Open Discussion: Week of May 2nd

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

The Phillies are a 15-10.  Their .600 winning percentage is tied with the Pirates for the fifth best in baseball, fourth best in the National League.  But for a couple blown saves at the beginning of the season, they would have the best record in the National League.

They have a six-game winning streak after sweeping the Nationals and Indians.  They have won 9 of their last 10 games, which included a 5-1 road trip.

The Phillies have been getting good starting pitching, good relief pitching, adequate defense, and timely hitting.

I think I’ll shelve my negative stats and just leave it at that.  I’ll just enjoy and appreciate the good things that have happened to the Phillies this past week.

 

Prior Week’s Transactions:  Well, just the one.  The organization had a busy week and I reported the transactions as they occurred.

  • The Phillies activated Michael Mariot and sent him to Clearwater on rehab assignment.  He pitched Friday night.  I wrote about his appearance in the Clearwater piece that night.  The report disappeared from the site.  I haven’t figured out what happened, but here’s a brief synopsis of Mariot’s night.
  • Mariot’s line – 1.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 HR (GS).
  • Mariot gave up a run in his first inning – a lead off double, fly out, RBI-single, and double play.
  • Marior got a ground ball out to start the sixth inning.  That was followed by a walk, single, RBI-single, bases-loading single, and home run.
  • His FB was 92-95, t96 mph.
  • He threw 42 pitches, 25 strikes.
  • He threw 26 FB, 3 CB, 11 mid 80s (83-87), and 2 that didn’t register on the gun.
  • Five of the six hits including the HR came off FB.
  • He induced 6 swings-and-misses, 4 were FB, 2 were on pitches at 84 and 85 mph.
  • Ray Burris was in uniform and in the dugout.  I assume for Mariot.

91 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of May 2nd

  1. The Phillies are in the last place playoff spot. I read an article where the Phillies run differential is bad no crap really. The pitchers are pitching great the Offense other then 2 or 3 players needs help . Altherr, Asche can’t come back fast enough, Francoeur calling Francoeur. The pt about getting Ruf back in the LF was to get some power well 0 hr . Lough is the better choice until help Arrives. 1 the Blanco factor there he should rotate with Galvis and Hernandez . 2 Burris is hitting .059 non productive plus everyone needs a bats he is 1 -20 . Send him down if nothing else to get him a bats sending him up as pitch hitter is crazy. I’d give who ever you bring up another 2 wks in AAA why cause the 25 man. 3 TJ give him about 100 a bats in AAA make sure he’s ready . 4 Ruf should not be up against R handed pitching . 5 perk for Bourjos I like the guy but he needs to hit . I know 1 isn’t going to happen some reason Mackanin feels Galvis and Hernandez are better then Blanco. Everything else should happen in 2 wks this will Perk , TJ , Featherston 2 more wks of AAA abat . The Phillies need 2 more bats that a least hit.250 with some power , I wouldn’t bring Willams until he’s killing the ball . I rather have the Phillies a least try different things to get the Offense going.plus it takes the pressure off the young hitters and pitcher’s.

    1. Tim, You mention it in passing, but when Crawford and Kingery are ready, definitely next year sometime, Blanco will be the player that remains the important bench guy, not only for his clutch hitting, but also for his team leadership. He is a player you want to have with so many young players. Galvis and Hernandez are making themselves assets that can be used in trades.

  2. The Phillies have taken to batting the pitcher 8th. Since April 20th against the Met, the Phillies flipped Bourjos (and I think Cesar was # 9 once) and the Pitcher in those last 2 spots. Since that time, the Phils have been 9 – 1. Is that a coincidence or is that a strategy? It sounds like an insane strategy but Philly Pitchers may be better hitters than Bourjos, Burriss and Goedell. The Phils could be hoping to take all pressure off that light hitting #9 guy and if he gets on base, the top of the order already has speed on the bases. It’s a small thing but it changes things up… and it’s working.

    I also noticed the Brewers hit Jonathan Villar 9th in one game but the next game he was back at #1.

    1. I believe it was Ben Davis who pointed out that Herrera started batting batting lead off at the same time so it could be the combination that has led to success.

  3. I definitely put more weight on their success being Herrera in the lead off spot and not just that his new found approach of seeing more pitches and taking walks allows them more opportunities to put runs on the board.

    For me the Goeddel experiment has to be over. You are doing the kid a disservice by only getting him 25 PA’s through the first month of the season. if they made the decision to keep him out of ST then it should have also been the decision to run him out there every 2 of 3 games to see if he could play.

    That said if they want to switch the PA’s from Bourjos to Goeddel this next month that’s ok too.

    Blanco has to be your guy going forward…

    This has to be the month that it all ends for Rhino. You have this really good young pitching. You have Herrera and Franco busting it at the plate and in the field. You owe to those guys who are your future to move on.

    I’m sorry but everyday players especially your 4 hole hitter cannot have a sub .300 OBP.

    1. The big league team is playing winning baseball – why would they change things while the current team is working? Howard is tied for the lead on the team in HRs and third in RBIs and runs scored and is fielding at a .975 rate. The only negative is his batting average of .195. Had he had 5 more hits he would have a batting average of .260 and the tone about him would be much different. He is in the lineup to hit HRs and drive in runs which he has done. The Phillies are not going to drop Ryan Howard if he continues to contribute as he has. He is on pace to hit 32 HRs – lets just enjoy his last year with the Phillies.

      1. Oldie … While I agree with you that I wouldn’t release Howard, any argument defending his defense is a lost cause.

    2. Over the last year, Blanco has proven to be a much better hitter than either Ruf or Howard and, at this point, it’s no longer a small sample size issue.

    3. If Goeddel is losing ABs to both Lough and Ruf, then why have him on the roster? Is he that good that we need to have him in the system? Put him on waivers and see if somebody claims him.

      1. Goeddel must first be offered back to Tampa for $25,000. They could say nay you keep him and then we can assign him to AAA or AA.

        Just like what happened with Victorino

        1. sure tampa would pay 25k to take him back, but wonder if tampa would let the phils keep him if they were offered the right amount of cash.

        2. Goeddel needs to be put on waivers first. If he’s unclaimed, then he can be offered back to the Rays.

      2. Matt Klentak’s first two Rule 5 choices didn’t pan as hope so far…not sure they want to have to swallow that pill, not just yet.
        Goeddel still hasn’t got to his first 15 day DL stent, so he has time..

  4. I know this comes of as ridiculous, but at what point do you say that the team is overachieving and the pitching is doing so well that what the heck, lets see how long we can hang around the playoff race? Why not bring up Knapp, Perkins, and maybe even Crawford just to see if a few capable bats in the lineup doesnt help a bit. Houston had zero clue they were going to be so good last year, but when they realized they were they brought up guys like McCullers and of course Correa, and neither was over-matched at all.

      1. And where would he play? He’s DHing most days, not even playing 1b. He has VERY little experience at 1b. He also has less than 100 at bats over three years. He won’t be up any time soon. Just let him stay there and play and hopefully get some time at 1b
        The Phillies are not making the playoffs this year. Everyone needs to relax and enjoy the moment. Let the kids develop on their own time schedule.

        1. The Phillies are in an odd position. They were not ready for this happy contingency – namely, the team playing so well that it is somehow on the outskirts of contention. They decided, understandably, not to pay average players large wages during what they expected would be a rebuild year and they had a few young players that they thought would be healthy who got hurt. If they are still hanging out around 5 games above .500 around the end middle of June they will have some interesting decisions to make. I don’t care how much they spend or who they promote, so long as they don’t mortgage too much of the future. The thing to remember is that they have been receiving such below average production that the introduction of even an average player at certain key positions would be a huge upgrade. If it were me, I’d put Pat Gillick to work cooking up a plan to make this happen – nobody is better at, low cost, in-season roster building acquistions than Gillick.

    1. I think it would be mistake to jeopardize development just because Phillies pitching is on a roll. As fun as this has been its unsustainable. High rotation from pitching staff might help to explain missing bats but in time teams will anticipate and adjust for it. Just stay course until august and then bring up another piece or two.

      1. I agree with you, but i really don’t think it would jeopardize development. These guys arent 19 year olds. Even if it’s something as simple as having a bat like Perkins coming off the bench in lieu of Burris, or having Joseph in the lineup at 1b instead of the automatic outs that have been there. And I’m fine with crawford coming up. Even if he only hit .240 at this point of his career, his overall contributions to teh team would be of great value, he does all the little things right.

    2. Could agree on Knapp and Perkins, but not Crawford, who definitely needs more development especially defensively. Plus Galvis is more than holding his own and shows promise as a tradable piece (or a move to 2nd?) when Crawford really is ready, like a year from now.

      1. The Phillies have made it a priority that each prospect has to earn their stripes at each level before they are promoted. Crawford is only hitting ,278 at Reading. If he was hitting .350 I’d say move him to LHV. But to jump him two levels would be a disservice to him. Promote him to LHV mid season but not to the bigs. he is not ready. No reason for us to panic and start promoting guys before their time. Let them develop at their own rate.

        1. Crawfords OBP right now is a ridiculous .418 I won’t scream for his call up this early but he should be in LHV.

        2. His bat is absolutely absolutely ready for AAA and probably the bigs too, but as OP said, his defense needs more consistency.

    3. danurda,

      Maybe not JP. He’s in a slump and has looked really bad striking out much more frequently. And, while his fielding talent and instincts are superb, he still makes lots of errors.

      He rested Sunday. Maybe that’s what he needs. At just 21, he might need to simply mature a little more adding some strength and stamina.

      I’d be happy if he plays in AA until he clearly conquers it, then move on to AAA. If he doesn’t make the Phillies — not counting any September time — until 2018, that would be fine with me if that’s what he needs.

  5. I hate to be negative, but while I think overall the bullpen has promising to solid members, I don’t think Gomez will come close to sustaining his success as a closer and by sometime in June will be supplanted by Bailey or maybe Hernandez. Right now, if there were an opportunity, I’d take Giles over Gomez in the closers role.

    1. I agree with Murray, Gator, and Vermont 100% completely. The Phillies aren’t a playoff team, not even close. This little run that they are on is fantastic. Let’s just enjoy it. Do not deviate from the plan. Let the prospects develop at their own level. And practice patience. That is the right way to build a program. We are still a few years away from contending for a playoff spot. A good way to derail it is to bring up these prospects early.

    1. I can see why he was an early on pitch-to-contact guy. The HS injury cost him a lot of money in the draft and I guess he himself came to a realization that running his 4seamer up to 96/97 will not bode for long-term health.
      He can dial it up when he wants, why waste bullets before the MLB battles.

  6. This is great that the Phils are 15-10 despite a poor offense, maybe some overachieving on the pitching staff, and some nice luck (if you look at the run differential). The reality is they are 15% through their schedule which means if this was the NFL they’d be in the second quarter of their Week 3 game. So let’s not change ANYTHING about their future roadmap or development of key players. Crawford, Alfaro, Knapp, Williams, etc should all continue to develop in whatever way is best for them independent of the big club.

    I would definitely consider a Burriss for Featherston swap and get him some ABs each week to see what you have. I would let TJ keep playing in AAA for another month to make sure he adjusts as the league adjusts. And I would bring Perkins up as soon as Goeddell can pull a muscle while sneezing or getting off the bus.

    As for Howard, I would give him one more month. If he keeps playing like this, or worse, and Ruf or TJ or Perkins are deserving of the playing time, I think you have to make the change. If the team somehow sees him as the glue holding a surprising contending team together as a veteran clubhouse presence, maybe they do keep him in a bench role, like Matt Stairs in 2008.

    What I ultimately think will happen here is the Phils will have a better than expected season in the 75-78 win range but ultimately not contend. However, they may end up with several pieces of value that could be moved – Hellickson, Ruiz, Hernandez, Bailey, Asche, Blanco, Bourjos, and Gomez. And hopefully well see some young players debut – Crawford, Williams, Knapp, Appell, Eflin, etc

    1. Howard is what he is (older, post-achilles injury version). For the most part he will be platooned for the rest of the year. It’s not like he’s non-productive, just a mediocre power bat. Will get his 20+ HRs, 65-70 RBIs and .220 avg. Even new management won’t go for benching a 25MM player.

  7. 31 million is pocket change for you romus and middleton. But for me that’s a ton of money to release.

    1. rocco.. pocket change, eh?
      If only I wish.
      However, if by some stroke of luck, Ryno gets hot and stay potent until July….and the Philies are able to deal him to a probable AL team at the deadline…..his cost to the Phillies would be ‘only’ approx. $18M pay-out by the Phillies to the other club if they want him without salary.

  8. braves call up reid brignac and chase d’arnaud; they are really taking the quest for the #1 pick seriously.

  9. Can someone help me out here?

    On the play-by-play of the final Phl-Wsh game, in the 8th inning, the play was written as:

    “Heisey lined out to pitcher, Severino to second.”

    What the heck happened?

    I haven’t seen any highlights or read about the play. But its highly unusual.

    It happened on the batter before Hinojosa was injured on the infield hit.

    The full inning:
    DALIER HINOJOSA PITCHING FOR PHILADELPHIA
    Hinojosa relieved Nola.
    Drew struck out swinging.
    Severino walked.
    Heisey hit for Kelley.
    Heisey lined out to pitcher, Severino to second.
    den Dekker reached on infield single to pitcher, Severino to third.
    Araujo relieved Hinojosa.
    Rendon hit for Espinosa.
    Rendon walked, den Dekker to second.
    Harper struck out swinging.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/playbyplay?gameId=360428120

    1. oops my gaffe…catcher Pedro Severino was brought up for the injured Wilson Ramos.

  10. We won’t see any significant callups until after the trade deadline as long as we hang around the .500 mark.

  11. Could we actually be buyers? I’m not talking about trading any of our real prospects but what about trying to swing the type of deal we swung to get Morton & Hellickson but for a bat this time? Pricey veterans, where as along as we are willing to pay all or a fair chunk of their salary we really wouldn’t have do give up much in return.

    Some names that come to mind:

    Jon Jay – LH – OF – 6.85mil through 2016
    CoCo Crisp – S – OF – 11mil (vesting option w/ 750k buyout)
    Carlos Beltran – S – OF – 15mil through 2016

    Any other names come to mind?

    I’m not ready to go to the bigger money guys. Guys like:
    Melvin Upton 31.9mil remaining
    Andre Either 35.5mil remaining
    Carl Crawford 42mil remaining
    Matt Kemp 73mil remaining
    Ryan Braun 96mil remaining

    Kemp & Braun would more then likely still require too good of a prospect(s) Then I’d be willing to give. Though Kemp is a little tempting (4 years counting this one) at a little over 18 per.

    1. The Phillies need to try to find a partner that will trade a competitive balance pick, in exchange for accepting a short term, high dollar amount, Outfielder off their roster.

  12. I love that we have two young players to build this offense around. and a couple of starters. I don’t want kemp. who is 31, keep those guys away from these kids. Lets build this team right, In two years , you see what you have then go after a vet or two to fill in. not now.

    1. rocco…how about a pitcher?…someone like a Strasburg …but big $$$$$.
      But he becomes the senior staff leader at 29.

  13. I would be on the fence with him. Now if you say harper who is still a kid. I am all in on him.

  14. Strasberg has always made me nervous, and not just because of Scott Boras. He never struck me as a team leader type, and I would be real reluctant to give him a long term deal. I always thought he would become available, but something about him scares me. Maybe I still remember the shutting him down scenario. Am I crazy?

    1. No but Klentak would have to do his homework and be sure he’d be a solid acquisition. Background info is aplenty these days.

    2. matt13…no…he does come with risk. A past TJ pitcher and also as pitcher age they do lose velo for the most part. So there are risks.

  15. Top 15

    1. Crawford – not hot and still he’s awesome
    2. Alfaro – has won me over. Has a great personality and approach too. Pitchers commend his intelligence. He’s the catcher in 3 years. Skill set is first rate.
    3. Williams – is growing into his projections nicely.
    4. Randolph – once he begins to hit with power, and I think he will, will fly through the system.
    5. Appel – he’s starting to show why he was such a big deal before he was drafted.
    6. Quinn – still electric, starting to heat up – would love to see him and Herrera chase down fly balls in the outfield together, even for a short while.
    7. Eflin – biggest riser. Is missing bats and projects to the middle of the rotation – higher if he can bring up his K rates even more.
    8. Lively – he’s for real. Don’t sleep on this guy. He’s going to be a good major league pitcher. My guess is that he’s the guy who ends up in a trade for hitting. If the hitter is good, I could live with that. But someone will be happy with him.
    9. Kilome – is probably for real, but is still very high risk.
    10. Knapp – his swing is beautiful from both sides of the plate. Not sure where he lands on the field, but he can hit.
    11. Kingery – looking interesting. Lots to like.
    12. Cozens – the raw power is so significant that you have to keep him in mind. Has a strong all-around game and can even steal bases.
    13. J. Thompson – is he another Joe Blanton or something more? Don’t really even believe in him at this spot and, no, it’s not just the recent bad outings. The stuff has been “meh”.
    14. Hoskins – I think he’s adjusting. Must cut down on the Ks and continue to develop power.
    15. Eshelman – there are about 5 guys I could put here – but I think, over time, this guy will be a very solid big league pitcher – a decent 3/4. Not bad for a throw-in in a trade.

        1. We always project our prospects but I’m curious where our graduates project. I’m not as savvy as most on the board so I want to know what everyone thought of Nola Velasquez hellickson Morgan and eickoff. Nola a 3; Velasquez a 2/3; hellickson a 4; morgan a 4/5; and eickoff a 3/4. Am I underestimating these guys?

          1. Here’s how I view them – there’s still a lot of variability because most of the guys are early in their careers. Velasquez – 2/3 (probably a 2 for now, still has ace potential), Nola – 1-3 (probably also slots in as a very strong 2, like Velasquez, has ace potential – was, in my view, a 3 the moment he was promoted; high floor, high ceiling), Eickhoff – 3/4 (if he turns out to be a legitimate 3, that’s a big win – needs to work in other pitches and nail his command – has outside 2 potential, but I doubt that happens – Jordan Zimmerman is a 2 and he’s a lot better than Eickhoff), Morgan – 3-5 (I like his stuff, still improving velocity and his approach; much better than people give him credit for), Hellickson – 4 (has days of brilliance and days where he gets killed – sounds like a 4 to me).

        2. Interesting Nola has pretty much limited to 7% or less, his change up and has relied a lot more on his CB (approx 35%) and 2seamer (approx 38%) this year vs last year. He also has dropped his usage down on the 4 seamer.to less then 20%,

          1. There was a frequent poster on this blog who recently called Eickhoff garbage because he used his curve ball so much. Wonder what he thinks of Nola?

            1. Its was me. I don’t like Eickhoff. Nola has been better than I thought he was so far. You can say my name I stand behind what I say. I have the balls to say what I think. I learn something the other day too. When a person can say that Eickoff war is better than Hamels. Then I realize how people who go just by numbers. really have no clue. Even the gm of the Phillies said its only one part of the puzzle.

            2. It wasn’t me, but to be very clear, there is a difference between saying Eickoff has a better WAR than Hamels this year (fact) and saying that Eickhoff is better than Hamels (not true). The point being, Eickhoff has performed well and is not “garbage.” Of course one stat is only part of the puzzle. but that doesn’t mean it is meaningless.

            3. Eickhoff’s WAR being better than Hamels is objective over a same sample size of games (for a few games he’s pitched better – but so what?). I don’t think anybody in their right mind would say that Eickhoff is a better pitcher than Hamels.

      1. No, it’s mostly based on my seeing him pitch – maybe back end of the top 10, but I wouldn’t have him in the top 6 or 7. He’s behind Eflin in my view.

  16. Good read that’s why the prospects have to 1 stay healthy .2 make the Phillies notice you by kicking some butt.

  17. Bty 3 more games with ST.louis then next 13 the Braves , miami , Cinn . Catch I would put Martin there too.

  18. I haven’t seen anyone else mention it, so I will. Encouraging outing from Morgan on Friday night. 7K 1BB in 5 innings. FB sitting low 90’s. He was sitting high 80’s last year. Seems like he’s almost back to his preinjury velocity. Could be another piece of the puzzle.

    1. Yup – I noticed; I’ve posted about his increased velocity since I saw him in ST. And he’s learned a lot about pitching since he sustained the injury – he’s sort of like a poor man’s Cliff Lee out there – similar repertoire, not quite the same velocity, movement or command. I expect him to be quite effective over time. He’s a legit big league starter in my view.

  19. Classic example of run differential lose 10-3 on one night and win 1-0 the next. Nola was exceptional last night. I love that kids repertoire.

    1. DMAR:
      He sure does command the zone like a young Maddux.
      His excellent control of the 2seamer low in the zone affording hitters the only opp to roll it is pretty amazing.

        1. DMAR…….going out on a limb or a limp!
          But in all honesty, last year Reading’s Dusty W. also mentioned it in May, so I am not the first.

          1. Now if we can just get some offense going this staff has some good mojo going I would hate to see it go into a complete tail spin.

      1. I hear the Maddux comp for Nola a lot. For me, though, Nola reminds me the most of Orel Hershiser. Same body types, similar wind ups, same crazy movement on their pitches.

  20. The Cards, as we know, are a good hitting team. They work the Pitchers and are, even when their averages are down, tough outs. Nola was terrific, and it is hard to believe that they have 6 Shutouts. Only had 7 all of last year.

    1. There is a Phils minor leaguer whom I suspect given a massive spike in power this year. But I will not name him and I hope it is based on hard work.

      1. @V1, yeah, we’ve been noticing his increased power and productivity down here, too. Hopefully, it is because of his off season regimen which saw him gain about 15 pounds of muscle. He also changed his approach at the plate and is striving to make contact further in front than in the past. Or maybe we’re thinking about different players.

        1. I am not thinking about a player on Clearwater. But I know who you mean. Just hope it is all hard work and the report comes out clean.

  21. I Am more impressed with Mc clure now then ever before. If I read the article right. He is 64 with 4 yr old set of twins. Now that’s hard to do at that age.

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