Open Discussion: Week of February 22nd

Here’s the open discussion thread for Phillies’ talk and other topics.

Things are progressing much the same as previous years.  Calisthenics, stretching, long toss then PFPs for the pitchers and BP for the early reporting position players.  However there are some minor changes.  Seems like less BP before some of the infielders slip away for infield drills.  Outfield drills seem to run longer.  The PFPs look the same, but the pitchers are throwing to live batters much sooner than they were last year.

The nastiest drill has been a pop up drill for the catchers.  Saturday poor Carlos Ruiz, Cameron Rupp, Jorge Alfaro, J.P. Arencibia, Andrew Knapp, Logan Moore, and Gabriel Lino had to look directly up into an overhead sun against a cloudless blue sky to catch balls shot into the air by the pitching machine.

The drill requires the catcher to come out of his crouch and dart to the dirt and grass seam in front of home plate before looking up to pick up the flight of the ball.  When he determines the path of the ball, he has to toss his mask away from the target zone, drift to the ball, and in most early attempts pick the ball up from the ground and get back in line. The first time through the drill only Chooch caught a ball.  No surprise that he looked the best  during this defensive drill.

Coach McLaren was in charge of the drill and offered instruction.  One catcher was told to jettison his mask sooner, it would affect his balance otherwise.  (He had just stumbled and had a ball go off his mitt.  He had held onto his mask too long.)  Others were told to get square to the plate before moving toward the ball.  By the end of this portion of the drill, most were making catches.

Then Coach McLaren became the Marquis de Sade.  After the first catch was completed (or not), a second ball was launched into the air.  The catcher was forced to locate and catch the second ball from whatever location he made the first catch.  An off balance first catch made a second successful catch impossible.  Hopefully, no retinas were burned during this drill.

None of the catchers had that black stuff under their eyes that might have cut down on the glare.  Those who had sunglasses wore them after their first time through the drill.  No matter where the ball was going, Logan Moore always tossed his mask in a spot that was near where he would return to the line for his next turn.  Pretty clever.

There are a lot of minor league players here.  It’s not unusual for extra catchers to be brought to camp.  We think we’ve identified Cabral, Brodzinski, and Bossart so far.  Most of the pitchers are here.  The extra catchers and position players like Tim Zier and Carlos Alonso are among those acting as batters during live pitching for guys like Nola , Thompson, and Eflin.

Over in Bright House Field, Odubel Herrera impressed with his hustle going back for fly balls during BP.  Saturday, he was the only guy trying to shag flies.  He looked good retreating back to the warning track from a shallow position.  I’m becoming a believer.

There was a new intern approaching the coaches behind the batting cage on Carlton Field. I thought he was delivering a message to one of the coaches. Turns out it was Matt Klentak. Yeah, he looks that young.

Here are some photos courtesy of Joe Kuhn.

Adam Morgan, the wind up …
… and the pitch.


Ernesto “Big Ern” Frieri
Top catching prospects waiting for their at bats.







Crawford and Quinn coming off the field to take BP.

224 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of February 22nd

  1. Eickhoff has a fractured thumb. He’s positive it won’t set him back too far but he’s a rookie brimming with enthusiasm. Let’s take it slowly for a little while. Too often these nagging injuries lead to bigger injuries. No more bunting drills for you.

  2. As a former coach, I love watching the incredibly organized drills they run. It’s so much fun to watch these very large kids going through the drills.

  3. Once Alfaro catches Frieri in an official ballgame, it will be a first….Colombian born battery mates

  4. This is a post a lot of you will 1-star, but read it to the end before doing so.

    I don’t understand the optimism for the major league club this season. I think they will have a similar record to last year. My reasoning is below. Note, I have been gushing with optimism on the farm. Just think this year’s big club will be equally awful as last year.

    First, the pitching will be worse than last year. How can it not, we subtracted our best SP and two best RPs.

    Compare the SPs to last year:
    – Hamels to Hellickson. Huge downgrade
    – Nola to Nola. Assuming no sophomore slump, a wash
    – Harang to Morton. Had same ERA last year. And people forget how awesome Harang was in first half. But let’s call it a wash.
    – Eickhoff to Eickhoff. I like him a lot, but it is beyond optimistic to think he can reproduce a 2.65 ERA over the course of next year. I am pulling for him big time. Just see this as a regression candidate.
    – Velasquez to Williams. Big upgrade here although VV has no record of pitching in the bigs over a full year.

    Net, net it is hard to see how the SPs are upgraded.

    – Paps and Giles were lights out last year. And elite 8-9 combo. We have no one close to either of them. Our projected closer had s mid-4 era last year
    – huge, huge downgrade.

    – only big change I see is Revere for Bourjos, which is a huge downgrade. Revere was a very productive leadoff hitter that stole a lot of based. Bourjos might struggle to hit his weight.
    – Full year of Franco is an upgrade over half year.
    – any other big offensive changes I am missing? If not, let’s be generous and call it a wash. Same as last year

    – I guess Bourjos is better than Revere, but for all of the Revere bashing, I don’t recall many balls he didn’t get to and catch. Not always the best routes, but his elite speed made up for it. But let’s call it an upgrade in LF.
    – Altherr for a full year. Let’s assume he hits enough to stay in lineup. Big defensive upgrade in RF over Asche.
    – Sweeney over Utley at 2b. To me, this is a downgrade, but Utley was hurt a lot. So let’s call it a wash.
    – net, net the defense will be improved. Specifically the OF defense. And 3b defense with Franco for a full season over Asche.

    So in summary, weaker SPs. Far weaker RPs. Weaker offense. Better defense. How is this an improved team?

    1. Very well said, but as you know things are sometimes not as clear cut as that. Guys have career years, guys have down years, guys come out of nowhere. Who knows? Let it play out.

        1. Geez….very sensitive. Just saying that this thing is barely under way. Let them at least play intra squad game first.

    2. I don’t see how the offense is any weaker. Utley was a disaster last year. The improvement in OF defense more than offsets the loss of the Revere’s 1.9 total WAR.

        1. I’m not interested in being led into a nonsensical strawman debate. But I don’t believe replacing Ben Revere’s 94 OPS+ or Chase Utley’s 69 OPS+ will be a difficult task.

      1. Love Odubel, but he had an extremely high BABIP. Another recession risk. Hope it doesn’t happen, but to ignore it seems wishfull thinking.

        1. However, OH has had a high BABIP in almost every stop along the way in his professional career. Born to hit. I think he will mash 20HRs or more this year.

          1. BABIP in MLB last year:
            1 Odubel Herrera 0.387
            2 Miguel Cabrera 0.384 (career .348)
            3 Dee Gordon 0.383
            4 Paul Goldschmidt 0.382
            5 Kris Bryant 0.378
            6 Xander Bogaerts 0.372
            7 Joey Votto 0.371
            8 Christian Yelich 0.37
            9 Bryce Harper 0.369
            10 David Peralta 0.368

            BABIP of a few of the Best hitters in baseball history:
            – Tony Gwynn: .341
            – Wade Boggs: .344
            – Ted Williams: .328
            – Hank Aaron: .291
            – Barry Bonds: .285

            Again, love the guy, but do you really think that he will maintain a better BABIP than any of the elite hitters above (excluding the randoms like Yelich and Peralta)

            1. Fair point…and probably not….he will level out downward.
              But even if he is 50/60 points lower in the .320/330 range, he will be an effective hitter. I can see his XBHs and ISO rising this year.

    3. Just taking a quick look at your argument, you seem to be overlooking starting pitching depth which is significantly improved this year. Last year beyond the five you listed we had 30 or so starts between Sean O’Sullivan and David Buchannan, that combined with additional starts from Kevin Correia, Chad Biliingsley as well as Sev and Asher. We probably had 50 or 60 starts by pitchers who had 5.50 ERAs or higher last year. Not even counting Jerome Williams who you mentioned.

      I think a lot of the optimism comes from the fact that we should never be in that position this year. The quality of depth is much higher, outside of the projected top five you have Oberholtzer, Adam Morgan(Who as the only depth arm that did decently last year) Jake Thompson, Mark Appel, Zach Eflin who all should be able to provide significant upgrades to last years SPs who contributed outside of the top 5.

        1. Yes. Your comparing a downgrade of 20 – 25 starts from Hamels to Hellickson which is a clear downgrade to an upgrade of our 5th starter through 8th. That will probably account for 60 or 70 starts depending on injuries. It will hurt not having that top of the rotation starter but we will have quality arms throughout our rotation and into AAA.

          Also we only had a half year of Nola and 7 starts of Eickhoff last year. I don’t think anyone expects Eickhoff to continue the stats he put up at the end of last year but a whole season of him should be a major upgrade over the trash we were throwing out there much of last year.

          I do think that is cause for some optimism.

        2. For me I don’t think the excitement comes from a wins total standpoint. It comes from the prospect that maybe Vincent Velasquez puts it together and shows true 1 potential.

          Franco plays a whole season and belts 25+ HR’s. Herrera contends for a batting title.

          Maybe Altherr adapts and becomes a real MLB bat.

          Maybe Crawford comes up late June. Maybe Appel puts it together and is up before the trade deadline as does Knapp and Williams. Jake Thompson is lurking.

          The excitement is not in guys like Sweeney, Asche, Galvis Hernandez, Bourjos, Rupp etc… Those guys are just place holders.

          For some teams the sum of them is greater than their parts and in other cases the parts are greater than the sum. We have the latter going on and some semblance of a new core in place ready to earn it every day and hopefully take us to another run of NL East titles and a WS or two.

          Those that are optimistic are choosing to see the trees from the forest. A glass is half full when it’s in the process of being filled and half empty when it is in the process of being drunk.

          And if that is not enough how can you not be optimistic having Middleton in charge of the clubs direction going forward over what we had coming into last season.

          1. DMAR…good points. Speaking of half-empty drunk glasses, I wonder if they are raising the price of beer at the park this year. 🙂

            1. Probably but it won’t affect me all that much. Me and my buddies adapted years ago to having a few at the tail gate before heading in for some bulls BBQ and some water to shake it off 🙂

            2. Yes….we do the same prior to the game in the lot or at Xfinity. But on those hot humid summer nights….around the 5th/6th inning time for one at the bar.

          2. I agree. And I share that excitement. However, I have seen wild projections on the win total, which prompted my post. I think they will be more fun to watch for sure. But will likely struggle for wins.

            1. V1- I think that the Phillies can win 63-67 games next year. What do you consider a wild projection?

            2. Do me a favor, can you point it out…where on this website there was a thread with tons of projections on win totals for the big league club. Specifically prior to you calling everyone out on them in this thread. I’ll admit, I’m not here every single day so I may have missed it.

        3. the improvements and possible additional wins are mainly due to “nonperforming assets” that the Phils don’t have in 2016, such as:

          1) 3B – Franco vs Asche
          2) RF – Altherr vs Domo/Frenchy
          3) 1B – Platoon vs Howard (Ruf has very good stats vs LHP compared to Howard)
          4) 2B – Hernandez will probably have better 1st half stats than Utley
          5) Nola/Eickhoff – around 40 starts more (compared to Correa, McGowan, SOS, Billingsley, etc.).
          6) OF Defense – Altherr/Herrera/Bourjous vs Domo/Benny/Asche
          7) Reserve List – Quinn, Cordero, Ramos, JPC, Thompson, VV, Appell, Williams, Knapp, Eflin

          The downside from 2015 is losing Hamels (20 games, 6 wins), Giles and Paps. The depth in SPs will probably cover the games won by Hamels, Giles and Paps if not more.

          The excitement for 2016 onwards is not mostly for the number of wins, but to see who will develop as the next generation of Phillies who wil make a run, contend and eventually win the WS.

          1. I also want us to add the Front Office as a big difference:

            1) Pete Mc vs Stiff Maestro Ryno – Pete’s ability to communicate in both English and Spanish and his approacheable persona will be a plus in the dug out
            2) Klentak vs RAJ – can the Phils get worse than RAJ?
            3) Andy vs Gillick – both are oldies, but Gillick actions shows lack to no passion to the game anymore. Gillick looks very disterested and just waiting for the paycheck to come in.

            1. Kurt, I agree with you 100% there. Just the increase in analytics tools is a plus not to mention the seemingly fresh energy. The true test will come next year or the year after when they need to make a FA expenditure. And, this Draft is huge as well.

            2. @matt13 – you’re correct, i forgot to mention about the analytics. klentak confirmed that during an interview with 97.5 the fanatic or article in phillies will invest database infrastrtucture, focus on batters who control the strikezone and pitchers with command and control. The philosophy showed in the 2015 Rule IV draft which is a departure from the old regime.

          2. Another factor is there will be more bad teams in the NL. Reds, Brewers, braves, Rockies could all be worse then the Phillies.

    4. On the starting pitching, you are comparing generally the starters in the rotation at the end of the season plus Hamels, and therefore dropping the dozens of starts by Buchanan, Severino Gonzalez, O’Sullivan, etc. in the first half of the season, before Morgan and Nola and Eickhoff were brought up. Even if you assume there will be starts by persons outside the original 5 starters, it will be by people like Velazquez, Thompson and Appel, who should be better (not that it would take much). So your comparison is not apples to apples.

      The offense is likely to get better as the year progresses, as Crawford pushes either Galvis or Hernandez (or as you have it, Sweeney) out of the line-up and Nick Williams does the same for Bourjos/Asche.

      Yes, the bullpen is likely worse, and the defense better..

    5. I agree with your overall conclusion and your thoughts about pitching.

      I also think there will be keen competition for the worst record in baseball. The Phils could earn another No.1 pick, a No.5 pick, or anywhere in between.

    6. v1 – don’t mean to nitpick but for Nola and Eickhoff comparison, they only started 13 and 8 games, respectively. A SP normally pitch around 30 starts every year so that 60 games for the 2 of them. Last year, there are around 20-30 starts from Correa, McGowan, Billingsley, SOS, SevGon, a bad Buchanon, 7 from Asher and so on. We know the results from these starts. If Nola and Eickhoff will pitch around 20 starts (thats about 40 in 2016 vs 21 in 2015), that 20ish games will have better results and probably give the Phils around 5 wins at least.

      Now with VV and JWill, even if VV will not pitch 20-25 starts, the depth behind is much better – Obbie, Thompson, Morgan, Appel are probably better than the rethreads (Correa, etc) i mentioned above. I think SevGon and Asher will pitch better from last whether its SP or RP. That’s probably another potential wins from loss position last year.

      Hamels pitched 20 games but only give 6 wins for the Phils.

      With the potential of winning additional least 5-7 games this year for SPs, I think that’s an improvement.

      I agree with the bullpen, that it is a downgrade. we might see some games will be lost due to late bullpen collapse and will negate the gains in the SP side.

      Agree also that the defense will be better that will help save some runs.

      IMO, the key this year is the offense – with full year of healthy Franco, Altherr vs Domo in RF, Howard/Ruff platoon split results, no horrendous Utley 1st-half stats and good reinforcements from the farm – JPC, NickWill, Quinn, Knapp, etc.

      Overall, the pitch will be at least a wash, if not better due to better defense. but the offense (injury forbid) will be better. the youth in this team will start to show that will lead to some wins.

      I can see the Phils win around 8-10 more wins in 2016.

      1. Good points. Will get more games from Nola and Eickhoff. But there is a reason Hamels only won 6 games despite basically all quality starts. He pitched against the other team’s #1 and our anemic offense couldn’t produce. This season Nola slides up to that position and will face the other team’s best pitcher.

        1. I hate this argument, the pitcher doesn’t pitch against the other pitcher, he pitches against the line up. Here are a list of the pitchers who threw against Hamels though . . .

          Buchholz (Not a number 1)
          Fister (Not a number 1)
          Fister (Not a number 1)
          Cosart (Not a number 1)
          Lackey (Not a number 1)
          Haren (Not a 1)
          Harvey (Ace) (Phillies actually won this game)
          Liriano (Not a number 1)
          Lyles (Not a number 1)
          Strasburg (Ace) (Another Phillies Win)
          Bettis (Not a number 1)
          Leake (Not a number 1)
          Leake (Not a number 1)
          Burnett (Not a number 1)
          Nova (Not a number 1)
          Jungmann (Not a number 1)
          Miller (Not a number 1)
          Bumgarner (Ace)
          Haren (Not a number 1)
          Arrieta (Ace)

          So he threw against 4 legit number 1 pitchers (Phillies winning 2 of the 4 games). 4 out of 20.

          I’m of the thinking that with . . .

          1. Hellickson/Morton/Nola/Eickoff/VV is better then Hamels/Harrang/Williams/Buchanan/SOS (Projected rotation vs Rotation to break ST 2015)

          2. Howard/Ruf Platoon is better then Howard

          3. Hernandez/Galvis better D and should put up better numbers then Utley did in 2015

          4. Franco/Nola/Eickoff for a full year

          5. Better OF D

          6. Subtraction of Ashe/Brown in OF

          7. Prospects to make their debut should do better then Ashe/Brown/Williams/Harrang/etc

          I think 75 wins is a max with 68 being a low number.

        2. V1- Cole Hamels had 13 qs with Philly in 20 starts. While that is a good ratio I don’t see that as elite. I love Cole Hamels as much as the next Philly fan. Without him I don’t think the Phillies win the W.S. In 2008. With all that being said I don’t think he is a top 15 pitcher in the MLB. I believe that Cole Hamels value is overstated in your post. Obviously the Phillies would be better with him but he’s not superman.

          1. But as a LHP starter he is number 6 on most lists:
            1 Clayton Kershaw
            2 Chris Sale
            3 Madison Bumgarner
            4 David Price
            5 Jon Lester
            6 Cole Hamels
            7 Hyun-Jin Ryu
            8 Gio Gonzalez
            9 Drew Smyly
            10 Francisco Liriano

            1. I’m not saying he’s not a great pitcher bc I believe that he is. But being great and being the best are two different things. V1’s post made Cole out to be a god I was just stating that that’s not the case in my opinion.

    7. Where is there optimism?? People are excited at a glimpse of the future, but I don’t think people are mistaking that as compete time yet.

        1. But the success of the 2016 campaign will not be measured by the number of wins. Or by how exciting the games are. The success of 2016 will be determined by the development of our prospects. If we win 66 games but our young players improve, that will be a good outcome. Conversely, if our prospects don’t improve but we get improved years from Howard, Ruiz, Asche, Bourjos and players of that ilk that carry the team to an inflated win total of say 75 wins, I would consider those 75 wins a negative outcome.

          1. Again agree and I noted in my post that I am extremely optimistic in our farm. Just think the big club will struggle for wins again.

          1. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that they could win an extra 10 games if everyone stays healthy but then again I think it is to optimistic that there is no way they win less than an extra 8 games. I think they fall in between 63-68 games

    8. I’ve seen the exact numbers before, but since I don’t feel like looking them up again so I’ll ballpark it: we had slightly over 100 starts from Harang, Williams and assorted AAAA bums last year. In total they put up an ERA over 6. Hellickson, Morton and whoever our new 5th starter(s) is should be a significant upgrade there. Hamels also had sort of a down year.

      So, I think the starting pitching will be significantly better, and so will the defense, probably. I’m thinking about 70 wins. I don’t know if you’d call that “optimistic” or not; it’s not like anybody is talking about playoff contention.

    9. I have not seen many lofty expectations for the Big Club set out here or elsewhere. Yes, people are more interested in the Big Club because there are young guys that are expected to be building blocks for the future, but that is much different than an actual belief that the team will win substantially more this year. Most predictions seem to run from 62 wins to 71 wins. I guess that is “better” than last year, but also damning with faint praise as they say. It is hard to lose 100 games as the 2015 Phils proved. For that reason alone, I think they will be at or a couple of games above last year’s number. No one is predicting a Wild Card run or anything crazy. They just seem excited about the Pharm and the prospects that might show their faces in Phila. this Summer.

    10. How do you define improvement? I haven’t seen many W-L predictions for the major league club on this website. I have seen many note the improvement in the farm system. I have seen many note their excitement around possibly seeing some of the young guys grow into starting regulars.

      Personally, I think having the same record as the last year, but limiting the starts and ABs to mediocre guys 30 and over from the previous year (Howard, Ruiz, Harang, Utley, Franceour, Jerome Williams, Billingsley, etc) to be an improvement.

      Finding out who will be part of the future has a ton of value/excitement. I haven’t seen much discussion about optimism = playoff spot, but more optimism = direction of the team.

    11. I’ll start with a disclaimer, I never want to be the naysayer chasing after the bus once it has started in the right direction, denying success in plain sight.

      I do think it will be a better team with a better record than last year though a slow start wouldn’t surprise me. Last year’s team was dysfunctional for much of the first half. I think MacKanin has his guys and a mandate to bench Ruiz and Howard, based on performance.

      The other thing is that 6 NL teams — Phils, Braves, Reds, Brewers,Rockies, and Padres don’t impress on paper and seem to be in various stages of re-building. For the Phils, as misery loves company, this figures to result in a better overall record even if the team was standing still.

      1. Odd…you list 6 NL teams … Phils, Braves, Reds, Brewers, Rockies, and Padres…as teams that are for the most part in rebuild mode and probably not expecting to do much in 2016. Now, on the other hand in the AL other than the A’s, I think the remaining 14 teams figure to be in the hunt and most have made off-season transactions to bolster their teams
        The top ten draft picks In 2017 could definitely see a NL flavoring.

    12. Nostalgia is fine and injuries were a factor, but both offensively and defensively, Utley was about as bad as a starting player can be in his time with the Phillies last season. Either Hernandez or Sweeney are an upgrade, both on offense and defense and they will be placed appropriately in the line-up, which first-half Utley wasn’t.

      Ruiz didn’t have a good 2015. Either more of Rupp or a bit of bounce-back from Ruiz and it’s not unreasonable to expect we are better at catcher.

      A full platoon split of 1B with Ruf/Howard should be better than we got from 1B last year.

      A full season of Franco improves 3B.

      I think Galvis had a down year on D.

      We will certainly do better than Asche in the OF. I think with both bat and glove. So, I think on a full-year basis, we likely do better at 5 or more starting positions.

      I totally agree with you on the pen. I somewhat agree with you on the SP, although you overdo the critique IMO. For example, a full season of Nola and Eichkoff is a plus, it is not same for same, since neither had a full season.

      I like this year’s FA starters better than last year’s. I think we see Thompson at some point this year and I expect him to be good. Possibly one of Eflin/Appel also later in year. On the whole, I think SP is better this year, even with the loss of Hamels for half a year.

      I don’t think this year is much better on the whole than last year, but I think we win 3 to 9 more games. One reason I say that is that the team psyche seemed off last year. The change in managers and the deadline deals/promotions resulted in a better record.

  5. V1, I don’t disagree with you at all that this team may lose 100 games. But, this is why I am looking forward to the season and did not in 13, 14 and 15. I want to see all of the young players progress. I want to see better defensive play and better fundamental Baseball. I want to see some progress as far as putting a lineup together that scratches out runs via smart baserunning and bunts and hit and run play. Then I want to see our high level prospects, Thompson, Williams Crawford, etc., have outstanding seasons so that in July we are complaining that they are not up yet. And, I want to see enough from Hellickson and Morton that they are worth something at the trade deadline. All of this produces optimism that was sorely lacking the past few years.

  6. I think we will be slightly better than last year, but only 4 or 5 games better. This is due to a better rotation and improvement from our youngsters.

    You said that Nola = Nola. Not only do I expect improvement from him, I expect more than 13 starts (77 innings) in 2016.

    I don’t expect Eickhoff to improve on his ERA from last year, but I would absolutely take him over Jerome Williams, Aaron Harange, either Sullivan brother, David Buchanan, or Chad Billingsley. And we should have him for more than 51 innings in 2016.

    We also have depth in starting pitching which allows someone to likely emerge and surprise. This could be Adam Morgan (who I expect to improve significantly over last year), Velasquez, Oberholtzer, or even Appel.

    Outfield defense should be significantly improved. It sounds like RH won’t see many LHPs this year – which is where Ruf cleans up. A full year of Franco will be good over what Asche did in ’15. Odubel really struggled to adjust to ML pitching, but once he started laying off pitches he was great. (first half OPS = .695 / second half OPS = .834) I expect big things from him in ’16. If Altherr proves he can his ML pitching he’ll add a few wins all on his own – especially with that defense in RF.

    None of this includes potential call-ups of JP, Williams, or Knapp.

    The bullpen will be an abomination.

    Low-end = 64 wins
    Mid-range = 69 wins
    High-end = 74 wins

    1. Sounds like it’s time for a poll on how many games the Phillies will win in 2016. Im going with 71.

      1. Oldie,

        I was close last year, predicting 64-98, just one game off. I’m not ready to pin down a number for this year yet, but will pick a range of 70 to 74 wins. The precise number will come before Opening Day.

        v1 started an interesting conversation. My take: better starting pitching because of depth and the full vs. part-season discussion here of Hamels, Nola and Eickoff; better outfield defense; weaker bullpen; stronger bench; more offense given a full year by Franco, least a little more offense from outfield, and Howard/Ruff platoon.

        Risks: Herrera regresses, bullpen stinks, starting pitching is a muddle; Eickoff pitched way over his head last year.

        Potential positive surprises: Rupp hits; Herrera develops, overcoming regression of BABIP; one of the Phuture Stars slated for Lehigh Valley becomes a strong rookie like Franco last year.

        Finally, though I think the Phillies will be a few games better, and that this group will play much better as it matures, we really can’t count on youngsters as a whole, no matter how talented. An example was 1961, when much of the 1964 core lost well over 100 games, more like 110-plus given today’s longer schedule.

    2. based on my arguments above, i can see a 8-10 games improvement in 2016 so i’m going with 72 games.

  7. PS: I think the better clubhouse dynamic for a full season will result in wins. Loved Ryno as a player not so much as a manager

  8. I’m struggling with the win total. I hear the arguments for both better and worse than last year. There are so many variables to consider given the radical roster changes. But if pressed for a number, I’m going with 67.

  9. Altherr is a big wildcard for me. I have my doubts that offensively he can be any better than JMJR…

    But I do know this I’m running him out to RF everyday for at least half the season to see if he can.

    1. DMAR – agree with Altherr. IMO, offense is the main driver in 2016 that will determine the +/- in wins. Although the offense is still a ? for Altherr, we know that the OF defense will be above average and potentially plus. This will save some runs and possibly save some close games.

      I think Altherr will be better than JMJ. OBP will be around .300 and the SLG % is probably the one I’m going to watch.

      1. KuKo….I would like to agree with Aaron Altherr’s assessment you have, but unless he changes his approach with two-strikes, just not sure he will be any better than JMJ was at the plate. We all know his defense is plus over JMJ’s.

        1. @romus – being 25yo and potential to receive regular at bats in the next couple of years, Altherr can get better. I can the JMJ comparison, but i think that JMJ is more of his floor (4th OF) but still better because of the defense.

          At this stage of the rebuild, i will look at Altherr (or the RF situation) on the upside rather than downside because by the time the Phils are ready to contend (probably around 2019): a) the $$ are there to sign a legit RF; b) one of Cozens, Brown, Pujols or Alfaro (panned out and) ready for the big show; and c) trade some of the excess assets (i.e. Tocci, RHP, C) for a young RF.

    2. Dmar put me on that list. I just don’t know if he will hit enough, to be a good starting outfielder

    3. Altherr is probably the guy I’m most curious to see this year for precisely that reason. I think there are a wide range of outcomes with him, and it all comes down to how well he makes contact. He has enough power and speed to be a 20/20 threat, and his glove looks like an asset.

      1. I agree with you on Altherr he is so exciting and has the potential to be a game changer capable of going 20-20. I just hope that he continues to show improvement with the bat like he did last year.

  10. I am hoping that Altherr hits because he may be the best Defensive OF on the team and being in the lineup increases the overall Defensive efficiency of the team. And, I agree. I play him every day for at least half the season, and if he does not hit and Williams has a great year, then mid-July/August may see Nick Williams in an outfield spot. Or Altherr hits and Bourjos does not, and Altherr moves to CF? Is that a possibility?

    1. Altherr no doubt can play CF as well as anyone on the roster but he is the one with the Arm that can really play RF.

  11. Sep 20 and 21st….JRoll coming to town with wearing yet another uniform, White Sox. Hopefully he makes the team.

  12. Wow. What a come down for Jimmy. Having to sign a minor league contract to get a chance to make the team. Article said Rollins is willing to be a back-up. That’s swallowing some pride. I doubt he’d accept less than that, though.

  13. Really Ultey gets 7 mil Jimmy gets minor league . This Phillies compared to last yr has more up side . The Prospects are much better this yr Galvis , Herrera , Nola, Rupp. Now we have Franco , Thompson , Crawford, Knapp , Quinn, Williams, Appel, Altherr. Goebbel, Sweeney and so on. 2 of the pitchers are in for a Raise with good yrs in Morton, Hellickson, Nola maybe better so of the relief pitchers are pitching for there careers . The Philles are stacked at Relief in the minors. So I’d say top 82 bottom 50 I’m not sure about Mackanin he’s have to be better then Ryno but by how much.

    1. Galvis? He provided 0.4 WAR (including zero WAR on defense) and a 77 OPS+. He’s a replacement level utility player. Why name him?

      1. I know he does at times make so nice plays . Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 yrs at the hardest defense position . I’m not saying he going to be Jimmy but improvement he did hit alot better then I though he would. Plus his DP partner was Hernandez who is an avg 2nd baseman . Galvis can become an above avg 2nd baseman on defense or utility player. Most of the position players this yr are holding players.

  14. I can see 68 wins, mainly because a few teams will be notably worse like ATL, MIL & CIN so they may steal a few games there. Assuming the Phils win less against the rest of the NL their record will be equalized by them sweeping the MUTTS 18-0.

    Now that would be progress.

  15. He’s a question while the OF defense will be better , is the infield D the worse in the Majors ? Franco can get better so can Galvis, whoever is at 2nd and Howard better improve.

    1. Franco and Herrera , by the ‘eye-test’ early on last season, looked to be 180 degrees apart in the field. Herrera looked like a fish out of water in CF up to June and Franco looked spectacular at third base. Then as the season went on it changed. Herrera, other then the Hamels no-hitter and those two catches on the track, seemed to be a very confident CFer and Franco , before the wrist injury, seem to regress in the field, with erratic throws.
      Their SDIs reflected that at the end of the season.
      Mack wants to see improvement from Franco at third this season.

    1. 81 wins would be a terrible result. No chance at the playoffs, and also no chance at a protected pick so going all in on free agents in 2017 would cost more.

        1. I would hope that the Phillies avoid giving future FA pitchers long-term contracts. Signing Strasburg to a 3-year contract would bring Scott Boras into rotation decisions as he rightfully keeps his eye on his client’s next contract. I don’t know if I’m ready for that media circus.

          1. There are always the ‘opt-out’ contracts that seem to be in vogue these days.
            But the 7 year variety for pitchers in their late 20s are becoming standard.
            Strasburg will be a 28-year old FA.
            I can envision him with Nola and the remaining corral of pitchers assembled, as a top notch staff, then throw in 2016’s Rule 4 1.1 and things look rosier.

            1. Next he the only Type A pitcher, so he could set his price. I wouldn’t mind a 7 yr deal with a 3 yr op out.

            1. DMAR….then you have resigned yourself to the fact that you will have to accept the fact, you may have to settle for the 33/34 year old second tier FA pitcher of the world. All the top tier ones or aces will be late 20s guys only accepting the long term deal…..and yet still some will want to invoke the ‘opt-out’ clause, especially if they feel they can outperform their contract in the first two years.

            2. I probably have but note I did say I would like to avoid doing one of those deals. The right situation could present itself and the right time. No predicting that today on who or when that might be.

              I like better the types of acquisitions we employed to get Lee and Halladay. If We properly scout and acquire amateur talent then we should be able to avoid those types of deals true?

              and you hope one of these guys we have now turns into something close to Cole and then you extend them at the right time.

              Looking back at the most recent WS winners I think you have to go back to the 09 Yankees to find a deal like that which resulted in a WS.

            3. DMAR….I am surprised….already you have forgotten about the Royals….Edison Volquez was FA signing and he played somewhat of a role in their season last year. Though he came cheap…2 years $20M…the type of signing that is not the long-term high mega dollar.

      1. Wait, you think if the Phillies young players developed and they started winning this year, that would be a bad thing?

  16. Romus, Doesn’t Strasburg worry you? There has always been something about him that made me think he fell short of being an Ace. Maybe his demeanor or the pitch count issue from his first year or something I can’t pinpoint. But, I would not trust him in the biggest game like I would some of the other top guys.

    1. He does have the TJ shelf-life mystery hanging over his head….but then again about 40% of all the high velo starters seem to have that black cloud hanging over them.
      I guess the Phillies could wait after 2017 and hope for Chris Archer or Sonny Gray….the As like to trade their impending FAs before they hit the FA market.

  17. What does everyone think of trying to acquire Christian Yelich? If the Marlins are out of it by July which I think they will be, what would it take and do you think he would be a fit in Philly? I’d love an outfield going forward of Yelich/Herrera/Williams

    Quinn, Knapp or Alfaro, Eflin or swap out Eflin with Pinto or Medina. Too much? Too little?

    1. I think it’s to much I just don’t see Yelich as an elite option. To give up 3 prospects who currently project as at least MLB regulars by most all scouting outlets ( and they are all in at least AA) is to much for just another guy. Who knows maybe Yelich will realize his 20/20 potential and the power will come threw but I don’t see that happening. I’d rather have Quinn who by all accounts if he stays healthy should be a .310- .330 obp guy in the majors with a little less power much more speed and the same defense. Granted there is no guarantee Quinn hits this projection but that is a very valuable player.

        1. Yeah I should have put .330 as the low end. If that’s all Quinn does his speed on the bases will still make him valuable.

      1. This is kind of nuts. If Quinn is a .310-.330 OBP guy, he’s a second division starter at best. And Eflin and Alfaro don’t project to be at least MLB regulars. They’re guys who could be starters if everything breaks right for them.

        Yelich isn’t an elite player, but he’s a former top 15 prospect who gets on base enough to be worth 8.5 rWar and have a 115 OPS+ through his age 23 season.

        1. I probably overstated Alafaro and Eflin’s MLB readiness. You are nuts for saying “if everything breaks right” Eflin and Alafaro can become starters. I was going by the almighty fangraphs definition on what is considered averagish for obp (a stat that I really don’t pay attention to I focus more on walks vs. k’s) so you can take that up with them. Yelich has been very consistent and while that is a good thing it basically says that he is not going to get better (another fun fact that comes from fangraphs). I’m not sure if you hate prospects or are overly pessimistic about them, but how can you say if everything breaks right Alafaro and Eflin (both top 10 Philly prospects and Alafaro in a few top 100 national prospect database)?

  18. I look at what the team did last year after the trade deadline (which would translate into a 64 win season) and believe that their winning percentage should go up a few ticks from there. I am excited for this season because I expect the questions about the future of some of the “mediocre middle” to get answered: Asche, Ruf, Rupp, Hernandez and Galvis. If these guys produce they will stick around or get traded for future value. If they don’t they will disappear making space for the rising group from the farm.

  19. Nice piece today by Jim Salisbury on Brock Stassi. I think he has been the forgotten man on this site. With a good season in LHV he could platoon with Ruf should Howard find a place with another team sometime this season.

    1. He’s forgotten for good reason. He’s a 26 year old 1B, who repeated AA, and didn’t do anything special.

  20. It was very interesting that his brother, who many on this site once wanted the Phils to draft, got him to change his approach and swing to one that Josh Donaldson uses. He has a very good year last year using it and although it was his second go round at AA, it was impressive. I don’t know if he got any votes for the Top 30, but what is everyone’s opinion of him?

    1. Phillies may call him up at some point in the year….courtesy and thank you for being a warrior, and a partial MLB pension perk. They have done that with a few others in the past…who was that lefty hitting LFer , maybe Steve Susdorf, and in his first game he dropped a ball out in Detroit?

      1. I could see a Susdorf type appearance from him, though with more prospects pushing for an opportunity it may be harder for him to get on the field.

        To answer Matt, he’s not a real prospect. His numbers last year while repeating AA didn’t come anywhere close to guys like Ruf or Rizzotti, who got some people to notice them. Maybe he can give the Iron Pigs fans in LHV another reason to come out to the park this year.

    2. If he can stay for 43 days in the majors, he gets to earn a minimum $34,000 annual pension plan. Just one day in the majors gets him lifetime healthcare coverage.

          1. $1 for $1 Starbucks gives you the most bang for your caffeine buck that’s a fact…

            go straight black and leave the sugars and creams behind the counter

    1. I think these players were all players that were either drafted or signed this year. I found it funny that fox somehow ended up on the Astros team. You would think they could have gotten that one right. Lol.

  21. To me this year is about learning what we have in Nola, Franco, Herrera, Echoff, and that tall lefty in the pen (who got hurt in 2nd half last year). As much as I want to believe Franco and Herrerra are real, year two tends to be when you find out. I like Nola and see a #3 on a contending team. I also want to see how Phil’s go about building their pen; in this day and age, the pen is as important as the starting pitching and much more cost controllable

    1. I agree that this year’s most important issue for the big club, is related to Franco, Nola and Herrera’s development. The 2nd most important thing to watch is the ability of the Front office and Manager, to maximize the value of potential trade pieces. Getting good prospect returns for Hellickson, Morton and David Hernandez at the trade deadline, will be important.

  22. Dan Szymborski lists the Top 25 Assests (most team friendly contracts) in MLB for ESPN. JP Crawford comes in at #16. That’s one spot behind Miguel Sano and one spot in front of Kyle Schwarber.

    “ZiPS’ No. 3 prospect heading into 2016, Crawford is the key player in a Phillies farm system that has rapidly improved thanks to better drafting and prospects that were acquired after the realization set in that the team had no realistic path to contention without a major direction change.

    Crawford handled Double-A well at just 20, hitting .265/.354/.407 for Reading and showing little rust after missing April because of an abdominal injury. He is a very good shortstop, and ZiPS projects Crawford to hit in the neighborhood of 15 homers a year in his prime, with his peak ability projection being a respectable .264/.347/.442 line.”

    For the full list …

    1. BTW … Mike Trout finished #2 (behind Carlos Correa)

      “It’s almost shocking that in a list of good players, Trout for once doesn’t show up in the No. 1 spot, isn’t it? It’s not that he’s not the best player in baseball — he is — but simply the reality that the years in which he is the best bargain are already in the rear window. He’s still an excellent value, though, even with a contract that will eventually pay him more than $30 million a year, considering he’s a player that if he were hit by a bus tomorrow, his first four full seasons have been of the quality that the Hall of Fame ought to waive the 10-year requirement, what is known as the Addie Joss exception.

      The fact that Trout has only a single MVP so far is a robbery on the level of the 1970s Lufthansa heist. Trout is the all-time leader among MLB position players in wins above replacement through age 23, and the remainder of the top 10 are Hall of Fame-worthy (though No. 7, Alex Rodriguez, could have issues for obvious non-performance reasons). In fact, Trout could take three years of vacation and still rank 26th all time in WAR through age 26, right between Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken.”

      1. No. He’s a DH. He will not provide the kind of value that a middle of the diamond player provides.

        1. Great Hitter with no position and a big body. I get scared by those big body types. they sometimes don’t last as long .but poppi is a great exception

        2. Not much of a question.

          Here’s another. Who would you rather have, JP or Addison Russell, and why?

          1. For the Phillies, Crawford. Two more years of team control. For the Cubs, Russell. He’s ready to play and they’re in win now mode.

          2. I think that JP has better offensive ceiling than Russell and that Russell is the better defender. JP’s plate discipline and pitch recognition is what makes him such a superb prospect. It would be hard to trade him.

      2. This is such a great question. Let me start by saying that Schwarber is my favorite young hitter – perhaps my favorite overall hitter – in baseball. I look at him and I see a young Jim Thome – this guy can absolutely rake. That said, although it’s not a slam dunk, I still probably take JP over Schwarber for several reasons. First, they are on opposite ends of the defensive spectrum. Crawford’s position and his ability at that position make him potentially much more valuable that Schwarber. Second, as people note, bigger guys without a position tend to have shorter careers – sometimes much shorter careers. Third, I think Crawford is still developing and has a skillset that is incredibly rare, especially his plate control (which I define as plate discipline combined with an uncanny ability to foul off marginal pitches – think Lenny Dykstra – that’s what Crawford can do). So, yeah, I’d go with Crawford, but you can’t go wrong with either player as far as I can tell.

        1. J,

          Crawford most definitely is still developing. At 21 this season he will gain skill, gain experience and mature physically. Just think of how he’ll be at age 24.

        1. DMAR..agree…now if they added Gleyber Torres to the equation with Schwarber, then I would have to put on my MacPhail/Klentak thinking cap…and think about it.

            1. DMAR…..IMO, JPC is untouchable unless the return package includes a ss with high ceiling potential….and unless a team has two at the position that will not probably happen.

          1. Interesting Romus. I don’t think all that much of Schwarber honestly. Nice player. I think he could be adequate in LF or 1B but I don’t think his offensive upside is as high as some others have it. Let’s see how he does over 600 PA’s

            Now if we somehow switch leagues and nah forget it Crawford is a guy I want to see have a long career in Philly.

            1. Really? I disagree, I think he’s a future 300 hitter with power. Finding him a position will be the main challenge, the guy has hit at every level.

  23. Romus a question. I Really don’t get the howard debate. Howard is in his final year, no team will pay him now. But if he is doing well at trade time and we kick in money. might get a low prospect. Its not like he is holding back a player. You have a 30 yr old who will platoon with him. If he continues to struggle against left handers. So isn’t it better to play him this year and see what happens. People talk like Darren Ruf is something special he isn’t I am interested to see if any of the third base prospect take off. I believe franco might be the guy to move to first if they can develop a guy in the minors.

    1. I like Ryan Howard the person as much as anyone, but I don’t see the use of keeping him on the team. Even if you don’t give all of Howard’s lost at bats to Ruf, there are other younger guys who could use consistently major league at bats, including Asche. I don’t see Howard commanding anything in a trade – I just see him gumming up the works. And it’s not like he’s productive, even if he’s just facing righties – last year he was a negative 1.4 WAR – he’s not a particularly good hitter and he’s an awful fielder and base runner and, if he’s not playing, I think his presence is not going to be helpful. This is going to be a very fluid year in terms of player appearances and player movement – Howard makes all of that more difficult. It’s time to bite the bullet, folks.

      1. I like Howard, too. Because I do like him, my hope is that he can stick around the majors long enough to reach 400 HRs, which would be a nice way to top off his career.

    2. rocco…..really there are not any great high ceiling third base prospects in the system….except maybe for your guy Lucas Williams 🙂
      Walding, Green and Hernandez may not be viable alternatives.
      IMO, the Phillies will keep Franco right there.

      1. The afternoons I’ve stuck around to watch the minor leaguers, Carlos Alonso and Tim Zier have been taking balls at third. I haven’t seen Walding and Hernandez, yet. But I think I recognized Green today. But, you forgot about Harold Martinez! 🙂

      1. I have to think if Howard goes on the DL at any time, Stassi may get the call-up. But then again also heard Asche wants to take some reps at first base. I guess he figures if it worked for Greg Dobbs, why not.

      2. I be willing to bet: Yes, he would be worse than Howard. Stassi didn’t didnt even rake in AA last year. Zips projects his 2016 Major league OPS to be worse than Howards, and his Steamer projections are worse than Howard’s also.

        1. I’m relieved then, thanks. I’m not a Stassi advocate. I’m just so not looking forward to an abysmal Howard.

  24. I think most agree with you. We are just tired of seeing him and it is time to go. I appreciate everything that he did for the team, but his thank you was $135 Million that the team realized about $25Million of value towards. Asche, Sweeney, maybe someone else, could platoon with Ruf, come close to Howard’s 20HRs, and be much more enjoyable to watch.

    1. I look at it differently Howard when all is said and done will have made $190 Million from the Phillies. From his ROY and MVP year and on through 2010 and 2011 I’d say he provided that level of excitement and entertainment.

      When you went to CBP during those years there were tons of 6 Jersey’s and T-Shirts and the diversity of fans he brought out to the park every night was amazing.

      Compare it to a guy like Texeira who will have made almost $213 million its pretty close. I mean look at Texeira’s WAR number it’s insane and to me it doesn’t feel like Texeira was as exciting a player as Howard was during that run.

      1. Let’s take it to another level Pujols will have made $240 Million from the Angels when all is said and done do you feel as though (as a baseball fan) his Angels career will live up to that level?

        Cabrera will finish around $400 Million and less than $10 Mil of that was made with the Marlins.

      2. DMAR…..Tex is not exciting since he is steady, and his defense does not make a fan gulp. Howard’s dWAR is a negative 16,
        Tex was not the best but a push and reliable to more of a degree than Howard.

  25. DMAR, I am a Howard fan, but I don’t need to see this version of him anymore. I don’t begrudge anyone the money, and he was grossly underpaid during the good years, but it is so ironic that he was a shell of himself for the entire term of the contract extension. Sometimes the end isn’t so great, but the Phils got nothing from him from 2012 to 2017. I am counting next year’s $10Million go away money. I just would have opted for outright releasing him, just to close the door on that era. I view Chooch as a viable backup who has a definite value in mentoring the younger guys.

    1. I feel you Matt and I’m not lobbying for his further existence on this roster. timing is everything and I think I would prefer or maybe envision a time somewhere early in the regular season when it becomes visible again that he has nothing left as the right time to do it.

      Just from a dignity and class standpoint.

  26. After 1266 PAs in the minors, JPC’s BB rate is 12.6% and his K rate is 12.9%….does anyone know of any other minor league player, other than Willians Astudillo, 🙂 ,
    that has such a good ratio?

    1. Well, only one year of short-season ball, but to take another guy, who unlike Astudillo, can actually hit, Cornelius Randolph had 32 Ks and 32 BBs this season.

      1. And for a guy a rarely boost, here is a truly amazing ration: Stassi has 77 walks against 63 Ks.

        1. Ok….did not realize that about Stassi. It will be interesting to see how he does at the AAA level.

    2. I know you said minors and implied career rather than a season, but I have always been amazed that a power hitter with a big swing like Pat Burrell could hit 30 HR and 97 RBI in 2007 while accumulating 114 BB and 120 K in 598 PA.

      1. He sure had a long swing didn’t he? He had several nice years though. I remember watching him at Reading, he looked so good.

      2. Hey Jim, shoot me your contact info. and I’ll buy you a drink or diner and maybe we can catch a game together. I think you have my email address from the top 30 prospects. I’ll be in Clearwater this week.

    3. As a 21 year old in Reading, Darren Daulton had 106 walks to 87 strikeouts, bringing his minor league career ratios to a BB rate of 20% and K rate of 15%

      1. Daulton may have been the best as a Phillie thru his first 1300 PAs, though Richie Ashburn could have been right up there also since his major league ratio was great.

  27. Clearly the best case for Howard is he has a decent year, hitting off of righties only, and they trade him in August. He’s not blocking anyone so there’s no reason to get rid of him now. He’s still a legit power hitter and they have so little power as is, they’ll keep him until August.

  28. From Keith Law on 2/25/16:

    CW: Delvin Perez, AJ Puk, or Jason Groome to Philly?

    Klaw: I would bet you right now it’s none of the above. I see virtually zero chance it’s Groome, not much more it’s Perez, and if you’re offering me Puk or the field, I’m taking the field. Ray, Jefferies, Jones, one of those prep bats (Rutherford, Moniak, Nolan Jones and Benson)I mentioned previously…

    Alex: If Groome and Perez are picked 1-2, what names should the Braves look at with the 3rd pick? When will you post your first mock draft?

    Klaw: Those guys are not 1-2. Again, I see virtually no chance the Phillies take Groome, or any HS pitcher, at 1…

      1. In a Baseball America podcast about 2 weeks ago, John Manuel said he wouldn’t never select HS Pitching in the TOP 10. He went on to say there are a number of organizations in MLB that share the Philosophy.

    1. Trying to forecast who’s going first at this point seems like a fool’s errand. I get Law’s thinking that it won’t be one of those guys because there’s so much time left. I tend to not get caught up in MLB draft prognostications, even leading up to the big day. Why spend time familiarizing yourself with players who are not only very far from the majors, but probably won’t be Phillies? I know it’s fun for others but that’s just my opinion.

      Anyway, I think Law is right to take the field over any particular player in this draft. Sadly, there’s no Harper. Hopefully someone emerges who looks like the clear best bet.

      1. I also believe he is right to take the field, but he is clearly saying the pick won’t be Groome (HS pitcher)and he seriously doubts it will be Delvin Perez (he hints at makeup issues).

  29. Well, I think that Klaw is completely wrong. I think there is zero chance that the Phils take a Prep bat, and I don’t think that MacPhail could be any clearer than his stated belief that you draft and grow Pitching and buy bats. Now Groome and Puk may not have good years and another SP does, and I have no crystal ball who that may be, but his identity as a SP I am sure of, and the chance that he throws with his left hand is a close second.

    1. Personally, I hope they resist selecting HS Pitching with the 1st pick. It’s a losing proposition. Though he’s a college guy, I’m not a huge fan of Puk either. By my amateur ‘eye test’ he doesn’t look like anything special. I just hope there is a bat that emerges during the season, that shoots up the list like Kris Bryant or Javier Baez did in their draft years.

      1. I don’t know if they would refuse to take a prep pitcher on principle (I get the historical comparisons but it sounds a little short sighted to me to establish a hard and fast rule like that), but given their statements that they want pitching, pitching, and more pitching, I think a hitter would absolutely have to blow them away (and be, in their minds, the clear #1) for them to take him and I doubt that will happen this summer.

        1. Their mantra can still be ‘Pitching, Pitching, Pitching’. They can buy pitchers out of their scholarships in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. You know, like the rounds Jake Thompson, Vince Velasquez were drafted.

          1. Neither of whom have ace ceilings though, do they? Don’t you have to roll the dice a little to draft a potential #1 or do they buy that too?

            1. Hamels, Halladay, Lee, Schilling, the 4 recent Phillies #1 SP: 3 via trade or FA, one via draft as a H.S. kid in round 1, but not nearly near the top of round 1. It would be different if we were tight on $, but the Phillies will easily be able to buy or trade for a #1 SP.

        1. He’s never been their Friday night starter. They have another 1st round pick Pitching in Fridays.

  30. Unfortunately for the Phillies they can’t trade out of the pick so they will have to pick someone.

    1. DMAR…Puk is probably the safest pick when it comes to selecting a pitcher, assuming it is a lefthander that interests them. Don’t think Eric Lauer from Kent State would interest them at the 1.1

      1. I agree Romus. I hope at some point to get a live look at Groome. He will be pitching right in my office backyard.

        1. He is working out at the MSI these days and former MLB pitcher, local guy Jeff Randazzo owns the establishment, and I am sure he has been giving him a few pointers.

  31. Groome has been raved about by those that have seen him, both stuff wise and demeanor wise. A season has to be played out, for sure, but if he progesses like expected, I have no fear in taking him.

  32. I like Groome and Cal Quantrill. I’m secretly hoping Quantrill doesn’t recover fast enough from TJ surgery to pitch before June and falls to 2.1. If Quantrill is able to pitch before the draft, maybe he’s in play for 1.1 at a discount.
    Of all the bats, I think Moniak is a dark horse for 1.1.

    1. Hinkie – while I don’t think Quantrill can be a 1.1 threat, if the timing worked out he could possibly be there at 2.1. Unlikely, but possible. What a coup that would be

      1. From what I understand,Quantrill is projected to make eight starts this season after surgery last March 20, 2015 …that should be enough time to determine whether or not he is ready One scouting director predicted he could be the second or third college pitcher picked IF he comes back healthy and has a strong finish as his peak has been as good or better than all the other college pitchers at his best, but his peak was two years ago … Tommy John wasn’t any big deal when the Blue Jays drafted Jeff Hoffman in the first round (2014) or when the Florida Marlins took Chris Leroux in the seventh round (2005)

        1. I understand the Quantrill to the Phillies at 2.1 is a long shot. It may take him demanding top 3 slot money. If he does make eight starts before the draft and shows he’s healthy, I would “consider” him at 1.1 at a discount. For me, he’s the most polished pitcher in the draft.

          Here’s another scenario, though. Alec Hansen falls to 2.1. According to Keith Law, “Hansen needs to pitch well, stat. He came into the year with a red flag on his elbow, and then was awful week one.” This could turn out to be another Mike Matuella situation. Last year at this time, Matuella was being talked about as a possible 1.1 pick in the 2015 draft. He tried pitching (for Duke) with no success, and then had TJ surgery. He ended up falling to the Rangers in the third round. He signed for 2 million dollars, while the 3.3 slot value was 777 thousand dollars.

      2. But if those starts are in late April or early May, will it really impress the scouts to take him early in the draft….my guess the teams at the mid-to- end will take him, as the Nats did with Lucas Giolito a few years ago.
        So he will go I would think somewhere around 15/20 range.

  33. If you recall, Daz Cameron was an early candidate for the 1:1 pick last year. He ended up the 37th pick.

    We can have a little fun and dream on Groome, Puk, Hansen, Pint, etc., but it’s probably a good idea to wait until we are well into the current amateur baseball season before identifying the next savior.

    1. If I recall correctly, Daz was likely to be drafted in the mid first rd if not for his salary demands. Once he slid beyond the 8th or 9th pick, no one remained who could meet his demands. I believe he was asking for $5mm before finally ‘settling’ for $4mm from the Stros in the Comp rd

      I’ll continue to contend that any uncertainty with respect to a clear-cut 1.1 would actually work in our favor. There needs to be a money save with that pick, thereby making 2.1 all that more valuable

  34. Matt Gelb has an interesting stat:
    On selecting HSer or college pitchers during the first round….not necessarily the 1.1
    “A college pitcher was the first one picked in 32 drafts; a high schooler was selected 19 times. The college ones averaged a 13.3 WAR while the high school pitchers posted a 8.0 WAR. The variance in the high schoolers was far greater; Josh Beckett (No. 2 pick in 1999 with 35.9 WAR) and Kerry Wood (No. 4 pick in 1995 with 27.7 WAR) were stars, but eight of those 19 high school pitchers accumulated zero or negative WAR in their careers”

    1. ‘Yeah but, but the Dodgers selected Kershaw 10 years ago and he’s great, so that’s that…’

      1. I believe Gelb premise is based on the first pitchers selected in the first round..
        Kershaw was the not the first pitcher drafted…..a few college pitchers were selected prior to his pick at 7
        I can only assume Gelb is inclined to lean a college pitcher vs a HS pitcher as the Phillies choice in June. And if that is the case either Puk or Hansen.

        1. It’s not just the 1st pitcher of the draft that has a history of failure or underwhelming results. It’s the consensus #1 or #2 HS pitchers regardless of their draft position, providing scary results. In the last 4 drafts, every top 2 HS pitcher selected has either had Tommy John surgery after being drafted or been flat out terrible.

          Dylan Bundy – Multip injuies
          Archie Bradley – Tommy John
          Max Fried – Tommy John
          Lucas Giolito – Tommy John
          Kohl Stewart – Flat out terrible
          Trey Ball – Flat out terrible
          Tyler Kolek – Just terrible
          Brady Aiken – Tommy John

          Those 8 pitchers were the consensus top two “can’t miss” HS pitchers of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Giolito is the only one that looks like he’s going to be anything and even he had Tommy John since being drafted.

          1. Wasn’t Kyle Drabek the second-ranked HS pitcher behind Kershaw the year the Phils drafted him?

            1. I’m not sure where he was ranked, as a HS pitcher, but at least he was only the #18 pick. At that point, your just swinging for the fences at upside. In the top 5, you have future impact position players that will hold value for years.

              M. Machado (Pirates passed on him for HS pitcher J Taillon)
              Bubba Starling
              Fransisco Lindor
              David Dahl
              Addison Russell
              Clint Frazier
              Austin Meadows

              Those were the consensus top HS bats that were passed over for HS Pitching from 2010-2013.

              Bubba Starling is the only one that looks like a bust.

        2. Agree….HS pitchers do seem to come with more risk. For tte Phillies it is a blessing and curse to have the first pick in 2016’s draft. There is so much too lose if they miss on that pick.

  35. I read Fangraphs updated Team USA prospect Puk was first although they said he looks a little heavy . The bats I think the first 3 were CF types with a 3rd baseman too. It still Groome for me until someone else can show more.

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