This past week, a reader asked for my opinion on whom the Phillies would protect from the Rule 5 Draft. I began to draft an answer, and realized that projecting which prospects to protect requires more thought and many more words than should be in a comment thread. Since I can’t answer this without considering many factors, I decided to put in an article. This way the discussion will be contiguous in one location. And I do expect there to be discussion. Continue reading 40-Man Roster Construction Following the 2017 Season
The next several weeks will feature a report card for every player in the organization. The “grade” that will be given is a grade that is based on my pre-season expectations on how that player would perform against what actually happened. Included are players currently on the Phils that bounced back and forth between LV and Philly.
Tom Eshelman, 23, Acquired from Houston in 2015; 23 starts between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 13-3 with a 2.40ERA; 150IP 128H 18BB 102K; .233 opp avg; 0.97WHIP; 0.91GO/AO ; Eshelman was consistently outstanding all year. Not overpowering but is a consistent strike thrower that keeps hitters very off balanced. He has a high pitching IQ and having watched Eshelman start probably a dozen games live over the last 2 years, I believe he will be a very solid major league starter. Grade: A; 2018: Will compete for the #4-5 spot in the Phils rotation, but importantly does not need to be added to the 40 man until the end of next season. With that, I think a start to the season with the ‘Pigs is more likely than not.
Henderson Alvarez, 27, SIgned as a free agent in 2017; Started three games for Lehigh Valley during the last two weeks of the season and was 2-0 with a 2.84ERA; .268 opp avg; 1.32WHIP; 2.8BB/3.8K per 9; Alvarez was a much needed addition late in the season to a Lehigh Valley rotation decimated by injury and callus. He did a very nice job but likely not a long term future for ALvarez here.
Mark Appel, 26, Acquired from Houston in 2015; 17 starts; 5-4 with a 5.27ERA; .284 opp avg; 1.76WHIP; 5.8BB/6.6K per 9; .326 vs LHH, .253 vs RHH, .292 with RISP; Another partially lost season for Appel who was shut down in July with arm problems once again. It was much of the same for Appel with a combination of command issues and injury problems leading to another disappointing season for the former #1 draft pick. He has begun getting rehab innings in and I would expect him to participate over the Winter in game action. Grade: D; 2018: On 40 man roster, with 2 options left currently, much depends on how he may prove his health over the winter.
Brandon Leibrandt, 24, Phils 6th round pick in 2014; 25 starts between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 11-5 with a 3.62ERA; 136.2IP 136H 47BB 105K; .265 opp avg; 1.34WHIP; 0.96GO/AO; 3.1BB/6.9K per 9; For Lehigh Valley: 12 starts, 5-3 with a 3.94ERA; 64IP 59H 24BB 53K; .244 opp avg; 1.30WHIP; 3.4BB/7.5K per 9; After missing most of 2016 injured, Leibrandt showed very nice progression this season, proving he was a more than capable AAA starter. Grade: B; 2018: Lehigh Valley rotation Continue reading Report Card–Starting Pitching, LV, REA and CW