Open Discussion: Week of December 14th

Baseball’s Winter Meetings are over.  The Phillies showed up with the worst record in baseball, one trade chip, and the number one pick in the Rule 5 Draft.  They made the most of their meager pre-meeting assets.

The Phillies turned their one commodity, Ken Giles, a closer whom other teams viewed as “elite” into a probable starting pitcher in RHP Vincent Velasquez, a pitcher with 42 major league starts over the last 3 seasons in LHP Brett Oberholtzer, 2013 first overall pick RHP Mark Appel, Thomas Eshelman who only made 4 professional appearances in August – 2 in Rookie Ball (GCL) and 2 in full season A, and low A wild card in Harold Arauz.  The Phillies also included 17-year old infielder Jonathan Arauz (no relation) in the deal.

The Phillies added the best overall hitter available to their 25-man roster with their first round Rule 5 selection of Tyler Goeddel.  They picked up a loogy-type pitcher one round later in Daniel Stumpf although righties only hit .245 off him last season.

The Phillies also signed FA RHP David Hernandez, a reliever with some closing experience. Over the weekend they traded Clearwater right hander David Whitehead to Pittsburgh for RHP Charlie Morton.

In addition to the loss of Giles and Arauz, the Phillies lost RHP Manaure Martinez during the AAA phase of the Rule 5 Draft.  Martinez had been in the organization 5 years and had only advanced as far as Lakewood last season.

The Phillies top 20 prospects as determined by MLB include only 6 players who were with the organization on this date last year.  Of course, by the end of the month the Phillies had added Eflin, Windle, and LIvely.  Still, that’s a lot of new faces.  Should make for a fun Reader Top 30 in the coming weeks.  I anticipate starting after the holidays.  Of the 9 newest acquisitions, 8 are pitchers.  Does anybody wonder if in Mark Appel we may have acquired the Astro’s Jesse Biddle?

Off Season Transactions

The following is an update of the Phillies’ offseason roster status, which currently stands at 40 players –

Free Agents (5)

  • Cliff Lee, Aaron Harang, Jerome Wiliams, Chad Billingsley, and Jeff Francoeur

Guaranteed Contracts (8) – contract information from COTS

  1. Matt Harrison ($13M for 2016 and 2017, $13.5M club option or $2M buyout for 2018)
  2. David Hernandez ($3.9M for 2016)
  3. Charlie Morton ($8M for 2016, $9.5M mutual option. $1M buyout forfeited if he declines option.  Additional $0.5M in performance bonuses.)
  4. Carlos Ruiz ($8.5M for 2016, $4.5M club option or $0.5M buyout for 2017)
  5. Andres Blanco reached arbitration agreement for 2016 at $1.45M
  6. Ryan Howard ($25M for 2016, $23M club option or $10M buyout for 2017)
  7. Peter Bourjos reached arbitration agreement for 2016 at $2M
  8. Miguel Gonzalez ($4.66M for 2016, and a vesting option for 2017). Not on 40-man, outrighted to LHV back on 4/1/2015.

Arbitration Eligible Players (3) – salary projections from Tim Dierkes of MLBTR

  1. Jeanmar Gomez ($1.5M)
  2. Jeremy Hellickson ($6.6M) a Boras Corporation client
  3. Freddy Galvis (1.9M)

Remaining roster players (30) 

  1. Elvis Araujo,
  2. Alec Asher,
  3. Jesse Biddle,
  4. David Buchanan
  5. Jimmy Cordero,
  6. Jerad Eickhoff,
  7. Luis Garcia
  8. Severino Gonzalez,
  9. Dalier Hinojosa,
  10. Mario Hollands
  11. Michael Mariot,
  12. Adam Morgan,
  13. Colton Murray,
  14. Hector Neris,
  15. Aaron Nola,
  16. Brett Oberholtzer ,
  17. Edubray Ramos,
  18. Daniel Stumpf
  19. Vincent Velasquez,
  20. Jorge Alfaro,
  21. Cameron Rupp,
  22. Maikel Franco
  23. Cesar Hernandez
  24. Darin Ruf
  25. Darnell Sweeney,
  26. Aaron Altherr,
  27. Cody Asche
  28. Tyler Goeddel,
  29. Odubel Herrera
  30. Roman Quinn

Fall Ball cumulative stats for Arizona Fall League, Australian League, and the winter leagues in the Dominican, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, as well as Nicauragua, and the WBSC.

No change in the VWL by Miguel Gonzalez.  He stands at a 4.13 ERA in 7 starts – 12 BB, 19 K in 32.2 IP.

Rhys Hoskins continues to improve and has increased his production (.309/.377/.545, 5 HR, 27 RBI ) and Cord Sandberg has rebounded (.268/.355/.378) in Australia.

The AFL has completed its season.  Drew Stankiewicz (.483/.531/.621) responded well after his call up following J.P. Crawford’s thumb injury.  Tom Windle (1.74 in 10 appearances) pitched well.  Yacksel Rios (2-2, 5.14) got lit up in his final start and saw his ERA jump by about 3.00, however he pitched well in his other starts.

Maikel Franco has stalled after his quick start in the DWL .230/.333/.361, but has 9 BB and only 6 K in 61 AB.  Roman Quinn  hasn’t played since 11/28 when he was hitting .212 and had struck out 27 times in 99 AB.  Angelys Nina continues to be steady at .269/.317/.333 in 156 AB.  Joely Rodriguez has a 3.00 ERA in 10 appearance/4 starts and 21 K in 21 IP and has reverted to a relief role.  Ranfi Casimiro has posted a 1.96 ERA in 5 starts.  Relievers Ulises Joaquin (3.55 ERA, 10 K in 12.2 IP), Nefi Ogando (3.12 in 10 appearances), and Jimmy Cordero (2.16 ERA in 9 appearances, 9 K in 8.1 IP) are throwing well.  Although Cordero hasn’t pitched since 11/22.

Victor Arano is killing it in Mexico with a 4-0 record and 0.75 ERA in 23 appearances, 19 K in 24 IP.  Odubel Herrera has hit the ground running hitting .450 in 5 games in Venezuela.

Dylan Cozens continues to post good numbers in Puerto Rico .346/.370/.558 with 3 HR in 15 games.  He has 10 K and 2 BB in 52 AB. Jesmuel Valentin  continues to put up a respectable .260/.306/.317 in 123 AB.  Hoby Milner has posted an ERA of 2.00 in 13 appearances (9.0 IP).  Reinier Roibal has a 1.73 ERA in 6 starts – 26 IP, 22 K, 8 BB.  Daniel Stumpf has a 1.00 ERA in 13 appearances, 18 IP, 10 K, 5 BB.

There is winter baseball in Nicauragua.  Austin Davis, Harold Guerrero, Jairo Munoz, and Will Morris are all on the same team.  Davis has a 1.12 ERA, 46 K in 40.1 IP.  The quartet has started 25 of the team’s 27 games.  The rest of their stats are here.

The US entry in the WBSC (World Baseball Softball Confederation) Premier 12 took silver in Japan when they lost to South Korea in the final game.  The manager of the GCL Phillies, Roly de Armas, was one of the coaches.  Cody Forsythe, Joey Denato, and Kyle Martin were on the USA team.  So were FA pitcher Anthony Vasquez and FA 2B Tyler Pastornicky.  Their combined stats are here. They do NOT include the final game which the USA lost 8-0.  Joey DeNato entered in the ninth with 2 out and the bases loaded.  He threw 5 pitches and recorded a swinging strike out to end the threat.  Kyle Martin entered as a PH in the ninth and struck out looking.  (Pastornicky started at third and went 0-4 with 2 K.  Vasquez pitched 1.2 innings and faced 8 batters recording a hit, walk, HBP and K.  He entered with 2 out in the fourth and stranded a runner, pitched a clean fifth, and left with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth after striking out the first batter then going single-HBP-BB.)

299 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of December 14th

  1. Comprehensive. Out of this pack of newbies which include plenty of arms from which several should emerge as starters and some others as relievers. Altogether maybe 5-6 new arms to become part the new staff…to which should be added THE #1 June draft choice as well as some others in the system. Add in a choice or two in Latin signings which should also yield 2-3 high value in July…perhaps position players…and the team would be following the pattern of the Giants.

    There is also the (slight) possibility that the ’16 June draft could include a “can’t miss” position player…to contend with the draft a pitcher notion.

    The Goedell got should allow a new outfielder who could grow into a starting role for now with Williams to join up during the ’16 season.

    All in all some great big steps toward being competitive…and with 3 possible additions to the staff sometime in ’16
    from AAA LV…the news is good.

  2. Any chance Klentak looks to take on a bad contract to add another prospect or two (like the Braves did to acquire Touki Tousaint) ?

    1. He may have been able to do that with the Charlie Morton trade with the Pirates.
      Morton’s contract wasn’t a ‘bad’ contract so to speak, but they were looking to dump his $8M salary for this year.
      A lot of the bad contracts may have too many years attached for his liking.

  3. The “Year of Transition” continues. Since December 2014, the Phils have traded, Bastardo, Rollins, Bird, Revere, Hamels, Diekman, Papelbon, Utley, McWilliams, Whitehead, Giles, J. Arauz, a bat boy and a partridge in a pear tree. They’ve returned: Joely Rodriquez, Lively, Windle, Eflin, Cordero, Tirado, Harrison, Alfaro, Eikhoff, Williams, Asher, Thompson, Pivetta, Richy, Sweeney, Hellickson, Morton, Oberholzer, H. Arauz, Appel, Eshelman, Velasquez, Roger Ramjet and the American Eagle Squadron. I’m sure I missed a couple because the list was so long.

    Now sing the chorus with me, “We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning.”

    1. bellman…..the ‘bat boy’ was not traded , the Phillies just did not renew Ruben’s contract.

  4. “Does anybody wonder if in Mark Appel we may have acquired the Astro’s Jesse Biddle?”

    I think this is a fair point. Though with Biddle his issues seem more mental; with Appel, from the limited things I have read about him, it sounds more like its his desire that’s holding him back. His commitment to baseball is what’s in question.

    That said, they are both perfect “change of scenery” candidates, so hopefully this new start granted Appel will help him progress.

    1. fritze….Appel says all the right things in the post trade interviews. He says he wants to come here and help win a championship. For sure he is not the ‘savior’ with Nola, Thompson, Eflin, Velasquez and the 2016 1.1 all being in the mix. In Houston after the ’13 draft he was looked upon as being the future ace or the ‘guy’.
      Not here, so maybe the pressure is off a little.

      1. If you want hope just look at Arrieta’s age 24-27 seasons. The stuff was always there but the results weren’t until the Orioles gave up on him and sent him to the Cubs.

        Appel has that kind of stuff. We’ll see hopefully it breaks it our way.

          1. Thing is Arrietta problem was largely control. Appel’s issue is not only control but a hittable fastball with little movement.

            1. I have not read anything that said that Appel’s issues were to do with little movement on his fastball. Rather his issues are command. He seems to have good control but poor command. Plus, he shelved the 2-seamer, which would have more movement

              From Keith Law:
              Appel had worked at 95-98 in his last major-league outing against the Yankees. When I saw him in a Double-A game against Atlanta’s Mississippi affiliate, he was 91-96, mostly 94-96 from the windup, and throwing more if not always better strikes (that is, above-average control but fringy command). His slider was 85-90 with a ton of break, a true plus pitch for him, the best slider I’ve seen him throw since he was at Stanford. He barely used his changeup, a pitch I believe he’ll need to keep lefties from sitting on his fastball. All of the hard contact he gave up was on his fastball, usually because he didn’t get the pitch up or down enough and caught too much of the middle third (with respect to height) of the zone. His fastball should be effective in the upper third or just above the zone, but he has to hit that spot. Once he’s ahead, he’s going to miss a lot of right-handed bats with the slider.


            2. From what I’ve read that has largely to do with Houston pushing him to throw a 4seam instead of the 2seam he threw in college. Also they wanted him to compact his delivery which might have affected his control and command.

        1. Right – and the same could be said about a dozen other big bodies starters who took longer to develop but still became aces

          1. Steve…I think the Red Sox are thinking the same about big bodies who take longer to develop…they signed our guy Sean O’Sullivan right from under our feet!

      2. Once, about 23 years ago, the Phillies took a chance on a big kid who had a great arm, but was inconsistent, thought of as a flake and an underachiever, and had bounced around to a few teams. His name was Curt Schilling and, boy, was that a good gamble. I’m not saying Appel is Schilling, just that I love the idea of acquiring a great talent when his value is down.

    2. My brother and I were talking about the revised trade and I mentioned the “sort of” Biddle comparison. Still, a better chance for Appel to turn it around.

    3. I think it unfair to say Biddle’s issues are mental. He has pitched well when healthy, but he’s had whooping cough, plantar fascitis, a concussion from a hailstorm, and now TJ surgery. Who knows how long his elbow has been injured? His problems have been mainly physical.

      Appel was good enough, competitive enough, to be taken 1.1. The Astros then promptly decided that just about everything which had previously worked for him, from his motion to his choice of which fastball to throw, needed to be discarded and replaced. A guy good enough to be picked 1.1 is a rather unique baseball talent. Perhaps what works best for a majority of pitchers doesn’t work for him. It’s a different thing to remake a guy whose FB is obviously a yard short, whose control stinks, or who is just getting bad results. Appel was doing just fine. Hopefully the Phillies will allow Appel to go back to at least some of what previously worked for him and he will pitch more like the Stanford Appel.

  5. Appel is three months older than Biddle. Consider, Appel was barely mediocre at AA and AAA during his age 22 and 23 seasons while Biddle was anywhere from bad to horrible. Appel, even without further improvement, profiles as a back end starter.

    I don’t know what happened at low A back in 2014, but Appel may have fallen way short of consensus expectations, he’s still shown the ability to be a serviceable starter. His AAA debut was not that bad despite pitching in the PCL

    1. For me and this is just an observation I think Appel needed some humble pie and maybe this is it.

      Obviously you want a guy that has a lot of confidence. In college you might get away with throwing 94+ down the middle but not in professional ball not even at A+.

    2. Appel may have run into the same issue as our old friend Kyle Drabek; even in GCL, kids can hit a straight 97mph FB. You have to be able to pitch and not rely on gas.

      1. Appel did pitch more in the past. The Astros changed his FB to add 2 mph, but he also lost movement. He probably also is not as comfortable with his new motion. He needs more command, but his Stanford FB velocity was fine. It was the Astros who insisted upon throwing a fast, but straight, FB.

  6. I read a bit about Appel over the weekend. By all accounts, his stuff is still great. It seems to be inconsistent and there is mixed opinions on why. The Astros changed his motion a bit, which could have caused it. KLaw also makes a point that he has plus control, but doesn’t always show plus command. He tends to leave his fastball up, which is why his “plus” fastball tends to get hit hard. He also seems to have trouble with LH hitters. The change up should help that.

    Net, net, I think this is a case of extremely high expectations not immediately being met and an organization tiring on a very good prospects. He seems to still have the stuff of a #2 and his frame suggests he can be a workhorse. Could he become a #1? Not sure. But that doesn’t really matter for us. With him and VV, we got two pitchers who have a legit shot to be a #2 or #3 pitcher. That is a very good return for a relief pitcher.

    1. Same here v1. I’ve also read that the fastball, despite the velocity, is very hittable. I’ve also read that the delivery offers little in terms of deception. I keep keeping my fingers crossed that the right mechanical corrections, or introduction of a new pitch, may be all that is needed for him to become a serious top of the rotation threat. Wishful thinking perhaps, but there’s still a lot to like about his profile

      1. He may not also feel the pressure of being the future ace as a 1.1 as he was in Houston. Maybe that will be a plus in his development.

        1. I think Burris is out. From today’s Inky:

          “he would have the chance to work with IronPigs pitching coach Dave Lundquist, who was promoted this winter from double-A Reading.”

          I don’t recall hearing about this, though.

          1. A lot of top pitchers moving from Reading to Allentown, so it makes some sense to move Lundquist up with them.

    2. Just wanted to acknowledge what I consider to be the correct use of the terms #1 and #2. I watched the winter meetings coverage on MLB from beginning to end and was concerned how often most of the people providing that coverage throw around phrases like “He could be a #1”, “He could step in as their #2”, etc with what seems like little regard (or maybe just the understanding) of what does and doesn’t make up a #1, #2, #3 pitcher. Thank you.

        1. It’s a good point as many casual fans would conclude, neither wrongly nor correctly, that there are 30 number one types in the league. Personally, when I think about categorizing a pitcher as a number one, number two, etc., I do so as if I was slotting the pitcher into a playoff-caliber rotation. There needs to be some context.

        2. Right. A number “1” isn’t just the best pitcher in a given team’s rotation (such as Aaron Nola), a “1” is an elite ace – a dominant pitcher, such as Roy Halladay at his peak, or someone like Greinke, Kershaw, or King Felix. Cole Hamels, as great as he is, probably has never achieved true “1” status, although he’s damned close and you have to give him points for 2008.

          1. Ha. Funny. I looked up Hamels’ 2008 player page before I even finished reading the last half of your sentence. Without Hamels in 2008, there’s no celebration

            1. So what is higher, a pair ‘aces’ or a pair of number ones in the rotation you are dealt?
              There could be 30 number ‘1s’ in the majors, but a lot less ‘aces’.
              Or is it just semantics.

          2. I think that Hamels was a No.1 in the 2008 playoffs and also in 2011 (at least before he hit the DL), 2012 and 2014.

            I also think that Hamels finishes up with a better career than Lincecum and Sabathia, two guys who were certified aces.

            I also think that Hamels is better than Bumgarner, who pitches half his games in the best pitcher’s park and who many think is a No.1.

            1. The view of Hamels suffers from his W-L record in his last years in the Phillies rotation, not to mention an ERA that got dinged by Phillies’ defenses which turned outs into hits and hits into extra base hits. He’s pitched in front of some horrid defenders.

      1. A #1 is a pitcher with 2 plus-plus pitches and a 3rd plus pitch, with plus-plus command. A #2 has less than plus-plus in one or more of the categories.

  7. Appel could benefit from hearing new voices and from the reduction of 1/1 pressure in Houston. That LHV rotation should be quite a competition to get to philly. Id probably move Morgan into the pen now and see what we have. Same with Asher.

  8. Seems O’s may a final offer for Chris Davis.
    Boras playing hardball with the Os.
    If they lose him, I wonder if offering Ryan Howard and a boatload of money may persuade them to take a flyer on him? Half of their top 30 are arms, though not rated high or injury concerns, but we can always use another arm in the stable.

  9. The big concern about the new trade is what it means for VV’s health.

    Everyone assumed (I think wrongly) that Fisher’s health was the reason that Appel was swapped into the deal and he was swapped out. But I read a report that the issue was what they saw in VV’s medical check, not Fisher’s. So they needed a better prospect than Fisher to accept the deal given VV’s risk.

    Everyone loves VV’s stuff, but if the kid has medical problems throughout his career, it won’t matter too much.

    1. Some of those injuries and concerns start back to his junior year in HS, then came the TJ and groin.
      But the lat strain was last Nov 4th in the AFL and he was fine in 3/4 weeks and ready for ST.
      The concern, from what I read, was the amount and recurrence of different ailments. He has had his share over the last 5/6 years for a 23-year old.

    2. A report file on him:
      “Health has been the issue for Velasquez. He had a stress fracture and ligament strain in his right elbow in 2009 and didn’t pitch his junior season at Garey High in Pomona, Calif., and he has only pitched 296 pro innings despite being drafted in the second round in 2010. He’s a Tommy John survivor (2011) and missed two months in 2014 because of a groin injury. That said, Velasquez might have had the highest ceiling of any of Houston’s pitching prospects. He has an explosive fastball that registers 92-95 mph that plays up because of late life and pairs that with a plus changeup. The curve is still developing, but has the promise of at least an average offering. Velasquez has a loose, quick arm, is athletic and brings an assertive approach to the mound. He has all the elements of at least a mid-rotation starter, but the health woes make many scouts believe a move to the bullpen is in his future.”

    3. Yeah, I only read one report/story/tweet that suggested that it was Fisher’s physical that changed the trade. But it was the only report/story/tweet that named a name, and it was by one of our guys. Zolecki, I think. Maybe Salisbury. Somebody I would give a little more credit to and not one of the national guys who try to cover all 30 teams, and beat everyone else to the announcement.

    4. Here’s the reason I doubt that VV’s physical was an issue but Fisher’s was fine:

      The first deal agreed to (in theory) was Giles for a healthy VV, Fisher, Oberholtzer & Eshelman

      The final deal (if the issue was with Velasquez): Giles for a questionable VV, Appel, Oberholtzer, Eshelman, Arauz and we lose our Arauz.

      Do these deals look near equivalent? Because I don’t think they do. To me, Hector Arauz looks like a throw-in; I don’t see much upside there. So instead of healthy VV and Fisher, we get an unhealthy VV and Appel, and lose Arauz. It just doesn’t make sense to me, especially since I would rather have Fisher and Jon Arauz over Appel and Hector Arauz.

      1. Not sure Matt Klentak shares that opinion of Harold Arauz as a throw-in.
        This report from Jan 2015 has him at 17th in the Astros prospect list, prior to his low A season in 2015, which he did have his ups and downs
        …..17. Harold Arauz RHP: Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Panama in 2011, Harold Arauz has overpowered hitters wherever he has pitched. Just 19 years of age, Arauz still has time to add arm strength and polish to his supporting pitches. In 2014, the righty pitched in 53 innings across 14 games for a 5-2 record, including 68 strikeouts. Arauz doesn’t get the acclaim that some of the other pitching prospects receive, but Arauz has quietly positioned himself as a top prospect. His stock within the organization will grow if he can transfer his success to the full-season format.

        1. There doesn’t seem to be a ton of info on him. Here’s something I found from after the 2014 season, which was, statistically, a good year for him:

          Dustin (Houston): How close was Harold Arauz of the GCL Astros to making this list? I felt that outside of a couple of poor outings, he had a very impressive US debut.
          Ben Badler: He’s an interesting sleeper, but not a real candidate for this list. He’s a strike-thrower who throws a ton of cutters that get up to the low-90s that he uses to get weak contact.

          Doesn’t sound like his stuff is overpowering, just his numbers in the GCL. He’s also not the biggest guy, so I don’t know if he’s got much projection left.

          1. I did notice they list him at 6’4″ on early reports, but have corrected it to 6’2″. And his weight went from 186 lbs to 204 lbs last year. So he shrunk in height from 2011 to 2013, but gained a few pounds.
            As for his tendency to throw cutters. The Astros may have decided that for him, similar to their directions for Appel and limiting his 2-seamer usage.
            Different clubs with different pitching philosophies.

            1. Problem is, he’s completed 5 seasons and not escaped short-season ball. If he ever does have a really good year, he’ll need Rule 5 protection when he’s still well down the farm.

            2. Allentown….5 seasons?
              Actually four, he is 20-years old, and the first two were in the DR, and only 14 IPed at 17..
              But in all reality, he was never the ‘centerpiece’ ,so as the 5th guy in the trade, expectations are not high, though he was ranked 17th in their org prospect listing last year as a 19-year old.

        1. Still doesn’t add up. VV is the centerpiece of the trade, not Appel. If you fear the main piece in a trade is damaged goods, would you still make the deal? If true, this changes my feelings on the trade, which I had been in favor of (even though I liked the originally reported version better).

  10. if anyone has interest:
    For a limited time only, tickets for the Phillies Future Game on March 31, 2016 are on sale now through Christmas Day as part of the Fightins’ “12 Days of Christmas”. Fans will be able to purchase Green Box Seats for $17 in this special holiday sale. This first-ever game will pit the Philadelphia Phillies against the top prospects in the Phillies system.

    Tickets can be purchased at, by phone at 610-370-BALL, or in-person at the Fightins Ticket Office located at FirstEnergy Stadium.

  11. If I had to bet today on the opening day rotation I think it would be Nola, Hellickson, Morton, Eickhoff, Morgan

    Something could happen in that 5th spot of course. Could be Oberholtzer

    Line-Up looks something like
    Howard/Ruf Platoon
    Altherr RF
    Asche/Goeddel Platoon

    Bench: Ruiz, Bourjos, Blanco (Sweeney if you carry 11 pitchers)

    My AAA Rotation: Appel, Velasquez, Thompson, Asher, Eshelman, Buchannon

        1. Brett Oberholtzer will compete with Morgan for the #5 slot and, in a worse case, should help lead the Iron Pigs’ rotation. It’s telling that there are so many candidates for rotation spots that some notables get forgotten.

  12. Phillies have signed 5 players to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training as non-roster invitees…C J.P. Arencibia, RHPs Greg Burke, Ernesto Frieri & Gregory Infante and INF Angelys Nina.

  13. I would not be surprised to see Appel in Reading to start 2016 to work on pitches, control, and consistency. With the amount of options for AAA rotation they can afford to move pitchers along at a proper pace and attempt to teach them the most. There will likely be 2-3 major league starters who lose out in the spring that will be optioned to AAA rotation. So pitchers like Efflin, Appel, and Lively could start in AA instead of AAA which I thought they would just a couple of weeks ago.

    1. Appel is only 24 so he could definitely go back to AA. We need to get him on the right track. If he needs an extra year in the minors, so be it.

  14. love the idea of the “future game.” any projections for the lineup/batting order for the futures?

    1. There will be two games actually, one in Reading and one in Philly. It’s a great way to market the future stars and I’m sure lots of guys will get to play a bit. This spring training will be the best ever to watch minor leaguers, both in major league camp and those down in the minors.

    1. Does not mention a 4-seamer.
      I wonder why, unless he prefers not to throw it like Eflin.
      Whereas, Appel is reluctant in throwing a 2- seamer.
      Different strokes for different folks.

      1. Appel isn’t reluctant to throw a 2-seamer. The Astros instructed him not to. Law mentions this a lot as a mistake made by the Astros that he hopes the Phillies correct. He threw a lot of 2-seamers in college

  15. Phillies name minor league coaches.

            1. sorry – no snark intended – the cutting edge comment was supposed to refer to the (correct) comment that Burris is not the pitching coach at LHV despite still being listed on the IP website.

    1. no he is still the manager in williamsport. The pitching coach is lundquist who coached the fightin phils the past 2 years

  16. On Appel:
    There should be reason to believe that the Phils didn’t choose him without watching plenty of videos of him and probably consulted with other team’s opinions before grabbing him. In discussions, our own (and other?) pitching coaches were likely involved in evaluations. Jst because he was a #1.1 would not be enough without other designs on his mechanics and coachability.

    That straight fastball could be modified to split or other moves (downward?) to take advantage of his supposedly good control while he is worked on command. The risk is seen to be well worth it….and decided upon super consulting, etc.

    Agree that he should start at Reading ….The mystery could be resolved while we watch…

    1. A 2-seamer FB , when thrown correctly, generates downward plane movement and induces, not so much swing and miss, but off the square contact. The GB% will tend to rise. A 4-seamer is the FB that induces swing and miss and an upward trajectory movement, if also thrown correctly. The backspin once it leaves the fingers will create the lift. Almost all pitchers throw it , it is so common. Some pitchers just have the natural movement on it. He may not.

  17. Just read Zolecki article. A couple interesting thoughts he had.

    1) Oberholtzer is out of options, so does that mean he can’t even start in AAA unless they pass him through waivers?

    2) For whatever its worth Zolecki thinks that Helliiskson, Morton, Nola, Eichoff, and Velasquez have the best shots at the starting 5.

    If that were the case; it means Oberholtzer would be the long man? You would have; Morgan, Buchanan, Gonzo, and Asher as SP’s in Lehigh Valley with Appel, Eflin, and Thompson?

    I could see maybe 6 starters at LHV but not 7..who’s the odd man out if they all break camp healthy?

    1. Ok, just read above that someone thought maybe Appel would start in Reading? Only concern I would have with that is if Appel has a bot of a confidence issue I guess that could go either way? What do others think?

      1. I don’t think there’s any chance Appel starts any where other than LV. That’s a lock. I’d also condone an approach where Velasquez, by design, begins in the pen as a multi-inning type. He could stand to see regular action in such a role. Velasquez will absolutely have an innings limit next season. Probably no higher than 140-150 innings. He could slide into the rotation in June/July and finish the season as a rotation piece into 2017

    2. based on your predictions I’d say Asher and Sev would be the odd men out. However, I’m not sure the competition would be limited to those 7 names. I would think there would be a non roster signing or two that could push for innings.

    3. I think Oberholtzer is a near guarantee to be a part of the starting rotation if healthy. Even if he has options, it makes no sense to take him in the trade, then hide him in AAA. If he pitches to a sub 4 ERA in the 1st half, he can be flipped for more than Helickson. Each one of the younger pitchers have something, they can work on in the minors for 2-3 months. Oberholtzer is a major league pitcher.

  18. I think Appel was born in Texas sometimes getting the player out of there home state takes the pressure off.

    1. Any player who is thrown by something like this has a weak mind and will never make it.

      At the end of the day, you have the ball in your hand and you need to only be focused on throwing it and making the hitter miss it. If you can’t lock out other stuff then you will never be a good pitcher.

      I don’t think this was the issue with Appel. I think it is simply a matter of good stuff and inconsistent command. Usually I hate pitchers with poor command. However, reports on Appel is that he has good control. He just tends to elevate his 4-seamer. This seems like a fixable problem.

      1. v1…..did you see anything on the rationale why the Astros did not want Appel to throw the 2- seamer? As KLaw said, he threw it in college and would be wise to try to go back to it.

        1. Just something they focus on in their minors. Phillies prefer 2 seamers though so he will start using it again.

      2. Totally. Grienke was never going to be a star having to deal with extreme social anxiety to the point of having to basically take time away from baseball…

        1. it’s so funny…people always comp to the exception when the rule covers 99% of pitchers.

          this game, pitching in particular, requires players to be mentally strong. Grienke is the one exception of an elite player who had a mental disorder that he took medication for and fixed.

          but the general rule is if you are weak emotionally, you will not be an elite major league pitcher.

          to be clear, i am not saying this is Appel’s issue. I am saying the opposite.

  19. “If so, he would have the chance to work with IronPigs pitching coach Dave Lundquist, who was promoted this winter from double-A Reading. Lundquist has been praised by the organization’s pitchers.”

    Is Burris out? I don’t recall seeing an announcement about that.

    1. It says in the article above that he is now the “Rehab pitching coach”, so I’d guess he’ll work out of Clearwater or possible roving between affiliates working with injured/rehabbing pitchers.

      A roving role could be good for Burris, he’s a tremendous asset and would be able to work across all levels. Could be a good thing.

  20. When I look at Tyler Goeddel, I see the best case scenario for Tocci. They have very similar body types and profiles. Interestingly scouts say that Goeddel has some raw power. Not sure if this is new or has developed. But his in game power is new to last year.

    Will be interesting to see how he does.

    1. I question how you point to one minor leaguer for another minor leaguer as a best case scenario?

      I have low expectations for Goeddel but agree with the pick. Sometimes guys get an opportunity with a new club and seize it (see Victorino).

      You seem to have this strange penchant to bring up reasons Tocci won’t be a solid MLB player? I’m not convinced he will or won’t be but I will acknowledge he has always been young for his league. At times throughout 4 minor league seasons beginning as a 16 y/o he flashed both boom and bust signals.

      But today Tocci is going to begin his 5th season in High A ball as a 20 y/o. That leaves me with plenty of room for optimism. I still won’t call him a top 10 prospect probably not even top 15 but heck if he was 22 beginning the year in Reading that would be strong cause for optimism no?

      1. This was not a post knocking Tocci. Goeddel was the #1 overall Rule 5 pick. That is quit an accomplishment.

        I am a heavy believer in using body types to figure out comps for players. So to me, when I see Goeddel, I see a similar body type to Tocci and a similar skill set, ie good defense, good arm, decent hit tool.

        I also believe heavily in comps as a way to project what a player might become.

        1. Physical profiling to comp ballplayers is not unusual.
          A lot do that in comps and projections.
          And you’re correct Goeddel does physically profile with Tocci.
          He also profiled with, in past discussions this summer, with Glanville, Garry Maddux, Rios et al, all long lean defensive OFers but challenged with little minor league ISO. It would not be too disappointing if Tocci in his 20age season can put up a similar ISO Goeddel put up in 2015. Of course a .100 point upswing like that would be a gallant effort on his part.

    1. DMAR…….though in a few years the Phillies probably will dip into the FA market and spend a little. Seems FA pitchers are the going preference these days. I will be interested in seeing how Matt Klentak navigates the latest trend of contracts with the two-year opt-out clauses attached to players in the mid-to-late twenties..

      1. No harm in spending a little or extensions to buy out FA years. The guys I would steer away from are the highest of high end pitchers.

        I would make it a mandate to never ascend to that flight level on a FA starter.

      2. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about Klentak’s approach, comparing it to other approaches and thinking about how he intends, long-term, to build a team and franchise and keep them replenished.

        Klentak has focused almost exclusively on pitching and, to a much lesser extent, he has sought to obtain position players with strong across-the-board tools, including good fielding skills, speed and plate discipline – tool shed players with some clear baseball skills. So far, he’s looking to improve the team with pitching and defense.

        I look halfway across the country and I see Theo Epstein, probably the elite front office mind of this generation, doing it a completely different way. Epstein has strategically added pitching, but with him, it’s all about acquiring more hitting.

        I’m not saying that Epstein is right and Klentak is wrong. Both approaches have their pluses and minuses. We also don’t really know Klentak’s plans for developing the offense. I assume, at some point, he will be focused on acquiring better bats – but that’s not what he is doing now. In other words, Klentak is probably just going through phase 1 of a several phase rebuilding project. I think we can safely assume that other phases will including greater international spending and free agent acquisition (although we don’t know what type of players he will be looking to add) and a focus on hitting as well as pitching.

        On the whole, even if you prefer an approach where hitting is placed at a premium, when you have a last place team that is bad at hitting and pitching, just adding plus talent is huge – whether it’s on the mound or in the field makes little difference. So it’s hard to argue with the notion of adding more and better pitching.

        So, what are the pluses and minuses of going all in on pitching or hitting in terms of young player acquisition?

        On the down side, to me, pitchers have a higher attrition rate. You can pick the right pitcher and he can still get hurt or lose a lot of velocity suddenly, even if he’s young and has no injury history. There are a lot of career ending or career changing injuries. That adds a lot of unpredictability and means you need a good deal of luck and lot of bodies. I think, although there is a lot of risk with a young hitter in the minors, once that player makes the majors and shows he is good, it’s a LOT less likely that the player falls off the cliff and the productivity curve. For this reason, the Cubs should be consistently and predictably good for the next 4 or 5 years if they can just get acceptable pitching. By comparison, a team like the Giants were world beaters with their pitching in 2010 and by 2015, several of these pitchers were either done or off the radar (the Giants found several other ways to stay good – mostly by acquiring more hitting and being balanced – but they clearly lost starting pitching). Also, from the standpoint of a fan, I’d rather watch a good team that hits a lot as a opposed to a good team that plays a lot of 3-2 games – hey, this is entertainment and a team that hits more is more entertaining, even if it is no better than a pitching-rich team.

        On the plus side, I think the fastest way to rebuild an awful team into a very good team is to add pitching and defense. Look what the Tigers did from 2003-06 or the Giants several years later or several Mets teams (1969, 1984, 2015) – it’s true that if you can pitch and field and get some hitting, you can improve very quickly. Second, I think, as a general rule, good pitching in the post season tends to beat good hitting (although there are like 27 Yankee world championship teams that would attest to the contrary). Third, and this could be the deciding factor, I think, these days, it may be better to use free agent dollars to acquire hitting rather than pitching. To me, there is little more scary than giving a 30 or 31 year old pitcher a massive seven or eight year contract. The injury and failure rate is just too high – I’d rather give that money to a position player who, while he might decline, is more likely to still be at least a good player at the end of the contract. Fourth, pitching is at a premium right now – we’re in a pitchers’ era and all teams want more pitching. If you can develop pitching and trade it selectively, you can acquire the other things you need through trades. With the Giles trade, Klentak has shown that he has the nerve and desire to leverage good, young pitching to acquire more talent.

        So, yeah, I don’t mind what Klentak is doing now – it might even be the best approach, but I’m curious to see how he’s going to develop all aspects of the team and franchise moving forward.

        1. ‘Third, and this could be the deciding factor, I think, these days, it may be better to use free agent dollars to acquire hitting rather than pitching. To me, there is little more scary than giving a 30 or 31 year old pitcher a massive seven or eight year contract. The injury and failure rate is just too high’…Freidman of the Dodgers attests to that formula. he said last week that normally you will not see the championship teams with the large FA pitcher signings.
          I guess Sabathia of the ’09 Yankees could be a recent exception.

          1. There is also the very subtle ball park factor that goes into putting your team together. The Giants and Royals are very focused on pitching and defense where as the Yankees in their bandbox love to bring in guys that can exploit the short porches.

        2. The Phillies did add hitting with Williams and Alfaro prior to Klentak arriving. With Hoskins, we may have hit on one of our college 1B draftees. Our top draftee is OF Randolph. Our top prospect is SS Crawford. OF Cozens came on at Reading at the end of the year. Catcher Knapp looked VERY good with the bat after his promotion to Reading. The past three seasons, we have focused on position players in our big $ Latin American signings. We just promoted Altherr and he did well in majors, as did last year’s Rule 5 Herrera. This year’s Rule 5 is another OF. We have Franco in the majors. There is hitting in the system. I’m sure we’ll be adding more.

  21. Wow…amazing scouting report on Nick Williams

    “Looks great physically; extreme improvements in strength, defense and approach from 2014; continued improvements needed but risk has lowered; potential All-Star caliber bat at premium defensive position; value is highest in CF; natural hitting ability will overcome limited defensive ability to provide value; major league regular floor with All-Star caliber ceiling.”

    See the tool grades here:

    1. Wow – that is awesome. You don’t see players in the high minors very often with a 70 overall ceiling. Basically, this to me says his ceiling is like Adam Jones, Larry Walker or a younger Matt Holliday. I’ll take that.

      1. This may or may not matter, but I did some background checking on the ‘net. CJ Wittman was a member of the 2011 graduating class from Woodstown HS (NJ). He attended Immaculata University studying Athletic Training Sept-Dec 2011. He attended Salem CC studying Sports Management Jan 2012-May 2013. He began attending Wilmington University in 2013. Looks like he started writing for BP in April of 2014. In addition, here’s an interview at “NatsGM” where he discusses what he looks for when scouting. .

        Looks like he had a short playing career at 2B for SCC .

        As early as May 2013 CJ’s hitting report on the Blue Rocks was published by the Pine Tar Press, a KC Royals blog.

        1. If he was a Phillies fan growing up in this area, he may have a subconscious bias toward the Phillies…and thus the Nick Williams report is all out of whack…drats!

        2. Whenever I see someone throwing around 70 grades when describing minor league players, I automatically question what they are saying. 70 grade in any category, is nearly HOF ability.

  22. I cannot remember the last time the farm system had so much to look forward to, as there is this year. I know the Utley, Rollins, Hamels, Howard, Chooch group was great, but it did not have the depth that this group has. But, Utley was not Utley until the Major Leagues, and Chooch really blossomed after reaching the Majors. I remember following JRoll and Cole from the time they were drafted. I am not saying anyone will reach All Star status, but for the number of potentially high level players, this is a special time. We need a little luck along the way, as well.

    1. You missed a couple besides Rollins, Utley, Howard, Chooch, and Hamels in 2007 you had most of that team come up from our farm…also; Burrell, Bourn, Myers, Kendrick, Happ, Madsen, Sanchez, Geary, Mathieson. Some guys who our farm scouts snagged; Victorino, Werth, Coaste, Dobbs, Condrey.

      I agree its been an amazing turn around and I’m super psyched but it might take a bit longer to amass the above type of talent.

  23. I’m excited- think 2016 and 2017 will be fun years Personally, I would go all in on harper in 2018. Figure the owners are saving $90 million in 2016 and 2017= add some of that $ to the pot- with a core of young players, who knows this could be possible

    1. This time have to agree with rocco.
      The owner of the Nats will not let the face of the Nationals team walk.

      1. I think they would have to significantly overpay for him to resign. We are talking about one of the best players in the league becoming a free agent at a young age. Let’s not forget that he is also a Boras client so reaching free agency is typically the goal. Harper and the Nationals had that dispute over his contract early in his career and it is rumored that Harper would like to play for the Yankees. If Greinke got 34 mil a year at age 32 Harper should be able to land 40+ mil AAV. I know he is the face of the Nats, but I think he tests the market and sees just how much a team is willing to pay him. Maybe the Phillies sign him like the Nats signed Werth and we get the last laugh.

      2. Ted Lerner, head of the Nats’ Lerner Group, is 90 years old. Don’t assume his hands will still be on the reins when the time comes to resolve Harper. There is a sense of urgency in D.C. recognizing that long term plans don’t offer much to the ownership-.The next generation of Lerners may be like the next generation of Steinbrenners, less inclined to spend to win now.

  24. That crazy Washington owner will never let harper go. He will spread out the payments like he has done with others. and pay the most for him

  25. FYI – Hoskins is back hitting over 300 with 5 homers in Australia. He just does what he does. I have him at #17 on my list now but I feel like he will shoot up the list if he hits the same way in Reading as he’s hit everywhere else. It would be a system game changer if Hoskins becomes a 300/30/100 guy in the majors one day. And what if Williams becomes a 300/20//90 guy too? We have the potential for a Royals like turnaround but it will take luck and it will take time. AA and AAA will be fun box scores this year.

      1. I know, isn’t that crazy? He’s Mr. .925 OPS (to quote the Seinfeld show – “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”).

        1. Of the 400 plus MLB positional players playing winter ball in the 7 leagues, so far he is top ten in OPS.

          1. He’s always among the league leaders. What impressed me most this year is that, after he was promoted to Clearwater, he didn’t miss a beat and (I believe) had the highest league OPS among batters with a sufficient number of qualifying at bats. The remaining questions with Hoskins is whether the hit tool plays at higher levels and whether he can continue to develop home run power. Right now we don’t know if he’s a potential 18-20 homer a year guy in the majors or a potential 30-35 homer per year guy – obviously, that’s a really big difference.

      2. College 1B invariably hit better at Reading than they have ever hit anytime before. It is an excellent offensive park and most of our teams are in poor offensive parks/leagues. Hoskins should clear 1,000 OPS as Howard, Ruf, Rizzotti did before him. Stassi could not approach that mark. How he does in Allentown will be the key.

        1. Agreed – the first big test for Hoskins should come at AAA. If Hoskins dominates in AA for a few months, he may very well be promoted to AAA and, if he again does well, an end of the year call-up is not out of the question (much like the track Aaron Altherr was on last year). I’m sure the Phillies would love to see what he can do before 2017 when, I think, we all can agree, Ryan Howard will no longer be with the team.

          1. I was projecting future lineups and 1B in 2017 is a glaring blank space. I can see Hoskins there in 2018 if all goes right for him but 2017 could be a little soon. Also, our 2017 rotation projects to have all righties with Nola, Eickhoff, Velasquez, Thompson, Eflin, and Appel fighting for spots. There’s no way Oberholtzer or Morgan crash this group.
            Put me on the Groome bandwagon, if he does as well as hoped. A #1 starter is the hardest and most expensive thing to acquire. With a true #3 hitter next hardest, which we also don’t have unless Williams steps his game up a little bit more.

            1. I suspect that someone (Cozens? Knapp? Alfaro?) will be taught how to play first base as a stopgap.

            2. ‘Also, our 2017 rotation projects to have all righties with Nola, Eickhoff, Velasquez, Thompson, Eflin, and Appel fighting for spots. There’s no way Oberholtzer or Morgan crash this group.’
              Not sure there are many MLB teams with no lefty starter in the rotation.
              In fact is there any?

            3. Murray,

              I’m a little more optimistic about Hoskins. We’ll see what happens this year, but if he continues to hit like he has at every level so far — Lakewood, Clearwater, Australia — he could force a promotion to AAA this summer, and then be just a step away.

    1. Murray – I don’t think you’ll be alone in your ranking of Hoskins, but I for one will have him much higher. I’m not sure exactly where just yet, but likely just inside my top 10 even with Appel.

  26. according to pigs site. burris has been elevated to rehab pitching coach, whatever the heck that is

    1. I wonder how long Bob McClure will be around.
      Seems Ray Burris’ next stop would be a major league team, if he was ‘elevated to rehab pitching coach” from LHV.
      He may now be in pitching coach limbo.

      1. It occurs to me that maybe Burris was just tired of all the travel and just wanted to hang out in Clearwater for a while. There are always rehabbing pitchers in the organization in need of help.

      1. I guess Pete Mack makes the decision on his coaching staff and McClure is his guy for 2016. But bets are off after next season depending on how the yuong pitchers like Nola, Eickhoff et al respond. I do not think Morton or Hellickson’s production will matter one way or the other as to McClure’s efficiency and effectiveness..

  27. Bringing in a bunch of new near ready ML pitchers could change/effect the draft philosophy greatly. A month or 2 ago most would say draft Puk or equivalent as he could be fast tracked to MLB. Now I could see Groome or other HS player getting as much attention for number 1 pick because there is no need to rush someone to majors. Just an observation.

    1. BobD….we think alike…I was thinking the same thing earlier this morning.
      Groome now can be let to be developed an added year or two in the minors.
      And the 2.39 pick could be another HS pitcher with the same thought process.
      As for lefties in the rotation to give it some balance, Oberholtzer is one along with Morgan in 2016.. Biddle in ’17 should be facing a fork in the road, then there are Liebrandt and Imhof.
      So Groome could very well be the guy in the ’16 Rule 4.

        1. Yes, the system is now deep with pitching, there is hitting on the team and on the way, and there will be money to bring on free agents when the team is ready to contend. They need to get the best player available so the conveyor belt of talent can continue unabated. I’m not sure who that will be but I love what I’ve been hearing about Groome.

  28. If, come June, these newly acquired pitchers do not show themselves to be ready for the major leagues any time soon, the Phillies may not have luxury of drafting Groome. Let’s hope that is not the case; but none of these young arms can be considered a sure thing.

    1. I don’t agree I think they have more than 4-5 pitchers today that can pitch for us in the starting rotation this season.

      The question surrounding “sure thing” is are any of them front line starters. I’ll say Nola is going to be a solid 2/3 for years to come. I’ll say Jake Thompson is a stud and a potential 1 with a pretty high floor.

      Appel even with his less than stellar minor league results would be better than what we ran out there last year…

      And Velasquez is as simple as health. I don’t think anyone questions his stuff to be a top of the rotation pitcher.

      Not far behind are a bunch of 4’s and 5’s under control for quite a while. (Morgan, Oberholtzer, Eflin)

      Then you have the lurkers as I like to call them in Kilome, Pinto, Arano and Medina

      1. I think you’re overvaluing these guys. From everything I’ve read, Nola, Thompson and Appel have a ceiling of 2 but are more likely 3s. VV is also a 3. That’s not a bad thing, but none of them have true ace ceilings. Maybe Kilome down the line.

    2. Groome is the pick NO MATTER WHAT! I’m telling you, yes he’s a young HS Senior but he is so advanced that I can see him on a fast track to the big club, maybe 3 years (draft year, then 2 full seasons). I’m telling you, he’s stuff plays at the big league level RIGHT NOW! and he has the intangibles that you want outta a kid as well.

      1. I can see you’re really excited that the Phillies have the opportunity to take him. I remember you talking about Groome 2 years ago. That’s awesome that you saw him from afar, and now he has a chance to be on your favorite team.

        Now if only that could have happened for us with Mike Trout!

  29. Ok, what’s everyone’s thoughts on slotting the SP’s / prospects who could come up in 2016 / beginning 2017?

    My guess;

    1) Appel – from what I’m hearing above and on other boards/articles he is our best shot at being a 1 starting pitcher. I have also heard a lot of folks skeptical as well, but to come up anytime soon……

    2) Not sure who I would slot in here at this time.

    3) Velasquez, Nola, Thompson are all slated as having this type of upside

    4) Eflin

    5) There is a boat load here; Eichoff, Eshelman, Morgan, etc

    Do people think Pinto will come up by early 2017? If so where would you slot him? Anyone else I’m missing? Thought was Kilomme still has a couple years at least.

    A rotation of; Appel, Nola, Velasquez, Thompson, Eflin to start 2017 is not to shabby.

    1. Oberholtzer seems to be overlooked.
      The guy pitched in the Minute Maid blender the last three years, vs DHs and still had an ERA under 4.
      Last year he only pitched in 8 games, and it do not go well for him, lost his otherwise excellent control, and he unraveled, then there was the ARod event.
      He will not be a Dallas Kuechel and he rarely gets to 90, but he can be an effective back-end of a rotation.

      1. Hey Romus, in case you thought I did…I didn’t overlook him, he was in my etc. as a five starter, but if you had to guess…assuming 1)Appel, 2)Nola, 3)Velasquez, 4)Thompson, and 5)Eflin are all healthy and pitching well by the start of 2017…..Do you see him having the stuff to be in the starting rotation for the Phils, along with beating out Eichof and all the other potential 5’s?

        1. Yes, only because teams want at least one lefty in the rotation somewhere.
          Does he have similar or better stuff, compared to those you mentioned, probably not
          Though, teams frequently seem to find a rotation spot for the Moyers, Buerhles and Wolfs of the world.

          1. good point, I didn’t take the lefty mix into consideration. I guess its why I’ll never work for any MLB teams ……. made as old guy showing folks to their seats 😉

      2. And Eickhoff. Last time I checked he had a pretty good mlb rookie debut – yet people are already slotting other guys like Eflin and Appel who haven’t done anything yet.

        1. I personally wouldn’t put Eflin ahead of Eickhoff in fact Eickhoff would be first on my list to lead a group of names in the 4/5 slot.

        2. Just an FYI, my question was to say who would slot a head of anyone. It was if they reach there potential ceiling where would they slot?

          Its just a spit ball contest at this point, and my guess is that in the Phillies rotation for 2017 if everyone reaches their peak I think Eflin might have a hair more upside than Eichoff. How ever with that said if Eichoff does better then Eflin I would not be stunned.

          In the grand scheme of things I don’t think any of these guys has a proven MLB track record.

          1. What makes you say that he has more upside? I’m honestly interested in your opinion. Eickhoff has shown the ability to miss bats (and at a high clip) at the MLB level with a true plus to plus plus curveball (plus plus when on) while Eflin hasn’t shown the same ability at a lower level (dropping below 5k/9 this past year). Eickhoff also limited hits as well with around 7 per 9ip.

            I think Eickhoff is getting short changed . . . I think you have a good number 3 in him with the potential to be an ok 2 if he can work on an average change which is prob fringe average right now, maybe.

            1. EricD….actually if you look at their minor league overall stats they are very close to similar.
              The whiff ration is a tick better for JE…..also the age factor has to be calculated in that scenario, as JE was older at each level then ZE.
              ZE also prefers throwing the 2-seamer vs the 4-seamer so his whiff factor suffers.
              I think both fit the mold for that good mid-rotation guy.

            2. Hi Eric, I am not a scout or number cruncher…just a fan who listens to other opinions. My original post was based on what I read from scouts and rankings on other prospect boards. Most have/had Eflen ranked higher then Eichoff.

              You could be correct and he is getting short changed by most…only time will tell.

    2. Appel was not even considered to be a future 1 when he was drafted #1 overall. He was considered a safe 2, which he hasn’t shown as a pro. I’d be ecstatic if he turned into an ace, but that’s an extremely unlikely outcome.

      1. I agree, I just put him there since I don’t think we have anyone ready to come up to the bigs in the next 16 months with more potential, do we? At least all the prospect ranking boards would indicate that?

  30. Wow big trade today CHW lands Todd Frazier and the Reds seem to get very little in return. The Dodgers end up with a really nice arm in Frankie Montas

    1. DMAR…Peraza is a very good prospect, maybe top 50 BA now, and Dixon , if he can stay in the middle has good power..he hit really well in the AFL this year. I liked Schebler and few years ago. The Reds are looking to the future.
      CWS did well also …Frazier will supply them power they want and plus defense, he ranked 9th in all MLB for 3rd baseman for Runs Saved..

      1. If you say so Romus my boy! If I were the Reds I would have got Montas out of that deal somehow.

        How the Dodgers ended up with him is beyond me. He was the best prospect in the entire trade IMO.

    1. DMAR….the general belief is right bats playing first base have to have BOTH plus/plus (60 grade) hit and power tools before they like to rank them high and usually then after they complete AA level with positive results.
      Across the industry they seem to go by this philosophy.

    2. Yeah, I guess MLB doesn’t hold right-handed hitting, first base-only prospects in high regard. I remember we had this discussion here earlier. And I recall having a similar discussion with the Threshers’ announcer, Kirsten Karbach. She sees the team everyday, and Hoskins was the player who most impressed her this season. A team that included Knapp, Cozens, Canelo, Tocci, Brown, Pullin. She later spoke highly of Hoskins in an interview with Matt W. at Phillies Minor Thoughts.

      1. rightly so he is probably the only position player in our system to OPS over 900 across both A leagues.

        We probably didn’t have a player at any level with as many PA’s that OPS’d over 850.

      2. Just not MLB, BA also adheres to that principle.
        When I contacted one of their writers earlier this year, Lara or Cooper I think, they mentioned that a player needs to be plus in both tools ‘to even sniff the majors’
        For the most part they are correct, though there have been exceptions like a Goldschimdt,

          1. I also would suggest that leaving Dylan Cozens off this makes me question the quality of these evaluators. Goldschmidt was under appreciated by the same group. Good thing they’re the experts.

            1. Cozens is another fun guy to look at. The lowest I ever had him was 23 in Feb13. The highest I had him was 8 in Feb14 this year I project to have him at 15.

      3. Jim,

        I understand the low ratings for right 1B players, but Hoskins is clearly ahead of almost all the guys 21 through 30, such as Biddle who might not even be a prospect at all, depending how he comes out of Tommy John.

        I saw a fair amount of Hoskins last year, not nearly as many games as you, but in the games I did see he also impressed me the most among the Threshers.

        As everyone says, we’ll see how he does against advanced pitching. Meanwhile, I’m going to copyright a nickname for him: Hoss. That ought to get MLB’s attention. LOL.

    3. It is an extremely strange list and reflects the oft-stated opinion that the most recently acquired guys get over-rated. I think they probably just slotted guys in and haven’t done an overall re-ranking yet. Otherwise, I can’t see anyone being dumb enough to put guys like Sweeney and Windle ahead of Knapp. I like Kingery, but I don’t like him better than Knapp.

      1. Its not very hard to understand. MLB doesn’t update their rankings. They just add and subtract players based on trades. They move the players from their previous team’s slot, to the new team’s slot. That’s how Sweeney got 11 or 12. He was the Dodgers’s 11 or 12 at the beginning of the year. Same with Knapp. He was like #15 at the beginning of the year, but gig pushed back with all of the trades and they don’t re-rank the original guys.

    4. On an industry-wide basis, first basemen, and especially right-handed first basemen are being undervalued as a group and Hoskins’ lack of a ranking is a symptom of this current trend, which is probably a reaction to first basemen being historically overrated. But Hoskins not being in the top 30 is a complete joke – OF COURSE he’s one of the top 30 prospects and he’s almost certainly within the top 20, even with the recent additions.

      1. J64….part of the rationale behind that is the fact that LHB hit RHP better then RHB and all face RHP approx. 70/75% of the time. If you look, generally LHB and switch-hitters do get better rankings then strictly a RHB. But there are noted exceptions. Unfortunately first -baseman, and for the most part corner OFers who are RHB, sometimes are ranked lower unless they have both a 60grade or higher in hit and power tool.

        1. My Ranks on Hoskins were Jun14-28, Jan15-32, Jun15-15 this year I project I will have him at 8.

          I’ve been having fun with a spreadsheet that I built in Feb13 so I can look historically on what I’ve thought different players might be.

          1. DMAR…..I am hoping BA’s ranking when it comes out has him higher…say from 150 to 125. 🙂
            Good idea with the spreadsheet.

        2. The platoon split point is a good one and yes, I understand that players who are that far down on the defensive spectrum have a higher bar to hurdle in terms of offensive productivity. That said, I do think there is a knee jerk reaction by talent evaluators to sort of dismiss minor league right-handed first baseman almost out of hand without giving the player a closer look. Even when such a player has overwhelming stats in the minors, as Goldschmidt did, he rarely gets more than a grudging nod from the prospect evaluators. And I definitely feel Hoskins is being overlooked more than he should be by the national people – I think the folks on this site tend to have a pretty balanced view of him.

          1. Little comp between Hoskins and Goldschmidt thru Hi-A level:
            Slash —-.317 /.394 /.510 /.904 —ISO-.195

            Slash—-.321/.396/ .620/ 1.016 —ISO-.299
            ….Hoskins is not that far behind Goldschimdt, but in pure power Goldey does have the greater advantage. Whether or not it works out for Hoskins remains to be seen.

            1. Also failed to mentions the park influence….Hoskins was at a disadvantage playing half his games in Bowman Field and Lakewood. CLW I assume would be a push. Goldy on the other hand had approx. 600PAs or 2/3rds, in the California League.

            2. Besides that one thing Mrs. Lincoln…how was the show?

              .104 points in ISO is a big friggin deal.

              I love Hoskins. I am higher on him than most people. But his line is not really close to Goldie’s. Goldie’s line is elite. Hoskins line is very good.

            3. Here’s the thing about that comparison. Hoskins looks better on the K-rate, but Goldschmidt was kind of unusual in that he significantly lowered the K-rate as he moved up to AA and then to MLB. That got him to the MLB at the end of his next season after his high-A year (although the K-rate has since drifted back up).

            4. FWIW, the FSL is the toughest full season league for power hitters. In 2014, the league average ISO was .113 and HR/9 was 0.5; SAL was .120 and 0.6. I don’t know what the California League was like in 2010, but it is considered an outlier due to highly favorable hitting conditions. In 2014 the ISO was .156 and HR/9 was 1.0.

          2. v1…understand, but sometimes the park influence does make a difference, especially for power guys in their ISOs….whether or not a swing that much can be debatable.

          3. lol. it might be aggression, but in the small sss i have seen of the abl, i think it is more likely just bad pitching. with all due respect to baseball ross, i dont think the quality of play even approaches a-. my son thinks his very good high school team would win there. hope the injury isnt serious. tocci, now hoskins …

    5. the strangest part of the rankings is knapp all the way down at 18. He has to be a top 10 prospect right now.

      1. In June15 I had Knapp at 18. In Jan15 I had him at 23 and today I think he might be in my top 5.

        The highest I ever had Knapp before that was 12 in Jun13.

    6. Isn’t the rank about “upside”? Thompson does not have Appel’s upside. If you know the source, it isn’t hard to figure out. They base their rankings on upside. Thompson will not be in Appel’s category as long as upside is used.

    7. They also havent updated their rankings yet. When they do I imagine Appel ends up 5th or 6th in our system.

  31. The problem with a lot of the rankings is that they are guessing on ceiling. In no way should Appel be ahead of Thompson at this point. I hope he proves to be worth what he showed at Stanford, but he has performed at AA and AAA and so has Thompson, and the choice, today, is not close. I, in no way, am knocking Appel, who I am thrilled we got, but he has to perform much better than he has. I like the Rankings we do here much better!

    1. Has there been any recent rankings on both? I think the last MLB rankings changes were from July 15?

      It will be interesting to see where Thompson and Appel are placed. Will also be interesting to see where guys like Cosens, Knapp, Biddle, Lively, Hoskins, etc get placed on recent boards. Hoskins has been consistent, and Cosens / Knapp were red hot from July on.

      1. My guess for MLB’s update in January:

        01. Crawford
        02. J Thompson
        03. N Williams
        04. Randolph
        05. Alfaro
        06. Appel
        07. Knapp
        08. Kilome
        09. Quinn
        10. Eflin
        11. Kingery
        12. Eshelman
        13. Goeddel
        14. Pinto
        15. Cozens

        1. Interesting that you moved Randolph up to 4 and Goeddel up to 13? I would have a bit different order but I’m on board with your top 10.

          MLB has Kingery at 10 and Sweeny at 11 whats your thoughts on them.

          I mostly kept track of Reading and LHV last year since I live just off the Kutztown exit between the two parks. I dropped Sweeny down some in my top 30 (I see he’s not in your top 15) and really don’t know much about Kingery. Did you follow him at all?

          Your obviously pretty high on Goeddel putting him ahead of Cozens.

            1. Its not really the exact order I would place them, but based more on how Mayo does his rankings. They rated Kingery and Eshelman high in their pre-draft rankings, so I think they will keep them high. The ranking sites always seem to drop the prospects that get to the league and struggle in limited time, so I think they drop Sweeney. I think Goeddel’s status as the consensus #1 pick in the Rule 5 will get him bumped up. Just an un-educated guess.

  32. Bailey and Mujica! More RPs added to the Phils with minor league contracts and invites to ST. I have to give Matt Klentak credit. He said he was going to raise the floor on the Pitching, and regardless of whether these 2 have anything left, he is certainly trying to accomplish that. There must be 15 guys fighting for Bullpen spots, and maybe 1 or 2 will actually help the team.

  33. Another guy I want to take temperature on is Angelo Mora. He really broke out last season between CLW and Reading. Jimmy did you get to see him much when he was down there?

    1. Yes, I did. I started a series writing about the lesser known/discussed prospects and it wasn’t received very well. Seems readers would rather just talk about the top prospects. Which is fine, this is your forum. But, I didn’t want to write the same stuff we discuss over and over again. So, I decided not to waste my time with it. One was about Mora, another was about Therrien, the third and final about Valentin. The article is here if you are interested –

      1. I don’t know that it was poorly received. One guy said he didn’t think it was useful.

  34. I am higher on Appel then most. I look at his AAÀ stats and think they were really good. He was pitching in an extreme hitters league really his entire minor league career and his stats and peripherals really improved in the second half of last year. He still has the stuff to be a top of the rotation kind of arm. Just look at Jake Thompsons numbers before he came over, same league as the astros. I also am high on VV. Imagine if he was in AA all season and had the stats he had for the first part of the season, we would be all over ourselves with him.

    1. Burke and Bailey both Jersey guys…I guess they are warming up with Jersey guys until Groome is available. .

  35. With Alfaro, Hoskins, Cozens and Pullin projected to be in the middle of the Reading lineup in 2016, the long ball could be a common occurrence. Whether this group will break the 2004 Reading record of 158 HRs (Ryan Howard alone with 37) remains to be seen, but should be exciting at First Energy.

    1. Ya, living only 30 minutes from first energy and coca-cola I will definitely set a new record of going to games in 2016. If I could figure out away to sneak beers in it would not cost so much as well 😉

  36. Just saw Achter got picked up by LAD before the Phillies could assign him. Still don’t get how the waiver wire works. What I read is that when a team designates some one for assignment the have to stay on the waiver wire for three business days. So Achter and Otero were designated on Saturday the 12th according to their transactions page, but they post that Achter was picked up of waivers on the 17th. Both he and Otero should have been designated for assignment by the end of the 16th. I guess in some cases a club can leave them out there longer if they want. Either that or LAD picked him up on the 16th and it did not post till today?

    1. When you’re a veteran and your designated for assignment, can’t you become a free agent. Then you’re free to sign with anyone… at any time.

      1. Everyone that is designated has to pass through waivers. After they pass through they can become free agents or report to the minors. Acter was picked up on the 16th by the angels

    2. RemH…… is what I thought it was, once a player DFA for assignment is removed from the team’s 40-man , after which the team must either return the player to the 40-man within 10 days from the date of designation, or do one of the following moves:…. place the player on waivers (which can only be done within the first 7 days of the 10-day period)….. trade him….release him….. or just outright the player from the 40-man roster into the minor leagues. Does this help explain it any?

      1. Yes thanks Rom……it sounds like there is some wiggle room in the 10 day period. It sounds like they put both Otero and Achter on waivers. They have business days and they can then assign to the minors. Sounds like Acther did get grabbed on the third day (16th) vs the 17th which is reported on the web site. And unless they already sent Otero to the minors yesterday (the 4th day and its not showing up), they are not that worried about loosing him.

        Not a big deal just trying to understand the process, thanks for the help Rom!

  37. Well I hope next yr will be better then this one. Phillies and Flyers are loaded with prospectsI can see a run at both championship in the near furture.

  38. Iwakuma re-signed with the Mariners. That is one less 1st round compensation pick pushing the Phillies’ 2nd rounder back.

    1. By my count there are roughly 10 players that received the QO that are still unsigned. Not sure if that is good or bad. Most seem likely to change teams at this point and most seem unlikely to sign with anyone that has a top 10 protected pick.

      1. Top 10 teams like the Tigers and White Sox may still sign players from that group, as they seem to be trying to compete next year. The White Sox will only lose a 2nd rounder and the Tigers already spent their 2nd rounder on Zimmerman, so they only lose a 3rd rounder on their next signing. Teams like the Red sox, Cubs and Diamondbacks, who’ve already spent their 1st round picks, may still sign one of the 10 remaining players. If any of those teams sign those players, it helps the Phillies’ 2nd round pick.

        1. The White Sox picked up the Giants 1st round 19th overall pick when Samardja signed. If they do decide to sign a QO FA do they lose that pick or does that automatically become a protected pick also?

          1. I’m not sure how that would work. I just hope guys like Chris Davis and Alex Gordon go back to their old teams so those teams don’t receive any compensation picks.

          2. You’re thinking about the old rules.

            Under the current CBA, the signing team loses a pick. The old team gets a compensation pick. Compensation picks come after the end of the first round.

            In your example, the White Sox lose the compensation pick.

  39. Some interesting comments from KLaw chat:

    Nick: Can Mark Appel still be a #2 starter? Maybe even an ace if everything clicks?
    Klaw: I think #2 is a lot more realistic, but he needs a few significant adjustments and, for all Houston has done right the last few years, they absolutely mishandled him in several ways.

    Matt: What are your thoughts on Cornelius Randolph? How high is his ceiling?
    Klaw: Can really hit. No clue where he plays. LF I guess.

    chris: Phillies have added James Russel, David Hernandez, Andrew Bailey, and Edward Mujica recently. Klentak’s short term plan jive with what you’d have done? Seem like good moves to me
    Klaw: I like that approach to building a bullpen. Don’t pay for proven relievers when their failure rate is something like 50%.

    Adam Trask: It seems the Astros determined Appel would never have enough deception or movement on his fastball. Agree?
    Klaw: Agree that that’s what they thought, disagree that it’s true. They insisted he throw his four-seamer rather than his two-seamer. Well, what did they expect?

    1. v1……we discussed this before , but KLaw , IMO, seems to think that Appel, if he incorporates the 2-seamer into his arsenal would fare much better then what he did in the ‘Stros org.
      Now the question begs……when he first tried to throw his 2-seamer after signing in 2013, was that the time the ‘Stros determined his 2-seamer had no movement and wanted him to concentrate solely on the 4-seamer? Then if he did that, as they wanted, perhaps also his 4-seamer may not have had the lift movement they also desired, since they claimed as of recently his FB was too straight..
      I think, until someone asks Appel straight on, there will be ambiguity surrounding this.

        1. Agree DMAR…he went thru an early age slump also, just as Roy halladay did…he could give him some good advice I would think.
          Looking at Appel trending….2013 after Stanford he was very good in the NY-Penn and then at Quad Cities (low A). They restricted his innings to only 38 due to his college workload, similar to Nola initially. And most MLB teams…or I should say their pitching staff of coaches, do not tamper with college arms until the fall instructs start…and that is when I presume they decided to make the changes with Appel.
          Right away at Lancaster in the Cal he gets tuned up…hitters league, but also perhaps the he was trying what they requested. Then with numbers out of this world, the Stros promo him to Corpus Christi , AA level, and he starts to adjust and does well. This past season, a mix bag of sorts between AA level and then Fresno in the PCL, another hitters league.
          He will be an interesting case study come ST.

  40. I don’t always agree with Klaw, but he has a point there, and has had it since the Astros got him. I am only a fan, with zero expertise, but logically, I cannot understand why the 2-seamer would not be a benefit for him. The downward movement would only makes his other pitches more effective, and if the reason is his command, well, he never got a chance to work on it. So, I still have high hopes for him, and even if he becomes a #3, he was a terrific pickup.

      1. hoskins hit in hand in second at-bat of second game and removed from game with “scans” scheduled for today …

        1. Gets hit in both games…in fact between both games about half-dozen HBP batters.
          The pitchers are pretty aggressive down under.
          Hope there is no fracture. He coulde be coming home now, especially if the Phillies want to check him.

  41. Anybody notice that our old friend Roberto Hernandez just was signed to a minor league contract? Ruben got Jesmuel Valentin and Victor Arano from the Dodgers in this trade. It sure would be sweet if one of these guys became a star.

  42. What’s every bodies thoughts on;

    Who is the future 4 hole hitter for the Phils and does he exist in the Phils Org and when do you expect him to arrive in MLB?

    Second do you think there is anyone in the Phils Org who can come close to the 4 yr stretch (2006 – 2009) when Howard averaged nearly 50 Hrs a year and 140+ RBI’s?

      1. I agree, although I’m not sure that Franco will be the 4 spot hitter much past next year. I’m hoping he will develop into that guy, but comparing Howard and him in their first seasons;

        Franco 14 HR’s 50RBI’s 304AB
        Howard 22HR’s 63RBI’s 312AB

        And there final minor league year;

        Franco 23HRs 107RBI’s 668AB
        Howard 46HR’s 131RBI’s 485AB

      2. The second question could be, “Is there anyone in baseball …?”, and the answer is still, “No”.

    1. Rem…there are some big bats in the system, whether they end up in the MLB and batting clean-up is another story, and IMO, do not think they will match Howard’s 4-year run for HRs 10 years ago.
      The 4th hole guy could be a Hoskins, Alfaro, Cozens, Ortiz, Encarnacion, Pujols or even a Knapp. There are so many variables that could happen in the next 2/3 years that could shake all that.


      1. Rom – based on the list you give here I would say Alfaro has the edge based on upside potential. I would say Knapp is one of my favorites as a 3 hole hitter. Ortiz is still to far away, but definitely don’t see him making it as 1,2,7,or 8 spot hitter (SOL).

        1. Yes based on all the scouting reports on Ortiz, 60/70 power tool, he would tend to be the one eventually, if he develops in the next 5 or so years.

  43. I think Alfaro has a chance, but Franco is the only one close as things stand today. For the 2d part of your question, I do not see anyone who could put up Howard’s 4 years numbers if you give them 6 years. That would be 33 HRs and 93RBIs. I would be thrilled to get that from Franco.

    1. Fangraphs did a statistical “comps” for Alfaro at the time of the Hamels trade. The best player on the list that I remember, was Ty Wiggington. Not very inspiring.

  44. Speaking of Phils 3rd basemen…..Pedro Feliz.

    I remember when the Phils got him from SF he was averaging over 20 HRS and 80+ RBI’s. Don’t know how often or how long but he was hitting 4th off and on for 4 seasons 2004 – 2007.

  45. Seems like Macphail will be looking for hitters once the young pitchers come around. He said when we start winning there will be hitters that will want to come here .

    1. His comments were interesting. I think I would also prefer to signing free agents who are hitters to those who are pitchers for the reasons he stated and agree that obtaining pitching and defense allows a team to improve quickly. That said, I’d prefer to develop as many pitchers AND hitters on the farm as possible and fill in the gaps with free agents. We will see how it goes, with Baltimore the team certain drafted and acquired its fair share of hitters and Andy’s been around the block many times so I suspect he will be looking for hitters too at some point in the not too distant future. It should be interesting to watch and I’m fascinated by who the team will take with the first pick in the draft. I hope to God that the team does not settle for what it believes to be more of a sure thing so that it can get a lesser player who is close to the majors. But I’m sure they will take all of those things into account.

    1. The guy’s collegiate records and command are truly amazing.
      First ten innings in pro ball and he walks 5 batters.
      But could be jitters but go figure!
      That must have been really mind boggling for him.

  46. 2017 Starters from players already in the system

    CF Herrera
    SS Crawford
    LF NWilliams
    3B Franco
    1B Hoskins
    RF Altheer
    2B Kingery
    C Alfaro

    SP Nola
    SP JThompson
    SP Velasquez
    SP Eickoff
    SP Appel

    Harrison and Morton will also be in the mix, though Harrison is an unknown at this point and Morton could very well be traded as early as July 2016.

    The only real stretches in the above are Alfaro, and Hoskins. I’m not predicting Hoskins to be the next coming of Goldschmidt, but he is indeed an interesting prospects. In three different venues now he has maintained an OPS north of .900. And if not for an awkwardly mediocre stat line at Clearwater last season, his 2nd half would have been an absolute monster. I don’t see this slowing down next season at Reading, which will likely have the effect of landing Hoskins in Philly no later than September 2016.

    There’s a lot of talent above, a considerable number of prospects I haven’t even mentioned, and a boat load of cash to add at least 4 substantial FAs. At least. I could predict with a good deal of confidence that the 2017 version of the Phillies will be buyers at the 2017 trade deadline.

    1. Steve,

      Interesting post. Agree that there’s also a lot of talented players lower down in the system that can work their way up. Kingery might be more like 2018 if he doesn’t accelerate his play. Altheer also might be a bit more Show Me at the plate, but he should get that chance this year.

    2. I wouldn’t bet any money on Hoskins, Kingery or Alfaro being in the 2017 lineup. Alfaro will have to jump Knapp to become catcher, and I don’t think that will happen based on the reports I’ve read on him. I’d guess that Cozens and Franco have as much (or more) of a chance at future 1B as Hoskins. Kingery would have to graduate 3 levels in one year, in order to be in the 2017 lineup. That lineup overall, really doesn’t look great, its just young.

      1. It wasn’t an attempt an prognostication VOR. Merely slotting players who are already in the system. And when I recognize Alfaro and Hoskins as possible stretches, you counter by implying that Hoskins and Alfaro are unlikely starters? I could never seem to tell if you are agreeing or disagreeing

  47. Any future OF I project will include Quinn in CF. I actually think Herrera will play RF this year to allow Bourjos to play CF. Altherr will likely be a 4th OF. However, another guy to watch this year will be Cozens. He really progressed last year.

    1. Murray that’s interesting. I think all four guys will play but I suspect that the alignment this year will be a some type of platoon of Bourjos/Asche in left to start (Bourjos will probably play all late innings of games in which the Phillies have the lead), Herrera in center and Altherr in right. Depending on how Quinn develops, I think at some point, if they can get a good enough prospect in return, Herrera will be flipped. Of course, if Herrera turns into a minor star, they may end up keeping him – there’s a lot to like with Herrera and there’s still some more projection there. Altherr is really interesting because he’s such a good fielder and base runner, has some power and has developed good plate discipline – Altherr does not have to do a ton at the plate to be a really solid player.

      1. J64….early but OduH is already hitting in the Ven league.
        And also agree, he could be flipped at some point in the next year or two, especially when Quinn, or even Tocci,are ready to step up.
        Jon Daniels may even want him back as a Ranger, he told Ruben he would like to get him back in May.Though looks like Delino Deshields may stay in CF for now.

      2. I just don’t understand your thinking. Herrera really had a nice year. He improved his defense and you want to flip him and keep that stiff bourjos? makes no sense to me. But i guess its just me. Altherr is a unknown. at 26 he has proven nothing yet. Nothing. Sorry but 230 hitter like altherr is no better than bourjos. imo Quinn is interesting. Asche stinks. plain and simple. right now you have one good looking outfielder in Herrera and we should flip him for two guys who haven’t proven they can hit but are good fielders. I hope to god this organization has better sense.

        1. Alright, calm down there.

          On the left field platoon, whether you agree with it or not, this is what I think the Phillies are going to do in left. Asche has been bad, no argument there. But he’s still young, has a short compact stroke and I think it’s way too earlier to give up on him. He could completely play himself out of the mix by late May or June, but if he can come around with the bat and improve with the glove, he could have some value to the Phillies or other teams. But I agree that neither he nor Bourjos are likely the Phillies left fielder of the future. That’s probably going to be Nick Williams, Dylan Cozens, a free agent, or somebody they trade for.

          As for Bourjos, unless he breaks out, I agree he’s not a guy who should start at any position for any period of time. But he’s a nice guy to have around if you flip another player for value – you plug him in, he doesn’t hit very much (probably) but he plays great in the outfield.

          On Altherr, he had a 1.7 bWAR in about 35 games and a lot of that value was on defense and the bases but he also had good plate discipline and good power – that’s insanely good for 35 games but it’s an admittedly small sample size. If his defense and base running are really this good (and I think they are), even if he is not a great hitter he could have a lot of value as an Alex Gordon type of player. Do I think he’s as good as his late year numbers project? No, I don’t. But if he’s only half that good he’s a 3.5-4 WAR player, which is really quite good.

          On Herrera, maybe he can be a minor star, I really don’t know. But if Quinn projects to be as good or better, Herrera will have a ton of trade value. I’m not saying they SHOULD trade him, I’m saying it’s an option they could consider if they have other good options in center and can get a ton of value for him. But given his age and his controllable salary, they should not trade him unless they get a lot of value in return.

          1. It’s not too early to give up on Ache as an OF. He isn’t a good enough hitter, to justify having him in the OF, plus he’s a terrible defensive player out there. If he was part of a 3B platoon situation, I think he could be fair, but he can’t be that here, because you’re not going to platoon Franco for him. And again, he’s not really a good defender at 3B either.

            Asche should be traded for whatever they can get, so they can move on.

            1. If what you say is true, then he has essentially no trade value, no future and they should probably release him (and that could end up happening). But I think it’s quite possible he turns into something – he’s still very young and some hitters take several years to catch on.

              I agree he hasn’t been a good enough hitter YET and if he continues to hit like this, he won’t have a future except perhaps as a Greg Dobbs type player. As for his fielding in left, yes it was not good, but he just started playing there – you have to give him a little time to adjust.

        2. rocco……chill……just a thought if guys like Quinn, Altherr, Williams, Tocci all pan out,
          Strategic planning……the ‘big cigar man’ wants all to think 5 years ahead!

          1. Romus on what planet do you think Herrera isn’t a player that can get better. He show so much improvement last year from the beginning to the end of season. Yet we are talking about Boujos a stiff. altheer 26 yrs old who hasn’t proven he can hit. Going forward on the rebuild to me it starts with nola and Herrera.

            1. If you make statements at least check your facts….Altherr is 24 will be 25 next year and just for the record is the best CF the Phillies have right now.

    2. Murray,

      Thanks. I forgot about Quinn. He’s the centerfielder for sure, if he can stay healthy. That would maybe make Altherr the fourth outfielder.

    3. Bourjols is going to play in 2016, not full time, but probably no less than semi regularly. But unless Odubel experiences a sophomore slump, Quinn would need to take the position away from him. I think the 2015 rookie class overshadowed exactly how good Odubel was. It many years, he’s your ROY. The above notwithstanding, Odubel is a substantially less valuable player as a RF’er. Right now, the best possible thing for the Phillies would be for Altherr to run away with the position. Don’t discount the likelihood of that happening. Altherr is fringy, but he has a very real shot of being a regular

      1. As an fyi, Bourjos has not played LF or RF since high school. He’s a gold glove caliber CF and our GM was there when Bourjos actually hit well enough to hold down a starter’s spot. He’s going to get a chance to play this year but so will Altherr and so will Goeddel some how. If Nick Williams kills it at AAA, he’ll be up at some point too. Asche sure looks like a trade option or he could even go back to play 3B at AAA with a bad spring training.
        Btw, Herrera is not going anywhere if he hits 320 this year like he looks capable of.

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