Open Discussion: Week of February 1st

Pitchers and catchers are just around the corner.  First official workout on the 18th.  Here’s the open discussion thread for Phillies’ talk and other topics.

The DH poll drew 350 votes.  As I had expected for a site that covers the prospects of a National League team, the vast majority (79%) were in favor of not introducing the DH to the National League, 277 nay v. 73 aye.

Recent Transactions

  • 1/21 – The Phillies signed FA LHP Evan Crower on first day of workouts for the California Winter League (link) as reported by Mike DiBucci.  The CWL is the Official Winter League of the Frontier League.  The Frontier League is an Independent League.  Some of the Phillies’ released minor leaguers end up in the Frontier League. (One of the 14 teams doesn’t even have a home field.)  Crower wowed scouts with a mid-90s FB.  He was the back up QB at Stanford before graduating in 2015.
  • 1/25 – MLBTR reported that the Phils inked FA OF David Lough (link).
  • 1/27 – MLB Italia reported that the Phillies signed 19-year old, Italian, C/3B Leonardo Colagrossi (link).  He has played for Italy in the Under-18 and Under-20 World Championships.  The Phillies had him on their radar for over a year and he declined an earlier attempt to sign him to a contract.  He plays for Academy of Tirrenia, which is their equivalent of a college.  (Translation may not be 100% accurate.)
  • 1/28 – The Phillies hired 30-year old, Google analyst Andy Galdi as the Director, Baseball Research and Development (link).
  • 1/29 – Matt Gelb reports that Jesse Biddle was DFA’d after the Phillies claimed 29-year old, LHP Bobby LaFromboise off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates (link).
  • 1/29 – Seven Phillies’ prospects were selected among the MLB Top 100 prospects (link).  J.P. Crawford was the highest ranked at #5.  None of the other 6 were among the top 50.  Division rival Atlanta had 5 among the top 100, Washington had 4, New York had 4 and Miami had none.  Other notables – Minnesota, Colorado, and the Cubs had 6 each.  The Dodgers, Milwaukee, Texas, Pittsburgh, Houston, and Cincinnati had 5 each, Boston had 4, the Yankees had 3, Kansas City and St. Louis had 2, and the Angels had none.

In case you missed it Jonathan Pettibone was signed to a minor league contract by the Chicago Cubs with an invitation to Spring Training.

And, finally several national analysts have surmised that the Phillies are tanking.  Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, of all people, defended the Phillies stating that they are not tanking but actually starting their rebuild too late (link).


56 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of February 1st

  1. Crower throws mid 90s? I’m sure he played high school baseball. That’s great scouting finding an arm line that. You never know. He’ll have to progress quickly but at least he’ll get a look.

    1. Phillies seem to do something similar with Josh Taylor last year when he signed after a try-out.
      In the end he and Chris Oliver, helped pay for Jhailyn Ortiz’ bonus.

    2. Some of these minor league free agent signings end up being significant – that’s a great find. I recall the Braves signing Brandon Beachy to a minor league FA deal. He’s been hurt so the brilliance of that move has been obscured, but before the injury I thought Beachy was consistently among the best young pitchers in baseball.

    3. He did. He was quite a good high school baseball player in San Diego, but extremely highly rated as a quarterback, too. Anyway, he’s a 6’6″ LHP and if he is mid-90s that is a pretty good place to start.

        1. It wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t pitch his senior year and then fell off this list. He probably had already signed with Stanford to play QB and the last thing he wanted to do was hurt his shoulder. This is very good scouting of a good arm. Another arm to watch in spring training.

          1. maxpreps showed him with 3 full years of hitting stats, but just a couple of innings his junior year and then senior year of 54 ip, 64 hits, 40k, and 18 about as raw as you can get.

  2. Thanks for passing on the information on Colagrossi. From attempting to read the article I think it is a baseball academy like those in the Dominican Republic that has sent a number of Italian players perform for Italy. Colagrossi seems to be their first player to be signed by a major league team. It looks like he had a tryout in the Dominican Republic before they signed him. I wonder if he will start his career there or in the GCL.
    I am happy for Jon Pettibone. He can be a serviceable fifth starter. Biddle may do better with another team away from the spotlight of his hometown. It would be hard to lose a lefty with his potential. He is a very tempting waiver take by another team. Fromboise looks like he could add something to the bullpen.
    We are getting closer to the start of the most interesting spring training since the baby aces. This winter has gone quickly thanks much to this site.

    1. Hope Colagrossi does develop into a good prospect.
      I noticed his past fav team are the Blue Jays.
      He may change that soon.

      1. FWIW, Julsan Kamara, the Phillies most recent venture into Europe, was released this off season. The 20-year old, German outfielder spent two seasons in the DSL and was released on September 23, 2015. He played his age 18 and 19 seasons in the DSL and slashed a career .189/.357/.254/.611 with 0 HR in 155 plate appearances. His biggest accomplishment may have been that he was HBP 16 times. Though listed as a DH on the DSL roster both seasons, Kamara started 19 games in LF during 2015. There was a steep drop in his offensive production during his second season.

    2. Puddinead.

      Absolutely agree. I discovered this site last year and quickly became a daily reader. It’s informative, entertaining and even educational. Some really smart and informed posters. And, while I’ve not met Jim, he has my admiration as a life-long writer, editor, publisher for his great work, quality writing and perseverance.

      1. Cal Dreaming – I am with you on your comments. Perhaps even more telling, Baseball Prospectus listed their top 101several days ago. Not only did the Phils have the most picks on that list, but when you compare the two lists they even included OTHER players than those on the MLB list !!!! So how many top 100 do they really have ? Moreover, the top pick in the June draft will almost certainly be a top 25 or higher so you can rightly add that prospect as well ! And if they do a good scouting job, one could argue that the 2nd round pick (in the 40’s I believe) could perhaps not crack the top 100 but could easily be a top 125 ?

  3. This message is concerning yesterday’s thread about the Phillies having 7 prospects in BP Top 100 and is specifically addressed to Fritz and Chad. I agree that both of you have much to say and are quite informed. But honestly, can we not for ONE day celebrate the rebirth of what for too long was an absolutely moribund system without being lectured on how it is not as significant because most of the 7 are in the lower half of the Top 100. Pure poppycock in my mind and I, for one, am going to celebrate it rather than suffer from paralysis by analysis because I know this much…

    There are thousands, literally thousands, of minor league players all with dreams of getting to the major leagues and at least hundreds of them are quite talented guys. And yet the Phillies had 7 of the top 100 of them and unless I am mistaken, no team had more than that and some teams like the D’backs had 0, nada, none.

    As someone who goes back to the 80’s days where tiny Jim Vatcher was the Phillies minor league player of the year, I choose to celebrate this latest announcement rather than dwell on the fact that such and such is not in the top 40 so his chances of ever being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame are less than 2%. I can live with that.

    Because the truth is that no baseball team is full of simply star players, there are always good spear carriers on even the best teams. Heck, I am a baseball junkie and there is NO way I could name the entire starting lineup of the World Champion KC Royals, much less the runner up NY Mets. Because for every Cespedes or Perez there are guys who probably wouldn’t rank in the upper half of the Top 100 of any baseball list.

    Perhaps I was just grouchy from a long day yesterday, but it just struck me wrong that I couldn’t enjoy this happy announcement for even 5 minutes without being told how it was not really that big a deal simply because not all 7 of them were in the Top 40.

    I for one choose to celebrate this! For far too long we didn’t sniff 7 of the top 100 and at least for me, the sweet smell right now far exceeds any reason to downplay it.

    1. We once traded Jim Vatcher for Dale Murphy! =)

      Sorry if my post seemed negative–I’m totally fired-up about our prospects. For the decade and a half that I’ve been following MiLB, I’ve never been so excited about our system.

      Our Reader Poll is at 20, and we still have a lot of talent that hasn’t been voted-in yet. Our system has star talent, and its deep, too!

      The AAA and AA rotations will be fun to watch this year–heck, even CLW will have a nice rotation.

      As someone who prefers watching pitchers more than hitters, I’m thrilled about stable of young arms.

      I’m more excited to watch our minor league teams play this year than I am in the big league club!

      1. Yes, this is an exciting time to be a fan of the Phillies’ minor league teams. And it is difficult if not wrong to be negative about the recent upswing in our depth and prospects. However, although I am excited as a fan, I am also cautious. I don’t want to get my hopes up too high. I don’t want to raise the hopes of readers too high. Hope has a way of becoming expectation. Unrequited expectation can become disappointment. It’s a fine line, but behind the headlines and articles, I am again excited as we prepare for another minor league season.

        1. you sound like Yoda. BA rankings leads to hope, hope leads to expectations, expectations lead to…suffering.

    2. My posts were in no way meant to be negative. My post was meant to be realistic and it also was meant to underscore the fact that I was disappointed where Thompson and Williams were ranked. I thought that either Thompson or Williams should have been ranked in the top 40ish players. MLB seems to be higher on Thompson than Williams so I thought he had a really good chance but he didn’t and it is what it is.

  4. The fact that they traded away their best relief pitcher and haven’t even attempted to shore up a very weak offence points to the fact that they are tanking.
    Even the late 80’s and early 90’s Phillies attempted to keep their fans entertained. Other than getting the #1 pick two years in a row I can’t see any other strategy here.

    1. This is not a sixers rebuild. This year is about letting the young guys play and next year guys like Williams Jp and Thompson and possibly Appel will be here joining Franco Nola Vasquez etc. Not to mention, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sign 2 or 3 impact free agents next year. They aren’t going to sign big free agents this year and lose picks.

    2. @Money, I don’t recognize you, but I would guess that you live in the Philadelphia area and are subjected to (and believe) the tanking accusations that permeate the media in Philadelphia. It would be very difficult for anyone who follows this site or any of the other minor league blogs to make or believe your opening statement.

    3. If you can’t see that this team doesn’t have the talent to compete even if they had the best closer in MLB, then you truly do not understand baseball.

    4. Money—- I am curious what you as a fan would like to see the Phillies do to stay entertaining? Would you like to see them go out and spend a bunch of money to put together a halfway decent team and end up in contract hell again just to be farther away from winning a World Series? Phillies are in a full on rebuild mode. If they were tanking Aaron Nola would start the year in AAA or be traded. Franco would start the year in AAA. Eickoff would start the year in AAA and basically anyone else with talent would be down in AAA or would be traded(unless they project to become superstars). The sixes have traded away decent players for basically nothing for the best chance to get the first pick which is to lose the most games. The Phillies on the other hand are not trying to lose as many games as possible they want the core that they have started to put together to continue to get better. The Phillies are rebuilding not tanking but then again this is just my take on the situation.

      1. I’m not advocating signing someone long term,but at least re-sign Francoeur .He was a ballplayer suited to CBP. Two outfield additions and the one hits .200 with no power and the other hit .279 in AA last year.The Phillies are charging major league prices aren’t they?
        Pardon me for not towing the company line.
        Two years ago the Phillies had a promising young bullpen.Then Amaro got his hands in it.Away went Bastardo,Diekman went in the Hamels deal.
        Then Giles goes.He’s not going to be easy to replace, when and if they compete again. Now the bullpen is crap also.
        Yes,I know all the young pitching they got but most are #5 starters if at all.

    5. If you are a Phillies fan old enough to remember Steve Carlton in 1972(?) when he had one of the greatest years of any pitcher ever, on one of the worst teams of all time, you know first-hand that a difference between baseball and basketball is that one stellar player does not a stellar team make, and thus tanking would be a far more doubtful strategy in this sport, even if you had owners with unlimited money that they didn’t care how long they lost it for, or if baseball’s stellar draftees had as sure a transmission to star players as basketballs.

      1. In Hockey a hot Goalie can take u to a cup. M J with some help won basketball Champion ships .for most part your chance’s in Football are better a elite Qb . baseball you can win games in many ways.

      2. I worked as a vendor at every one of Lefty’s home starts in that marvelous run. I believe he went from 5-6 to 21-6, winning 16 in a row with lots of home games. This was a 100 loss team so it was pretty crazy.

    6. I don’t agree. A relief pitcher/closer obtains value primarily from saves. The phils are likely 2 years away from expecting to compete in close games that a quality closer would be needed.

      I had thought the same thing at first, but the quality of players that they got in return would tempt even a mid-level team. I liked Giles arm and motion and thing he will turn in a good career. He ovbviously wanted to win in the present times as evidenced by his tirades. (not saying that sandberg wasn’t at fault).

      Also, how many decent reluevers could step into the closers role and ve successful 8O-85% of the time? Lets say 16 out of 20. Likeky a fair number. Its the guys tgat are successful 18 or 19 out of 20 who belong on the top 2 teams of each division. There 6 or 7 wins make the difference between 1st and 3rd place. For next year, thise 6 or 7 wins might be the difference between 5th and 4th place. For the return they got, this was a logical and savy move and trade.

      After the Giles trade; I thought, why not shop Franco while your at it. Then I rethought the longevity and rarity of a closer as compared to an above average 3rd baseman.

      I feel franco will grow with the competetiveness of the team better than Giles. An everday player is in it for the long haul and a closer has microwave mentality; meaning, I wan’t success now!!

      All in all, I think this was one of the better deals considering the return.

      Now, if we hear next week


  5. Interesting when comparing Baseball Prospectus vs MLB Network top 100. Williams and Thompson both in top 50 with BBP vs lower 50 in MLB. Randolph and Quinn not in top 100 in BBP, but Kilome is despite being left off MLB list. I do feel there are a few that just missed the list, could be in the next 50 to 100: Eflin, Hoskins, Kingery, Knapp, Pinto. A few maybe a push to be ranked that high but all are in a good position to move up this year.

    1. I wonder if the national pubs, like BA/BP/MLB ever thought about publishing a top 125 or 150. I am sure they have every prospect rated, like the teams do for their own prospects in their orgs, from number 1 down thru whatever there are, but I guess the ‘top 100 list’ has more of an allure.

      1. Did you watch the unveiling of the top 50 on MLB Friday night? I was disappointed in the coverage. It seemed like they raced through 11-40, and even 4-10, just to get to the top three. Felt like I wasted my time for the short, “canned” blurb on Crawford.

        1. JP…..did not watch it this time.
          I have seen it before, I assume Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis were the guests or presenters. I figure I would catch it on their website at some point, but now that you told me what to expect may just pass on it. They use to put the clips/description for each prospect on their website under the ‘video’ link.

        2. I watched it and before I could blink twice they were on commercial break after they got to number 30

        3. I Dvr it so I could race though there coverage I hate that why M I paying for Mlb network . Everyone knows about the top 5 but new 2016 info would be nice, I’m with ya Jim .

  6. All of the choices for our top 30areshots in the dark when considering how many newbies we have added over the winter. Emphasis on pitching…and many of them need to be seen to be believed. The first ten picks seem to contain several guys who are “most likely to succeed” and the rest including the newest will show us more during the ’16 season.

    Afterwards, it seems likely that many will move up and others remain behind. With so many to keep our eyes on, this should be an especially interesting prospect watch….adding in just what pitchers we will choose at #1 overall and our 2nd round choice as well because both are likely to be pitchers.

    Accordingly, this site will likely have more traffic than ever in ’16.

    Thank our lucky stars (and those involved) for this being here.

    1. Is it surprising that developmental staff at LHV would not have observed the elbow problems even if Biddle chose, as this article says, to tough it out? I’d think missing something like that would be pretty damning on the coaches and something I’d hope the team would try to make sure doesn’t repeat, but not my field of expertise so maybe I’m completely wrong.

      1. Why not give every pitcher in the org an elbow and shoulder MRI in March and then again in October, every year from the day the sign a Phillies contract, then you have a baseline and able to detect early damages.
        They may do something like that, but not aware of it.
        And it could be costly.

  7. Righty Jonathan Pettibone has signed a minor league pact with the Cubs and received an invitation to MLB camp, per a club announcement. The 25-year-old contributed 100 1/3 solid innings as a starter for the 2013 Phillies, registering a 4.04 ERA with 5.9 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9. But significant shoulder issues interrupted that campaign, and he’s hardly pitched competitively since. Pettibone underwent surgery to repair a SLAP tear in 2014, had a second procedure done last summer, and then lost his 40-man spot earlier this winter.

  8. I like this crowder signing. Tough not participating in baseball, he tgrew a lot of sliders and was part of a major sports program possibly better conditioning than collegd baseball programs. I think he could be a sleeper that got through. As a QB, he’s probably got tge intelligence to learn pitches quickly. Lets see; a mid 90’s FB grades out at @ 75 for a lefty doesn’t it?

    Clayton WHO?

  9. So I was trying to look ahead to July 2, 2016. Didn’t find much but Maitan appears to be tops. Has anybody heard any rumors or predictions for the 7/2 class or can you point me in the right direction. Thanks!

    1. I haven’t heard a lot. I doubt the Phillies are going to break the bank I think they will continue to play by the rules and try to get at least 1 big signing each year with more undervalued guys.

    1. Yoervis Medina is apparently the return. “Hard throwing” reliever who walks too many; has ML experience and some success, so that’s nice. Looks like his velocity dipped last year.

      Personally I’d rather have Biddle. I’m not really sure why Klentak is so into collecting relievers when the team is rebuilding like this. At least this guy has a chance to be in the bullpen though.

  10. The Biddle move doesn’t feel good to me. I don’t really understand the roster move (a 60-day spot is available) and losing a young talent hurts. We need to stockpile all the young talent we can.

    I hope Jessie has a great career. I just wish it was with his home team.

    1. The dl is not available until the beginning of the season. But either way I’m not sure how Stumpf is more valuable in the long term compared to Biddle. Even if he isn’t a starter long term I think he could be a bullpen guy bc he has a decent fastball and has shown a decent feel for the curve and a slider. I think the pirates are gonna try to pass him through waivers at some point or maybe they will just wait until the season and put him on the dl but this just doesn’t seem like a smart move to me.

  11. The header for this sight caught my eye. I don’t see any players that still remain with the Phillies. Most have disappeared over this Fall and Winter.

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