Open Discussion: Week of February 25, 2018

Practice has been truncated and games are being played.  One unanswered question, Where’s Doobie?

Crowds at the Complex remained small through the end of spring training workouts.

The minor league players already in Clearwater will be joined by the rest of their team mates for their first full squad workout on Sunday, March 4th.  Their workouts until then will be dictated by the needs of major league camp.  Minor league games begin on Tuesday, March 13th.  A link to their schedule is in the Spring Training section below.

I’ll close the book on my opinion on the subject of an Arrieta signing, for now.

#Phly Phillies Phly!

Organizational News and Changes

Will Middlebrooks was injured in a very dramatic collision with Andrew Pullin during Saturday’s game.  He suffered a broken fibula.  But, where in the world is Odubel Herrera?

The Phillies have played four games, and the Phillies’ popular center fielder hasn’t set foot in the outfield.  We down here are beginning to suspect that he has an arm injury.

I reported that during the first full squad workout that Herrera did not take part in outfield drills that required the outfielders to throw to second base.  Instead, Herrera caught balls for the coach hitting the balls to the outfielders.

The next day, Herrera caught balls in the outfield, but did not throw them into the coach who stands behind the screen at second base collecting the balls during the drill.

Friday, Coach Kapler came out to sign for fans after his press conference.  One of my buddies asked if anything was wrong with Herrera.  He received a terse, “Herrera’s fine” or words to that effect.  But, it was a short, clipped response.

And yet, through four games, Herrera hasn’t played an inning in the outfield, and hadn’t taken an at bat until Sunday.  Through the first four games we’ve seen Danny Ortiz, Zack Coppola, Colin Cowgill, and Roman Quinn divvy up center field; Nick Williams, Andrew Pullin, Dylan Cozens, Jesse Valentin, Ortiz, Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Altherr, Matt McBride, and Cowgill manning the corners; and until today Logan Moore, McBride, Tommy Joseph, and Mitch Walding getting the DH swings.

Herrera went 0-1 Sunday with a ground out and sacrifice fly.  He failed to hustle on the ground out.  He just missed on the SF, making contact toward the end of his bat.  Maikel Franco followed with a no-doubt-about-it HR off the back wall of the Phillies’ bullpen.

Through their three games against professional teams, I detect a troubling and common thread, reminiscent of previous seasons – a close loss, a win where the opponent scored a lot of runs, and a blow out loss.  But, it’s early and just spring training.

The Phillies signed a couple more young international players – 18-year old LHP Maikel Garrido and 16-year old C Edward Barboza.  I was given a site that lists a few  transactions that have not been reported, yet.  In addition to some FA signings, it has the promotion of a lot of current players to the next level.  I’m not going to concern myself with the promotions until they are formally announced, but I’m going to add the new players to my lists with some sort of identifier until I can verify their signing by a second source.  (For instance, Gabriel Lino is listed as having been signed recently.  I’d like a second source on this, but it makes sense that the Phillies would sign another catcher in the wake of Eric Fryer’s retirement.)

Spring Training

The Phillies spring training schedule is available here.

The Phillies’ minor league spring training schedule is available here.

More Jake Arrieta

Two weeks ago, I showed how Jake Arrieta’s numbers are trending downward since his 2015 Cy Young season.

Last week, I reported the numbers discussed by MLB’s Brian Kenny (presented by his Shredder) that show that Arrieta’s WAR each year has dropped dramatically.  His FB velocity has decreased by 3.0 mph.  Hard hit balls have increased by almost 8%.  His ground ball rate has dropped below 50%.  And as his FB lost velocity, he relied on it more the past two seasons.

I see these facts as a red flag when contemplating signing Arrieta to any contract, let alone a long term contract.  But, as one reader stated, Arrieta’s 2017 numbers (if they were the same in Philadelphia) would have been the second best of any pitcher on the Phillies’ staff. Should he be signed for the 2018 season, I wouldn’t argue with anyone who stated that he would be the second best pitcher on our staff this season.

I learned at the Complex, that the Phillies were talking to his agent.  A fact that has been reported.  I heard what the numbers being discussed.  I don’t know if those were reported.

I heard a lot of permutations.  One year, two years, two years with an opt out, three years, three years with an opt out, three years with two opt outs.  At no time did I hear more than three.  Most of the numbers were absurdly high in my estimation.  I forget most, but remember 2-yrs/$50M (28 and 22).  I don’t think this one had an opt out, but maybe it did.

I have stated the reasons why I am not in favor of a long term contract.  Here’s why I still think one is unlikely and why I don’t think a shorter term deal can be reached.

A long term contract is unlikely because Andy MacPhail is not in favor of one.  In spite of the perceived advantage by some that they had a working relationship in Baltimore, MacPhail does not like to pay for past performance.

MacPhail is more likely to do a deal for a shorter contract with a little bump in dollars, but I don’t think it will happen because of the public stance that Arrieta and Boras have taken.

  • Arrieta was not interested in a 6-year/$126M deal similar to the Darvish deal.
  • Arrieta wants a 6-year/$155M deal similar to the deal inked by Jon Lester in 2015.
  • Arrieta is entering his age 32 season.
  • This is likely to be his last chance at a big contract.
  • Any shorter term contract will leave him short of the collective big money he seeks over the next six years.
  • Boras has a history of holding out his players waiting for the contract he wants.
  • A rotation injury in April or May to a team expecting to contend plays into Boras’ hands.
  • A need for a starter at the trade deadline by a team in contention plays into Boras’ hands.
  • Arrieta wants to play for a contender this season.
  • I think that any details that were leaked about Phillies’ negotiations were intended to spur movement from other teams.  The Brewers for one.

It was also discussed at the Complex among my friends that signing Arrieta would have the additional benefit of adding his presence and experience for the young pitchers on the staff.  I argued that they had a similar experience with Hellickson the last two seasons, but conceded that a CYA winner brings a certain panache that a regular veteran can’t provide.  I haven’t heard anything negative or positive regarding Arrieta as a mentor or as a teammate in the clubhouse.  So, lets assume that my friends are correct about this intangible.

So, while I while I remain unconvinced, if the Phillies do sign Arrieta, I will accept that it is the best move they could have made.  Color me “lemming”.

Key Dates:

  • March 29, 2018 – Opening Day for the 2018 season
  • March 29, 2018 – Phillies opening game in Atlanta
  • April 5, 2018 – Phillies’ home opener v. Miami
  • April 5, 2018 – Reading’s home opener v. Erie
  • April 5, 2018 – Clearwater’s home opener v. Dunedin
  • April 5, 2018 – Lakewood’s opening game at Kannapolis
  • April 6, 2018 – Lehigh Valley’s opening game at Pawtucket
  • April 12, 2018 -Lehigh Valley’s home opener v. Louisville
  • April 12, 2018 – Lakewood’s home opener v. Delmarva
  • April 17-18, 2018 – Twins v. Indians at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, PR
  • June 4-6, 2018 – 2018 MLB Draft
  • June 15, 2018 – Williamsport’s home opener v. State College
  • July 13-17, 2018 – All-Star Week
  • July 17, 2018 – 89th All Star Game, at Nationals Park
  • August 19, 2018 – Phillies v. Mets in the Little League Classic in Williamsport.
  • December 10-13, 2018 – Winter Meetings at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada

Off Season Transactions (recently reported transactions in bold): (40-man stands at 40, unsubstantiated signings in italics)

  • 2/19/18–Phillies signed free agent LHP Maikel Garrido to a minor league contract
  • 2/19/18–Phillies signed free agent C Edward Barboza to a minor league contract
  • 2/16/18–Phillies signed free agent Gabriel Lino to a minor league contract; assigned to Lehigh Valley
  • 1/30/18–Phillies signed free agent Wilson Garcia to a minor league contract; assigned to Clearwater
  • 1/9/18–Phillies signed free agent Juan Escorcia to a minor league contract; assigned to GCL Phillies West
  • The organization’s rosters are up to date.
  • The organization’s injury list retains the injuries at the end of the 2017 season.  All are expected to be okay by the start of spring training.
  • The organization’s Rule 5 eligibility list is as accurate as I can make it FOR 2018.

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

331 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of February 25, 2018

  1. Can’t wait to spend the week in Clearwater. Any recommendations on where to watch the Flyers and 76ers in town?

  2. I’m with you, Jim. “No” on Arrietta (and Cobb and Lynn, for that matter). OTOH, I would be all in on a trade for Mike Montgomery. I’m a “yes” on the Montgomery for ToJo, Drew Anderson, and McKenzie Mills deal you proposed last week. Have you heard anything more on that ?

    1. I don’t see the Cubs agreeing to that trade. While Montgomery’s been just a swing man, I think they would want more than a guy we’re begging teams to take (TJ), an at best long reliever (Anderson, who I’m still waiting to see what the buzz is about), and a midlevel lefty with some upside (Mills). They might want a big league arm and could certainly get more from another club, if that’s what the Phillies are offering.

      1. 8mark, they aren’t looking for a big league arm. Montgomery IS a big league arm. After the Darvish signing, they were looking to replenish their mid-to-upper levels with potential emergency help (Joseph and Anderson) and a guy with some upside (Mills). We had heard that TJ was in the discussion along with some pitching. I suggested the pitchers and DA and MM were the guys that we thought might get the deal done. We were more sure of the Cubs accepting this particular deal than we were the Phillies offering it. We discussed all sorts of permutations and felt enough pain offering these guys that we thought they might get it done.

    2. Cubbies will cash in as much with Monty since their farm got depleted to sustain their current run. The Phils are not yet ready so I hope Klentak will not fall into a trap of giving away too much. Monty is not a game changing player, get him for a modest price or turn away. Let the other contending team fight for him.,

  3. Keith Law was in Miami over the weekend to scout Florida’s two soon-to-be first round draft picks, pitchers Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar http://insider.espn.com/blog/keith-law/. When Law released his initial Top 30 Draft Prospects list a couple of weeks ago, he had Kowar at #11, and Singer at #22. He still thinks Kowar is the better prospect.

    Law On Singer:
    * #22 might be too high.
    * threw 90-95, but mostly 90-92 after the 1st inning
    * fastball is too straight and batters (especially LH) see it too well
    * curveball (75-80 MPH) is solid average, though he breaks a few off better than average
    * 85-86 MPH sharp slider is his best pitch (uses it well against RH batters)
    * tries to back door his breaking stuff to lefties, but doesn’t have the bite or command to pull it off consistently
    * doesn’t use his legs enough to generate velocity
    * can’t think of any MLB starting pitcher with a similar delivery
    * hard to profile him as more than a back-end starter, even with a track record of performance. He’s famous, though, and sometimes that carries the day in the draft room anyway.

    Law on Kowar:
    * showed a much better arsenal than Singer did along with a delivery that, while not ideal, looks more starter-like
    * fastball sat 92-95 mph for his entire six-inning outing, and it had a little more life and seemed to burst in on hitters at the last second, causing a lot of highly defensive swings
    * easy plus changeup at 82-84 mph that he used against both right- and left-handed batters, with good deception and heavy action as it reached the plate
    * His curveball (75-78 MPH) is his worst pitch. It’s more a weapon to spin away from right-handers so he can follow up with something on the inner half
    * has mid-rotation upside, even more if curveball becomes consistent or the team that drafts him gives him a slider to take advantage of his arm speed
    * control is fringy and he still has below-average command so he won’t be on a fast track to MLB.

    I like Keith Law, but I watched both guys throw this weekend, and I came away with a completely different opinion. Singer’s fastball has a tail and comes with more life than Kowar’s (who I thought had a very straight fastball). IMO, Kowar’s changeup is his only swing-and-miss pitch. Singer gets K’s with all three of his pitches because they all dance at the plate.
    Law can’t think of any MLB starters who throw like Singer. For me, Aaron Nola has a similar arm slot and movement on his pitches. I think the only thing that could keep Singer from being a top 5 pick is concern that he may be an arm injury waiting to happen.

    1. Hinkie…..what will deter me on Singer is if his velo does not begin to creep up as the year gets on.
      He will need to carry a mid-90s velo into the 5th or 6th or else he could be dropping in the draft. Not sure he will drop down to 22 as KLaw projects…but can see him in the 8-12 range. His former teammate Alex Faedo dropped to the Tigers and i see Singer with more upside than Faedo.

        1. That could be the case.
          I do like when he states…..:”he’s (Singer) famous, though, and sometimes that carries the day in the draft room anyway”.
          It seems every year he will have one or two really off-the-wall projections…against the industry norm. Perhaps he wants that to be his signature for intelligence above all the group think….he is a Harvard grad, so it goes with the territory I assume.
          Though have to give him credit, whenever he misses, he has owned up to it in the past.

        2. In defense of Keith Law, he has had this opinion since last summer. He told me in a chat around that time that he had a problem with Singer’s delivery, felt he could end up a reliever, and thought Kowar was the better prospect.

          1. Law is definitely the outlier on Singer. Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis each had Singer going 1-1 to Detroit in a mock draft they published in December. BA has Singer as their #1 draft prospect. Fangraphs (Eric Longenhagen & Kiley McDaniel) has Singer #1. Frankie Pilere (formerly of D1 Baseball,now with the Mariners) had Singer #4 behind Hankins, Rolison, and Gilbert on his list last fall. Finally, Rob Ozga (The Baseball Draft Report, and my personal favorite draft guy, and a guy who has popped up on this site before) had Singer going to the Phillies at 1-3 (behind Gilbert at 1-1, and Madrigal at 1-2) on his October mock.

    2. I like Nola a lot so I’m not concerned with Singer’s velocity or whateven concern they have. Although I prefer that Single also develop a CU.

      1. True but with the 3rd pick, I’d like to get a pitcher with TOR stuff as a starting point. I’m concerned about taking a pitcher that high who sits at or only slightly above league average fastball and will need to rely on movement. Looking for someone to be a 1 in rotation who can dominate

        1. TOR is a subjective concept. People throw TOR a lot and connect it to velocity. A true #1 (at least 2 plus pitches, above ave 3rd pitch and a elite command) is a rare breed. If Singer becomes a Nola – showing 2 potential plus pitches and elite command – that’s a #2 so I will take him especially if he has the projection to pitch deep (at least 7 IPs) on a regular basis.

          I’ll prefer movement and command (Nola and Singer has that) than pure velocity anytime,

        2. nola and singer are both not the type of pitchers you take in top ten picks. Nola is 3 or 4, don’t understand your thinking

          1. @roccom – our difference about Nola is well established. If you still think that Nola is a #3 or #4, then that’s your opinion. Our opinion is not representative of anything other than our own. I still believe that Nola is a #2 type with a dancing 2S and knee buckling CB as true plus pitch, average 4S and a potential above ave CU with elite command and a solid make up.

            Singer is not identical to Nola, but I think both can have the same success. Singer is bigger than Nola and possibly throws harder. But Nola will always have the command of his pitches which can be Cliff Lee like.

            1. Yes, Nola is a solid #2 by today’s standards. Lotta mediocrity on MLB mounds these days. He’ll throw a klunker from time to time but consistency wise he’s a rock to build the rotation on. A lefty to compliment him at the top would be nice. Otherwise we wait on Arrieta to make up his mind…or Boras to do it for him.

      2. KuKo…Singer’s slider is lights out from the little I saw from last year in the SEC play and CWS, and what I have read also. Now he will need to work on his CU as yuo say.

  4. If there is an issue with Herrera I would expect Quinn to be starting CF in his stead. If given the playing time I think he could be rookie of the year.

    1. nicky foles couldnt throw for 2 weeks in training camp, and look how that turned out. no worries about Odubel. interesting though to hear the quip by Kapler though.

      1. it’s like apples to oranges. Pederson changed the play calling to suit Foles strengths. this is not a batting practice. Kapler cannot do anything on how Doobie’s play will show in the field. So the more time Doobie can start to put hilmself into game play the better.

    2. I would think it’d be Altherr, right? He’s the 4th OF and has proven himself to a degree at this level. I’d use Quinn as a late game sub for Hoskins, shift Altherr over to left late in games.

      1. I think it’s a bit screwed up that Altherr is already being cast as the 4th outfielder. He’s a better player than Williams, perhaps quite a lot better.

        1. Williams will be in AAA before Memorial Day and Altherr will be heading to the All Star Game by July.

          1. I didn’t say that – just that Altherr is better and shouldn’t be immediately relegated to a subordinate role.

            1. AA will be injured by ASG. Solid player but hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy. Williams in AAA by Memorial Day? Everyone is entitled to an opinion so I will respect that, but I believe he will improve upon what we saw last year.

            2. I didn’t think you were being sarcastic – I’m just saying I don’t necessarily agree with the doubling down part. Altherr could be an All-Star (but still unlikely), but I don’t see Nick Williams regressing to the point where he’s back in AAA, although, I guess you never know.

          2. Not sure how you’re basing that statement, Bud. Though I would take Altherr over Williams, the latter has considerable upside. His return to AAA would be a disastrous development.
            Anyway, let’s move Doobie and make time for both.

          3. There is definitely quite a few Williams’ doubters on the site.
            But there is no doubt….he has power and is athletic.
            Perhaps this season he can help to erase all those concerns over his overall hit tool.

            1. Romus, maybe I’m naive but I saw a player who was hungry and played hard. He recognized rock bottom in 2016 and bounced back in a big way in 2017. Love AA but he needs to stay healthy.

    3. I’ve already posted this a few times, but I’ll post it again: Roman Quinn will start 80 games for the Phillies this season.

    1. Agreed. three years makes sense to help bridge the rotation until higher ceiling prospects arrive. Beyond that we’ll end up eating money for poor performance. 5-6 yrs is like a pension plan – retirement fund for Arrieta

      1. How about 3 years and 1-2 vesting options. If he hits a certain innings pitched or something. A prove it each year deal. High enough AAV that it’s worth it.

  5. I love when fans are concerned about a team’s payroll. Are you worried about the Waltons’ finances just because you go to Wal-mart? It makes no sense.

    1. I think the issue is more that assuming that the team will be unwilling to go over the luxury tax ( which most teams are now because of the associated dollar and draft pick penalities ) that the people on this site are concerned about the team being limited on future spending if the payroll is blocked by high salaries for players with poor performance ( example being the ryan howard contract)

      at some point the team will have to pay the younger players and that’s why people are concerned about long term contracts for somewhat older pitchers

      1. I totally understand it. But we have minimal payroll this year, next year we have $65M(ish) going out the door. If you assume $25M for Arrieta in year 2, that still leaves us approximately $110M UNDER the tax space. That could theoretically be Machado AND Harper at $40M a piece and we’d still be fine. Cesar and Franco are the only arb guys making over $5M for 2019, and everyone else is controlled at the minimum.

        As far as tax is concerned, I’m not really worried about it. We’ve run up payrolls at $180M, and that was before the Comcast deal. When the time is right, if the time calls for it, I’m sure Middleton will approve over-extending to keep the good times rolling.

        Arrieta will not be a factor in luxury tax space this year, next year, or the year after. It is a moot point. And again, the team’s payroll isn’t any of our business. It’s a waste to worry about it.

      2. Bingo…
        Many of us have learned from the albatross contracts, some have not.

        Large salaries are fine, when you are getting the corresponding production, even slightly less. Now when you get high salaries mixed with poor performance … that is a rebuild killer, a tradedeadline killer, and an anchor on the teams mind. Not good. 3 years for arrrietta, possibly 4. He better hurry up because these young guns might show him up in ST. That’s a risk he’ll have to balance daily vs the phils risk of losing/not signing him

        1. And 4 years is fine. One bad deal is not a rebuild killer….4 years down the road. Let’s face it, Phillies were unlucky. We could’ve absorbed Howard’s bad deal if Lee and Halladay continued to stay healthy. They didn’t have to pitch like aces, but they had to at least pitch.

          That was roughly $70M of dead money. And we were already on the decline, holding onto Rollins and utley for too long.

    2. Andrew…only concern from Wal-Mart…..edibles from China…thats it.
      Oh, forgot…and also someone taking a pix of me in my tutu and posting it on-line when I shop there. 🙂

  6. Really loving what I’m seeing from Alfaro thus far. If he becomes a solid defensive catcher with a middle of the order bat, that will accelerate turning this process into the moment.

  7. If Arrieta does not come here, I have no interest in Lynn or Cobb. I simply wait to see how the team plays, and then set my sights a lot higher than Montgomery at the Deadline. I agree with you Jim that the beginning of ST looks very similar and not in a good way. Pinch runner gets picked off 1st right before a Cozens 2B, then Cozens gets caught trying to steal 3B. Kapler’s terse reply to the Doobie question when everything he says is so positive and effusive otherwise, is very troubling.

    1. The best move might be to not make a move now. Maybe by the deadline prospects like Randolph and Liebrandt may be tearing it up, and Cesar could be hitting over .300.

  8. I agree with Hinkie that the best option in 1.3 if available is Nolan Gorman. Although I think Gorman will not pass SF and Johnny A. will most likely draft Brice Turang at 1.3.

    At 1.3, I hope Johnny A. will not screw it up. Gorman, Singer, McClanahan and Turang are good options although i can see a lot of people screaming for the high velocity Hankins.

    I’m not adverse to Arrieta signing as long as it is not more than 3 years because 3 years from now – the rotation will feature Nola, Sixto, Medina, SINGER, JoJo Romero, a much improved and Nola-like Howard and back from the grave Kevin Gowdy with Morales and Starlyn Castro (the 2018 J2 signing by Sal) waiting in the upper minors.

    1. KuKo … #Got2BGorman
      Gorman is the best player in this draft. If Gorman is gone, I’d draft one of the other SS/3B (De Sedas or Eierman) or LHP’s (Liberatore or McClanahan). I would also consider Kumar Rocker. In addition, I’d also wag my finger at everyone who got upset with me last season when I was rooting for the 1-1 draft pick.

      1. I hope both Signer and Kowar will continue to perform steadily until the draft. DET drafted Kowar 3 years ago and I hope their get him at 1,1 and pitcher crazy SF drafts Singer at 1.2 so Gorman falls into the Phillies lap at 1.3 unless Johnny A. screws it up again by overreaching a prospect for some $$ to make up for the lost 2nd rd.

        I like de Sedas too, he has that Carlos Correa appeal to me. Not much on Rocker — I think he will struggle to find the strike zone.

      2. A little early to say he’s the BPA, IMO. Gorman has prodigious power, but he also has a hole noticeable hole in his swing and strikes more than you would like to see. Kumar Rocker has dropped down draft boards for a reason: little projection left, and gets hit too often. My first choice, even with his injury, would be Hankins, under the assumption that he will develop a dependable breaking pitch to offset his incredible fastball. Next would be McCalahan, Liberatore, Gorman, De Sedas, Turang–in that order. I’d honestly be happy with any one of these guys.

        1. Though SSS of 53 PAs his slash was indicative of a power guy and does seem to barrel the ball…..409/.509/.841.

          1. Well if he can sustain that then I say go for it. But Alvarez seems super conservative. As much as I want guys like Hankins or Gorman, he’ll probably end up picking a player/pitcher with a high floor but low ceiling. Neither Moniak nor Haseley have any “loud” tools; just solid all around

  9. I wouldn’t extrapolate too much on an off-the-cuff comment on Gabe Kapler to some dude sitting around waiting for autographs.

    That said, Gabe Kapler, the “up with people” and everyone’s best friend guy is going to have to deal with being a boss and not best buddies with every player. So when Odubel dogs it, what is he going to do to correct that behavior but not lose the player? That will be one of his biggest tests. We’ll see.

    1. I have supported Odubel from day 1. I have always defended him. But yesterday really pissed me off. I’m up here in Jersey, cold, rainy…. And these guys are down there in the beautiful sun playing a beautiful game. The first chance you get to play, you dog it? That pissed me off. Right out of the box. Zero effort. At least run hard for 50 feet. Hopefully there was a reason.

      1. His wallet was weighing him down…

        I’d don’t have the talent, but I’ll tell you… if I did … I would never dog it. I just don’t understand it. Shows he has the talent but not the love for the game.

            1. agreed but it is a concern of his mindset when you have already been called out for lack of hustle on numerous occasions and yet you still do it especially with a new manager.

            2. Disagree. A player can Love baseball more than anyone, without the talent, he doesn’t make it. On the other side, a player can have all the talent that is necccesay to make the big leagues and not love the game… and still make it.
              Money can easily motivate in that scenario… as many of us prove this everyday, minus the million dollar salaries.

              A lack of hustle is a big concern of mine. I hate that crap. I get it that you can’t run every play at 110% .. not everyone is built that way, but to be able to be called out on your “hustle” level at the mlb level is complete garbage. No one should be able to tell that you “dogged”
              It. Come on fellas, have a higher standard. Herrera is a great talent in many ways, and horrendous on the small details … the details that anyone at the mlb level should’ve had down pat in the minors. He is like the little kid who defies on purpose … but you can’t ground them because they make millions. If I was a manager, I’d be like Bowa because no way could I not blow a gasket watching these athletes run the asluym…. apparently it is so hard to give 80-110% effort on a daily basis …. give me a break … come
              Work my job…. it’ll motivate you Herrera!

            3. By biggest concern regarding Doobie isn’t that he’s already established the type of player he’ll continue to be (sadly) but rather his value will only diminish as his team friendly contract goes untraded while we need major league arms to supplement this crop of higher level starters “battle it out” until Sixto and Co arrive.

              Cesar is another trade commodity only because of the middle infield depth. But I don’t devalue him as a player. He’s simply not a building block in my eyes.

    2. I don’t like being characterized as “some dude sitting around waiting for autographs”. If you don’t want to extrapolate from the comment, fine. But when I invest my time hanging around for an hour to ask a question, don’t assume facts that aren’t true.

      Here are some facts. Sometimes I take credit for a friend’s actions (to protect the anonymity of a source). Sometimes I credit my actions to “friends” (to try not to sound like I’m trying to impress readers with my access, actions, etc). I do NOT collect autographs (in fact I have to sign a paper that says I won’t ask for autographs as part of my agreement to receive my Threshers’ media pass).

    1. Yeah, I will after I’ve seen him in more than Instructs and pre-ST drills (like minor league camp and game situations). He’s young and learning. I’ve already detected some differences in his stance and swing from Instructs. But, if anyone is providing projections already, consider the source.

      1. Jim, I appreciate all you do. I live in Oklahoma so it’s nice to come read about your experiences and such.

  10. Ignore money, would you trade Lively plus a 3rd rd pick for Arrieta? Yes. For Lynn? Yes. For Cobb? Maybe. Either Arrieta or Lynn for 3 years is a no brainer. However, they want more years which won’t happen. Stalemate. So they wait.
    I wanted to trade Odubel for a pitcher all off season and I haven’t changed my mind. I just don’t think he’s a winning player. Same with Cesar. Both look safe for now.
    As for the draft, at 3 we have to get a TOR guy or a legit 3 hitter (which we still don’t have). Is Gorman that guy? IDK but we’ll see

    1. Why isn’t Cesar a winning player. That makes no sense. he has done nothing but improve and hustle. amazing the lack of knowledge about this kid

      1. He’s a terrible base runner. He never seems to have a feel for the situation while running the bases. I also thinks he makes errors defensively at critical junctures. Kind of the opposite of Utley. Certain guys put up numbers and certain guys win. I can’t exolaun it better than that. Kingery is a winner from what I’ve seen so far. Rollins was a winner. Victorino was a winner. It’s hard to describe it but I know when I see it and when I don’t.

        1. Murray your going back three years. He is not a bad base runner, Went from a 1.7 war to 3.2 war. According to mlb his injury hurt his defense, before that was consider a plus fielder. you just don’t like him, I hope you guys are right, kingery is the next ty cobb according to what? Lack of respect for a kid like Ceasr who has improved in all phrase of his game .I just am amaze at the total lack of respect for this kid.

    2. Murray…agree on Doobie for a quality arm.
      I leaned to the Tigers for Fulmer early on or even KC and Duffy….but Duffy scars me now with his elbow issues last August..
      Cesar I will like to hold off until July, especially if Kingery struggles at LHV..

      1. Teams in the situation that the Tigers and KC are in would only trade a starting pitcher for a guy like Kingery or Sanchez. They don’t want someone already established, they want the young cheap guy with lots of control and a high upside.

        1. Murrey….Doobie’s contract is very team friendly, similar to Yelich’s…..IMO, tthat would be a big selling point for Matt Klentak. Plus Doobie’s is only 26 years old.

    3. No reason to call them losers.

      They are both solid players & contributors to the team, but with all of the depth, it would be great to get pitching value for them.

      Still very possible.

        1. I like to think when you refer to ‘winning players’ as mentioned above…..all players want to win, but some players NEED to win, like the Jeters, Utleys, Roses of the world….they have an obsession just to win at any cost.

    4. @murray – for 2 years now, i’ve been taking the heat especially from the “WAR” lords for suggesting to trade Doobie and Cesar. Both are solid players, but you cannot be just good or solid to win especially in a team sports wherein mental lapses can become the weakest link.

      Both Doobie and Cesar are young, cheap and the WAR things has been in their favor. Their value will flip once their become older and expensive. Both are good complimentary players so I don’t know why people are so sentimental about them.

      1. I don’t think people are THAT sentimental about them, they just think they are good players and valuable players and want to ensure that, if the team trades them, it receives fair value in return. Obviously, something is going to have to give with Cesar and Kingery – one will have to be moved either to a different position or different team. Odubel is a frustrating player at times, but he also can all be a scintillatingly brilliant player for long periods of time. He can almost carry a team for weeks at a time – not a typical thing for a guy who is not really a power hitter. And his fielding is excellent.

        1. Odubel isn’t carrying any team for weeks at a time and never has. He’s a solid average player right now and nothing more. I’m not on the trade him now bandwagon simply because they don’t have an adequate replacement ready to take his spot.

          Cesar is different because of Kingery…

  11. Matt Gelb says Archer or Duffy could be trade deadline targets for Phils, especially if they don’t sign a FA this spring.

  12. With JDMs contract getting reworded due to health concerns, I wonder if Arrieta’s eventual deal (with whomever) could be affected by such a factor since he’s recently suffered a setback or two, and turns 32 next month. Say a team like the Phillies agree to a 4th year. Is it be possible the language would include team protection in exchange of a player option?

  13. I liked what I saw with Zach Eflin pitching this weekend. I read he gained 20 pounds and he has a good set of legs under him now. I’m kind of routing for him to make the team.

    1. Ya I think your right Jim. Not the first time an org has kept a bigger problem on the down low.

      Also what’s with V Velasquez? Looks like they are back to Eich in the potential rotation. I know it’s early but VV has had arm problems quite frequently.

      1. I hope he gets a chance. His stuff isn’t off the charts but he seems to be a good 5th starter who will battle and keep you in most games

        1. Which one, lovely or Eshelman?

          It seems Phils have two groups of SP’s. A slew of 5’s who will battle. And guys with good stuff who have “potential” to be top of the rotation.

    1. I said it before and I’ll say it again – Scott Kingery is going to be the face of the next great Phillies team. He has the “it” factor in spades.

      1. So does JP the two of them will make up one of the best middle infields we’ve seen since the likes of Rollins and Utley…

        1. Agreed that J.P. will be very good, but I think he’ll be a little more below the radar than Kingery – he’s just that kind of guy with that kind of game. But these two have the ability to be very worthy successors to Utley and Rollins, which is saying something.

        2. That is going way back! Can’t believe we have had to wait this long for another middle infield combo. Ha ha

  14. A few seasons back the Yankee’s used their wealth to overpay for 2 players Miller and Chapman which Cashman eventually turned into Torres, Frazier and Sheffield.

    This also was at a time when you weren’t supposed to spend big on relievers. It’s pretty amazing the GM Cashman has been able to become under Hal as opposed to the one he was under George.

    Greg Holland is sitting out there by the way.

    1. The Yankees didn’t overlay for Chapman, they actually bought low on him because of his (at the time) domestic violence accusation and the suspension that followed at the conclusion of the investigation. They overpaid for him in terms of dollars after that offseason when the perception of relievers changed.

  15. MK should find a deal involving a 3rd team possibly and move Odubel in a deal that relieves the Yankees of Ellsbury and lands us one of or maybe more Abreu, Acvedo or Perez.

    1. DMAR….you are thinking like Hinkie and a bunch of us on the site here….creatively.
      I have come to the realization that Matt Klentak is not wired that way……he stays the course ever so fearful of failure, which at this point concerning prospects at the MLB ready stage….is very minimal anyway with the abundance they currently have ready to hit the majors..
      But he seems to just keep going steady as she goes.

      1. Well, I still don’t think we know that much about Klentak in terms of his ability to make moves because the strategy thus far has been to grow internally and not to lock down any long term payroll except on very team-friendly deals. He’s done one big deal with Santana and, frankly, I like it. His talent evaluation has been mixed – but not a very long track record thus far.

        But we will know for sure in the next year or two.

    2. @DMAR – NYY is willing to dangle Frazier to unload Ellsbury. So Klentak should get a lot in return if Doobie is involved if he knows how to look for opportunities. Then consequently flip Ellsbury to SF Giants with Lively to get Shark.

      We talked about high ceiling, high floors about players and prospects and that applies to GMs too. And Klentak is the typical “low ceiling, high floor” GM.

      I can’t believe that MIN got Oddi for almost nothing.

  16. I agree, that was a terrific move and we were not even rumored to be exploring it. I hate to keep saying that Klentak is uninspiring, but he is. There have been a number of chances to think out of the box, and he has not done so. Yes, Santana was a terrific pick up, but hardly out of the box thinking. With the 40 Man roster crunch coming very soon, he is going to have to do some things that are risky. He has, so far, been risk, even minimal risk, averse.

    1. Agree he has stayed totally in his lane thus far. I get it and don’t disagree. What we don’t know is if he’s been told to proceed this way until a certain point in time and so, let’s try to give him a little longer, until he’s part way through the period where he’s supposed to be acquiring and not just developing talent. We will know more soon enough.

    2. Not to be a d*ck but give me an example of what he could have done thinking out of the box? You said he has chances but never took them. What chances were they? We have ZERO idea what happens behind the scene, we don’t know what other teams think of our players, what they think of theirs, etc etc etc. This isn’t a video game, they can’t just push thru trades. So much more (that we have ZERO idea about) goes on.

      1. EricD….from my perspective of thinking outside the box…and it is only concerning the pipeline flow from the start of the amateur talent acquisition……trading for more int’l slot compensation and additionally trading for CBA picks ( Phillies have plenty of pitchers to accommodate that)…..that other clubs, i.e. Rangers, Yankees, examples of two large market clubs, have been doing that regularly.
        He lost a 2nd round pick…..in 27 days will he atempt to recuperate that pick by gong for a Round A CBA or even a Round B CBA?
        Hinkie has proposed this idea for over a year now.
        Matt seems hesitant on parting with any of his surplus arms….that he will lose for nothing soon anyway once the new 40 has to be structured later this year.

  17. Yeah I’m just kind of looking at where we are good and then really good and where we have some redundancy to flip for more really good.

    I don’t really like how the OF is situated. Hoskins plays every day right? Presumably Herrera does too so that means what for Altherr and Williams.

    Ellsbury would kind of create the same problem but you might not feel the need to play him everyday and he could be someone you deal at the trade deadline.

    And then there is Cesar who I love but you can’t hold Kingery back any longer.

    Joseph doesn’t fit, Rupp doesn’t fit. A good problem to have or a mismanagement of assets. Let’s not forget we lost Tocci too and I know not many here thought much of him but one thing is always true you get a guy like him that looks good in the minors and there is always another team out there that will dream on a kid like that.

    1. Kingery will be up from 2 weeks to 2 months after the start of the season. They will mix and match him and Cesar at various positions until they get a proper offer for Cesar. Benching Cesar would be stupid. He’s far too good for that and it would impair his value. He’s not quite an AS, but he’s very good.

      1. Kingery will be playing 3rd. Franco now batting .167; last year his spring predicted his season.

        1. Robin,

          The guy who might be predicting his season — and his career — is Cozens. He just can’t seem to help striking out. You know he’s working on it, but it isn’t working.

          I hope this small sample size isn’t indicative, but it is consistent with what he’ been, except even worse so far.

  18. Sobering reality for all of us pulling for our top prospects to make it – first rounder Jake Burger of the White Sox ruptured his Achilles. Let’s remember that depth is a good thing. But yes, Klentak needs to move and shake with some of these 40 man kids.

    1. Senzel is looking like he will be the one that got away. My buddy saw him take BP on Sunday said he and Votto appeared inseparable. We talked a little Burger and this was before the injury.

      I mentioned that there were many here who liked him. He said big kid really good pitch recognition worried about his athleticism. I suppose that was a bit too prophetic.

      1. One thing about SEC players…be it a pitcher or hitter…..you will be getting a well tested player who are prepared for professional ball.
        Senzel was top of his class as a hitter in the SEC at Tennessee….though a littel surprised with his power surge, in his three years at Tennessee with almost 700 PAs his SLG% was only.approx. .515 with a big splurge in his last year..

        1. I don’t envy the scouts that have to try and determine if a kid can make the adjustment from metal to wood bat.

        1. We know one thing Ryan Howard was never the same. Granted he was older when he suffered his. I know they are saying Burger won’t play again this year.

  19. my choice as of now would be Liberatore. they need a top notch lefty prospect and i think he could be the one. Gorman looks good too, but the lefty works for me.

  20. Defense is horrible today and whoever thought it would be a good idea to put TJ in the OF is smoking some good stuff.

    Are they thinking they are smart by trying to show case him? Then why flip him with Cowgil batter to batter. He is what he is a 1B DH platoon option for a rebuilding team that wants a cheap stop gap.

    1. Calm down. It’s ST – they are just trying to see what they have and give guys ABs. That said, they do need to make some decisions on guys and it’s sort of surprising that they haven’t and it would be really surprising if they don’t before opening day. If that happens, I’m going to start siding pretty strongly with the “Matt Klentak can’t make a decision” crows.

    2. Hah…even Cowgil had to smile and throw his hands up in ‘what-the-heck’ mode’, during one of the rotations.

    1. 8mark…..hopefully his velo will pick up a notch or two as the season gets along.
      Still amazes me how some of these big strapping guys can throw so slow.

    2. Tavares got the first to batters he faced with ease then the next guy saw what was going on with his pitch sequencing. You hang em we bang em.

      His change up has really nice action the slider or curve that he throws looks like a cement mixer.

  21. Lots of guys will get sent down Sunday night. Minor league camp starts for real on Monday. That will thin out the roster quite a bit. But still, TJ in LF?? Geez…..

  22. Everyone calm down it’s early in spring training . These pitchers are out there for the first time working on things. Everyone playing everywhere it seems lol .
    Everyone in Clearwater have a hot dog and a beer on Jim .

    Eagles, Flyers , Phillies, Sixers can it happen ……..

  23. Guys, in no way do you put Hernandez on the bench or brush over his skill set. I get it, Kingery is a good prospect however he hasn’t had one AB at the ML level and he isn’t projected to me THAT much better than Hernandez and that is IF he reaches his ceiling. I really don’t get the disdain for him. Personally i’d sign Hernandez to an extension and look to see what I could get in a trade (package) for Kingery. If you trade Hernandez, Kingery HAS to make it or else that is a terrible look. Hernandez is one of the better 2B in ALL OF BASEBALL. If he unlocks the speed on the bases and he’s a top 5 2B in all of baseball.

    BTW bored at work and went through just about all the videos from spring training on Phillies.com and i’m starting to get excited about this team and season. I get that it’s “Spring training speak” but there’s a lot of “this team is going to surprise people”, “this team is really close to being really good” etc etc. I get that you hear that often but I feel like there is belief in those words instead of empty belief or saying it to be optimistic.

    And I can’t believe i’m saying this but i’m starting to like Kapler.

    1. EricD…..who will be in their prime age years when this team ever gets good again to challenege for the division…Kingery or Hernandez?

    2. @Eric D – this is the same mindset why you prefer to have Galvis playing at SS rather than JPC. Eventhough Kingery has not played any single MLB game, it is becoming more obvious that he is just the better player. Hoskins > ToJo, JPC > Galvis, Alfaro > Rupp, Kingery > Cesar and by end of next year Haseley > Doobie.

      Cesar is a good player but not a great player. His improvement going forward is pretty much marginal — Cesar can be a consistently good player for years to come but his potential is already tapped out. I’m not sure what big improvement that everybody is expecting from Cesar.

      Cesar vs Kingery is already a moot debate and I’ve been saying this for more than 2 years now.

  24. Praise for Kingery us not disdain for Hernandez. Kingery has already shown his tools . Kingery might be faster and already is a better base runner then Hernandez. Kingery marked improvement in power last yr seems to have carried over to this yr .
    You really don’t know every single scouting report as Kingery as a plus defender too.
    Time is here Kingery maybe be a month or 2 away or could hit his way on in spring Training . One thing about Kingery he advance’s very quickly, being drafted in 2015 .
    Why give Hernandez a contract he’s not a FA until 2021 . He’ll be 31 he has 4 yrs on Kingery . Hernandez isn’t a bad ball player being pushed out my your team’s # 1or 2 top prospect isn’t a bad thing . Phillies have a nice problem.

    1. That’s right – praise for Kingery is not disdain for, or criticism of, Hernandez. You can love one player and like the other a lot.

      Also, as much as I love Kingery and as much as I may disagree with them, those who say that they would take the sure thing in Hernandez over the prospect in Kingery, have some point. There is always a risk that a younger prospect, no matter how vaunted, will not play out. Although I think it’s unlikely, Kingery could fail or could just be average (personally, I see him as a star of the magnitude of a guy like Dustin Pedroia – but that’s just me). The tempered good news on that front is that unless the Phillies receive an outstanding offer they can’t refuse on Hernandez before the season starts, we may get to see both of them for at least a little while.

  25. roccom, “a clone of cole hamels”, that would make this, the draft of this decade. i’m in for that. would love to see it happen. even though people shy away from a HS pitcher in the first, i think i’d rather have that then a hitter this year.

  26. I’m a little worried about Kapler’s inexperience as a manager. I’ll hold my concerns in for now because it’s only ST but he seems to want to try every possible idea he has, no matter how odd. We’ll see….. TJ could be playing 3B soon and Franco might go to LF next….

    1. We Philadelphians don’t take right away to folk who aren’t like us. This is a very provincial fan base. Add to that the fact that the Phillies are among the last MLB organizations who have finally embraced a new way of doing things. Some people like Kapler. Some don’t. I don’t think anybody knows quite to make of him OR where he’s leading the team. And remember, he and Klentak seem to be the package deal. If Gabe fails, Matt goes. Hell, Kapler may wind up with Klentak’s job when it’s all done.

      In any case, I’m sitting back and enjoying the beginning of a new chapter. It was time. Change isn’t always for better like our political process suggests. But change was definitely in order. Let’s wait and see. Google Charlie Manual and Doug Pederson. (and Sam Hinkie while you’re at it.) It might just as well turn out pretty well.

      1. 8mark….you said it best.
        Heck I remember Charlie M. and Doug P.s hiring ….much disdain and doubt for them.

  27. reading this blurb in inquirer about phillies “senior quantitative analyst in r&d” Alex Nakahara, who they had in uniform in dugout yesterday. has a degree in mechanical engineering from Penn and a masters from MIT in aeronautics and astronautics. help a dumb guy understand what exactly he’d be doing for the Phils?

    1. RAEF….he will mathematically prove that the sum aggregate of Maikel Franco’s launch angle, in conjunction with his exit velocity, will undoubtedly show the results that he is a much more valuable third base hitter than Nolan Arenado. :).

    2. Maybe he’s looking to redesign the uniform to make it more aerodynamic so they can all be a little faster 🙂

      1. That reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George changed the Yankee unis to all comfortable 100% cotton….and then it rained.

        1. OMG – that was hilarious! The entire Yankees team running around like penguins after uniform “shrinkage” (if you watch Seinfeld you’ll know that’s funny for several reasons) and ripping their jerseys.

          1. Yes….Buck Showalter had a small cameo on that episode as i recall with George…..”Buck the cotton uniforms let the players breathe”:: or something like that.

            1. Yes, Buck Showalter, Paul “2 home runs” O’Neill, and Danny Tartabull (pre-Phillies disaster) all had cameos or roles on the show, as did former Mets “I am Keith”/”Nice Game Pretty Boy” Hernandez and Roger (there was a second spitter) McDowell. Loved the episode when Kramer goes to the Yankees game and yells something like “.240 won’t cut it in New York” to Charlie Hayes.

            2. yeah…that was hilarious what Kramer said to Charlie Hayes….i guess a back-door swipe at the Phillies or the Pirates?

      1. Tac3/srussell…..hey, other than the rockets pointed out you from Kim Jong-un, it probably is a great place to live and play ball.

  28. I’m aware that it’s very early in ST, but I’d like to see some semblance of the real batting order (at least for 3 or 4 innings) in an occasional game. I was hoping against the hated Yankees.

    1. I’m ok with experimenting in early training camp to get reps for people and then gravitate to a more steady lineup in 2 weeks or so before opening day

  29. If I’m Franco, Kapler is my worst nightmare … he will try anyone at 3B it seems. I’ve rarely seen a hot seat as hot as Franco’s 3B position. Galvis and Herndez had Crawford and now Kingery but … damn … Franco better produce with the teams willingness to move players around … you have Quinn taking ground balls, kingery&crawford playing everywhere on the diamond, Hernandez at SS… heck Jospeh is probably getting a shot at 3rd soon .. i wouldn’t be surprised to see Alfaro at 3B. Franco is getting shots fired across the bow from multiple directions … His best hope is that Santana can show him how it’s done.

    Good luck Franco, you are going to need it. I feel like his leash is at most mid season. He better be producing because that burner is about to creep past 8 soon… itching to hit “high” 🙂
    I wish him well, but not looking good, minus the dinger

      1. I hear you on that. If he doesn’t turn it around he’ll be the new … no I can’t even type his name … such fustrating memories on that long time prospect.

        Franco is def on notice …. it is odd too, as a few years ago he was about the only everyday player you could pencil in for the core rebuild

  30. ESPN has the Phils using Kingery in Zobrist type utility player … could be interesting if so. They are playing musical chairs with just about everyone but Rupp. Galvis certainly could have done it imo… play 6 of 7games playing SS,2B,3B, and all OF spots. Maybe they see something similar with Kingery. Add in enough musical positions and the bench could look very different. Players could get a lot of at bats this way. Will see how it shakes out.

    1. Actually I’m beginning to think Kingery is viewed as more of an extension candidate in his first two years of MLB service. On which case, the need to keep him in Lehigh is less crucial. If in fact he plays a Zobrist role early in the season, that allows Klentak to mine the market for Cesar until the deadline. Considering the brass’s MO with versatility and a short bench, I can see him going north with the big club.

  31. I don’t see Kingery until at least the end of May. They keep him in LHV until they control an extra year. I am a big Kingery fan, but it makes no business sense to keep him going North. No matter how well he plays. Gives them a chance to see if any market develops for Cesar. Going forward, I think there is more of a chance Cesar plays that Zobrist role, not Kingery. Kingery will be key to any future contending Phils’ team. His superior D, speed, power, and Baseball IQ makes his ceiling a Star while Cesar’s is a very good player. That is, in no way, a knock at Cesar. If he does not bring back value, he can play all of the Zobrist positions.

    1. Lol he heard catchman running his mouth! “No way” … o yeah!

      Will see. If he has an incredible spring, I think they bring him up and just sign him early. The players union is onto this trick, Bryant, Franco and others all made enough noise to change it.

      Will see, but in the meantime, keep bringing those homeruns catchman!

      1. They can make as much noise as they want but until the CBA is renegotiated, they can do nothing about it other than make noise.

      2. Man, you talk about me like I’m the guy talking Kingery down and exactly the opposite is true. I think he’s going to be a star and the face of the Phillies moving forward. His not being promoted on opening day is not about him being unprepared for that role. Again, exactly the opposite is true. It’s precisely because he is so good and will end up being so valuable that the team wants to delay his arrival so as to delay his entry into free agency so the team will control over him for the better part of seven seasons, which is an eternity in almost any sport.

          1. I have seen him play. He’s as entertaining as he is good. I’m more excited about him than I probably have ever been about a Phillies prospect, with the possible exception of Cole Hamels.

        1. Just breaking stones catchman, didn’t come across in the post. I usually post the 🙂 when I’m joking/sarcasm/breaking stones for future FYI
          . It’s all good we are all Phillies phans, well most of us 🙂

    1. Romus from one of the most promising staffs to this, amazing. If those guys didn’t get hurt the mets were set with at least three top of rotation guys.

      1. rocco…..exactly.
        If you told me three years ago the Mets’ arms would be where they are now…I would have not believed you. They were frightful for a Phillies fan.

      2. This is why the Phillies are onto something when they insist on growing pitchers rather than generally going the free agent route with arms (of course there will be exceptions). Hitters are much more predictable than pitchers – it’s that simple. Look at our 2011 team. They were incredible and within two years – poof – it was pretty much all gone (granted, it was partially an age issue, but even with hitters, age declines tend to be more gradual. Listen, Roy Halladay was one of the best pitchers in the world at the end of 2011 and when he showed up at ST in 2012 he was essentially a 4th or 5th starter. Precipitous declines like that rarely occur with hitters.)

        1. I agree with Catch. I would rather grow everything myself, but pitchers for sure are hero today, mud tomorrow, just way better paid.

  32. MLB predicts Pivetta as one of top five break-out pitchers for 2018:

    Nick Pivetta, Phillies, age 25
    2017 stats: 133 IP, 6.02 ERA, 4.87 FIP, .362 wOBA, .326 xwOBA

    Acquired from Washington for Jonathan Papelbon in 2015, Pivetta endured a difficult debut season, posting the fifth-highest ERA in the Majors (minimum 120 innings). But the 6-foot-5 righty flashed some intriguing stuff, including a four-seamer with zip (94.5 mph), a high-spin-rate curveball (2,830 RPM) and an effective slider. His 24 percent strikeout rate ranked 30th among those with 120-plus innings.

    Pivetta also showed improvement in the second half, even as his ERA soared. His rate of hard-hit liners and fly balls allowed dropped from one of the highest in the league (24.8 percent) to a better-than-average 16.7 percent. Despite that, batters hit .300 against Pivetta after the break, compared with their expected average of .256. With continued refinement of his pitches — and some better luck — the Phillies are bullish on Pivetta’s chances in 2018.
    https://www.mlb.com/news/young-mlb-starters-poised-for-a-breakout/c-267391138

    1. I Could have told you about Pivetta. I love this kids stuff. Will he develop into a top starter, that is the question stuff alone doesn’t guarantee success.

      1. Pivetta needs to work on command, but the upside is impressive. That was a great trade – an aging, complaining, expensive Papelbon for Pivetta. Sometimes the smaller deals yield much larger returns than the so-called blockbusters.

  33. According to Kiley McDaniel, Detroit is currently considering four candidates for their 1-1 draft pick:
    * Nolan Gorman
    * Nick Madrigal
    * Shane McClanahan
    * Ryan Rolison (is #4 with a bullet says McDaniel)

    As I’ve already stated, Gorman (IMO) is the best player in this draft. On top of that, he would fit a need (3B) for the Phillies. Last year, the Reds (1-2), Padres (1-3), Rays (1-4), and Braves (1-5) all went over slot to get the player they wanted. Tampa went 850 thousand dollars above slot to force Brendan McKay to them, and Atlanta went a whopping 1.3 million more than slot to make sure Kyle Wright got to 1-5. This is another reason why Klentak needs to get busy collecting competitive balance picks (by eating bad contracts and selling off excess arms) once the regular season starts. Those comp picks come with as much as 2.2 million slot dollars (Baltimore’s comp A). That’s money that could help Johnny Almarez force Gorman to the Phillies at 1-3.

  34. That would be great Hinki,e regardless of who they deem worthy of the pick. I would love to see them acquire more assets rather than lose guys for nothing. Romus, I would love Pivetta to step it up. His stuff is really good. VV did not have a great 1st outing today.

    1. I Have seen Leiter about eight times. I Think he is nothing to brag about. very average to below average stuff

      1. Agreed the stuff is not great, but it’s a little better than you might expect (low 90s) and so he’s not a real soft tosser. But his breaking pitches are fairly decent and he has the benefit of being around a dad and uncle who were major league pitchers and can advise him at a high level on basically everything relating to pitching. He could turn into a perfectly fine back end starter or, perhaps more important, a two-inning reliever who is effective. My view of these growing bullpens is that a guy who can come in in the fifth or sixth inning and hold down the fort for a few innings is going to become increasingly more valuable – and Leiter’s a fine candidate for that role. I’m not saying he’s the best thing since sliced bread, but I’ve got an open mind when it comes to him.

        1. Catch it seems that now starters are only suppose to give you 5 or 6 innings. Maybe your right and this kid can be that 6 or 7 inning guy. I would love to find another. Warren brusstar. love that kid.

          1. Yeah, that’s basically my thinking. Let’s get a couple of guys who are really solid in the 5th or 6th inning (these days the 7th inning is a high leverage inning so he’d rarely pitch then) and keep us in some games because I think this team is going to score some runs.

      2. “Leiter throws about seven different pitches and is a bulldog competitor, as Kapler is learning.”
        “He’s so tenacious,” Kapler said. “It’s really a pleasure. I wish we could plug that mentality into position players.”

        ….huh?…I know it was spoken in generalities, as a means of avoiding criticism….but why say it at all? and what position players is he talking about?

  35. Morosi says Phils have recently been in touch with Lance Lynn. Not sure how I feel about him. He’d probably give you innings and at this point, reasonably priced (though who really cares about that anyway). But he doesn’t excite me much more than Hellickson.

    By now, we usually hear a ‘WOW!’ or two about how somebody is throwing at camp. Crickets so far, unless someone has heard differently?

    1. 8mark,,,,,Lynn 15bWAR(161 GS) up to now…Hellickson on his arrival to Philly 7bWAR(135 GS)….Lynn would appear to have a pretty decent track record going for him

      1. Lance Lynn has been a pretty darned good pitcher over his career. He’s coming off a recovery year (velocity almost returned to prior levels), but has otherwise been a consistent 3+ WAR pitcher, which means he’s a solid 3 in a rotation. This team could really use a pitcher like Lynn and if they can get him for 1-3 years, he might be a real steal. I’m completely in on getting this guy on the right deal – people don’t give him enough credit.

          1. I would do 1 year $17 million (give him the Q/O he rejected with an opt out after the first year then 2 years at $14 million each. Brings the guarantee to 3 years/45 million. Something like the recent contracts that have been given out that incentivizes an opt out.

          2. I’d be really hesitant to go 4 years with him. But three at an AAV around $15-17 M with a 4th year option and like a $6 M buy-out – that would work just fine, thanks. He’s a glue player. You don’t notice him, but if your team hits, you wake up one day and realize that he’s gone 15-10 and was essential to your success. We could use a few guys like that that do not weigh the team down long term with unneeded payroll.

            1. Romus its hard for a small market team like the phillies. to go against the twins. We cant go toe to toe with that big market team on a player. We need to develop guys. until Sheldon is fired.

  36. Not very exciting to me. I would rather give one of the young guys that spot. Maybe I undervalue Lynn, but unless it is Arrieta, I don’t see Lynn or Cobb making the team better enough that I see a WC run. So I wait until July. It is almost certain Danny Duffy is available, and I like him more, although he requires a trade. But, we will have to move some prospect depth fairly soon. I am sure that there will be a number of other SPs available besides Duffy.

    1. matt13…I was on board with Duffy in theoff-season….but his August elbow issues are worrisome.
      He did come back in Sept for three starts but was virtually ineffective after the 4th/5th innings.
      So far after four games this spring he has not taken the mound…but it is still early.

  37. I didn’t know that signing Arrietta, Cobb, or Lynn would cost the Phillies a draft pick & international money.

    Not worth it for a team still rebuilding. I like the idea of loading up the BP all season.

    I can see Lively & Leiter coming in for middle relief bridging to 7th or 8th inning.

    Can’t recall VV made it past 5 innings in a single game last year. Asher maybe 6. Nola had some gems.

    The likes of Pivetta & Efflin having some early game troubles.

      1. The slot money too but like I mention above I don’t think you lose the pick if the deal is less than a certain amount which I believe to be $50 million. I think that is why the Cubs positioned their offer to Cobb at $48 million.

        If that is the case you might entice someone like Cobb or Lynn to take a two year deal of $20 million and $16 Million with an opt-out because they can go back on the market without the QO attached to them.

  38. I don’t know how I feel about the report that the Phillies are looking at signing maybe 2 of the starters.

    I think it would be worth doing if they get Arrieta @ Cobb or Lynn as that rotation probably gets you to the playoffs. At the same time you take away an opportunity away from Velasquez or Pivetta.

    I’d rather sign one and leave the other spot open at the deadline if they’re in the hunt.

    1. I also just read a take on MLB trade rumors: the Phillies could then use Eflin, Lively, etc to get International Money from a team like the Orioles who are light on starters to replace what they lost by signing Santana.

      1. I’ve been begging for Klentak to deal excess arms (preferably to Baltimore) for a competitive balance draft pick (and maybe even some J2 $$). The only problem I have with the above suggestion is signing Lynn (who I do not like at all). I’d sign HellBoy instead of Lynn. IMO, there isn’t that big of a difference between the two, and Hellickson would save the Phillies a 3rd round draft pick (and the slot dollars that pick comes with).
        Klentak should also be able to pick up another comp pick (and maybe some more J2 $$) by eating a bad contract from a team like Miami. These deals can’t be made until the start of the regular season (March 29 … I think).

  39. I am not giving up on Eflin. He is healthy and deserves a full year to show what he has. I like him, and with the strength in his legs and no more pain in his knees, I think we will be happy with him. Lively and Thompson may be the ones eventually moved. But, I am not moving them yet.

  40. One thing I really like about the new team of coaches and the manager that we have is that they are willing to challenge some very trite baseball orthodoxies, some of which are manifestly wrong. Let me give you an example. Whenever I hear a pitching coach say that ALL of his pitchers have to keep their pitches down low in the zone (which, I’m pretty sure, is something both Rich Dubee and Bob McClure used to say), it would nearly make my head explode. If you’ve taken any time to really watch baseball games, you know that that “rule” is absolute nonsense for certain pitchers, especially power pitchers. Do you think Tom Seaver or Roger Clemens or Curt Schilling or Justin Verlander had to (or have to) pitch down in the zone to be effective? That’s simply false – all of these pitchers are much MORE effective when they can occasionally throw up in the zone. To me, the best pitch in baseball is well commanded high fastball that a batter swings under.

    In any event, it’s been nice to hear coaches and managers tell guys like Nick Pivetta that he needs to challenge batters up in the zone. That’s music to my ears and very helpful to guys like Nick and VV.

    1. By the way, it’s just spring baseball, but the Phillies certainly don’t look any better thus far. Last year, I just about had it with awful baseball. I usually watch most of the games, but until they show me something, I’ll be watching a lot less of it this year. Watching the Eagles win and the Sixers and Flyers excel has also dampened my desire to watch a truly awful product. Six straight years of bad and deadly boring baseball is more than enough.

    2. wow, twice in one day I have agreed with catch. I would rather have a pitcher that can throw a good high fastball followed up by a great curve and even change up. If you look at a lot of the batters now days, they are being coached to get lift on the juiced ball to let it carry. It would seem that taking away that swing path would make them very weak against the high fastball/curve/cu cycle.

  41. catch, you are correct. The one bad pitch VV made yesterday was not getting it up enough. They were thrilled with his stuff, and want him going up or in the dirt qt 0-2. He just threw it too far down in the zone. The Pitchers have to execute, but I am in favor of the philosophy this staff is implementing.

  42. Pivetta had good stuff for his two innings….though his command was not always there.
    And those Yankees seem to come up with quality Latin hitters….this Andujar has some pop.
    I guess this latest batch is the result of their overspend in 2014…and then acquiring Torres from the overspending Cubs.

    1. I know it’s early, but at some point, skills need to translate to results. Pivetta and Eflin’s early line does not look promising at all. In fact, it looks much like what they finished with last season. And before anybody says that’s only ST, looks like the other teams’ pitchers are in mid-season form against us. Or at the minimum, not grooving pitches to us.

        1. It was surprising. He’s still very young and he had a great last month of the season last year, hitting for average, power, and getting on base. They say he could be better than Crawford too, which I think is both premature and short sells Crawford’s greatest strengths (sneaky awesome defense and ridiculous on-base skills and plate control). Still, it’s nice that they think so highly of him.

  43. My biggest concern with the pitching so far is that they’ll get whiplash from turning to watch these midseason Yankee bats going long-distance on them.

    The Nats can have Arrieta. They already know Harper is leaving. Meanwhile, go buy both Cobb and Lynn on 1-3 year deals. Opt outs, whatever. I’d hate to see our promising young bats be impacted negatively by these young arms, all of which seem to be suffering from lack of command.

  44. Does anyone know, I am sure some on here do, when the first round of thinning the roster starts? I mean in terms of guys going to the Minor League camps. It would be nice to see a few wins this Spring. So far it has been pretty bleak. I know it is early but a taste of winning goes a long way.

    1. matt13…you mean you cannot get excited over Matt McBride, Danny Ortiz, Menesis, lots of Pedro Florimon?

  45. Haha Romus, I did not even know McBride and Ortiz were in camp. I really never heard of them. When they signed Drew Hutchinson and invited him to camp, I understood. I figured Florimon would get a lot of ABs as he is in the mix for an extra IF job, but why some of these other guys got invites, I can’t begin to guess.

        1. rocco…..and the odds he will be under the knife within a few years is still higher than HS pitchers who throw with lower velos….then you will have Brady Aiken or a Tyler Kolek. Now I will give you Jesus Luzardo …he seems to be progressing

  46. Pivetta reminds me a lot of Scherzer when he first came up. I hope he finds a change up here in the near future. I think he has a chance to be really good he just needs more experience and possibly another pitch.

    1. DMAR….:he just needs more experience and possibly another pitch.”….and possibly two new different colored contact lenses…..Scherzer has heterochromia iridum; his right eye is blue and his left eye is brown. 🙂

      1. Look, I love Pivetta, and I can’t say that I followed Scherzer super closely when he was younger (although, obviously, I can read the stats), but having watched Scherzer for the last few years, I have to say that Pivetta is quite a long distance from being another Scherzer. Among other things, Scherzer has ridiculous movement on multiple pitches combined with superb command. It’s hard to believe that Scherzer is now a three-time Cy Young award winner (which is going to make it a ton easier for him to get to the HOF – I don’t there’s anyone who has won it three times who has not made it). My view is the Pivetta’s ticket going forward is more like Curt Schilling than Scherzer as I don’t see Pivetta ever having Scherzer’s movement or arsenal. We need Pivetta to command his FB and keep hitters off balance with a good secondary pitch or two that he can throw for strikes. But I like his upside for sure.

        1. I can see Nick P. going down a similar road as Jake Arrieta took….2/3 years of dominance after an uphill climb, then an aging trend downward.

  47. Just a thought. Would the Phillies be a better team if they signed both Cobb and Lynn, or just Arrieta? I’d hate to see Pivetta start the season in Lehigh because I don’t know how long of a leash they’ll give to Velasquez. Can Velasquez be an effective starter? For that matter, can he be an effective reliever?

    1. Better team? probably cobb and lynn,
      best for organization, at right price, probably Arrieta because it helps starting rotation but still gives 3 spots ( nola and arrieta) for young pitchers to get an opportunity instead of 2 if we had nola, lynn and cobb

    2. I say no chance Pivetta starts in Lehigh even if they do sign 2 pitchers but I also look at this FO and say there is no chance they sign both Cobb and Lynn.

      It is what I would I do because I don’t believe in Eickhoff as anything more than a fifth man in a rotation and the same kind of goes for Lively, Thompson, Eflin, Eshelman.

      VV is the enigma in the equation. I finally agree with those that say his future is in the BP. I kind of like him in the Role that Peacock has with the Stro’s or a Bettances has with the Yanks.

      Guys like Nola and Pivetta could really benefit from guys like Lynn and Cobb and I’m a big believer that guys don’t become studs on their own. I believe in veteran presence I suppose and passing the torch.

  48. I think it is better, overall, for the team to sign 1 SP, and I still go Arrieta. I want VV and Pivetta to get their chances. A Rotation of Nola, Eickhoff, Pivetta, VV and Arrieta lets us see what we have going forward. The next guy up, for me, is Eflin. Leiter in the long role. Knowing what the team has is crucial as we know trades will be necessary and Klentak has to make the right decisions.

    1. Matt, how long do you go with Velasquez? I’d go a half dozen starts. It’s a short leash, but if he proves to be good in the pen we could move Neris at the deadline.

    2. Speculation that they’ll sign 2 is highly improbable. Sign one, then look to deal at the deadline for a Hamels or Archer IF WE’RE STILL IN RANGE of the WC.

      Personally, I think Pivetta is a better bet than Vinny Velo but I’m not hopeful for either. They should offer one or both of them for a comp balance pick and lower level, high ceiling prospects. Meanwhile, let’s strike now, load for bear, and get the most reliable arm(s) we can.

  49. i’m actually excited to see baseball start but not been following the games lately since I don’t want to be in the situation where i start to think if the right choice or not because of the wins and loss from the ST games.

    New skipper, new style, new mind set — i don’t know what to think of it. I’m just hoping that Kapler start to figure things out during the ST and comes up with a solid game plan when regular season starts.

    Few observations I have:

    1) Kingery is legit. I’ve been saying this for > 2 years now.

    2) Quinn can be game changing player. Speed, strong arm and decent pop.

    3) The Galvis trade is the right move. JPC defensively is as good as advertised and the hit tool is showing better than Galvis will ever be. The trade gives them delos Santos who can be a serviceable arm.

    4) People are still enamored with velocity. Time is running out on Vinny and Pivetta. Not only they need to figure out how to control/command their pitches, they need to develop a decent 3rd pitch. I’ve been saying that both (and Kilome) are destined to the pen. Follow what ARI did with Bradley.

    5) Flexibility is nice. But you don’t need to overthink the game too much. If you have the right people in the right place, most of the time that results to success.

    6) Lively and Leiter – people are down on them because they have mediocre stuff. But both compete and pitching not to dominate but pitching to be effective.

    7) I still have high hopes on Eflin and Anderson. I like Eflin and Anderson’s make up than Pivetta and Vinny. If both are healthy, their stuff may not be at par with Pivetta and Vinny but they can be more reliable with stuff of a #3 starter,

    1. Excellent breakdown, KuKo. I’m pretty much in agreement with each point.

      Klentak should at this point be able to land ONE of the top 3 FAs, what with the market and their payroll flex. If not, I would be seriously disappointed in him.

    2. Interesting thoughts. I agree with you on a bunch of this, including Kingery.

      People will always care about velocity because it matters a lot. That has always been true and it will always be true. It doesn’t make a pitcher good standing alone, but the faster a guy throws, the easier it is for him to be successful and the converse is also true for the most part – the slower a guy throws, the harder it is for him to be successful. And, of course, it’s no coincidence that when a guy unexpected gains velocity (Ryan Madson, Adam Morgan), his game can suddenly take a huge step forward.

      Leiter and Lively are okay and I sort of like them, but let’s not get carried away.

      Anderson has not impressed me thus far – we will see.

      Eflin has good velocity and some projection. But he needs to develop a reliable breaking pitch because his FB is too straight.

      I am concerned about Vinny. He just seems like one these guys who is always about to turn the corner, but maybe never does because he has issues with consistency and stamina. Could still see him as a high leverage reliever – he has options if starting doesn’t work out.

      I just like Pivetta. I think if he can hone his stuff, he could be really, really good. Like maybe even a 2 and I don’t think he’s that far off.

      1. Bottom line…everything a pitcher does, comes off his fastball….the quality being the velo and the command.

  50. Good points KuKo. That is what this season is for, to determine if VV or Pivetta are legitimate SPs. And, if not, can they be high leverage situation Relievers. We can only root for them, but you are right, they need better command, consistency and a 3rd reliable Pitch. And, VV needs to show he can even go 6 Innings. Eflin will be in LHV working on his stuff now that he has 2 good knees. He needs another reliable pitch also. We will know, I think on Vinny a couple of months into the season. That should be 8-10 starts.

  51. I’m wondering. If the Phillies sign Harper next year, does that make Jhailyn Ortiz a trade chip?

    1. No. I think it makes another lefty bat a trade chip. Haseley, Moniak, Williams, Herrera. CBP was built for power. They should build the roster accordingly. Ortiz and Harper at the corners with – dare I say – in CF come ’21. Ooohhh!!!

      1. LOL. They are not getting Harper AND Trout. They would be lucky enough to have one of them.

    2. WaWa Mike … Funny you bring this up. I was just thinking about it yesterday. The Phillies top three prospects by the end of this season may be Sixto Sanchez, Jhalyn Ortiz, and whoever they pick at 1-3. Since there’s no way Klentak will deal Sixto, any team with a top, young, controllable pitcher to trade will demand Ortiz or their 1-3 guy to headline a package.

  52. Kingery hit another home run today. This kid is simply amazing. I keep thinking of him as a regular AS candidate type player but you know something – he might even be better than that.

  53. Just reading that the Phillies don’t want to even go to 38 million for 3 years on lynn or cobb.

    not related directly to those contracts but what do people feel is the threshold in terms of time when we should start to worry that this front office up to the ownership is using the cover of analytics to just be cheap given our market size and the type of payroll ( up to luxury tax with no issues) we can support ?

      1. From reading the tea leaves, I’m sensing Arrieta will get 4 yrs. Money? Not sure. Maybe $100? Max. And the Phillies make most sense if it’s a front loaded deal, like $28/25/25/22 over the life of it. Opt out after whenever…THIS season would be his most important to us, and next year he hopefully gives us his average prime performance. After that, he’s a 3 or 4 with the young guns arriving.

        1. I like my deal better 5/$107 structure the first 3/$75 next 2 are $16 a piece and he gets opt outs beginning year 4. At this point in the game how could he lose with that. The Phillies can’t lose either.

          I think he easily has another 3 good years in him and the guy stays in great shape.

          Guys like Nola and Pivetta are going to struggle to take that next step forward without a solid veteran presence in the rotation with them.

          1. As I’ve posted many times, I’d rather Klentak not sign any of the three FA pitchers available.
            Also … DMAR … if you’re front-loading a contract for future salary cap purposes, it doesn’t work that way. I’m almost certain, MLB uses the AAV of the deal to account for a team’s cap hit. For instance, to use your proposal (5 yrs @ 107 million dollars), the Phillies would be charged 21.4 million per year, not 25 mil for years one thru three and then 16 mil in years three and four.

            1. Hinkie….the luxury tax threshold may go up to $206M next season…..so they should be able to absorb an Arrieta high priced contract for 3/4 years….along with getting a high end FA next season.

            2. I’m not doing it that way because I’m worried about salary cap ramifications I’m doing it to entice Jake to opt out after 3 years or if he stays I have a potential trade piece that is a lot easier to move at $16 than at $25 million.

              but you’re idea is better let’s go get Blake Snell for Ortiz, Medina and Howard

  54. Roman Quinn has played well this Spring, and I think, if healthy, the team brings him North. My question is whether that is the best for him rather than playing every day at LHV? He is certainly a weapon.

    1. matt13….he does have one option left…so he can be brought up and down a few times thru the season to stay current. Not usually a good idea to do that sort of thing and just not sure he would be receptive to that idea….but under this new manager anything goes.

    2. If Quinn plays everyday he’ll get hurt LOL

      But if you take him North with what we have now he doesn’t get any playing time. You know who has to try and make some moves.

      1. Quinn is ideal for a utility roll. Despite injury history, he’s pretty much run his course as a minor leaguer. He’s a major league talent who happens to be hurt a lot. Sending him down will do squat for his development. If he plays everyday on the farm, you’re saying he won’t get hurt down there?

        1. I’m saying I’m torn I don’t want to send him down and let him play everyday because he’ll wind up on the shelf again

          But if you take him north how many PA’s can you get him a week

          1. I’d bet he gets into 140 games, starts between 60-80. 300+ PAs for the season. Health permitting of course.

            1. I apologize for continually posting this, but … Roman Quinn will start at least 80 games for the Phillies this season.

        2. ….which brings me to the bench. Assuming the outfield consists of a rf platoon of Williams/Altherr, Quinn would be the 5th OF and very occasional SS. Either Florimon or Valentin (essentially the same player, the former has more experience), and then Knapp as backup C. Don’t see how anybody else makes it unless they go with only 7 relievers.

  55. According to the Chicago Sun Times posted earlier this afternoon, in the Arrieta sweepstakes, the Phillies are moving up, Nats are moving on. I haven’t got the required subscription so I couldn’t read further details.

  56. Not that he’s available, but Blake Snell (started for the Rays today) is the perfect match for the Phillies. I’d give up Jhalyn Ortiz, Adonis Medina, and Spencer Howard for him.

    1. Slo down Hinkie……Ortiz?
      Our $4M dollar man!
      He has a chance to be the next power/hitter guy in the MLB….an Albert Pujols clone.
      I can see Medina and Howard…….and maybe another young prospect other than Ortiz.

      1. Agree, Romus. No way I am trading any one of Ortiz, Kingery or Sixto.

        …. unless Hinkie was actually referring to Danny Ortiz. Then yeah, I’m in.

  57. I am assuming Quinn stays healthy. I know, that is a reach. But I am counting on Coconut oil and flexibility exercises. He has game changing talent with his speed and D and he has always been able to hit. I never gave up on him.

      1. Don’t know if he’ll go as high as 1-3, but Hjelle has a very high ceiling. I think I posted this scouting report on him from D1 Baseball.cpm last week:

        “Sean Hjelle is a freak of nature. A boy who is 6-foot-11 and 225 pounds should not be able to gracefully repeat his delivery, command four pitches (fastball 91-95, curveball 81-86, slider 83-85, changeup 84-88), and make it look effortless.

        In Kentucky’s home opener against Oakland, Hjelle struck out 13, walked no one, gave up one hit and no runs in 7.2 masterful innings. He controlled the rhythm of the game. One beautiful pitch after another, he drove it forward at a relentless pace. With the longest possible levers, slinging pitches like a finely tuned trebuchet, he demolished Oakland’s lineup. He attacked the Grizzlies with velocity and movement, he attacked them with command, and he attacked them with the pace of his game. When Hjelle was loaded and ready to throw, the batters were still recovering from the last pitch, and for the duration of his start, Oakland had no defense against him.

        Hjelle looks like a truly special pitcher. In my own stats-based early season rankings for the SEC (coming soon), I have him somewhere around the middle of the best 15 draft-eligible pitchers. This is only because stats take some time to accumulate. Soon they will begin to reflect what the eye can readily perceive, that Sean Hjelle is dominating his peers. Not only that, but even more excitingly, he looks like he’s not even close to finished developing. While he’s unlikely to grow out of his slenderness completely, it’s reasonable to assume that Hjelle will end up with substantially more muscle by the time he’s in his mid-twenties than he has now. When you imagine adding muscle to his graceful mechanics and his superhuman height, the possibilities are very exciting.”

        1. Found this report on Hjelle’s 1st inning from Friday night’s win from Kendall Rogers (D1 Baseball.com):

          1. Chris Young when he came up was a low 90s guy then quickly descended to a velo of high 80s thru the rest of his career.
            Hopefully Sean Hjelle can maintain that low to mid 90s velo.

    1. Yes…that one inning he cannot let the error by his second baseman unravel it for him…the next inning coughing up the two back-to-back HRs were on him.

      1. Romus … the Gator that looked great was OF Wil Dalton. After hitting 3 HR’s last night, he’s at .429/.479/.762. He’ll be one to watch for in the 2019 draft.

  58. If Quinn played decent defense at SS, I wouldn’t mind rolling with him at SS and move JPC to 3B and start Franco in LHV and ask him to rake before he retakes 3B.

    I actually have more confidence in Nick and Alfaro in making the necessary adjustments and improve their swing and miss tendency than Franco who can break his ankle and neck everytime he swings the bat.

    A line up of Cesar (2B), Santana (1B),Hoskins (LF), Altherr (RF), Doobie (CF), Alfaro (C), JPC (3B) and Quinn (SS) with Nick (OF – platoon with AA/Doobie), Valentin (UTIL), Rupp (C – although i prefer ToJo as the 4-man bench and add 1 extra pen arm.

    Starters will be – Nola, FA (Arrieta), Eickhoff, Vinny and Lively. Bullpen will be – Morgan, Milner, Leiter, Garcia, Hunter, Neshek, Ramos and Neris.

    The only surprise is Quinn at SS, Franco to AAA and the 8-man pen.

    1. Arano might be in the pen too. Quinn can’t play everyday at SS. Franco he had to play 3rd if not your looking at an infield with limited power . Kingery maybe your best bet to out Franco that wouldn’t happen to may 1.
      Plus I don’t think the Phillies want to move JP off of SS.

    2. That’s silly, JP is only good as a SS and Quinn could barely play SS in A ball. He’s an emergency SS, Valentin (on the 40) is fighting Florimon and Flaherty (not on 40) for bench job. Franco could still easily hit 30 homers this year. Give him a chance to work on his pitch selection skills. If he figures it out, we’ll all be very happy with him. I agree with your pitching staff although Curtis is fighting with Milner for a spot.

      1. And Pivetta has a spot over Lively, I didn’t notice you had Lively. Bench catcher is a fight also.

      2. I will be happy if Franco can slash 275/335/495……or maybe even 265/325/475….with .30HRs and 30 doubles.
        He normally has a good K rate normally, but poor BB rate.

  59. Split squad today. Eshelman vs O’s, Lively vs Pirates. Good to see everybody get some playing time. Be nice if Gabe fields his opening day lineup in one of the games.

  60. Saw game in Port Charlotte yesterday. Kingery is just plain terrific. Nice opposite field homer and several very sharp plays in the field. Also had long at bats. Quinn looked good bunting for a hit from the left side, looked a little over matched from right side. Nola sharp with his curve but throwing with lower velocity than expected, but he appeared to be in ST mode.

  61. Gelb has a new piece on Kingery at The Athletic (which is so worth the price), and, if you read it, well, I hope he gets more reps at third soon (third is not discussed in the article).

    1. Kingery played CF in yesterday’s game vs Pirates. I did not see him get any chances as pitching was dominant until Leibrandt came in the 8th.

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