Open Discussion: Week of March 20th

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

The Phillies raised their spring record to 13-5 with a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros. Jeremy Hellickson allowed 3 walks and struck out 6 in 5.0 no-hit innings.  He did this against an Astros line up that included starting middle infielders Correa and Altuve, and starting corner outfielders Rasmus and Springer.  The Phillies scored two runs against former team mate Ken Giles.  Cesar Hernandez hit his first spring HR and went 3-4 with 3 RBI.  Cedric Hunter contributed a pinch-hit, RBI double off Giles.

Five Phillies’ pitchers were spotted taking BP in the morning at the Complex – Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Jeremy Hellickson, Adam Morgan, and Vince Velasquez.  My source did not see Charlie Morton as part of the group.  Hmmm.

Saturday’s rainout forced a number of pitchers over to the Complex games Sunday afternoon to get their work – Russell, Leroux, Bailey, Araujo, and Murray.

Recent Transactions:

  • 3/15 – Assigned Skylar Hunter to Lakewood.
  • 3/16 – Placed Skylar Hunter on the restricted list.
  • 3/16 – Released Art Charles, Brian Pointer, Harold Guerrero, Victor Delgado, Tim Zier, Ryne Frankhoff, and Kevin Walsh.
  • 3/18 – Optioned Jimmy Cordero and Jorge Alfaro to Reading.
  • 3/18 – Reassigned Andrew Knapp to minor league camp.
  • 3/19 – Optioned Taylor Featherstone to Lehigh Valley.
  • 3/19 – Reassigned Brock Stassi to minor league camp.


101 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of March 20th

  1. Any insights on Sweeney?

    Have hardly seen his named mentioned this spring, his stats don’t look too inspiring, and, every time its referenced that the Phils are looking for another OF for opening day, his named is noticeably absent.

    I’m assuming he hasn’t looked this spring?

    1. He has not had a good spring. The issue with Sweeney has always been the hit tool and the K percentage and this spring is no different. He’s physically gifted but if he whiffs too much, it’s going to be hard for him to stick. I can’t see him making the big league team out of spring training.

      1. I said it last year and will say it now. Sweeney isn’t a big league player. How many physical gifted players have we drafted over the years. So many. that never made it.

        1. Exactly – which is why I think he probably won’t make the big league roster out of ST and, if he doesn’t address those concerns, he’ll never make it at all.

  2. Jim, thanks for all you do for this website. The content you provide and discussions you lead are second to none on the internet for Phillies coverage.

  3. I have not seen much discussion about Caesar Hernandez this spring so far so I thought I would post his numbers

    BA .351
    AB 37
    Hits 13
    SB 5
    OBP .442
    OPS ,901

    This does not include his big day yesterday!. I am thinking Hernandez is an everyday second baseman. He just keeps getting better. Remember he won a batting title and stole 32 bases at Lehigh valley in 2013. The guy can hit and run.

    Hit .272 with 19 SBs last year for the big club. Don’t sleep on him.

    1. He seemed to get worse as last season went along. He has to either drastically cut his K% or hit for more power. He does have 5 XBHs this spring, including yesterdays opposite field HR that was probably wind-aided. Maybe he’s gotten stronger, but I need to see it in the regular season before I believe he’s an everyday player.

  4. We are all mostly smart individuals here who understandt that a good preseason does not a good player make. However, I am very impressed with Cedric Hunter. Really hope he makes the team, he just looks very comfortable at the plate.

  5. FYI – during the Phillies’ starters’ BP, Eikhoff hit two out. He’s a big boy and swings the bat very well. His hand did not seem to bother him at all. Yes, Morton was not there.

    1. ‘Odubel Herrera continues to be sidelined with a sore left middle finger. Manager Pete Mackanin said the Phils are just being cautious with Herrera because “he’s such a big part of our offense.” He added that Herrera will be ready for opening day.
      “Soon, soon, soon,” responded Herrera when asked when he would play.
      Herrera has been swinging a bat. He is expected to begin hitting Tuesday’…Jim Salisbury

  6. A site question for Jim Peyton….is there still any player left in the Phillies org that is pictured at the top of the site’s webpage now…..Jesse Biddle was the last I believe on the far right.

      1. Which one is Crawford?…I do not think he was drafted when Matt Winkleman designed that logo.
        I see Franco at the ‘Ph’ in Phuture

    1. Yes, Franco and Crawford on either side of Brown. But, I’m guessing you knew that and were quietly suggesting an update. I thought of that, but haven’t had the time to research how to make a change. I kinda like the old picture logo, though. It was generic enough not to need yearly updates.

      1. Yes and no……a new design, but did miss Crawford.
        Perhaps task Matt W. to do another…I am sure he will not object to it.

      2. I don’t mind the way it is. It gives a history of the site.

        We could take out a couple like Brown and Biddle, replacing them with “C” and our 1st pick this year (don’t need to include Nola, he wasn’t a farmhand for long).

  7. Hey, I may have a free ticket for someone for the Phils Futures game in Reading on March 31. I double booked. My Son is playing at the Boot and Saddle that night in Philly so I’m trying to think how to be in both places that night but if I can’t I will have a ticket to the game that will go to waste.

    Jim has my contact info if you need to get a hold of me. I’ll try and check back on this site to see if there is a way to contact that way.

  8. OMG the boot and saddle on broad street. What a difference in that place, Years ago it was a dive for sailors and fat chicks. I went in there with a couple of friends. order a bottle of beer. And wouldn’t even drink it. the place was the worst so dirty. Now its really a place for people to go. Hope he has a good gig there.

  9. I don’t know what the future holds, but we absolutely KILLED the Astros in the Giles trade. VV for Giles straight up would be a win for us. A big win IMO. If any of the other 3 pitchers turn into anything then Klentak hit an out of the park homer on his first deal.

    Arauz is an interesting prospect, but he is so far away and who knows what he will become, if anything.

    1. I would agree with you viagain. But so far giles is in the big leagues. And the prospects are just that prospects. The trade as of now favors Houston. When and if any of these guys make it. you can make that Killed statement.

  10. Random thought: the 2012 draft class was absolutely loaded. Correa, Buxton, Seager, Kyle Zimmer, Addison Russell, Lucas Giolito, Wacha…Shane Watson

      1. McCullers was a known over-slot. Nobody but teams with huge allocations was going to get him. I believe I remember the Phillies settling for Shane Watson once Joey Gallo was gone. They were hot for Joey Gallo, but he was selected one pick before him.

        The bigger issue is why the Phillies chose to select Mitch Gueller over Nick Williams AND Jake Thompson.

        1. Yes. seems a lot of their HS northern Calif /northwest region US selections made back then , Walding as another, have not panned out as they expected.

          1. Phillies got carried away with the Pacific NW, once it looked like they hit with Trevor May.

      1. Not sure I see his point on his grading of Thompson’s slider. The little I have seen of it, seems more than average. And it has had a 60 grade from the MLB guys.

      2. I couldn’t see Sweeney that high when they first came out with that list and still can’t from what he’s shown in ST. He just has too many holes in his game, the Ks without the HR power being the glaring hole.

    1. It is – I find it interesting that they quoted a tweet about a home run that I also found amazing. Franco hit that all just beneath his chin and didn’t nearly get all of it – but it went out of the park anyway. His bat speed and hand eye coordination are special, which is why it’s hard to take him off third base – his range is a concern but, between his glove and his arm, he also makes plays that take your breath away.

  11. On my comment earlier today about 7 pitchers coming down to LHV, there are already 16 pitchers on LHV and I do not see any of them going to Reading, so there will be 11 pitchers looking for a job. I look for some of these to go to the better Independent teams.

    1. Who is CJ Wittmann?
      Overall reports are very positive…more so than I like to believe when things get real next month. He may be over-the-top on some of his grading.
      Does he do other teams?
      if so, interested in what he says about them.

      1. Who is CJ Witmann? Who are you? Just kidding.

        he is a scout for PerfectGame USA and the Northeast MiLB/Amateur talent scout for for

        They do seem very positive, but i doubt he would get those jobs by giving out glowing reviews of every prospect.

        1. I need to see his reports on other teams before I make a judgment on his subjectivity. You do know…that could be an indication of what kind of a ‘grading teacher he is’….we all looked for that A grading teacher in college.

    1. I usually sit behind the radar guns. You wouldn’t catch me sitting in the sun with just a baseball cap, though. I learned the hard way to wear a wide brim hat for protection.

  12. Todd Zolecki’s latest on Odubel Herrera:
    “Herrera to be reexamined……. Could there be another man down in the Phillies’ outfield? Mackanin said Odubel Herrera could have his bruised left middle finger reexamined Tuesday. The injury has not healed as quickly as Mackanin had anticipated. Herrera has not played since March 12. “He says he still feels something there,” Mackanin said. “Yeah, I’m concerned about it. I don’t want to say it’s more than it is, but he might just be on the cautious side as well. When he’s ready to go, he’ll be ready to go.”

  13. What is the out look for Jhailyn Ortiz? I know its years off but in the short term, any word if he will see Gulf Coast league? How has he been looking in his fist Spring State Side?

    1. i saw him hit several times this spring and realizing it is vsss i was impressed. the kid can hit and the power is plus plus. obviously very young with baby fat that will be worked off but you can dream on a future greg lusinski here. he caught my eye more than any other out of this wonderfully talented group of young players.

      1. I watch some video on Ortiz. The kid has a quick bat. Which is a great sign to me. The next two years imo will be him learning to hit the breaking ball. As he moves up the ladder in the system. But I understand why the scouts like him

  14. Eickhoff’s curve is an easy 60 pitch. Maybe a 70. Made hitters look silly yesterday. Silly. But what was most encouraging was reading about his improving change up. Along with a 55/60 fastball and a workhorse frame, I think he may end up being a steal. This is not the profile of a #5 starter. More like a 3 or even a possible 2 if his change gets to 60 grade.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I saw him on last year before his promotion and was blown away. This guy was the sleeper of the trade – a real coup for the scouts who helped engineer the deal. He’s big, he’s strong, his FB has movement, the curve is devastating and he just misses bats. He’s definitely looking like a 3 to me – that he is developing a change is encouraging.

    2. On Eickhoff’s curve:

      The curveball has been insane. McDaniel graded it as a 50-present/55-future earlier this year, but it’s played as a 65-grade pitch. It’s a true hammer curve that buckles knees for called strikes and generates plenty of whiffs sitting in the mid-70s and occasionally touching 78-79 MPH. It has yielded a .102/.154/.122 line in 52 PA with a 56% K rate, 6% BB rate, and 17% SwStr rate. He uses it 19% of the time (lefties see it at a 22% clip compared to 17% for righties).

      His .276 OPS ranks 2nd among the 109 pitchers with at least 50 PA ending on a curve. This is where the small sample size caveats come into play. Obviously we’d value Clayton Kershaw’s .299 OPS more given that it has come in 187 PA. It’s only eight starts for Eickhoff, but the pitch has been amazing.

      1. It’s really fun watching him throw it, and I’m glad it’s been so effective, but I can’t help but wish it was a change or slider that he had that kind of success with. Simply because curves kill your arm like no other. If that’s your out pitch and you use it ~20% of the time, I worry about longevity.

        Of course there are freaks of nature that do things that the human body shouldn’t be able to do, so hopefully he’s one of those that can just unleash curve after curve after curve with no negative side effects.

        1. Depends on the style of curve Dan. If he throws a knuckle or spike curve as some call it then that is very less stressful than one that snaps the wrist and elbow

          I don’t know which one Eick throws

  15. I saw a report the other day that Charlie Morton wasn’t taking bunting practice with the other starters. I really hope they put Morton in the bullpen. I’d rank the starters as follows:

    1. Nola
    2. Hellickson
    3. Eickhoff
    4. VV
    5. Morgan
    6. Obie
    7. Asher
    8. Morton

    There is another wave or two of potential quality starters coming after these guys. I want to see VV, Morgan, Obie, and Asher start rather than Morton. He’s old and he hasn’t been good for a while.

    1. They didn’t trade for Morton and take on his $$$ to move him to the pen. He was brought in to eat innings as a veteran starter.

  16. Heading down for the next three days for ST games. Going to Orlando tonight – Friday and Saturday at Bright House. Look forward to seeing folks from the site down there. Will report back on what I see.

    1. The ‘risk’ factor of High/Moderate/Low….what is that all about?
      Their chances of success to the numeric grade they graded them?

      1. If their risk factor is similar to Baseball America’s the descriptions would look something like this:

        Risk – Description

        Safe – Has shown realistic ceiling, ready to contribute
        Low – Likely to reach realistic ceiling, certain MLB career barring injury
        Medium – Some work to reach MLB caliber skills, but fairly polished player
        High – Most picks in 1st season, players w/projection left, injury history
        Extreme – Teens in rookie ball, significant injury history, struggle w/key skill

  17. Burris is in CF tonight so it looks like they are checking to see if he can replace Asche. Yankees have been after Asche for a while.

    1. I still think Asche is a guy with huge upside. He has the ability to be a 300 hitter with 15-20 homers if things click for him. He still has a pretty swing. He just needs to learn to recognize off speed pitches and to lay off balls. He has the team made once he’s healthy enough to play. The team will look for someone to replace him for a week or two since it appears he’ll start on the DL. Sweeney has the upper hand because he’s on the 40 already.

      1. I’d like to see Asche on a good team. I think he would be a great complimentary piece. Of course, you could probably say that about a lot of players.

      2. Murray I respectfully disagree. This kid has so many holes in his game. First he cant field. I believe when your a poor a fielder as he is .you better hit. and he has a very very weak approach to hitting. If I am not wrong he is 26 now and still has no clue how to approach a pitcher. I just don’t understand what people see in this kid. It blows my mind.

        1. rocco…initially we wanted to see the second coming of Chase. And he teased us in the beginning. . I am sure Matt Klentak will cut strings with him if it is another mediocre season at the plate. So this year will be it for him.
          I know at one time early in the off-season the Indians were looking for a lefty hitting third baseman. So there still may be some teams interested in him come July.

        2. I agree that the results have not been there. Some guts take a few extra years. We’ll see. Sweeney doesn’t look like much to me either but he’s on the 40 man. The team won’t make a 40 move, and drop someone, just to add someone for a week or two.

        3. I agree with Roccom. Not only is his power middling at best, he’s also a fairly extreme pull hitter. All but one of his career HRs are to straight-away LF (one to dead center) and for his career he’s only hit 20% of balls to the opposite field.

          Between his pull tendencies, unimpressive power, questionable strikezone judgement and poor defense, I have trouble seeing a major league player. I have my doubts about Sweeney too, but he has better tools than Asche imo.

          1. The difference between Sweeney and Asche, is defensive value. Asche can’t hit or defend. Sweeney can fake his way through three up-the-middle positions. Asche can’t even fake the corners.

  18. I just don’t see him as anything special. Same with Sweeney. Watch Sweeney swing a bat. Its really poor. slow bat. gets fooled easy. Most times hand comes off bat early and is using one hand. yet people think he is a good player blows my mind.

  19. Pete Mac gets a new deal already. Guarantees 2017 and adds option for 2018. Previously, only this year was guaranteed, with the option for next year. We have not seen a lot to go on, but I have been very pleased with what he has done so far.

  20. AJ Puk:
    Rough game today on the road vs the Kentucky Wildcats.
    Puk – IP4.1…. H4… R6… ER6… BB2… K5…. HR 2…. PC81 Strikes51

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