Open Discussion: Week of February 20th

String training is in full swing.  The Phillies reverted back to using just two fields for PFPs with the result being a lot of standing around by the pitchers after loosening up throwing their long toss.  Other drills are more fast-paced.  The best so far have been the “live” batting practice sessions.  

Usually, batters just stood there and provided a target for 20-25 pitches and hacked away a couple times during the end of the session.  The Phillies young prospects are getting good swings all through the sessions.  Earlier I reported that Dylan Cozens made some good contact off LHP Sean Burnett and laid off some low and away offerings.  This morning, Andrew Knapp took Jeremy Hellickson yard, left-handed, to his pull-side on the fifth or sixth pitch he saw.

Our discussions on our side of the fence have centered on two topics –

  • with the acquisition of Saunders and Kendrick, what will the outfields look like at AAA and AA (and who gets squeezed out of the organization), and
  • what will the rotations look like as deserving young prospects force their way into Lakewood and Clearwater with no room above AAA (who goes to the ‘pen and who just goes).

A secondary discussion (with much less dramatic discussion) has to do with the placement of catchers, but most expect the FA pickups to request their release when their contracts allow with Rupp/Knapp in Philadelphia, Alfaro/Moore in Lehigh Valley, Numata/Fisher in Reading, and Bossart/Grullon in Clearwater.

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

Key dates remaining during the off season:

  • 2/23 – Phillies’ spring training game v. University of Tampa.
  • 2/24 – Grapefruit League games begin.  Schedule here.
  • 3/6-22 – World Baseball Classic.
  • 4/2-3 – Opening Night/Opening Day.

Extra Innings

The new CBA hasn’t been made available yet, but one change so far has been that the 60-Day Disabled List can be used from the first day of spring training.  During the previous agreement, the “60” wasn’t available until the end of spring training.  The Phillies haven’t had to use it yet, but the Rangers put former Phillies reliever Jake Diekman on their “60” on the first day of pitchers and catchers.  He is recovering from colon surgery.

Cumulative transactions: 

  • Baseball America reported that between February 4th and 10th the Phillies signed FA RHP David Whitehead who was released by the Pirates organization back in December.  The transaction hasn’t appeared in any of the Phillies transaction lists, nor has MiLB updated his status from “Released”.  I’ll wait for confirmation.
  • Otherwise, the organization rosters are up to date.


90 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of February 20th

  1. I have no idea why this comment by catch22hman to Eric D was marked as spam, but thought it was succinct and copied it here so that it didn’t go unread.

    “I agree that they want and need him (Goeddel) to play ever day. I also agree that they liked him enough to keep him around, but that was not a very difficult task on a roster that fielded the worst hitting outfield in the majors and the worst hitting team in the majors. As for how high they are on him, I would say he’s in the mix and he’s going to have to prove himself. This team is not like the Cubs of a few years ago where there are several obvious future stars. Both in the hitting and pitching department, many of the young upper level players (and many in the majors) are true unknowns as major league players so the strategy is to let them play and, due to the sheer number of capable prospects, the odds are that some will rise to the top. The strategy makes sense, but I’m not sure I can recall a rebuilding team with this much upper level depth with so few “sure thing” prospects – it’s a new one by me, although it will be interesting to watch. I don’t ever recall seeing this many capable prospects on any particular AAA team – not just a Phillies AAA team – any AAA team. By May, you are going to see a stacked pitching rotation (Eflin, Appel, Thompson, Lively and Pivetta and possible Pinto!) and a real, major league prospect at virtually every single position (1st – Hoskins, 2nd – Valentin or Kingery, SS – Crawford, C – Alfaro or Knapp, LF – Cozens, CF – Quinn, RF – Williams). Folks, this just doesn’t happen very often. AA is typically the “prospects” league – it is rare for a AAA team, even a very good AAA team, to have more than about 4 or 5 really decent prospects. For the first half of the season, the IPigs could have something like a .700 winning percentage if all the players are healthy. They are definitely the “must see” team in the farm system to start the season.

    1. Thank you, Jim, for passing this along to us readers. I have thought about the logjam of prospects at the top levels for some time. It is highly unusual for a AAA team to be teeming with players on the upswing. I look to the AA team for up-and-comers, but this year LV is the place to concentrate on.

      I have also done my comparison with the Cubs organization and noted that they had can’t miss prospects sprinkled in among the solid prospects. As the Royals proved a year plus ago, however, a team doesn’t necessarily have to have a Kris Bryant to excel. A solid lineup with an outstanding pitching staff is certainly a great formula for success.

      The problem is that the Philies also don’t have a #1 pitching prospect in their system. They have #3,4,5 starters in their system, but no one really stands out, imo. Darwinism is about to take over and it’s a good thing. What I love about this game is the surprises…good and bad…that occur in the flow of the farm system. Who knew, for example, that Jared Eickoff, almost a throw-in in the Hamels deal, would be the first player from that deal to emerge as a given in the rotation?

      Play ball!!!

      1. I do believe the starting pitching is under rated. I hear/read so often that all the pitchers are mid rotation starters. But when you look at the upside of some of these guys they could (does not mean they will) pitch as upper rotation guys. Thompson, Eflin, and even Appel have that potential as do Velasquez and Nola in the majors already. If one of these guys excel and pitch as a top of the rotation pitcher and another pitches just below that then the team has the base for the future rotation. Chances are that some will exceed expectations, and some will not reach their potential, and others will be just average. But with at least 10 legit pitching prospects (of some degree) in the upper minors and a couple in majors that even 2 or 3 doing better than major league average that would be huge for the future rotation. Then in the lower minors there is some really good pitching that could climb the ladder.

        1. Agree strongly, Bob. Very under rated arms as an overall pool. Even if two become TOR guys and add a top FA ace in ’18/’19, we’re cookin’!

      2. The Phillies are, however, uniquely positioned to simply buy a #1 starting pitcher. That likely is the key guy they will have to spend big to acquire in FA or in trade with a cash-strapped club. Of the Phillies aces during my lifetime, only Roberts, Simmons(?, does he quite rise to that level?), Chris Short, and Hamels have been home-grown. Bunning, Carlton, Schilling, Lee, Halladay came from trade or FA. We also traded a couple of aces or near aces (Sanford, Jenkins) for very little during this time.

    1. A lot of the kids are here already. They are working out in the afternoon when the major league camp is finished. But, I believe the official report day is March 2nd. Games start on March 14th.

  2. There was a good article on Herrera both Manuel and Samuel said he has a very useful gift . He can square up almost any pitch not to many hitters have that ability. Interesting thread coming form Charlie who has seen his share of hitters.

  3. I think an injury or two will help with the outfield log jam . It always seems to but comp is good for young players . I continue to think Tj and Franco could hit 30 or more Hrs each.

    1. Power wise, my sense is Joseph might very well lead the club in HRs, 30-35 even if he doesn’t hit for avg or OBP.

      If Franco figures things out, he should hit around 30. But I would prefer he shorten the swing to all fields and raise his avg to .280+.

      Saunders would be the third guy on the opening day roster who could hit 25-30 IF he’d still be around come August, especially given CBP.

      There should be a significant drop off after those 3. IMO, Freddy won’t go yard as much this season as last. If he does, that wouldn’t bode well either (a) for him – meaning he’s still taking a similar approach at the plate, OR (b) for the team if he’s still the starting SS and playing enough to accumulate the power numbers. Unless of course he slides to 2b, which means Cesar has been either hurt, dealt or struggling.

      1. In that case my opening day batting order looks like this –

        Hernandez 2b
        Kendrick lf
        Herrera cf
        Franco 3b
        Saunders rf
        Joseph 1b
        Rupp/Knapp c
        Galvis ss

        Knapp should be fun to follow. I think he’ll get 40% of the starts behind the plate, 20% at 1b, and most of the starts as DH in interleague away games. That should get him around 400 PAs.

        1. Unless Rupp gets hurt, I think he gets 120/125 starts..leaving approx.35/40 for Knapp.
          Knapp should get one per week, at least, with the Sunday after a Saturday night game caught by Rupp….or the Saturday between the Friday and Sunday game.
          Then Knapp should get the occasional Thursday day get-away game after a Wednesday night game, and there are eight of them with five home and three away.

          1. Romus, I think the brass and coaches like Rupp but they love Knapp’s makeup. He offers so much that I think they’d be compelled to get him as many ABs as possible. That’s why I think he’ll get more starts behind the dish than once a week.

            1. 8mark… mentioned 40%.
              Then Rupp then gets a little less than 100 starts there. Not sure they want that.
              But I am sure injuries may be inevitable and Knapp could get a sting of starts if Rupp has to sit out for awhile.

            2. Romus, I don’t think they’re convinced Rupp is the long term catcher. They like him in the sense that he’s a known commodity. Not sure they see him as the guy to grow with the young arms. Whether 125 games, 100 games or less isn’t a benchmark or goal they have for him. Knapp OTOH….

        2. Honestly, it’s probably the best line-up we’ve fielded since Hunter Pence was traded. What I like about that line-up is that, other than Kendrick and maybe Galvis, the other players are all young and improving. When you see it on paper like this, you realize how important it is to the team that Franco make significant progress as a hitter. If you’ve watched him play as we all have, you know how much talent he has, both at the plate and in the field. But he needs to take his whole game to the next level. If he just tries to follow what Matt Stairs has to say to him (we actually know a lot of what Stairs is going to say to him since Stairs himself said what Franco needs to do during his telecasts last year), he should start to become the player we all think he can be. I still think Aramis Ramirez is a good comp for his likely outcome but his ceiling is actually a bit higher than that (unfortunately, his floor is quite a bit lower than that too).

  4. The college baseball season is under way. Most of the projected top arms for this year’s draft have gotten off to slow starts:

    Alex Faedo (Florida) vs William & Mary … 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 7 K
    Kyle Wright (Vanderbilt) vs U of San Diego … 5 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 2 K
    Tanner Houck (Missouri) vs Eastern Mich … 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 9 K

    Two pitchers did look good their first time out:

    JB Bukauskas North Carolina vs Kentucky … 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 10 K
    Brendan McKay *Romus’ favorite (Louisville) vs Alabama St … 6 IP. 0 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 9 K at the plate he’s .500/.714./1.250 2HR after 3 games.

    And … Clemson lost 2 of 3 to Wright State, but Seth Beer and (Phillies unsigned 30th round draft pick) Logan Davidson were offensive forces.
    Beer (now playing 1B) … .429/.714/1.429 2 HR
    Davidson (SS) (#6 prospect for 2019 draft) … .364/.385/.636 1 HR

    1. McKay at 8?
      I am getting bad vibes he will still be there,
      …..maybe not now if he keeps it going like this.
      He may not slide down.

    2. I picked Cole Stobbe as my breakout prospect this year, but it will be interesting to measure his career to Logan Davidson’s career. They were both HS SS’s who project to 3B. They were both HS All-Americans, and were ranked very closely (Davidson #131, Stobbe #145 by BA). I wonder if Davidson would have signed for 1.1 million if the Phillies had selected him at the top of third round instead of Stobbe.

      1. Hinkie…it may have taken more than the $1.1M….which was over slotted by $300K. Perhaps the Phillies were not prepared to go much higher. Plus he had already committed to Clemson and wanted to play where his father played. The kid actually started Clemson on June 25th from what I read to get into their training program. So it seemed he had his mind set on Clemson.

  5. Hinkie and Romus, if we can land any 2 of these players in the first 2 rounds, I would say it’s a good draft:

    (In order of preference, with the lower ranked more likely as a good #2 of course)
    1 Brendan McKay LHP/1b, Louisville
    2 JB Bukauskas RHP, NC
    3 Tanner Houck RHP, Missouri
    4 Trevor Rogers LHP, Carlsbad NM (hs)
    5 Tristan Beck RHP, Stanford
    6 Corbin Martin RHP, Texas A&M
    7 Conner Uselton OF, Southmore (hs) OK
    8 Colton Hock RHP, Stanford
    9 Mark Vientos SS, Amer.Heritage (hs) FL
    10 Michael Gigliotti OF Lipscomb
    11 Mike Rivera C, Florida
    12 Brendon Little LHP, State Coll of FL-Manatee

    1. 8mark … I like Kyle Wright and Tanner Houck. I really like Corbin Martin, but he’s going to have show he can be a starter. I think Brendan McKay is the safe pick (very high floor, not such a high ceiling). For me, this is a draft to pick a guy with high upside. I’m thinking HS players like Hunter Greene (who won’t be available at #8), Royce Lewis (probably won’t be available at #8), Blayne Enlow, Trevor Rogers, Mark Vientos, and Cole Turney.

  6. has released it’s Top 30 Prospects for AL East teams today. Josh Tobias checks in at #23 for the Red Sox.

    1. Which suggests to me that the Red Sox’s farm system cannot be that deep. Don’t get me wrong, Josh Tobias has some ability (I saw him in ST last year and was impressed), but he’s 24 and hasn’t yet master high A ball. He’s just a middling prospect.

      1. If he were still in our organization, Tobias would be 5th to 7th on our depth chart for starting 2B 4 or 5 years from now.

    1. Daniel Brito is #19 prospect. You gotta like this paragraph from his write-up:
      “The Phillies are willing to be patient with Brito, knowing he is just getting started. But if someone told the player development staff that Robinson Cano looked like this when he was a teenager, they’d likely believe you. He has the chance to develop into the best pure hitting prospect in the system if he continues progressing as he has thus far.”

      1. Hinkie…looks like Stobbe is gaining favorability with the analysts also. Ranked 15th coming out of the gate for the first time. Yesterday you asked whether or not Davidson would have signed for $1.1M in that slot.
        And have to like Sixto going from 29th last ranking to 7th…may be one of the bigger jumps.

        1. Love the overall volume of prospects who are still teenagers. Moniak, Sanchez, Gowdy, Brito, Stobbe, and Ortiz. The system is so well stocked other teens like Arquimedes Gamboa, Josh Stephen, Jonathan Guzman, Ben Pelletier, Rafael Marchan, Francisco Morales, and Kyle Young didn’t make the Phillies’ list, but many of them would make many other teams’ top 30.

          1. Have to agree.
            An abundance of young A-level prospects that have higher than normal ceiling potential than Phillies’ systems had in the past.

    2. Weird anyone catch Pinto had a 80 grade FB at the end of the yr. Also Oritz at 215 Phillies signed him at 260. 1 thing I missed form last yr Lively hits per 9 is outstanding. Some grades are a bit crazy too.

  7. Probably re-post this again but here is my top prospect compared, to ours, and MLB’s top 30.

    Crawford – 1’s across the board
    Mickey Moniak – I agree with MLB as 2
    Jorge Alfaro – same here
    Cozens – I like power 😉
    Hoskins – same here, MLB not as much
    Quin – again agree with MLB
    Nick Williams – MLB ranked him a bit higher than I did
    Pivetta – MLB ranked him higher than here, I like where he is heading
    Gowdy – I thought MLB had him about right
    Ortiz – MLB has him much lower than us
    Randolph – across the board
    Medina – I had him a bit higher but pretty much across the board
    Kilome – have him a bit lower than this site and MLB, last year concerned me
    Elinary Garcia – had him ranked higher
    Knapp – across the board
    Kingery – have him a bit lower than most
    Lively – we had him in the same spot, but MLB has him lower
    Stobbe – MLB has him higher
    Appel – This site had him higher than myself and MLB
    Sanchez Sixto – This one I missed out on mainly due to my knowledge of him
    Pinto – For some reason MLB has him higher
    Pujols – I had him higher
    Tocci – across the board
    Tirado – This site had him at 19 (minus Aruz) and MLB did not have him in their 30
    Anderson – across the board
    Pullin – another that did not make MLB’s top 30
    Fanti – Ditto
    Eshelman – Ditto
    Valentin – across the board
    Falter – not top 30
    Arano – MLB had much higher than us
    Edgar Garcia – same here
    Brito – Way higher than us at 19
    Romero -MLB higher than us
    Canelo – Same here

  8. What is weird to me is they have Randolph’s Hit and Power tool both graded at 50 . . . is this a mistake? maybe 50 hit, 40 power? There’s no way his power tool is on par with his hit tool . . . I wish that was the case. Personally, i’m not very high on him and don’t think he ever makes it past AA but thats just me (I also don’t think Crawford is the fixture that people think he will be). Hope i’m TOTALLY wrong with both tho.

  9. I’m making my first trip to Clearwater next week. Planning on catching the Monday game. Any suggestions for a first timer?

    1. Stay at hotels that are inland. My first time down I stayed at a hotel right near the 60 causeway, I figured that was safe from spring breakers (not being on the ocean)….wrong.

      Now if you are into drinking 24/7 while you are down there, than any place will do.

  10. Did anyone access the BA piece on upcoming int’l FA? Supposedly links players to interested teams. Please post if so, thanks.

    1. 1 Quinn cf
      2 Crawford ss
      3 Cozens rf
      4 Hoskins 1b
      5 Williams lf
      6 Alfaro c
      7 Kingery 2b
      8 Hector Gomez 3b
      9 Pullin dh
      Leiter starts on the mound.

      1. This AAA lineup makes me wonder. Kingery over Valentin and Pullin over Perkins. Could Pullin be the 4th OF and DH at AAA over Perkins?

        1. I would think Pullin starts the season in AA in left field, which in my mind takes priority over dh in Lehigh. Again, Pullin will likely be in AAA if and when Williams gets the call. Perkins is useful roster filler. He can play cf when Quinn moves up unless Tocci earns the promotion which I doubt this soon.

          1. Goeddel will probably also be at LHV.
            There are 8 AL affiliated teams in the IL, so DH opps will be readily available.

            1. All in all, Romus, I can’t say I’m impressed with Goeddel. Nobody is even talking about him. And Pete did him no favors last season by icing him for most of the year and IMO setting him back in his development. With the current OF depth, what are his chances?

            2. 8mark…understand.
              But then again, who was talking about non-40 guy Tommy Joseph at this time last year.
              Sure his chances are slim with the OF depth in the system, but still in all, he deserves his shot.

  11. Anybody having access issues to inputting a player to Baseball Reference…..they have a new web look?.

      1. For a college feed that was actually pretty good at least enough to satisfy my need to watch some baseball.

  12. Just a college game, but fun to see what we hope to expect in the future: Cozens going yard, Quinn involved in generating multiple runs, JP turning plays and strong pitching.

  13. BA had an international preview the other day. Anybody know if they had any mention of the Phillies?

    1. Romus,

      Thanks for the link.

      A lot of people are less sanguine on JP.

      Six Phillies on the list. Fewer than we might like. I like that he likes Quinn, except for the injuries. Please, O Lord O Lord, let Quinny stay healthy.

      Also like that he included Rhys Hoskins who is FINALLY, getting props. Apparently being a right-handed 1B isn’t automatically and eternally fatal. BTW, I say that as a proud lefty.

      1. I think a lot of people view players subconsciously based on their fantasy league value. Crawford’s accumulative stats will likely not be very impressive, nor perhaps his batting avg, maybe he’ll be a .275 hitter? He gets on base, moves runners, makes plays that make you go “Wha…let me see that again!” And I also agree with one recent comment that suggested he might take a few years to become the offensive force we hope him to be.

  14. The next Cuban phenom:
    OFer Luis Robert (Moirant).

    “[Japan’s] Shohei Ohtani is the best international player out there and he’s a different animal because he would be the ace of a staff and he can hit,” one National League international scouting director said. “But Robert is up there. He’s a five-tool guy that can be in the big leagues soon. He has to be No. 2 behind Ohtani. He’s that good.”

    1. One American League international scouting director described Robert as “the best player on the planet, and that’s no exaggeration.”
      Talk about hyperbole ! Maybe that AL international scouting director has yet to hear about a certain Angel OF’er who hails from Millville.

      1. Hinkie…I think he may have implied the best international eligible candidate.
        I don’t know. Surely he would not include MLB players.

      2. If the Phillies do get interested in this Cuban OFer…they may have to make some trades to get more than their current international allocation of $4.75M
        They will need to find trading partners with teams under the penalty for this signing period and see if they can entice them with prospects for a least a $1M more to their base allocation.
        Two small market teams who will not be in the running I would think are the Rays and Twins signing Franco and Marte (according to BA’s Ben Badler)…. will take most of all their allocation.

        1. Romus …I’m not sure what you mean by that last sentence. I don’t have a subscription to BA. Are you saying the Rays and Twins are going to sign Wander Franco and Jelfrey Marte ? Or … are you saying it would take at least 5.75 million for the Phillies to sign any of Robert, Franco, or Marte ?

          1. Hinkie…sorry for the ambiguity.
            Yes…looks like Rays and Twins are in on Wander Franco and Jelfrey Marte. respectively. If they do sign them, then most of their allocation will be used up and they are two teams that probably will not be in the running for the Cuban OFer, unless they want to bust their hard-cap allocation and suffer the consequences, which I do not see that happening.
            There are also some teams who cannot sign anyone over the threshold of $300K, I think that is still the number now, for this signing period. There are a number to include,— the Cubs, Dodgers and Yankee and the Angels, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Giants, and Royals The Red Sox, are banned from signing international players during the current 2016-17 signing period until July 2.
            So the field is lessened if the Phillies wanted to dive into it.
            As for Robert….he will command as close to $5.75M as feasibly possible. And that is why I think the Phillies need to get another million or so onto their base allocation to make that offer…..if they so desire.

  15. Ok. Thanks for the clarification. If Robert becomes eligible this current (2016-17) period, you can eliminate the Phillies. A team already over their cap (Braves, Padres, Reds, Astros, etc) will have nothing to lose by outbidding the Phillies. I’m positive the Phillies aren’t going to bust their budget and incur a two year penalty this late in the signing period.
    The other interesting thing about the 2017 J2 season is the Shohei Otani effect. There still isn’t an Otani exemption to the new CBA. That means teams are going to have to use their J2 money to sign him. Do teams avoid early deals with 16 year olds for a shot at Otani ? If so, the competition for many of the top rated LA teens might really thin out for clubs who decide to not get involved with the Japanese superstar. Ten teams are under the penalty for the 2017 J2 period. If another ten are planning to lure Otani, and two teams (Twins and Rays) already have major money committed to Marte and Franco, that leaves eight teams to make early deals with all other top LA teens.

    1. Well Luis Robert still has to be declared by MLB as a free agent and I do not think MLB is I any hurry to do that since they want all the busting actions to cease.
      Before Cuban players are eligible to sign, they must obtain residency in a country outside of Cuba, then wait for the commiss’s office to clear them to sign. That timeline can vary. If Robert is cleared to sign by June 15, there’s no true limit to what he can sign for, though teams that exceed their bonus pools essentially have to pay double since they have to pay a 100 percent pool overage tax.
      Still do not think Robert will be cleared prior to June 15. MLB wants to clean up that international maneuvers from what team sdid from 2013 thru this last signing period.

      1. Thanks, Romus.
        Does anaybody here have a BA subscription ? Any word on the Phillies are going to sign this July ? I also wonder if the Phillies are being conservative with the LA teens in the hopes of acquiring extra pool money (through trades) to go after Shohei Otani since MLB still hasn’t created an Otani international FA excemption.

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