Open Discussion: Week of March 6th

Here’s the open discussion thread for Phillies’ talk and other topics.  The 2016 minor league groups have been released.  I have a copy here, but I expect to have more functional copies tomorrow.

Recent Transactions:

  • 3/2 –  Aaron Altherr changed his number and will now wear #9. The first #9 who I can remember was Gus Triandos. Others who wore the number include Danny Murtaugh, Mike Goliat, Harry  Anderson, Bob Uecker, Manny Trillo, Juan Samuel, Von Hayes, Pete Incaviglia, Tomas Perez, Michael Bourn, Tadahito Iguchi, and most recently (drum roll) Domonic Brown.  Two days later he injures his wrist diving for a ball.
  • 3/3-5 – Ten minor league players have been activated on game day recently.  Four position players for the split squad games on the 3rd, six pitchers on subsequent days.

The minor league work groups were released Saturday.  Here is the PDF file.  I hope to have an editable file within a few days.  There are 150 players listed.

I suggest you NOT try to extrapolate the affiliates’ rosters from these work groups.  It’s way to early.  If you think of Group 1 as AAA keep in mind that there are a lot of players in the major league camp who will be demoted to Group 1 over the next few weeks.  The resulting domino effect will render these early groups as useless for predicting rosters.

Noticeably absent from the work groups, yet still active in the organization – Skylar Hunter (WPT in 2016), Feliberto Sanchez (WPT 2016), Tyler Henson (signed 11/6/2015), and Ben Pelletier (2015 draft pick).

The Venezuelan Academy is still operating after the collapse of the VSL.  However, there are no longer rosters listed to account for the 28 players who were on the last roster at the academy.  Nineteen players are listed on the DSL roster.  A second team has not been added to the DSL, yet.

All the international signings we’ve been tracking are probably at one of the academies – LHP Manuel Silva, SS Keudy Bocio, SS Jonathan Guzman, RHP Luis Ramirez, RHP Leonel Aponte, RHP Jean Valdez, C Ismael Rosado, 3B Leonardo Colagrossi, RHP Jesus De Los Santos, LHP Jose Jimenez, C Carlos Oporeza, OF Jose Estrada, LHP Roimy Mendoza, OF Juan Smith.

I was at 2-3 games this past week as well as several practices including the minor leaguers on Saturday.  I haven’t been able to write much.  We have a lot of visitors right now, including two of my grand children.  I should be able to return to normal spring  coverage later in the week after they return to PA.

Some random observations:

  • Infante threw a dozen pitches in the 96-98 mph range on March 1st.  He only managed to T96 mph once on March 4th.
  • The Phillies are working a lot of walks.  Their 32 is tied for 2nd most, 5 behind Detroit.  A lot of their walks are scoring.
  • David Lough was permitted to attempt to steal second with two out and Howard at bat.  Lough was thrown out.  Howard led off the next inning with a K.
  • Unfortunately, their pitchers have issued the most walks, 35.
  • But they have recorded the most Ks, 58.
  • Most of the pitchers I’ve seen have been in the low 90s (91-94).  The exception was Hellickson who T91 mph once in his outing.  Yet he struck out 5 of 6 after back to back doubles.
  • Stassi and Herrera can hit.
  • Franco is way strong.
  • I was right above Altherr on the play where he injured his wrist.  He should have had it.
  • There has been some miscommunication on playes in the field. e.g.,  Goeddel and Lough almost collided on one fly ball.  Later they backed away from a ball as they approached each other and let it drop for a double.  There have been several other instances where fielders have failed to make routine plays.  Questionable rules/rulings and some favorable scoring have kept the error total down.  Don’t let this fool you, Our defense could be shaky this season.

144 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of March 6th

  1. Glad to see Brock Stassi gaining some attention. I think we missed the boat not putting him among the top 30. He and Knapp are showing they may be major league hitters, perhaps with power.

  2. I am starting to think we were lite on Knapp. He may be our #2 prospect. Or maybe our 1b. His bat looks so good. Looks like he is in total control against MLB pitchers. Last year might have been a breakout, but it wasn’t a fluke. I went looking for MLB comps last night and the only one I could see that made sense offensively was Russell Martin. Martin is a better defensive catcher, but the bat looks like a realistic comp. And if so, we have a very special player. Catchers that are offensive weapons are extremely rare.

    1. I decided to revisit a minor league comp with last year’s hot catching prospect from the Sox:
      Knapp: ….24age season-2016
      6’1”, 190lbs switch-hitter….2013- 2nd rd draftee
      Games-278….PAs – 1173
      K-22%…BB-9%
      Slash- .280/.355/.435/.790
      HR-23…XBH-107….ISO- .155
      Note…TJ surgery Oct’13…lost developmental time

      Swihart: ….24age season-2016
      6’1”, 200lbs switch-hitter…2011- 1st rd draftee
      MiLB Games –329… PAs- 1344
      K-17%….BB- 8%
      Slash- .286/.340/.427/.766
      HR-22…XBH-116…ISO- .141
      …whether or not Swihart ever develops into the star catcher is another story but their minor league metrics are closely similar.

      1. What are you comparing? Swihart hasn’t played his age 24 season yet and is already in the Majors. Their stats aren’t comparable. Swihardt did all of that at age 21-22 in AAA. Knapp hasn’t played a full season in at AA. I like Knapp as a prospect, but his performance at the minor league level is in no way comparable to Swihart.

        1. No…this year in 2016 is their current 24age season.,
          as for the metrics it is their first 278/329 games respectively, understand the level difference….Knapp’s collegiate records or his summer records like in 2011 when he became the rare switch-hitting catcher to top Northwoods league in hitting; batting .400-5-33.or his Cal stats of 540PAs…14HR…..303/380/893…ISO-162…are not . IMO, worth the look for any comps, though college stats are measurable to low A or short season caliber competition depending on the college conference.
          You can factor all that into the equation, but for me it is too cumbersome.

    2. Knapp was never a fluke. He was a very good bat as an Amateur. I’m surprised only Baseball America ranks him in our top 5 and in the top 100 overall. I don’t think he has the bat to have an impact as a 1B, but if he can be taught to call a good game, he will be a huge asset as a Switch-hitting Catcher.

      1. Romus, VOR:

        I am. AnnonymousVOR, I amagreement with both of you on Knapp. I watched Knapps HR at bat on tv yesterday and it just exploded out of the park. I believe it was a 94 mph fast ball.

        Keith law was on knapp early praising the Phillies for drafting the best offensive catcher in the draft that year. Law has been a huge advocate of Knapps until, his most recent system evaluation a few weeks ago when he labeled Knapps bat “a back-up bat at the major league level”. Yet other ratings groups now are on Knapp.

        I guess it goes without saying that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

      1. Blanket- I believe that V1 was referring to knapp as the 1b prospect compared to JP as the 1a prospect.

    3. Andrew Knapp then crushed a three-run homer to right field off Branden Pinder for the five-run advantage.
      “He’s got a great swing from both sides of the plate,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of Knapp. “He looks like a hitter, like he knows what he’s doing. He’s got some size, he’s got some power, nice swing.”

    4. I had Knapp ranked 4 and there were a few others here that supported him higher but whether the board had him 4-5-6-7 wasn’t the rub it was having Alfaro ranked ahead him that was the slight.

      IMO

    5. Well, we all have to keep in mind that Knapp’s offensive progress was delayed by two things. First, he was injured for a year. Second, he was already behind the ball as a defensive player and I think they spent a lot of time with him just trying to get him to improve on defense and told him not to worry about the hitting.

      On offense, we were always told he had the hit tool. What was less clear was his plate discipline and power. He’s made significant strides in both areas and when you watch him hit, it really is like watching a younger Brian McCann, except he has the distinct advantage of being a switch hitter. The guys on the telecast yesterday said it best – he’s doing all of this without looking out of place in any way – he’s staying entirely within himself, suggesting that he can hit at the big league level. I’ve gone from intrigued, to excited, to becoming a believer. I think the hitting is for real.

      I don’t see him getting a super early promotion because word is that he still needs to work on his game calling and defense, but if he hits the way I think he’s going to hit, he’s going to force the issue sooner rather than later (mid-year call-up?). Knapp’s potential development as a well above-average (or better) hitting catcher, is an enormous development for the team as a whole and will help speed up the rebuild. Good hitting catchers are a rare and valuable commodity.

      1. J64……Knapp was not out a year, in the summer season.
        He felt the tear in September 2013 and had the TJ in October 2013. He lost all FIL and then resumed swinging a bat in April 2014,and started hitting as a DH on May 7th, 2014 with CLW, then in June went down to Lakewood and there he was able to get behind the plate and work again on his catching skills. So he lost the fall instructs of 2013, and off-season work-outs and started slowly at the plate.

    6. I’m turning on Knapp as well. But slowly. It’s just awkward. He struggled with a 30% K rate in April and followed that with a mediocre May. A month later he’s exploding at Reading. Knapp’s August was absurd at .404/.469/.758/1.227 coupled with 8 of his 12 homers on the season. SSS?

      Still, when we have an exciting but small sample size, we look for confirmation. LV will provide that opportunity

  3. Thanks Jim for posting the work groups. It’s always fun to see the initial groups and to and interpret them. Posso back at catcher, Hiciano and Drew Anderson back, Hoskins with the CWater infielders to start, etc. There’s so many guys and so many of them have to get cut because of the numbers.

    1. Many will get bumed down or maybe out, once JPC, Williams, Knapp, Stassi, Burriss, Alfaro et al are moved to the minor league groups.

    1. Good thing you corrected it, it sounded like you had come up with a great name for Howard.

    2. As the guy that may have been the original Matt Rizzotti (“The Rizz”) doubter on this website, and also a Darin Ruf non-believer, let me be the first to ask all the Stassi-lovers, what exactly was so great about his season at Reading last year.

      Is it his MVP award? Because that really has no bearing on his status as a prospect or his ability to perform in the major leagues.

      He was 25 years old in AA and REPEATING the league. Yes, the he hit .300 and OBP’d .394 which are both nice/excellent numbers. ISO’s .170 which is nice and had tremendous K/BB rate. But shouldn’t success and plate discipline be expected from a 25 year old REPEATING AA? Is he really going to be a future major league 1B hitting 15 HR a year? And those 15 HR’s came in an extreme hitting environment in Reading.

      I just don’t see it. I see a guy who possibly sticks around for a 2-3 years as AAAA player….starting late this year of next year maybe.

      An Andy Tracy type

      1. There was nothing great about his season last year, but age-to-level and position importance in the defensive spectrum seems to elude some.

  4. Nice article on Stassi from Philly.com. http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20160307_Sielski__Brock_Stassi_out_to_get_noticed.html He’s received some pointers from the guy who helped Josh Donaldson. He’s 26 but he’s in a good spot. “Who’s on First?” Howard and Ruf are standing in his way and I’m not sure that either strikes fear in most pitcher’s mind anymore. Brock has a chance to show his worth. He’s in camp and making the best of it. He could be the lefthanded platoon with Ruf. if the Phils decide to let Howard go. It will be hard to let go, but it’s probably time. Alfaro, Knapp and possibly Cozens can come up in a pinch and play the position too.

  5. Jim, Enjoy your grandkids. There is nothing like it! When do you plan on the breakout and sleeper picks? I watched the game yesterday and was very impressed by Knapp. Really loving Doobie. He can hit and always seems to be hustling. The Bullpen, except for a couple of bright spots, looks scary.

    1. I decided that it would be better to make the sleeper and break out picks toward the end of spring training. Waiting a couple weeks allows additional and more recent data to play into the selections and might lessen some of the guesswork.

    1. He will be playing left field until he can’t. The Phillies think he is an outfielder despite the fact that some think he will eventually end up at first base

  6. Knapp and Stassi will take over for Howard and Asche sooner than later. Also, Hinojosa will play a role in pen.

    1. No! Knapp is a catcher. His value goes WAY down if he is moved to 1B. The Phillies should make every effort to help him acquire the defensive skills he needs to be a starting MLB catcher.

  7. Man, it seems like only yesterday we were hoping Perci Garner and Jiwan James could put it all together and be useful mlb pieces. Look at us now!

    1. Time flies.

      As far as the missing players: Sanchez is in the Dominican Academy, per his Twitter account (@benjami00248426), and I’m not sure about Hunter, Henson, or Pelletier. Pelletier was drafted @ 16. Since he won’t be 18 until August, I’m not sure of the rules on that – can he even report to ST now?

      Is there a possibility of different report dates? I’m surprised there’s anyone missing since 99% of the players are there.

      1. I got the same information on Sanchez this morning. Henson is reportedly coaching this season. Pelletier was in Clearwater last summer, but not on the GCL roster. He may have been the youngest player ever drafted at 16 years, 292 days. He turns 18 on August 22nd.

    1. Groupings seem to be a bit influx right now……Hoskins may be listed under the CLW grouping now, where is Jake Fox and Tommy Joseph are listed under the Reading grouping..
      It would appear the LHV grouping is not yet set, since a few are still in the major league camp.

    2. Eventually but he’s working with the CWater infield right now. Things will likely change in the next month.

  8. The first group is the current LHV group, the second is Reading, the third is Clearwater, and the fourth is Lakewood. The first group will then play the AAA group from the Blue Jays on the 15th. When some of the 65 players from the major league camp get sent down they will replace someone on the first group and that person from the first group will replace someone on the second group and that person will replace someone from the third group and that person will move to the fourth group.

    1. Yes….but OFers Cozens, Aaron Brown and Pullin will not be at LHV, they will be headed for the Reading group.
      ……it is influx and very fluid right now

      1. This is not in response to you, Romus, just looking for a spot to re-post this for all the readers who who must have missed this paragraph.

        “I suggest you NOT try to extrapolate the affiliates’ rosters from these work groups. It’s way to early. If you think of Group 1 as AAA keep in mind that there are a lot of players in the major league camp who will be demoted to Group 1 over the next few weeks. The resulting domino effect will render these early groups as useless for predicting rosters.”

        You can not identify the groups by the players. You identify the groups by who their coaches are. For instance, Group 3 is coached by Shawn Williams and his Lakewood staff. Group 2 – Greg Legg and the Clearwater staff. Group 1, the Reading staff. Group 4 by Roly de Armas and his GCL staff with the Williamsport staff. So you can’t state specifically that Group is the Clearwater group.

        I mean really, do you really think any of these catching groups match up with the group they are assigned to? Or the outfielders? Or the infielders in groups 2, 3,and 4?

        I reality, when the Lehigh Valley coaching staff (which is currently with the major league team) moves down to the Complex, a fifth group will be created for them and the Lehigh players. It will be named Group 1 and the other groups will be re-named. Players will actually trickle up (domino up?) to complete the affiliates’ rosters.

        There is a reason why these groups aren’t named by the affiliate or the minor league class ranking. It’s too soon. You guys can argue over these groupings all you want, but soon there will be 5 groups – AAA, AA, A+, A, and the combined Rookie league teams. They will be designated 1 thru 5, and will be identified by the coaching staffs working with each group.

    2. The groups are logical representations of the minor league rosters, but they aren’t designed to align with a specific minor league level. Players reassigned from major league camp can be reassigned to any minor league level. Alfaro for instance is likely to be reassigned directly to Reading. Some players in group 4 (and perhaps group 3) are destined for Williamsport in June.

  9. Stassi has looked VERY good in camp so far. He has solidified his starting job at LHV at 1B. I think Joseph’s job looks very tenuous. Jake Fox was signed to play somewhere and I don’t think they need him at Reading so I’m guessing DH at LHV, leaving Joseph out. Can Fox still play 3B? Featherston doesn’t look like a starting 3B at AAA to me. They have Sweeney at 2b with Ryan Jackson, Burriss, and Featherston fighting for middle infield jobs with Mora in the mix as well. This assumes JP starts at Reading. It will be fun to see it all play out

  10. Saw the Pirate/Phils game today – and as Mr. Cub would say it was worth seeing a second game and enjoying more baseball. The game moved very fast. Not much offense but some positive observations. Knapp, batting righty, lined two absolute shots to right field that the Pirate RF made extraordinary plays on to turn into outs. Impressed with his opposite field power and ability to go the other way. Infante can really bring it. He looked, ( there were no speed gun postings so it was all by eye/sound ), to be the hardest thrower in the game. Velasquez did a nice job of keeping the ball down in the zone, throws very hard, but takes alot of time to reset before delivering the next pitch. JP Crawford ended the game with a nifty stab of an absolute shot and immediately – without any hesitation whatsoever – threw a laser to !B to double up the runner who had singled. I was amazed at his presence of mind to instinctively make that throw and even more impressed with the gun that released it.

  11. Art Charles has to be on his last legs in the organization. He hit .215/.304/.367 last year. He hit 19 HRs in CLW the year before. That’s pretty impressive but he didn’t quite win the spot in Reading. Stassi was standing on his bag when he got there. The lowest Stassi goes this year is LHV. Hoskins appears ready for AA so Charles will be a DH and backup first baseman. They may want to hand the big mitt to Cozens once in a while too. Kyle Martin and Hayden will be pushing him from below so he might be on a short leash this year. Tommy Joseph is also on fumes and his leash is even shorter. Charles and Joseph are like Nascar drivers who ran out of gas with a lap to go and everyone is coming up and passing them.

    1. Art Charles’ age 24 year at Reading was better than Brock Stassi’s age 24 year (.233/.302/.327) at Reading. Maybe at this time next year we’ll be saying Charles is the Phillies’ 1B of the future…

  12. I don’t know if the TV gun was totally accurate and It’s just spring training, but Adam Morgan was 91-92, T94 in his outing today. I didn’t see any 80s with the fastball.

    By comparison, what I saw of Jon Niese was 87-89 mph.

    1. The gun did seem to be accurate.
      Also, Morgan afterwards said this off-season was the first since the surgery where he had no restrictions on offseason work-out routines. His velo would appear to be heading back to his 2012 season before the shoulder problems started in 2013.

      1. A nice battle going on for that 5th spot. I love Vincent’s stuff and his demeanor on the mound gives me the impression he really loves to compete and really wants it.

        not that Morgan and Oberholzer don’t it’s just extra refreshing to see a kid with a live FB missing bats down the middle of the plate for a change. He won’t get away with that consistently but I also saw enough in his change and slider that he can make it through a line-up more than a few times.

        1. DMAR,

          He’s Vince now, Velasquez said on an in-game interview. Murphy suggested that in Philly, he’ll probably be Vinny, too.

          Yo, Vinny!

        2. DMAR……I think the manager wants to see him throw with some finesse and cool down right now with the 4S high velo stuff.

    2. Scouts told me last season that they thought the stadium gun might be 1 MPH hot. I was at the game and counted 9 of 10 FB at 91 by Morgan in the first inning. The 10th was 92. In his 2nd and 3rd innings, Morgan threw 12 FB – 2 at 91 MPH and 10 in the 92-94 MPH range. By my count 4 at 92, 4 at 93, and 2 at 94. I hope the gun is accurate or no more than the same 1 MPH hot as last year. In either case, it was nice to see him throw well with nice velocity. (During the game, I also saw a 107, a 68, and a 62.)

  13. I still have a feeling that they will start VV at LHV to give Oberholzer a shot instead of the BP. He has no options left and VV and Morgan can go down. I think they may want to hold on to Stumpf and won’t need Ob in the ‘pen. Nothing to do with merit but just based on maximizing the assets that they have. I also think VV has a much higher upside, but for the short term, LHV may work best for the team.

  14. Just got a message: Atherr undergoing wrist surgery and will be out 4 to 6 months. Lousy break. I was looking forward to him gliding through the outfield and throwing out runnings from RF this year.

  15. Tough break for Aaron Altherr…looks like this season may be in jeopardy with the wrist tendon injury Hopefully he is back in July or August.

  16. Really tough break for him. I was looking forward to seeing him get a lot of playing time and he is very good defensively. Who plays RF? The depth was already shallow and while Doobie and Bourjos are good defensively, I wouldn’t play either one in Right. Does Goeddel have an arm? This is a most of the season injury not just a couple of weeks, so Alfaro could maybe play RF in July? Maybe?

    1. Looks like Goeddel did play 25 games in RF last year….he told Murphy the other day he can play all the OF positions.
      I guess he need not worry about going back to the Rays.

      1. Yeah. Looks like the opening day outfield is set barring another injury or player implosion:
        Bourjos – Herrera – Goeddel with Sweeney and Asche (if healthy) as the 4th and 5th outfielders.
        Altherr’s bad break may have been Asche’s lucky break.

        1. Jim,

          Might also be an opportunity for Nick Williams to get an early promotion if he plays strong at Lehigh Valley and some Phillies outfielders perform poorly.

        2. Asche’s guardian angel probably saved him, with Altherr’s injury. Just gotta beat out Cedric Hunter now.

        3. @jim – i also see the same cast as the OFs. who do u think will start at RF and who backs him up? Do u see the Phils calling Frenchy or Byrd again? Since the Phils are not winning anyway, I rather see the Phils fill the need internally (with prospects not rethreads) to evaluate whatever they have at their disposal before they purge and turn the book completely.

          1. I like Goeddel in RF. I’m not 100% sold on Sweeney and Asche looks like he’s going to start the season on the DL. Regardless of the day Williams had today, he hasn’t looked like he is ready to make the jump to the majors. Quinn on the other hand does look comfortable facing ML pitching. Hunter or Lough would require a roster move since neither is on the 40-man. In spite of Klentak’s recent comments, I think it likely that the Phillies will take a close look at releases and the waiver wire at the end of ST. But for an Ezequiel Carrera type not a Frency or Byrd. Someone they can easily option or release if/when one of the prospects is ready.

  17. Altherr’s injury will give a spot to someone who wouldn’t have had one. Sweeney, Lough, Hunter, Buriss and someone not on the team yet are all in the mix. Fun to watch. Obviously Asche will certainly play more now and maybe will platoon with Goedel.

  18. That’s a pitty about Altheer, while I wasn’t expecting greatness from him, I was hoping to see if he was able to improve his contact % and lower is k%.

    While he wouldn’t be an all star, his speed and power would make him a threat in the line up and give it a nice balance of L/R.

    Like I said before I dont think he’ll be an all star, but anyone from the pharm who takes his spot in the line up, would have had to earn it.

      1. Here is what she posted. I guess it didn’t require surgery?

        “One of the biggest surprises has been Carlos Tocci. Tocci broke his hamate bone in winter ball but you would have never known it in BP. He was hitting with some power. It was great to see.”

        1. He was hit by a pitched ball early in winter ball. It was reported here when it happened. Be advised that Tocci is one of her favorite players (she has a lot of favorite payers and it affects her bias) and “power” has to be taken with a grain of salt. And it is only BP. I’ve seen him hit this spring, no change from last season.

  19. I hate to say it but Altherr will never play a full Major League season. This is his 3rd or 4th wrist injury and bad wrists are horrible for hitters. If he comes back this season, I’m not sure he’ll have the power he’s shown. I hope I’m wrong but it isn’t looking good.

    If Tocci broke his hamate this winter, yikes!!! The guy couldn’t get the ball to the OF before the injury, this will sap him further.

    D. Hernadez has a sore elbow. That can’t be good. The Phils can’t afford any relievers going down especially the guy they would like to pencil in as closer.

    On a plus note, we now have 3 very legitimate # 5 starters. Let’s hope #1 through #4 are who we think they are.

    I think the Phils will pick up a starting OF’er off the waiver wire or very minor trade. the current makeup of the OF that’s still in camp doesn’t show too much promise. It’s Herrera and a cloud of dust and it’s not a thick cloud at that.

    ST is for getting ready for the season. Bumps and bruises are all part of it. This year is a “see what you have” year so low expectations are prevalent. It just might turn into no expectations as ST presses on and we wait patiently for Williams, Crawford and others to ride to the rescue.

    This sounds like a very pessimistic post but it’s not. I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist.

    1. Phillies do have first waiver claim, so there can be someone available within a week or two.

  20. Some loose notes from the Phillies-Twins game.

    Roman Quinn is super fast. He ran a double into a triple that had the spectators oohing, chirpering and otherwise expressing amazement.

    My first look at Eflin. He’s big. Makes the baseball look like a pellet in his hand. Didn’t watch the speed much as I spent so much time talking to my wife to my left and a transplanted Phillies fan from Gloucester, NJ, to my right, but he was at 93 MPH the few times I did notice.

    First look at Appel, too. This guy looks like a pitcher straight out of Central Casting. Tall, rangy, fluid motion. Also at 93 the few times I paid attention.

    Galvis made a couple of very nice plays, cutting down the lead runner at third base in a really quick move when he could have just gone to first to get the batter. Later he attacked a slow hopper to field the ball and make a close play at first base.

    Franco was not so impressive. He twice had trouble gloving the ball. He stayed calm in the first instance and got a runner at second base. Unfortunately, in the second case his throw pulled Stassi off first base. I wasn’t paying perhaps as close attention as I should have and thought Stassi held the bag. People around me did, too. But the umpire was right there so I have to guess his call was right.

    Rupp’s two home runs were solid shots. The first was a line drive inside the leftfield foul pole. The second was deep to left center, higher elevation, but still more of a shot than a fly ball.

    The Phillies hit a lot of balls solidly. Many found Minnesota defenders, but it was encouraging to see.

    1. FrankF…BA’s Vince Lara-Cinisomo saw the same thing you saw at yesterday’s game at Ft Myers:

      http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/spring-training-roundup-moncada/

      Nine newsmakers from Wednesday’s action.
      1.Zach Eflin/Jake Thompson/Mark Appel, rhps, Phillies: The Phillies went with three righthanders acquired in trades the past two years, and all shined. Eflin, acquired from the Dodgers for Jimmy Rollins, went the first three innings, allowing a run on four hits; Jake Thompson—acquired in the deal that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers—pitched three scoreless innings, while Appel, acquired from Houston for Ken Giles, gave up an unearned run in two innings. They combined for six strikeouts without a walk. Appel might be closest to the majors, but the Phillies won’t rush the 2013 No. 1 overall pick. All three have flashed elite stuff at times but have warts. Still, the Phillies have rebuilt their talent to the point it ranks No. 8 of all organizations.

  21. Addendum,

    Thompson gave up five hits, but four were unimpressive singles.

    Four pitchers, nine innings, zero walks.

  22. I’m quite impressed with Bourjos thus far. Today he reminds me of a Right Handed version of Brett Gardner.

    1. Yup, right after good outings by all three. Going to be a great rotation at LHV. They’ll have lots of company soon as more will get sent down soon.

  23. Hey, so I dont mean to be greedy at all, I know the people who run this site do it for free and its a lot of hard work. But any chance we can just get a daily thread with the previous day’s box scores? It would just be cool to talk abuot each game, who looked good, radar reports, etc. If not, totally cool, just think it would be nice. Im just excited to have this stuff back in my life.

    1. Yeah, it would be cool. But the “people” who run the site is just me. After 5 or 6 hours at the Complex and Bright House in the Florida sun, I’m spent. Right now I’m debating writing up today’s intrasquad games at the Complex and opening a bottle of wine and catching up on the Breaking Bad episodes I DVR-ed last night. Without a specific article on a game, Phillies game discussion can be held in the weekly Open Discussion article.

      1. Jim,

        What you do is extraordinary. And it’s greatly appreciated.

        danurda’s suggestion is a good one if there’s someone to take responsibility to do it.

        My thinking is that we posters can do more reporting so that not all of the pressure is on you. Nothing stops any of us from posting a box score each day in the already created thread and, effectively accomplishing what danurda suggests. In fact, danurda is free to post a box score. And, already, many posters enrich this site by posting links and by sharing their knowledge.

        This is the best Phillies-oriented site on the web and it’s because of you.

        Thanks and, as Otero says, here’s a vote for a bottle of wine.

        1. 100% agree with Frank. Jim you do a great job on adding first hand content to this site many of us never or rarely have the opportunity to see. Enjoy your wine!

        2. absolutely, i didnt mean to come off as greedy, maybe it would be cool to let some of the frequent faces around here have access to post? I could probably get the box score posted most mornings. just a suggestion, didnt mean to come off rude. really love this site.

          1. The site does that every year.
            Once the minor league seasons start next month the daily boxes are posted.
            Right now its just exhinitions and pre-season games….’we talkin practice’

    1. Even better, #2 is now a college position player. That expands our possibilities. I think that a good-sized collegiate 3B would fit well in the system. We can negotiate with both him and Groome and see how much slot we can save.

        1. He’s got quite the OBP, however. Not a lot of HRs, but he gets his extra base hit per 10 AB.

        1. Unfortunately, there is no Pat Burrell in this draft. The failure rate for H.S. pitchers at 1.1 is extremely high.

      1. Groome certainly has the credentials…..but that track record for HS pitchers in the first round or even 1.1 is hard to get over.

      2. And I’m still hoping for Cal Quantrill at 2.1
        According to Keith Law, the Phillies can make it happen …

        Mike: How good is Cal Quantril and Is there any chance he could fall to the Phillies at 2.1 this June ?
        Klaw: If he does, it would probably be a Daz Cameron type deal where they’ve worked it out for him to fall. It’s not legal but I’m fine with it – the system basically forces teams to do it, and it means elite players get paid.

        Also, from BA chat today … Quantrill may not pitch in a game before the draft.
        “There are a lot of rumors circulating about Cal Quantrill. It seems unlikely that he’ll pitch in games before the draft, though it is possible. He will likely throw bullpens for teams as the draft gets close. If we’re thinking long-term, it makes more sense for him to follow a normal routine and not rush back before his body is ready.”

          1. If you think a 1 type pitcher will fall to 2.1 then Kyle Lewis would be my guy. He’ll definitely sign under slot.

            1. No Romus I’m saying take Kyle first then hope to get one of the pitchers with the upside of a 1 at 2.1…

              Of the position players being talked about as top 10 I think I like him best.

            2. Ok….misread your first posting. Yes, that does make sense.
              Come two months from now, I am interested in seeing what the MacP/Klentak team are saying about where their preference lies . So far it has all been about pitching.

  24. suprise to see Nolan Jones that high. I thought he can be available (although I think the Phils prefer pitching) at 2.1 for the Phils. It will be huge f the Phils can get Groome and Quantrill in this coming draft – so do what they need to do to get both! The should have enough $$ in the pool to add at least couple of good prospects.

  25. The Wolfman retires:

    69-60 as a Phillie….wonder when his Wall of Fame night will be?
    Will the Wolfpack be honored also?

    1. I’m not entirely sure he’ll be on the Wall of Fame. The Phillies are very family oriented – they remember the players who were loyal to them. Wolf twice refused offers to come back to the city – he really did not want to be here. With a star like Schilling it wouldn’t matter – with a borderline guy like Wolf, it might.

      1. Yes, fair point …he did refuse to come back.
        Not sure what it was al about….he was a different bird at times.
        But in a few years a new regime will be firmly in place and who knows what they will be thinking by then. Wolf, as a lefty I believe right now ranks behind Carlton, Short, Simmons and Hamels for total wins.

      1. My guess, the Orioles….Dan Duquette said yesterday that their all righty, also IMO it is a suspect staff, could use a lefty in the mix.

        1. Ouch their system is pretty week but there could be some potential for a deal with them. Maybe Mountcastle or Heinrich; Ofelky Peralta.

  26. The only negative I have heard on Groome is he is a HS pitcher. Besides that he seems elite. True #1 type stuff, big body great makeup. I am very comfortable taking the HS risk. Not very excited about anyone else frankly.

    1. Agree v1…..after the two , three if you count Brady Aiken, of failures for HS LHPs. picked 1.1, and also the high percentage of just pitchers drafted in the first round who have failed, as HSers, the odds are in Groome’s favor I would think and Groome could succeed. Talk about risky business.:)

      1. I’m not sure how you balance the risk. For pitchers obviously its true they go down for TJ at some point more often than not.

        If you go Groome you get to manage is IP and allow his body to mature and build strength. Hopefully by 22 he is ready to go.

        Hitters OTOH don’t always adjust to have the consistency needed to stay in the MLB. Dom Brown for instance by all accounts should have been an MLB All Star based on how he hit the ground running in the minors and excelled at every level.

    2. V1, Romus: completely agree with your assessment on Groome. As you point out, he checks the physical boxes and mental makeup boxes off from what we know and has been reported on this site. Plus, I love the local kid growing up as a Phillies fan and wanting to be here angle. I think there is this team called the Braves who have had tremendous success over the years drafting local home grown kids,

      Finally, my mind is a little fuzzy, but I think the Phillies drafted a lanky, left-handed high school pitcher a few years back who had a little success for us over the years.

      Conner, Chris…….. Cole, that’s it! Cole Hamels………

      1. PhillyMike…there have been success stories as HSers in the first round, Hamels, Kershaw, Beckett, CC, etc.
        I would like to see if there is a stat out there with the percentage of the success vs the failures, say, over the last 20/25 years..

        1. Romus,

          You bring up a very compelling point. In the age of analytics, you would think that someone compiles the success figure of his players, pitchers versus college players versus players foreign signed players. Anyone aware of that data being out there?

        2. That was posted either here or on Phillyphans. I remember reading it and the success rate for H.S. pitchers at 1.1 isn’t good. College position players have the highest success rate and some of the biggest coups have been H.S. position players.

          1. The success rate for any HS pitcher that was rated #1 in his class is not good, regardless of where he was picked.

            1. VOR, I would love to see that data. Do you or does anyone on PP have the link to that analysis?

            2. PhillyMike,
              If anyone has any information and done the research for many of these projects like this, it is Dr Rany Jazayerli from Chicago
              He is the co-founder of BP and is a dermatologist during the day.
              He is very indepth and uses mathematical models to arrive at his conclusions.
              He is on twitter and he could have that information or the research article that already exists on that subject.
              https://twitter.com/jazayerli?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

  27. Totally agree with you, v1. Groome is four years younger than Puk and Hansen, and he already looks more finished than both of those guys. Groome makes too much sense.

  28. Groome, a left-handed pitcher, is currently the top prospect in the draft. Usually you expect the high school pitchers to be more of a ceiling pick than a floor pick, but Groome probably is the most polished arm of the current crop of pitching prospects, and he isn’t lacking any of the stuff needed to have an astronomical ceiling.

    While Groome is a New Jersey native and will be returning to play his senior season in New Jersey, he spent his junior season in Florida at the IMG Academy gaining valuabe experience while playing the longer high school season in the warmer south. Groome followed up his junior season with an extremely impressive summer circuit that catapulted him to the top of almost every draft board.

    Groome already possesses a mid-90s fastball, and while he is 6’6″ and 220 pounds, he won’t turn 18 until two months after the June draft. There is a very real chance for more physical maturity, which would add some extra zip to an already impressive power pitch. Groome also has a nasty curve with the kind of movement and bite that will rack up strikeouts in huge numbers in the minors, and possibly even the majors.

    Of all the top pitching prospects, including the college guys, Groome has the best control, too — which is an extraordinary thing. His command will need a little work as he hasn’t needed to spot his pitches consistently in order to dominate high school bats, but that will come with repetition and development.

    Groome’s biggest weakness is currently his changeup. Like many high school pitchers, Groome hasn’t thrown his changeup much because he just hasn’t needed it, but when he has thrown it, he seems to have a good feel for the off speed offering.

    Groome has the size, easy arm action, big velocity, pitch mix, control and pretty much everything else that you want to see when projecting a guy to be a future big league ace. While it might sound very high, the best comparison for Groome’s ceiling is a pitcher like Clayton Kershaw.

    Like any prospect though, and especially those being drafted out of high school, Groome isn’t a sure thing. He still has his full senior high school season ahead of him, and any number of flaws could emerge between now and then, not to mention injuries. But going into this last season of amateur baseball, Groome has positioned himself extremely well to be the best pitcher available.

    http://www.purplerow.com/2016/3/2/11107612/mlb-draft-prospects-2016-jason-groome-riley-pint-colorado-rockies-amateur-draft-news

    1. “…the best comparison for Groome’s ceiling is a pitcher like Clayton Kershaw”

      Type those same words into Google except substitute Kohl Stewart or Tyler Kolek for Jason Groome and they’ll have the same Scouting report and comparisons to Josh Beckett and Roger Clemons. There hasn’t been a consensus #1 ranked HS pitcher do anything (except have Tommy John surgery) in at least the last 4 drafts.

      1. what a lazy and uninformed way to analyze Jason Groome as a prospect than simply to compare him to a few pitchers with who had similar ceilings but didn’t work out.

  29. After his only good outing of the season last weekend against UCLA, Alec Hansen has suffered through another bad performance today. 4.2 innings … 5H, 4BB, 5K, 5ER against Long Beach State.

    1. Couple other college pitchers of note who did not have good games this weekend:

      Robert Tyler (Georgia) … 4.1 IP, 7H, 1BB, 5K, 5 ER
      Matt Krook (Oregon) ….. 0.2 IP, 2H, 4BB, 2K, 5 ER … 35 total pitches, only 14 were strikes

      There doesn’t really seem to be a college pitcher worthy of 1.1

  30. I see people say that high school pitchers bust often. However while the statistics back that up every player college or high school carries that risk that they will fail to develop for a variety of reasons. In my opinion the Phillies cannot let past failure rates of high school pitchers scare them away from taking one that might be a success. If Groome is clearly listed by the majority as the best available the Phillies should take him in the draft. I could end up wrong if we draft him and he fails which I would admit to the mistake in taking him if he does not succeed. However any suggestion to take a player is they are just as likely to fail as the next one at this point. I would prefer Groome at number one at this point because he appears to be the best and it will stay that way with me unless a sudden drop in performance or injury occurs. Past failures of high school pitchers should not influence the Phillies on Groome one way or the other.

    1. The other issue that could occur is the asking price that Jason Groome, and his family/agent, would want…his sign ability
      That could also affect whether or not he is the first pick.
      He does have the Vandy commit in his back pocket as leverage.
      I would think however that passing up 1.1 money to risk and wait another three years would be hard to pass up.

      1. While that could be true it is just an assumption with no way to prove it would happen. The only fact that we do know is that the Phillies are gathering information on many players which they have access to a lot more of to make a decision on draft day. Anything we say is mostly speculation.

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