with him and Klentak.

    1. I was of the opinion that any of three would have been a good choice and better than what we had in our last GM. I know some people look at it as he was in the Angels FO when they made these huge bloated signings and had bad drafts. After seeing how the only people left are the manager and owner it seems like that was always going to be a no win situation.

  3. The GM position has sort of evolved in the last few years. Many teams now have a more active President, with the GM serving as his right-hand man. I suppose that’s always been the case in theory, but with Friedman as the Dodgers’ President and Epstein with the Cubs, there’s definitely a trend toward more active presidents. Considering Klentak’s background is in contracts, seems like MacPhail will stay active in player evaluation and other more traditional GM functions.

    I like the move. Analytics background, success previously working with MacPhail. Haven’t really read anything negative about him or the move. Let’s hope for the best!

    1. Yes you appear to hit the nail on the head as far as how the position has evolved in relation to the President’s position. Apparently a lot of the recent new hire President’s were former GMs….from the Phillies past standpoint, Monty was never a GM.

      1. Again this was a safe choice but I just wonder why the Angels did not hire him internally other than hire Eppler from the Yankees? The more daring choice would have been Dan Kranovitz from the A’s bit worked with the Cardinals for a while.

        1. philabalt…….Scioscia probably nixed that idea….did not want any of Dipoto’s remnants around. And Klentak may have wanted out anyway, and then after MacPhail was hired saw a chance to back with his mentor. Just a wild guess.

  4. ESPN reports:

    WHAT’S WRONG WITH J.P. CRAWFORD?
    Crawford, one of the top prospects in the minors, has been among the worst hitters in the Arizona Fall League. Keith Law offers his take on what the problem could be for the Phillies shortstop. AFL scouting notes (Insider)

    Any who has access care to summarize the article? Thanks.

    1. Says he looks exhausted after a long season. Not really a worry of mine. It is still good experience for him even if he is not starring. He also tends to start a little slowly at each new level and this is a new one for him.

      1. It’s a way to get page hits during a down time for baseball. Need a headline that will get clicks…

        Of course its silly

        1. “J.P. Crawford (Phillies) and A.J. Reed (Astros), both look absolutely exhausted. Reed played 135 games this year, and given how lethargic he seemed, he probably shouldn’t be out in Arizona much longer.”

    2. C’mon now – stop it! Full season, small sample size, etc. . . . and he’s still very young for the AFL. In 2011, there was a kid who, after doing really well in AA and a short stint in the majors, went to the AFL and was abysmal. The next year he was the best player in major league baseball; his name is Mike Trout. Don’t worry about Crawford; he’ll be fine.

  5. Looking forward to seeing how MacPhail and Klentak do. It seems like the organization is heading in the right direction and things should only get better. I would really like for Klentak to bring the coveted Mike Trout with him to Philly.

    I think it is safe to assume that Trout is untouchable right now and that is fine and understandable. However, I do not see the Angels being contenders throughout Trout’s contract.

    After looking through some of their team pitching stats I think it is fair to say that the Angels have an average to slightly above average pitching staff. However as a team, the Angels’ 2015 slash line of .246/.307/.396/.702 was not very impressive. They ranked in the bottom 10 in the league in each of those categories. Pujols had a good year with 40 bombs, but going into his age 36 season we will likely see his numbers regress during the remaining 6 years of his contract. It is going to be very difficult for the Angels to reach the playoffs the next few years with the Rangers and Astros in their division. Both of these organizations have a lot of young talent in their farm systems and solid major league clubs. The Angels have one of the worst farm systems in baseball and have been trying to buy their way into the postseason (i.e. signing C.J. Wilson, Josh Hamilton, and Albert Pujols) without much success. We have seen how the “all in” approach ruined the Phillies and set us back for a number of years because a lack of talent at the minor league level.

    I think the Angles may become one of the bottom 10 teams in the league with the next couple years. That gives the Phillies another couple years to build a core in Philly and continue to improve the farm system. In a perfect world, the Angels collapse and the Phillies have enough depth of young talent to acquire Trout via trade. Trout is a huge Philly sports fan and would love to play in Philadelphia. If the Angels go through a rebuild Trout could very easily push for a trade to Philly. If at that time we do not have enough talent or do not want to trade our prospects to acquire Trout he could always sign with us when his contract expires.

    I know I may sound crazy for even bringing this up, but I don’t think it’s an outrageous thought. Mike Trout is an elite player, but he can’t win a world series by himself and I don’t see the angels being able to surround him with enough talent to compete. I will bring my comment back down to earth by briefly discussing Brown and Sandberg. It is nice seeing them both get off to nice starts this fall. I’m really looking for Sandberg to break out this year. A good season for him would be a nice addition to the quality OF depth we starting to build.

    1. It’s fun to play gm and think outside of the box, but I don’t think the Angels trade mike trout. The Angels have money to dig themselves out of any financial ditch they dig. And with the collective bargaining agreement expiring soon, the luxury tax threshold will undoubtedly raise, meaning they can spend more money in the future. But by then, Wilson, Hamilton, and weaver will be off the books. A couple of decent drafts, some good trades and some smart signings, they could be back in the mix in a few years.

      It’s fun to dream, but I can’t see trout coming here except when he’s a free agent.

      1. Mike Trout is a great, great player. But he’s under contract for several more years and he’s probably going to be the greatest player in Angels franchise history (I guess the greatest one now who is generally considered an Angel is Nolan Ryan). He’s the face of the franchise so they’ll probably want to keep him at all costs. I don’t see him getting to free agency. It’s also important to note that he’s so young that I could see the team keeping him for the next stage of a rebuild even if they are no good at the time.

        But let’s play GM, if Trout hit the open market today, what would his salary be? I’d guess at least $35 million a year – perhaps more. Oddly enough, if the contract were 10 years or less, he’d probably be worth it. He’s been about a 9-9.5 WAR per year player since he came up. That’s Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays territory .

      2. Yeah the odds of trading for him are extremely low, but I like our minuscule odds over the rest of the leagues’ odds simply because he is a die-hard phillies fan. A few more unsuccessful seasons in LA and a promising young team in Philly may be tempting enough for him to ask for a trade. I mean it would be a shame to waste all that talent on a losing team right? Even if he did ask though we would still have to give up a ton to get him.

        Realistically the only chance we have of getting him is through free agency, but it is fun to dream. He will only be 28 if he makes it to free agency so he would still have a number of productive seasons left in the tank. His offensive numbers in the bank would be insane.

        There is time though. We may end up with a strong OF before Trout reaches free agency and spend that type of money on another area. We could play GM and discuss numerous players we would love to have in Philly. I’m just glad that our farm system appears to be producing the next core group of players so that Klentak can add that final piece or two to put us over the top when the time is right.

          1. If we are playing again what do you think the Phillies would have to offer for him? I feel like it would have to be something like:

            Mike Trout

            For

            Aaron Nola
            JP Crawford
            Jake Thompson
            Franklyn Kilome
            Roman Quinn

            Too much or too little? You are talking about the best player in baseball (minus Bryce Harper)

            Also if that was what the angles wanted, would you do it? I don’t think one player is worth all that.

            1. Agreed – not worth it. Trades like that rarely work out for the acquiring team. There are very few sports where I think a trade like that might make sense. In basketball (for a superstar) or football (for a quarterback) – in baseball, unless you have a very unique strategy for replacing the talent you’d have to give up, it probably wouldn’t be worth it. Not even for Mike Trout at his peak.

  6. Anything had to be better than what we had as an operational structure to the front office I’ve said that so I don’t want to speak badly of this hire but I would have gone in another direction and I at least would have interviewed some of the folks from Brian Sabean’s staff. I think the Giants know a thing or two about winning World Championships in this modern era.

    1. I am most impressed with the Giants’ ability to seamlessly move from a pitching based team to a hitting based team. Not because hitting is inherently better than pitching (although I think it’s a little more reliable), but because they were able to withstand several large pitching losses without becoming a bad team. That said, the Giants have probably been the luckiest single franchise over the last 30 years or so – they are good, but let’s face it, everything broke just right for them three separate times. How could anyone know that Madison Bumgarner would become one of the most dominant post-season starters in baseball history when he was never good enough during the regular season to win a Cy Young award?

      1. Do you know Dick Tidrow? Do you know who scouted and signed off on Lincecum, Cain and Bumgarner as well as Wheeler Crick and Beede?

        You probably know Sabean’s scouting acumen from his days with the Yankees I mean without DJ, Pettite, Rivera and Posada do the Yankees win those titles of the late 90’s.

        Look I’m a big believer that luck plays a huge role in a WS Championship. Name me a team that didn’t catch the right breaks including the 08 Phillies but let’s also acknowledge that to be lucky you need to be prepared to seize the opportunity you just lucked into.

        The Giants deserve more credit then they receive. Sabean Tidrow and Barr make that FO what it is and they are supported by two very good but low profile math nerds.

        The GM doesn’t upstage his manager and the manager doesn’t upstage his players. That’s how it should work (I think)

        1. You think I’m ripping the Giants, but I’m not. I’m complimenting them for staying competitive while their pitching staff eroded. That was damned good scouting work. But I am saying that there was a lot of luck in those championships.

      2. Yeah, they’ve averaged right about 87 wins over the past 6 seasons, so luck has played a big role in their championship success. You could argue that they are more suited to the playoffs than the regular season because of a top-heavy pitching rotation, but that’s still no guarantee of playoff success. I don’t think the Giants know any special way to win a WS that other teams don’t.

    2. DMAR…..I think Brian Sabean prevented that from happening with his ‘family’. He bumped up to VP of Ops and Evans, now the GM, and local guy John Barr, V-P were also bumped up ….keeps the staff intact.

  7. Totally agree with the constant droning of the TV announcers in the playoffs and the other talking heads as tedious and tiresome. As I have no vested interest in any team (though I was kind of pulling for the Cubs), it’s just difficult to watch for more than a few minutes at a time. Like many sports productions these days, the mute button can be your friend.

  8. IMO, the best outcome for the Phillies’ 2016 season is a repeat as the worst team in baseball, but continued improvement of our young guys at all levels.

    As good as the Phils’ farm looks today, they are still far from teams like the Cubs in young talent.

    The picture could change dramatically, however, if the Phils open their wallet for international talent in 2016 and have the No. 1 pick in the Rule 4 draft in both 2016 and 2017.

    As soon as 2018, the Phillies could be a good team again.

    1. I don’t think that Philly will go above what they are allowed to spend in international July 2nd signing. They have always been very respectful to the rules that are in place as far as international signings and the draft go. I would like to see them go all in and sign as many players as they can this coming July 2nd signing day but I do not see them doing it. You figure if they sign 3 top 16 year old kids from SA and try to sign 3-4 18-20 year old guys from Cuba all of those players are still quite a few years off from making an impact on the MLB club so rather sooner than later.

      1. Chad that wasn’t middleton who respected the rules in internationals maket. Now the fun begins, I really believe the Phillies will spend a ton in all the markets, with the tv money and middleton signing off on spending. ItS a new ball game.

          1. Romus with giles and Montgomery. HOW could I be positive? Now we have a owner who will spend, with no limits , That’s what I believe. My negative came from Knowing in my heart. giles was behind the play by the rules attitude.

            1. rocco……John Middleton is a business man…and I am sure did not build a hugely profitable company by ‘spend(ing) with no limits’.
              Lets see what happens. In reality. with number one picks in the Rule 5 in Dec., the 1.1 in Rule 4-2016, plus 38 or 39th pick also, top dollar money in the international market and number one waiver claim, they are set up pretty well without over-spending. it would be helpful however to really stock the farm like the Cubs, Sox and the others.
              I am cautiously optimistic.

            2. Romus did you know when he bought out his family he gave his sister a extra 50 million in that deal. So I do believe he will spend.

            3. rocco….his sister is now suing him…..the $2M a year stipend (?) is not enough to get by on.
              I am sure he will spend….but IMO it will be within limits You can believe he will have a budget in place..

            4. I believe that after the draft, international signings, rule 5, the Phillies will have a top 5 Pharm.

              I don’t know why, but every time I read Rocco and Romus going back and forth, I hear the music from the Odd Couple:-)

      2. In this article, Brookover talks about the Phils biggest asset — Money. http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20151027_Analytics_fine_for_Phillies__they_still_need_to_spend_more.html

        Brookover thinks the Phils should use their Int’l Pool and blow past it. Get as many really good ball players as you can and build from the ground up. It’s a good approach but attendance could be the GM and 3 hot dog vendors before the team is respectable. They have some talent coming up through the minors now but will it be enough, as we wait for the storm troopers to arrive?

        1. For whatever it’s worth, Klentak’s comment yesterday were spot on – he knows this is a unique opportunity to add talent. If the right players are there, they will try to get them – it won’t be a dollars issue per se.

        2. bellman1….that is the approach of the majority of the large market teams. When you can sign a Franklyn Kilome for $40K, Franco for $100K and Chooch for a nickel, why not spend for the best talent, incur the penalty and sign others at the $300K threshold.
          If you truly have faith in your scouts under Sal A’s department, then trust in his judgement.
          When you look atht ecubs, Yankees, Rangers, Sox and a few other large market teams…their top ten prospects are littered with LA top dollar FA signings.
          And now Theo and Dave Dombrowski may not have the option of Torres and Moncada for top pitching.
          The optimal utilization of their assets.

      3. The Phils did not overspend in LA market the past few years not because they want to be the good boys and follow the rule. IMO it’s more on the Phils want to be in play every year and focus on “medium risk” type of prospects — Top 15-30 prospects from $600k to $1M type of signing and make play on low risk high rewards type signing ($100k to $300k).

        This is a sound strategy but if the Phils want to hit on a premium talent, they have to up the stakes — meaning they need to invest on Top 10 LA talent like what they did with Ortiz. The impact of the upcoming CBA might influence the LA market strategy of some teams given some of the big spenders are out of play. This is where I want the Phils to take on the initiative.

        1. kuKo…perhaps someone like a LHP Garcia-Barrios would be a good signing in upping the stakes:
          Not sure if he is this year eligible or after July2nd 2016 eligible. Depends on when he turns 16-years old.

          1. @ romus – how much you think Barrios will cost the Phils? If i’m correct, Cubs spent $600k for Brailyn Marquez last July which I think is a good comparison.

          2. @ Romus – I saw that Barrios is already 16 yo with a $350k price tag and remained unsigned. I know the Phils still have some $$ to spend. Wonder why they did not do it.

            1. Ortiz and Marchan …I think totaled $4.6M between them.
              They got monies from the D-Backs deal….just not sure what surplus they may have to make an offer.
              But, judging by what MacPhail said about ‘thin’ pitching in the system…..I can see them going forward on him if the money is right.

            2. KuKo…oh, when did he turn 16? They cannot sign a player until post-16th birthday.
              Though, some kids they sign later also, assuming they have matured and developed better baseball skills….Franco was not signed until he was 17 1/2 years old

            3. KuKO….according to Fangraphs he is aged 16.2 as of Sunday 25Oct2015, so have to assume he just turned 16 a few months ago.

            4. The rule on international spending is clear. A team can acquire no more than 50% over its pool. Anything more than that can not be spent, sold or traded. It just goes away. We have already spent our limit of 4.5. Anything more than that would put us in a penalty situation.

            5. Thanks yes realized the rules. But what have they actually spent?.
              They could spend up to $ 4,561 550 without a incurring a penalty ($3,041M plus 50% with added bonus monies thru trades)
              Who have they signed:
              Ortiz-$4M
              Marchan-$200K
              Bocio-????
              Silva-????
              There may be some wiggle room for perhaps another signing.

        2. Sorry Kurdt but you clueless on there history. Giles as mostly everyone on knows, never wanted to do anything that the commissioner didn’t want ,That was to stay within budget, I think most on this site know that ,especially knowing Giles history of his dad running the league,

    2. The key to the Cubs success wasn’t just spending, but choosing correctly. They took Kris Bryant when everybody else was was hypnotized by Jonathan Gray’s 100 mph Fastball. They took Kyle Schwarber 4th, when nobody else had him as a top 10 pick. They took Javier Baez in the top 12, when others question whether he was a 1st round pick. They’ve killed their 1st round picks during a period other teams spent the same or more. It’s about talent evaluation above everything else.

      1. Thankfully the Phillies have also been killing it lately with their first round picks after a long down period. Hopefully that continues with next year’s #1 and beyond.

        1. I wouldn’t say the Phillies have “killed” the last three drafts. I’d say they “killed” on the Crawford pick, made an acceptable pick with Nola and have a likely hit on the last pick. Nola doesn’t have the upside of Bryant, Schwarber or Crawford, to consider that as a “kill” at the #7 pick in the draft.

    3. The main problem with your argument is that the two things that you wish for are mutually exclusive. While the young talent already at the major league level is still far short of a contending team (of course I agree with your comparison with the Cubs young talent), if those guys continue to improve the team will not be the worst in baseball or even particularly close to that. If the young guys continue developing, this is IMO at least a 70 win team next year.

      In 2017 they will be even better, again assuming that the young talent develops – IMO a .500 season is a reasonable goal. Optimistic , sure, but not wildly so. There’s a trade off here, and we would prefer the young talent developing even if it means somewhat worse draft position.

      Given a choice between the two, I’d rather have “continued improvement of our young guys,” rather than “repeat as the worst team in baseball,” as I am sure most people (yourself included) probably would prefer.

      1. Franco, Nola, Eickhoff, Herrera, Giles and maybe Altherr are the young guys on the major league squad I am talking about.

        If Giles establishes himself further, I would trade him mid-season or at the deadline. So, the Phils could be weak at closer for 1/3-1/2 the season.

        The rest of the team, i.e., 19-20 players, can still drag the team down to the worst record in baseball. Late season call-ups shouldn’t make a big difference.

        With the loss of Hamels for 20 starts, a half-season of an effective Harang, and the continued presence of Howard, Chooch, Francoeur et al, it is not difficult to see another season at the bottom even with the continued improvement of the young guys.

        1. Derek, you’re way off base …

          Let’s focus on 2016. You don’t even address 2017, which makes sense since by then a few more of the young guys will be in the majors and a worst in baseball finish would be indicative of a massive disaster in terms of prospect development.

          For 2016, let’s compare 2015 to 2016:

          (1) Start with the guys you mention. Having those guys all year and (hopefully) improve is by itself going to outweigh the loss of a half season of Hamels. Harang is a non-issue – yes, he was effective for a half season, but ineffective for the other half. I think this alone gets them 5 more wins.

          (2) Other young guys – this one is trickier. Start with your “maybe,” Altherr. Even if one has some doubts about how good he could be, OF COURSE we would like to see him do better rather than worse. Notably, even a full season mediocre performance by him is likely to be better than what they had in 2015. Then at catcher you have Rupp, same argument on a lower level. Even if he is just going to be a back up, obviously success by him benefits the franchise going forward. Moreover, even if he plays at the same level as 2015, taking playing time from Ruiz alone will make the team better. Morgan may not be more than a 4 or 5, but again the franchise benefits if he is. Even other younger guys where the stakes are lower can help the team down the road.

          (3) How many veterans are going to even have significant roles on the team? Howard, maybe a couple cheap FA starting pitcher signs. Francoeur will get less than half as many PA as 2015, Ruiz ditto. Any FA signs are going to have to be pretty horrible to be worse than the back of the rotation was in 2015.

          (4) They are not trading Giles, and probably shouldn’t (because even if further “established” he won’t get the return that you think he will).

          (5) This one is trickier … there are possible mid season call ups who could help the team. I get the argument for holding off on bringing those guys up. But if they play well enough that a call up is merited … that’s not bad news.

          (6) Finally, even if one or two of my assumptions above is a little off, AT BEST what you would need to happen would be a incredibly unlikely scenario where you get positive results from all the top young guys, and horrible results from everyone else. What’s the chance of that happening? Very small.

          Bottom line:

          (1) In 2016, a worst in baseball performance would mean poor performances by “lesser” young players such as Altherr, Rupp, Galvis and Morgan, AND almost certainly poor performances even by the better young players on the team.

          (2) In 2017, a worst in baseball performance would be an unmitigated disaster in terms of the young talent.

          1. @ Imagitti – agree as this echoes my post below. Unless Franco/Nola/Eikhoff/Giles suddenly do a Dom Brown (knock on wood) – their natural progression will probably keep the Phils from bottom 3. If the “others” (Herrera, Ruf, Hernandez, Galvis, Asche, Morgan, Buchanan, Sev Gon and some bullpen piece) performs like a bench or AAAA player, then they will stay in Top 3-5 but i don’t think they will be closer to 90 loss than 100 loss. Likewise, if the “Others” really stinks, then the we can probably see early promotions some top prospects in 2016.

            Standings wise, i think the outliers will be: a) how well the Phils payed against their division particularly the weaker teams; b) atmosphere in the Clubhouse (younger guys normally plays with enthusiasm and energy which leads to better performance – a toxic Clubhouse can negate that) and c) FA signings – if the Phils hit on signing FAs that can rebound with better performance (not like the Correa, McGowan, SOS type of performance), the Phils can snatch some more wins (other than the fact the Phils can flip these FAs to future assets at the Trade deadlines).

            There are probably another 8-10 teams that will not contend and will decide to either continue their rebuilt and/or push the restart button and rebuild. They will push the Phils (like what ATL and CIN almost did) to the race to #1 pick in 2017.

          2. Larry – I can always count on you not to pay attention.

            I did not comment on the Phillies’ performance in 2017. If you want to, feel free, but it has nothing to do with what I wrote.

            They already have the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft. To get the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, they just have to fail in 2016.

            Re a trade of Giles, you have outdone yourself. I don’t know what kind of return the Phils would get for Giles, but you know what I think it should be. You are amazing.

            What I do know is that I do not value closers highly, particularly on a bad team. Whatever Giles’ value is, it is likely to be at its peak while he’s cheap.

        2. Here’s another way to look at it. Taking the 6 young guys that you mention as a starting point. We’d LIKE to see an aggregate of about 18 WAR from those guys. Maybe a bit optimistic/aggressive, but then remember that we’re hoping for/assuming that those guys continue to improve. If EVERYONE ELSE on the team as a group is replacement level (an exceedingly unlikely assumption), that’s STILL 66 wins, which won’t be the worst in baseball.

      2. I’m not giving up on 2016 but I just don’t expect too much. Getting a high draft pick in 2017 (by virtue of the team record) is secondary — the primary goal in 2016 is to stir the team again in the right direction by putting resources in the important areas like talent scouting, player development and infracture/database/analytics (yeah, i mentioned this for the nth time already).

        I see 2016 as both DEVELOPMENT (Franco, Nola, Eikhoff, Giles) and EVALUATION (Morgan, Araujo, Ruf, Altherr, Hernandez, Galvis, Herrera and some young guys in the 40-,man roster). The big part of the “NEW” Phillies will be coming from Reading (JPC, Williams, Thompson, Knapp, Alfaro, Eflin, Ramos, Cordero) and the Reading group will continue to develop together in the minors in 2016 before joining force with the young MLB core (Franco, Nola, Eikhoff, Giles) in 2017.

        2016 season team record will all depend on how the younger Phillies progress. I expect Franco, Nola, Eikhoff and Giles to improve but Morgan, Araujo, Ruf, Altherr, Hernandez, Galvis and Herrera will be mixed results. Unless some unexpected player started to rake (Ruf, Stassi, etc) or an under the radar pitcher(s) performed like #2-3 SP ala Eikhoff did in 2015, the 2016 Phillies will hoover around the bottom 10 teams in the MLB.

        I agree with Imagitti that a 0.500 record is possible starting 2017. I expect the Phils to exert their financial muscle under the new regime. with infusion of $$ in all areas including FA, the Phils can start to push for playoff spot in 2018.

        1. I don’t want to sound like I’m nit-picking, but I would think that Herrera in 2016 would be more developmental than evaluative. 2015 was his first season as an outfielder. I would hope they would consider that before making a determination on his overall performance.

          And what about Roman Quinn from the Reading group? He and Alfaro had similar seasons at AA where both suffered season-ending injuries. Alfaro has compiled about 50 more AA PA, but Quinn as an outfielder seems closer to the majors than Alfaro as a catcher.

          1. IMO, Odubel should be in the running for a Golden Glove. with Billy Hamilton and AJ Pollock also in the running, he should be right there.
            Herrera’s ten Defensive Runs Saved was 5thin all of baseball.
            His SABR Defensive Indicator of 7.3 was .7 below Hamilton and 1.9 more then AJ Pollock for second in the NL.
            Defensively dWAR of 1.3 was behind only Pollock’s of 1.8 and a tick better then Hamilton’s 1.1.
            When it comes to UZR for 2015…it is Hamilton @14.5, Odubel@9.9 and AJ Pollock @6.5
            However AJ Pollock will probably get it. Herrera needs more of a database in years to really be taken seriously. But lots to like with Herrera in CF.

            1. Romus, I think Doobie was a terrific Rule V acquisition. This was his first year as a CF and did a really good job. He showed that he can hit, and I think he showed he is coachable. When he got mad and threw his bat and Mac benched him, he said all the right things, didn’t sulk, and seemed to have learned from it. First year at the position from AA, and I look for him to grow as a player. I am a big Roman Quinn fan, and hope he has a big year, and we will have a great problem of 2 legit CFs to worry about.

            2. You know, with the Phillies being so deep in center, I wonder how good he is at second? He won a best fielder award at A or AA I believe. That bat would play awfully well at second base if he’s truly a good fielder.

            3. Cesar Hernandez also won that “best defensive 2B” award in the minors, as voted on by managers, so I don’t put a ton of stock into it. Scouting reports indicate that Hererra was passable at best and maybe average in the future at 2B.

              The only way I see Hererra back at 2B is if he doesn’t cut it as an everyday player and ends up in more of a utility role.

          2. @jim – no problem. I just missed Quinn. Herrera is probably both Development and Evaluate but I think he’s more on Evaluate to see if he can be the regular CF of the new Phillies especially Quinn is already in the 40-man and ready to fill in.

    4. This will probably the safest way to improve but it will be a painful process. I don’t think the new Phillies FO will have a Sixers-like patience so Middleton will infuse $$ to jump start the road to contention and bring the fans back to CBP. Likewise, with the new $$ from Comcast, I think they will not tolerate to have a crappy product for the next 36 months.

      There are other avenues to infuse talent other than getting the early pick in the Rule 4 draft. Although I have to admit that getting a shot to draft any of the Top 10 prospect in the next 2 years can be “game changer” there are also intances where the Top 10 prospect didn’t pan out. The key for “Talent Infusion” will be a combination of good scouting and some analytics.

      Agostinelli proved already that he can hit with under the radar international FA signings (Franco, Kilome, Pinto, etc) so with added $$, the Phils can definitely gamble on the “higher risk” prospects.

      As for local scounting, I think Almaraz did a good job in the 2015 draft. If JA can continue to hit again in the 2016 draft again, the Phils will kick the s**t out of the lousy NY Mets again 2018 going forward.

      With resources put on analytics, i expect better results in the Phils local and international scouting and talent recruitment.

  9. Your predictions for the fall classic are…

    I like the Mets in 6. I believe their starting pitching can outlast or trump the Royals line-up!

    1. DMAR…….have you factored in the fact that the Royal have the highest BA in the league vs pitchers with velo of 95mph or better?

      1. Romus leave it to you to come up with the obscure stat of the day. Just note I don’t see myself as having a rooting interest in either team just a baseball fan hoping to see really great baseball, story lines and hopefully a flair for the dramatic.

        Whichever side comes out on top won’t affect me materially one way or the other so as soon as the final pitch is thrown each game I’ll be turning to something else. Probably Hot Stove!

        1. DMAR…..sorry, not intending to rain on you. And yes a well played WS is welcomed….but in my heart want the Royals to get their second WS…last one was 30 years ago.

            1. DMAR…
              Yes, it was great game. And liked the fact the Royals prevailed.
              Teams winning first game of the series, over the last 20 years, went on to win 85% of the time.
              And today marks the anniversary of the second day of the three-day Game 5 in the ’08 series…..and it is raining again in the area.

        1. Sorry, the placement of this comment in the string makes it appear that I was either being sarcastic about the poster who predicted the Mets would win or was agreeing with it – neither of which is the case. The “great call” was a reference to post about the Royals’ ability to hit 95 MPH+ pitching – that was really an astute observation made before the series began.

          1. hmmm. Someone disagrees with this self-evident comment. Gotta love the haters. This is the last post I’ll make with this user name.

            1. catch…go figure…makes no sense! 🙂
              Though I or LarryM may hold the record for the old method of the ‘thumbs down’

      1. OTOH….there has been some great pitching lately in the WS – done by the younger pitchers like ….Bumgarner, Lincecum, Hamels. The two Cardinals wins and the Yankee team win were exceptions.

        1. Well as usual I can’t predict a WS to save my life. I think it is safe to say the Mets don’t run off 4 straight and the 85% win rate of the 1st game winner holds true. Now I’m calling for a straight sweep so we can get this hot stove season turned on.

  10. I hate the Mets so have to root for the Royals. Plus, those fans suffered for a long time. I also like the way they play, although you have to love the Mets pitching. Back to the Phils, don’t we have to be encouraged by Middleton? I am impressed every tome he speaks. I hope that it translates into action. They reiterated that the FA market is not in the cards for this off-season, at least at the top end. More likely, a couple of veteran Pitchers to eat innings and maybe be trade pieces in July. But, the International market is there, and we will know soon enough if there is really a change in direction for the team. If they sit it out again, or just make a token effort, I will be greatly disappointed.

      1. Brown needs a change of scenery badly but if he can’t stick on the worst team in baseball, it’ll be tough to play for a team that’s even a little better. I hear Jimmy Morrison queuing up in the background, “This is the end. My only friend, the end.”

        1. I think he’ll likely stick around at least as long as Delmon Young, who still carved himself out a nice little career. His tools are better.

    1. Interesting concept. Nelson Prada is the hitting coach on his team, so the Phillies could be asking him to experiment.

  11. one could argue that if the phillies want a big time FA pitcher, this year is the year to do it. in 2016-7 http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/03/2016-17-mlb-free-agents.html the list is pretty bleak. Moreover, the Yankess will have Texiera and CC off the books so assume they would be bigtime players.

    Only good Pitchers 2016, and it debatable if they are good is Strassburg, and Gio. Many veteran hitters but no stars in or near their prime

    That said, realize the front office said they wont spend this year.

    1. It would be misguided to spend on a big $$ pitcher this offseason (or even next). These are typically seven-year deals anymore, and you are expecting to get 3-4 prime years from that pitcher before they tail off at the end of the contract. Next year is developmental for the Phils, and even if guys all develop on schedule, even 2017 will feature a TON of players just getting their feet wet against big league pitching.

      It’s more likely they draft a potential ace with 1:1 in June, spend in LA starting July 2 and hope to develop guys in the system before they go out looking for a hired gun this early.

  12. I had st louis KC world series at the trading deadline. I thought KC went for it with the trades they mad.

  13. I saw that the cubs are shopping shwarber so I was thinking we trade Giles and they need a cf so we’ll give Herrera and a pitcher of their choice and then well have a power hi

    1. Is that a joke sam?

      Kyle Schwarber, a 22 year old with one of the best hit tools to come up in a long time for a relief pitcher and a good, not great center fielder and a “pitcher of their choice”. Is that a real trade proposal in your mind?

      So the pitcher of their choice would be Aaron Nola, and that package still wouldn’t be close to getting it done.

      1. Probably some of the hicago blog rumors…Cubs Den, Cubbies Crib, Obstructed View.
        Cubs looking for pitching like Epstein said, but Schwarber would need to bring back an ace I would think.

  14. •While many Tigers fans are disappointed with the development (or lack thereof) of Nick Castellanos, MLive. Romus another of the guys, we couldn’t get two years ago. Remember when they needed a closer. He was the next mickey mantle. no way they trade him. Prospect are just that prospects

    1. rocco….yes I remember. I was one of the ones that wanted him….still do. Prospects sometimes take a few years to come around, and some just don’t.
      IMO, I think 2016 will be a break out year for him….25/30HRs, maybe a 275/350/480 line, but 3rd base isn’t where he should be….I’d move him to LF again and try it all over. His SDI at third is terrible, only better then the Panda of the Sox in the AL.

  15. Great post on Dylan Cozens:

    – The 21-year-old talked about transitioning from the Class A Advanced Florida State League to the Double A Eastern League late in the season this year…

    I felt like it was easy for me (in Double A). I felt like it was a lot easier up there to get a plan, make a plan against the pitcher. You kind of have an idea of how they are going to attack you. In High A, you don’t really see that as much. Everybody’s just kind of doing their own thing. I definitely felt like it was easier to get a plan. More pitchers were around the plate, which was good. Umpires were better, made it easier to lay off things, so I felt more confident laying off pitches and waiting to get my pitch. Also, I came up to more hitters’ parks, which made things a lot better. I felt like it was very tough to get the ball out of the yard in the Florida State League. So, I just stopped trying to do it. I just focused on hitting line drives.

    http://www.phoulballz.com/2015/10/dylan-cozens-interview-excerpts.html

    1. I like it…..’felt like it was very tough to get the ball out of the yard in the Florida State League. So, I just stopped trying to do it. I just focused on hitting line drives’

    2. Refreshingly, it sounds like he is very capable at making adjustments and sounds like he has a very good approach. I have been skeptical about him until he got to AA. Now I really like his chances.

    1. Nope Injury

      Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford has a slight tear in his thumb ligament.
      That explains why he left his Arizona Fall League club after just five games. The good news is that he won’t require surgery, as the injury is immobilized. Crawford should be 100 percent for the start of spring training.
      Source: Jim Salisbury on Twitter

  16. Mike Maddux(former Phillie pitcher) and now former Texas Ranger pitching coach is available. I hope that Andy McPhail or Matt Klentak have called him already.

      1. He is a highly respected pitching coach who could do a better job than Bob McClure with our young starters.

  17. I know Joe Jordan is a bit biased, being in charge of the farm system and all, but I really like the updates on the off-season for Quinn. He said he is as fast as ever, and is swinging the bat well in the Winter Leagues. I probably am looking forward to his having a big year as anyone. If he stays healthy, I see him as a Lorenzo Cain type, and that would be a huge piece. He was also high on Alfaro, Cordero, Ortiz, and Corny.

  18. Romus, He really, really likes Ortiz. He has a good bat and has high hopes. He is betting on Corny’s bat, he is a very good hitter. Alfaro has a high motor, always does things 100%. You can see the Power and he loves his arm. Seems 100% recovered from the ankle and blocking the plate well. Cordero showing consistency in hitting the zone, and showed signs of being a real Pitcher. And, Quinn is as fast as ever and playing well in Winter League with a couple of triples and a HR. Those are the guys that he highlighted.

  19. Baseball America will be releasing its Phillies top 10 on Monday. I’m guessing BA’s list will be:

    01. Crawford
    02. Williams
    03. Thompson
    04. Randolph
    05. Alfaro
    06. Kilome
    07. Knapp
    08. Quinn
    09. Eflin
    10. Pivetta

    I’d put in Arauz or Ortiz at #10, but I think BA goes with Pivetta.

    1. the top 5 seems to be a lock and 6 to 9 will probably have some switching in the order. I can see either Pinto, Kingery or Cozens as #10.

      1. I could see Kingery or Cozens being the choice, but I don’t see BA taking Pinto over Pivetta. Pivetta showed more upside in High A, than Pinto this past year.

    2. BA is all about tools and ceiling. It wouldn’t surprise me if Knapp was like 10 or out of the top 10 on their list. I don’t agree with that, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Arauz could make it and I agree that Thomson will be 2 and Pivetta could make the list.

    3. Nice when you could lose a Nola and a Franco and still put up a Top 6 that would rival any and top most organizations

    4. There was a site that was way down on Williams to start the year this year and even halfway threw the year they were still down on him. I believe that was BA so I don’t think they rank him above Thompson and possibly Alafaro and Corny go ahead of him but unlikely.

      1. KLaw also did not consider him a good prospect back in April.
        Will be interested in reading what his assessment of Williams is this off-season.

  20. Can’t argue about yr list…but I’d move Thompson to #2 and Williams to #3. Thompson has hit his high development mark this past season at Reading…and could challenge Nola for leadership in the rotation. Williams has excellent potential but he needs to make more & better contact–especially vs. lefty pitchers. Most of the 2016 season–and ST, of course, will be spent on these issues. Could well yield the guy for MLB appearance sometime in July or so. I also expect Thompson to come up during the season….June?

  21. Here is the actual list

    1. Crawford
    2. Williams
    3. Thompson
    4. Knapp
    5 Alfaro
    6. Randolph
    7. Kilome
    8. Quinn
    9. Medina
    10. Tocci

    Baseball America put the list in the Digital version of the magazine that came out on Oct. 28.

    1. I’m surprised Tocci made it, since they ranked Canelo higher than him in the league rankings.

    2. Adonis Medina looks like the big surprise here. I love his name and the fact he’s pitching state-side at 18 years old, specifically the GCL. He’s listed at 6’1″ 185 lbs. I have never seen him and don’t know what he throws but putting an 18 y/o in the top 10 after 1 season state-side sounds like a big stretch. He started 8 games and relieved in 2 others. He gave up over 4 runs per game but only 3/g were earned. He had a 6.9 K/9 so he wasn’t a big strike out guy. He did end the season with 14 Ks in his last 14 2/3 IP so he was getting stronger as the season progressed. He must have a huge upside to place him #8.

      I like Eflin in the top 10 and was surprised Medina had his spot.

        1. On one of his end-of-season write-ups it said his Fastball was peaking at 97, as opposed to 90 the previous year.

    3. Surprised on Knapp’s climb , and though just a tick above Alfaro….Alfaro was ranked as the number one catcher in most pubs early this year.

    4. Wow -they must think a lot of Knapp to have him at 4. I’m pleased and surprised by that. There are always a few pure tool guys on their lists – this year it’s Medina and Tocci.

      1. Have to assume Knapp is top ten in catchers….but now where does Alfaro lay?
        The number one now could be any of McGuire, Pentecoast, or Nottingham.

        1. I’d have to think Alfaro is one of the top rated catchers. If the rest of the industry follows BA’s lead with their aggressive ranking of Knapp, I suspect you’ll see both Alfaro and Knapp showing up in Top 5 catcher lists.

          Personally, I’m not that sold on Knapp just yet. Sure he has an envious hit tool, but the numbers he put up at Reading when compared to the balance of his professional career would lead someone to scratch their head in a confused state. What I would say is that I love the BB rate just below 10%, and the K rate around 20% is fine if he is an above average XBH guy. What I would also say is if Knapp is much closer to the Clearwater hitter he was in early 2015 than the Reading hitter he was in late 2015, then that’s a pretty uninteresting prospect. Does anyone see Knapp as an .800+ OPS hitter at LV in 2016?

          1. Sanchez is also another catcher in the mix, who is having an outstanding AFL so far and fared well in the second half of the season after the Futures Game in Cincy….so assuming he may pass Alfaro on the catcher’s top ten.
            As for Knapp…..his line has been somewhere around .790OPS so far, I would be happy with a .775/.785OPS range and ISO.145/150.

          2. Steve……not sure Alfaro will be higher then 9th or 10th. Say Knapp comes in around 6th/8th area, Alfaro, logically, Alfaro should be below him.

            1. Not necessarily. I might be implying that I doubt Knapp will be ranked ahead of Alfaro on other polls as he was with BA’s. You said it yourself earlier that Alfaro was ranked no. 1 catching prospect on most polls entering the season.

            2. I think Steve’s right – MLB website has Alfaro 4 and Knapp 16 – while I think that’s somewhat on the extreme end, I think Alfaro will be ahead on most lists. Usually, a top ranked prospect doesn’t lose his ranking mojo that quickly, nor does a rising but a little older prospect with somewhat lesser overall tools typically rise that quickly. That said, I really like what I’m seeing from Knapp – he’s showing continued improved discipline. I think, at some level, the bat is for real – what I’m not sure about is the defense and whether the plate discipline and power will materialize at higher levels, but I think it will translate to some degree and I love that he’s a switch hitter. I think Knapp and Quinn and perhaps a few of the pitchers will be up by the end of the year. Due to service time issues, I don’t see them promoting Crawford before 2017 unless he simply dominates at AAA and not promoting him will impair his development. I’m predicting Crawford arrives in May or June of 2017 and is the starting ss from day one of his arrival.

          3. Yes, he was a very good hitter in college and then had elbow surgery which could have affected his batting stroke in Clearwater. Also, Clearwater is a pitchers park which makes it hard to hit for power. Reading a hitters park which Allentown can be too. He is also a good athlete and probably can change positions if needed to get his bat in the lineup.

      2. Tocci isn’t really a “tools” guy. He’s a skills guy. He doesn’t have the power and speed to be considered a “tools” guy.

      3. Tocci isn’t really a “tools” guy. He’s a skills guy. He doesn’t have the power and speed to be considered a “tools” guy.

        I’m also a little surprised they pushed Knapp all of the way to #4. But I’m not blown away by it. I expected Knapp to be 6 or 7 based on nice comments they made about him. Based on Knapp finishing ahead of Cornelius, I guess that guarantees Knapp will be top 100.

        I had a feeling they’d drop Alfaro out of that #4 spot because I’ve heard John Manuel down him a few times. They don’t have huge confidence in Alfaro.

        1. Alfaro needs to have his breakthrough at C. With that arm, and enough power to be productive, he needs to prove he can handle the rest of a catcher’s repertoire. But the bat is limited by the hit tool and that’s why he needs to stick at C

  22. However, we view the Top Ten list, what is apparent is that Phils have a much improved 2d Ten than they have had in a very long time. There are a number of guys who we can make a claim for Top Ten ranking who won’t make it. With a few guys who could be primed to have really big years and make their way onto top National lists, not just the Phils. Knapp, Alfaro, Quinn, Cozens, just to name a few that I am looking to see this year.

    1. Surprised to see that Knapp is listed so high, but very pleased. He’s been holding his own in the AFL. He really might have turned the corner for good in AA.

      1. I think he has many attributes closely akin to Blake Swihart. The obvious is their physical profile, switch hitters and even their metrics are close. Knapp ‘s age to level was slowed a little due to lost development time after the Oct’13 TJ, but he has come on strong.

    1. Edubray has been pretty darn good in the Arizona League but Victor Arano has been exceptional. He’s over 2 years younger than Ramos and has been pitching very well in his native Mexico. In 9 2/3 inning of relief, he has 9 Ks and 1 intentional BB. He’s given up 7 hits and 1 ER. He has a tiny ERA and Whip, .93 and .83 respectively and opponents are hitting .200 against him. I know the Mexican Winter League is not a AAAA league but the 20 year old is holding his own.

      MAG’s might get a little shout out here. He pitched a 6 inning shut out in his last outing. He gave up 2 hits with 2 Ks and 1 BB. I’m not penciling him into any roster spot but the more he pitches the better it is for him.

      1. I also think Arano can be a special player going forward. He seem to tire after the 5th/6th innings last year or batters just got a better read on him after a few sightings at the plate. But age could have also been a factor and really not sure about his overall conditioning. Though in 2016, he could very well dominate the FSL this year.

    2. No, Ramos will start at AAA and be allowed to improve and earn his way up. I agree that I think he’ll get to Philly by year end. I think Roibal is ahead of him and possibly a few others. The big club will stink again, it will be a season discovery again.

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