Open Discussion: Week of December 21st

Here’s the open discussion thread for Phillies’ talk and other topics.  Slow week as we head into the week before Christmas.  Or should I say the week before the holiday we aren’t supposed to acknowledge lest we upset somebody.  Well, screw that.  I would like to wish all visitors to the site a “Merry Christmas!”.  You would not believe how much pressure was put on us, when I worked for the government, to refrain from saying that.  Not by the government, but by a handful of peers and co-workers.  A very small handful.

This week the Phillies sustained a few more additions to and a couple subtractions from their tranaction list.  The Phillies:

  • invited non-roster players Angelys Nina and Greg Burke spring training .
  • signed free agents catcher J.P. Arencibia , RHP Ernesto Frieri , RHP Gregory Infante to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training;
  • lost recently acquired A.J. Achter to the Angels to a waiver claim;
  • signed free agents RHP Edward Mujica and RHP Andrew Bailey to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training; and
  • traded recently acquired Dan Otero to the Cleveland Indians for cash.

The Phillies also announced their 2016 player development staff and minor league coaching staffs in a December 15th article and announced several changes to their 2016 Spring Training schedule back on December 11th.

Around the league, Jonathan Papelbon updated his 2016 no-trade list.  The Phillies are among the 12 teams he can be traded to without his permission.  Oh, the horror!

Brandon Phillips played chicken with the last place Reds and very likely missed out on a trade to the playoff contending Nationals.

Will Middlebrooks signed a minor league deal with the Brewers.  I remember when he was discussed as a trade piece in a potential deal with the Red Sox.  Whew!

Sorry this doesn’t have the comprehensive updates as previous issues.  Out-of-town company for Christmas, post-surgery restrictions, coming off the pain meds are all contributing to less time at the keyboard.  I do have a rather lengthy article on SP written and near completely factually verified.  A lot different from the weekly discussion posts.  I hope to post it this week, as well as return to the weekly format and start the Reader Top 30 soon.



196 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of December 21st

  1. Will Middlebrooks was a consensus Top 60 prospect. And his career OPS is sub .700.

    While we’re all excited about the talent recently added to our system, we should temper that excitement with the expectation that most prospects–even highly touted ones–just don’t make it in MLB.

    Even our top position prospects, with the exception of Crawford, are probably not higher ranked than Will Middlebrooks was. Williams, Afaro, Quinn, Knapp, Randolph…if even two of them become first division regulars, that would be exceed historical expectations.

    Not trying to be a grinch over the holidays, but just trying to keep my own excitement in check.

    1. 100% agree, Fritz.

      And that’s why people like you and me don’t overreact when Alberto Tirado doesn’t get protected in the Rule V, or if we trade Sam McWilliams for Jeremy Hellickson. Dominic Brown was once rated higher than Crawford not too long ago. That’s why you just can’t get overly excited about prospects.

    2. I agree with you. That’s why I cringe when I see projections entirely made up of current prospects for 2017-2018. I’ll be ecstatic if the team is able to get 4 above average major league regulars from the current top 20.

      1. Ya Anon, if you take the posts for 2017 projected lineups seriously. However in reality who would have penciled in Herrera, and Altherr, and??? for our outfield this time last year? I do agree that many prospects don’t make it, but many get a shot and that’s what the 2015 – 2016 Phillies have been about.

    3. I think that’s part of why they keep adding more and more talent. If you have enough prospects, some will work out.

    4. You’re right about expectations, that said if Middlebrooks was ranked 60, we have more then just Crawford ranked above him.

      Just to clarify 🙂

    5. Actually a reason to take national rankings for what they are, the opinion of one person (or a small group of people) and not gospel.

    6. Which is part of the problem I have with the Giles trade. You traded a guy who was actually performing at the mlb level, for a couple If’s and Could Be’s and Maybe’s. Those coefficients work in the equation if you are trading a 30+ year old closer, but not what is essentially a contemporary of the guys you traded for – if you think Velasquez and Applel will be here when the Phillies get good again, than there is no reason to think Giles would not be (And who can really project when they get ‘good’ again – factor that into the trade equation). I hear people talk about making Velasquez a reliever already, well we had a very good one of those didn’t we.

      Now Klentak has to figure out where he is going to ‘store’ all these arms he’s brought in. I do hope it all works out.

      1. Relievers in general have a shorter shelf life … Giles might have been here when the Phillies are ready to make a run again, but who knows how effective he would be? Might as well get value for him while his trade value was at its peak then have him sitting in the pen night after night with no leads to protect.

        It’s not likely that Appel, Velasquez and Eshelman all reach their ceilings, or even that all three become effective big leaguers. There is a good chance, however, that they get at least one mid-rotation starter and one back-of-the-rotation starter under team control for multiple years, or an elite reliever (in the case of Velasquez). That’s a productive trade-off, imo.

        Every player we discuss on this site is an If, Maybe or Could-Be. That’s why they’re prospects and not MLB players.

      2. Giles is a bit different scenario in that his role on the team as closer was a luxury for a team that isn’t going to compete for a playoff spot for several years. Trading Giles was about taking a resource being wasted on the current team and trying to turn it into multiple future resources that will help.

        Maybe it works out and maybe it doesn’t..

    7. Middlebrooks always had red flags — BB/K rates that suggested he’d be overmatched at the big league level. Thankfully, Crawford and Randolph (in a SSS) look much more competent in this area.

      Nick Williams, on the other hand … the AA numbers compared to Middlebrooks at the same level are pretty similar. Hopefully Williams continues to develop in his approach at the plate and keeps the Ks down so he doesn’t have a similar flameout.

      1. Nick Williams is the one top prospect on whom I’m most conflicted. I’m very excited about his possible outcome, but not very sure he will get there. The other top guys, I have in two categories: 1. Reasonably sure they will be at least average major leaguers or 2. Very doubtful they’ll be average major leaguers. Crawford, Thompson and Velasquez fall into the 1st category. Alfaro and Appel fall into the 2nd category. Williams has enough talent to make me feel he can make it, but has just enough “red flags” to make uneasy.

        1. Alfaro is the one I am most concerned about. He has the greatest number of and most glaring holes, really affecting both his offense and defense in large enough ways to question whether either will be good enough for MLB.

          1. Exactly. Some keep pointing to his “80” arm and “80” power. But if you have a horrendous pop time (which he does) your arm is wasted. And if you have a terrible approach (which he does) and poor contact skills, your raw power is wasted.

    8. Some guys just don’t make it, regardless of how highly they are ranked. Few minor league prospects were ranked as high as Domonic Brown and he didn’t make it. Lower ranked guys can ‘make it’, sometimes even make it as near stars. It seems the guys with obvious holes must either fix the holes quickly or have them magnified when they jump to MLB.

      1. Very true, the following were never even BA top 100 who ‘made it’ more or less:
        Jose Altuve, Matt Holliday, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Martin Prado, Ian Desmond, Lorenzo Cain, Josh Willingham , Kevin Pillar, Mark Trumbo, Yadier Molina, Evan Gattis, David Freese, Paul Goldschmidt Nelson Cruz, Justin Turner, Matt Duffy, AJ Pollock, J.D. Martinez, Phillies own Odubel Herrera and Nick Ahmed.
        And the following made the top 100 but no lower then 75, and most after their third year in the MiLB: Ian Kinsler (98), Andrelton Simmons (92), Matt Kemp (96), Torri Hunter (79), Mookie Betts (75), Dustin Pedroia (77), and Delino DeShields (99).
        So what you say is most true.

    9. I wouldn’t put randolph in middlebrooks league. I don’t think there will be any baseball league that corny won’t hit in.

  2. The weather around here is closer to April than December and I live in New England. Most ski areas are closed because of lack of snow and the inability to make any. It feels like opening day is just around the corner… but it’s not. The winter darkness shakes me out of my spring is sprung mentality. But I still have Phuture Phillies to keep my mind on the prize.

    Happy Holidays to all of you and a very Merry Christmas, in particular, to you Jim. I never said or wrote Happy Holidays to anyone until about 5 years ago. Can’t say Washington Redskins. Pretty soon we’ll find out that Phillies is disparaging to cigars and can’t be used.

    1. That raises a question. I wonder if the Phillies’ failures of the last few years has been caused by climate change.

  3. Merry Christmas Jimmy and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. Happy Holidays to those of you that don’t and may the new year bless us all with great Phuture Phillies!

  4. That’s a bummer when you work with folks who are stogy like that. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

    And in the words of Tiny Tim…….”God Bless us Everyone”

    1. rocco…..funny guy you….just landed in Tel Aviv, here to scout the Israel Winter Leagues.
      Interesting player, name Moe Berg…good defensive intelligent catcher, that can steal opposing teams signals very easily, see how he does! 🙂

  5. What position do you guys think is our best and worst in terms of top end talent/depth? I’m going to say high end talent we are best at Short Stop, worst at second base. Depth wise we are best at SP and worst at third base.

    1. A shortstop can move over to second base, plus we have Hernandez, Kingery, and Valentin already at 2B. I think our weakest positions are 1B and if Franco is forced to move because of defense as he ages, 3B will be our weakest position — it’s certainly by far the weakest on the farm. Given whom we have in Philadelphia, we could still use more corner OF strength — lots of prospects in minors, but nobody who really jumps out as a power guy (although I like Williams, Randolph, and Altherr overall).

      1. Well Franco certainly looks like a major league third basemen. What a hit to the organization if he is not able to stay there, with virtually nothing behind him. Let’s stay positive haha. I just don’t see any of those aforementioned second basemen as guys with any sort of ceiling. Chances are we will have to settle for a defense/hit tool/speed second baseman, but I was spoiled with 25+ HR from the left side year after year with Chase. Guess we have to come to grips with the fact we’ll likely never see that kind of production from 2b again 😖

        1. Franco was negative 0.8 dWAR for 2015. The initial worry on Franco was that his range and mobility were marginal now and would quickly decrease as he aged. So… we may never see a positive defensive WAR from Franco. He has a good arm and quick reflexes, but doesn’t move his feet well. For now, he’s adequate defensively, but not a plus. Several years down the road…?

          1. Franco did not register on SDI for some reason, perhaps because he did not play enough games. But with a negative dWAR of 0.8, he probably is ranked in the bottom 20/25% of MLB third basemen, in select company with the following. All below average.

            Brett Lawrie,
            Nick Castellanos
            Pablo Sandoval
            Matt Carpenter
            Yunel Escobar
            Chase Headley
            Luis Valbuena

    2. I agree. That is why I think it is an imperative that Herrera gets a look at 2b this year. Several candidates for CF in MLB and upper MiLB levels next year.

      1. I don’t expect that to happen. I do expect to see him some in RF in spring training and maybe some LF too. I don’t expect any infield time, that would be too much on him. Hernandez and Sweeney will battle for 2B in spring training and I’m sure Galvis will probably get a taste of it, just to keep his skills sharp since everyone knows JP is coming at some point.
        I have a hunch JP will be held back until June of next year to buy another year of control, unless he just forces a promotion with his play.

        1. I agree. Herrera had some success in center. Leave him there and let him get better. The position is his to lose. When somebody starts forcing him off, then we’ll worry about it.

    3. I’ll add that we are very deep in RH pitching and very weak in LH pitching. I’ll be watching Puk a lot this year. I’m hoping he turns out to be the big LH starter this team needs.

      1. Consensus on here is split between college guy Puk or HSer Groome.
        Whoever the Phillies do not take, I think the Reds will get the other.

        1. With another 90 loss season coming, following our minor leaguers, most notably Reading and LHV, plus monitoring the draft eligible guys will be our sports of choice.

        2. The top HS position player is another who I think may put his name in the conversation. Probably be a college hitter or two who may as well.

  6. Folks,

    As a relative newbie on this site, let me join everyone else in wishing Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, thanking Jim for publishing my daily must-read, thanking all the very informed posters for sharing their knowledge and opinions, and wishing everyone a Phabulous 2016.

    It will be interesting to see whether all the youngsters are overmatched and the Phillies lose more than 100 games, or if they can sustain the much improved play shown in the second half and give us reason to hope for a plus 500 team by 2017.

  7. Merry Christmas to everyone associated with this site. I appreciate all of the work that goes into making this a must read, as well as all of the people who comment and who have kept me well informed all of these years.

  8. Yes, this is a valuable site. Blessings to all and to all the hardy souls who are still buying Phillies season tickets this winter.

  9. Has anyone seen an update on Rhys Hoskins? He’s still listed on the Sydney Blue Sox roster as active and about half the roster shows guys with “reserved” next to their names. He hasn’t played in a game since getting hit on the hand but they don’t play most of each week. Hopefully all he has is a bruise on his hand. If he’s hurt with some kind of broken hand on Hamat bone, I’ll be issuing an expletive filled tirade.

    1. phil e. sphan

      December 20, 2015 at 1:30 PM

      ……initial x-rays negative, mri to come …


      December 20, 2015 at 5:34 PM
      …..thanks phil….Jay Floyd also says ‘ No major damage from what I hear. Day to day.’

          1. Usually starts on a Thursday and goes thru Sunday…but Christmas break this week , so they start this group of games on Saturday and go thru Tuesday the 29th.

  10. Interesting stat on Round 2.1 picks for the draft.
    Of the 51 selected,. 43 played in the majors (84%). Total 614.8 WAR, or 14.3 per major leaguer. With Reggie Jackson with the highest WAR at 74, Will Clark second at 56WAR , JD Drew third at 45WAR, then Justin Verlander at 44WAR

      1. v1…..sorry for the misinformation….went back to ’95 on all 2.1 (2nd round, pick one).
        Only two of significance…OFer Carl Crawford and pitcher Jarrod Washburn. Plenty of 2nd roubd picks that have done well…but for some strange reason 2.1s have not fared well over the years. Josh Bell of the Pirates still has a chance.

    1. Romus – you have the nerve to mention that, that……..JD Drew on here??? BOOOO!!! (sorry, couldn’t resist 😉 )

    2. don’t you mean 1.2 (first round, second pick)?

      I know off-hand Jackson was the second pick of the first round…and the second player ever drafted (since it was the first year of the draft).

      Always a good trivia question: whom was drafted before Reggie, the first pick ever in the MLB draft?

      1. Yes you are correct…1.2 (first round, second pick, not 2.1.(second round first pick). Dyslexia thinking!
        Thanks frtiz for pointing that out.

      2. The Mets took Steve Chilcott at 1:1 in 1966, who was out of baseball at age 24 and never played a game in the Major Leagues. Or was that a rhetorical question?

        1. Don’t have to go too far back, about ten years, Padres took local HSer Matt Bush at 1.1 and he still is trying, now as a pitcher I think.

  11. I am hoping that he makes us call for his promotion to the Big Leagues sometime this year. It will mean he is having a great year. 6 weeks or so to Pitchers and Catchers reporting. We should get to see a few of our guys excel this year. We deserve it!

  12. I am a habitual- multiple times per day reader of the site. Love the banter, insight and am especially impressed by the daily investment Jim makes running this site! Thank you. I live in the philly suburbs and watch 120 Phillies games a year – it was more challenging to stay tuned this year especially in the first half of the season.

    However, one of the pleasant surprises to watch was Odubel Herrerra. I have a healthy respect for the knowledge of the contributors to this site. That is why I can’t understand why many of you want to vacate him from CF so quickly. In his 1st year of playing the position full time, he is a top 6 defensive outfielder in most of the metrics (defensive war 11.7) His improvement from beginning to end of the season was exponential. He is incredibly athletic, has legitimate 15 HR power ( he hit 2 upper deck HRs this year that were impressive as any hit by a phillies this season) to go along with 30 doubles. He is also top 15 among all outfielder in WAR. Why would the Phillies want to take him out of CF? He will enter this season as a 24 year old with a whole lot of upside!!

    1. I agree, I guess you have to wonder what the Phillies are thinking since they brought in Peter Bourjous, it would be strange to have him playing anything other than CF, unless they view him as a part timer. By the way I don’t suppose the Phillies are in on Kent Maeda???

      1. It’s not like Bourjos has been a good everyday player recently, so I think part-timer is exactly how they see him. He should back up in CF and maybe split time in a corner with Goeddel, at least early in the season.

        1. I don’t get how the Phillies plan to use these guys. It’s not like they can platoon these guys. They’re(Bourjos, Goeddel and Altherr) all Right-handed. I don’t see how Goeddell is going to get time.

          I’d normally think that Asche’s “left-handedness” would save his job. But with Klentak being an Analytics guy and trying to build his pitcher’s value by saving runs, I could easily see them cutting Cody Asche.

          1. I think Goeddel will play because of his higher ceiling. He may not be better than Bourjos this year, but if they’re even close then why not play him?

            I don’t think they’d cut Asche, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s traded. If he’s still around, he probably plays against RHPs at first. If he’s gone, maybe Bourjos will start against particularly tough RHPs early on, with Goeddel starting otherwise, and from there Mackanin can adjust playing time.

    2. The argument for trading Herrerra is that his .387 BABIP is unsustainable and that his value will never be this high.

    3. I wonder the same thing. It just makes no sense to talk of moving him. With the junk they have now like bourjous

    1. My #1 complaint of the Philies FO has been their timidity in the international markets. Makes no sense to me. They should go all in on this kid.

      1. Agree….though since Tocci in ’11 they have really picked up the pace a bit and loosened the purse strings more. If this kid is ruled to be eligible NET then 2 July, then I would go for it with him. They could possibly have approx. $9M in allocations money. ( approx. $6M of their own, and up to 50% in trades with penalized teams).

      2. not signing Yasmany Tomas looks to be a wise move, but we are only one year in. perhaps they are willing but haven’t found the right guy yet.

    2. Hell, yes !!! Sign me up for a Lazarito signing !!!
      He looks and speaks like a grown man, not a 16 year old kid.
      I love what the Phillies have done to rebuild their farm system. Though, the majority of their talent is at the upper levels (AA, AAA). I would love to see them add a few high end prospects to their lower levels to create “waves of talent”. Lazarito and Groome would be great additions to add to Ortiz, Medina, and Randolph.

      1. Lets hope MLB does not release him free to sign until after July 1st….if not….here come the Dodgers and the rest of ‘bust-the- threshold rules…commissioner-be-damned’ large market teams!

  13. So for the opening day 13 position players are there any battles here? Is the opening day 13 pretty much set?

    OF – Herrrera, Altherr, Bourjous, Goeddel, Asche (3rd)
    1B – Howard, Ruf (OF)
    2nd – Hernandez
    SS – Galvis, Blanco (2nd, 3rd)
    3rd – Franco
    C – Rupp, Ruiz

    Opening Day Lineup?

    1) Herrera
    2) Hernandez
    3) Franco
    4) Howard
    5) Altherr
    6) Asche
    7) Ruiz
    8) Galvis

    1. 6) could be Bourjous, or Goeddel depending on spring training performance or opposition starting pitcher. Just picked Howard, Ruiz and Asche based on there how management in past has honored Phils vet status and balance in the lineup

  14. Does anyone think that Asche or Chooch get traded? I don’t think either one makes the whole season, but I am guessing there is not much happening before ST. That is, of course, barring a big improvement by Asche.

    1. I agree that Asche will get a chance to stick but he’ll have to show something more consistently than he has so far. I think Chooch plays out this year and is hired in some capacity by the Phils org.

  15. Asche gets dealt before 2016 trade deadline. Herrera has one more year in CF, then moves to 2B when the real centerfielders – Quinn & Williams – arrive for 2017. Chooch gets released in Spring Training. Any more questions for Dong-Master-G?

    1. Ashe knows he must perform with Williams, Goedell, Quinn, and Cozzens waiting in the wings. He has shown desire, grit, and flashes of real power. I wouldn’t write him off. Personally, I am rooting for him

      Ruiz could be helpful with the young pitchers. That could be a reason to keep him.

      On another matter, given the expectations we have for the Phillies AA and AAA players, this wonderful site is more valuable than ever.

      Thanks to all.

      1. I’m rooting for Ashe to increase his trade value. I love the guy’s heart and don’t want to see him gone because of that. But if he sticks it will have meant that a number of prospects didn’t pan out.

    2. The Phillies will not release Carlos Ruiz or Ryan Howard as it would be a PR disaster. They may trade them for a low level prospect if cash is included but they deserve respect as part of the 2008 Champs. They probably play as platoon players until their contracts are up.

  16. Logan Moore is having a very good 2015. We all know he is a very good to a great defensive catcher but this year the hitting has come around. He hit .221/.275/.347 in AA. Looks like the Moore we all know. But in AAA he hit .276/.338/.351. He’s followed that up with .275/.406/.529 in the Dominican Winter League. I’m not sure what has changed this year but if he continues it into next year, he might be the 1st catcher to come up to the majors. Before Knapp or Alfaro or even a journeyman catcher that they could add to AAA. I’m not saying that Moore will get much more than a cup of coffee but we could see him in Philly before the two top 10 catchers.

    1. I have always preferred defensive catchers. Give me a guy who can get the pitchers a larger strike zone with good framing, handles the pitchers well, calls a good game, stops the opponents running game, and blocks balls in the dirt over a guy who hits .300 with 30HR any day. The former will save more runs than the latter will produce. Unfortunately it is difficult to quantify many of those qualities especially for minor league catchers.

    2. The one catcher who just got DFAed by the Padres and could be worth a look see is Josmil Pinto. He was a BA top 100 player early in 2014 and is decent behind the plate. On the other hand, Moore is also a plus defender and bats lefthanded, so they are pluses in his favor.

      1. I think they like the guy they just signed Arencebia (sp?) more. In fact, I think he has a chance to beat out Chooch. Remember that the new administration holds no allegiance to the 2008 team. This JP has a bat that could pop a few homers, along with his 220 average.

    3. I watched Moore a bunch over the past two seasons and I think the last month of the season to replace Kratz at AAA is not a good sample size to base any offensive prowess for him. It will be interesting to see who is #3 catcher but I would say that its a toss up if Rupp or Ruiz went down for an extended time next season. I always like surprises but I’m hoping that Knapp and Alfaro get off to good starts. While I love good pitching I was in heaven from 2005 – 2011 on watching the bash and dash machine!
      I long for the days of a strong lineup, so I will stay hunkered down at Reading and Allentown until the climate changes in Philly.

  17. On another Asche note. He probably would not like this but he could be a good utility guy? I mean who do the Phils have in the farm to replace Franco if he went down from something like a ruptured Achilles? Blanco, Hernandez? Someone will probably want to put Herrera in the mix but on that note he was horrendous at 2nd, kind of like Quinn at SS.

    So what about 2nd, I think Asche played there in the minors. If folks think Herrea can play second why not Asche?

    1. Asche would be a good utility guy?? I know you kidding. he stinks at third, and left field. they tried him at second. And he cant hit. Yes on a 100 loss team I guess you could use him as a utility guy

      1. rocco….just suppose the ‘Brandon Moss lightbulb’ goes on for Asche!
        Then we have a legitimate utility player, eh?.

            1. I Think maybe its just me , First thing is a good utility man should play multiple position. And play them well, Asche cant play left, stinks at third. so in what world is he a good candidate to be a utility man

            2. rocco….close your eyes and you will see Asche as the next great Greg Dobbs….a 260/315, .710OPS guy with a minus4WAR, (Dobbs had a minus 4.4 career WAR). Merry Christmas!. 🙂

        1. What kind of utility player can’t play acceptable defense in LF or 3B, and those are the only two options? I can believe bench bat maybe, but not utility player.

  18. Doug Master….Herrera is not moving to 2b, Williams is not going to play CF in the majors, he is going to play LF and no, the Phils are not going to simply release Ruiz. Other than that, you got em all correct.

    In fairness, let me explain my position. Herrera is a CFer, plain and simple and got better as the year went on. Even Salisbury laughed when asked if Herrera would go back to 2b, the reports were he wasn’t very good there and he is a very good OFer. And the Phils didn’t draft Kingery in the second round to be a utility man, he will soon form the DP combination with Crawford.

    As for Williams, he will move to LF in deference to Herrera and Quinn, and possibly be starting in CBP by September. In LF.

    Why would the Phils simply release Ruiz when teams are clamoring for backup catchers. Now you could make a case that they may buy out his option in 2017 but they are not into simply releasing guys. If they were, Ryan Howard would have been gone by now.

    My predictions…Herrera eventually gets Gold Glove mention as a CFer and becomes a .300 hitter, Williams moves to LF, Kingery is the 2b man, and the Phils trade Ruiz sometime in 2016…maybe to the Rangers so he can continue to catch Hamels.

    1. CD here my probabilities on your predictions with reasons.

      Herrera gets gold glove mention as CF’er – 50% only because probably someone will mention it. Weather he is ever given a gold glove…well the percentages go down drastically…not because he could not develop into that player but more from a probablities stand point.

      Herrera develops into a .300 hitter…he hits .300 or more in a season I’d say close to 50% probability, but develops in to a regular .300 hitter…again percentages go down.

      Williams to left field. I think him playing left field for the Phils at some point are high but for how long? Kingery is the 2b, is he really that projectable to be a starting 2b in the near future. I mean I know that’s why the Phils drafted him but I’m not ready to give him the position yet.

      I agree, if we could get a decent prospect they would trade Chooch, but that is a big if. I would say the chances are less than 50%.

  19. RemHoward….good responses and here is my take on what you wrote. I fully acknowledge that getting a Gold Glove is a subjective thing, heck Jeter was getting one when there were 4-5 better defensive shortstops in the AL but I believe Herrera will give the Phils a GG performance in CF, much like Rowand and Vic did.

    As for Williams in LF and your question of “for how long?” Not sure what to make of your question. He, along with Alfaro, were the center pieces of the deal for Hamels, I see no one in the immediate future to challenge him and I think he is going to be very good. Randolph is years away and Asche is certainly not going to beat him out. Altherr will play RF because of his strong arm.

    Phils pushed Kingery hard precisely because they like him so much, he simply is a ball player and in my estimation, will take the 2b spot and run with it for years to come.

    Phils will have no trouble moving Chooch if they choose to. #1, they will throw in some money and #2, they will not require a top notch prospect in return. This will be as much a reward to Chooch for services rendered as anything else. I think they signed JP Arechida precisely because they plan to move Chooch in 2016, maybe even before the season starts.

    1. Its all good CD. My comment on how long is a lot of factors….

      1) How long will he be with Phils?…..could get traded etc.
      2) Will he be the best LF option if the sign a better FA say 2017 or 18
      3) How successful will he be and for how long?
      4) Injuries, etc, etc.

      Like you my comments on probabilities are just guesses based on my perception as most of us do here. Thanks for the good feedback!

    2. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but Kingery is pretty far away from the majors right now and didn’t do all that well in his minor league debut. Sure, he could be the second baseman of the future, but right now, he’s just a promising prospect in the low minors. A lot can happen between there and Citizens’ Bank Park.

  20. California, I agree with everything you just posted. I think Doobie has done a terrific job in such a short time in CF, and having jumped to the Majors. If Roman Quinn beats him out, that means that Quinn is even better, and that is a tremendous thing.

    1. Ya, I am looking to see where ?Doobie? ends up after next year. That will tell me if he has a legit shot of being a lifetime .300 hitter.

      Hey I know what Doobie meant back in my Doobie days (late 70’s and early 80″s), where did you get the moniker for Herrera…was it the dreads??

  21. Herrerra’s BABIP is higher because of his speed from home to first. I believe hit had 20 infield hits in 2015. That has a dramatic effect on that percentage.

  22. J64..I think you are mistaken in your view of Kingery and his debut season in pro ball, not to mention where he rates on the future big league schedule. He had a very solid first year in pro ball, considering the Phils pushed him to full season Lakewood, where he was competing against guys who had been in the league since April, a time when he was still in college.

    I say Kingery will be in Philadelphia by Sept/2017 or coming out of spring training 2018 and I believe thats what the Phils project also. He will start the 2016 season in Clearwater but I fully expect him to be in Reading by August. From there, its a hop, skip and a jump to Philadelphia. If this you believe this is impossible, explain Herrera to me….he never saw the light of Triple A day and yet performed like he had been in the big leagues for years.

    Kingery is simply one of those guys who knows how to play the game well. Not flashy, simply effective. He had one of the more quiet effective seasons in the Phillie system this year considering how high they started him.

    Oh and one more thing. The Phils historically have their most effective hitter bat 3rd in the lineup and if you check the boxscores, more often than not Kingery was batting 3rd.

    He is not nearly as far away from Philadelphia you suggest. And once he gets there he will stay. He and Crawford are going to be a very solid DP combo for years to come.

    1. California, you are a big Kingery man, and good for you – you might be right after all. But his debut was not all that hot (.652 OPS) and is about average for what you might expect for a highly touted college player in low A ball. But he’s not close to being in the majors now. It’s really far to get from Lakewood to the majors, let alone be a cornerstone starting player for a franchise. Herrera is the exception, not the rule and Herrera had killed it in AA (Texas League leading hitter) and in winter ball. Very few players skip AAA ball, let alone skip AAA and become strong starters in the majors – the odds are probably 100 to 1 against that type of jump being successful.

      That said, I don’t think first year minor league statistics for most players – especially position players – are all that revealing. A lot of guys struggle or do poorly the first year but catch on the second (Cody Asche is a great example of that), so let’s see how he does this year. Certainly the scouting reports are solid and, like I said, he might become the type of player you described, but he’s got a lot to prove – at a lot of levels in the minors – before we talk about him as J.P. Crawford’s double-play partner.

      1. And I don’t see Kingery as a #3 hitter – he’s generally been described as a slap hitter and the statistics are consistent with that description. Unless he experiences a huge surge in power he’s going to be hitting 1/2 or 7/8 in the line-up.

        1. I think he meant him batting third at lakewood was a compliment to what the phillies thought of his skills not where he would end up on a major league roster,

  23. Thanks Romus!!! It only makes my case for Herrera’s stronger regarding BAPIP!!! So again I say to the group, why would the phill want move him to second base or trade him? Seems like to me we should be building around him

      1. RemH….true, many keep thinking the Phllies will be moving him to 2nd, maybe since they see a solid bat coming from that position in Herrera.
        But then again, he made 63 errors at second base in 411 games. And this was after an earlier shortstop experiment failed in the Rangers org.
        CF he has a chance to really excel defensively.

        1. The guy was a 4 win center fielder last season, why try to ruin that? Let him stay out there until he proves he can’t do it for any reason.

          1. I agree that they should leave him in CF, if nothing else but to help maintain his defensive value as an asset. I think there is one group that thinks its best to move him because the team has other CFs (Altherr and Quinn) right behind him, but no great options at 2nd base. I think there is a 2nd group that really doesn’t believe his performance is sustainable due to his K/bb rate and his high BABIP and feel we might as well get the other guys in there.

        2. my thought was maybe the Phils give Herrera a shot at second this year because they know he can play center, but its not like defense is going to be the difference between contending or not this year. Klentak made a comment about Bourjos best season coming when he had a full time opportunity and its hard to see Bourjos getting that shot with Odubel a full time centerfielder. You know there isnt a real future full time second baseman on the team so trying Bourjos in center and Herrara at second to see what happens at both could make sense. can put Odubel back in center anytime.

          as far as trading Odubel, i get the logic but there arent many teams with needs in center (plus Fowler and Span still free agents). I was curious about the Cubs- are they really planning on playing Heyward in center?

          1. RAE….I understand yuor rationale, however, I would think if the Phillies were going to try OH at second in 2016, wouldn’t they have started with him already in the Ven winter league?. Waiting until ST would not seem to be the logical thing to do.
            And as for Heyward in CF as a Cub…you are correct…well over 90% of his games have been in RF. Soler may be traded at some point, and he would bring back a good return.

  24. Phillymike is feeling the love from Romus and Remhoward2011!!! Whoops, caught myself talking in the 3rd person – reminds of a Seinfeld episode – “George is getting angry”!!

  25. J64…agree with you that Kingery’s future is not as a #3 hitter, probably a #2 or #6 spot in the lineup but my point remains the same…Phils must have thought highly of him and how he was doing since they consistently hit him 3rd in the lineup.

    And I have seen not one negative thing from the organization about how he did this year and in fact I believe that Jordan indicated they were quite pleased with how he did. Going from college ball to full season Lakewood is almost like going from little league to pony league in the same year.

    Had Kingery played in Williamsport I suspect his numbers would have been much higher. He will be the first guy from the 2015 draft to get to Philadelphia.

    1. I don’t see Kingery having the power to fit in as a # 6 hitter but a # 2 is possible. As for the organization saying good things about him, of course they are saying good things about him, they just drafted him. Again, the Lakewood jump is nice and encouraging, but not extraordinary for a high college draft pick – it’s good, and his debut was fine. Don’t think I’m rooting against him – I want him to succeed, but we’re very early on in the process and he is not just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the majors – there’s a lot of heavy lifting to be done between here and there.

  26. AnnonVOR, see my earlier post. His BAbIP is sustainable due to his 70-80 speed from home to first. He had 25 infield hits. (Thank you Romus) as a 23 year old so I do not expect a down turn in his speed barring injury. It is quite sustainable!

      1. Have you seen the man run to first base? If that is not 70 speed then I don’t knowwhat it looks like. Also, he led all CF in distanced traveled Per catch! The kid can really go get it!

        1. P-Mike, Hererra can run. He is not a 70 -80 runner. But that isn’t worth an argument, because fans’ grades on tools (including mine) are all just subjective.

          A .387 BABIP is not sustainable. I don’t care how many infield hits you site. Ichiro, the king of BABIP, only had 2 seasons with a BABIP of .387 or more. The year after Ichiro had a .399 BABIP, he followed up with a .317 BABIP and his Batting Average fell over 60 points. You have to acknowledge the possibility that Odubel may not continue having a .387 BABIP. For a guy like Odubel, that doesn’t walk much and strikes out a lot, if he doesnt continue an Ichiro-esq BABIP, what will his final line look like? That is a fair question from his skeptics.

          1. Anon,

            Good points from a skeptic’s perspective.

            However, Herrera was a mere rookie last year. He has time to develop plate discipline and to become a better hitter, or maybe his BABIP comes down to closer to normal, but he walks more, strikes out less and earns more hits.

            1. The scenario you present is exactly what Fangraphs projects. His BABIP normalizes, his Ks drop and his BB’s go up slightly. With all of that, they still project him to be a below avg hitter. That’s how far ‘out of whack’ his BABIP is for this year.

  27. Who says no the Phillies trade the package they got from Astros minus appel to the marlins for ozuna? A protential #2 starter plus a #5 starter and 2 wildcards for a man with a lot of protential

    1. I would be livid if we traded all that for Zuna! I’d do eshelman, arauz and oberholder at the most. Ozuna is not a sure thing and had almost a Dom brown bad year. Not very interested. Another year like this last one and he might get released. I think boras is his agent and made it clear he wasn’t happy about his playing time and sending him down to minors, because he said they were trying to save money by sending him down

  28. All I want in the New Year are these 5 things:
    1) The 1:1 makes a huge splash and then goes on to a multi-all-star career.
    2) The 2:1 does the same thing.
    3) The Phils minor leagues keep pumping prospect after prospect successfully into the
    Major Leagues or are traded for other pieces that make the Phils much better.
    4) The Phil’s minor leagues show another leap forward but even greater than the leap from
    2014 to 2015.
    5) The International signings take our collective breaths away… in a good way.

  29. Happy Holidays everyone. Thanks for giving me a place to go to share my love of Phillies baseball and Phillies minor leaguers in particular, Spring training can’t come soon enough.

    I’ll follow your theme: My 5 wishes for 2016 –
    1) In the draft – The 1/1 is a legit healthy #1 starter and the 2/1 is a legit college hitter who can move quickly to the major leagues
    2) Nick Williams backs up this year’s numbers with similar numbers in AAA and is our starting LF on August 1
    3) Alfaro has the year that was dreamed of for him hitting 25 homers and batting 280 ish while improving his defensive skills and becomes a legit top 20 prospect
    4) Both Morton and Hellickson have solid years and provide legit trade value at the deadline
    5) The AAA rotation (Velasquez, Thompson, Appel, Efline, Morgan) sets a new team era record for the league as each of the starters pitch well in their fight to get the expected open spots after the trade deadline.

    1. I like your list. I would add that I want to see a jump in offensive production as Tocci, Canelo, and Hoskins arrive at different times in the Reading season. I think Hoskins starts there, but I want Tocci and Canelo up by July 1.

  30. With all this talk about Doobie switching to 2B, what about the idea of switch Quinn back to 2B instead? If Doobie continues to progress and play stellar defense in CF I see no reason to move him back to 2B. I believe Quinn was drafted as a 2B and moved to CF when he reached AA? What were the reasons he got moved and did he play an adequate 2B for those who remember?

    1. Quinn did not play 2B, he was a SS at the start of his Phillies career. I believe he primarily played CF in HS. I don’t think he has played 2B. My memory of the write-ups on his defense are that he needed improvement at SS.

    2. Quinn has become a terrific CF and it allows him to use his great speed the best. He won’t be moving back to the infield. However with the way Herrera improved over the course of last year, he’ll be staying in the OF as well. Whether he stays in CF or moves to a corner, we’ll have to wait and see. If he becomes a 310 hitter with 15 homers, he’ll be able to provide enough offense with good defense to play RF. Quinn has the ability, if he stays healthy- a big IF, to be an all star lead off hitter and gold glove CF. watching this play out the next couple of years will be interesting.

      1. Murray…you seem to be correct on the Quinn/Herrera dynamics for 2016. Beyond that in 2017 it possibly will play out differently, not that either will go into the infield but the realization one may have to be moved in a trade. Quinn does have his question marks with health durability, and Herrera’s defense surely will improve in CF and could be elite when all is said and done, so far he has played the last 10 games in the Ven out there in the OF, and will continue to improve. His bat could see an upswing in his ISO and XBHs, IMO , will rise across the board, but red-flag on him is his league leading BABIP, and with a 24%K rate and an abysmal 5% BB rate, and even, in a best case scenario, if he could cut one in half to 12% and double his BB rate to 10%,( which I think is highly unlikely) he would still see his BABIP normalize 50/60 points lower. He definitely will be one to watch to see how his 2nd year progresses at the plate.

        1. Realistically, the odds of Altherr, Williams, and Quinn all becoming as good as we hope combined with Herrera continuing to improve are not high. But we can certainly hope!

  31. Upon further research my earlier comments about sustaining a .387 BABIP were a bit “optimistic” (thanks Anon for making me do more homework), It does not change the fact that he has a chance to be an above average to top 10 CF. his “controllable so” such as his defense will continue to improve with shear games experience. Additionally, he has dramatic potential to improve his hitting approach and approach to stealing bases again through simple game experience. Many of you can remember how Shane Victorino improved/stabilized his game although his numbers were never fueled by a BABIP as high as Hererra’s in any one season. The two players remind me of one another due to the high level of athleticism, similar power potential, speed and defensive prowess

    1. 387 isn’t realistic but guys like michael bourn always seemed to hover in that 330 to .340 range. So we could still expect a decently high babip out of el torito going forward not just a crazy high one.

  32. Good point. I have not researched this but it seems to be a reasonable premise that left-handed hitters with 60+ speed could have higher BAPIPs because they have the ability to get more infield/bunt hits than hitters who do not run well.

    1. Yes. Fast, left-handed guys, who hit the ball on the ground, have higher BABIP than other hitters. But as you and a few others have pointed out, the hope for Odubel is that he cuts his Ks and draws a few more walks, so his OBP doesn’t drop dramatically when his BABIP normalizes. He wasn’t a big strikeout guy in the minors, so I’m hoping he can get back to being the 15% K guy he was in the minors, rather than the 24% guy he was as a rookie. He’s never taken walks, so I’m not as hopeful on that. He has always been a good hitter, so as long as he can be a league average hitter, while in CF, be will have great value.

  33. All good points VOR! I would like to add one point that I think keeps getting minimized. He jumped from AA to an everyday major league player at a position he had limited experience playing and did it at an extremely high level. His first half season he hit .268 and 2nd half he hit .329. It was fueled by a .432 BABIP in the second half. But what is most fascinating about his second half BABIP is that his line drive BABIP was .714 – that appears to be crazy high! Would love to know what his avg bat speed is. He also had .556 BABIP on bunts ( I think we can agree that is a speed skill deal not luck) and .355 on ground balls (which we can agree is a function of some luck and plus speed and willingness to run hard on those ground balls.

    This is why I really hope he gets to stay in cf. as a 24 year old in his second full year, the potential to improve is compelling to me.

    1. Not sure what his bat speed is but he generates average power (85.5 mph average exit velocity) and sprays the ball to all fields (13.9° average spray angle). And his LD is high like you say, but he does have a good knack for ‘slapping’ the ball to LF on outside pitches.
      What I find a real plus in his physical profile that his strength comes from his legs, and other then Ruf/Rupp and Howard he has the biggest in that lineup, all with a guy barely 5’11” and 205 lbs. Short and compact strong. Once he gets more pull lift and turn on a pitch, he could generate 12-15 HRs easily playing I/2 the season in CBP.

    2. I don’t know how far he’ll regress to the mean, or even where his mean actually is, but I think Herrera is clearly a guy who BABIPed his way to playing over his head in 2015. Yes, he jumped from AA to the major leagues, but that really is no guarantee that his 2015 performance was a true measure of what he can do and that he can only progress from there and get better.

      As proof, I offer you a pitcher who went directly to the major league rotation, after less than half a season as a relatively unheralded prospect.

      10-4, 3.87 ERA 1.07 H/9 1.12 HR/9 1.86 BB/9 but only 3.64 K/9 and 1.29 G/F

      The peripherals just didn’t support the ERA or W-L record, and Kyle Kendrick’s career did not live up to his freshman season.

      1. A town1, I think that is what makes this fun. Since the Phillies have nothing to lose, let’s find out where the mean is. If you are looking at a real comparable, can I suggest Shane Victorino? Talk about similar fact patterns……. My eye tells me that Hererra is more physically gifted than 2K. Just his defensive Abilities alone separate him from 2K who had nothing above replacement level.

      2. Concerning Herrera and his extreme elevated BABIP. In his minor league career, he also sported above average BABIPs. In his last approx. 1000PAs it was around .350/355 range.
        Whether or not that translates into the majors remains to be seen. Most of the gifted all-star players…talent and athletically bless, have been able to translate that.
        Herrera is athletic, but his plate approach probably needs more refinement.

        1. Good stuff Romus!!!’ Here is another thing I love about the kid. He hits .301 in April, bottoms out to .202 in May, scuffles to .261 in June. Then hits over .300 every month in the second half. I will give you concede inflated BABIP if you concede that he also improved his approach. I watched 120 Phillies games in 2015. You could see the improved approach right before your eyes. He is not Utley ( who the hell is?) in terms of bringing it on every at bat, but he does play hard and plays with passion.

            1. It would appear, he certainly knows what he has to do in his plate approach.
              Right now he is free swinging in the Ven with 1 BB in 44 PAs, but he probably is just letting ‘his hair down’ so to speak in his native country.
              Nevertheless, there is a lot to like with his game

  34. on score of 1 to 10. 1 being unlikely and 10 very likely. What are chances Phillies land prized cuban player Lazaro Armenteros who will be auditioning for ML teams on Jan 8.

    1. It depends entirely on the schedule Armenteros and his agent have set. If he is determined to sign before 1July, then the answer is 0, since we are not going to bust our 2015 international cap and be shut out in 2016. If he thinks he is better off waiting until after 1 July, then probably a 6-8, depending upon how many 2016 verbal agreements Sal already has.

        1. And after July 2nd, the Phillies and Braves have close to the same money to offer, within the prescribe MLB limits. Braves may bust…but not sure if they are already in the restricted penalty phase,
          For the Phillies, with all the RHPs in the system, and all teams look for pitching, I would think Mac/Klentak can swing a few trades and obtain added money from teams that cannot go over the $300K threshold.

    2. Given that he is 16 and hasn’t played competitively in over a year, his showcase in January will give teams a basis to know whether to assist his effort to get a deadline waiver for the current signing period. I think no team knows how to evaluate him currently. If the Commissioner rules against him, then the Phils have a decent shot after July 2.

  35. I have been out of touch for the last two days, but is there any word on Rhys Hoskins? I saw the replay, and it was a scary sight, but I loved his reaction…got up pissed, threw his helmet, and went to first base.He looks to be a tough dude. The announcer thought the ball caromed from his hand to his head. I hope it’s a bruise and will be back soon.

      1. Al Jazeera is trying to become a mainstay network for news, sports and business. They certainly have credibility in the Muslim world but they have to go a long way here in the “free” world.

        My first thought on this is how bad Howard really is, if this is true. My next thought is a sports guy’s period to make money is very small. If a guy is injured and this gets him back to his earning potential and at the same time get him back to the field quicker for the fans, I’d allow it. I’d allow a guy to take steroids or whatever he needs to get back quicker. It should be for a short period and under the supervision of a doctor. It would have to be monitored and the drugs would have to be fully out of their system before they can play again. Ahh, but that’s the rub. Some of these drugs are undetectable or leave the body very quickly so how would anyone know if he stopped taking them. That is for people at a much higher pay grade than me. These players would also have to monitored over their lifetimes for negative effects later in life.

        Howard and others are denying the accusations so I’ll take them at their word, at this point. His dysfunctional family will be willing to tell all so the truth will probably come out. Certainly Howard won’t get many or any votes for the HOF so it won’t hurt his chances. His performance speaks for itself. If they are expensive then he got robbed.

        1. Charlie Sly…what a name….says otherwise about the report.
          Seems people want to sue Al Jazeera, if after the airing.

    1. He didn’t play yesterday after the Christmas break. Today’s game is in progress and I can’t get access to the box score while the game is in progress, so I don’t know if Rhys is playing.

      1. bellman…I do not think you need to worry much, he seems to be enjoying the break down under with his gal.

  36. Merry Christmas and a Happy new year To All. I’ve moved 3 times in last 3 months. I’ve been A little busy , I heard that Howard thing to multi sport player ring the Headers are Peyton Manning , Julius Peppers etc big names . A growth hormone product named Delta 2 I think. Manning has flat out denied taking it . Howard said the same thing. Although both Manning and Howard had surgeries around the time this hormone may be used for that. I really don’t know will what happens.

  37. I read a reference in re: the sad post baseball life of Lenny Dykstra and Mitch Williams.. I get Dykstra, what’s up with Mitchy Poo?

  38. Romus I just received a text from Phillies. They thanked me for my ticket money, Howard needs more drugs. Did you get the text yet?

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