Open Discussion: Week of March 27th

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

The Phillies have cooled off and posted an 0-4-1 record over their last 5 games and are 14-9 with 3 ties this spring.  The Phillies had the lead in all 5 games, and blew 5-3 leads after the sixth inning in two of them.

I attended both home games this weekend.  Friday night, Jeremy Hellickson was hit hard in 4.2 innings.  He only gave up 4 hits, but all were hit hard as were several of the outs.  He opened the game with a drive to the center field wall that Herrera made an acrobatic catch on before crashing into the wall.  Hellickson started 89-90, T91 mph in the first, but settled in to 89-91 over his remaining innings.

Night Baseball in Clearwater 3-25-2016
Night Baseball in Clearwater. First night game at Bright House Field since 2010.

Maikel Franco’s 8th HR was the offensive highlight until Peter Bourjos hit a 2-run HR in the seventh.  Freddy Galvis got a pinch two-out, hit single and stole second.  He was really stretching his secondary lead and had third base stolen but for a foul ball by Cesar Hernandez.  Freddy continued to get a large lead and scored on a broken bat, roller to second by Hernandez to tie the game.

Saturday we got a reliever game while Aaron Nola was pitching on one of the back fields. Asche started in left in the same game (and homered in his first at bat).  Zach Eflin started on the other field.

So, we got nine different pitchers throwing an inning apiece against the Tigers and Justin Verlander.  I find it tough to stomach when a reliever can’t come in and pitch a scoreless inning.  Five of the Phillies’ nine relievers allowed runs.  The four who didn’t allow a run, also didn’t allow a base runner.  Elvis Araujo looked the best, notching 2 Ks in his scoreless frame.

Game notes:

  • Pitchers batted in both games.
  • Verlander attempted sacrifice bunts in both of his ABs.  He was successful in his first attempt but was jeered (playfully) by the crowd when he didn’t run the play out.  His brother Ben gave him a hard time as he returned to the dugout.
  • Vince Velasquez failed on his first two pitches to get down a sacrifice bunt as a pinch hitter.  He fouled off a couple pitches and finally lined a single to right.
  • Peter Bourjos hit a home run off the top of Frenchy’s in left field.
  • Galvis came to the plate Saturday with one out and nobody on base.  I suggested to Geary that this is when Galvis swings for the fence.  He cleared both fences in right field on the next pitch.  This is the problem I have with Galvis.  He can make an exciting play as he did on Friday night.  But, although the result was good on Saturday, he shouldn’t be trying to hit home runs.  Memories of his of-for-thirty plus a couple seasons ago are still too fresh in my mind.
  • Herrera looked rusty striking out twice Friday night, but looked greatly improved on Saturday, and I think he went 3-3 on Sunday.
  • Pitcher John Richy took a pitch off his hand attempting to bunt in one of the back field games during the week.
  • I watched Alec Asher and Yacksel Rios have so-so performances.
  • Miguel Gonzalez threw an inning.  No velo, but his FB was straight and his first two off speed pitches were up-and-in and low-and-away.  He did get an easy ground out and struck out the next two batters.
  • Crawford singled and stole second base.
  • Kyle Martin hit 2 HR over in Tampa.
  • Jose Pujols is starting to show in-game power.  He hit a couple HR and drove a double over an outfielder’s head on successive days.
  • Friday’s games were cancelled and intrasquad games were played in the morning.
  • Saturday, Nola gave up 1 ER on 6 H and 3 BB while getting 7 K in 5.1 IP.
  • Cozens (2), Mora, and Asche hit HR.
  • Eflin and Lively combined for a 3 hit shutout with 1 BB and 13 K.
  • Walding 2 HR, Hoskins 2 doubles.

A lot of the Phillies’ team stats are starting to drift to the middle of the pack.  Their pitching staff is still among the leaders in strike outs, batting average against, and WHIP.

There have been a couple hundred transactions over the weekend, none by the Phillies.

So, of course, the Phillies make a slew of moves Monday morning.  Vince Vasquez named 5th starter and 9 players optioned or reassigned.  I’ve added them below.

Recent Transactions:

  • 3/28 – Adam Morgan optioned to Lehigh Valley.
  • 3/28 – Elvis Araujo optioned to Lehigh Valley
  • 3/28  – Luis Garcia optioned to Lehigh Valley.
  • 3/28 – Darnell Sweeney optioned to Lehigh Valley.
  • 3/28 – Logan Moore reassigned to minor league camp.
  • 3/28 – Reinier Roibal reassigned to minor league camp.
  • 3/28  – Bobby LaFromboise reassigned to minor league camp.
  • 3/28 – Angelys Nina reassigned to minor league camp.
  • 3/28 – Chris Leroux reassigned to minor league camp.
  • 3/22 – Optioned Severino Gonzalez to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/22 – Gabriel Lino reassigned to minor league camp.
  • 3/21 – Released RHP Ryan O’Sullivan.
  • 3/21 – Released 2B Andrew Amaro.
  • 3/21 – Optioned Colton Murray to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/21 – Lakewood BlueClaws released RHP Jason Zgardowski.
  • 3/21 – Williamsport Crosscutters released LHP Denton Keys.
  • 3/21 – GCL Phillies released OF Bryan Martelo.

 

60 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of March 27th

  1. Hoskins just keeps on hitting, all last season , in winter ball down under, and continues this spring….

    1. I’m excited for Hoskins, would not surprise me if he is the Phillies first baseman next year. And I don’t care if he is not a lefty power hitter.

  2. Ah that sux for Morgan. I agree they should see if he can be dealt to an org that has a spot for him in their rotation.

    He might fetch you a high risk high reward kind of guy currently at the A level.

  3. No reason to trade Morgan. There is no question, barring his injury, that he pitches for the Phils this year. I think he and Thompson are in the rotation at least come trade deadline, if not before. I am rooting for Morton and Hellickson to be nice trade candidates.

    1. Morgan pitched well in the spring and will get a chance this year. Good for him. He made himself a priority piece this year, after being an afterthought at the end of the last season.

      Velasquez is the best arm on the team, so it’s not that surprising he got the job. I thought there was a chance they’d stick Velasquez in the bull-pen, to save his arm from the jump in innings, but I guess they feel he can handle the increased workload.

  4. Only 22 players on the 25 man roster. One pitcher and two outfielders need to be added. I have 5 players from the 25 man on the DL.

    1. i rather want the Phils to give Cam Perkins a shot in the outfield since Perkins may not sniff the majors once Williams goes up and Altherr comes back from injury.

  5. Fun fact: In 2013, fringe reliever, Dalier Hinojosa received 4.25 million signing bonus. That’s a larger signing bonus than the bonuses received by 1st round picks, JP Crawford, Aaron Nola and Cornelius Randolph or big latin signee, Jhailyn Ortiz. I wonder if I’ll live to see the day the Phillies cut a guy they signed for 4.25 million, after only two years.

    1. I guess that indicates there may be some differing of philosophies between the Red Sox and the Phillies at the senor level

    2. i’m not sure if MAG is the same in your scenario but based on performance, the Phils could have released their $4M+/year Cuban import after 2 months. the lack of depth in the farm system and RAJ’s ego saved MAG from it happening.

  6. For those interested in getting Milb.tv, the new schedule is out. It’s every LV games, almost every Reading game, and 11 or 12 Lakewood games but no Crosscutters games from the looks of it. No Clearwater/GCL but they haven’t had those in the years I’ve had it. The first of 3 series of Lakewood games starts the first week, the next is towards the end of June and then I believe in July there’s one more series.

    It’s 49.99 for the full season or 12.99 by month.

  7. Nick Swisher was cut today, with 15 million left on his contract. Remember when some of the posters here thought it would be smart to sign Swisher at the cost of our 2013 1st round draft choice? I won’t call the name of the of the biggest champion of that proposal, but it’s one of the guys who constantly bemoaned trading the great Jon Singleton for Hunter Pence as the worst trade in history.

    1. P.S. Jon Singleton was sent back to the minors today (with his career now on the ropes) and JP Crawford was the 2013 1st round draft pick.

    2. I think that was bill james posting under a pseudonym. Strangely bill hasn’t posted much here since the BoSox reduced his role and hired Reuben

      must be the equivalent of being neutered LOL clearly I jest. I love that guy!

    3. Easy decision for the Braves though as they are getting almost all of that $15 mil from the Indians…

      1. Brave’s are eating $10m by DFA’ing Swisher. Indians sent the Braves $10m to offset the contracts of both Swisher and Bourn..

      1. That PTBNL still has not blossomed…now trying with the Brewers. He will need better than a SSS MLB(200-PA) 38% K rate to be effective.

        1. For me it was only a bad trade because we didn’t extend Hunter. He was special not so much in his numbers but just his personality further evidenced by the lore he has created in SanFran!

          1. DMAR….Juan Samuel suggested not to extend Hunter…..Juan didn’t want to be the first MLB coach killed in the third base coaching box!

      2. Go back to the archives. Guys didn’t know the PTBNL until weeks later. 90% of the board was going to slit their wrists because Amaro was trading a future Superstar (Singleton), for the barely above average MLB player (Pence).

  8. This is the week when lots of guys will be cut, or left off a roster and left in Extended which is just as bad, and we all get to see if our off season projections were close. Who will hold down the starters’ spots in the rotations?

  9. How ironic is it that the big club is scrambling for a veteran outfielder to plug the gap due to injury when the answer was on the team last year and wanted badly to reup with us and has had such a great spring that one of our division rivals, has decided to keep him on their major league roster?

    Surely Jeff francoeur would have been a better option than wil veneble. I realize that he is not an Ivy League grad but geez”…………….. I realize in the grand scheme of things that francoeur does not move the needle but he is truly the perfect veteran player you want to have around your younger players and was well regarded here.

    1. You shouldn’t be comparing Francoeur to Venable, even though I like Venable better. You should be asking, “Was Francoeur better than our 5th outfielder, which was going to be Asche.”

  10. What roster has more talent the Phillies or LV ? I’m going with LV roster the OF , C , SP , FP, When JP gets up then SS too.

  11. Everyone. I apologize for the delay in writing, but I was at Spring Training last week below is my take on what I saw.

    First, I was not there very long (3 1/2 days), but I did see a few of the minor league games, including some intersquad games. I saw the major league games too, but these games not terribly noteworthy, with a few exceptions. The team was either playing established players we already know about, trying out relievers, or auditioning position players for the 24th and 25th spots on the roster. So, definitely, the minor league camp was where it was at.

    BIG LEAGUES

    Again, not much to report, but I was pretty impressed with Adam Morgan. Morgan’s shoulder surgery, apparently, was not to repair something devastating like a torn rotator cuff or a torn labrum. As I understand it, there was no structural damage in the shoulder – they had to transplant a nerve and the hope was that he would slowly re-gain velocity. I’m not sure the velo is all the way back for him, but he’s definitely throwing harder than he did last season. He was generally siting 90-92 and touching 93. That’s not far off where he was before he got hurt. I also like his stuff. He’ll have a good opportunity to pitch every 5th day in AAA and show if he’s made real strides. My take is that he definitely a major league starter material; the question is whether the ceiling is as a 4/5 or a 3 and, honestly, I don’t know.

    I thought Mujica was awful and I liked Hernandez. Aruajo is big and his FB sits at 94 and 95 – if he even moderately re-gains command I expect he’ll be back with the big club before too long – I like his upside. Luis Garcia’s velocity is down and he seems to have regressed – his future is in doubt.

    Cedric Hunter really isn’t a prospect, but he played well – I’d be fine if he ended up as a long term 5th outfielder, assuming he can continue to hit.

    I was surprised (in a good way) with Peter Bourjos. I was always under the impression that he was kind of a weak singles hitter. That’s not really the case. He’s actually a bigger guy and flashed some good power and he’s drawn walks all spring. Add the defense and perhaps he’ll be a positive this year.

    Goeddel is skinny and he’s going through the typical hiccups you’d expect of a Rule 5 player; not everybody is Odubel Herrera. I simply cannot tell how good Goeddel might be, but he didn’t look overwhelmed.

    Through last year, I wouldn’t say I was skeptical of Herrera (in fact, I saw him early in ST last year (he played in all 4 games I watched) and, by the time I left, I had no doubt that he was a major league quality player), but I had a concern that some of what I was seeing might have been a little bit of a mirage resulting from some BABIP luck or how pitchers were pitching him as a rookie. Having seen more of him, I’ve now concluded that he’s entirely for real – the question is not whether he’s a bona fide major league starter, but whether he has some star potential. He has an unusual mix of skills – not many players with a 70 hit tool are also plus fielders, but Herrera has both.

    Report on minor leaguers to follow – they were MUCH more interesting.

    1. If Morgan is veloing at 90-92, then for a lefty, that is pretty good with his command. All he needs now is a sprinkling of Keuchel’s pixie dust and he is set..

  12. Here’s my take on the minor leaguers:

    Roman Quinn – I didn’t see a ton of his at bats, but what I saw of him at the plate and in the field was impressive. He’s filled out and when he hits the ball, he hits it on the nose and it really takes off – much like when Jimmy Rollins hits a ball well. If he can stay healthy maintain decent contact skills and solid plate discipline, the sky is the limit. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he became a big league star and part of that is the spark that he brings to the game and life. He’s a ray of sunshine.

    Andy Knapp – Perhaps its partially a function of being a catcher in a spring training environment where a ton of pitchers need to get in their work, but Knapp looked to me to be a focused man on a mission. Some of the guys at spring training are kids who are enjoying themselves and soaking in the experience – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But Knapp comes off as a man with a job to do. I love his approach to baseball and I love when he bats. He has solid plate discipline and a truly beautiful swing from both sides of the plate. I guess the question is how well he can catch and I don’t have any more information about that from having watched him in ST other than to say that if it’s an issue of putting in the work, I’m sure he’ll do it.

    Jorge Alfaro – Remember what Mike Piazza looked like as a younger player? Well, that’s what Alfaro looks like except Alfaro is a better athlete with a better arm. He also comes off as a very positive person – likeable and coachable – it was obvious from his interactions with coaches and the other players. What is less clear is whether he will be able to hit advanced pitching, particularly good breaking pitches. He’s still making that adjustment. Give him time. He may need a full year in AA and a full year in AAA. But in any event, I’m curious to see how he’ll do the second half of the year – that should tell us a lot.

    Mark Appel – Pitched very well when I was there. It was obvious he was throwing hard and he was getting his breaking pitches over. He had several scoreless innings against good AA and AAA talent. Aside from that he comes across as a low key guy – about as unobtrusive as a person can be who is six foot five and a former #1 pick.

    Angelo Mora – I think this guy can hit – and I mean really hit. If he can play second base he could be in the mix.

    Rhys Hoskins – did just fine in the games I saw. In one game he hit a double down the left field line and another long double to right/center field. He also drew a walk. The ball makes an unusual sound coming off his bat, like a cannon – the kind of sound only good power hitters can create. He was fun to watch, and he’s another man on a mission. Before he ran out one inning to take first base one of the coaches yelled out “smile Rhys!”

    J.P. Crawford – Crawford is like pizza – even when he’s not that good, he’s pretty damned good. I swear this guy has 80 plate discipline and plate control – it’s like watching Lenny Dykstra in his prime. Even with two strikes, he simply won’t flinch at a ball that’s out of the strike zone. In my view, this is what is going to elevate him from just an above-average first division regular to a star (it probably won’t happen right away – it could be several years before he’s a true star, but it should be fun watching him improve). It’s going to improve his on base percentage and it’s going to allow him to work for a pitch that he can handle and drive. Also. Crawford continues to fill out and get stronger, but the weight was put on properly – he’s not bulky – just a little bigger all around. He’s amazing.

    Ulyses Joaquin – Who? His stuff was eye popping. I stopped and took notice when he pitched. If he can show decent control he might move quickly this year. Unfortunately, I didn’t see Cordero or Tirado pitch so it’s hard to tell exactly how hard he was throwing, but I think it was quite hard.

    Zach Green – I didn’t see a lot, but what I saw did not stand out. I’m not damning him by any means, he just didn’t stand out.

    Pullin – a definite sleeper. He played very well.

    Cozens – he crushed the ball. He is winning me over and he came across as a really nice guy (gave me wife the biggest smile ever in photos – take that high school football coach!). If he can develop into a true corner outfielder it could help the organization immensely. Another nice thing about Cozens is that there was always a concern that, over time he’d lose his mobility and be little more than a potential first baseman. I don’t see that happening any time soon – he’s big, but he’s athletic and mobil. For now, he’s clearly an outfielder.

    Zach Eflin – was, in a word, awesome. His biggest challenge has been missing bats. Well he did that in the game I saw. Missing bats, breaking bats, fooling hitters, you name it. When he started in AA last year, he was essentially throwing almost all 2 seam fastballs and sinkers. This year he was throwing those pitches, but also4 seam fastballs and a nice curve that I barely saw last year and that he consistently threw for strikes. He was changing eye level all the time. Eflin struck out 7 in four innings and provided a wonderful show for the Eflin clan that was there to root him on (nice people!).

    Ben Lively – like Eflin, Lively’s been a bit of a forgotten man, but he’s still a good prospect. He was often hitting 93 and 94 and his ball moves. He struck out a lot of batters (6 I believe) in 3 or 4 innings. He’s a below the radar player that easily could be good enough to end the year in the Phillies’ rotation (whether there will be a spot available for him is another question completely). I’d be surprised if he did not, at some point, end up as a starter in a major league rotation, although, again, it might not be with the Phillies.

    Mitch Walding – has always had a great swing, but crushed the ball regularly when I saw him – two long home runs in one game. Could he have finally gotten over the hump? We’ll see.

    Nick Williams – didn’t really see him much, so I cannot comment.

    Tommy Joseph and MAG – two men on the brink of oblivion. Both did walk around a bit like they had a dark cloud looming over them. That said, Joseph routinely crushed the ball every time I saw him. One long drive after the next. If I’m the Phillies, I definitely keep him around – he can share at bats with Stassi between DH and first base. If he doesn’t work out, no big deal, but his play this spring merits at least one last chance.

    And one of the best for last

    “C” Randolph – The Tony Gwynn comparison is extremely apt. If you see him in person and take a look at a picture of a young Tony Gwynn playing point guard for San Diego State you can see the physical similarities. But of course the comparisons don’t end there. Randolph has incredible God-given hand-eye coordination and hitting skills. He’s a hitting savant. He’s not a particularly big guy at this point so it’s unclear how much he’ll fill out and how much power he’ll develop, but, like Gwynn, he might be a great hitter and player even if he’s only hitting 10-15 homers a year. If you put him in a line-up with J.P. Crawford, Roman Quinn and Maikel Franco (not to mention guys like Knapp, Hoskins, Williams and Herrera), they are going to give other teams fits.

    1. Two other add-ons.

      Kingery looked good. I didn’t see him enough for an extended comment, but what I saw looked very good.

      Lucas (Luke) Williams – is built like Craig Biggio and appears very mature. Does not carry himself like he’s only 19.

  13. Thanks Catch, This was great stuff. I also think that Doobie is for real, and cannot wait to get the Minor League seasons started. I think we have some really good prospects throughout the system, and Cozens may be a breakout guy. I picked Kingery, but I like the athleticism and overall game of Cozens as well. Charlie Manuel was very high on him when I heard him interviewed this week.

  14. Howard gets pinch-hit HR in 7th and Carlos get pinch-hit SF, both get standing ovations. Phillies get total of 8 HR’s.

  15. I want to give a a big shout and congratulations to Jessica Mendoza for landing the Sunday night baseball gig. Not as a token female but as a legit (she dreams in baseball) analyst.

    I know our own Kristen Karbach must be proud and excited to see a huge barrier broken and now may one day herself be in a MLB booth somewhere. Because she can see its possible.

    I’m not a fan of the whole PC movement. Positions should be earned not given and I think we went through a spell where you saw individuals getting gigs just because it filled a perceived minority hole and the networks thought they looked good doing it.

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