Open Discussion: Week of March 20th

The Phillies managed to win just one game last week.  After twenty-four games, the Phillies have an 9-12-3 Grapefruit League record.  Their week of futility culminated in an 8-0 loss to the Rays where they faced a perfect game for 7.1 innings.  

Two weeks ago, the Phillies had a middle of the pack team slash of –             .260/.335/.444/.779 (18th/18th/13th/15th).

Last week, the Phillies had a similar but dropping team slash of –   .257/.342/.412/.754 (20th/9th/21st/19th).

This past week, the Phillies continued to suffer a lower team slash of –     .245/.328/.397/.725 (26th/19th/23rd/23rd).

With prospects returning to the minor league camp, this downward trend of the “better” players is a concern.

The slash of the projected starters (Rupp, Joseph, Hernandez, Galvis, Franco, Kendrick, Herrera, and Saunders) is a lack luster – .213/.267/.344/.610.

The best players at each position with a reasonable number of plate appearances (Hanigan, Stassi, Kingery, Crawford, Gomez, Nava, Herrera, and Altherr) had a slash of – .319/.401/.529/.929.

I know that we aren’t supposed to put much stock in spring stats.  But why not?  Why should players who aren’t performing be guaranteed roster spots?  The two outfield blockers the Phillies added to the team over the winter are among the worst this spring – Saunders .189/.286/.297/.583, and Kendrick .178/.196/.267/.462.

I don’t see why we should be optimistic that the offense will be more productive this season.

Discussion around the cages last week centered on two topics – the Phillies 2017 win total and the combined HR production of Cozens and Hoskins at Lehigh Valley.  The over/under on each was 79 wins and 46 home runs.  I’ll take the under on wins and think that 46 HR is a pretty good guess.

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

Key dates remaining during the off season:

  • Grapefruit League games thru 3/31.  Schedule here.
  • 3/6-22 – World Baseball Classic.
  • 4/2-3 – Opening Night/Opening Day.

Extra Innings

Following last Sunday’s first reassignments (Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Chace Numata, and Andrew Pullin), the Phillies continued to option/reassign players during the week – Drew Anderson, Dylan Cozens, Elniery Garcia, Alberto Tirado, Victor Arano, Mark Appel, Ricardo Pinto, Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Cameron Perkins, Taylor Featherston, J.P. Crawford, and Pedro Beato.

The Phillies signed another 17-year old Dominican, 2B Jose Rivera.

Apparently, recently signed free agent, LHP Jhordany Mezquita is only 19-years old, not 29 as his player page on the Phillies site indicates.  Thanks go out to Steve Potter who got the player’s correct age from Coach Alex Concepion.

Cumulative transactions: (Bold text indicates new entries)

  • 3/17 – Phillies optioned Ben Lively to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/17 – Phillies optioned C Jorge Alfaro to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/17 – Phillies optioned OF Nick Williams to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/17 – Phillies reassigned OF Cameron Perkins to minor league camp.
  • 3/17 – Phillies reassigned IF Taylor Featherston to minor league camp.
  • 3/17 – Phillies reassigned SS J.P. Crawford to minor league camp.
  • 3/17 – Phillies reassigned RHP Pedro Beato to minor league camp.
  • 3/16 – Phillies signed free agent 2B Jose Rivera to a minor league contract.
  • 3/14 – Phillies optioned RHP Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/14 – Phillies optioned RHP Nick Pivetta to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/14 – Phillies optioned RHP Mark Appel to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/13 – RHP Victor Arano has been reassigned to minor league camp.
  • 3/13 – Phillies optioned Elniery Garcia to Reading Fightin Phils.
  • 3/13 – Phillies optioned Alberto Tirado to Clearwater Threshers.
  • 3/13 – Phillies optioned Drew Anderson to Reading Fightin Phils.
  • 3/13 – Phillies optioned Dylan Cozens to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/13 – RHP Wilberson Liendo assigned to DSL Phillies.
  • 3/12 – Phillies reassigned Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Chace Numata, and Andrew Pullin to minor league camp.
  • 3/12 – Phillies traded RF Joey Curletta to Seattle Mariners for Pat Venditte.
  • 3/10 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Wilberson Liendo to a minor league contract.
  • 3/10 – C Freddy Barreto assigned to DSL Phillies2.
  • 3/10 – RHP Jose Conopoima assigned to DSL Phillies.
  • 3/7 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Jose Conopoima to a minor league contract.
  • 3/7 – Phillies signed free agent C Freddy Barreto to a minor league contract.
  • 3/6 – LHP Jhordany Mezquita assigned to DSL Phillies2.
  • 3/1 – Phillies signed free agent LHP Jhordany Mezquita to a minor league contract.
  • 2016 15th round pick, Alex Wojciechowski, reported to minor league spring training.
  • The organization rosters are up to date.

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

  1. I’m not a betting man, but I’d push in all of my chips on Phillies Under 79. I think we’ll see an improvement over last year, but not 8 games.

    Plus, last year’s 71 wins were well above what their -200 run differential would project; they were more like a 62 win team last year, based on run differential.

    I’d set the Phillies Over/Under at 74.

    Everything would have to break right for us to be finish in the 78-82 win range…and how often does “everything go right” in the beautiful game of baseball?

    1. The last time everything went right… 2008. It can happen but it’s not very likely… or even remotely likely.

    2. 74 sounds like a good over/under. I doubt this team finishes with much less than 68 or 69 wins (too much young developing talent), but how high they could go is a complete mystery to me; probably not higher than 85, but it wouldn’t shock me if they finished at .500.

    3. Fritz–agreed that the starting point of last year’s 71 wins is a bit of a misnomer due to Pythagorean W-L of 62-100. Remember all those 2-1 games they won with stellar SP+relief?

  2. Spring stats should mean something. The influx of youth may happen sooner than later especially if Kendrick and Saunders struggle. Altherr proving he belongs and Stassi could play LF. Any update on Cuts?

  3. If you put money based on spring stats, you will probably lose it. It is obvious from the stats we have that some good prospects, but they will spend most of their time in AAA and AA this year. The two outfielders we picked up are doing what pros do in spring training. They will probably be ready when April comes. Eickhoff has made his corrections and looks like a pitcher who will be a 200 innings guy. The others are still working on the issues they identified to work on in the spring. You have to wait to see what will happen.

  4. However many W’s this year, 2017 should be a tale of 2 seasons – pre-deadline and post-deadline. And even if Kendrick and Saunders are the opening day corner OFs, I think they’ll start barely more than 50% of the games the first 3 months should they perform anywhere under their historical slashes. Altherr, Quinn, and/or Williams may merit those major league ABs even before the trade deadline. If the 25man roster as it is currently taking shape is as anemic as it’s shown the past 10 days, we could easily be 10 games out by Memorial Day. It’s the 2nd half of the season that will interest me, especially the offense. Of course, you can’t account for the unpredictable like prolonged injuries, especially, but one or two are inevitable. My 2017 opening day isn’t until August 1. Until then I only hope for the best at Lehigh. Go Iron Pigs!

    1. Exactly, I’m hoping for a strong September finish with a roster full of young kids. I still think 80 wins is possible although it’s easy to get discouraged looking at this team. Odubel should be back today and that will help plus I’m confident that Saunders will pick things up soon.

      1. The issue with this team is the hit tool for hitters and velocity for starting pitchers. One thing about Odubel, he’s got a super hit tool – probably the best on the team.

  5. Watching the hitters swing, both Altherr and Stassi look much better than Saunders/Kendrick. Nick Williams also looked good too. And Tommy Joseph came back and despite low numbers so far he has looked good swinging.
    As for wins I could see an increase but it wont occur until the 2nd half. Quinn, Williams, Alfaro, Thompson, and Eflin could be called up and improve the roster. 79 wins puts them close to middle of pack, I’m not sure that will happen yet but it could be close

    1. BobD…..can be done…KC Royals went from 72 wins to 86 wins from 2012 to 2013 with a young team.

      1. I’m thinking that’s us in 2018. Win 72-76 games this year, then, with all the younger guys having developed and playing regularly, we’ll surprise with 84-88 wins.

  6. IMO, Nola and Buchholz do not go down….Phillies go 82-80.
    O/U for Cozens/Hoskins at 46HRS…that is a hard one.
    Since only three players out of over 200 position players in the IL hit more than 23 HRs last year in the IL…one at 30, one at 27 the last at 24.
    I got to go under.

    1. Here’s my confused thoughts on 2017 that I posted elsewhere this morning:

      I’m still mulling the 2017 Phils and right now am thinking about 79 wins, but I vacillate between the low 70s and low 80s.

      There are more question marks on this team than in the past two years. We don’t know about the starting pitching. So much depends on Hellickson and Nola but both have gotten bombed this spring. How do we judge their last two starts? Are we optimistic because they pitched several strong innings, or are we worried because then they got hit hard?

      Offensively, Hendricks and Saunders look like powerful additions. But they have fallen significantly as they have aged, and they could be busts this year.

      The young guys at AAA are just that — young. They will not arrive like the cavalry charging in to save the day. They are more likely to arrive like young players who need a couple or three years to develop and for the group to jell, just as it took the cores of the 1980 and 2008 championship teams several years to develop after they made their Major League debuts.

      So, I’ll hope for 83 wins and a run at a wild card, but I’ll also not be surprised to see a dozen fewer wins and another year of patience.

  7. I think the Braves are much improved the Marlins about the same, Met’s/Nat’s about the same so that means our win total will again be in that 71 Range I’m going to say 72 +/- 2 games.

    I generally don’t worry about MLB players in ST they for the most part will play up to their career lines. The question is about the young players for me. Can Franco make big improvements and can Cesar stay close to his career slash.

      1. haha is it too cliche to say I don’t really care about the win total? I’m more interested to see if our young guys on the 40 man can improve their OPS numbers and seem to buy into the teachings of Stairs.

        1. DMAR…have to agree…the season is about developmental concerns more than wins and losses.

  8. I’m in line with 8mark that the Phillies really have two seasons although I think the real Phillies season starts in early June and runs through the end of the 2017 season.

    IF guys like Saunders/Hendricks struggle for the first few months it will be around that early June timeframe when the minor leaguers who are playing well will start taking away playing time. IF Saunders/Hendricks are playing well, they then become trade fodder and those same minor leaguers will come up to replace them when they are gone.

    The ultimate goal for the team in 2017 is to create a hierarchy in their system from the majors down through AAA and AA for their prospects. 1B, 2b, C, and all 3 OF positions have a number of potential candidates that are beginning to logjam at the upper levels of the system.

    Once they’ve made their determinations, they can then look to use their minor league depth to improve the big club by clearing some of that logjam and targeting specific players..

  9. I’m staying at the 78-82 range. Easy to get discouraged about this current roster. They’ll be a disappointment or two but a couple of pleasant surprises as well. Plus the 2 top teams in this division haven’t improved IMO.

  10. Free Aaron Altherr – this guy is poised for a breakout season, and I sure hope he gets the chance….

  11. With ya, Mike L – Altherr should be given a legit shot without the injury question hanging over him. Kid’s an athlete. Let’s see what kind of player he is. I’d prefer to see him play over Kendrick.

    1. His career could mirror Jayson Werth’s, late bloomer coming off a wrist injury. Hopefully he’ll at least play vs all LHP and the results quickly warrant more playing time

  12. 2017 Phillies for starts with the minors from May to June to see who are progressing and moving up and down in levels, then switch to Rule 4 and J2 signings. By the time I switch my focus to the MLB Phils, it will be close to the deadline which I expect to see some vets to be moved and the young guys will be called up the rest of the year and win 75 games (+/- 2).

  13. Big club’s pitching should be adequate and keep them in most games but hitting will struggle if Franco doesn’t pick it up. Regardless, the focus early should all be on LHV because that’s our future. There could be as many as six future Philly position player starters there to start the year plus a few starting pitchers. We need LHV to go crazy and have an awesome year.

  14. A few recent mock drafts have Phillies taking Vanderbilt’s Kyle Wright, who, while in possession of frontline starter stuff, is off to a rocky start this year.

  15. Last season, the Phillies started 24-17 because of stellar pitching and the ability to win one-run games. Then they played out the rest of the season at 47-74. If you remember, they lost ten of the final twelve games with the Mets “giving” them the season ending game.

    This year, the first three weeks of the season might be brutal. They play the Mets and the Nats for most of those three weeks. If they can win seventy five games this year, I will be elated.

  16. I’m thinking 84 just because I like the team better this yr then last. The bullpen is much better , alot of depth everywhere which is Hugh. The young pitchers and hitters gain experience. I’m not worried about Sanders or Kendrick there pros. The division is weaker The Mets are big if team if there all can stay healthy . The nats are still the best but there farm isn’t the best.

    1. Mets could be in the WS again if their pitching stays healthy
      They could have 4 aces in that rotation.
      I just do not see the Nats rotation staying healthy thru the whole season. Strasburg’s and Ross’ ‘health are a question mark and Max S. could be at the cusp of the aging cliff..

      1. Agree with you, Romus. I believe this is it for the Nationals. They’ve dealt most of their farm to go all in before Harper leaves. The health of their starting rotation is a big ??? And they have no proven closer. They’ve back-loaded contracts so if they don’t win in 2017 or 2018, they’re pretty much screwed for the foreseeable future. The Mets may also have starting pitching health concerns, but they’re younger. I just believe they’re set to have a big bounce-back year. Also, have to appreciate the fact that the Mets have managed to hold on to most of their top young talent (Rosario, Conforto, Smith, Wheeler, Gsellman, Justin Dunn, etc). I believe the Phillies will be battling the Mets and Braves for division crowns in the near future.

        BTW … I predict 72 wins for the Phillies this season. That should land them a top seven pick for a pretty top heavy 2018 draft … Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Kumar Rocker, Seth Beer, Brice Turang, Mike Siani from William Penn Charter, and Jarred Kelenic [who might end up being the 1-1 guy]).

        1. The Mets have almost every starter coming back form injury . Wheeler been out for almost 3 yrs . Also there no Colon to go back on he was there ing eater. The hole bullpen was over worked and there all Back . Wright is there best all around player and he’s always hurt. There older players which is almost all the team are slow and there defense is bad. The Nats have at lease Harper, Turner , Eaton , to build around that are solid pros. The Mets at some point are going change an entire team . I know the Mets have some youger players , but not enough to replace the all the ho!es.

        2. Wait they had 71 wine last yr and are 10th pick this yr. How are they going up 3 up in the draft with 1 more win. The Phillies have more proven talent this yr . That bullpen will keep them in more games . Sanders and Kendrick will put more runs on the board. Franco , TJ , Herrera , Rupp ,Galvis, can improve . The starting pitching better the bp is much better.I do think this ownership is here to win now.

          1. Tim … The Phillies have the eighth pick (not 10th) this year. Furthermore, the relationship to this year’s draft position to total wins means absolutely nothing compared to next year’s relationship to draft position and total wins. Every season is different. In 2015, the Cubs picked seventh after winning 73 games the year before. In 2014, the Phillies picked seventh after winning 73 games the year before.

  17. Fresh blood that could well be in the 25 during this season—–
    Zach Elfin, Nick Pivetta,Ricard Pinto, Jake Thompson with an outside chance of Drew Anderson. Add Alfaro,Knapp,Valentin,Crawford,Quinn, and Williams. That’s a lot of new faces…all of which are promising to become the core of the team going on. That’s 10 new and eleven if you count Anderson. Adding to Eichoff, Vince V.,and Nola midway if not before.

    Predictions of wins are always “informed” guesses. These bear little relation to the meaning of this season. The real reason for a lot more interest is in the new faces coming up and in.

    If most of these is “ready,” then we’re in for a very interesting new core going forward. And could bring more victories than now supposed.

    As fans, we should be treated watching the transformations taking place before our eyes.

    Finally, another great interest could be on Altherr: this guy has lightening in his bat now showing in ST after adjustments. He already is a superb outfielder. He might be playing a lot more games on his own and subbing for CF, and LF as well as RF. Watch this guy!!

  18. 76 wins- the 2016 team overachieved to get to 71 wins- they are better this year, but I don’t see 10-12 wins better in the cards.

  19. The pleasure this season will not be in the number of wins put up by the team ; rather it will be the progress into MLB of several prospects. Pitchers who may see the CBP mound could include Nick Pivetta, Jake Thompson,Richard Pinto,Zach Eflin, and an outside chance of Drew Anderson. Also Alfaro, Knapp, Valentin,Crawford,Quinn and Williams for the inf and OF and catcher to not forget Knapp.

    And, to me, there is a guy already on the 25 who is getting set to happily surprise us—>Altherr. The guy has lightning in his bat for the long ball…over and on the fence. His contact rate is improving along with a few adjustments this spring. He is NOT a guy w ho tries to pull pitches on the outside; he takes them to RF or RCF. Unlike France who continues to pull those outside pitches. Finally, Altherr is an excellent right fielder (add LF & CF,too) who has speed and terrific judgement on flies. I may be overly optimistic…but I think it’s gonna happen.

  20. I really think this season is about enhancing player value for 2 big trades – 1 at the deadline and 1 next November, and to develop the critical pieces in this rebuild.

    First, the critical pieces, are the primary focus. By critical pieces, I mean developing young players at or near MLB level that have a chance to become above average at their position. For me, the “A” list in no particular order is:

    Franco, Crawford, Herrera, Alfaro, Velasquez, Nola, E Ramos, Altherr, Kingery

    B List – Eickhoff, C Hernandez, Joseph

    The second part of this is increasing the value of other talent to increase their trade value while continuing to develop them. By signing guys like Saunders, Kendrick, Blanco, Coghlan, Neshek, Benoit, Burnett, Buchholz, and Hellickson, they keep guys like Quinn, N Williams, Valentin, Eflin, Thompson, Appell, etc in AAA to develop and perform better than they would at the MLB level.

    If the majority of these players perform, think of the trade value.

    As an example, what if they can get a top of the rotation starter, late 20s before hitting free agency by packaging 4 players like Thompson, C Hernandez, Neris, and an A ball prospect? You slide Galvis to 2B to keep it warm for Kingery, Thompson and Neris are replaceable, and this is possible if Thompson is throwing strong at AAA and Cesar continues to grow and build off of last year.

    Then, you add a second top of rotation starter by trading Cozens, Rupp, Appell, and an A ball prospect. You can move Rupp and Cozens because of the emergence of Alfaro and Quinn.

    Now, the 2018 roster looks like:
    Starting Pitching:
    1 Trade #1
    2 Trade #2
    3 Velasquez
    4 Nola
    5 Eickhoff

    1 Quinn CF
    2 Crawford SS
    3 Altherr RF
    4 Franco 3B
    5 Herrera LF
    6 Alfaro C
    7 Joseph 1B
    8 Galvis 2B

    That’s a very strong pitching staff that could also be loaded with young hard throwing arms in the pen, like Ramos, Pivetta, and others. The offense will possibly need upgrades at 2B (Kingery, FA, or Trade), 1B (Hoskins or FA or Franco), and OF. These moves come into play in 2018 via Trade or call ups, or after 2018 in the big FA market.

    1. Trading for 2 TOR aces will deplete the farm — if you are suggesting for a trade, be ready not to project Alfaro, VV, Crawford in your projected 2018 line up.

      The best way to acquire TOR arm without sacrificing depth (in the farm) is thru FA (i.e. Otani). Another way is to draft a college stud in Rule 4 and the least probable and is having a really good scouting and player development team wherein the Phils will acquire a below the radar arm and develop him into an ace.

      Nola and VV a re still young and are still developing — we saw how Nola and VV can dominate in the mound early in the season last year. Nola and VV can slot into the #2/#3 if they are healthy. Eickhoff is already a solid #4. So if the Phils can sign Otani to be their #1 – their rotation is set for a long run and their can keep all of their high end prospects.

      1. With you on Otani, Kuko. We have the financial resources to get it done. Makes so much sense, timing wise. Not that fan appeal is most important but this is also the type of move that would be a foretaste of what’s on the way, injecting some serious buzz at CBP.

        1. Although Otani is not a name that will generate a lot of buzz to casual Phillies fan — it will be a step towards accelerating the winning ways again and put seats back in the CBP without disrupting the flow of talent from the farm. Business (generate income) and fans (contending and winning) wise this move makes sense for the front office to give a serious consideration.

            1. He’s a good pitcher, but I think he’s what we should try to avoid. A guy in his early 30s seeking a 6 year contract. You might get 3 good years, if you’re lucky, and then you are probably looking at 3 dead years. No thank you.

            2. eventhough the Cubs doesn’t have a top arm in their minors, I don’t expect them to sign Arrieta to a 6 yr contract (which will cost them close to $150M) especially if a lot of their young studs will be up for contract. 1-2 yr contract is what they (and other teams) are willing to give him but there will be team who will over reach (i can see LAA, NYY).

              Phils should only consider signing Arrieta for 2-3 years and offer higher AAV instead.

            3. This is a big wait and see year for Arrieta. I’d be cautiously interested in him IF he pitches better than he did in ’16 but no way am I signing him for more than 3 yrs, possibly a 4th mutual option yr.

            4. 3 years with a 4th vesting option year, would actually be perfect if he still looks sharp this year. Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to happen, because all it takes is one desperate team to offer him a solid 5 or 6 year deal and he’s going to take it. My experience says that if he has a strong year this year, someone will give him that deal and will take the risk in order to put that team over the top. I don’t see the Phillies doing that, nor should they.

  21. Jim Salisbury says the bench should be Altherr, Blanco, Knapp, Stassi and either Coghlan or Nava. Two 40-man moves would have to be made. He suggested Morgan may be one man waived since they’re intrigued by Luis Garcia’s new sinker. Goeddel may slip through waivers. Or a trade or an injury would help them decide.

  22. Curious on your thoughts about the it or hate it or somewhere in between?

    I think at first it was kind of cool but last nights game turned me off to it. It seems they were less about the game and more about stylin. The object still is to win the game. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate a good bat flip every now and again but its gone over the edge for me.

    1. DMAR…same as you.
      The beginning seem to be an Olympic event towards winning….maybe because a lot of the under-dogs like , Italy, Israel, China. Colombia and even the Netherlands were considered a long shot to win it all, and the ‘dogs all really played hard to win and gave the favs all they could handle. Now it is a little different.

    1. Thompson also getting his first start of the spring today. Whenever I have doubts about him I’m reminded that he’s struggled initially at each level he’s been at before settling down. I see him and Pivetta each getting a call once Hellickson and Buchholz are out of the picture, or an injury beforehand.

      I’m thinking about an ’18 rotation of
      Shohei Otani (let’s think big)
      Jerad Eickhoff
      Vince Velasquez*
      Aaron Nola
      Jake Thompson
      *If one of the above are traded, add Nick Pivetta.

  23. couple things guys – I do not see Phils trading for TOR arm, they have been consistent about developing arms and buying bats and I agree with them. Second not getting all the AA love, I get the tools, but the guy can not hitting (recognize) a breaking ball and that will consign him to BU status unless he can change it

    1. Pops:
      1. Not sure they will need to buy any bats….unless they start moving some of their prospects…..or they just get one big one in Machado or Harper.
      2. Agree with you on AA…..great kid, great defender, great physical skills…but if he cannot learn to hit the breaking ball soon, he may end up a 4th OFer.

      1. Romus, that’s what he is right now. Not sure what he hit for his HR in the 9th today but Matt Stairs has been working with him a lot now that the younger kids are reassigned.

        1. Yeah….that is what he is right now, but he doesn’t see himself as a 4th OFer, and I am sure if Kendricks and Saunders, both or just one, end up leaving in four months, he may see himself as the starter in their vacant spot.
          it would be a nice story for him to put it altogether at the plate.


  24. I am so anxious to see what Aaron Altherr can do if he has fixed his swing to make more solid contact.

    With Altherr, it’s all about contact and the ability to drive the ball consistently. If he can do that and hit, say, .260, he is going to be an extremely valuable player.

    Let me explain. In 2015, Altherr generated 1.7 WAR in 39 games (that’s like 6.8 WAR projected over an entire season – basically, star numbers), while only hitting .241 and not showing extreme power. Do you realize how incredibly hard it is to put up those numbers with that low of a BA for a guy who is not a home run menace? But he did it because Aaron Altherr is really good at baseball. His fielding, plate discipline, arm, base running and secondary skills are elite. Someone here suggested that, if he hits his peak, he could resemble Jayson Werth at his peak. I agree completely. He could be a very fun player to watch this year and if he hits his ceiling, he will help accelerate the rebuild in a major way.

    1. Agree, Catch. Many write Altherr off because he’s struggled vs off speed and breaking pitches while conceding all his other skills. He’s young enough to grow his approach at the plate. In my opinion, he’s by far the biggest X-factor on this 25 man roster. Franco simply needs to stop falling in love with the long ball. He doesn’t have nearly the tool set of Altherr. But proof is in the pudding. We’ll see.

      1. Yeah, I agree – I think he (perhaps along with Vince Velasquez) is the biggest X-factor on the team. As for Franco, no, he doesn’t have as large of a skill set (especially speed), but he’s quite a bit younger than Altherr, he plays a more critical defensive position, plays it well and has the ability to be a special, middle-of-the-order power hitter, so his upside is, in my view, probably a little higher than Altherr’s and his more likely to achieved. That said, Altherr has a heck of nice upside and he’s such a big X-factor because he’s a back-up player who, potentially, has all-star ability – not something you can say very often.

    2. “Altherr generated 1.7 WAR in 39 games ( that’s like 6.8 WAR projected over an entire season….)”
      Is that a correct mathematical way of calculating that projection?
      if it is…then that is a very optimistic outlook for Altherr if he can sustain that in 2017 as he briefly did in 2015.

      A math major out there may be able to verify those assumptions and estimations..

      1. Uh, yeah, it’s not too difficult to do. The team plays a 162 game season. Altherr played in 39 games (many of which he didn’t start, by the way). It’s roughly 1/4 of season (less actually, but close enough). Multiple 1.7 times 4 and you get 6.8. The precise number is not important – but he played at a very, very productive rate.

        1. If he played at that pace for a full season, he would probably be between 6-7 WAR. Of course it’s a SSS, but the things he did to produce those numbers – at least in terms of fielding, running, throwing and plate discipline, are not a mirage – they are very much real. The hard thing to project is the key thing – consistent, hard contact as a hitter.

          1. Understand the extrapolation…..but more interested in the formula for calculating WAR in regards to a simple projection to a full season.
            For example his oWAR was 1.1 in ’15, while his dWAR was .4……BR does not add them together to get the total WAR.
            So if taking it the way we did it….his oWAR, separately, would be 4.4 for the entire year….or almost 1WAR better than Herrera’s oWAR for last season of 3.7, which I find difficult to understand.
            And cannot find anything in this to determine if the simple projection would produce the accurate result.


            1. In some ways, you are over-thinking this, but I get your points.

              By the way, Altherr had a higher OPS than Odubel and higher OPS+ – that accounts for much of the difference. So his average wasn’t high, but he was still a more productive hitter by most measures and on the whole.

              The biggest problem is not the extrapolation – which, again, would produce a very high WAR no matter how you slice it – whether he projects to a 5 WAR player or a 7 WAR player he would be very productive if the performance held up over a full year.

              The problem, in my view, is a smallish sample size – in other words, the problem is not quibbling over whether, during those 39 games, he was a 1.7 WAR or a 1.3 WAR (which, in either event, would reflect a ton of value over a full season), but whether he could sustain that performance over a full season.

            2. Yes… are probably correct.
              Math aside, for him it will come down to sustainment and consistency.

  25. Eagerly awaiting to see how Klentak manages the 25 and 40man rosters. Just for fun, my guess is they they keep Nava and release Coghlan. Assign Nava to Lehigh as insurance until June when they make a decision on him. Eflin will likely go on the 60day dl, freeing up one 40man spot. A trade is also likely to free up the other spot IF they choose to bring both Stassi and Valentin north. Is so, look for Adam Morgan to be just that trade chip.

    1. If Morgan is traded, I don’t want prospects or a PTBNL….”SHOHEI ME THE (bonus pool) MONEY!!”

      1. 8mark – if Otani is subject to J2 bonus pool, the Phils should be ready to get out of their norm and bust their J2 bonus to sign Otani. If that’s the case, so better get lottery tickets (low minor prospects with upside) than international pool $$.

        1. KuKo…concerning the new CBA regs in regards to international signings The onne difference in the new CBA is that the teams will now be allowed to trade for added pool space even if they have already spent their full pool allotment. Under the older system, a team’s bonus pool consisted of four individual slot values, and trading pool space required trading those slot values. The new system is just a straight bonus pool with no individual slot values, so that should make things simpler with regards to trades. The size of a team’s bonus pool could also shrink if the club signs a qualifying offer free agent. A team over the major league luxury tax that signs a qualifying offer player loses $1 million from its international pool the next signing period. All other clubs who sign a qualifying offer player will lose $500,000 from their pool the next signing period. All forfeited international bonus pool money will be distributed equally among the other clubs.

        2. Also the Padres, Astros and Braves are all over their current 2016-17 signing pool will be unable to sign a player for more than $300,000 in the 2017-18 AND 2018-19 signing period, though they are still able to spend their full pool allotment or trade it away

  26. Dallas Green, RIP. I was 17 when we won the WS in ’80. Talk about having the right guy in the right job at the right time. He and Pete Rose pushed that club over the finish line. The talent was already there. Let it be so with this bunch and soon!! Cheers, Big D!

  27. What a powerful, big personality, a true winner. I sure miss some of those crazy umpire – manager tirades that rarely take place anymore because of replay. Big D could go with the best of them. Hope he and Vuke are catching up tonight….

    1. Bowa was on 97.5 this AM he was very poignant

      Dallas was an interesting character and according to Bow he hated SABR with a supreme passion.

    1. I tend to agree with Fangraphs here. He’s a nice player but we’re well stocked at 2b. I’m not looking to trade him right now but I’m listening to any offers.

      1. 8mark….one thing about WAR….rarely ever ‘fluky’
        Every conceivable possibility or alternative that can happen to a player in their calculations is evaluated. Now will he again reach that 4 plateau or go higher….maybe not…..but do not see him regressing this season lower than a three-win player.

        1. I wholeheartedly disagree. WAR has never been a predictive stat; it’s only about what HAS happened. Flukes happen regularly.

          Take for example 2010 (random year, just chosen to give us a few years to evaluate the player after their good WAR season). 63 position players put up 3 WAR or higher, according to Fangraphs. I glanced over them to pick out some names that seemed fluky to me (based on nothing other than they didn’t seem like the type of player to merit that much WAR to me).

          I selected 15 names.

          Some of them were just recency bias (Carl Crawford, Melvin Upton, Jr, Dan Uggla, and Vernon Wells). They all were pretty good at putting up WAR over a few years and just dropped off a cliff for whatever reason.

          Shin-Soo Choo is an odd case; he’s got great years over 5 WAR, 3 others between 2.3 and 3.6, and then 3+ (some partial) seasons of very mediocre results. I don’t know that I’d call him fluky, so much as injury prone.

          Orlando Hudson is tough to peg. I can’t really say he’s fluky, because he put up enough 2+ WAR seasons. But he also put up enough sub-2 WARs that I wouldn’t say his 2 seasons of 3+ were indicative of him as a player.

          But even excluding all those names, that’s NINE players I have no qualms will calling fluke. 14.29% of players over 3 WAR had no business being on that list.

          Aubrey Huff actually had 4 seasons (not consecutive) of good or great WAR totals. But his aggregate over his other 8 seasons is negative.

          Rickie Weeks was around for 12 full seasons. He put up 6 WAR in 2010. He was below 2 WAR in 8 seasons.

          Andres Blanco was useful for the Giants in 2009-2011. But 6.3 WAR in 2010? That’s over HALF his career aggregate.

          Kelly Johnson had 5.4 WAR. Seriously? His career might as well be called, “The Life of the Replacement Player”.

          Daric Barton put up 4.9 WAR. If you can’t remember who that is, it’s probably because he played for the A’s and, excepting his 18 game debut in 2007, never got above 1 WAR otherwise.

          Chris Young actually had a 3 year run starting in 2010 of 4.2, 4.7, and then 2.5 WAR. The catch? Last year was his 9th full season, and those 3 plus 2008 were the only years above 1.3 WAR. That’s 5 years of, “why is he on the roster, again?”

          Cliff Pennington had 3.5 WAR in 2010. Yes, really. The guy couldn’t even crack 300 PAs most years.

          Drew Stubbs seemed like he might be a good player. He had 3.4 WAR in 2010 after debuting in 2009… and now he was on 3 teams in one season in 2016 and has 11.4 WAR to his name in his career. Yikes.

          And, possibly my favorite, Corey Hart. Part of me wanted to exclude him from the “fluke” category. After all, he had 3 out of 4 years over 3 WAR between 2007 and 2011. The reason I kept him here? He’s always been a slugger. Probably still is. But the reason he was able to put up a season of 4.2 and 3.8 WAR is because his defensive metrics for those years weren’t too bad. He is a HORRID defender. Just awful. He managed 3 WAR in spite of terrible defense in 2010, but he also had the second highest ISO of his career that year, resulting in his peak of 31 HRs. Also, his BsR was 2.2. Somehow.

          All of this is to say that WAR is fluky all the time. Players have year-long streaks all the time. It’s harder to fake 4+ WAR for a season than, say, having a good month or so for sure. But this is baseball. Weird stuff is practically the norm. Will Cesar regress? Who knows. We’ll see. But don’t think just having a high WAR count in one or two years makes him a safe bet going forward.

    2. I hear them, especially with the BABIP (although, to Cesar’s credit, he hits everything on a line – he is generally going to have BABIP percentage that is substantially higher than normally), BUT to Cesar’s credit, he made adjustments and had an incredibly strong second half (after a weak first half) and he’s still working on other aspects of his game that I expect will improve. If he gets the at bats, he’s likely to put up another 3+ WAR season and could be just as good (or better) than last year. Aspects of his stats may have been flukey, but I don’t think he’s a fluke.

      1. Historically, when you look at Cesar’s BABIP from 2010 in the minors and every stop along the way…..he is able to sustain a good one or improve on it. There have short term adjustments at different higher levels as he went uop the rung, but his speed and bunting ability along with keeping the ball on the ground when he wanted to, all worked in his favor for that sustainment.
        I think the Fansgraph analyst is a little off in his assessment when it comes to BABIP with Cesar.
        it was the same thing they said about Hererra’s BABIP after 2015.
        If the guy can do things for 2000 plus PAs in the minors….rarely identical, but they tend to do something somewhat closer in the majors after a few years.

    3. Romus – Strictly numbers wise he was closer to top 5-7 IN ALL OF BASEBALL . . . when the season just ended I posted something comparing numbers to other 2B across the league . . . top 5-7 . . . and you argue 4th (again last year statically).

  28. I think he is a good player. not many on this site like him. But he has improved his play, except for occasional base running blunder. People are so in love with kingery, who has proven nothing, they ignore Cesar. I now will predict wins, i think 70 is the number. Dont see that big improvement others see. Think the starting pitching isnt that good, I am not a nola fan.

    1. Roc, it’s true Kingery hasn’t proven anything. No prospect has until they step onto a big league field.

      1. And even then you need to keep your head above water long enough to prove you are an everyday player RE: Kingery

        Lot’s of guys get to the bigs flash early then fade away fast…being a perennial achiever is really hard

        That said what I saw early in spring from Scotty Jet Packs was impressive. I see some bat speed there so if he has some pitch recognition skills he should be at least a serviceable regular.

        313 Avg. and 1.207 OPS is what Cody Smashy is doing in White Sox camp.

        1. Cody Asche was one of the bigger mysteries to me during my time following prospects and may end up being a cautionary tale about how some guys just take a little longer to figure things out at the big league level.

          By all rights, Cody Asche should have been a solid regular.

          1. He soared through the Phillies system and was actually fairly young for a college player when he made the majors.
          2. He has a beautiful swing – nice and compact with plenty enough power if he makes contact.
          3. He has a good baseball build, with solid/average speed and a decent arm.
          4. While he’s not athletic enough to play third base well, but over time, he should be a perfectly average outfielder (a position he was learning while with the Phillies).
          5. When he first made it to the majors he came off an impressive campaign at AAA Lehigh Valley, which is a tough hitting environment.
          6. It didn’t seem as if he had any real holes in his swing or any pitches which he couldn’t hit.
          7. He seems like a great guy, has a super attitude and works his ass off.

          But, yet, as a Phillie, he failed again and again. That said, I haven’t given up hope entirely that he can be a solid major leaguer. He’ll need to hit quite a bit to stick in left field or as a 4th outfielder/utility guy – but it’s still possible.

    2. Nola worries me too…

      How about our ol pal KK is in position to win a spot in beantown!

      1. What worries me about Nola is the elbow and the velocity – both seem fine for now. If they hold up, I think he’ll be quite a pitcher – but who knows if they will. I’m not worried about the ST numbers – I’ve seen him pitch a few times and the stuff is very good.

      2. Kyle Kendrick – LOL. The Red Sox can have him and, trust me, he won’t be in that rotation for long.

  29. NYY reportedly interested in Freddy Galvis since Gregorius is out with injured knee. They’ve talked to Klentak last season about Velasquez, too. With their farm, I’m curious as to what kind of package they might offer.

    1. Freddy is one of the best fielding shortstops in baseball. And hits 20 hrs, Not a bad package. What his value is to me ,is really hard to figure.In 19 more plate appearance he had more doubles and more home runs than year before, 6 less runs scored, 17 more rbis. but struck out 33 more times than previous year. and had a terrible 0bp. I just think on a good team he bats seventh or eighth and would be great with those numbers. especially with his fielding and a little improvement in his obp.

  30. Cheer up, folks. On the back-field today, the AAA game featured SIX HRs – Pullin(2), Cozens, Williams, Perkins and H.Martinez. They’re starting early this year. Good sign!

    1. People were discussing “X-Factor” players this week – well, you can add Andrew Pullin to that list. I cannot wait to see how things play out this year in Lehigh Valley.

      1. Mark my words . . . just my opinion from seeing him a bunch (and was confirmed by listing to Reading radio guys), he beats up on fastballs while looking bad on anything off speed. AAA is going to expose him.

  31. Somebody please tell me why the Phillies (this according to Jon Heyman) are interested in signing Angel Pagan. Can’t be true.

    1. Could be for his lead-off experience. He gets on base. He is a proven winner. He is a very good outfielder. They may think that Quinn needs more time and will bring him up once they move Pagan in July. Quinn’s task will be to improve his on-base skills and get ready to take over center field and lead-off when they send Herrera and other players for an ace.

    2. Pagan is a pretty good player but I agree he doesn’t give you anything you don’t have and its not likely you’re going to flip him for anything good.

      Not sure what you’re talking about Puddinhead Quinn’s OBP skills are superb…354 this spring…career MiLB .353 and in his brief call up to the MLB last year he was .373

        1. Was it Jon Heyman who also brought up the Freddy Galvis to the Yankees talks earlier in the week? Or was it another beat guy?

            1. Ok thanks 8mark.
              Sometimes these guys throw things up onto a wall and hope it sticks.

            2. 8mark. Kevin is f rom broad and snyder. He went to Southern High School. Was in Romus class, at Penn State. great writer.

    3. I hope to heck this is not true. They have a big enough log jam in the outfield as it is and they are not competing this year for a playoff spot. To me, that would be a completely stupid move. I’m not all that thrilled about having both Kendrick and Saunders (one or the other would have been fine), so adding another older dude, to me, would be extremely counterproductive.

    4. The Phils might be interest but is Pagan interested to join the Phils knowing that the Phils’ roster is tight and the OF pipeline is long. Most likely a minor league contract with $100k retention and automatic June 1 out clause.

      Having interest with Pagan probably shows that the Phils are not happy with Nava and Coughlan. I can see the Phils breaking camp with possibly 1-2 players to be DFAd.

  32. No surprises here –
    OF Tyler Goeddel & RHP Jake Thompson have been optioned to minor league camp.
    RHP Dalier Hinojosa, INF Hector Gomez, and C Logan Moore have been reassigned to minor league camp.
    Goeddel told he will start in Reading’s outfield.

      1. He is, I assume, because people want to see him play for as long as possible so they get an idea of what he can do. I don’t think there’s any chance he sticks with the big club (nor should he) – he needs a ton of AAA at bats.

        1. My only question is what kind of transactions are being considered that might keep certain players around or not. Otherwise I tend to agree with you, Catch. You know I’m always sniffing around for clues.

          1. 8mark……here is what puzzles me. back up positional players normally have one thing in common…they are defensive plus. with Knapp you do not hav that at catcher or first base. Additionally his spring is a real downer at the plate. Sending him back to LHV may not be enough work for him…with Alfaro there along with Hoskins and perhaps Stassi.
            So…..might he be shopped?
            One drawback….the Phillies may be forced to sell low….maybe lower A level prospects or maybe finances.

    1. with goeddel told that he will start in REA and the Phils likes to see an extended look at Garcia and his sinker — it push Morgan to the back end of the 40-man. Morgan is doing his part (as bullpen arm) to prove that he still belong with the team.

      i don’t see the Phils rocking the current 40-man roster that much and possibly will only make 1 move (Coghlan or Nava) but will have a close eye on other team’s injury situation for opportunity to trade and open roster spots.

      Stassi will most likely start in LHV and can be this year’s TJ but I can still see Valentin breaking camp with the Phils.

  33. 40 players still in major league camp, including 11 NR! – catchers Hanigan and Holaday; infielders Florimon and Stassi; outfielders Coghlan and Nava; and pitchers Butnett, Mariot, Murray, Cesar Ramos, and Venditte.

    Several opt outs approaching.

  34. Matt Gelb’s latest roster predicton: Stassi will be sent to Lehigh as dh / 1b and standby in case Nava or Coghlan struggle. Luis Garcia over Morgan in the bullpen.

    1. And which two guys will be released from 40? Goeddel doesn’t sound like a guy who thinks he’s getting released. Morgan? Release a lefty when they have so few? I can see them sending Morgan down to get experience as a reliever but I can’t see him getting released. Asher? I hope not. These are tough decisions and winning this year won’t drive the decision, saving players will. I still think Valentin makes the club to save a 40 spot, unless there’s a trade. They could always shelve Eflin (and Nola?) for 60 days to save one spot for 60 days but I was hoping he’d be back sooner than that.

      1. my gut tells that only one move will be made to add either Coghlan, Nava or Pagan. the Phils will try to slip Garcia or Morgan in the waivers. i have Knapp and Valentin in the 25-man since day 1 due to lack of roster spot

  35. Cuts will start in earnest this weekend, there’s not much time left. I’m sure Klentak is working the phones hard to try and trade someone on the 40 to open a spot or two. Other teams may have the same issue. Knapp is making the team but he hasn’t really earned it this spring. I’m more interested in the Lakewood vs Extended decisions that effect quite a few guys. Has Hall earned Cwater? Has Pickett earned Lwood? Have Gamboa and Brito earned Lwood? What about Stobbe vs Williams? Are they really pushing Ortiz to Lwood? Fun decisions.

    1. Gamboa and Brito appeared to be lock as the DP combo in LWD and Darick Hall is already old enough to handle CLW with no one blocking him. Not sure how the Phils see Jan Hernandez who is expected to be CLW — but it Lucas Williams starts well in LWD he can push Hernandez to the bench and pull Stobbe to skip WIL and go from XST to LWD.

      Ortiz might be caught in the long OF line and might be assigned to XST then WIL. LWD has a good OF options in Moniak-Martinelli-Maglich-Luis-Laird-Alastre. I don’t expect the Phils to move Ortiz to 1B at this stage.

      1. You forgot Duran, he’s in the OF mix too. Someone (Jim?) reported the other day that Ortiz was assigned a Lwood family already so if true, that would be an big unexpected change

  36. the Phils is in bad losing funk the last couple of weeks when most of the regulars are playing. can understand why stiffs like Mariot and Cesar Ramos are still with the team when they are giving away games.

    1. Wins now don’t matter, they’re still making decisions. Mariot could get himself released.

  37. 9 hits off CC in first 5 innings and only 2 runs. That’s a pretty anemic offense, again. Then Betances and Severino shut them down completely.

    I assume Mariot was notified immediately after the game that he’s going down.

    Morgan is one guy on the 40man who might have value by himself. Hell, the Bosox should dump KK and trade for Morgan. We’ll take Otani pool money for him.

    Eflin will likely go on the 60day dl. That takes care of the second 40man spot. Now 2 NRIs can go north. There you have it….you’re welcome.

    1. 8mark……you can trade for more international money, but I do not think you can do it now.

  38. Looks like Eflin pitched fine on the minor league fields according to the Blue Claws blog. Can’t keep him off of the 40 just because a spot is needed.

  39. I think that I was wrong to just say that i am not a nola fan. without explaining. I watched him now a number of times. He imo doesnt challenge right handers inside. lives on the outside. He has to be perfect on the outside corner. I Believe he hangs too many pitches and gets hit. I just think he is at best a 500 pitcher on a good team. Looking back at the draft just dont know if the was the best choice. But could be wrong

    1. I’m assuming you don’t believe that his slide last year was injury related? or do you think they should have went the way of TJS (I do)? I’m asking bc it has to be 1 of the 2 bc when he was healthy he was pitching like a really really good 2 with no reason to think of a .500 pitcher.

      1. Eric i didnt believe in him even when he had that short window of success. Remember leagues adjust to pitchers. I just dont see that electric stuff others do. Just my opinion

    2. Look at how he was doing early in the year last year. His numbers were outstanding. Don’t be too harsh on him, he’s still regaining his control and that’s what he depends on. He looks healthy and that’s the biggest thing. If healthy, he’s legit, although not an ace.

Comments are closed.